4 weeks ago I put batteries back in my bathroom scales. I’m so glad I did. I’m also gutted I didn’t replace them sooner. Being without scales in the house for 2 months meant I wasn’t keeping tabs on my weight, at the same time as battling with depression and anxiety. I had gained 1stone since my wedding in February!
My clothes feeling snug, my energy levels being low and generally feeling rubbish about myself were the triggers that made me buy a new battery and I wish I’d paid attention to myself sooner.
That week I signed up with WeightWatchers (again). In 2012 I joined and lost 2 stone in a few months. I had already lost weight following calorie controlled diet, then Rosemary Conley classes and diet plan. By September 2012 I had lost a total of 4 stone in 2 years and I was at my lowest weight since I was 18 and was a size 12-14 (See right). (At my biggest I was in size 20 trousers: see left).
When I weighed myself 4 weeks ago I was only 6lb away from my heaviest ever weight, even though I was only a size 16-18. Anger was one thing I felt toward myself, disappointment was another. Lethargy had taken over my life and I decided to take my life back.
Three weeks in and I have lost 8lb. I’m off to a great start. All of the tips and tricks I have picked up over the years are coming into play. Weightwatchers Connect is really helping. It’s an online community of WW members, a bit like FB where we can post statuses, pictures and ask for or offer advice.
Here are my Top Ten Tips for Staying on Track:
1: A little of what you fancy – Don’t go cold turkey on things you enjoy. If you aren’t enjoying what you are eating you are going to lose will power, “fall off the wagon” so to speak. I have weighed out some sandwich bags of M&Ms and milky buttons in the fridge, already pointed so if I want some chocolate I can have some, but I’m not tempted by the whole share bag.
2: Colourful Food – A colourful plate of food is always more enjoyable than a boring beige one. Ever noticed how Mediterranean food is always so bright and colourful, healthy and delicious? So when making a salad, add beetroot, different coloured tomatoes and raw peppers. When having cereal or yogurt add bright coloured fruit and make the meal look exotic and appetising. The more colourful the plate the more likely you are to enjoy eating it.
3: Think before you eat – say to yourself “Am I actually hungry?” You have probably heard the saying “If you aren’t hungry enough to eat an apple then you aren’t hungry, you’re bored.” And they are right, sometimes it is just that. If you then realise you aren’t actually hungry, make a drink instead. Find something to distract yourself like read a book (rather than just watch TV, because your hands are occupied when you read a book). But if you aren’t hungry, then you don’t really need to eat anything.
4: Drink for weight loss – All I have ever heard from every single leader of all the diet groups I have joined is to make sure I drink enough water every day. I’m not a huge fan of water on it’s own, unless it is ice cold. Additionally, I now have to have caffeine free tea because of palpitations. So in order to make sure I drink enough fluid in the day I try to make the drinks interesting too. I’m drinking decaffeinated Green Tea, Liquorice herbal tea, Chai tea. (I’m allergic to coffee, hence the tea obsession.) If it doesn’t involve sugar, sweetener or milk then it’s a bonus because it’s completely free to drink on Weightwatchers Smart Points system and it drives the thoughts of food away with the different flavours.
5: Walk, walk, walk – You really don’t have to suddenly become a gym addict or marathon runner to help lose weight. I am just making sure I get to 10k steps every day by going out for one or two walks after work. I go for one walk straight after work, rather than collapsing on the sofa. Then after dinner if I am still not up to 10k steps I go out for another walk and sometimes my husband comes with me. I have found I’m watching less TV, and my energy levels are so much higher. When I started in the middle of June going out for half an hour felt like a chore. Today I went out for a walk and realised I’d be out for just over an hour! I added some interval jogging last week, but this week it has been too hot and I have just walked. It’s still exercise and nearly everyone can do it!
