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26 to 12 – another weight loss blog

One woman's journey to lose half her body weight

Month

July 2013

Mucho Enthusiasm!

I am back from my holiday, my birthday is over and everything is back to normal. There was apparently some discussion at work yesterday about whether I’d be back on track today, or if I’d carry on in holiday mode until after my weigh-in tonight. They were surprised to discover (although you may not be, owing to the title of my post) that not only am I back on track, but I have stuck to my plan of doing Success Express today, so my space in the fridge is filled with salad and fruit.

After the meeting, I am going to be doing a meal plan and then picking up some healthy shopping. I am quietly (or not so quietly since I’m writing about it) proud of myself for getting back into the swing of things, and pleased to notice that while I’ve been having treats this week I have missed my usual healthy fare. Hopefully this is going to mark a turning point in my attitude towards food, and healthy food will become my norm whilst treats remain just that.

Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside!

I am writing this from the beautiful seaside town of Scarborough, where my Mum has taken me for a pre-birthday break. Anyone who has been to an English seaside resort will know these towns are fraught with danger for those eating healthily. Between full English breakfasts at all the B&Bs, ice cream, rock and fudge shops all along the sea front and traditional fish and chips, the potential for straying off plan is huge! So how am I going about sticking to SW’s guidelines? Well, in all honesty, I’m not.

My plan for this week has, for some time, been to do SW’s short term Success Express on Thursday, Monday and Wednesday, and allow myself to have what I want for the three days I’m away, and on Tuesday as that’s my actual birthday. In a revised version of this plan, the only day where I’m having what I what without worrying is actually today. Yesterday, I ate quite lightly and chose low calorie and fat options when I could. Tomorrow and Tuesday, I intend to stick to plan, and factor in syns for my holiday and birthday treats. I have reached a surprising conclusion, that I don’t actually need to eat loads of high calorie food to enjoy myself.

Whilst I have enjoyed having the freedom to pick exactly what I wanted today, I have a confession to make… I have missed it so much, that the thing I’ve picked for dinner from the whole hotel menu is chicken salad. Perhaps the changes I’m making are becoming permanent.

Weekly Weigh In Results 24th July 2013

When I went to weigh-in last night, I was really unsure of how I’d done – I was just hoping not to have gained anything. It seems that I’d done much better than I thought, and got a 2lb loss! That makes a total loss of 1st 2.5lb, and I’m finding that every loss helps to motivate me, which is great!

The last week has been really busy for me, and it has affected my eating habits – I have had more noticeable ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days than usual. I successfully negotiated a family barbecue/party without going over my syns allowance, only to follow up two days later with a PMT emergency which (obviously) made two bars of Dairy Milk completely necessary. I also made birthday cheesecake and pavlova for my office, and tasted more than I should have done while cooking. The only way I can explain the loss is to say that I knew I had gone over my allowance, so I tried to balance it out with more salad and fruit than normal.

This week, I am going to the seaside for a three day weekend, having a family meal for my birthday, and a movie and restaurant day with my boyfriend on the day itself, which is Tuesday. The plan then, is to do what SW called Success Express, which reverses the proportions of free and superfree foods and adds more calcium and fibre, on the other days this week as a balance, and hopefully I will still see a good result on next week’s weigh-in.

I am also going to try to post more often this week, even if they’re only brief, to keep my little blog up-to-date. And finally, I am going to keep this thought in my head this week:

A New Week, But Where Is My Motivation Hiding?

So here’s the thing: I know it’s a new Slimming World week for me from today. I stayed to class last night, left feeling great and had a fairly healthy evening meal (no post-group takeaway for me!) but all day today I’ve felt really uninspired. I know after last night’s loss and hitting my first stone I should feel great, and raring to go. So what gives?

I don’t want to psycho-analyse myself too much, but I suspect part of the problem may be complacency – having reached that first goal my subconscious wants me to slack off and have a rest. I think that this is something I will need to overcome, even though it might be difficult, as too much complacency when I reach my final target will send me soaring back to where I started. Now I have left that weight behind I do not want to return to it: this is what I must continually remind myself of, until the new habits I am learning overcome the old ones I began to pick up in my teens.

Wow, even writing this post has helped make me a little more motivated, I guess it has improved my focus. I am not as motivated as last week, but determination will get me through the rest of the day and I’m sure things will improve tomorrow, and feel like less of a struggle.

Weekly Weigh In Results 17th July 2013

A very brief post before I go get some sleep, to say that I lost 2.5lb this week, giving me my stone award after just five weeks. I am happy as can be with that and fully motivated to carry on this week, even with a family party looming this weekend.

To update, my current weight is now 21 stone exactly, I have lost almost 5% of my starting weight, dropped 2.5 points on the BMI scale and a dress size, and feel noticeably fitter and healthier, all of which makes for a very happy me!

What A Difference A Week Makes

I can’t believe it was only a week ago that I was struggling with my motivation. I feel so much better now, and I’ve stuck to the plan all week. I think it’s actually quite a good gauge of how I feel I’ve done that I’m looking forward to seeing the results tonight. I’m trying not to build up my hopes too much, but I’m dearly hoping for my stone award tonight – I would need a 2lb loss for that so fingers crossed!

Even if I haven’t lost what I want to, I know that I am living a healthier lifestyle, which is important for the long term. I must continue to tell myself that instead of focussing on the scales… But I really really want to reach that milestone!

