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26 to 12 – another weight loss blog

One woman's journey to lose half her body weight

Month

October 2013

Weekly Weigh-In Results 30th October 2013

A quick post here since it’s after midnight and I’m knackered! Despite going over my syns yesterday when I submitted to my chocolate craving, I have lost a respectable 2lb this week, making a total loss of 1 stone 9 pounds. I’m hoping to get my 2 stone award in the next few weeks and perhaps reach the next half-stone mark before Christmas. Either way, I’m happy with what I’ve achieved this week, and looking forward to the week ahead – more on that tomorrow!

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Saturated Fat: Scapegoat?

In the news this weekend, I have heard repeatedly that a number of UK companies have signed up to a “responsibility deal” with the government, and pledged to cut saturated fat in certain of their products.  There is a brief piece on it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24682815 with a more in-depth link at the end.

Whilst I think that there could be a benefit in reducing saturated fat in products, I don’t think that this initiative is the best way to reduce obesity levels in the UK.  Call me cynical but it seems to me that this deal is just an easy way for companies to get cheap publicity and be seen as socially responsible, when there are other things that they could be doing but don’t.  For example, a few days ago I bought a Nestle product, which did not have nutritional information on it.  I visited the website, and searched for it, which gave me a number of results about how keen they were to display it, but nowhere could I actually find the information I was looking for.

Instead of controlling the content of a small proportion of food, and in essence controlling the nation’s diet, in my opinion the focus should be on teaching adults and children about what constitutes a healthy and balanced diet, including how snacks and “junk food” can be incorporated, and how to make healthy alternatives.  I know people who do not cook from scratch because they do not know how.  The government should be addressing this.  When I took cookery (or home economics as it was called then) I learnt to make sausage rolls, chocolate cake and Christmas pudding.  The healthy meals I can cook I learnt from my parents or taught myself.  If a child has parents who can’t cook healthy meals, they won’t learn this at home, so it should be taught in schools, along with nutrition.  

As a country in the midst of a triple dip recession, many people are struggling to feed their families on a limited budget, so they are resorting to cheap processed food.  Healthy meals can be made cheaply, if people know how.  Healthy snacks, however can be much more difficult.  Buying ready to eat fruit while you’re out and about will usually cost £1 or more, whereas you can buy chocolate or crisps for half that price.  Making it a fair choice and educating people on making good choices could make a big difference.  

My local health authority does cookery courses for people who are overweight, which is great if you can get there.  As someone who works full time in an office job, which is hardly rare, I was not able to go to any of the courses.  Perhaps making this type of thing more readily available could help to educate adults, whilst their children can be educated in school.  

Yes, the research has shown that many people don’t know about saturated fat, and how much of it to have, but this is probably true of many aspects of a healthy diet.  I have no idea how many grams of protein or carbohydrate I should be eating, but this does not mean I am not eating a healthy and balanced diet.  Focusing on one single part of food, like saturated fat, is not the answer.  Educating people about balance and helping them to create a nutritious diet is a much better route to a healthy Britain.

*Stepping down from my soapbox now*

Small Steps For Big Changes

You already know that I was disappointed with my result on Wednesday night.  I have thought it through, and read some of the lovely (and ego-boosting!) comments from people who read that post, and decided that I’m happy enough with the loss.  Any loss is better than none, and the most important thing is that I am making permanent, sustainable changes to my lifestyle.  With that in mind, let me tell you about my journey yesterday.

