Please stay and hear me out, I know this is a topic you may want to avoid discussing.
But, if you are like me, once you hit your 40's weight started appearing and you are having difficulties getting rid of it . . . being at the right weight is important for both our health and well-being.
Back in late 2010 my doctor told me that my blood pressure was far too high and I would need to take medication. I don't take medication if I can avoid it so I went home and thought long and hard about my weight. I had recently bought a skirt that was a size 16 and to me that was bad news as I had once been a size 12.
Action was needed, fast . . . but it wasn't until January 2011 did I actually do anything. It followed a conversation with two friends (Kathie and Gill) who told me they were planning to loose weight - not wanting to be left out, I decided to join in.
For 12 long months, at times quite depressing months . . . I worked on loosing weight. I changed my diet - not more junk food in the house, no more snacking at 3pm, no more lack of will power. I was on a mission and I was going to make it. I knew it would be hard work and it has been.
In January 2012 I hit my target and dropped to size 10-12 (depending on make). The feeling was one of complete joy. I had made it and I felt like a million dollars - I now have normal blood pressure and therefore no medication is required. I also have far more energy and feel much better. Even though I have hit my target, I am continuing with the diet to loose a further 2 kg's (almost there) - as my friend has called it, the "chocolate buffer".
Before you start a diet - consult your doctor if you have any health issues.
These are the things I have learnt on my journey:
- Take you time - it isn't a short race, its a marathon - remember "slow and steady wins the race". You don't need to loose heaps of weight all at once, you are more likely to put it all back on. A little at a time.
- Take the first step - if you keep putting it off, you will never start. If this is difficult, find a friend who also wants to loose weight or write about it on your blog and we will all encourage you. PRAY.
- Remove all temptation from your house. If you are weak with crisps/chips (as I was) don't have any. I still don't eat chips - I am not good at eating just one, so I eat none.
- Substitute - one scoop of ice-cream instead of two. If you like cream, replace it with a lite cream (good for cooking) or evaporated milk, find things with less calories.
- Understand how many calories are in the food you are eating -- you might be surprised or shocked. This is particularly the case with fruit juices, many look healthy but often contain loads of sugar.
- Don't give up when the weight is not coming off - throughout the last 16 months I have had periods where I have had no weight loss, don't give up . . . your body is just sorting things out and suddenly, the weight will start coming off again. Perhaps slightly adjust your food intake or increase exercise.
- You will get depressed when the weight is not moving quickly enough - being Christian ladies, pray, trust in the Lord. I also talked with my weight loss buddies and that helped.
- Don't use the word diet -- its a change of lifestyle, as this is how you will need to eat from now one - if you go back to your old habits, the weight will to!
- Bring the whole family along, their health is also important so a change to healthier food is going to be good for everyone. Walk together in the evenings, a great time to have conversations. Don't forget to walk the stairs rather than use the escalators!
- Do you have a time of day when you are most likely to eat something "bad'? Mine was 3pm, substitute - find something healthy instead. I ate nuts with a cup of tea!!
- Treat yourself - I like to have something sweet with my cup of tea at the end of the day. I made a slice which I freeze in small bit size pieces (microwave to defrost). They are sweet and tasty but small. Remember, if you want a sweet at the end of the day, don't have some during the day - one per day is my motto!! I freeze the slice so they aren't tempting during the day (and I can't see them)!
- If you are going out for dinner, think about what you might eat (however, you don't need to select the salad!) or perhaps be more careful during the week. You don't need to miss out on a lovely meal because of your "new way of life", but you just need to be careful and wise.
- Weight yourself daily. I do it every morning after my shower. This way you can monitor any change in weight and deal with it. I recorded my weight loss journey on the calendar. Don't get depressed if you don't see movement, that will happen.
- Celebrate achievements - set mini goals. Not with food, perhaps a new skirt or something you have been wanting for a long time -- a pretty teacup set for example. This is not a punishment so don't look at weight loss as a negative.
- This is a commitment, a long term plan (like a marriage). Once you reach your weight goal you cannot go back to old habits. Only 5% of people can maintain their weight loss, do you want to be the 95 people who fail or the 5 who are successful in maintaining their weight?
- Cook as much as possible from scratch and eat "real" foods whenever you can. Avoid processed foods. Processed food is high in sodium, fats, sugars and other bad "stuff" - just check out the calories and you will be surprised. Also avoid "low fat" processed foods - also high in calories and hidden fats, sugars and sodium. For example low fat ice-cream has more (or the same) as calories than normal icecream.
But the hardest lesson of all is to learn to say "NO" when offered something that is not good for the waistline. I am not perfect at this, but far better than I have ever been. Willpower is the key to success.
Don't give up.