Image from Pinterest
Those of you who read my blog regularly will known that the past 17 months has seen me embark on a lifestyle change to lose weight and improve my fitness. I've now lost 6 stone 2 lbs in total, and have about another stone to lose to get to my ultimate goal. I've slimmed from a UK size 20 to a size 12, and am much happier and healthier than I was at my larger weight. (You can follow my weight loss journey posts in order and see before/after photos over on my Weight Loss Journey page on the blog.)
In order to shift the pounds I have had to completely change the way I eat and exercise. I have had to learn to eat with moderation, and have had to educate myself on the science of eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly to burn off any excess calories.
It has been a steep learning curve for me, and I am most definitely a different person now on the inside as well as out. I still have days where I find it hard - when I fancy all the bad food in the house, and the biscuit tin is calling me, but these days a few and far between now as I can no longer bury my head in sand and pretend that those biscuits "probably aren't that bad for me" when I know that they are 75 calories each and that it takes me 17 minutes of fast paced walking to burn that off.
When I first began losing weight I had to make sure I didn't buy any high calorie, high fat, high sugar 'treat' foods such as chocolate, biscuits and crisps, as I knew I didn't have the self control and willpower to ignore them. If they were in the house I was going to eat them and it took a while before I felt strong enough to start introducing them back in to my diet, this time in moderation.
Seventeen months on and my behaviours have changed, I try to no longer use food as an emotional crutch, and I no longer eat big binges on bad foods. If I do eat "treat" food then I ensure I work physically hard to burn it off, so I don't pay the price later on the scales. I still calorie count every day to ensure I stay on track but perhaps most importantly I haven't banned any foods at all from my diet - I still eat cake, and crisps, chocolate, sweets and takeaways, I still drink wine and indulge in meals out etc - the difference is that now I eat all of these things in moderation, and I work really hard physically on the days that I choose to eat more. My decisions are now conscious, and my head is no longer buried in the sand - if I decide to eat cake I know I either need to eat less on other days that week, or I need to get out and pound the pavement in order to ensure that piece of cake doesn't lead me to put on weight. I truly believe it is only a whole lifestyle change when it comes to food and exercise that will lead to successful weight loss that you'll be able to maintain, and keep off.
Before my lifestyle overhaul I had tried every diet in the book - Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Cabbage Soup Diet, Rosemary Connelly, low carb, Atkins....you name it, I'd tried it. But what each of these diets did was either cut out all the bad foods (which I enjoy) completely, meaning I was unable to stick to the diet long term and felt unhappy, deprived and fed up very quickly. Or, diets like Slimming World and Weight Watchers would work fine all the time I stuck religiously to cooking their recipes or eating their branded foods, but as soon as I went out for dinner, or on holiday, or had a few days off of their 'plan' I would begin to struggle to understand what I should be eating out there in the real world away from that specific plan. What calorie counting has done is educated me on all foods, all drinks, every take away or restaurant meal out, every bottle of drink I've picked up, or chocolate bar I've been contemplating eating has been logged into my calorie counting app and I have been able to see it in terms of its 'worth' - I soon began to ask myself these questions...
"How much would I need to walk to burn this off?"
"Is it worth it?"
Slowly but surely asking these question has made me learn new habits, and has caused me to feel differently about lots of foods. I no longer see food for its short-term gain (i.e - sugar high, comfort, indulgence) but now try to see that food in terms of its long-term affect - will it nourish me, keep me full up, be good for my body, will I regret eating this five minutes after I've finished? Is it going to be worth the work out I'm going to have to do afterwards to burn it off? And on the whole this makes me make better choices, which in turn has lead to my regular weight loss.
I have also found that eating with this new found clarity and honesty has meant that I no longer experience the guilt I used to feel when I ate. Because all of the food I eat is now a conscious decision, and because my diet is balanced and moderate I can truly enjoy the 'treat' foods, safe in the knowledge that they won't make me fat.
They taste better because of it.