Yesterday I drove from the Midlands up to Yorkshire to see my parents.  There were loads of queues on the motorway, and the trip took about twice as long as normal.  Having sat in the car park that is the M1 for much longer than anticipated, we had to stop at the services for something to eat.  Well, aren’t service stations tricky to negotiate with a healthy eating plan in mind?!  My options were Burger King, a cafe, WH Smith or Marks and Spencer.  I discounted Burger King straightaway, as my parents had planned to get us a takeaway dinner and I wanted to save my syns for that.   I looked at the cafe, which was offering pie and chips, fish and chips or a mayonnaise covered baguette served with… you guessed it!.. chips!  So off I went to Smith’s to see what I could find.  Ginsters sandwiches (usually mayo-smothered as well), sausage rolls, pasties, crisps and to top it off, Krispy Kreme donuts.  I must have looked really indecisive as I left another shop empty-handed and went to M&S.  The shop has been rearranged, and I struggled to find the salads hidden in the back – but there were plenty more sandwiches and some ready-meals on offer.  Finally I managed to find something SW-friendly, and had an egg and new potato salad, followed by a pot of pineapple, melon and grapes.

As part of my SAS log that I’m doing this week (I think I mentioned it in an earlier post) I have to look back on my day each evening and find things that I am proud of, and then look forward to the next day, finding potential problems and preparing myself to deal with them.  I am proud of myself yesterday for not only making good choices of healthy food, but for actively seeking them.  Some time ago I went to a motorway services and had something to eat.  I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I had a trip to KFC, where I bought a large variety meal, and then to WH Smiths where I bought a box of three Krispy Kreme donuts and a bar of chocolate.  Then I went and sat in my car to eat it, because I felt embarrassed at my size to be seen eating that much food in public.  If it occurred to me that people would think ill of me for eating that much food, I told myself it was none of their business, and it was ok as a one-off.  Only now, looking back, do I realise that that was more than a one-off treat – it was excessive to put it mildly.  A one-off ‘treat’ would be one donut OR a smaller KFC meal – that’s the kind of thing that can fit in to a healthy lifestyle.

So I am proud that I chose wisely, planned my Chinese takeaway properly so I could make an informed choice, and so didn’t decide to throw caution to the wind and make yesterday one of those “oh stuff the diet” days.  And I am happy to know that following Slimming World properly doesn’t mean I have to give anything up.  I am learning to think things through and make better choices.  And the more I practise, the easier this will become for me, until it is a natural part of my new healthy life.  Every good choice I make is a small step on the path to become a healthier, slimmer me.

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Huge Disappointment

I know I said in my post the other day that all I really wanted this week was to lose enough weight to get my 1 1/2 stone award, but it turns out that wasn’t strictly true.  I got on the scales last night, knowing that I’d had a great week, I’d stuck to plan 100%, and I could expect great things.  Imagine then how my face fell when I saw a 1 1/2 lb loss on the scales.  I know lots of people would be thrilled with that, but with so much weight to lose I have usually found that if I stick to the plan I lose 3, 4 or even 5lb in a week.  So even though I got this
Dudley-20131024-00175I was really disappointed.  And I shouldn’t be.  I’ve worked hard this week, got my head back into gear and I’ve been feeling great about myself.  I even did the full walk from work to class (just over a mile, mostly uphill) without stopping or even really feeling out of breath, and had time to spare, instead of rushing in coated in sweat like a few weeks ago.

But the numbers on the scale can affect how you feel – even if you know you’re fitter, healthier, living better and in it for the long haul, if the numbers on the scale don’t fit then it can be really disheartening.  I had a lovely chat with my Consultant after group, and she praised how well I know the plan (always a nice ego boost) and agreed that she would have expected a bigger loss this week.  I felt a bit stupid, I was almost crying with a decent weight loss, but she was very understanding.  So this week, I am doing an SAS (Slimmers Against Sabotage) log, which is a daily food diary, more in depth than usual, with a planner on the back for the next day.  I have to focus on what I’m pleased with, and use it to find my weak spots and help to tackle those.  I will be making time to do this every day so I can really focus on it, and hopefully I will see a better loss next week.  Maybe even Slimmer of the Week – I haven’t had one of those yet!

