So I needed some really quick weight loss in a very short time. Time for drastic action and trying a load of different techniques. But what worked???
So I needed some really quick weight loss in a very short time. Time for drastic action and trying a load of different techniques. But what worked???
So I desperately need to lose about 1 and a half stones or 20lb. I’ve needed to lose this weight for a while now – ever since a 2nd unsuccessful pregnancy last summer followed by a load of consequent comfort eating. Plus, as many of you know, before I’d shed my extra weight, me and my husband set off on a year’s backpacking around the world. (We have a travel blog at www.middle-aged-spread.com). We’re living in hostels & cheap hotels so I’m unable to follow my own normal advice – my ’21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off’. So desperate times mean desperate measures. And looks like I’ve found winning solution. Going wheat free!
Different times, different diets
I believe that different diets work for us at different times un our lives. We can’t assume that because one diet worked once for us or a friend, that’s the only possible answer. Our lives change and so I think the answers to managing our weight changes through time too.
I’ve really been struggling to find a diet I could do whilst traveling. Food replacement diets have worked for me in the past but are no good on the other side of the world. Slimming World has also worked for me but it relies on UK shops and being able to cook your own meals which I can’t do. Low fat isn’t going to work when it’s hard enough to order veggie food when there’s a language barrier and the shops just don’t stock it. Alternate day fasting could be an option – but to be honest it isn’t an option when meals are the only thing that break up our days. And really it’s not fair on Patrick during this trip. Even just eating wonderful, healthy Thai food and lots of fresh fruit for a month didn’t shift any extra weight. People back home have been telling me to just stop worrying about my weight. But I can’t as it makes me unhappy to be the size I am now. It’s how we feel ourselves that matters.
So I’ve decided to try and diet that is totally alien to me and what I normally do. And guess what? 2 weeks in its really working!!!
Gone wheat free
Strange as it may sound, writing this in Vietnam, but I’ve found this diet really easy here. Basically, I’ve cut out all wheat and most carbs and sugar, and don’t worry about fat or fried food. Whilst this means no rice or noodles (I know, sounds strange) its been easy for me to get meals that are veg and protein, like stir frys or omelettes. I’m snacking on low GI fruit and loads of nuts – including loads of fresh coconut and coconut water to drink – so never hungry. I’m even having full fat milk I’m coffee (just getting milk without sugar is a challenge here!!).
And I’m having a little dark 70% chocolate bar most days. Sounds alright doesn’t it. When we get to thailand I’ll also be able to have fabulous Papaya Salad too. 🙂
Changing my mind too
I’m also listening to a short download every day which is telling my subconscious mind that I don’t want to eat wheat or carbs and that I want to be slimmer again. It’s certainly having an effect. I have started to get bloated drinking fizzy pop and I’m getting full really quickly so want to eat a lot less. Mind you, eating with chop sticks might be helping with this too!
The results? Well I don’t have any scales so I’m monitoring my waist using a piece of string we used to tie up our mossie net in our last bungalow and a ruler app i downloaded onto the ipad! The first week I cut off about 4cm. This week just over 1. Not bad heh?
The programme I’m following says you have to cut wheat out for ever. I’m not so sure as I successfully ate whole grains in moderate amounts whilst keeping weight off for a number of years ; indeed it’s one of my 21 Keys. So I’ll have to see what I decide to do once Im back to a size I’m happier with. But it sure is working for me at the moment.
Goes to show – different approaches work at different times in our lives.
Happy New Year!! Hope you have had a great festive season and feel good about life. Now as we enter 2013 of course it is time for setting those resolutions about what we will do in the next year. And for a large section of the population, time to start dieting. And I’m afraid I am no exception. My big, fat diet starts here!
Chose the right diet for you….
So if you too are thinking about dieting then the biggest tip I have is to chose the right diet for you. I’ve found that what works for one person doesn’t always work for others. So just because your friend swears by a particular diet it doesn’t mean it’s the best for you. On the other hand, research shows that if you diet with mates it’s more likely to work. We are social animals so doing things in groups means we are more likely to stick with it. That’s also why research shows you are more likely to succeed with one of the diet programmes rather than going it alone. I know the pressure of the weekly public weigh-in kept me on track last time I did slimming world.
I also think its about accepting that diets work best for us as different times of our lives. So don’t be dismayed if a diet that was once brilliant for you doesn’t work another time.
