A little update and review of how I am finding life without CHEESE, HAAGEN DAZ and LAMB SHANK...
So when you have always been trying to 'loose weight' for as long as I have been, you end up working out what works for you and what doesn't in terms of the number on the scale going down. Eating less helps. As time goes on and you realise a diet of 1200 calories is not sufficient, healthy or acceptable, you start to work out that the number on the scale means nothing. The low number of calories are a waste of time, and that when us girls say we want to lose 'weight' we really mean we want to lose FAT.
Weight and fat are not the same. I am sure by now, we have all read the same articles. The ones that show the picture of what fat looks like in comparison to muscle. Despite reading and hearing from all the professionals, we still jump on the scale and look down expectantly with hope and big, glassy eyes and watch as the digital numbers move. We step off, and off, we breathe out so we are not heavy with air. We take off out shoes, our jeans, our undies. Gaad dam it we take off our jewellery and take out our hair tie. We do a best of three, because you can never be too sure and pray that the scale reads lower than it did... what, six hours ago. Disappointed, if not horrendously disappointed when the number does not show that you are now half a stone lighter.
DO NOT WEIGH yourself if this is the case. There are other methods to track progress. Less torturous, more specific ways. Take pictures, measure yourself with a tape measure. Get your fat percentage tested.
Hopefully you are wanting to build lean muscle. If so, the scales will not budge a great deal. In the last 13 weeks I have lost 2 inches all over and NOTHING on the scale. NOTHING. That's because I have lost fat rather than weight. So when I discuss weight in my posts, what I am talking about it 'fat'
There are so many reasons that you may not be losing fat. So many times I have tried to lose it and failed, other times I have not been trying and pounds have dropped off. Working out what stops me from loosing fat/weight/bloat is a long, tedious, schlog. It takes a lot of experimenting, entering food diary data and tantrums. This is what I have worked out.
You're not drinking enough water. Water helps keep your body in a state of balance. If you are dehydrated, water will stay in your body as much as possible, rather than excrete the water, causing bloat and water retention. Hydrating your muscles so that they work properly, flushing out your kidneys and liver so they are not wasting time working on the toxins you're putting into your body, but they can actually work on burning fat. Water will fill you up when you might head for a bag of crisps instead. Water is needed, in abundance, to help with your weight loss.
You're not eating enough-You've been on a diet for years. Diet as in a low amount of calories. Your bodies metabolism has slowed right down after experiencing going into starvation mode. You are not burning fat at the speed in which you could be, as your body will hold on to the nutrients you do eat, for dear life to sustain it's balance and survive. Eat, eat some more and then eat a little bit more. If, like me, you spent a long time under eating to lose weight, try reverse dieting to slowly increase your calories. I will do a post on that soon. More calories, more food? I am in!
Too many treats-I am a treat fiend (treats not cheats) as I hate the connotation of cheating. This is a lifestyle and not a test. I live for treats. Cheesecake, pie, cheesey carby, fatty treats. But there is a fine line between treats and GET IT ALL IN MY MOUTH RIGHT NOW AT THE SAME TIME! I stick to 80/20% rule. I try and eat at least 4 times a day. That is 28 times a week. That means that 4-5 times during the week I can treat myself to a pudding/snack or treaty dinner and still see results. Yes results will be slower, but results for me are often about my mental state surrounding food, or my rep count and less about the inches around my thighs. So slow results are ideal to keep this as a lifestyle and not a quick fix.
You are eating too much salt-Simple as, salt dehydrates you, therefore you have excess water retention. Cut out adding salt to food, if you do salt things use pink Hymalayan salt. Why (because everyone says so) :) No, because it is less processed. The lesser things are processed the better it is for us.
