Healthy Eating, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers

SmartPoints Part 1 – Eat

Welcome to my first post of three on the new approach of WeightWatchers.

The last few weeks have been interesting for me, as I’ve watched the hype surrounding the changes announced to the WeightWatchers ProPoints plan. As someone who is a veteran WW, I have to say I’ve been moderately amused by the reaction of members which has been amplified by the joy of social media. I remember a long, long time ago in the bad old days of the original Points system when ProPoints were introduced, and the same chaos ensued.

I’ve been totally relaxed about it this time round. I know the plan we have been following works, and some might say ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. I  heard the disgusting phrase ‘It’s just a money-making scheme’, which I chose to ignore. Yes, WWs are a multi-billion pound company, (I’m pretty sure businesses are successful because they turn a profit?) but this shit works. No faddy diets, no cutting food groups or promises of lightning-fast weight loss. Just perseverance, guidance and making the right choices. And like any other industry, if they  want to stay on top of their game they need to keep moving.

Everything moves on. You will have to at some point too. Whether it’s a psychological journey, a physical journey or whatever, each one of us evolves over time. Our behaviours evolve too. For many of us who are well-practised in the art of ProPoints, it’s a boot up the backside we need to keep us on our toes. Maybe that’s the reason some have been scared of it?

The mechanics of the new system more or less functions in the same way as the old one, but a better version. For anyone reading this who is considering joining WeightWatchers, I can tell you that the overall response to this new plan has been overwhelmingly positive. It works. The focus is split into three sections which I’ll cover in separate posts.

Eat

Keeping the points system and a no-weigh alternative was a no-brainer. Everyone knew that the old system worked so WWs would have been crazy to scrap it. Enter SmartPoints and No Count. Truthfully, there isn’t a massive amount of difference in the eating side of things, WWs have simply redressed the balance between healthy and unhealthy foods to force members into making healthier choices (which, of course, we should all be doing anyway, ahem). Previously a small portion of fries (5ppts) could be happily guzzled for barely more than a chicken breast (4ppts). With some clever calculations and awesome algorithms, those same foods are now worlds apart. Chicken breast, now a measly 2 SmartPoints. Those fries? Try SIX UPWARDS depending on your restaurant of choice. The same is true of foods with added sugar – chocolate, yoghurts and the like have all shot up in values. I do notice that after being given a new daily points allowance (for people counting only) as well as a tweaked weekly allowance (given to no-count members as well) having these newly ‘expensive’ items are not outwith a realistic grasp. You just have to think long and hard to see if it’s worth it.

The upshot of this is that many members are choosing protein-rich, lower fat options and seriously limiting the sugar intake. That sounds like a healthy, positive diet to me. As I type today, I am two lbs lighter than when I started this blog nearly two years ago (Yikes! Where has the time gone?) and a-much-more-impressive 23lbs lighter than when I started back at WWs after surgery in the summer. If SmartPoints can continue the trend of the last few months, I’m in.

***Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with WeightWatchers, nor am I a paid blogger to promote the company or any of its products. All opinions are solely mine. I just happen to like it.***

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Exercise, Life Journey, Mental Wellbeing, Weight Loss

“I Haven’t Got Time”….

… “I’m too busy”. Go on, how many times have you said it? Work. Family. Obligations. Stuff. Life. It gets in the way.

Or does it? Being a veteran (10 years and counting) on the weight loss,  I’ve found that nine times out of ten it’s an excuse. The whole world is ‘too busy’. You’re not special because you are busy. If we weren’t ‘busy’, we’d all be depressed hermits and for those of us who like our food/drink, probably really, really fat. There are many people in this world that are ‘busy’ but seem to make time for things. I am not on my high horse. I’m the worst one for it, and it’s an ugly habit I’ve picked up from my father (sorry Dad).

