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26 to 12 – another weight loss blog

One woman's journey to lose half her body weight

Month

August 2013

Weekly Weigh-In Results 28th August 2013

Just a very quick post to give you my results from tonight – 2 1/2lb loss, so I’m very happy with that! I only half half a pound to go to my next award – I’m sure I can do that this week, and hopefully a bit more. The weekend will be tricky as I’m home alone, but I’m already planning for that so it should be ok – fingers crossed!

Workouts Make You Look and Feel Better… Instantly!

Today I have reached the conclusion that the very act of doing a workout automatically affects how you look – and straight away. I know that exercising has long term positive effects on both health and appearance, but I’d never realised before how obvious the short term effects from each workout could be.

I went for my morning gym and swim combo this morning. I sweat a lot at the gym, which isn’t really a great look for me, and I always feel a bit gross until I shower. Then I dry my hair quickly and style it and put makeup on later, when I get to work. I am not really used to being “checked out” by men anymore, but this morning I couldn’t believe how much attention I got! Nothing has really changed since yesterday – I noticed my figure is gradually changing, but that’s definitely not an overnight thing.

Then it struck me. After a workout a few things are different about me. Firstly my muscles are a little more noticeable as they have just been used, which I guess could have a flattering effect. Second, I definitely have a post workout glow, and as I’m normally quite pale I think that makes me look much healthier. Finally, exercising always boosts my mood, which I believe is down to the release of endorphins, and gives me confidence, as I am pushing myself to improve the way I feel and look. I believe self-confidence is one of the most powerful feelings in the world. No matter how I look, even without makeup, a confident and happy expression makes me feel more attractive. That is a feeling I haven’t experienced for a while, and it’s made me feel great all day.

Top Ten Slimming World Friendly Snacks

One of the things I love about Slimming World is that no foods are banned, the point of the plan is moderation. With this in mind, I thought I’d compile a little list of my favourite SW snacks for inspiration.

1. Fruit. Most fruits are considered to be superfree foods on SW, and so you can eat as much as you need. I like grapes, cherries and berries for picking at at work, bananas when I’m feeling a bit more hungry, mango for a treat and pineapple after a meal. I try to vary when I have, too many apples would be dull in my opinion. Fruit is good when you want something sweet, or if you want to take the edge of your hunger until your next meal.

2. Pistachios. I love pistachios, so imagine my excitement when I found out that SW had been re-vamped a while ago, and pistachios had become a healthy extra! You get 28 as a healthy extra for fibre, which is actually quite a lot – and they take ages to eat because of the shells. I assume you are supposed to have plain ones, but I guess if you wanted to liven them up you could try adding spices. I love them as they are though.

3. Cooked Meats. Sad but true: occasionally you will find me in front of the fridge eating ham or chicken straight from the packet. It’s quick, easy and filling – a perfect savoury snack!

4. Babybel. I love cheese, I really do. I don’t have milk very often in my diet, so for my calcium-based healthy extra I quite often have some kind of cheese. Babybels are great – you can have 2 original or 3 light of the mini babybels, which is a surprising amount of cheese! I keep them in the fridge at work – they are individually wrapped and keep for ages so ideal emergency snack foods.

5. Savoury Rice. Yum yum! My favourite is the golden one, I can eat it hot or cold, and I love it with roast chicken. I don’t know which of the others are free on SW, but I think they’re all quite low (the same is not true of supernoodles which have a lot of syns in apparently.)

6. Cadbury Freddos. Sometimes it just has to be chocolate. I freely admit to minor chocoholism, and I find it easier to have a little bit of chocolate when I fancy it than to resist and end up with a giant bar! I prefer freddos over other mini chocolate bars as they are chunky – they feel more substantial than thinner bars. At only 5 syns each, I can get carried away and even have two or three within my daily allowance.

7. Smash Bhajis. There is a post on its way to you about Smash, which will have the recipe for these. They are delicious and filling as a savoury. snack, and can be eaten hot or cold.

