Are You Overweight?
You're Not On A Diet
Love YourselfIf you're not already, you've got put yourself in a place where you really care about yourself. Start this off by standing naked in front of a mirror and taking a good look. Decide what you don't like but find something to love too.
I met my fabulous hubby when I was a UK size 16 - just after I had started to change my way of thinking and I'd lost a little weight and was feeling really good about myself. How you feel about yourself reflects outwards so truly, love yourself. If you can do that, you'll be surprised how weight starts to drop off by itself anyway ....
DIETS DON'T WORK!!!So, no pills or weird creams derised from snail goo. No calorie counting or fat measuring. And no money either remember, it's shocking really how much money the diet and slimming industry makes around the world. Especially when we remember that DIETS DON'T WORK!!
Most diet products are either a rip off or they carry other hidden problems, like saccharine filled drinks and desserts. Stick mainly to natural sugar (or honey) for sweet urges, just don't over do it. I drink full fat coke (shock horror) AND full fat milk (OMG she's insane). I've never been healthier or slimmer though?
Know What and How Much You EatIf you're now in the right frame of mind and you really want to lose weight then you need to take an honest look at what you eat every day and guess what? A food diary works really well. Don't change anything about what you eat at first, don't try to impress and eat less than normal or healthier than normal - who you impressing? The first rule of loving ourselves is, always be honest to yourself.
For a week, write down everything you eat and drink and the time of day you have it. And then heave a sigh of relief, because that's the very last time you'll ever have to be so obsessed about what you eat.
Now look at it and see what patterns if any you can find. Do you skip breakfast and then scoff before lunch? Do you eat late in the evenings? If so, does this coincide with time alone? Or if you're with a partner, does it coincide with relaxation time? So many of our eating patterns are emotionally related as opposed to schedule related. When I was single, I ate lots of junk when I was alone at home in the evenings. Now I'm married with two young boys and whilst I'm eating a lot less these days, I still find I want to eat chocolate and chips late in the day. I'm dashing about all day grabbing a bite where I can, so when I'm free in the evening I want to really enjoy my food I guess!!
Other than patterns, look at the quantity. If you're overweight simply because you eat big then you need to address your portion size. Take a look at recommendations and compare with what you've written in your diary. Imagine one days food laid out on a table in front of you. Is it too much? The wrong foods? Both?
Easiest Way to Smaller PortionsPortion size is an easy one, and don't worry about calorie counting or even learning to gauge what a matchbox of cheese looks like or a tennis ball of fruit. Two very simple steps that helped me start the ball rolling were;
1. Using smaller plates (I told you you were going to kick yourselves).
2. Halve what you eat.
Easy hey? I tried these two tips before I did anything else, before I even began to address what I was eating so I didn't ever feel like I had changed anything that much. I think this is the easiest way to start, a gentle change. Don't worry about what you're eating yet, just halve it and put it on a smaller plate. Buy yourself a nice plate, something special to eat off! Even smaller forks and spoons help. Learn to take your time, smaller mouthfuls and more chewing. When you've just halved your portion size, not bolting down your meals will make them much more likely to satisfy you.
Use RemindersI kept forgetting initially, it's old habits. Forgetting that my porton size had changed and my stomach was that much smaller. At least five or six meals a week I would make or dish up too much for myself and have to stop myself trying to finish it and overeating. I had to keep pausing while I was eating to remind myself to stop when I was full and I was always wrapping up leftovers. I put a red STOP! sign on my fridge and my food cupboards. Even the takeaway menus! It was enough to make me do exactly that and think "oh yeah, half as much as normal". Very soon half as much became normal and very soon after that weight started to drop off. Well of course it did. I hadn't changed my eating habits yet one bit but I was eating half as much.
Yay! You Lost WeightThere's the point your emotional self needs to keep going with this - some weight loss yay! Soon as you drop a size, get some new clothes. You're not using scales remember so your clothes and your mirror will become the main way you'll track your weight loss for now. DON'T BE TEMPTED TO STEP ON THE SCALES. This is about finding a visual you that you are happy with and not about reaching goals or being a 'right' weight or size. There is no right, just what is right for you. They don't have to be pricey new clothes either, they'll be too big for you soon anyway! Or take in some of your favourites for now. You're eating half the food so start putting away the money you're saving for your new wardrobe.
Now you're feeling good about yourself, it's time to take an honest look at what you're eating. And don't pretend you don't know but also don't worry about reading labels, fat content, calorie counting etc etc. There are basic rules that apply to healthy eating and there's no excuses for not knowing what they are.
Healthy Habits1. At least five portions of fruit or veg a day. As much as you can stuff in otherwise! But did you know it can be fresh, frozen, dried, canned ...? The kids and I love tinned fruit and custard!
2. Too much sugar, animal fats, bread, pastries, pasta, fried food is bad for you ... ooo you're hating me right now. This isn't a diet though remember, you can't never eat those things, that would be no way to live. You just have to limit them. A massive cream bun or a great big fry up now and again is heavenly. But every day is just not good for you.
3. Freshly prepared food. You don't have to be a good cook to make good food. If you can't cook, buy salads or eat your veg raw, it's better for you that way anyway! Seriously, avoid takeaways and prepared 'pop in the oven' anything and go back to the way your Mum or even your Gran used to cook. Ask her for some recipes. A plain meat and veg, fish and rice type of meal is so much better for you and not that hard to achieve. Fill your cupboards with herbs and flavours and make your own simple sauces and gravys using the water you cook your veg in. And follow this simple plate division guide when dishing up your meal - half the plate veg, quarter meat and quarter starch or grain. And smaller plates remember ....