If there is one thing I’ve learned, it is that you are actually not too busy. If you want to be fit and healthy, wealthy and wise, rule number one is – Look out for number one. No-one else is going to do it for you. If you aren’t fit and healthy, chances are you will come a cropper at some point. For most of us, being unable to work is detrimental to household cash-flow, which in turn opens up another can of worms entirely. So don’t be too jammed with tasks to look after yourself. A very wise person once told me the best way to maintain a balance between modern hectic life and self-preservation was about hobbies.

Everyone should have three hobbies: one to make you money, one to keep you fit and one to be creative.

I’m unintentionally living by it now, and it seems to be working. For the time being I am on my own with three dogs to care for, two of which are hyperactive collies that need ‘run’, not walked. My dogs never get left alone for more than four hours. If I’m going to be longer, my dear mother pops in on them. It’s not often. I’m working two different job roles, one of which involves working ungodly hours (hobby for money). 3 a.m start, anyone? I’m trying to write a novel, keep my blog and other writing duties in check (creative hobby) and I’m back running (keep fit hobby). I’m keeping the house. You get the picture.

In all of this, by some minor miracle, I still have time to chill out. Cook a nice roast for the family. Even if all you have is a teeny-tiny slot of 20 minutes to yourself each day, you can make time for yourself. Get organized and don’t let anything butt in on it. You are important – just as important as everything else you are committed to. If you really want it you won’t be too busy. This might be to take up one of the aforementioned hobbies.

In deciding how much time I have to assign to lovely little me, there are a few things I’ve noticed that seem to suck hours away in a flash:

Television/Netflix/Other generic binge-watching media. To me, TV is for weekends, not a default every night as soon as the table is cleared.

The dreaded iPad/mobile phone. Pinterest is a killer for me. I enjoy browsing the web for a bit of chill time, but I try to limit it.

Lack of ‘help around the house’. Not much I can do about this one, but others can. When someone asks you what you are doing on XX day, how many times have you replied, “Doing the ironing” or “Blitzing the housework”? Balance out the chores a bit – give yourself some breathing space. Even small children can do a bit to chip in, and you are teaching them about life. It’s a well-known fact that most households, despite both parents working full-time, rely on the female for most of their meals and ‘keeping house’. We do not live in the dark ages. I’m not suggesting that you make radical changes, but every little helps.

Aren’t we all entitled to a bit of ‘me-time’? That particular phrase usually conjures up images of a hen-pecked mother sinking into a bath with candles and a glass of wine, but not so. Physical and mental fitness are BOTH important, especially when losing weight. Use the time to go for a walk. Clear your head. Do something for yourself. Your future self will thank you for it.

I’m going to do my best to make sure I keep the ‘me time’ available for as long as possible. Hopefully y’all can do the same.

 

Life Journey, Mental Wellbeing, Weight Loss

Being the Best Version

So the weight loss is slow, but it’s starting to come off. 5lbs since the New Year, better than 5 lbs ON. In looking at my weight, I’ve been forced to investigate underneath that Weight Watchers ‘layer’ and take a more holistic look at my lifestyle, to try and make the weight loss as easy as possible.

I’ll be honest – I’ve always known what the problem is. I’m not a stupid person. I have no issue with exercise, and never have had. My eating is the problem. Well, actually it’s not – overeating is the by-product of my behaviour, thoughts and what I deem to be ‘solutions’ to problems. I know that it’s actually anxiety and stress that trigger my eating behaviours, and that’s a very difficult thing to admit to yourself or anyone else. For some reason it’s easier to say ‘I’m a pig’ than ‘I eat as an emotional crutch’. I think the latter sounds more like a weak answer and possibly comes across that way to others, especially as to any logical person, eating does not solve problems (unless the problem is hunger). I take issue with it because it’s one trait I hate – being weak. I am NOT a weak person in any sense, and it’s something that doesn’t sit well with me.