Super Salsa

The salsa I’m referring to is the dance, not the dip. Although, if you’re looking for a salsa recipe, you could do much worse than this one from the Hairy Bikers, which is great with chicken and fat free yoghurt in a wholemeal pitta or wrap. Oh, I’ve got distracted already! Salsa dancing is another fun way to get some exercise. I may have mentioned before how much I love to dance, even though I’m horrendously uncoordinated, but I am a firm believer that exercise should be something to enjoy not endure.

The salsa I do is a Rosemary Conley DVD called Slim and Salsacise. Although I’m following Slimming World rather than going to a Rosemary Conley class, I do find her exercise DVDs really helpful, and this is no exception. The DVD is broken into three parts, basically beginner, intermediate and advanced, which are 15, 20 and 30 minutes long respectively. Up until today I have been doing the first section only – this is quite gentle and is for learning the steps. I used to do the advanced, but sadly I have had to start from scratch and build my fitness back up. This morning I have done parts 1 and 2, and got a more challenging workout from it.

I do love this DVD, it was one of the best bargains I’ve ever had too – it was about £3 on Amazon, and I’ve certainly had my money’s worth. There are a few reasons I like it so much: firstly, as I’ve already mentioned it has different workouts for different levels. The moves are well-explained and choreographed, so it feels more like learning a dance routine than doing a workout. Rosemary Conley is encouraging without being patronising, and there is a section on healthy eating. The other participants are successful slimmers, and you can see their before and after pictures which can be quite inspiring. I’m very aware that I’m starting to sound like an advert for this DVD, so I’ll also mention the few things I dislike about it. First on the list is box steps. I have a few Rosemary Conley DVDs and box steps seem to feature on all of them. I don’t deny that they appear quite effective for leg toning, but I just don’t think they fit into a salsa workout. The other thing which irritates me is the other dancers. I have mentioned that these are people who have followed the Rosemary Conley programme, which is nice, but to be honest most of them, and one in particular, come across as very smug. On other DVDs these participants are there to demonstrate different levels of workout, but on this one they are all working at the same level.

All in all, I would recommend this, particularly for people just getting into regular exercise, as the three different sections mean that it is good for long term use. If nothing else, the cheesy music will make you smile!

A Change Is As Good As A Rest

I may only have been following Slimming World for a few weeks, but I am already starting to feel the benefits of my new, healthier lifestyle. I know I have a long way to go, but I’m still feeling really positive, and a post for me to look back on will be really helpful I think, when I have those times that I will inevitably find more difficult.

The benefits I’m feeling are both physical and emotional. Physically, I’m finding it easier to move about, I’ve had fewer aches in my back and knees – as much as I hate to admit it, my size has been causing problems for a while. I don’t get out of breath as quickly, and I can do more. Generally, I feel and look healthier; my skin is clear, and my hair and nails are in great condition. Emotionally, I am also feeling the benefits. I am taking medication to combat depression, but I think the changes to my diet and activity levels are helping with this too. I feel more confident, just starting on this journey has given me a boost, and more hopeful or optimistic about my future.

So with all these benefits, I almost feel like I’ve been on holiday or something – I have much more of a sense of wellbeing. I have written this post to help me remember how I’m feeling right now if and when I have days which are more difficult. Hopefully if others out there are losing weight, this might inspire them to focus on the benefits they are feeling too.

Mmm, Barbecue

I love barbecues, I really do.  (Cue Homer-style salivating…)  For me it’s a combination of being outside in the sun, amazing childhood memories and truly delicious food.  At my SW meeting a couple of weeks ago we discussed barbecues, and many people complained about how hard it is to stay on plan when you have one.  I disagree; I actually think that if you put a little thought into it, a barbecue is one of the easiest possible meals to keep healthy.  Here are a few of my barbecue favourites:

Home made burgers

These taste so much better than shop-bought ones, and are so so easy to make.  If you’re feeling particularly lazy/rushed, you can just shape lean mince into patties, making sure your hands are wet, and barbecue straight away (this works best with mince that has been frozen as it is slightly more moist.) Today, I made burgers from extra lean beef mince, 1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped, garlic granules, smoked paprika and a beaten egg.  I mixed this very well with a fork, then wrapped portions around a mini babybel light cheese.  This was my new thing to try this week, and it was so good – you definitely have to seal the burgers well though or cheese leaks onto the coal!

Quorn sausages

This was the first time I have had Quorn sausages for ages; I got the best of British ones, which are huge but only 2 1/2 syns each.  I had an oven cooked one last night, which was ok, and a barbecued one today which was delicious!

Halloumi cheese

Slice thinly and barbecue – amazing!  35g of this is a healthy extra choice on SW, so that’s how much I had.  The only problem with this is that it’s incredibly moreish.

Kebabs

I like plain meat and vegetables on skewers (don’t forget to soak them first!), but you can add any herbs or spices you like to liven them up.  My favourite is cherry tomatoes, yellow pepper and mushrooms with pork.

Sweetcorn

Corn on the cob is great to barbecue with a bit of salt and pepper – watch your fingers though!

If you’re doing a barbecue for lots of people, or attending one yourself, you can add to this with a selection of salads and jacket potatoes.

A lot of people worry about what to drink at barbecues.  I don’t really drink a lot of alcohol, but if I do have some I keep it light by going for a spirit and diet mixer.  My favourite one for summer is Malibu with Diet Coke.  Drinks like cider, lager or wine can add a lot of syns to an otherwise healthy meal.

I wonder if I can barbecue again tomorrow…?

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Mmm, baaarbecue!

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