As well as hundreds of fad diets out there, there is a new influx of slimming gadgets on the market designed to help with weight loss - from special glasses with blue glass which you're meant to wear while you eat to make food look less appealing, to forks which tell you if you're eating too fast - there really is a weird and wonderful array of stuff available for the discerning slimmer.
On the whole I'm pretty sceptical about these gadgets but one that caught my eye recently was the Kitchen Safe and I've been sent one to review - so here's what it is, and what I thought...
The Kitchen Safe *REVIEW*
The Kitchen Safe - the lockable food storage with no override.
The Kitchen Safe is in essence a lockable storage box - sold as "a powerful tool to build good habits" the safe is intended to store things you want to limit/moderate (such as food), you can lock this box at the twist and push of a dial for as many days/hours/seconds as you want. And here's the catch: there is no override. Once locked the Kitchen Safe stays locked and there's no way of opening it.
Designed with the intention of helping combat lack of self-control/willpower - this lockable box could potentially help you keep your hand out of the biscuit tin, literally.
The people at Kitchen Safe say their product has been scientifically proven to increase your chances of reaching your goals. It was developed based on research published by scientists at MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and Yale. They discovered that pre-commitment can significantly increase our chances of achieving our goals. Pre-commitment is the notion of committing to a smart choice now, when you know you’ll be tempted by a bad choice later. They've taken years of inter-temporal and willpower research and reimagined it into this fun and effective product that has the potential to help people reach their goals.
(If you’re interested in this stuff, here is a great TED talk on the subject. I talked a bit about TED talks here if you've not come across them before.)
Of course, there are always ways round it - if your Kitchen Safe was filled with chocolate and locked until the next day, but you were truly desperate for a chocolate binge you could of course just go out and buy some more, but generally I guess you'd be less likely to go to all that effort for a quick binge, and so you'd be more likely to avoid the binge altogether. Score.
Of course you have to have the willpower in the first place to actually lock it, and I do have some issues with locking food away - part of me thinks that by restricting yourself and telling yourself you can't have something you'll be even more likely to crave it - but I guess this could help with learning to moderate your eating.
If you are truly serious about cutting back on the junk food and leading a healthier lifestyle, but you struggle to resist the temptation of the naughty foods in the house, then this could help you. You could use it as a portion control/moderation tool. For example: if biscuits are your nemesis you could use the Kitchen Safe as your biscuit tin - after having one or two biscuits (and no more) with your afternoon cup of tea you could lock the safe until the same time the next day, making it impossible for you to dive back into the biscuit tin until then. Or perhaps you snack and graze all day at work - would this be helpful to have on your desk, and lock when you know you'll be likely to indulge in something naughty?
My Kitchen Safe - full of biscuits!
Lockable by the simple twist and push of a dial.
How long would you need to lock it for?
The Kitchen Safe is a very simple but well made piece of kit - it comes in various colour options - you can choose a white or clear base, and lids in either white, pink, blue, red or green. The screen and lock is battery operated (included) and it literally takes 30 seconds to set up. The one button twist and push function makes it so simple and easy to use - no long winded programming here, which means you'll be more likely to use it regularly.
One of my biggest concerns with the Kitchen Safe was whether it would keep my food items fresh - I worried that if I filled it with biscuits that they might go stale, but my Kitchen Safe has been full of biscuits for a week and a half now, and they are still crisp and fresh, so that's great.
So far since having my Kitchen Safe I have only locked it once in order to test it out. I haven't yet felt the need to lock the biscuits away from myself - I guess this is testament to how far I've come with my eating habits, and that moderation has now become my habit. I must admit that knowing the locking function is there if I need it is weirdly reassuring for an ex-binge eater. I guess if you've always eaten in moderation then you definitely wouldn't need or benefit from one of these, but if, like me, you've battled with that little voice in your head telling you to eat ALL THE BISCUITS, then maybe this is for you!
Of course, as with anything, there are some downsides that I've had to consider...