Instead my tip is that if a diet programme isnt working for YOU then maybe you need to try a different programme rather than just giving up dieting. Of course, though, they all require will power and giving things up. And sometimes in life we just aren’t able to diet…..
Just not able to diet…
That’s my position at the moment. Over the summer I put on weight through a failed pregnancy. Then we decided to go backpacking around the world for a year or so. I failed to lose the pregnancy (and misery eating that followed) weight before we went, and since travelling its been impossible for me to keep to my normal weight maintenance way of life (using my ’21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off)! let alone diet.
First we were in Turkey where vegetarian food is harder to come by and where white bread forms a huge part of the diet. (I also struggled as the filler part of breakfast was boiled eggs which I can’t stomach so eat too much bread and butter with jam). Then we came to India. Really easy to get veggie food, but fear of bacteria in boiled rice (that’s another story to follow), curries cooked in ghee, sugar and cream with little fresh veg and naans and roti all made with refined flour, and not being able to eat fruit unless I can peel and wash in filtered water, means dieting or maintaining my weight has been impossible. Plus because I’m off my normal ways I’ve said sod it, and keep letting myself just for it – puddings with meals and too many chocolate bars! My size 10s still fit, just – if they are on the large size – and really I’m a size 12 and will be more unless I get a grip.
Action is needed….
I have to do something about this. Not because I think size 12 is too big but because I don’t feel happy about myself at this weight. Thankfully we start new year in Thailand where losing weight should be easy – loads of fresh fruit that’s safer to eat, meals full of veg and cooked in coconut oil. I just need to remember I am dieting too and not eat so much chocolate or pudding, sticking to fresh fruit and low fat yoghurt.
I’m also doing a lot of visualisation work too – when I wake up and before I go to sleep picturing how I will look when my travelling clothes are baggy. Plus to spur me on I’ve put a photo of me at a size I loved at my hen party on my phone wallpaper. It makes me smile when I see it – I was so happy, I loved my size and I liked sticking to my 21 keys programme.
Find the right way for you…
So, if you want to diet, find the right way for you, that fits with your life now; you are far more likely to stick to it. Stay focused on your goal and be really kind to yourself, thinking happy thoughts about how great it will be to be slimmer rather than berating yourself for not being as slim as you might want. Smile and your willpower will come more easily.
Keep us updated on here with how you get on and any other thoughts you have about new year dieting.
I honestly believe that the answer to keeping weight off is to work out what our own particular issues are with food and then to ways to manage based on our own lives, like and dislikes etc. For four years I’ve been able to do this, keeping my weight within a stone or so of my ideal size and basically staying a size 10.
But there’s been 2 occasions when I’ve gone beyond a size 10; when I’ve had two unsuccessful pregnancies. The first was the catalyst for me developing my 21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off. After the miscarriage I started eating differently to how I’d eaten ever since losing weight, and I realised just how many changes I’d made. But after the stress of the miscarriage I was back to old habits really quickly.
This summer the same has happened and I’ve had another unsuccessful pregnancy and miscarriage. This time it’s been harder for me and my husband to cope with as many other things in our lives have not been going our way of late. So we have made a momentous decision to go travelling round the world for up to a year. We go in less than 2 weeks. At the moment we are trying to sort out renting out the house, packing up all our stuff, saying goodbye to all our mates and family. We have no idea what the future holds.
This, despite me not having lost my pregnancy/post pregnancy extra weight and having gone up a dress size and feeling terrible about how I look. I can’t keep to any diet and I’m madly veering from binging days through to fasting days. So it seems when the pressure is on, even after all this time, I’m returning to form and old habits have kicked in.
I’ve always said it’s inevitable that at times you put on weight; the question is how much you allow yourself to put on. I don’t want to be any bigger than I am now but I just don’t seem to be able to sort it out at the moment
Maybe that’s what happens at times for all of us who have ever had a weight problem – when life is tricky we go back to old habits. However I do know I can’t continue like this and I know once we go traveling I will be more active and so will start to get this under control. Maybe this is just part of understanding how I am with food and knowing myself. After all, after the first pregnancy I lost the weight again when the time was right, so I know I can do it again when the time is right. And in the meantime, I’m making sure I’m not putting on any more weight.
The thing is that we all get to know ourselves and to work out what our own tolerance levels are and when we feel able to do things about it. And to trust that we can and will. And of course, to have our own point at which we say to ourselves – STOP!!!
