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.
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.
1. If you want to eat chocolate eat the right kind! Go as dark as you can!!
Many nutritionists credit dark chocolate (not milk, sweetened or white, but dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa, preferably 80% or 90% cocoa with being a ‘fat burning food’. (Fat burning foods are foods which cause a reaction in your body which means that your body uses many of the calories in the food in processing it.) But it won’t surprise you to hear that these fat burning properties are only in moderation and so you do have to watch how much you eat. However chocolate is also a low GI food, with much documented research into the beneficial effects on health and mental health, not least as a source of iron. Research seems to suggest that a small amount of dark chocolate cdoes not cause the sugar spikes caused by other chocolate; it may even help to regulate insulin and help to keep you feeling full for longer when eaten after a meal. Indeed, scientists have found that eating a couple of squares of dark chocolate at a snack can mean you eat 18% less calories at your next meal.
So when you buy your egg or chocolate bar, check the cocoa content and make sure you go for at least 70%; more if you can. Lindor even do a 99% bar.
But remember, in moderation is the key. I’ve tested it out and even for me who can eat chocolate for ever couldn’t eat too much of really dark chocolate as its so rich. So maybe moderation is easier than you think!
2. If you are eating milk or white chocolate, go easy….
I know, though, that there are load of other chocolates around. For me, every year I have to have at least one Crème Egg; its just ritual. Plus I love Cadbury’s Mini-Eggs. So I have bought one Crème Egg and one small bag of Mini-Eggs. I will savour, love and enjoy them. But I’ve decided that’s all this year.
3. Make your own Easter cakes…
Yesterday I bought my Easter hosts some wonderful looking cake from Betty’s in Harrogate. It looks amazing- full of dried fruit and marzipan. I may have a small amount. Or more likely I’ll make my own version using sugar substitute or natural sugars such as honey and maple syrup and brown flour. I even can make a sugar free marzipan – here’s my favourite recipe; I just swap the sugar with splenda.
4. Get active!
Try and work off any extra chocolate or cake by joining in a kids egg hunt. Check the web for activities near you, or if you have children in your life offer to organise an egg hunt – that way you have the activity of both hiding the eggs and also helping the kids to find them! One person I know will be dressing up as an Easter bunny this weekend for a hunt they are organising in their local park. Even better as he’ll be so hot in his suit he’ll be bound to sweat off a bit extra!
4. Expect a sugar slump afterwards….
If you do eat lots of chocolate and cake, expect you will probably have sugar cravings in the days afterwards. So when they come, just know what they are and decide in advance not to give in.
4. And lastly – just have a lovely Easter.…
Enjoy yourself and enjoy your food.
For me, feeling good about life and me is completely linked to my ability to manage my weight. If I feel rubbish then I am less likely to make good decisions about food because I can feel I’m not worth it. I’m more likely to think I should ‘treat’ myself with calorific food or a real blow-out. Plus I tend to stay in more and have less energy. And that again makes me want to eat more sugary food which, of course, is a vicious cycle because it actually makes me more sluggish. Keeping weight off is as much about how we feel as it is about the food we eat.
So how can you feel better when things are really hard? Well here’s my top 10 tips.
1. Allow yourself to feel sad or down. Have quiet ‘me’ time if that’s what you want, cry and get it out. But after you have, tell yourself its time to change how you feel.
2. Do it gradually. Don’t expect to feel positive overnight. Go for small steps and know each time you feel a bit better you are moving forward.
3. Smile and think of nice things, no matter how small or insignificant to help you feel better. Last thing at night is a great time.
4. Make a list of all the things that are good in your life, no matter how small. When you feel down get out your list. Keep adding to it.
5. If your initial response to a difficult situation is ‘chocolate’ or ‘take away’ or similar, just stop and think before you eat it. Think about it they will probably actually will make you feel worse. Instead, eat good foods, like blueberries, that make you feel fantastic.
6. Treat yourself and be proactive. If you know you are facing a tough situation plan something nice to do afterwards or to have the support you need ready in place. Treats don’t have to cost and don’t have to involve food. Try a lovely long bubble bath or a walk, or a great bunch of flowers. Remember taking exercise releases hormones that make us feel better too.
7. Think about the things you love in life and put them around you. Put on some upbeat music or watch a film you love that always makes you smile. Looking at art or images that you like produces brain hormones which make you feel happier. So really look at pictures you have on the wall or at photos of people or places in your life. Even have a scrap book of images you love to look at when times are tough.
8. If something goes the wrong way for you try not to be bitter and angry. As hard as this can be, when we are, it is generally only us that suffers. Instead, try to look at situations in a different way. Do a ‘that feels better exercise’. Write down what you are feeling about the situation and then do a tick, x or ? at the end of each statement to see if it makes you feel worse, neutral or better. As you start to find ideas that make you feel better keep going. Smile and you will find that you soon start to feel a little better.
9. Have an action plan for how you will move forward. Steps can be very small and achievable and this will help you not feel ‘stuck’.
10. Ask for help; it’s not a failure, in fact it shows strength. Ask your friends, family and colleagues, and seek professional help if this is what you need.
Lastly, remember there are always good things that happen even in the midst of rubbish if you look for them. A few months someone stole my husband’s golf clubs. I said before we buy some new ones let’s ask people on Freecycle if they have any they need to get rid of. So a few weeks ago I posted the request. No response initially, but this week we got an email offering us a set that were even better than the ones that were nicked. He’s been on the driving range this morning and it’s put a big smile on his face. No matter how rubbish some things can be, remember there are always nice, good people in the world.
Have a great week. Peg xx
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!