Saturday, 28 August 2010

Steady As She Goes

This weekend is a bank holiday weekend in the UK, which means I get Monday off too - hurrah! I haven't got round to my DVDs yet as I had to go to work this morning; I've just got back home and am feeling pretty tired. However, I'm going to have a quiet night in and get an early night so that tomorrow I have the energy to exercise and hypnotise! I'll post again before the weekend's out to tell you how it goes - including all the gory details about the wobbly bits!

But I wanted to post on my blog today as Saturday morning is weigh-in time. I've lost another 2lbs this week, making 9lbs in total. I'm feeling pretty chuffed about my steady weight loss, even though some of my fellow weight-bloggers are putting me to shame! Yes, I'm talking about you: 5lbs in 1-week Rae and 13.8lbs in 4 Crys! But it's you ladies who are keeping me on track with all the great support and inspiration you provide. So let's keep it going ladies...

Friday, 27 August 2010

Coming Soon: A Busy Weekend of Weight Loss!

I've had a really busy week at work and I'm feeling exhausted, so why is it that I'm sitting here at gone midnight because I just can't get to sleep? Perhaps if I took some much-needed exercise I'd wear myself out.

But aside from too much work to do, it's been a pretty heartening week. I'm beginning to find that my body no longer craves potato chips and other unhealthy snack, so the urge to dive into a family-sized bag as soon as I get home at night is no longer the daily challenge it once was. And my stomach is telling me it doesn't need quite so much to fill it; consequently my portion sizes are getting smaller and the demise of my big portions doesn't cause me to leave the dining table dissatisfied. (Just to put this into perspective - they're still not minute, but at least meals are now served in one-person portions rather than enough to feed a small family!)

Also, I received two parcels this week: items I ordered to help with my weight loss regime. The first is an exercise DVD.  The last time I owned one of these was before I got married - my wedding was in 1987! This weekend I intend to work up a sweat.

The second parcel was a box set of DVDs and a book which, supposedly, is a complete weight loss system. You may remember I blogged a while back about a TV programme which  followed two weight-loss experts, one of them being a hynotherapist who helped dieters achieve their goals through psychological techniques. I am a complete cynic about this sort of thing, but I read such great things about her I thought "what can I lose?" (aside from the cost of the box set).

So this weekend will be a hectic one: should I start with the exercise DVD before I self-hypnotise, or the other way round. Perhaps if I hypnotise myself first the exercise won't hurt so much!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Power of Two

I've just weighed in and this week's loss is 2lbs, making my total loss to date 7lbs - or 1/2 stone in English money. I know this is sensible, steady loss, exactly what I need to be doing, and I'm satisfied with it. But a bit of me (the impatient bit of me, the part that's wanted to be slim for the past 40 years and is fed up with waiting) wanted to see a bigger loss. I know that's because 2lbs seems so insignificant when you consider the total numbers involved. Nonetheless, this is a positive and I am not put off.

I am not letting my diet dictate my life and work, these things need to go on unaffected, albeit with slight tweaks when food and alcohol comes into play. Yesterday was a good example. A work colleague and I went to investigate hospitality venues at a very posh London hotel. The Berkeley is one of London's hidden gems: a top class hotel where wealth and luxury is understated and tasteful (as opposed to in your face and for those who like to flash their cash). Greeted by a glass of champagne I had to make a quick decision - my decision was yes! With champagne in hand we were shown various hospitality venues and suites (I could seriously get used to staying at the Berkeley). Then it was for lunch, a series of mini bowls: porcini risotto, fish and chips, gravad lax with dill dressing, caesar salad, chocolate brownie (of the most divine kind!). Oh, and two more glasses of champagne.

It sounds like a lot, yet the content of the mini bowls would have perhaps filled one dinner plate. I compensated for the naughtiness of these foods by having a smaller than usual plate of pasta for dinner last night and nothing else, no nibbles from the fridge, no milky drinks.

Perhaps had my decision been no, my loss would have been 3lbs this week, but would that additional pound have been worth denying myself a lovely experience? I think not. I think a key part to sticking to a diet is not to let it make your life difficult. I think it's about adapting normal life to accommodate sensible weight loss, and eventually sensible weigh maintenance.

But just to make sure my impatient inner being doesn't win the day, I present it with a bigger number to keep it satisfied: I have lost 10% of the weight I want to lose (so quit dwelling on 2 will you!).

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Windows of My Mind

Last night on the TV was a programme called Fighting the Fat. Two weight loss experts with very different approaches went head to head to prove that their method was the best way to tackle obesity. One was a personal trainer who had trained stars like Demi Moore, the other a hypnotherapist with 20-years experience in the field of weight loss.

The personal trainer had, in my opinion, a harsh approach and a lack of understanding about why people overeat. He believes that obese people are simply lazy ****ers who indulge in gorging on junk food. However in this 6-week experiment it was he who helped his ‘guinea pig’ achieve the greatest weight lost: about 20lbs (the hypnotherapist helped achieve a 6lb loss). His method was lots of physical exercise, boot camp-style, although in the 5th week of the experiment he panicked a little thinking his lady hadn’t lost enough weight so he put her on a 1-week crash of just fruit and vegetables. I have to admit her weight loss was noticeable and she looked more toned; and she was feeling quite positive about her experience. Personally I think she won’t stick it out – it was hard core, full on exercise and she’s a 274lb-er who likes to watch TV. For her sake I hope she proves me wrong and goes on to change her life.

The hypnotherapist took the view that unless you change the way you think about food, you won’t keep the weight off in the long term. This is exactly what I have found over the last 40-years of yoyo dieting. Even when I’ve managed to shed a good amount of weight and keep it off for a while (my record maintenance was about 12-18 months), eventually the weight always goes back on. My most recent experience of this, a couple of years back, was, I think, due to stress. Having shed about 40lbs, a new boss was brought in and he and I didn’t rub along at all well. Within weeks I was consoling myself with food. Fortunately he is no longer my boss, but two years on, I’m 50lbs up.

Come to think of it my most recent experience of this was Monday night. A really rubbish day at the office got me reaching for a nice bottle of Chablis that night – I managed to consume about ¾ of the bottle, along with far too much baguette bread.

So I really want to believe in the hypnotherapist – it’s just I’m a big fat cynic! Am I so weak-minded that someone can enter through the windows of my mind and change a lifetime of beliefs and experiences? Can tapping the side of your hand really stop those naughty impulses? It all seems too simple and I know that dieting isn’t simple… at all. But this has to be worth looking into, as the last 40-years of fad diets and sporadic sensible eating has got me nowhere.

So I’m on the case. I’m going to research this subject and find out what help is out there, in the hope that with this kind of therapy along with a sensible diet and exercise I can finally become the person I've always wanted to be.

Thanks so much for the recommendation of 'The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite’ by David Kessler.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Addicted to Being Fat

Yesterday’s day-out was a visit to an outlet village on the outskirts of Oxford, arguably the best outlet shopping in the UK as it’s where many top designer brands offload their unwanted stock. Despite my satisfactory weight loss last week, I’m a long way off to squeezing into Armani, not even their biggest size can cope with my burgeoning bulges. Instead I headed for the handbag shops - a real passion of mine, because let’s face it an Anya Hindmarch looks gorgeous regardless of the size of arm it hangs off.

After a 2-hour trawl around the stores we were in need of refreshment and rest. Carluccio’s (an Italian cafĂ© chain where you can eat in or buy from a deli counter) was mobbed and we decided not to join the long queue for a table; instead we’d grab a sandwich from the deli to eat in the car. Waiting to be served, I browsed the deli shelves and I bought a jar of… fat. Yes, you heard [read] correctly, I bought a jar of Lardo alle Erbe: lard slices preserved in herb-infused sunflower oil that, apparently, you serve on hot toast as an antipasto. I’m on a diet, so why oh why did I buy it? Because, like virtually every other obese person on the planet, I’m addicted to fat.

So, here’s the rub, even if (no, not if, when, she says reminding herself to be positive) I reach goal, how on earth will I maintain weight loss while I have this affliction?

Scientific research into human obesity has proven that fattening foods are addictive. Yes my friends, we’re junkies. Recent experiments with rats show that high-fat, high-calorie foods affect the brain in the same way that heroin and cocaine does. The intake of drugs or too much junk food (for junk read high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie) overloads the pleasure centres in our brain. Eventually these pleasure centres get used to the intake and we need to up the dose, driving us to compulsive overeating at a subconscious level. The experiment also showed that nothing puts us off: over a 40-day period three groups of rats were monitored. Group 1 had access only to rat food, group 2 were allowed junk food for an hour a day, group 3 had unlimited access to human food 23 hours a day. It doesn’t take a genius to know that group 3 got fat, but their brains changed too, they developed a tolerance to food-pleasure and had to eat more and more to get their high. And nothing could stop them eating; when the scientists applied electric shocks to the rats’ feet while eating, groups 1 and 2 ran off, group 3 focused on the food and continued to eat.

Now, I’m not a stupid person, but I’m no genius either and even I can figure out that the rising rates of obesity in the world can’t be solely due to individuals’ genes. A race of animals simply doesn’t evolve that quickly. So it’s got to be environment too. Just like cocaine is a purified derivative of coca leaves (which have been used by humans for hundreds of years without the same devastating effects) today’s culture delivers us processed food. Food that is stripped of indigestible fibre (which is harder to digest and thus satisfies hunger longer) but which efficiently serves the ingredients that feed our cravings (fat, sugar) without sating our hunger (lack of fibre, carbs). The result, we HAVE to eat more to satisfy the hunger and NEED to eat more to feed the addiction.

Drawing a conclusion and, hopefully, the means to weight-loss and everlasting weight-maintenance, this is what I need to do:

Step 1 - Eat less and move more to lose the excess weight (Sound easy to you? Me neither!)

Step 2 - Identify and overcome the reasons I became fat in the first place. (Sound easy to you? Me neither!)

Step 3 – Change the habits of a lifetime. (Sound easy to you? Me neither!)

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Give Me Five!

I am just on my way out the door for a day out with my husband, but I have a deep and sudden need to make this official, to make it feel more real.

5lbs off

It's probably a little soon to be shopping for size zeros, but (as you may have gathered) I am so delighted I need to celebrate!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Just checking in, before checking up on my weight

One week ago tomorrow I started my diet...and this blog. It feels so much longer than 7 days; this is already such an important part of my life and it's thanks to you, my friends who are following this blog and supporting me with your comments. I am truly touched.. and so amazed I have found so many great people in such a short time.

I just wanted to check in with you all before my next post... when it will be to reveal whether I've managed to lose any weight this week. I'm feeling fairly confident, so fingers crossed. But if I haven't lost any weight, I'll cope, as I've gained so much too.

Thanks everyone x