As I’ve gone through the last 5 years or so of my life after my crisis, I’ve always tried to be the best person I can, and continually improve myself. Science has taught me that if we don’t evolve, learn and adapt, we get left behind and that generally leads to unhappiness and/or conflict with the rest of the world. Learning new things and exposing oneself to new experiences helps us to ‘grow’ as people, makes us more broad-minded and compassionate towards others. Plus, we get to know ourselves better. How do you know if you don’t like broccoli if you’ve never tried it?

As a person with a thirst for knowledge, I like pushing my boundaries and learning new things. But, if it isn’t on my terms, it causes me all sorts of issues. This is where the stress and anxiety comes in. If I have no control over a situation, it puts me into a state of very real panic. Sweating. Numbness in limbs. Raised heart rate and blood pressure. Upset stomach. In extreme cases, vomiting. (My partners first memory of me was throwing up before one of our finals at university – nice.) I like routines. I like to plan and know what’s happening. I’m happy to try new things if it’s planned. My automatic reaction to panic/no control situations is to have an outburst, and then go to ground and eat/drink myself into oblivion. That makes me sound like a nut.

Everyone has their own ‘triggers’ and mine are just a little bit more extreme than some, but the point is, we are all human and not perfect. It’s when you get to a breaking point (those holiday snaps from when you were 3 stone heavier?) that you usually realise that you need to do something to change.

I learned this when I had my breakdown, and it is why I’m always trying to bring out a better version of myself. I don’t need to change, and I actually quite like the person that I am most of the time, but I need to improve. In being able to identify that I have a few broken logic patterns, I took a step towards Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). I’ve done a lot of reading, and CBT is a tool often used alongside medication for depressed/stressed/insomniac patients. CBT basically invites you to break down your principle thoughts-to-action processes in situations that make you feel like crap in order to establish where you are going wrong, and how to make changes to positively adjust these processes and improve your general mental health and self-worth.

As I read through some of these texts, I was focusing on my anxiety issues. What surprised me was I could directly relate a lot of the examples to my eating behaviours. Nearly every, single time. that kinda shocked me a little, because I didn’t realise quite how closely tied the two things are. That revelation in itself made me feel a million times better about myself. So now I’m trying to implement a few of the things I have learned, slowly, in preparation for GemGem v.31.1.

I’m not suggesting that everybody runs out and starts taking sessions on CBT, but take a minute to think about what your triggers are, and why you think reacting in the way that you do is ‘helpful’. Having a think about this can help you to understand what’s wrong and a path to fixing it. If you want to be a better version of yourself, you’ve got to move forward.

Exercise, Healthy Eating

What’s it Worth?

It’s how human beings live their lives. Everything has a value. Everything has to be ‘worth’ something. Think about it – think of everything you do, and why you do it. There’s usually only two answers to this. 1. It makes you money or 2. It makes you feel good/its something you want. Because that’s what worth is. It’s a measure of how much something is of benefit. Granted, sometimes it is in an indirect form like fundraising, or keeping family happy. You ‘earn’  for something else, but ultimately you are doing a good deed, so it is emotionally worthwhile for you.

It is therefore incredibly important as someone who is changing a lifestyle and trying to lose weight to assess our actions for ‘worth’. Specifically I’m talking about what we put in our mouths and what we do with our bodies (that sounds wrong on so many levels.) It’s a habit that is part of the process of changing the way we eat, and the choices we make, and it’s probably one of the most important parts of changing if you’re serious about doing it for good. It’s so simple, yet seems to be one of the hardest things to do.

I can say honestly, hand on heart, it’s one of the steps that I’ve conquered on this mission. It’s very simple: before you exercise or eat, all you have to do is stop and ask yourself: “Is it worth it?” don’t take everything at face value, but ask yourself at that moment, is it worth it? Let’s take an example considering the one thing –  A baked potato is worth 7ppts.

