Regular readers of this blog may know I am currently on a mission to be Fit by 40, and I’ve got about 8 months to go before I get there! Top of my list when it came to getting fit and healthy before my 40th birthday was to lose some weight. I’m doing well so far – 1lb away from 2 stones lost so far and about half a stone away from my goal weight.
The thing is, I’ve done this before. Losing weight really isn’t that hard. It’s keeping it off that’s the difficult bit. I’ve been your typical yo-yo dieter since I was in my late teens. I don’t know how many times I’ve lost weight and put it back on again but I’ve don’t think I’ve ever stayed at my ‘ideal’ weight for more than about three months, and that was between getting married and going on my honeymoon! I got pregnant not long after we came back and managed to put on about 4 stone while I was pregnant with Toby! I did manage to lose weight in between my two pregnancies but after Gabe was born two years of sleepless nights meant I wasn’t really concerned with what was going into my mouth.
But when I got to my 39th birthday I realised being overweight was making me miserable. It was time to do something about it and this time I am determined to make it stick. To do that though I really need to change my relationship with food, and change the way I think about food.
The problem is that I love food. I especially love sweet food – cake and chocolate are my favourites. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with eating cake and chocolate…in moderation. But that’s where I struggle. I am an emotional eater. I eat when I’m happy, and I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m bored, and I eat because I think it will make me feel better. I eat just because food tastes really nice.
Over the last 20 years I have pretty much existed in two states – on a diet, or bingeing to excess and piling on the pounds. And that is what I need to change if I want to maintain my weight. I need to find a happy medium.
Although I have been following a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) for the last three months I have not been following it as strictly as I might have done. I have had some cake, and some ice cream. But what has changed this time, as opposed to previous times I’ve been on a diet, is that I’ve not seen that as a failure. Every time I have thought about it and then made a conscious decision to eat whatever it is. I have then compensated in by reducing my calories at another point in the day, or I have simply accepted that I have eaten whatever it is. I haven’t thought ‘well, that’s it, I might as well give up now’ or been sucked into a downward spiral of bingeing.
I am trying so hard not to think of foods as being good or bad – how many times have we all been offered cake and said ‘ooh, go on then, I’ll be naughty’ or ‘oh not for me, I’m being good’? Food isn’t good or bad (and that’s why I have a bit of an issue with Slimming World and its ‘syns’) – food is just food. Sure some of it is healthier than others but nothing is going to do you any harm every once in a while.
I am also trying not to refer to food as a treat – especially with the boys. But that’s really difficult too. It’s just something that’s so ingrained that it’s a hard habit to break. Toby does sometimes get a Kinder Egg as a treat but it’s more the toy that’s the treat than the chocolate. Toby and Gabe both have cake, chocolate and ice cream sometimes, but we try to make them things that we sometimes eat, just like we sometimes eat apples, or pasta.
The other area I need to work on is my portion sizes. Only having a 400 calorie meal as part of my meal replacement diet has made me realise that I don’t need massive piles of food to feel satisfied, and that’s something I need to keep up when I get to my goal weight. I also need to learn to stop eating when I’m full, but that’s something I’m still working on.
Making all these changes is hard though – I am so, so determined that this is going to be the last time I ever have to lose a massive amount of weight. At this point I’m willing to try anything that will help me to achieve that – I’ve even been trying an hypnosis recording from Hypnosis Ninja. I think it is working to an extent – I’m certainly finding it a bit easier to say no to certain foods in situations when I would normally eat them. I’ve mostly been falling asleep listening to the recording but apparently it still works even if you’re sleeping! I’ve been using the ‘Change Your Relationship with Food’ recording, but they also do a chocolate addiction one that I might try too.
I know I’ve still got a lot of work to do if I want to re-educate myself and really change my relationship with food and maintain my weight loss. Hopefully in another six weeks or so I’ll be at my goal weight and that’s when the really hard part will start and I move onto phase two of my Fit by 40 plan, which is the actual getting fit part!
Have you lost weight and managed to keep it off for a significant amount of time? I’d love to hear any tips you have to maintain a healthy weight and avoid slipping back into bad habits.
**Disclosure: I was provided with a Hypnosis Ninja recording in exchange for my honest opinion.