You are not getting enough fibre-Fibre is hard for the body to digest, therefore your body will work harder to break it down, therefore burning more calories. I find it really hard to get enough fibre so occasionally I will drink Psyllium husk. Its pretty grim, but it helps clear out your insides (you poo a lot)
You are doing too much of one type of cardio-You're running miles, your cycling for hours... and nothing is happening. Don't get me wrong, cardio is great. It is so essential to a healthy lifestyle. Cardio helps you burn calories. It helps keep your heart healthy, it helps your metabolism. But doing bursts of high intensity training in intervals means your body will work harder, for a shorter time and even after your session, where as you won't get that same affect with steady state. The point. Do both in your programme.
You're being mean to your body-This one is bar far the most important and detrimental one. I am a culprit. I have stood in front of the mirror, scrutinising... which you can read about HERE. I still find myself standing in front of the mirror sometimes, saying nothing but mean things to it. My waist isn't small enough, my belly not flat enough, my thighs not slim enough. All the whilst I am being so horrifically nasty to myself, why would I then go out into the world and nourish my body. Whilst my self worth felt non existant and my self esteem lost somewhere between 5-10yrs old, I found it so much harder to treat my body better whilst I thought nothing good anout my body. Eat well? Exercise? Be healthy? What was the point? Quick fixes and negative talk continued (on bad days,the talk still does) But the more you start being kinder to your body, the more you want to look after it. The more you look after it, the more kinder you are to yourself. Its a catch 22. But the body shaming and the bad vives in the mirror havent worked this far... so the only thing left to try... Be kind to yourself. Say nice things about your body. Be grateful for what you do have. And I bet you a slice of cheese and jam on toast, that suddenly you will be on your way to having the body you want, deserve, desire. Mentally and physically.
Its the month before Christmas... its that time between summer cocktails and work party canapes. Generally November is the month that we all quit drinking and we eat chicken and broccoli ready for the Christmas over indulgence that we know comes our way as soon as the second week of December hits.
The start of this year, as the pounds piled on after last years yorkshire puddings and cheese boards galore, I decided that 2014 was going to be the year that I got my body (inside and out) into the best shape it can be, for me. I have talked about 'feeling fat' in a post before, and the food issues that relate to our body image. I hold my hands up and admit that 'yup... I am in a large handful of people that find being kind to my body difficult.
When I was younger I was quite chunky. I looked a little like the honey monster. (I was cute) I was larger than my class mates. Funnily enough, I didn't really notice. I was young, no one really cared. Least of all me. Thats what I remembered anyway. But as this journey this year continues I have been thinking about the psychology behind my eating habits and my thought process's behind my body image perceptions.
I suddenly remembered going into Tammy Girl, aged ten, and being upset because I wanted to buy denim shorts and crop tops like my class mates. I put them on and felt horrible for a split second. Jump forward four years and I was around the pool in Greece and there was a group of sixteen year old girls. There was this one particular girl who wore a teeny black thong bikini and I remember that same feeling as being in Tammy Girl, and all I could think was 'I want to be teeny like her' These thoughts when I was younger, came every so often. I can recall those times and count them on one hand...
Until I was a little bit older and it became a habit for me to 'not feel comfortable in my own skin.' Thats the only way i can describe it. Since puberty I have never been overweight. I headed to secondary school, without a concern in the world about my weight or how I looked. But the years went by, my friends all wore hipster jeans from Miss Sixty, jeans that wouldn't fit me the same and through out those years my weight became a number I would focus on. In the three months leading to my 16th birthday I decided to loose the chub I felt I had put on since drinking Bacardi Breezers on the common with all our friends (friends that didn't put on any chub). I stopped drinking at weekends and instead of pizza with baked beans on and crisps and chocolate for lunch, I would have a sandwich and be done with it. My dinners would consist of a healthy pasta dish, and I lost weight. (It was as easy as that when we were young) On my 16th birthday I had lost a stone and I felt amazing. I looked like my natural weight.(whatever that meant) Basically, I felt comfortable in my own skin.
From this exact moment on, my life was going to be a constant yo yo. I would alternate a stone at a time. I would spend 6 months loosing a stone, be at my comfortable weight for two months and then the weight would creep back on. I would stay there for a while. Eating crisps for breakfast and Macdonalds twice a week until I felt too sluggish and too horrible to continue and then the cycle would begin again. This went on for the next thirteen years. And it pains me to admit that this would consume so much of my energy. That I would be forever in a battle with myself over such a (ridiculous) notion.
