26 to 12 – another weight loss blog

One woman's journey to lose half her body weight

Weight Management Week 2

I have another post half done that I just haven’t had time to finish, but since I had my third appointment yesterday I thought I should probably do a quick update first!

The main focus of week 2 was increasing exercise.  Last week I had a gym induction (there is a gym at my local hospital which is great) with a second one on Thursday and yesterday I was let loose in there on my own!  Because of my weight some exercises have had to be adapted – did you know there is such a thing as a seated cross-trainer?  I didn’t but it’s awesome!  My routine is a nice mix of cardio and resistance, and the trainers both told me that my technique for resistance work is really good and that I am surprisingly strong, so I was pretty happy with that.  I actually love resistance training and no, it doesn’t make you “bulky” in case anyone out there is worried about that.  I actually asked for another resistance exercise to be put in as I was missing my leg press.  Sad but true.  The aim resistance-wise is to get back to the kinds of weights I used to manage and cardio-wise I just want to improve.  So I now do three sessions a week at the gym and a nice swim on a Friday night (this girl knows how to party!) I’m considering adding a few yoga stretches in daily just to improve my flexibility and strength, but I don’t want to go too mad too soon.

I also got weighed yesterday.  Last week I weighed in at (deep breath) 149.6kg, this week I got on the scales to see 148.8kg.  Unfortunately I read it wrong and sulked my way round the gym thinking I’d had a gain until one of the staff pointed out that that’s a 0.8kg (approx 2lb) loss.  Doh!  But also hurrah!

Garfield Scales

I’m feeling quite confident about this week so far, I struggled over last weekend but I think this week I’m better prepared.  Also, things have calmed down a bit so I actually might write a bit more this week.  It really helps me to write this stuff down, even if it comes out as total gibberish.



Weight Management Week 1

Good morning lovely readers!

If you saw my last post you’ll know that I recently (after months of waiting) was accepted onto a specialist programme run by my local hospital to help me lose weight and become more healthy.

Last week I saw a dietitian, who gave me a meal plan based on the NHS Eat Well plate, which I like as a balanced and healthy approach.  The Eat Well plate looks like this:

Eat Well Plate NHS

We talked through what I would eat in a normal day (“good” and “bad” days) and how we could adapt my usual food to better fit with these guidelines.  The main changes were:

  • more veg compared to fruit
  • wholegrain/brown pasta and rice
  • weighing starchy foods for portion control
  • more protein and especially more fish
  • more dairy (I don’t like milk and I don’t drink tea and coffee so I was having basically none)

She also included a daily free choice of food outside the plate of up to 200cal, which I mostly use for chocolate!  And finally I was advised to drink one glass of plain water for each glass of squash/pop that I have.

Next I had a brief meeting with a trainer, who asked me to try for two 10 minute walks a day.  At the moment I get back pain if I walk a lot so we split it down so it wasn’t too much.  It doesn’t sound like much, but over a week that’s over 2 hours of exercise that I wasn’t doing before.  I’m lucky that I work in a beautiful area, so I can walk through the woods at lunchtime or before work.

So I’ve done a week of this (except Saturday when I went to the Good Food Show Harrogate and had lots of tasters) and I had my second appointment yesterday.  First up was the weigh-in – I had lost 1.5kg (3.3lb).  Then I had my first full appointment with the trainer which was a gym induction.  We talked about what I had done in the gym before and tried different machines, including a seated cross-trainer (which I didn’t even know was a thing).  I will go again tomorrow to have another supported session and get my finished programme which will include cardio and resistance.  I’m happy about that as I’ve missed doing weights; the trainer told me I had excellent technique when I did resistance training yesterday and I was stronger than she expected, so maybe I have a bit of fitness left.

The last part of my appointment was to see a counsellor to talk about potential problems I might face and the voice in my head, which is apparently normal, and how to disagree with it.  This is a really big deal for me; my head-voice, which because I’m a nerd I’ve decided comes from a wraith, can be really really mean.  I also told him that I felt disappointed with my 1.5kg loss, which I know is entirely illogical, and we talked through why I feel like that and applied some logic to it, and I’m much happier about it now.

So all in all a good appointment.  I know I’ve rabbited on a lot in this post but I had a lot to say for a change!  Well done if you made it this far 🙂  I’m looking forward to my gym appointment tomorrow and getting my programme and seeing how well I can improve my health.

It’s OK To Ask For Help

When I first started my journey I did it all alone.  I didn’t tell anyone I was trying to lose weight in case I failed (again), I didn’t go to a group and I didn’t even blog.  It was great for a while, I lost around 4 stone and eventually people started to notice the difference.  Then I hit a plateau, which was when I joined Slimming World.  I lost another 2 stone there and then hit another plateau and gave up.  Since then, my weight has gradually piled back on, which left me almost 2 stone heavier than when I started, feeling depressed and ashamed.