8. Graze Boxes. These are boxes of healthy snacks which are sent by post – I get mine sent to work fortnightly, but you can get them more often if you prefer. You can tailor the boxes to your own tastes, and there is usually a. good variety in each one – the boxes have four different snacks in. I have never yet had a snack from Graze that went over my daily syn allowance, and I feel virtuous using my syns on foods t hat are healthy in other ways. For more information, visit http://www.graze.com, and if you would like a free box enter the code 5JNVQTGD at the prompt.

9. Sherbet Dipdabs. This one’s a bit of a blast from the past! Until I started Slimming World, I hadn’t had one of these for many years. I’ve got a new love of them since I discovered what fantastic sweets they are for someone losing weight. They are under 100 calories, and last for ages – perfect for a long afternoon at work or an evening at the cinema.

10. Krispy Kremes. Yes, really. They are neither low fat nor low calorie, but if you want something decadent there are a number of varieties you can fit into a SW plan – as long as you are prepared to restrict it to one doughnut! I had one on Saturday, and used all of my syns for it, but after four days of craving one it was soooo worth it! Everything in moderation.

So there you have it, some of my regular snacks and a few special treats. I hope I have inspired you, and maybe shown that a weight loss plan doesn’t have to mean no treats.

Weekly Weigh-in Results 21st August 2013

Well I went to my weigh-in last night hoping for a 1lb loss, to reach my 1.5 stone award. I was quietly confident after all my exercise and eating well since the meeting on Saturday.

Try then, if you will, to imagine my disappointment and horror when I got on the scales to discover a 2lb gain! This was the first week where the results have been completely different to what I expected. I have had weeks where I’ve done well, and had a big loss, and weeks where I know I’ve strayed and seen a slight gain. Heck, I’ve even had weeks where I’ve been s bit unsure but still found I lost a little weight.

We had a discussion about this in my group, and a few different people said they think my new exercise regime could be to blame. They said that when you begin exercising regularly, your muscles retain more water (fat turning directly to muscle is an urban myth) and so it appears that you have gained weight, even though you may still be burning fat. My muscles, especially in my thighs are noticeable solid, so this may be correct, I hope so anyway. It won’t make me give up the gym, I enjoy it far too much and the benefits are extensive, beyond weight loss. If these people in my group are right, once the water dissipates I will have a much bigger weight loss than usual. Fingers crossed!

So I’m going into a new week with almost a righteous anger – I do deserve a good loss next week and I’m damn sure I’m going to get one!

The Power of Swimming

As you know, I started back to the gym last week, and I’m doing a mix of cardio on the gym equipment and swimming. A lot of people say they don’t like swimming, and disregard it as a good form of exercise, but I think this is a mistake. I may be biased as I’ve always loved swimming, but I think that more people should try it.

So why is swimming so fantastic? Well, for a start it is an activity you can do all year round; being indoors means that you avoid inclement weather, but it is really refreshing in the height of summer. This makes it more enjoyable (in my opinion) and gives you one less excuse when you don’t feel like exercising!

Swimming, or in fact any activity in water is great for toning and shaping your muscles, as all your movement is against the resistance of the water. This also means that it works on all your muscles and gives you a full body workout. Being in the water takes pressure off your joints, meaning that it is an ideal exercise for those with mobility problems, or hip and back conditions which would affect your ability to do weight-bearing exercise. This also makes it a good exercise for people like me, who are not able to do some forms of exercise due to the strain caused by carrying excess weight. As well as the toning benefits from water resistance, swimming is also a good workout for your cardiovascular system: it increases your rate and exercises your circulatory system, and improves lung function by your becoming out of breath. Due to the nature of the most popular swimming strokes, your breathing will be kept even and regular even as you become out of breath, helping to pace yourself much more easily than with, for example, running.

