SummaryThis blog post is a summary of my journey over the last 7 weeks during which I have lost 10.5 pounds in weight. It's an ongoing journey. I hope it is at least helpful if you are trying to eat more healthily. So settle in with a glass of water instead of a cup of tea (healthy choices start here), and a biscuit (instead of three). It's a slightly longer post than usual - but I hope it's worth it.
For more tips to lose weight you can also check out my earlier post Get Fit and Lose Weight for Summer.
A rude awakeningAt the end of June I went off on a Golf and Spa weekend with my husband and some friends. We had a great time (Check out the Forest Pines Golf and Spa resort review here). But when I packed my case for the trip I felt pretty down. Very few of my clothes actually fit me any more. My choice for the weekend was severely limited.
How easy it is to gain weight quicklyThis increase in weight is a result of starting to work full time. Back in November I started working full time in a new job, and I treated myself to a gorgeous pair of blue trousers from Ted Baker to celebrate.
In 9 months I never wore them. Pretty much as soon as I started work I began to gain weight. A combination of eating more snacks at my desk, sitting at a desk everyday instead of chasing my girls around the garden, the plethora of Christmas goodies available, and the fact that it was freezing so I comfort ate, led to me gaining a stone in two months.
What does 'overweight' mean to you?I very rarely weight myself since I can tell, by my clothes and the mirror, if I am of getting the balance right between food and exercise. But when I got on the scales and discovered that I was 11 stone, 13 lbs and 3/4s, (76 kg) I felt pretty down. It was almost as if the scales realised that telling me I was essentially 12 stone was a bad idea and might result it me throwing the scales out of the window.
I was tempted.
I am 5 ft 6 inches tall, so whilst 11 stone, 13 pounds and 3/4s is by no means horrific, it was some way from the fit, healthy, lithe, flexible and supple dancer that I used to be and still kid myself I am.
What to do?
And when I factored in that my husband has been on an exercise regime and was fast approaching his ideal weight of 12 stone 7 pounds, I realised that there was a very real possibility that I would end up weighing more than him. Not an acceptable scenario.
My Fitness PalSo I finally bit the bullet and downloaded an app that my stylist* had been raving about. It is called MyFitnessPal. It asks you for your height and weight, how active your lifestyle is and what your goal is. It then tells you how many calories you should aim for per day.
It told me I needed to aim for 1250 calories a day to lose a pound a week based on my incredibly sedentary office-based lifestyle. I told my husband and he was concerned that it sounded too low (I had no idea, as I have never calories counted in my life). So we tinkered with my profile and aims and got it up to 1310 per day.
Counting calories for the first time ever
It was all fine until day three, when I attended a training course at work and opted to have a Latte and a KitKat for morning snack.
Yes, I am clearly an idiot.
How was I to know that a Latte and a KitKat would equate to such a large amount of calories (416 cal) that I would struggle to have any left for lunch! I was shocked.
In a very short space of time I worked out that Maltesers were my safest chocolate option (only 110 calories), and that I REALLY needed to stop eating crisps every day.
I worked out that water was better than coffee from a calories point of view, and that the calories saved on coffee would fund my Maltesers habit.
I also worked out that every time I did exercise and logged it in the app it gave me the extra calories. Exercise was suddenly directly related to food. More exercise, more ability for treats.
Equally clear was that eating salad for lunch, or any other healthy food, fruit and vegetables, gave me more flexibility to have a small treat, or a glass of wine in the evening.
Eating patternsI quickly worked out that I habitually ate less Monday through Thursday than I did Friday through Sunday, so I started watching only the weekly average figure and not worrying too much about the ups and downs of different days.
I then went off on a two week all inclusive holiday in Majorca and had scrambled eggs for breakfast, hardly any bread, lots of fish and fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty more water. I did Aqua Aerobics every other day, and walked miles through the markets.
One month later....Funnily enough, after the first month of 'tracking' with my app which included that 2 week holiday, I had lost 7.5 pounds.
This week, after another 3 weeks I've lost another 2.5 pounds (making it 10 lbs in 7 weeks) and weigh 11 stone 4 pounds (72 kg) and I celebrated by wearing those gorgeous blue trousers for the first time.
I continue to monitor my calorie intake. I will let you know how I get on in my aim to reach 10 stone 4 pounds (65.5 kg).
Tips for steady weight loss
- Drink plenty of water. A glass of water before a meal also fills you up and means you generally eat less at that meal.
- Cut back on your vices. For me it was chocolate and crisps. I still have them, but not in excess.
- Only weigh yourself once a month. This absolutely works for me as there is a greater chance of success in that period. If I have a bad week I know I have time the next couple of weeks to ensure the average performance is good. I am the sort of person that is spurred in by success, but would struggle to fight against a bad week and would be more inclined to eat unhealthy foods if I already thought I was 'failing'.
- Understand your own psychology. As I said above, I knew that big gaps between weigh-in would work better for me.
- Get yourself an app. Having this app on my phone means I always have it with me. There is no excuse for not keeping track. I can also check 'potential' calorie levels of meals in restaurants or cafes as the app includes thousands of recipes. It helps me make more sensible choices.
- Don't sweat the detail. Type in; "Chicken Salad" and you'll get lists of options to select from. Simply take the approximate average option if unsure. After all, this is supposed to be a guide to help, it's not a test. No one will be marking you down if you happen to select the wrong calories once or twice.
- Tell everyone! Share your success. Once everyone knows you have lost some weight you won't want to disappoint them by putting it back on. Or at least this is how my mind works. As I said; know your own psychology.
- Above all remember that you are not just trying to lose weight, you are trying to be more healthy. It's all about learning how to make the right lifestyle choices to stay fit, live long, and enjoy life. So enjoy it!
- Bonus tip: Apparently researchers have discovered that you eat less if you eat off a blue plate. Apparently, because blue isn't a common naturally occurring food colour, the brain receptors aren't as stimulated to prepare for food, so you will consume less. I haven't tested this one yet. Let me know if you have.
Please feel free to share your weight loss journey with me. I can be found on Twitter at @ymummyreally.
*stylist - I always want to write hairdresser in preference to stylist, since I am a 70s child and that was the job my mum had. But these days it's no longer hairdresser, it's stylist. So I find myself complying with the times. What a sheep I can be.