Yo-Yo-Yo-Yo and on I go….

Here I am again. With a four month goal again. I want to lose 15kgs by 3 September. No wait, let me rephrase that………..

I WILL LOSE 15KGS BY 3 SEPTEMBER.

2016. (Because let’s face it….. open-ended vague statements are a fatty’s crutch.)

Whatever I lost last year came back and brought a few extra friends in the form of kilos…. So let’s list the excuses (that’s really all they are at the end of the day – you don’t stop breathing because you faced a tragedy do you?)

A family member fell ill, we flew up and down a few times, expecting a full recovery, but he passed away very unexpectedly.

Hubby and I went to Italy. I rest my case. I may have left them all a morsel of pizza crust to survive on, but I ate everything else they had and I did not stop to worry about the sad faces of little Italian kids crying to their parents, demanding to know why they let the fat lady eat all their food.

And their cousins’ food…….

I even ate Italian food during our short visit to Paris, and then when we got back home the eating frenzy continued right through Christmas and New Year…….. because……… because I love food. Okay???

With my wardrobe down to perhaps four and a half items that fit, and more travels on the cards, and of course the desperate hope to have at least one less chin when the Visa photos are taken, I am back on another four month weight-loss drive……… which won’t end there…..

The first 15kgs is for Springtime in South Africa (September), and then I still have 5kgs to lose by the end of November so that I am fit, strong and ready for exciting international travels once more.

The treadmill has been dusted and lubed.
I have been powdered in all the high-friction spots, lubed in all the ‘ehem’ place that will catch on fire if combined with talc and friction, and I am ready for the next round. Round being my shape.

Ready.
Steady.
GO!

Day 17 and 18 of 100 – When Cooking is a Chore and Skinny People Whine

Planning menus ahead is worth nothing on those days when you get home tired and frazzled from work, and the last thing you want to do is cook dinner. Frozen meals to the rescue!

Make an extra meal to freeze when you cook on weekends. Or spend a whole Sunday morning preparing easy freezer meals like bolognaise, mac & cheese, cottage pie, curries and so on, so you have a few freezer meal backups for the weeks ahead. Choose anything that can be boiled or microwaved from frozen for a fuss-free meal.

This way you can also make one night a week a no-cook night. Being married to an Italian means pasta is on the menu at least once a week. We usually have pasta, salad and ciabatta on Wednesday nights. We do try new sauces, but prefer a simple Napolitana sauce, which is not only healthier, but also freezes really well.

Stock up on small takeaway containers with tight fitting lids, and freeze sauces, leftovers and side dishes whenever possible.

This is obviously much easier in winter as stews, casseroles and curries are really easy to make in bulk and freeze!

 

Day 18 – I hate skinnies who complain that they’re fat!

Fuckoff please. Take your insecurities and fuckoff thataway, and leave me here with my very real blubber that probably weighs about half of what you do anyway. Bitch.

Most women simply whine that they’re fat because they feel that they are not entitled to be satisfied with being a size 12 or 14…. And if you are that size – please spare us REAL fatties the whining about how fat you are! If you must, then rather whine that you’re a perfect size, but “Boohoo I’m not emaciated, malnourished and look like a shapeless stick!”…… please fuckoff already.

The one thing I have learnt, being genuinely fat, is that I looked underweight as a size 10, stunning as a size 12, and sexy as a size 14! Hell yes! I wish I knew it then! I don’t strive for bony and too light, I want to be a fantastic 14 / 38…. Whatever weight that might be.

And to those of you bitching about how fat you are because you can pinch your hip – get over your bullshit and stop insulting those of us who know what real fat is.

Day 16 of 100 : Those Were the Days

The days of my youth were vastly different from nowadays, in my naughty forties! What has changed?

My childhood meant big Sunday feasts with roasts and desserts. On other days we used to get occasional treats, and I remember always having far too much fizzy cooldrink, but I was never overweight as a child or teen.

I was always a normal weight and size. We ate no low fat or sugar-free foods, didn’t use artificial sweeteners and wholewheat or brown bread was for ‘poor’ people. A starchy side dish at every meal was common, and Fridays were ‘take-away day’. If I were to go back in time and eat exactly the same way we did back then, would I lose weight? What was so different then?

We were more ACTIVE! School days meant a lot of walking between classrooms, and we used to walk home from school in the afternoons, that’s at least a kilometre of walking every day. I also participated in sport and athletics at school, so that racked up more activity hours. As teens most of our socialising happened poolside, and we swam a lot. We danced, went roller-skating, and ice skating, we were always active. When we were youngsters, in the days before remote controls, we were our parents’ button-pushers / channel surfers!