Not that this was for lack of trying.  I’ve been to three other groups (two Slimming World, one Weight Watchers) and while some weeks I saw great results, others left me despondent.  There is nothing wrong with the plans themselves, but with me.  For whatever reason, I was unable to keep my motivation going for more than a couple of weeks.  And, because I am a naturally shy person, I would rarely speak up in the groups; this meant that my specific problems with motivation were never addressed.  After a lot of thought, I decided to ask for help from medical professionals.

Way back in November I started to research what was on offer in my area.  My local NHS offers a huge range of options for overweight and obese people to lose weight, but the one that really stood out to me was the Specialist Weight Management programme.  So I made an appointment and went along to see my local nurse, who ran through some other options with me.  Unfortunately when I told her I’d already picked the SWM programme, she had never heard of it, which seems like a bit of an issue.  However she filled it in on the “other” section of the form and sent in the application.  After a couple of false starts (appointments which turned out to just be further referrals) I finally joined the programme last week.  Yes, that was a 5 month waiting list to get in, but apparently it might be scrapped after this intake due to lack of funding, so I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have made it, it’s a chance a lot of people may not get.

The way the programme works is this.  It is initially a 12 week course (13 appointments) with weekly appointments.  My boss is incredibly supportive of me in this and is happy for me to work from home to cover what I miss on these afternoons, for which I am really grateful.  Each week I will be weighed and have up to 2 appointments with a choice of 3 areas – a dietitian, a fitness expert and a psychologist.  Monthly (I think) I will go on the special fancy scales (this is the technical term) which measures my fat mass, skeletal muscle mass in various parts of my body, water retention etc and will have my waist measurement taken.  Whilst I do have a target weight loss for these 12 weeks, the aim is to ensure that I lose weight in a healthy way and lose fat mass rather than muscle mass.

I can also be referred to other services in the area including a 12 week gym programme (definitely), cookery classes, walking groups and many many other things.  After the 12 weeks are up, if I have lost a minimum 5% of my starting weight, I can continue the programme.  At this point the appointments become monthly and will continue for another 21 months, making it 2 years in total.  This is a huge commitment for me, but it is too good an opportunity to miss.  Tomorrow is my second appointment, and I will discover how my first week has impacted me.  The help I will be getting along the way is truly invaluable, and I’m kind of proud of myself for taking that step.

Body Positivity

Moody Food

I’m in a full-on grump today for absolutely no reason.  Do you ever have that?  I do, and I know I’m grumpy but I can’t help myself.  It makes me feel like this:

It also makes me want to eat lots and lots of comfort food.  Chocolate, cakes, pizza, crisps, cheeseburgers… you get the picture.  So what is the best way to handle an attack of the grumps?  Well I can tell you the first thing I would have done this morning if I’d realised quite how cranky I was: I’d have left my purse at home.  A sure-fire way to avoid a trip to the junk-food shop (unless you fancy a few hours in a cell.)

Next thing, and not as easy as it sounds: keep myself busy and keep my mind off food.  Fortunately, being a finance-type person, this is my busiest week of the month so work has kept me out of trouble today.  I volunteer tonight after work and then go home to a nice dinner which will be sitting in the slow cooker waiting for me.

Finally, when I’m tempted, keep reminding myself that it’s not hunger causing me to eat.  This is the most difficult one, and it’s not always guaranteed to work.  I have a little voice in my head that will say “so what?” and steer me to the chocolate/cake/pizza etc etc anyway.  But it works some of the time and that’s a lot better than none of the time.

I also need to find a way to shake off the grumpy mood.  I think the drive home in the sunshine with some nice cheesy music will help me out.  I might even do the traffic light dance.

The Fear

On Monday night I went to A&E (the emergency room if you’re not sure what I mean.)  You see, on my drive home from work I started having pains in the left centre of my chest, which went out into my armpit and ribs.  My family has a history of heart disease at youngish ages, so despite the fact that I’m only 34 I got quite worried.  My boyfriend made me ring 111 when we got home (they are fantastic, by the way.)  For those who don’t know, this is a non-emergency medical line where you can get advice and assistance, and they will direct you to the most appropriate place.  On Monday, they said I should go to A&E “within the hour.”  Cue the following conversation (this is the abridged version):

Me: I don’t want to go.
Bf: Why did you ring if you’re not going to take the advice?
Me: But what if it’s something bad?
Bf: It’ll still be something bad whether you go or not, the only difference is whether you get treated.
Me: But we don’t have time to go to the hospital this evening…
Bf: But we have time for you to have a heart attack?
Me: Ok, fine 😦