I’ll be keeping people up to date on here and also on our new travel blog – www.middle-aged-spread.com – tales of mid life crisis travel, people and food (whilst not getting fat!).
I’ve chosen to do Slimming World this time and I’ve now been to 3 classes. I really like the leader and the people are very nice but truth be told I’m struggling with it. All the research shows that you are more likely to succeed with a diet as part of a group. But 3 groups in, I’m honestly wondering how many more groups I’ll be able to stand……
I had an OK week. On the Saturday I went to one of the best and poshest restaurants in the UK and negotiated a meal in advance that was OK. On the Sunday I went to a BBQ. Slimming World says 1/3 of your meal should be fruit or veg so I had a slice of cake with some salad!!!
Your ‘success’ or not is public
When I went to a Lighterlife group for nearly 2 years, your weigh-in is private. At Slimming World it’s the opposite – read out to the whole group. If you lose you get applause; maintain or add and you get sympathetic noises. And despite that the fact that generally I’m open about my weight I’m struggling with this. The first week I just maintained and I honestly felt totally humiliated at the prospect of this being read out. It felt better having a loss of 3lb read out but I was still nervous.
It’s a whole life change
Having spent so long thinking about why I got fat in the first place, and reading the research about how what we eat as children effects our weight later in life, I’m struggling with the fact that there are loads of kids at the class who seem to all be eating sweets, crisps and other processed foods; I’ve not seen any eating fruit, or raisins or carrot sticks for example. And so I find it frustrating that some of the excellent messages the leader is giving about healthy eating and this being about a whole life change don’t seem to be cascading down to the kids. Maybe I’m being unfair or just haven’t noticed; I do hope so.
Bodies are so unpredictable
Hearing how people have done and then they talk about the week they have had it’s also so clear how the human body is so unpredictable. Some people stick to the plan and put on weight; others eat all sorts and still lose. Time of the month really effects me and it all leaves me feeling a lot that weight is not the best judge as it seems so arbitrary; how our clothes feel or how we feel about ourselves I think are much better judges.
But despite all this I think the group is working
I sat in the group making notes surreptitiously on my phone for this blog, noting how I don’t feel motivated by competitions even if it seems to work for others. And then she announced that I was Slimmer of the Week!! And guess what – that has felt pretty motivating after all!!! And if I’m honest the public nature of the weigh-in is having an effect. This morning I’ve been on the scales and my weight is slightly up so I’ve said no to going out to eat this evening which I probably would have done if there was no group to go to.
Horses for courses
Ultimately, although I’m finding this hard, it is making me think and it is changing my eating habits. And I can’t argue with the thousands of people for whom it works week in, week out.
I think it’s a case of horses for courses. What suits one person doesn’t always suit another. And what suits you at one point in your life may not be the right solution at another. The trick is when anything doesn’t motivate you or you find it feels ‘heavy’ inside, stop. Don’t just give up. Maybe it’s just not for you and no doubt there is another way for you.
1. Got a smart phone, get an app!
My last holiday was in Portugal. So before I went I bought a translation app that could work without WiFi or 3G. I put in a load of phrases to be translated into Portuguese to help me ask for my food how I want it. So phrases like ‘Please cook in as little oil as possible’ or ‘Please do not put cheese on top’ made it really easy to order brilliant food.
2. I’ll manage the day so I can enjoy the evening….
Having lovely meals out and a fair few glasses of red wines is all part of a holiday for me. So I manage my breakfasts and lunches then I don’t worry about the evening. I took some sugar free muesli with me which I had with fruit for breakfast. I booked self catering so I could make my own lunch. When I’m not self catering I’ll buy salad stuff each day. Drink lots of water during the day and you’ll be set up nicely to enjoy your evening out.
3. Don’t compare….
Bad habit on holiday No 1. Looking at other women and thinking how much slimmer they are then me. The reality is always that some are, some aren’t. And so what?
What’s important is that we all feel good about ourselves and learn to love ourselves as we are. Remember no one else can be you. So what if they are a different size or shape?
4. When eating out still make sensible choices….
Some things are better to chose when eating out and managing your weight. Click here for a guide.
I’m a real pudding girl and holidays are no exception. In Portugal often I’d go to the ice cream stall and choose some fresh fruit covered in dark chocolate. Lovely. And I used the little freezer compartment in the fridge in our room to freeze some fruit to eat in the afternoons rather than ice-lollies. And of course I kept a nice stocked fruit bowl in our room.