6: Eat breakfast – This is one I have to keep reminding myself of. I can’t eat early in the morning and currently, as a teacher, I am at work by 8am. I can’t physically eat anything before that. The first week on weightwatchers I had a tub of greek yogurt and honey and a banana every morning. I lost 5.5lb. The third week I was having 2 Weightwatchers cinnamon and raisin biscuits with a cup of tea and a banana. I was hungry before lunch time every day and I only lost 1lb. A healthy, filling breakfast is a great way to get the metabolism moving and working. This week I am having the yogurt, honey and fruit with a cup of green tea. Fingers crossed for weigh in on Saturday.
7: Use a smaller plate – Plates on sale today are huge compared to in the past.
As you can see on the left, plate sizes are bigger, so our portions have got bigger. If you put a decreased portion on your normal plate you are likely to feel hard done by. “Where is the rest of my meal?” So if you are consciously trying to reduce your portion sizes go out and buy yourself a smaller plate. For lunch today I used a side plate, instead of a normal dinner plate. I made a quesadilla with one tortilla wrap folded in half (instead of two) and then my portion of salad and dressing was then also smaller because I didn’t have much room on the plate. I didn’t feel like I was having a small meal because the plate was full! Simple. The other item of crockery to think about is your breakfast bowl. They are so deep and big now that a 35-40g bowl of cereal looks barely enough to keep “hunger locked up ’til lunch”. Try a smaller dish or tupperware box to contain your breakfast.
8: Plan your meals – My husband and I have a good system now. We decide what meals we want in the week, write a food list and stick to the food list. Then during the week we have 7 meals to pick and choose from in the cupboards. Sometimes we deviate as we are getting rather good at store cupboard cooking (sometimes tuna pasta bake hits the spot and is so easy to cook). Either way, I know that I have low pointed lunches and breakfast so that I can have a good meal in the evening. Sometimes I have points leftover after dinner and it’s up to me how I use them (add more cheese to the meal, have a hot chocolate). If your cupboard/fridge is stocked with everything you need for the meals you have chosen you are less likely to go off plan and grab a takeaway.
9: Cut down on alcohol – Yes I know it sucks, that’s why I left it until now. But alcohol really doesn’t aid weight loss. Note that I said “cut down”. I very rarely go “out out” but my husband and I did get in the habit of popping to the co-op (10m from our front door) and buying bottles of Fruity Cider. Cider is by far the lowest calorie alcoholic beverage I could have been choosing, and it was becoming a normality on week nights, not just the weekend. Even though it was only 1, it was more than I actually needed. So instead I am drinking at the weekend maximum and then I’ve swapped to low calorie wine or spirits which are low point (JD and diet coke, Vodka soda and lime -mmmmm) I opted on Friday night not to have a drink even though I’d had a tough week because I decided that feeling good with a weight loss on Saturday morning was more rewarding than the glass or two of wine I could have had. It’s sugary, delicious and sometimes just what we need/want, but it doesn’t aid weight loss.
10: (Finally, last but not least) Journal your weight loss – This is my top tip. As a writer I’m biased, but writing therapy is powerful. First, write down how you feel when you start your weight-loss journey. All the negative feelings you have about your body, size, weight – just write it all down. Then write down at least 10 positive things about yourself. You may find this list harder, most of us do, but it’s important you do it. The most important thing for you to write down is ten reasons why you want to lose weight. Keep that list somewhere visible. Remember why you are doing this. Then each week that you weigh in write down how you feel about the week. Was it hard? What kept you motivated? Why did you go off plan? How do you feel about your gain/loss? How/why did you stay on plan? Are there any barriers in the way for the coming week? How can you plan to overcome them?
It’s invigorating writing everything down. With a guide like this you would think I was a size ten model, with toned abs and svelte thighs. I am not. I am human. I know what to do, how to do it, but I make mistakes. This time I am determined to make it the last time I have this much to lose. Only I can keep myself on track. I can follow my own advice for a start and make them habits for a healthier lifestyle.
This was me in May. In September I pledge to show you a smaller me.
I’m looking forward to being a happier, healthier me. Especially on my honeymoon in September, where I will be having new adventures on my favourite Island of Corfu.
Have you got any top tips of beating the desire to binge?