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 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!

Day 7 of 100 – The “Start Monday” Plan

The ‘Start Monday’ Plan – how many “LAST BINGE” weekends is that?

This must be the single most prolific diet on earth! I am quite sure I have at my most enthusiastic, started this diet up to 52 times in 1 year. That adds up to just as many weekends of binge eating ‘before the diet starts on Monday’. This binge eating also meant gradually growing portion sizes to feel satisfied.

It was also because of the ‘Start Monday’ diet that my weight kept increasing and ballooning out of control.

The best time to start a healthy lifestyle is not Monday. It is right now. And if right now happens to be a Monday, then fine, but if you want a few last binge days before taking care of yourself, then you aren’t really committed or ready – so rather leave the ‘last binge’ and forget about being healthy until you are ready to commit to better choices completely.

The ‘all or nothing’ approach also makes a healthy lifestyle too daunting, so ease up a little and commit to simply making the best choice in that moment, every moment. If 4 blocks of chocolate will prevent a binge on five slabs of it later – then the 4 blocks will be the best choice now. Instead of cutting things out and lambasting yourself for veering off some unrealistic diet, just pick a habit to break or a habit to nurture. Choose something once a week, once a month, or whenever you feel like it, until you’re ready to do more or change more – you may just find that these small changes become the motivation you need to push your boundaries.

Whatever the choice…… have a glass of water with a slice of lemon upon waking, walk in place at your desk for 10 minutes or go for a walk during lunch, have one less glass of fizzy cooldrink a day – it is more than you’ve been doing up to now, and it will pay off in the end!

Day 3 of 100 – You’re Such a Rebel!

Rebel much? I think rebellion also played a role in my weight-gain. I’m not talking about teenaged rebellion, like eating all the neighbours’ pets and posting selfies about deviance. Bad example, one doesn’t gain in excess of 40 kilos from eating the occasional poodle or cockatoo…..

My imperfections and ‘fat parts’, which only I noticed, were magnified in my mind by the unrealistic airbrushed perfection shoved in our faces by various media every day. A small part of me, ‘scuse the pun, wanted to give a chubby middle finger to this overload of fake! So that was me, the rebel with the 2 litre bottle of Coke always within easy reach, enjoying the righteousness of giving the finger to diets and health gurus.

I cannot count how many times in the past I decided to ‘be good’, resolving never to touch sugar or salami again and to do an hour of cardio daily…………. And I would always end up a few days later wanting to throw myself on the floor and screaming like an unhinged Rosemary’s Baby that the diet is STUPID, and too damn hard!!!

Before long I would storm off to the supermarket to “SHOW YOU ALL!!!! STUFF YOU DIET!! WATCH ME!” The binge shop will cover crisps, chocolates, biscuits, ice cream (naturally!), and if it was possible, I’d have bought deep-fried chicken skin on principle.

Take THAT stupid diet, dumb-ass doctors and countless dieticians, nutritionists, health gurus and anybody else who dares criticise ice cream!

So now I am going to approach my better ways and healthier choices with the same rebellion, just flipped on its head. Stuff you cravings! I will show you! I will bring out my BDSM bitch and make you wait until the weekend for that bar of chocolate. Try me saboteur! I must admit that I feel much calmer knowing I am not cutting anything out, I shall have ice cream when the craving comes, but half a cup, savoured slowly, not half a bathtub full, and I shall have a piece of chocolate. Until my weight is under control, I will satisfy my wants on weekends, just a little bit, that way I always have that treat to look forward to in exchange for a week of MY best choices. And if I simply cannot wait until Saturday, I’ll indulge my inner child, only a little bit, because that brat needs to be taught that she can’t just have everything she wants all the time because she appreciates none of it in the end!

…………. It has taken all these years for me to realise that – I may be THINKING “Stuff YOU”, but what I’m really doing is “Stuff ME”………….