5. Beware the all you can eat buffet….
The truth is that going all-inclusive or to all you can eat buffets everyday on holiday is going to make it really hard to manage your weight. So if you are all inclusive or going to all you can eat buffets, still try to watch what you eat and still bring your own more healthy alternatives. Use a small plate, only put small amounts on your plate at a time, take a break between going back to fill up your plate, and drink lots of water. Don’t eat just because the food is there.
6. Stay active….
Even if you are going for a total chill-out holiday by the pool, its still possible to keep up some activity. Swim as much as you can and walk everywhere rather than getting lifts or a bus; in the sun its lovely and there’s nothing nicer than walking home in the sunset after a great meal and evening out.
If you can and its your kind of thing, go dancing to dance off your evening meal. And if your on holiday with the right person then remember that getting active in the bedroom uses up lots of calories; even more when its hot!!
7. Be grateful for all you eat and drink…
I believe that how we feel about things effects how our body responds. I’m convinced my body deals with food better when I feel good & not worried about what I’ve eaten. So be grateful for everything you eat or drink and for your brilliant holiday. Before you eat think about how good the food you’ll have is for you. Be determined to enjoy everything you eat and drink and to have a brilliant holiday.
Some of us just struggle around food…
We all have different reasons why we struggle around food. Do you live to eat or eat to live? Me, I love eating. I just don’t have an ‘off-switch’ and I like to just eat and eat and eat. What I’ve learned over the last 4 years since losing nearly 8 stone in weight, and keeping most of it off since is that I will just keep on eating unless I actively manage my food and make deliberate decisions about when to stop. I also have other strategies, particularly making sure that if I want to stuff my face I do it on food that doesn’t matter – like fat burning foods and calorie neutral or Low GI foods.
I’ve also learned that when I allow myself free-reign I lose all boundaries and can’t stop. Before Christmas I made some very, very calorific Florentines (they had 3 bars of choc in and a whole packet of butter). The idea was to take them to the family we were visiting over Christmas. I did take them places but guess who ate most of them? Piece by piece, I just couldn’t stop. The same on Christmas day – I kept eating till I was almost sick!!
New year diet resolution just not working…
I believe that when keeping weight off you have to occasionally re-balance as it’s inevitable you put some weight back on – particularly at a time like Christmas. But even going on my little catch-up diet on 1st January hasn’t stopped me from eating too much! I bought a new Hypnosis book and CD (The Hypno Diet) and have been listening every morning. It is telling me to reduce portion size. So a week ago, totally in the name of research you understand, I went to the most difficult place of all for me – the all you can eat international buffet! I was determined to follow my own advice on how to manage the buffet. Did I? Of course not and I ate and ate until no more could go in.
Back in normal life, I’ve been trying to keep to Slimming World. But sadly, the ‘free food’ concept has not helped – I’ve been eating fruit no-stop even when I am full, let alone hungry. It may be fruit but too much is starting to tell. And worringly, the hypnosis CD is not at this moment helping me.
So I’ve decided I have to take action. And that is the key for us all I think. If a diet or how you are with food isn’t working, take some time to really think about what it is that isn’t working. A food and activity diary for a few days will help you see what needs to change.
1. Work out what isn’t working.
For me clearly I’m binging and I’m allowing myself to binge on foods I wouldn’t normally have.
2. Think about why it’s not working.
Is it comfort, is it just habit. Why are you feeling less able to make good decisions with food than normal? For me, I have had a lot of disruption at home over the last couple of months and I know I am on the verge of major change in my life. Is it so surprising this might make me want to comfort eat?
3. Work out what you can do to change these habits.
The answer to this one is different for us all. Maybe its just about changing what you do or a routine – for example if you are eating too much rubbish whilst watching TV, maybe try not to watch TV for a few nights or sit in a different seat. Or maybe you need to decide to follow a different eating pattern, eating different foods.
For me, I know I need to shift some weight as I do each year (this time about a stone) and I need to stop the binging. So I’ve gone back on Lighterlife Lite for a few weeks. That way I don’t eat food at all during the day (you eat food replacement packs) and what I do eat is strictly measured. Then when I’ve lost the weight I’ll follow a programme to get me back to eating sensible amounts. Sounds drastic but for me it works.
