Tag Archives: lose weight

Understanding Obesity – Why it’s essential to include those of us who have been obese in finding the solutions

 

Today’s news is dominated by the obesity debate. Researchers reporting in The Lancet are calling for Government action – including taxing junk food. About time – thank God we finally have some research which doesn’t think it’s just down to blaming people who struggle with their weight. This is a real opportunity to hear the voice of those of us who have ourselves been overweight and have found ways to overcome it.

I know all about this given I used to be a size 22 but have maintained at a size 10 for over 3 years now. I know that the biggest factor has been my own self determination and complete desire to not be over weight again. But since day one I have felt that society and our institutions have made it really hard for me:

  • Everywhere you turn there is food, and generally it’s high fat/high sugar comfort food. At work or get togethers you go to meeting and there are cakes and biscuits; rarely fruit, or something like veg sticks with healthy dips. We all need to change so we don’t think it’s a treat to offer people obesity causing food. Like many overweight people I cannot resist – so please, don’t tempt me all the time!
  • It’s an outrage that processed food and junk food, full of rubbish that our body cannot digest and therefore turns to fat quicker, is cheaper than organic food which is good for our bodies, less likely to turn to fat, and is better for our economy and land.
  • Over the years when I was fat the medics just used to tell me to lose weight. I didn’t get any real help from the NHS, just lectures – my doctors surgery even wanted to charge me to do a medical report to say I was OK to go on the Lighterlife diet! I was lucky and could afford to do Lighterlife and so had a year where I was supported to come to terms with my relationship with food through its counselling. One woman in my group had to drop out because she couldn’t afford it. This kind of counselling needs to be available to all and diets like this funded by the NHS. It’s far cheaper than the cost of treating obesity related diseases and far cheaper than weight loss surgery.
  • This is because obesity is not just about the food we eat. We have to get to grips with the psychological reasons why people put on weight. For so many of us, our weight is related to self esteem and how we feel about ourselves. When I was fat I was so overwhelmed by how let down I felt by life and my body if people had a go at me about it then that just made me feel worse – and then even less able to deal with it. We have to stop blaming and stigmatising people and start understanding more.
  • We don’t structure society to help us being able to eat well. How many people gobble a quick lunch whilst working, eating sugary snacks to get us through long working hours. How many families are able to sit down to eat a meal together each day? Life has become so busy we try to just fit in food in between everything else. How many people know how to cook? Basic life skills and yet we don’t have them. I’ve been looking at some cooking courses at local colleges yet they cost quite a bit of money….

I could go on …..

Plus, there is virtually no information dedicated solely to how you keep weight off. I had to find it out for myself. That’s why I’m now sharing what I know.

Joining the debate – where are our voices?
This morning I was lucky to get on the Radio 5 Live ‘Your Call’ phone in.

Someone asked me why overweight people simply just don’t eat so much. I know that sounds easy and straightforward to people who have never struggled with their weight but I can tell you as someone who has it’s not that straight forward. I don’t have a ‘off switch’ from food I like. I wish I did, but I don’t.

You see this is just one really good illustration why I believe people like me have to be at the heart of the debate about how we deal with obesity. I know what it’s like, and I know what took me there. I don’t judge people who are overweight but I know it’s possible to change and to keep weight off.

I hope that as well as listening to The Lancet, policy makers start listening to people like me to see if together we can find the solutions to this very complex problem.

A flat stomach with little effort? Trying out Slendertone

Is it possible to get a flat tummy without doing loads of exercises and starving yourself? In my endless quest for an easy answer to the lump that is my belly and midriff, I decided to try out a Slendertone machine.

So as we moved into summer, I started putting a very strange machine around my middle for between 20 and 30 mins a day to see if I could lose any inches and feel a bit better about my stomach.

The model I tried was the Slendertone Flex Abdominal Toner which is a small belt and cost me around £40.

Before my first session I took my measurements:
Midriff – 84cm; Waist – 79cm; Hips – 97cm.
I’d just come back from a short holiday so was hoping it might stop any post holiday tum showing on me.

What was it like?
It’s a strange machine. For a start it was a lot shorter than my tummy and midriff so I wondered if it would have enough ‘stretch’. But when turned it on, the movement could be so strong if I was brave enough to turn it up high that I’m sure the effects moved beyond the size of the belt itself. It’s certainly strong and you can definitely feel it; indeed if I turned it up too high it would, at times, feel very uncomfortable and occasionally verging on painful.