Even when I started working, before I owned a car, daily life involved lots of walking between bus stops, home and office. Then as a young adult with a baby, there was daily housework, washing and ironing. Vacuuming is a good cardio workout, and hanging washing is fabulous for toning arms!

But gradually we got TV remotes, housekeepers, cars, e-mail to make our office days even more sedentary, gadgets and electronics that elevate our stress levels and keep the cortisol raised to wreak havoc with our waistlines, more TV channels to add more weekly hours spent sitting down watching the rectangle on the wall.

As for rushing to be on time…….. cell phones make it so easy to be slow.

Perhaps it’s not the diet that’s the problem at all. Perhaps it’s my activity levels!

Day 11 to 15 of 100 – A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That!

I am actually on Day 20 – falling behind with the daily posts due to life’s events and interruptions…. So I’ll try to catch up!

Day 11: What is your biggest weakness? That one thing you just cannot say no to?

Mine is ice cream. A diet that forbids indulging in that one thing you cannot say no to is no diet – it’s a torture programme.

This is my drug for PMS too. Ice cream makes evil bitch go away….. It just cannot be achieved with only one or two scoops. Even on those binge days, I try to balance the scales, so to speak, by having lettuce for lunch and lettuce for dinner so my entire day’s calories are made up of ice cream! Okay I lie about the lettuce, but the meals are seriously low calorie affairs and could be as simple as a few handfuls of popcorn. I understand that keeping ice cream in my diet will make it take even longer to lose the weight, same goes for the single glass of wine I have before dinner every night, but these are things I can live with in the long run, excluding them entirely will simply push me toward a binge…… And before you go thinking I’m a raging alcoholic – a wine binge for me would be 2 glasses instead of 1!

 

Day 12: Low Fat. Low Sugar. Low Salt = Low flavour. No appeal.

Compare ‘diet’ foods to the original foods. Compare then and now.

The variety of low fat, no fat, sugar-free diet foods is staggering, and yet, the world is getting fatter and fatter. I recently read somewhere that sugar-free products containing artificial sweeteners actually intensify cravings for real sugar and carbs. I switched from Coke to Tab a few years ago, and there definitely was not a sudden shift in my weight, despite a 2 litre a day Coke habit! So the next thing I am going to change in my diet, is my daily litre of Tab or Coke Light. I am going to replace that with a much healthier sparkling spring water instead. I am excited and curious to see what changes occur – whether it’s in my weight or general health.

For me, diet foods are not an option. It’s like an inedible variety of sawdust, cardboard and animal hooves. Revolting. It even looks like anaemic crap! We did not grow up on “diet” foods, and when I was a teenager the only low fat products I really knew (but did not consume) are milk and yoghurt!

I would rather have a smaller portion of the original non-diet version of any food, than a huge plate of its bland crappy low-everything cousin.

The cost of diet foods is also astronomical for a chemical concoction that contains far less natural original food and has to go through chemical processes to remove what are essentially natural ingredients in the original product.

 

Day 13 : Carbs, Low Carbs, No Carbs

Carbs are a part of my life and always will be.

Potatoes and bread were around long before Atkins & Co and long before a worldwide obesity epidemic. Blaming carbs is convenient because cutting it out does result in rapid and substantial weight loss. I have two friends who sing the praises of the high protein high fat club, because while they’re sticking to the regime, the weight drops off quickly and in impressive amounts. It’s when they decide to indulge in that slice of bread, or a roast potato with Sunday lunch, that their bodies rebel and hang onto those precious carbs like it’s a final meal. Without fail, they gain huge amounts of weight as soon as they revert to normal eating patterns again.

I would rather lose no weight at all than do something so drastic, because I might be happy with the weight-loss, but I’ll be miserable with the diet options. It also isn’t sustainable over the long term, so why even try to torture myself in the first place?

BUT, you can also lose weight just by eating smaller portions, less fat and sugar (LESS, not NONE!). Which option is more sustainable as a lifelong diet? Which option will result in more permanent weight-loss?

That said, I believe our choice of carbohydrate is important. The more natural and unaltered the ingredients, the better. Refined carbs are not the best choice, but they’re fine occasionally. What’s more natural than a potato? Straight out of the earth – nothing wrong with that!

There’s no room in my life for this no-carb low-carb nonsense.

 

Day 14 : How do friends influence our diet choices?

Mmmm my previous dedicated 3 month weight-loss commitment was fuelled by fury.

Well-meaning friends kept reminding me that I needed to lose weight, but what drove me batshit crazy is the fact that one of them is a tall skinny woman who does not know anything about fat, and the other is expanding exponentially each year, trying every diet under the sun, but still getting fatter and fatter! Both of them were pushing for me to adopt a no-carb lifestyle. I saw red.

