Tuesday, May 1, 2012

That horrid word: weight loss

Weight loss 
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?
Some additional points (thanks Clara)
  • 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.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you. This is very encouraging to me right now. I'm having trouble getting motivated to lose weight (and yes, I'm past 40 also). One of my hesitations is that since I've gained weight, I actually feel better in some ways and have more stamina and strength. This makes it hard for me to want to really lose. I hate to think of going back to the weakling that I was a few years ago. Since fat stores necessary vitamins and I've always had issues with deficiencies, I'm wondering if the extra weight is helping me keep up with some of these things. I don't want to be too overweight, but neither do I want to be weak and tired all the time. So, it's a tough one.

    I do need to work on my sweet tooth. I don't want to get diabetes if I can avoid it by eating less sweets. This is where a life change causes some struggles for me. There are many vegetables I don't digest easily, so it makes it hard to find better, healthier snacks in the veggie department. :-( Many fruits cause me mouth sores. Sometimes it feels stressful to solve this dilemma.

    Nevertheless, thank you for the challenge. It is the second I've had in less than a week from a sister in Christ, so I think the Lord is maybe telling me something - or confirming what I really already knew! :-)

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    1. Mary - it is tough and at times depressing - don't it with someone does make it much easier as you have someone to talk to. We all understood how each of us was feeling and that is important.

      To help with the toughness, the rewards do make a small differences. They do motivate me to get moving.

      I pray that I have given you the encouragement that you need :)

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  2. I was overweight - lost 68 pounds, but have gained 20 pounds of it back (and I keep gaining more each day), so I'm already in the 95% category of "failures."

    These are good tips, but it's difficult to maintain your body weight. If you get the slightest health problem or difficulty, so long to keeping your weight off, and say hello to gaining more weight rather you like it or not, regardless of what you do! This is what I have experienced, and it's most frustrating, indeed!

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    1. Mara - I don't really have any choice but to keep it off. If the weight goes back on, my blood pressure will rise and I will need medication. As that is not an option I want, this new life style has to be the way it is. So far I have lasted 16 months - and I have been able to loose weight that whole time (very slowly) so I think I can keep it up with willpower and discipline.

      I no longer eat certain foods as I know if I start I will eat to much - chips, lollies, ice-cream, fizzy drinks etc... I just don't touch it - now when I look at something like fizzy drinks I see all the calories and that is enough to put me off.

      I will keep you I posted, that should keep me on the straight and narrow!

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  3. You are very disciplined, Jo! Good work on the weight loss - very impressive!!

    The problem with dieting is that a lot of people automatically head straight for the "fat free" foods in the stores, but what they don't realise is that the introduction of "fat free" food is believed to have brought in an obesity epidemic. One might wonder why...? It's because it's all very well to take fat out of food (not actually good for you to take out all fats), but if the food contains sugar or processed foods or msg, a person will continue to gain weight. People think because it says "fat free" that they can eat it to their heart's content. But those foods often contain masses of sugar - and our bodies don't need (even abhor) the sugar - it turns into fat stores in our bodies!

    Msg is what is used in labs to make rats fat for experimentation. Msg is VERY bad and it's in SO much of the food found in stores. And that's not the only additive that is secretly fattening, either. Processed food often doesn't contain any nutrients worth anything, and it also contains products that make a person want to come back for more or buy it again (marketing at its finest). Our bodies are starved of nutrients, and a lot of people fill themselves with food containing little or no nutrient... Our bodies don't know what to do with that (God created foods that contain nutrients we need), and so our bodies convert more of our food to fat than we even realise.

    So really, for a person to lose weight, they need to cut out the processed food, avoid msg and other additives, and rather than buying "fat free" foods, buy God-given foods that are full of good nutrients. And when it comes down to it, I think this is the secret to the success of your weight loss. I've noticed you turning more to real food and you've been cooking from scratch etc more than ever - and so your food contains less junk and more real nutrients! :) Congratulations!! :)

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    1. Clara -thanks for those additional points, I have added them to the list. You are quite right, we are eating far more real foods in my cooking and even the organic foods which are better for use. And yes, so called "lite" foods are often higher in calories than the "normal" items, yes, they may be low in fat, but very high in sugar.

      It does take discipline and learning to say NO can be really hard, but if you want to loose it and keep it off, thats the only way to do it. I've gone 16 months in total, and the longer a person goes I think it becomes easier as it becomes the norm. That is why I don't like quick diets, you don't have time to adjust to the new way of life.

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  4. Hi Loluise,
    Fabulous advice.
    I knew these things, but I haven't absorbed them into my lifestyle.
    I'm 69 and 20kg overweight and have arthritis in my knees...sooo I really do need to become serious about my health.
    Crisps and lollies after tea is my downfall.

    O.K ......no more after tea snacks!
    Maybe a post record would be a good idea...make me be accountable...I'll think about this.
    Thanks for this post,Jo.
    God Bless
    Barb from Australia

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    1. Swap your snack with something smaller and with less calories - I found that removing all nice things only made me want them more. Crisps are very bad so I don't touch them at all - one is enough for me to want 2 or 3 or 4!! But 16 months later I am no longer really interested in them!!

      I haven't reached menopause yet and I know that is when women put on weight, i want to be ready for that. I'm thinking ahead.

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