Your weigh-in day is Monday, and today is Tuesday. Yesterday you saw a 1 lb loss at the scales.  Your daily allowance is 27 points, and you’ve used 15 ppts during the day and you are planning dinner. A baked potato is an option because it’s quick, easy and filling. This is a feasible, sensible option as long as you pick a sensible filling. But is it worth it?

Consider the options. What time are you eating? Are you likely to be hungry later? What filling are you putting in it? What’s your strategy for the rest of the week? Do you always have pudding? If you don’t eat anything later and have a low-ppt filling like tuna and low-fat mayo (2-3ppts) that’s a definite yes. However, if you require a more filling filling (you know what I mean!) like beans (5ppts for half a can) and still eat a pudding or snack later, it’s not. You could easily pick a lower ppt dinner.

It’s this consideration that IS the “What’s it worth?” question. Ideally, you want to be doing this every time you go to eat something. I’m not saying that you should and will always pick the low-ProPoint, sensible option because there are times when this is not possible or you have made a conscious decision not to – but that’s exactly what it should be- a conscious decision.

The same goes for exercise – there’s a saying in the running world about running ‘junk miles’ – little, extra runs where you aren’t really putting in a decent effort. This can detract from ‘proper runs’ and take away from necessary rest days and vital recovery time for muscles. Plan your exercise, and don’t be tempted sneak in little extras. Chances are you won’t put in 100% and will overestimate the effort you’ve put in. It’s also possible to overeat because you’ve done a bit more. Again, ask yourself – is it worth it?

One-Point Wonders

In considering the above question in relation to food, there are several 1ppt food components that I use as go-to munches in a pinch, or when I make that decision to ransack my allowance for social occasions or treat-time and need to pull things back. It’s also good if you get fed up with fruit and veg.

  • Jaffa Cakes: chocolatey-orangey goodness for a wee treat
  • Sweet chilli sauce: Livens up pretty much anything savoury!
  • ASDA rye crispbread: Switch bread for one of these bad boys for a low-ppt alternative
  • WWs Vegetable squeeze ‘n’ stir soup – ideal if you have a big dinner planned
  • Wafer-thin ham: bulk out a vegetarian dish for veggie-phobes
  • Branston Pickle: Need I say more.
  • Lean bacon medallions: 2 for 1 point – perfect for a cooked breakfast
  • Maple Syrup: An excellent alternative to golden syrup
  • WWs layered Fromage Frais: Creamy and rich

This week, stop and make a measured decision about what you eat and do – it will help prevent any surprises on the scales, and may help you make better choices for a long, happy and healthy lifestyle.

Life Journey, Targets

Walter the Gatecrasher

Still triumphant after my 5k time, I’ve been jollying along this week embracing the Christmas Spirit. I’m a self-confessed Christmas junkie, and the only thing ruining it for me this year is the lack of crispy, cold weather. I can’t attend weigh-in before Christmas now due to work, so it’s kind of screwed up my thought processes a bit, and makes me worry about all my merry-making. I’ve decided to weigh-in at home, and keep myself as sensible as possible.

An Aside

Off my original train of thought here but still on the subject of sensible,  I was reading a popular running magazine last night and I often like to read about all the new scientific breakthrough reports. (I get really excited when they use proper sciency words, just because I know what they’re talking about!) I was HORRIFIED to read a segment on self-weighing. A woman who is a lead author for a study published in ‘Obesity’ (A leading scientific journal on fighting weight problems) suggests that ‘DAILY self-weighing can produce clinically significant weight loss’

This is typical of the scientific community and also of the media. And it makes me VERY annoyed. Scientific studies are very stark, controlled and black and white. They have to be in order to assess the effect of one factor, so they can say for certain one way or another, or prove or disprove. All other variables have to be controlled in order to achieve this. But in real life, when is this actually true? Never. There are always variables, and when it comes to losing weight, we can rarely control all of them. I think our obesity specialist needs to team up with a psychologist. Anyone who has ever had concerns about their weight knows that stepping on the scales every day is unhealthy, and often counter-productive.