The fat one did a no-carb programme, complete with weekly injections, and lost a whopping 14 kilos in 6 weeks. Wow. And then she had carbs again. And then she gained 20 kilos…… But she was still telling me how fantastic this diet is and that I needed to go on it!

So I got mad. I got mad enough to tell them that there are simpler, better, healthier ways to lose weight, and I would lose 10 kilos in three months to prove it. I did it. I did not cut out anything, I did pretty much what I’m doing again now, but the most profound thing is that I never regained a single kilo of the weight I lost by just making better choices everyday. I reached that goal, and then simply did not set another…… so I’ve been coasting along for over a year, and now I’m committed again. And instead of seeing this as starting again from scratch, I see it as a continuation of the good work I did last time, because I did not regain any of that weight.

Don’t tell me to go on a diet. Especially if you a) have no fat experience, or, b) can’t keep off the weight you lose on all your bullshit diets. Tell me to get healthy. Much better idea.

 

Day 15 : ADD Something Healthy!

So many diets tell you to cut things out, but few tell you to ADD things in! So I’m going to give it a try.

I will choose to add something to my daily routine that I will enjoy. Perhaps I will have one cup of green tea everyday. I find this more appealing than perhaps starting every day with a glass of warm water with lemon, and I’m not sure if acid on an empty stomach is the best thing anyway? Am I giving up my daily morning coffee? Hell no. Coffee stays!

A couple of decades ago we were told how horrid coffee is, how bad it is for our health…….. and now? Coffee is apparently good for many things! It was the same story with butter – pure butter / pure evil, and then suddenly butter is made of pure sunshine! So, I’ll keep my coffee thanks, and instead of the chemical Teflon-like margarines I will stick to butter. I will add green tea to each day, to balance the scales a little bit. It works for me.

 

Day 10 of 100 – Shrinking

Shrinking portions that is!

I have found the easiest way for me to control my portion sizes – fish plates!

Side plates are way too small, and dinner plates tend to be rather large, to the extent that they can make normal sized portions look tiny and lost on a great ceramic expanse. I have bought myself a set of fish plates, and it takes all the guess work out of portioning. I allocate a quarter of the plate for my meat or protein, another quarter for starch – potatoes or pumpkin or rice etc, and finally the remaining half of the plate for vegetables or salad. And because I use all the plate space it looks like I have a loaded plate of food, when in fact it is a normal portion of everything.

Also, there is something to be said for having a meal on beautiful crockery. It elevates the mood and the perception of the value of the food served on it. It makes me feel special to have my meals on special crockery, and it ‘activates’ my restaurant manners! I eat more slowly, appreciating and savouring every bite. Make yourself a VIP at every meal! Haul out the “good” plates and glasses, and make every meal an occasion….

We spend so much time preparing our meals, and then we spend mere minutes shovelling it down our throats. Respect the cook in you! Thank yourself for making you such a lovely meal, and then enjoy every bite!

I find that when I eat more slowly, I am perfectly satisfied long before I finish everything on my plate.

So how about treating yourself to some gorgeous new plates, and appreciating your inner chef!

Day 9 of 100 – Having my Cake

Love cakes and loaves and tarts? I do!

I love baking and have a very sweet tooth. Only a cruel world would have diets that absolutely disallowed such wonderful treats.

A healthy lifestyle is not about avoiding the cake, it’s about having your cake…….. just a little at a time. Sometimes though, a little is just not enough. Sometimes I want much more than just a little nibble. It happens occasionally. Get over it and get back on track. Giving up on being healthy completely because of one binge is just idiotic.

Perhaps instead of blaming the cake for us tossing all our good intentions, simply because it was there tempting us, the cake should blame us for using it as a convenient cop-out, just an excuse to stop being healthy and revert to our worst habits on a fulltime basis again.

What to do? I love baking, and love sweet things, and you can’t exactly bake ONE cupcake……..

I have set aside Saturdays as my bake days. Early on Saturday mornings I decide what I want to make or bake on that day, and because I only bake once a week it can be difficult to decide what to make…….. a cake, a tart, a biscuit, something fruity, something creamy, something crunchy…… oh, so many choices. Then, instead of baking a big cake, or a big loaf, I make the normal recipe, but instead I split it and bake two small cakes, or tarts, or whatever it is – I make sure I have a small amount for home, for my hubby and I to enjoy over the weekend, and the other I take to visitors on Sunday, or give to someone else to enjoy. You’re welcome sugar!

