Tag Archives: overweight

Different diets for different times of our lives – trying Wheat Free

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.

Veg and protein. Perfect for wheat free

Veg and protein. Perfect for wheat free

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

Hostel bunk bed living - listening to downloads on headphones is easy

Hostel bunk bed living – listening to downloads on headphones is easy

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!

 

My make-shift waist measuring devise. The first week I could cut off a good piece!

My make-shift waist measuring devise. The first week I could cut off a good piece!

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?

For ever?
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.

2 weeks into my diet – but is it for me?

 

I’m now 2 weeks into my diet. When keeping weight off, it’s inevitable that you put weight back on. Keeping weight off does not mean not putting any weight on at all, it’s about when do you decide to do anything about it. Due to medical reasons I’ve put on nearly 2 stone more than I want. So now I’m dieting to lose this.

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……

Eating out
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.

Making sure 1/3 of my plate was fruit or veg!!

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.

Quorn – brill for dieting and to keep weight off

When it comes to your new year diet or if you want to keep weight off, quorn is simply brilliant. Really versatile, it can be made into almost anything you would normally make with meat. And best of all it is really very low fat, low GI, high in fibre, high in protein, keeps you feeling fuller for longer, is fat burning and very low calorie. So all in all, a brilliant diet and weight maintenance food.

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:

  • Mince
  • Sausages
  • Chicken style pieces
  • Chicken style fillets
  • Beef strips
  • Swedish style and Italian style meatballs
  • Burgers
  • Pepper steaks
  • Lamb steaks.

Deli food ready to eat:

  • Sandwich meats – ham, chicken, beef, turkey
  • Fajita strips
  • Roasted fillets
  • Tikka fillets.

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.

Really easy…..
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….

How to choose the right New Year diet for you

January is the month when most people go on a diet spurred on by new years resolutions to lose weight and regain a slimmer figure. Most of us will have put on weight over Christmas and sadly most will not lose it. The start of the new year is a great time to decide to, at the least, shift any new festive season weight, and maybe to shift a few extra pounds as well. But how do you decide what is the best diet for you? And how can you keep motivated when your diet becomes hard?

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:

  • Think about what you find hardest when dieting. If you can’t stand being hungry or find that when you are all you think about is fattening food then go for a diet which allows you to eat as much as you want of some foods – for example Slimming World, the Atkins or Dukan diets. Remember though that which foods you can eat will be restricted. So if you are the kind of person who needs to have a taste of lots of different foods and you can cope with eating just small amounts of foods you like then choose a diet which allows this in small portions, such as Weight Watchers or many of the diets you find in magazines.
  • Think about how much weight you want to lose and how long you want to lose it over. To lose a lot of weight quickly you’ll probably need to do what’s called a Very Low Calorie Diet (VCLD) such as Lighterlife, Cambridge Diet or Celebrity Slim. I did Lighterlife and it was brilliant for me because you get counselling as well but you do need to be really committed to not eat other food and you need to think about what you will do afterwards to not just put the weight back on afterwards.
  • Think about what happens after the diet. Do you also need your diet to help you change your eating and activity habits after you finish the diet? If so think about what it is you need to change and choose a diet which will help you do this. Or it maybe you decide to mix diets – to choose a diet which is not too challenging at first to get that initial weight loss and then to change to one which will help you change your habits afterwards. You could also choose a diet which has a maintenance phase such as the South Beach Diet, or a Low Gi diet which is a lifelong eating plan.

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.

My choice:
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!

How to survive Xmas Tip no 5 – Dont panic!!

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 5:
Don’t panic! You always have January to deal with any extra festive weight.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Even if you follow all these tips you may still end up putting on SOME extra weight. It’s pretty inevitable if you eat or drink more than usual, you eat different foods and do less exercise. So don’t beat yourself up or give yourself a hard time; accept it’s inevitable and decide that you will deal with it in January. BUT MAKE SURE YOU DO! Research suggests that most people don’t lose the weight they gain over Christmas – and year on year that could add up.

From just cutting things out through to a full-on diet
For some people, all they will need to do to get back to normal is to cut out the extras they’ve been having – such as cakes, chocolates, take-aways or even alcohol – for a few weeks.

Other people may need to go a bit further and cut out foods like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice for a few weeks. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. A bolognaise sauce or a chilli can be just as good on a bed of salad leaves as on pasta or rice. Just swapping your morning toast for a bowl of porridge may be easier than you think, and it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you do have carbs such as bread, pasta or rice, always keep them brown as wholegrains don’t turn to fat in the same way as refined carbs.

You may decide you need to go on a formal diet. Research shows that people who follow a recognised programme where they are part of a group or structured programme do better than those who try to go it alone. Remember there are loads of different diets and different ones suit different people. So think about the diet you choose carefully and whether it is one that will suit you. If you try one and it’s not for you, look at others rather than totally just giving up; there’s bound to be one that suits you.

Go to rule no 4 -Dont slump – find ways to be active

Surviving Christmas & manage your weight – Rule no 3!

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 3:
Plan, plan, plan. Plan all your meals and food throughout the festive season, including the days after Christmas. Balance sugary, fatty high calorie food and drink with other low fat, high protein, high fibre fat burning meals.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Do a meal plan for the whole festive season, including after Christmas. Think about your meals across a day and week so that if you know you’ll be at parties and/or eating out and eating high-calorie, sugary, or fatty food you can balance these against other meals which are fat-burning and slow-release. You can download a Festive Season Meal Planner here.