I think that’s a fairly decent example of how much I’ve been sticking my head in the sand about what my weight could be doing to me.  I was genuinely terrified of finding out if it was a heart problem.  So we tootled off to the hospital (in a hugely overpriced taxi since I wasn’t allowed to drive) and I got an ECG.  Turns out, if you show up to A&E with chest pains, they see you reeeally quickly.  My ECG was clear (I cried with relief, honestly), blood pressure was slightly raised but everything else looked good.  Finally I saw a doctor who listened to my heart, prodded and poked me and asked a lot of questions about the pain.  She declared that it was muscular, probably strained from swimming, gave me a prescription for co-codamol, told me I did the right thing by getting it checked, and sent me off home telling me to rest my chest.  I’m not sure exactly how to do that, I tend to use it for breathing.  So I felt a bit silly, but I still think getting it checked was the right thing to do.

So, my fear.  I didn’t realise until this happened quite how afraid I am of getting heart disease.  The doctor says I am low risk, I’m totally healthy and my age is on my side, but I know that my weight and lack of exercise aren’t doing me any favours.  No more head in the sand for me.  I need to face my fear and do what I can to lower my risk.  I guess motivation has to come from somewhere and no matter what Gus Fring says (Breaking Bad is awesome btw) fear can be a really useful motivator.


Goats Cheese Salad With Raspberry Vinaigrette

I’ve been following Laurel’s blog for a while, and when I saw the recipe for raspberry vinaigrette it was perfect timing – I’d just read another recipe recommending a berry dressing for goats cheese salad, but it was a shop-bought dressing (does anyone else hate it when that happens?!)  Here is my salad:


It contains mixed baby leaves, cucumber, grated carrot, strawberries, cashews (supposed to be pecans or walnuts but I didn’t have those!), crumbled goats cheese (I like the soft one) and a decent drizzle of the vinaigrette.  The recipe for the vinaigrette is in the link below, it makes quite a lot and I don’t know yet how long it keeps, so if I did it again I might make half as much as I’m not sure how often I’ll use it.

I wish I could give measures of what I used, but I pretty much did it in handfuls so the proportions looked right for my tastes!

Original Post here:

My MSG free journey is coming along pretty well. Of course there have been a few surprises along the way. One of the surprises was the realization of just how much MSG has infiltrated our lives by being in almost every prepared product on the shelves of the grocery store. This annoying little toxin is […]

via Homemade Raspberry Vinaigrette — eat less sugar you’re sweet enough

Happy Monday!

I am in a ridiculously good mood today.  I’ve had a fab weekend, I managed to swim 1.5 miles on Friday night, which I haven’t completed in ages.  I was slow – it took about 1hr 10mins, but I made it and my arms and legs didn’t fall off!  Yesterday my boyfriend took me out for lunch to a Vietnamese place in Birmingham, which was fantastic, and we had a wander round in the sunshine.  The only thing that brought me down a bit was realising how slow I am when walking around.  Carrying this amount of excess weight is hard.  Fortunately, the realisation only made me more determined to succeed in my weight loss journey.

I woke up today full of enthusiasm for the week ahead.  The sun is shining, I’d had a good weekend and I’m lucky enough to spend the week doing an job I enjoy for a company I’m happy to work for (99% of the time.)  I even managed to start the day with a little exercise – I’ve actually written myself a schedule for my mornings as I waste a lot of time.  The schedule includes things like “shower”, “get dressed” etc, but also today’s read:

10x kettlebell swings
10x squats
10x lunges each leg
10x pushups
10x situps

I thought that was enough for now.  Not much but better than nothing!  My breakfast and lunch were all ready to grab and go – recipes may follow later in the week.  Breakfast was mini frittata type things and lunch is Moroccan couscous salad which I’m about to go and eat.  And dinner is stuffed mushrooms, which is one of my absolute favourite meals, which I haven’t had in months!

How’s everyone else this week?  I hope other people are enjoying the sunshine too!

Help Me Please, I Need a Challenge!

I’ve been thinking about this, and I feel like I need something to work towards fitness-wise.  Ideally not a run (walking hurts my back at the moment so running is definitely not an option!),  preferably a swim actually.  All ideas are welcome, I’m struggling to find organised events that aren’t open water (hopefully next year when I can get back into my wetsuit!)  UK-based please unless anyone wants to pay for me to go on one of Swimtrek’s awesome looking trips!!

Sorry lovely readers, this is a really garbled post.  Hopefully you will get the gist.  Maybe when I read it back I might even know what I’m on about!

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