The same rule applies if I am really not in the mood to bake and end up buying a cake or loaf or tart – halve it immediately and give half away, or, how about freezing the other half? Most cakes and tarts freeze quite well, and if nobody wants your gift, why not freeze it? Sure beats having a whole cake sitting on the counter tempting you every time you walk into the kitchen! And it is not so easy to binge on frozen cake!

This works very well for me. I can have my cake and eat it every weekend, I can treat someone else to something nice as well every weekend, and I’m not at risk of a big binge.

Baking Madeleines this weekend!

Day 8 of 100 – I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff!

Exercise. Now there’s a sore topic, ‘scuse the pun!

Like diet potions, gym equipment is a massive market. And like countless diet potions, the equipment is soon forgotten and gathering dust in a corner, usually serving only as a clothes-horse.

I have tried them all. I have never been able to fall in love with any form of exercise, despite being sporty and competitive in my youth.

Cycling hurts my crotch! I’m scared my labia will end up looking like tired pastrami…. Walking is boring….. blablablaaaaaaaaa excuses excuses excuses! I started my haphazard ‘path to health’ at the beginning of June, so I’ve had almost five weeks of trying out a few things, but from the outset, I decided that some form of exercise had to happen consistently, whether I enjoy it or not – the key was in FINDING a way to enjoy it.

So out of the dusty corner came the stationary exercise bike and the treadmill. They were dusted off, and I added a nice collection of varied cardio workout DVD’s. My intention was to exercise for 30 minutes three days a week, and that’s exactly what I did – and more! I am now walking 45 minutes on the treadmill every day from Monday to Friday, at a brisk 4.2km per hour pace, because it happens to be the exercise I enjoy most out of all my options. I got some padded cycling kit as well, and every now and then I’ll alternate the walking days with bike days, and some days it’s a cardio DVD workout.

If I know I am going to indulge in both desserts and some super rich meal as well, I try to start the day with at least 20 minutes of brisk exercise. It makes me feel okay about having a truly over the top indulgent day. And so far, the scales have agreed.

I still can’t say that I love exercise, but, I LOVE the way it makes me feel! I feel fantastic after my daily walk, I feel proud of myself, and I am so much fitter than I was when I started just a few weeks ago. Mentally, I’m so much happier and calmer now, and really believe that exercise is a massive contributor to my mental health. I love feeling good! Even though I’m obese, I can go for a brisk 5km walk and barely break a sweat, yet I remember deftly setting out for a walk on the beach one sweltering hot morning in February while we were on holiday, and I could not manage the 100m walk down the road from our hotel to the beach! I felt like a melting mass, could barely breathe, I was gasping for air, and had zero motivation to walk one more step closer to the beach. We went to the same place for a weekend away last week, and I easily managed a 4km walk with my husband after breakfast on both mornings!

I am starting to ‘get’ what the die-hard workout junkies love so much. I even got a step counter recently, and it’s amazing how being aware of this little gadget clipped to my belt makes me want to park as far away from the shop entrance as possible, walk back and forth in the kitchen getting individual ingredients to clock up a few more steps, get up and walk every time I make or take a call, and get off my chair every hour to walk in place for five minutes,  or just to walk to the kitchen or bathroom or to someone else’s office instead of sending them an email.

It’s the last thing I feel like doing in the mornings, especially now that it’s the middle of winter, but I have made it a part of my day that’s not negotiable, like brushing my teeth. I put my walking clothes out so it’s there staring me in the face when I wake up, and I have a banana and smoothie ready for breakfast before my walk. I put a DVD of whatever crime series tickles my fancy on the day, and once I start walking, I’m instantly motivated. On days when I get bored halfway through my walk, I remind myself of how far I’ve come, how much fitter I am, that the bulging cellulite on my thighs that looked ghastly in my pale grey walking tights has become smoother, and I am starting to see some definition in my thighs – there’s something sexy lurking underneath! So with every walk I imagine that I’m shaving off a tiny tiny layer, and soon that will all add up and reveal the gorgeous me hidden under all that blubber!

It’s easier to maintain commitment because I am challenging myself to 4 months……… but after that……… who would want to throw away all that hard work? The habit will be so well established, it will feel strange and wrong not to carry on. Healthier choices will be the norm….. It’s like the big weight-loss goal…… it’s too much pressure! Don’t start the ‘all or nothing’ plan and aim to lose 30 kilos in 6 months…….. rather make healthier choices and aim to lose 5 kilos in three months. Why not? On the ‘all or nothing’ desperate plan you might still be the exact same weight in three months anyway…….. very likely. Try smaller steps first. The same goes for exercise. It’s a biggy for most people.

Start doing half an hour every second day. Even if it means doing 10 minutes three times throughout the day. Is it more than you’re doing right now? Then it is PROGRESS!