Swimming is also unusual in that it is easier for overweight people than those in good shape. A higher proportion of body fat makes a swimmer more buoyant, and so makes it easier to move through the water. As you lose fat and build muscle, you become less buoyant and so have to work harder. This makes swimming and other activity in water suitable for all shapes and sizes. As with any individual sport, swimming can easily be tailored to the appropriate fitness level, and so caters for all abilities and age groups (where I swam some years ago, one of the regulars was 88!)

I believe that everybody should learn to swim to at least some degree. Even if they decide they don’t like it, it is still a useful skill to have. Living in a small island nation, most people will at some time or another visit a seaside town, and there are numerous rivers and an extensive canal network throughout Britain. If, unlikely as it sounds, I or a loved one were to have an accident in one of these areas, I am happy to know that we are all able to swim. I know that this is an unlikely scenario, but I’d prefer to have this ability and not need it than vice versa.

A couple of years ago I did an open water swim for charity. Since then I have lost a lot of my fitness, as I gained weight. Now that I am becoming more active, I am hoping to do another next year and raise a significant amount for charity whilst improving my own health.

If you want to try out swimming for yourself, or want more information or workout advice, I’ve found the British Gas Swimfit website really useful.

Gym Addiction!

About three weeks ago it was my birthday. I don’t have a huge amount of spare money so I decided some time ago that instead of gifts I would ask for money towards an annual gym membership. I had to put a little money towards it myself, but most of it came from various members of my family. I joined last Tuesday morning and made my first visit on Wednesday. I didn’t have a formal induction, but the guy who showed me how to operate the machines I wanted to use gave me a good idea of the levels to use, and left me to do what I could.

Since then, I have been every day except for Sunday, and worked really quite hard. I have used the treadmill, recumbent bike, rowing machine, cross trainer and swimming pool, as I am trying to boost my weight loss and improve the health of my heart. Any other toning that happens is a bonus at the moment, but later I will look to use some weights and other equipment for toning. I am very lucky that my gym also has a steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, so every trip is like a spa visit!

I have found that the more I go, the more I want to go – and it keeps me more motivated to stay on track with my food, especially if my visit is in a morning. Apparently there has recently been some research which backs this up, as psychologically once the hard work has been done, most people do not want to waste it (in basic terms!) I’m back to my usual weigh-in day this week, so hopefully I will see the benefit of all this hard work on the scales as well as in my new-found sense of well-being!

Weekly Weigh-in Results 17th August 2013

I know, I know… I don’t call, I don’t write. After last week’s surprisingly good loss, I went away for the weekend, and my motivation leaked away quite steadily afterwards. I delayed my weigh-in until Saturday to try to rectify the damage but to no avail – I had gained half a pound. I think my motivation may have returned now, so hopefully that half pound will have gone again by Wednesday. Another post should be with you later today, my writing inspiration also seems to be returning!

Weekly Weigh In Results 7th August 2013

Well I am a very happy bunny tonight.  Having gone to my weigh-in a bit on the worried side after the lack of food diary, it turns out my sub-conscious has been making good decisions for me – I lost 4.5lb!  I am only slightly disappointed, as another half pound would have taken my total loss up to 1 1/2 stone, but I definitely plan to get that award next week.  I couldn’t be more motivated for the week coming up, even with another weekend away on the horizon (one more day of work till my four-day weekend, woohoo).

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Injured!

I’m in quite a lot of pain today. My ankle has been a bit suspect all week, but I thought it would wear off I’d I took things a little easier. Unfortunately today I have woken up in pain, and have a lot of discomfort when I’m moving about – and it feels like something in the front of my ankle is out of place, if you know the feeling I mean.

I have strapped it up and taken some good painkillers, and I’m doing my best to rest it, but I’m getting itchy feet (figuratively rather than literally). Having had a couple of days off exercise to rest it, I really want to get back into it. I will have to look for an exercise where I don’t need to move my feet about too much!

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