During the second half of 2017 I gave in, to weight gain.
Last summer I was in a really good place – happy at home, busy at work, was positive, up-beat, looking forward to my husband’s 50th birthday celebrations and two highly anticipated trips abroad. Good times.
But, following my sister-in-law’s wedding in June, I had taken my eyes off the ball, eating-wise. I had stopped a Slimming World membership, which had kept me on the straight and narrow, because I was going to club each week, weighing-in and then promptly not following the plan. I was bored to be honest.
Neither going up or down, I figured I was happy with my weight, four or five lbs heavier than I would like, but hey “you’re four or five years older than you used to be, Painter”, said my inner voice. So I got comfortable with those extra pounds and took even less notice.
Until we got to the end of September and SP and I went to Porto for a 48-hour trip. Enjoying great food, great port (he was only turning 50 once), it was “fun times” all the way. Until I came home heavier and it was just two short weeks until I was heading to New York with friends.
Already making bad choices, it was a slippery slope, eating food not normally on my menu and drinking beer and wine to celebrate the joy of being in the big apple, the lbs piled on.
A week after landing home my mum became poorly. As an elderly lady with little to no mobility it was all hands-on deck, but a lengthy stay in the hospital couldn’t be avoided, which meant my normal routine was up the gum tree.
Just to help create the perfect storm, I began to work freelance for an agency I hadn’t worked with before, which is like starting a new job. I wanted to work to the best of my ability, as hard as I could, while still taking care of the stressful situation at home.
What I ate was the last thing on my mind and even though I couldn’t wear a lot of my clothes by now and I was feeling really sorry for myself, my stress levels were through the roof. I couldn’t buckle down to lose weight and by now the world was in full-on festive mode.
I mercifully didn’t put on any more weight over Christmas – no parties, no tubs of chocolates – but the damage was already done.
It’s a new year and I am at my heaviest, and about as uncomfortable as I ever want to be. Nearly a stone above my normal weight (11 lbs), I’d rather stay in my dressing gown (if no-one minds), but that’s not going to solve the problem. My overall bug-bear is that I did this to myself. I consciously made decisions based on not giving a damn. Every time I made a bad choice, there was a voice in my head saying, “Who cares?” Well, I should of. I should of damn well cared.
Those damned choices have turned into bad habits that are going to be much harder to stop. You see it’s not mealtimes that have ruined me, it’s all the hours in between. I cook Slimming World meals, out of habit, 99% of the time. It’s just that in between all the good that I’m doing there is red wine, delicious craft beers, family bars of chocolate, ice cream (salted caramel is my fave), crisps and cheese balls that go in my tummy as well.
If you’re wondering why I choose to cook Slimming World meals, it’s because they’re healthy eating dishes based on common sense. Nothing is off limits, in sensible portions, and the dishes are tasty. I know many people love to up the protein, drop the carb, go plant-based and smoothie their way to great bodies, and that’s great, whatever works for them. However, for me to try and lose/maintain my weight, I prefer to have more room to manoeuvre and cutting out food groups will eventually make me turn towards them again, with a vengeance, undoing all the good I’ve done.
When I asked SP what I should do about my weight, he said “eat less, exercise more”. Simple isn’t it! Of course, those rules apply and make perfect sense, but it’s more complex than that. For a start, going cold turkey on evening treats is going to be leg fidgety, arm twitchingly tough to do. So, as well continue eating my Slimming World dishes I’m going to need to replace old habits, with good habits.
THIS is what I’m going to do.
Cut back on alcohol and make less calorific choices – I usually have a drink or two Thursday to Sunday, but this hasn’t been my rule recently. I’ve gone off-piste. So, I will re-install this rule and also choose spirits with low calorie mixers, avoiding beer and wine, which also leave me bloated.
Ditch the evening treats – SP has the sweetest tooth. One of his Christmas presents was a jar of honey with a stick of honeycomb inside! He likes to have chocolate every night and 99% of the time I join him. I’m going to swap this for low fat yogurt and fruit, or low calorie hot chocolate (while it’s still cold). Ideally, my aim is to reduce right down to a cup of mint tea post evening meal during the week and have a treat or two (within reason) at the weekend.
Share the calories (and fool myself at the same time) – I read an article before Christmas that said if you want to keep in control of your weight during the festivities, but don’t want to make yourself miserable by not having any festive goodies, just cut the amount you eat. It actually worked for me. Half the time I’m not hungry, but feel like I want a treat. A bite or two satisfies me emotionally and the rest of it goes in SP’s mouth. It’s win-win. Similarly, a piece or two of dark chocolate does the trick.
Not use exercise as leverage to eat more – I think this is a common problem for many. I’ve been for a run therefore I can eat a chocolate muffin and enjoy a glass of red wine. That’s fine if you’re maintaining, but if I want to lose a pound or two I need to work towards building a deficit in calorie in-take.
Drink more water – Yes, it is really obvious, but I’m truly bad it. I like to have three mugs of coffee of a morning, which isn’t great I know. I need to reduce my coffee intake and drink more water, aiming for two litres a day. I like to add cucumber for a bit of taste and choose to drink luke warm water so it helps my sluggish digestion.
Try new exercises to re-ignite my interest – I tend to pound the street, or run on the treadmill. Doing a 40-minute jog or 25 min HIIT workout on the latter, and some days that’s all I need or have time for, but I can do it in a mindless manner, getting up early and jogging while I’m half asleep. I will continue doing these, but I’m also going to try new exercises, like boxercise, to help ‘shock’ my body into action.
Switch up the timetable – I always exercise in the morning, after a coffee and before breakfast, which has always worked for me. This January I am turning it round and exercising early evening. Often over the past four months I’ve gone to bed uncomfortably full. I’m hoping an evening workout will not only shock my body into action, but gives me less time to eat mindlessly.
So that’s the plan. I’m hoping that these small, but significant changes will make a big difference.
I can do this and hopefully this time I’m not giving in!
Are you constantly trying to control what you eat? What works for you? Please leave a comment below and let me know.