I realise that this particular publication is not aimed at people who have food issues/weight problems, but, many readers of running magazines are running to lose weight, this statement was printed in the ‘fat-burning’ section of the magazine, and comes from a journal focusing on obesity. It’s exactly this type of sly placement that encourages obsessive behaviours (and maybe even more so in people who are a healthy weight) and is NOT the key to successful weight loss. There is no information on how, where or why this experiment was conducted, just this sensational claim  marked as ‘Instant Wisdom’. Do not implement everything you read.

 

I Digress….

With the Christmas Spirit comes, um, spirits. This weekend we had our Festive Party, inviting all our friends down to stay.Lots of tree-decorating, mulled wine, crackers and TONS of food (and drink!). I love cooking for people, and spent the whole of Saturday afternoon in my kitchen making lots of lovely tasty things. My halo was shining (even if it was propped up by an empty Jack Daniels’ bottle) as I made WWs recipe lasagne and a chicken arribiata pasta. Perfect.

Unfortunately, I am not a person of self control when it comes to parties, although I kept the main-course foodie-eating to a minimum, Walter basically sat on my shoulder all weekend shoving mince pies and beer down my throat. I tried to discreetly slide him onto my guests’ shoulders. Fail. Did I have fun? Yes. Would I do it again? Hell Yeah! BUT……. I have that usual nagging feeling on this here Monday morning. I could have been good. I feel guilty. I’m glad to be back to normal. I’ve put on loads of weight over the weekend. Think how much lighter I would be if I had more self control.

I was thinking about this in the car the other day. I think about my life over the last six months. If I omitted every social occasion and didn’t drink, what would I be left with? Working odd hours, running and feeding animals. That’s pretty much it. The only time I wouldn’t be on a farm is if I was out running or at the supermarket. To me, that’s pretty sad. When you pare it down like that, it’s pretty obvious that I NEED stuff like that in my life to keep a sense of balance. So what if it takes me two years to get to target? Life is for living, and the older I get the more I realise that life slips away so quickly. A friend of mine that lost weight and kept it off said to me once: “Enjoy the journey, the mini-goals and the triumphs, because maintaining your weight is not nearly as much fun as the changes you go through on the way”

I think she’s right. Much as I still enjoy having my party hat on, I think I’ll swap it back for my running shoes this afternoon – after all, my 10k PB isn’t going to beat itself, is it? 😉

Exercise, Life Journey, Mental Wellbeing, Running

Fight.

Today I was asked a question about why I don’t talk more about the intricacies of WW in my blog. I thought it was an odd question, but valid all the same. The topics I cover here are based on the thoughts and feelings I go through every week as I make my way into creating healthy habits for a lifetime – sometimes this results in a ‘dear diary’ sort-of effort,  other times it throws up more interesting material. I’m not any sort of WWs ambassador and am far from perfect when it comes to following the plan, but ultimately I still hope to help people along their journey, even if it’s just distracting them from snacking for a few minutes to read my blog. Plus, that’s what you pay your Monthly Pass for.

Keeping on Track

In my last post I talked a little about the day-to-day grind of keeping up motivation and how it can affect us emotionally. Today I had to heed my own words, and thought about my situation (and all of YOU, too). I’ve not had the best week, my eating master plan for work backfired (Hank Marvin at 9 in the morning in the middle of nowhere with nothing to eat), I ended up with surprise guests over the weekend and running opportunities have been limited. I could have easily just written this week off, not gone for a run this morning and called it a do.