- The Kitchen Safe is only so big, you can't lock ALL the bad food away in this one 17cm x 15cm box. Of course you could have multiple Safes (one for biscuits, one for chocolate etc) but that would work out to be pretty pricey.
-If you lock the Kitchen Safe it is locked to everyone in your house which would mean your kids, husband, wife etc would all be locked out of the treats too. This may not be a bad thing if you could all do with cutting out the junk food, but if you're the only person with the "tendency to binge" gene in the house, it would be quite unfair on the others.
- You can always go out and buy more. The Kitchen Safe will only get you so far - you've got to really want to keep away from the junk foods, and the locking function will only help you while you're at home. It isn't particularly portable, and it won't be able to stop you resisting the bad foods outside of the house.
-Will locking the food away just make you crave it more? It's quite possible. Something about the clear base can be quite tormenting, it seems to be saying "look at me all full of deliciously calorific biscuits, don't you just want to come over and devour them?". Obviously, it isn't saying that, but you know what I mean!
-The price: The Kitchen Safe retails at £39.95 so it is by no means a cheap option. Yes, it is sturdy, very well made, easy to use, and it looks really cool, but that is one pricey biscuit tin!
Other Uses for The Kitchen Safe
The People who make the Kitchen Safe also give some interesting alternative uses for their device, and I've discussed a few of them below:
A Punishment Tool for Parenting: As a parent, I can see potential in this device for an alternative use. We've all been or going to be in the position where we threaten a punishment to our misbehaving children that we know we are going to find hard to stick to (Think: "If you do that again you're not going to play Playstation for a whole day") With the Kitchen Safe you can self-impose the punishment you've threatened by locking away the Playstation controller for the time you specified, and no matter how much they cry, beg or argue, you can't get it out for them until it unlocks. Obviously, this would only work with small items such as handheld games consoles, controllers, phones, TV remotes, small toys etc, but it may well save you from yourself if you know you're the type of parent that will be likely to give in to your child's pleas.
Lockable Money Safe: You could use it for budgeting - if you need to save cash for a big night out or for the gas bill at the end of the month but know that you're going to be very tempted to spend it before then, you could use the Kitchen Safe to lock it away until you need it.
Cut Back on Smoking: Perhaps food isn't your nemesis but smoking is - you could use the Kitchen Safe to lock away your cigarettes - and help you to cut down on the amount you smoke when you're at home.
Prevent Drink Driving: We all know someone who gets far too tempted to get into their car once they've had a few too many glasses of wine - the "I'll be FINE" excuse just doesn't wash with me, and I can see the potential in locking said persons keys away in the Kitchen Safe until they will be sober enough to drive again. Obviously, the Kitchen Safe needs to be in the vicinity at the time of need, so this may not be totally plausible, but it's certainly an interesting idea.
Having now seen and used this product in the flesh, I like it much more than I was expecting to. It is expensive, but at least it is a very well made, good quality and cool to use product. For me it's the sort of gift you'd buy for someone who already has everything. If you love cool, quirky gadgets, or genuinely think it will help you develop better habits to have a lock function on your treat tin, then this would be great for you.
Personally, I think I'm more likely to use it in the future to ensure I stick to my word when it comes to punishing bad behaviour from Bert (hopefully I won't need to use it very often) or perhaps I might even need to use it on Liam if I think he's playing too much Playstation - haha - watch it Liam, you've been warned! ;-)
Maybe I'll feel the need to lock all the chocolate and biscuits away in it at some point, who knows? But, for now I'll be leaving it unlocked so that everyone in my house can enjoy the biscuits in moderation. I wouldn't have been able to do that 17 months ago, and perhaps had I received this product to review then, I would be waxing lyrical about its snack-stopping, binge-preventing properties....who knows!
Have you ever used a weight loss gadget?
Have they worked for you?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Disclaimer: I was sent a pink & clear Kitchen Safe for the purpose of this review. All words pictures and opinions are my own, unless otherwise stated.
You can find our more about The Kitchen Safe on their social media channels: