Let me first say, I’m not an expert in relationships, fitness, nutrition or finances. These blogs reflect my own life experiences, my successes & challenges. I hope you find it helpful.
6 years ago, I lost a marriage & gained 15kg (33lbs) in the space of one year. I tried shake diets, protein diets, diet pills and every other fad I could find. NONE of it worked. I felt as though I was trying SO HARD, but those kgs would not shift. I just couldn’t understand it.
I blamed stress, menopause, my ‘slow metabolism’ and obesity runs in my family, so that MUST be the reason.
Eventually I joined a fitness group & started to work out 2-3 times a week & introduced walking as much as possible in my daily life.
I felt fitter as time went by, and I stopped gaining weight, but to my surprise those kgs stayed put! What was I missing? I felt so frustrated.
I sat down and thought about it.
What were my challenges?
How could I turn them into strengths?
- Challenge – I hate dieting and I never stick to it anyway
- Strength – I love food, I love preparing it, cooking it, sharing it & of course eating it. (Which is good because it gives control over what goes in your mouth. )
- Challenge – I was unhappy with my appearance & had stopped dressing nicely because I was ‘saving money’ by waiting until I’d lost the weight.
- Strength – I love fashion, I owned a cupboard full of gorgeous clothes that I never wore because nothing fitted or looked good. I also had a good friend who told me straight, that I wasn’t looking my best any more (clothing wise, she loves me no matter what)
- Challenge – I had no organisation or plan.
- Strength – I have a smart phone with access to all kinds of apps to help me plan.
So now how to use that to my advantage.
Personal appearance was first on my list of things to change.
I set aside some money in the budget to update my wardrobe with a few really great outfits in the correct size. And I looked better & started feeling motivated to make some changes almost straight away. I don’t know why I waited so long.
When I did get to my goal, I picked out my favourite dresses & got them altered to fit.
Organisation was next.
I downloaded My Fitness Pal onto my smartphone & tracked every thing I ate & drank for 2 weeks.
Once I had a good look at where my calories were going, I was able to see where I could make some adjustments.
For example, I drank loads of coffees made on milk, everyday. When I added up the calories, I was shocked to realise that I was easily adding 400 calories to my daily intake.
I cut that back to one really fabulous skim milk cappuccino in the morning for 100 calories & replaced the others with English breakfast tea served black, & water. That’s 300 saved right there. Too easy.
Bread was another danger category for me. I was having toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch & maybe a slice mid afternoon if I was peckish. That’s not unhealthy but by the time you add butter & a spread or filling, it adds up. So I swapped to a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a sandwich or a salad for lunch & a piece of fruit & some almonds mid afternoon. That was another 200-300 calories saved.
Always love a sit down & a chat over a cold drink with the hubby a couple of afternoons a week. I changed from pear cider to a low carb beer & saved the most insane amount of calories. My cider was 275cals per bottle versus 80cals for the beer. I like both so it wasn’t a sacrifice.
Your list will be different but the same thing applies!
Last on my list was FOOD!
As I said I love to cook. I jumped on Pinterest & looked at menu planning, budgeting, freezer meals etc. Here are the steps I took.
- Purchased a diary & wrote in it every day. Schedules for fitness, menu plans, recipe ideas to try, motivational quotes or inspirations.
- Menu plan for the week with a shopping list. Include foods you love. I started a Facebook page called Fifty Shades of Food to share my favourites with my friends & anyone else who was interested.
Fifty Shades of Food
- Used My Fitness Pal to work out the calorie content of my favourite recipes & took note of how many serves in each. This is important as one of the problems for weight gain is portion size. This took some time & effort but is worth it for the results.
- Using a menu plan ensures you have sufficient food in the fridge/pantry including snacks for the week.
- Cook two or three different meals, divide them into the correct number of serves, name & date the containers & freeze. This stops you grabbing that Chinese takeaway or pizza because you’ve come home tired & can’t be bothered.
- Pack lunches to take to work. I’m in love with jar salads. Look it up on Pinterest. It’s just as easy to make 5 as it is to make one.
- If you are meeting for coffee with the girls or going out for a meal with your hubby, consider buying one serve of what ever you are having & sharing it between you. I promise you, it’s enough. And because nothing is off limits any more, the urge to overeat slowly disappears for the most part.
Slowly over time, to my delight, my weight started to go down. Best of all I wasn’t on a diet, there were no more forbidden foods & I couldn’t believe it.
I’ve lost 13kg & have maintaining that for 3 & 1/2 years quite easily. I f I have a week away where we are eating & drinking more than usual, we just cut back a bit & eat really healthily for a couple of weeks when we get home.
I hope if you are reading this, you find at least one or two tips that helps you achieve your goals. It worked & is still working for me.