I had a pretty good chat with myself – I knew I wanted to go for a run, I knew it would do me good, but I was cosy on the sofa in my slippers with the dogs…  Cordelia popped in as the voice of reason: ‘If you run today/tomorrow and REALLY keep your points in check, you are making less work for yourself next week – even if you gain, it will be less than if you don’t do anything…..’. Shes right. Again. (No wonder Walter doesn’t like her)

It made me think about my actions over the last nine months and what’s changed. My weight loss hasn’t been as rapid as I would have liked, but I’m a dress size smaller, I’m a different shape, I’m a lot fitter and I eat less than I used to. That’s progress. The only reason this has happened is because I’ve kept at it. I could have easily given up over the last six weeks, and although they’ve been crazy, I still had it in my head that I’d be going back to class. There was no questioning or reasoning in my head, that’s just the way it was, and I’m glad.

You only lose the fight if you stop fighting. So fight. And keep fighting. You WILL win eventually if you keep fighting. So fight.

I ran like hell this morning. (Well, as like hell as a 3-stone overweight 5ft 3 Italian with short legs can) I ran my home route with it’s downhill/uphill carry on, and push, push pushed all the way. Normally I try and hold back a bit on the way out so I don’t run out of steam in the last half-mile – today I ran like that little boy in the playground. At one point I was running an eight-and-a-half minute mile (waaay to fast for hills!) and guess what? I regretted it on the way back up.

Fighting Like Hell

My face was hot. The sweat was dripping into my eyes, stinging, and my legs were screaming at me. My high-vis was annoying me. So was my armband. I wanted to take all my clothes off because I was too warm. I wanted to slap the Runkeeper lady and tell her to shut up. I wanted to stop and walk so, so, so bad. At that point, Cordelia started with me again, and I really wasn’t in the mood. Am I going to be sick? No. Am I going to pass out? No. Am I dead? No. Well keep running then.

I repeated this to myself out loud all the way back in the last mile (I’m REALLY glad there’s not many people about where I live!) in amongst things like ‘Dig in!’, ‘Come on, Gem, get a grip!’ and ‘ PUSH!, Nearly there!’

I made it home and literally had everything off before I was inside the porch door. It was then, when I stopped that I realised I’m actually full of willpower, determination and sheer stubbornness. I just need to harness it a bit better. After looking at my Runkeeper, I saw why being determined is good, and why it’s important to keep on fighting. I ran my 5k hill route in twenty-eight minutes and forty-seven seconds. My route best is 30:41. My season best (on a much flatter course) is 30:01.

Holy Moses.

See What Determination Can Do?

Can you imagine how differently my day could have turned out if I didn’t go that run this morning? I’d probably still be languishing in my jammies pinning winter scenes to my Christmas Pinterest board, eating toast and drinking tea.  It’s completely set me up for the rest of the day, and I know my eating and tracking will be spot on. It’s also spurred me on to carry through to weigh-in tomorrow night, and even though there is a possibility that I might put on, I know it won’t be as much as it could have been.

So please,  if you are having an off day/week, do something positive RIGHT NOW and things will change. Take two things from this post today:

  1. ‘I’m not puking, I’m not fainting, I’m not dead, so I’m running’
  2. You’ll only lose the fight if you stop fighting……
Healthy Eating, Life Journey, Weight Loss

Importance of Why we Overeat

So I have a weight problem, and have had all of my adult life. Granted, I don’t fall into the morbidly obese category but where I am is just as dangerous, just not as well publicised. I am one of the forgotten cases, just like many others. The media, in it’s grand tradition of sensationalizing and scaremongering reports only the extreme cases (at both ends of the spectrum) and the rest of us are just left to get on with it. Unless you have plenty of spare cash floating about there are no gastric bands, extreme bootcamps or radical plastic surgery options.

What they don’t reiterate often enough for people that fall into the ‘commonly cuddly’ category is that carrying SOME excess weight for most of your life ends in bad joints, particularly knees and hips as well as the usual high blood pressure/diabetes/heart disease issues. I live in Scotland, and we are the heart attack capital of Europe. We are notoriously heavy drinkers, and our love of deep-fried foods is unrivalled (deep-fried Mars bar, anyone?) Granted, we do not have mammoth pizzas and buckets of fizzy pop like our buddies over the pond and our portion sizes are worlds apart, but we most definitely still have a weight problem.