Thanks for listening to my rambles, and especially to those who’ve been leaving me lovely comments recently, it’s so good to know that people out there are reading and understand!  Onwards and downwards!
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Weekly Weigh-In Results 23rd October 2013

It was my weekly weigh-in last night, the session was absolutely packed out this week, no idea why! I lost 1.5lb, meaning that I finally finally got my 1 1/2 stone award! The group seemed very mixed as a whole, there were some truly amazing losses (one girl lost 8lb) and some spectacular gains. I think I’ve got my groove back, so I’m launching myself straight back into it this week, hoping for another loss next week instead of this stupid yoyo effect! More to follow in my next post, this was just a quickie!

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Can I Tell You A Secret?

Today when I drifted into fantasy land (on my lunchbreak of course, I wouldn’t drift off at work!) I did not go into any of my usual realms. Gone were the fantasies of shoes I wish I owned, away with the thoughts of Christmas (I start early!) and no Johnny Depp whisking me away to a sun-drenched beach. Instead, I thought about how much I want to lose weight, and how fantastic it would be to even be nominated as Slimming World Woman of the Year 2014. I don’t think winning is feasible, but, you know, a trip to the ball would be nice. But even if I didn’t get that far, just being nominated by my group would be wonderful. I’d love to inspire others by what I’m doing, and getting a nomination would show that I had. Having said that, all I really want this week is my stone and a half award – thoughts of other awards can wait!

Rainbow Foods

When I started thinking of what to write in this post (believe it or not I do think about it instead of just typing whatever nonsense my brain thinks is appropriate at the time), I thought about the way different people view healthy eating. For a lot of people, mostly women in my experience, when talking about their typical diet “healthy” is synonymous with “low calorie”. If that was true, the millions living below the poverty line would be looking much more healthy, wouldn’t they? (See http://www.thehungerproject.co.uk for ideas on how to help.) I personally could have mushrooms with every meal and be perfectly happy, but it wouldn’t be that great for me. We all know that a balanced diet includes protein, carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, dairy and a small amount of fat – I learnt it at school, and the NHS has been trying to raise awareness of the Eat Well plate over the last few years:

eatwell plate 377 sized

Less well known is the idea of also having a varied diet. In my Slimming World groups recently, we have been discussing the idea of having a rainbow of fruit and veg everyday, to ensure variety in our diets. Although we learn as children that fruit and vegetables are good for us, different ones have different benefits, and a few have drawbacks if eaten to excess (remember Piggy’s problem early on in Lord of the Flies?). Generally speaking, a range of colours means a range of nutrients, including vitamins, iron, calcium and other minerals, which are all essential to our well-being. As well as this, sitting down to a multi-coloured meal stimulates your brain, so that the enjoyment of your meal begins when you see it, long before you actually taste it.

If you’re wondering how to get different colours into your diet, here are a few of my rainbow favourites:

Red – tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries
Orange – carrots, butternut squash, satsumas and their family
Yellow – bananas, pineapple, baby and full size sweetcorn
Green – spinach, courgettes, broccoli
Blue – struggling here as the only one I can think of actually goes here:
Purple – blueberries, red cabbage or onion, aubergine

And my favourite reserve – peppers, which come in a variety of hues.

Try rainbowing your plate, and feel the benefits!

An Entirely Different Sort of Rainbow

An Entirely Different Sort of Rainbow

Trying New Things And Going Meat-Free

Just to clarify, I am not a vegetarian. I respect other people’s right to be one but it just isn’t for me. Having said that, I do think it’s a good idea to have a meat-free day every so often. For me, it’s a good chance to try other foods, especially pulses, which then make it into my regular diet. I think vegetarian diets have the potential to be very healthy, but it is not always guaranteed – I had a friend at school who went veggie but didn’t eat vegetables or pulses – her lunch most days was cheesy chips.

Today, I have had my usual breakfast, and the khichri I cooked over the weekend for lunch. For dinner I’ll be having cheese and potato pie with roast tomatoes and onions, what a yummy autumn meal! I have been using the food diary on the Slimming World website this week (I find I do much better when I keep track), and you can choose which plan to follow each day. Today I put in all my food and then realised that, being meat free, I could follow the Green plan today. I don’t usually change which plan I follow, so imagine my surprise when it altered my diary to give me extra slots for healthy extras – which means double cheese in the pie tonight. I was so confused that I had to send my group leader a text to check it was right!