What works for you…
Of course that’s the thing – what works for one person doesn’t always work for others. But once you have found what works for you, stick with it. Take it hour by hour if you have to do, or day by day. Take all the support and help you can from friends and family. And just love how you clothes feel better each day.
Follow the ‘21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off’…
And once you are back where you want to be, well remember to check out my 21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off to help you stay there.
Let me know how you get on.
If you haven’t been converted yet, read on…..
What is quorn?
Quorn is a micro-protein, made by adding oxygen, nitrogen, glucose and minerals to a fungus called Fusarium venenatum which is described as being like mushrooms and truffles. Many quorn products also contain eggs. Quite disturbingly it was originally used to make material and animal feed! However it was quickly realised that because it has a good texture (some say its like it has been ‘knitted’) it is possible to shape it into various formats. By adding flavours it’s made into a meat-free alternative for everything from chicken fillets to fish fingers; from sliced deli-ham to a meat free pate.
What can you get…..
Quorn products which are great for slimming and watching weight include:
Need to be cooked:
Deli food ready to eat:
There are loads of other products too but not all are low fat or good for slimming. For example the bacon and Southern Style Burgers taste great but have more calories (though they are still relatively low calorie). And many of the ready meals or products can actually be quite calorific. So you need to check those carefully.
Two great aspects of quorn which make it even easier to use are that it keeps quite well out of the fridge for a day or so if you are having food on the go. So I will often make a packed lunch/tea of deli products and a tub of salad.
Also you are OK to defrost and re-freeze. So even if I make a meal with frozen quorn I often re-freeze the cooked meal to have when I need something quick and easy.
Good on diets…..
Quorn should fit well with your diet. On Slimming World mince and pieces are superfree foods; on Weight Watchers basic quorn products are low in Pro Points. It is also a low GI food so will fit with your low GI diet. Just check your particular diet for more details.
You do need to cook slightly differently though…
Believe me, if you slightly adapt how you cook quorn you can give it to unsuspecting meat eaters and they will often not know. The trick is to use more liquid than with meat and add in some additional flavours such as herbs and spices, marmite, Bisto, balsamic and other vinegars, Worcester sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, stock cubes or bullion etc.
A note of caution…..
However there is a note of caution with Quorn. Some people are violently allergic to quorn and it is thought this is linked to people who are allergic to certain fungi. I have a friend who will be really sick within hours of eating any quorn – tough for him as he is a mainly veggie! Although its believed the numbers of people allergic are relatively small, if you are new to quorn and you are ill after eating it (or if you get ill after eating a lot) then maybe you are one of those people.
So what are you waiting for? How about trying quorn soon in….
Bolognaise, curry, chilli, lasagne, stir fry, pasta sauce, with couscous or rice, sausage casseroles, cottage pie, roast dinner, fry-ups, steaks on their own with salsa and salad, meat loaf, paella, risotto, Thai curry….
So good luck. And keep us updated about how you are doing or sharing any other motivation tips you have.
Love your body and love yourself.
January is ‘diet month’
Research suggests that 30 days is enough time for most of us to develop new habits. So if you tell yourself that January will be diet month this may help. 30 days is really not a long time to try something different as this brilliant (and short) talk on TED.com explains.
Decide which diet based on your habits and likes and dislikes:
We also know that people are more likely to diet successfully if you do one of the formalised diets, and especially if you have a group to go to or a way to check in with your diet and actual weight loss progress. But how do you decide from the plethora of diets out there? I am not aligned to any particular diet as I think different diets work for different people. But we all need impartial information, so, bearing that in mind here are some ideas to help you decide:
If you need support from others choose a diet that offers a group near you and at times that suit you. Most of the big diet companies have loads of local groups.
Well I need to shift about half a stone so I’ve decided to start with a protein and veg based diet – I’ll try the Slimming World Success Express but with no carbs to speed my weight loss for a couple of weeks. If its going well and I’m finding it possible to stick to then I’ll stay with this. If not, I’ll go back to Lighterlife and do some counseling as well to support the weight loss.
Lastly – don’t give up!
If you choose a diet and you find it’s not for you, don’t assume that you can’t diet and just give up. Instead, sit down and think about what you find hard and then look at other diets to see if they might be easier for you to stick with.
Remember everyone has bad days when dieting so don’t let a bad day be the end of yours. Don’t beat yourself up, accept you’ve had a bad day, smile and just tell yourself it will be better tomorrow.
Good luck and let us know on here how you get on!