One of the main problems I have found personally that has been part of my undoing is my shape and build. I have Italian lineage, and all of my family are short, muscular, the women are big-busted and most of them overweight. And true to form, we are all passionate, hot-headed and have ridiculous appetites. I can pack away a serious amount of food. And wine. I accept that I will never be a size 6 with legs up to my armpits, but this does not mean I can’t make the best of what I’ve got. My doctor says I ‘weigh heavy’ – i.e I look a lot lighter than I am. This is due mainly to muscle structure, as muscle is denser than fat and a lb of fat takes up more space than a lb of muscle. (That’ll be the Italian farmer roots, then?)

Let’s take my friend. She is 5ft 8, weighs  10st and wears a size  12. I am four inches shorter, 3 stone heavier but only one, sometimes two dress sizes bigger – she hates this. When I was 11 stone, I was a 12 and she could not get her head round it. Because of this though, at 9 stone I looked underweight and unwell,so I will never be able to go down that far. But this is part of the problem. Not only do I weigh heavy, but I am in proportion. When I put on weight, I don’t get a fat backside or flabby arms – it goes on everywhere equally, so you don’t notice it. Then it creeps on gradually. People tell me all the time I’m not fat. I’m just cuddly. I’m big-boned. I’m NOT big-boned, I have tiny wrists and hands and at a healthy weight my back measurement for a bra is 27 inches. That’s how I ended up at 15 stone at the age of 21.

Aside from the physical make-up of weight issues, it is important to assess the mental aspect. Why, as a child and teenager a perfectly normal weight, and then become overweight straight into adulthood? I think there are two main aspects, and it is important to identify these in order to break the chain. As a child growing up, my mother fed me. She made everything from scratch, and it was good, wholesome food. But my mother was also very overweight. She was a ‘secret eater’ with stashes of junk food I used to trip over. I never saw my mum thin. Ever. My father, who I used to spend a lot of time with, was a binge-eater and slightly overweight. He would go days on minimal amounts of healthy foods and then gorge on chocolate, sugary drinks and packets of crisps. I watched this as a child and picked up these habits without even knowing it.

Now 20 years on, my mother is still excessively overweight and still battling, and my dad is a normal weight but still very much has food issues and is forever trying faddy diets,cutting out food groups and eating weird and not so wonderful combinations. I do not want to be these people. I do all the things that they have done, and that is something I need to work on changing.

The second aspect relates to when I was unwell. At the time, I was a healthy weight (having lost 5st) and work became stressful. I developed insomnia, depression alopecia and stopped eating. When I finally left my job, I began comfort eating to fill the void that was my ‘failure’ in my job, and my weight rocketed. I am a different, better and stronger person for that experience, but I know that it affected how I eat. I associate that period of my life with failure, and it was the only time in my adult life I was a healthy weight, thus tying the two aspects together.

So, knowing and exploring the two main reasons why I overeat, we now need to look at HOW. By doing this, we can change destructive patterns and habits to aid in a long-term healthier outlook. Many diecticians talk about ‘types’ of eaters, and there are many different kinds. Unfortunately I fall into almost all of the categories.

  1. Emotional/Comfort Eating – usually linked to negative feelings i.e break ups or PMS, used to ‘cheer’ oneself up.
  2. Boredom Eating – *twiddles thumbs* ‘Oh look! There’s the kitchen!
  3. Eating because it’s there – ‘I swear blind, those cookies are winking at me…’
  4. Binge Eating – usually as a result of starving oneself, a mammoth overeat in one session. Usually leads to feelings of guilt.

There are many other types including sugar addictions, secret snackers etc. I urge anyone reading this to research this aspect if planning to lose weight and change habits, because it helps to identify where positive changes can be made.

I am now taking a long, hard look at all of the things I’ve talked about in this post, and coming up with an action plan on how to make changes. Remember, folks, baby steps.