So today is involving pulses, rice, potatoes and cheese, as well as lots and lots of fruit and veg. I’m looking forward to my dinner tonight as well, which is also a fairly new recipe for me. I’m feeling very healthy today, and aiming for a rainbow of fruit and veg – more on that later.

Awesome Week, Awesome Weekend

Yes, really. After that weigh-in on Wednesday I figured I had two options.

Option A – Give up, ignore how far I’ve come, focus on how far there is still to go and reconcile myself to being overweight forever and ever, with all the health implications and lifestyle restrictions that go with that.

Option B – Pick myself up, dust myself off and throw myself back into healthy eating and exercise, remembering how well I’ve done, how much better I feel and most importantly that I deserve to feel that good.

Guess which I picked?

I am having a fantastic week, I haven’t done much in the gym but I’ve done LOADS of swimming and really improved my times and stamina – I could be on for one of the Great Swims next year, or maybe even the British Heart Foundation Pier to Pier, which is nearly twice as long – 1.8 miles, but would mean so much more to me (I did a Great Swim a couple of years ago which was amazing, but I want to push myself to do more!)  I have stuck to my Slimming World guidelines and followed my own meal plan 100%, not even a cheeky bit of cheese when I was cooking!  I can honestly say that I feel fantastic about myself, which may have been helped by my new haircut (see my other blog at http://uniquechicgeek.wordpress.com if you care about my hair), and my giving myself a talking to on Thursday.

Yesterday was perhaps the best day of the week so far.  I often struggle to stick to plan on a weekend, being out of routine and usually having forgotten something vital when I went shopping.  But I woke up quite early (not on purpose, my body clock was obviously keen for me to get up), went to Asda in hope of a new swimming costume (they are like gold dust this time of year) and picked up some fruit and veg.  Incidentally I went to the one in the big shopping centre near my house, which was really weird – I’ve never seen the centre empty before, but I was pre-9.00!  Then I went and did a decent session in the gym, followed by 60 lengths in the pool (don’t get excited, it’s a small pool), which was 10 up from Friday.  And then I did some batch cooking for my lunches over the next couple of weeks.

I made khichri, which is apparently the forerunner of kedgeree; it is a spicy dish of rice and yellow split peas and when I tried it it was delicious, so I’ll be doing that again.  The main spices as far as I remember were cinnamon stick, whole cloves, cumin seeds and cardamom pods initially, and then fresh garlic and ginger, and finally ground turmeric (which I managed to avoid staining anything with, which was a nice change!)  I also made aubergine stuffed with spicy minced lamb, but I didn’t follow the spice list closely, so it is a little spicier than intended – I will be making a yoghurt dressing to go with it!  And finally I braised a whole red cabbage.  I go through loads of this in winter, I have adapted my grandmother’s Danish recipe to make it more health-conscious, and it is my favourite vegetable dish.  I had to adapt it fairly noticeably, as my Granny is of the opinion that you can never use too much butter.  Her recipe involves butter, red wine, red wine vinegar, sugar and seasoning.  Mine uses a small amount of low fat spread, balsamic vinegar, artificial sweetener and a splash of red wine, and I can’t really tell the difference since the flavourings are so strong.  For last night’s dinner (while I was on a roll) I made slow-cooked beef in Guinness, which is really easy but seems like it shouldn’t be!

Inspired by the blog at http://midsummer365project.wordpress.com/, I am going to try and find some kind of toning exercise to do this afternoon, and then I’m going to reward my hard work with a bath!

I do feel a bit like I’m chugging uphill sometimes, but when I get my head working properly the healthy lifestyle comes so easily.  I hope this mindset lasts for me!

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