You are supposed to use it every day for at least 2 months, starting with 20 minute and sessions, moving to a maximum length of 30 minutes. Some marketing says you start to see results in 6 weeks if you do. I have to be honest and admit that I struggled to use it every day.

My habit was to use it when watching TV at night but I don’t get to sit down and watch a programme of over 30 minutes every night. So I probably managed every other day.

It’s also not very pleasant when you put the belt on. It sticks to your skin and is cold and feels wet at first. You also have to replace the pads; I’ve bought one set of replacements at a cost of around £10.

So has it worked?
Well I’m afraid to say it hasn’t worked for me. I did my measurements again this morning and there’s no much change; my midriff is a couple of cm smaller but my waist the same and I’ve put 1cm on my hips!!

I think the fact that I struggled to do it every day means it probably hasn’t had enough time to do its work and it’s more of a hassle than I thought it would be. However I also think I probably have too much spare belly for this work anyway. Given I used to be a size 22 and am now a size 10 there is no getting away from the fact that my tum is not flat and I don’t think, actually, without surgery I’ll ever get a flat tummy now. (Surgery is not something I am even willing to think about for a minute by the way). I’m sure the belt was stimulating muscles under my flab, and maybe if you are fairly slim to start with and you just need to tone up it could do the trick nicely. But not for me I’m afraid.

Maybe it’s just me and the fact I didn’t do it properly. Certainly other reviews on the net are positive. So let me know if you’ve tried one and how you got on. And if its worked, your tips for getting the most from it so I can maybe try again but properly this time…..

 

Wandering around …. and feeling great

I believe that feeling good inside is as important to keep weight off as watching what you eat and being active. I know for me that when I feel good inside, and appreciate and admire my body, I treat it better and feel more able to make good choices with food. At its’ most basic level, when I feel good I don’t comfort eat!

Iphone Maps App brill for wanderingOver recent months my maps app on my phone as been really helping. Because I walk everywhere I’ve started just wandering up roads, paths and lanes that look nice; knowing if I get lost my app will help me out, or if worst comes to the worst, I just turn round.

It’s been brilliant. I’ve found so many nice places near where I live; lovely streets, parks and open spaces, guinels and alleyways leading to old farm houses or quaint streets. I’ve met people with lovely dogs and had brief chats I wouldn’t have had. I’ve spotted gorgeous plants and trees and views; simple things bringing real pleasure as I go about my business. And I’ve found shortcuts so I can get around more quickly.

Even in a strange place…..

The other day I was in a strange town headed to the train station. Even then I couldn’t help following a couple of people down this beautiful rose lined path. It took me into this beautiful Georgian courtyard, with gardens full of bright colours and people enjoying the sun. It was a dead end in terms of getting to the station, but a lovely sight and it put a huge smile on my face.

That’s the brill thing about just wandering around on little adventures. If you go wrong, just turLovely hidden back streetsn round and get back on track. And you will probably have learned or seen something that enriches your life along the way.

I had another win in my little detour the other morning. It made me a bit late so I had to really step on it for the rest of my walk. Good thing as walking fast with 3 large bags and a suitcase helped me walk off the 2 glasses of wine I had the night before. A win/win situation in every way. And I still made my train.

‘Emergency’ yoghurt

Fat Free YoghurtIn last weeks Apprentice, the lovely Tom came up with the idea of ’emergency biscuits’. I’ve gone one better; emergency yoghurt!!

This weekend I’ve been at a conference for writers – having some great conversations about my forthcoming book. As always with these kind of events, I never leave the food to chance as normally the food isn’t good for someone who is keeping weight off (and actually generally isn’t good full stop). So when I arrived at my destination I nipped into M&S and got my lunch knowing I would be eating a big sit down meal in the evening.

I also did another of my tricks – I say I’m vegan. That way I avoid creamy, cheesy food or meals covered in calorific sauces and veg smothered in butter and what you get tends to be healthier and less fried. Worked a treat last night as I had a lovely meal.

The only flaw (or depending on how you see it the icing on the cake) with this rouse is you then get a different pudding – normally fruit salad. But worry not – perfect opportunity for some ’emergency yoghurt’!

Because it’s fat free, ff yoghurt keeps for ages so you can just carry it around with you and whip out whenever needed!

Tom

Emergency Biscuit Indeed!

Thanks Tom for the idea. Brains, charm and good looks. Let’s hope he can go on and win.