Food for me is joyful. It means happiness and indulgence. It means family time or meet ups with friends. Food signifies togetherness and contentment. So, to get comfortable in my own skin, I felt I had to restrict food, which meant I was missing out on the joy and the togetherness. 'Dieting' as I used to call it, always ended up being such a depressing time for me. So I associated eating healthy with being miserable.
After thirteen years of this mental battle with myself, I came to the conclusion that life was too short. It was too short to battle all of the time. To constantly be feeling guilt for a burger I ate or the exercise I didn't do. It was too short to only eat kale and wallow in my low calorie filled day. Life was too short for all the crappy perceptions that came with eating too much, not eating enough, not fitting into my fav dress or trying to always fit into that one particular dress, or fitting into it for one week only and then spending months feeling horrific because I no longer fitted into it.
I started to really ask myself what it is that I wanted. Was it the tight petite little body that fitted into denim shorts and a crop top? Was it that I wanted to eat as much as Sally, who could eat a bacon sarnie, a Big Mac and a full on roast with all the trimming, have cheesecake twice a day and not put on weight? Did I just want to go a day, one single day without thinking about my body or food intake. I wanted it all.The stark realisation was that, one, I would have to not only exercise my body, but exercise my mind as well, if I wanted to feel comfy in shorts and a crop top and two, that a diet of roasts and bacon sarnies everyday may kill me. But, were all possible. YES. My dad always says:
'There is always a solution to everything, you just might not like that solution'
But the solution IS NOT crash dieting. It is not starving yourself one minute and binging the next. It is not eating no more than 1200 calories, it is not deciding to only wear baggy clothes to hide your body. The solution was consistency. Its the one thing that has changed the thirteen years of bad habits. I consistently started being kind to my body. That meant, telling myself nice things when I looked in the mirror. That meant not stuffing junk down my throat because I would panic the food would run out. That meant getting my metabolic rate faster, my energy up, my routine in tact. It also meant eating Haagen Daz if I desired it. Having a starter if I felt like it. Being consistently kind to my body meant a mixture of things. Exercise being at the forefront. Exercising my thought patterns and my perceptions were the hardest challenge of them all. Squats, Pah... I got those down, but working out my food issues and working on changing those thoughts, that was the hardest and still is the hardest things I have had to do on this journey.
I got out of bed in January 2014 and thought, I am not going to do this yoyoing milarky anymore, I am going to make exercise a part of my life, the same way brushing my teeth is, and I am going to consistently eat well. Because as I approach the dirty thirties, I realise, life is too too short. To be unhealthy. In mind body and soul. So after a lot of trial and error of what works for me, I found a 30 minute exercise regime that fitted into my day, anywhere, any-time, and I started to eat more fresh whole foods, in a bid to cut the processed junk out. I made a promise to not cut out any food groups along the way. To know that anything was and is available for me to eat. And I promised to not starve or binge again.
I am not perfect, far from it. I still have days where I don't want to work out. Or days where I think I just want to eat pizza and Haribo all day. There are days I slip and days I think horrible thoughts about my body. I am human. I am a woman, which means once a month the whole world seems odd. But, each day I continue to try at least to not be so hard on myself about these days above.
Ten months later... here I am. Still on my journey and still practising the balance. That's what it is. It doesn't just become easy to have a balanced lifestyle if that isn't what you are used to. Its not something that just happened to me one day. It was one day at a time, it still is. I focus on the now. I don't beat myself up for the burger I had yesterday and I don't worry about the cake I might have later. In every moment I make a choice as it comes. But I have created a habit.
So as November rolls on... why not create habits for yourself. Go check out
where myself and two lovely ladies have put together a November challenge to try and help you get into a routine. Go have a read. I'm finding it really helpful too.
As Kayla Itsines says... (a Personal trainer I admire) "It doesn't get easier, you just get stronger"