4. If you want to tone up too, then a combination of good diet and exercise is going to work best. Although it really doesn't have to be as much nor as frantic as those membership hungry gyms and Personal Trainer types would have you believe. 20 mins out of breath a day is all you need. And take that as an individual reading - if you're very overweight then a 20 min walk will leave you out of breath and that's all you need. If you're fitter and just trying to lose a few pounds then you're going to have to work a bit harder. And make it fun, or you'll never keep it up. If you have kids, play with them outside for 20 mins every day. Ball games or chase, they'll soon have you panting. No kids, then just go run outside somewhere like crazy for 20 mins. And then flop down on the ground. Remember that feeling when you were a kid? Out of breath and red in the face? That's where you want to be once a day - and it feels good.
Make it simple, easy to fit into your day. And you can focus on problem areas. Belly? Cutting out wheat gluten MASSIVELY reduces your middle. You would not believe it. I cut it out of my diet initially because of allergy issues, now I try and limit it most days. Gluten in bread and pasta and the like acts like sponges in our system, they soak up fluid and swell up and take ages to digest so if you eat loads all the time, permanent bloating! I had that all the time, still do sometimes. I refer to it as "bread belly". Pap's a bad one too. Want toned arms? Then start to think of everything you carry as a weight and work it a little bit when you're carrying stuff. Heavy shopping bags, small child. I do no sport nor formal exercise. I didn't drive a car when I started my weight management, so it was simple stuff like getting off the bus a stop early, stairs instead of the lift. Soon I was walking all the way to work and running up the steps that used to make me out of breath at a walk. My kids keep me fit right now! Running after them, carrying them and playing with them.
Still with me? Here's some last tips, just things I found helpful above what I've mentioned.
Final TipsAh puddings and sweet things. I just couldn't give them up. So I made a point of finding out which were the worst offenders. For those days when I couldn't resist, I at least could choose the 'right' wrong thing! i.e. FRUIT! Had to throw that in here - because I'd forgotten in all my years of bad eating habits how yummy fruit is. I haven't found one yet that fills you up, but when I fancy a sweet thing, I now try and think of fruit first. I'm lucky enough to live in a warm country so I make the most in the Summer - pineapples, mangos, papaya, bananas, cherries and berries. But tinned or dried fruit is all good too and if it simply must be a cream cake today, then at least choose the one with all the strawberries on top. That's one of your five a day right there my friend!! :)
Ice cream is usually made with low fat milk and wafer cones are better than sugar cones. Baked is better than fried so bag of baked chips over fried ones, cake or biscuit (plainer the better) rather than a donut. Kids jelly type sweets have bugger all fat in them and they sell them in small bags. Same with jelly (jello).
Wraps and pittas are better than bread, wholemeal is best of all. Think liquid fats, i.e. oils, rather than solids like butter and margarine. Ketchup is much better than mayo. In fact go for a tomato based sauce over a cream one on pasta too. And olive oil and balsamic vinegar is probably the healthiest, and one of the tastiest, dressings you can put on your salad. If you really love the creamy style dressings like me (drooling slightly now at the thought of Blue Cheese) then I read a great tip somewhere - Use natural yogurt as your base and mix in enough of your chosen creamy dressing to taste.
Chocolate isn't all bad for you, no really - read on. Avoid the fancy schmancy candy bars and eat it plain and simple a few squares at a time. Dark chocolate is better for you than milk, it contains more antioxidants. And if you make a chocolate drink (yum) start with plain cocoa and add your own sweetener and milk to make an antioxidant-rich cup - don't use the hot chocolate mixes they're lower in antioxidants and usually contain more sugar than you'll add yourself.
Surprisingly, the fat content of chocolate is not a reason to avoid it. Technically, chocolate contains saturated fat, but the particular type of saturated fat – stearic acid – is unique because it does not raise blood cholesterol. Yes you heard me right, the fat in chocolate is NOT bad for you!! Like my way of thinking? Let me know if you think of any more ..
Don't Make This Too HardThis isn't supposed to be a trial. If it feels like it, have a day off and have a re-think. How fast do you want to lose weight? Too fast is not good for your body, it needs time to adjust to a weight loss. Are you being too hard on yourself? There's a huge selection of good food out there, try something new and don't get stuck in a rut.
Don't entirely cut out your favourite foods remember, even if their bad for you. You'll be less likely to have a bad binging day if you allow yourself your treats as exactly that, treats is not every day!
Start Again If You Need ToYou may hit a slump or a complete stop in your weight loss after an initial drop which is fine if you're where you want to be but not if you've more to lose. Just start again, your plates can't get any smaller but try smaller portions again, without cutting out your favourite foods.
Then try looking at what you eat again, can you do a bit better? Little by little, a slow weight loss is truly the way to keep it off. I lost approx 40 kg over a period of 3 years and aside from the occasional bread belly, 3 years on none of it has crept back. And if it does, I know what to do.
You'll find your taste buds change over time if you stick at it and soon you'll be craving water over cola, fruit over donuts, rice over pasta. Well, most days. And most days is all you need! Some days we can all afford a treat.
Contact me if you want to know anything else that might help, I hope this page does because I wish I'd read something like this when I was younger and I'll add to it if I think of any more tips.
Happy weight losing!