I lost weight last year and this seems to be of interest to people who ask me how i’ve done it. I’ve had enough people ask now that I thought it warranted a post with strategies i’ve used to help. I’ve deliberated over the best way to get this written down, some of it i’ve struggled to put into words, there have been some things that i’ve not been sure whether to share or not but I want to be honest and hopefully you might find it helpful so i’ve just decided to write it, warts and all. I’m going to publish these posts in small, digestible (ha) chunks. So I thought i’d begin with why, followed by tips and strategies i’ve found have helped and then the sort of thing i’ve eaten (won’t call it a meal plan but just to give you an idea of what I eat over the course of a week).
The first thing I want to say is that I changed the way I ate for health, the weight loss was a bonus. I suppose really it’s my parents who have brought about this change; my Dad had diabetes and didn’t look after his diet; my Mum has COPD; and I suppose as i’ve travelled down the road of parenting and had parents with ill health, it’s really got me thinking that when you are a parent, you have a responsibility to look after yourself as well as your children. I can tell you that losing my Father so unexpectedly and prematurely (he was only 65!) was traumatic, and watching my Mum deteriorate due to the effects of smoking is really quite distressing. I don’t ever want to put my children through that if I can help it, so that was my main reason for changing the way that I eat; I wanted to be healthy.
This is what this is; a change in the way you see food and your body. Rather than thinking ‘I want to be thin’, you need to be thinking ‘I want to be healthy’ and move forward from there. I talk to so many people (mainly women) who are unhappy with their weight and go on punishing diets where they starve themselves or eat weird and wonderful combinations, you know the sort of diet I mean and it just makes me really sad because I mean this is SO many people. How can so many of us be unhappy with the way that we look that we will punish and mistreat our bodies to look a certain way? I know that our culture has for so long emphasised that to be happy, you must be thin but I really feel like healthy needs to be the new thin.
I also felt that I wanted to set an example for my children of having a good relationship with food and exercise. My eldest is what I would term a ‘difficult eater’ but I have learnt to relax with it and hope that one day, he will eat an abundance of vegetables and fruit but that stressing about it was only exacerbating the issue. I am aware that children watch though, they are watching what you do and they are looking up to you. So whilst he may not be eating the variety of food that I would like him to now, I will do so to set the example and hope that he changes his attitude to food over time. I also want my boys to understand that eating cake or ice cream or crisps is not a bad thing, of course we should eat these things; they are delicious! But I want them to learn moderation and I think that is such an important part of this way of eating; everything in moderation!
I suppose the other thing that I want to teach them is that people come in all shapes and sizes; I have hips and boobs and a belly. I have ALWAYS had a belly even pre children, even at my punishing diet and exercise induced thinnest, it has always been there. It has taken time for me to love my body as it is and accept that I am never going to have Cindy Crawford’s figure (this is who I wanted to look like when I was growing up haha). I will tell you, this has only happened in the last three or four years; acceptance. Before, I was frustrated with my body, I would stand in front of the mirror analysing it, hating it. I would even get so cross that I have, on occasion, hit and pinched myself in the stomach because I hated my belly so much (incidentally the belly that I now grab (gently!), squish and do a funny voice with whilst chasing the boys around saying i’m going to eat them – they love “The Belly”). I was doing this as young as twelve. TWELVE YEARS OLD. A CHILD. I probably started doing these mad diets from around then too. Depriving myself; drinking slim fast; you name it, i’ve done the diet. God that makes me feel quite sad actually writing that down.
Before I changed the way I ate, I was a large size 14. I am now a small size 12 so i’m not VOGUE thin but i’m happy with the way that I look, i’m healthy and I haven’t had trouble keeping the weight off because i’m not denying myself anything so the way I eat isn’t drastically changing the way it does with a “diet”. I don’t mean that i’m eating biscuits all day long and the weight is magically dropping off, remember; everything in moderation. I still eat bread, pasta, potatoes, meat, dairy, cake and chocolate. All the things I love.
I am not reinventing the wheel, nor am I telling you something that you yourself do not already know: you need to move your body more, eat less, eat more of the right thing but DON’T PUNISH YOURSELF. Please step away from the cereal diets, the milkshakes, the additive filled rubbish, whatever it is that you’re doing to a punishing degree, please stop.
Before we go on, I do wish to state for the litigious amongst you that I am not a health expert, dietician or nutritionist. I have had not formal training but this is what has worked for me. I like to call it “Common sense eating”. Please consult a doctor before starting any new diet (yes, that is my disclaimer).
Coming soon… tips and strategies to help (children allowing, so pray they go to bed so that I can crack on and write!)