Remember that not all calories are equal. Some foods turn to fat more quickly than others (such as refined, fatty, sugary and many processed foods) and should be avoided. But others, like low GI foods and fat-burning foods keep you feeling fuller for longer, help boost your metabolism or take more energy to digest. So you need to fill up with these foods and plan meals that include:

  • Loads of fruit and vegetables – try to fill over half your plate with vegetables.
  • Lean protein – lean meat or veggie alternatives such as soya, quorn, pulses and nuts.
  • High-fibre – go for brown over white. Avoid all refined carbs such as white pasta, rice, flour, bread etc and instead choose brown pasta, rice, bread etc. Use oats and oatmeal in food where you can – it’s often easy to swap flour for oatmeal.
  • Low-fat dairy – such as skimmed milk or fat-free yoghurt.
  • Use as little fat as you can – choose virgin olive or coconut oil when you need oil.

Planning your meals will also mean you’re less likely to end up having take-aways. It’s easy to think they are quicker, cheaper and easier, but in fact I don’t think they are any of those things. They are also more likely to make you put on weight. So when you plan your meals, plan a number of really quick easy meals for the times you can’t be bothered – such as stir-fry, pasta or quick rice dishes like chilli. Another good hint is to make extra when you do cook and freeze it, so all you need to do is pop into the microwave.

Manage your sugar rushes
Remember that when you have a lot of sugar it brings on sugar rushes which means you are more likely to crave more sugary food. So on Boxing Day and the days after Christmas, plan to eat as much slow-release Low GI and fat-burning food as possible. This will help you manage your blood sugar and help to reduce sugar cravings. Get Low GI and Fat Burning foods here.

Go to rule no 2 – Christmas is a social time.

Hypno Gastric Band – does it make you lose weight?

 

As readers of my blog will know, although I keep weight off, I still have a small amount of weight I would like to lose; between half and a stone or around 10lb to be precise. This would mean I would be a small size 10 rather than the big size 10/small 12 I have been for the last year or two. I know I can go on a very low calorie diet and lose it and get down to size 8, but I keep putting this amount on again afterwards; it seems this size is just where my body naturally wants to stay. I eat an incredibly healthy diet and am pretty active but I have real trouble keeping to small portions and I eat huge amounts. I also want to be able to eat out a bit more than I do at the moment so when I read that Hypno Gastric Bands have an 80% success rate I decided I had to give it a go! Will a Hypno Gastric Band work?

They aren’t cheap and some hypnotherapists were advertising Hypno Gastric Bands at around £300. But when I received an offer of 3 sessions for £80 it seemed the signal it was time to give it a go.

Hypnosis works for me….
I know I am susceptible to hypnosis. I gave up smoking with hypnosis and I have used it since when I am very stressed about my weight or life. So I was really excited about it and convinced it would work for me. I set off for the first session full of anticipation looking forward to the hypnotist telling me my stomach had been made smaller and I would want to eat a lot less. I thought it would be that easy. Instead, at the first session the hypnotist was quite challenging to me and I wasn’t expecting that! One thing he challenged me about was a need to use scales. As you may know I don’t agree with using scales as the main way to check how you are getting on, rather I prefer judging by my clothes. But he told me I had to use the scales so I could lose my fear of them. He also challenged me about my saying I like eating cakes and chocolate too much and how I find it hard to control myself sometimes around cake. His view – it’s as easy as just deciding so to cut them out. Hmmm.  We finally did he hypnosis. I was disappointed – no mention of the gastric band. Just that I would be happier to eat less and want to eat healthily (which I already do!).

But being a compliant sort of person I did decide to weight myself. The next day I weighed in at 147lb.

Session 2 a week later was a bit easier, helped somewhat by the fact that despite me having been to a house party weekend abroad I had lost 3lb! The session was shorter and we got down to the hypnosis more quickly. Similar stuff to the week before. Again I was left feeling slightly miffed my ‘gastric band’ hadn’t been fitted and it was the same stuff I’ve heard a lot before in hypnosis.

Session 3 and I was on a role. Again I’d lost weight – I’d lost 0.6lb despite having eaten out a couple of time so I thought I was sorted. Clearly my portion sizes had gone down. This time he did ‘fit’ the band. Under hypnosis he took me through the process – from getting on the trolley, through to the operating theatre where he turned the lights off, and then imagining exactly how my stomach was being made smaller. It didn’t seem at all gory though! The hypnosis was quite quick though, I was in and out in 20 minutes. But if it worked I didn’t mind that I felt maybe I needed a bit more time.

So what has happened since?
Well it started off well. I decided I’d weigh myself once a week and the following week I’d lost even more weight and was down to 141.1lb. I was cock-a-hoop to say the least. I was eating more variety of food and the weight was dropping off. And my clothes were feeling looser which I always like.

But then it all went wrong. Another week on and I got on the scales. And …. in the space of a week I had put on over 5lb. Part of the hypnosis was to learn not to panic if I put on weight; to be able to just accept it and then decide to take action the following week. But as we know its not that easy and despite the hypnosis, I was in a bit of a tizz the day I went on the scales.

This is why I don’t like scales. Putting on 5lb of fat in a week with no major change in diet is just not possible, it must be something else (for example I’ve been ill during this time). That’s why I prefer clothes as my guide as they are a more realistic judge.

And how have I got on since?
Well since then I’ve started losing weight again – earlier this week I weighed in at 2.5lb less than 3 days before! But I’m also not giving up on hypnosis as I do think it can work. So to help me top up I’ve downloaded a weight hypnosis book and I’m listening to it once a day if I can. Plus I’m trying some metabolism boosters too and continuing to follow my ‘21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off’ as I know they have helped me stay a size 10. You see, I’ll try anything and am glad for anything that works. This morning the scales have again been kind and I’m back down to 141lb.

Bring it on…..!