Healthy Eating, Targets, Weight Loss

Motivation Flotation

Motivation. One of the key ingredients to weight loss. Without it, it’s pretty difficult.

We all know that feeling whether our weight-loss journey has been (or is) long or short – the first few weeks of following a new plan or a ‘fresh start’ after a  period of indulgence. You’re fired up, ready to go, everything is precise, strict and you can visualize that sparkly, figure-hugging little dress on your smaller, tighter, more-toned body. The weight comes off quickly and you think you’ve got it in the bag and you CAN do this. Goal weight will happen. Some people even put a timescale on it. Some people achieve it without too many setbacks, although I’ve found those are a rare breed.

I’ve learned the hard way. What I’ve described above I realize is not motivation, it’s intention. I’m full of good intentions. Motivation is the ability to continuously follow through on those intentions and gather the strength to keep moving towards your goal even when you don’t want to.

My intention this year was to lose the weight I put on when I moved house and a little more, so that by the time Christmas rolled round (Yes. There. I said the C-word.) I would be at least a few pounds lighter than I was the previous year. My Christmas weigh-in last year put me just into a new number (12st 13) and no more. I thought that Christmas was my motivation.

Yet the other day with six weeks to go and weighing 13st 1.5, I stood in my kitchen stuffing handfuls of grated mozzarella into my mouth and washing it down with beer. I had no inclination whatsoever to cook, James was working late and I felt so fed up it was unreal. Beer lead to crisps, which then led to more beer. I knew what I was doing – I’m not stupid, and I’ve lost enough weight in my lifetime to know the difference between good and bad eating habits. My poor eating and mood continued for a few days and I’m now dreading the scales this week. My motivation had truly deserted me. Perhaps it was drowning in all the beer.

What’s wrong with me? I’m so close to that not-so-new number again – why would I not be motivated to eat well and get there? That’s the million-dollar question. I fee like answering that would give me the formula for motivation. I’d bottle it, sell it and be a very rich lady.

And that’s the point. I’m human. I’m not going to be 100% motivated one hundred per cent of the time. So what can I do to buoy it? Everything and anything I can. Draw a line. Change it up. Use support networks. I could do any one of those things.

I decided to use my journal and draw up a pretty page as a tracker, and use coloured pens to fill it in. It’s sitting open at my place on the kitchen table. This might sound like an odd course of action, but it works for me because I hate an incomplete page in my journal. On the opposite page I’ve stuck the photo of me last Christmas at weigh-in.

The other thing this whole episode reminded me to do was not beat myself up over it. So I’ve tried not to, I really have. It took some convincing, but I think I’ve managed. I’ve successfully steered my brain into thinking that every day I make better choices means a better chance at not gaining weight. If that’s what motivation looks like right now, then it’s bobbing at the top of the beer glass.

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Life Journey, Relationships, Targets, Weight Loss

Boom!

So I dropped into class with my Mum on Thursday. I stepped on the scales knowing that I definitely hadn’t put on any weight, and was feeling good about a STS. Having a handle on my eating habits makes all the difference when getting on the scales. I genuinely didn’t care if I didn’t see a loss, simply because I felt as if I had got my eating back under control. I was delighted to hear the ‘beep’ and see 13st 5 – my 10%! BOOM!

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I gladly posed for my little photo that my leader insists on taking and received my card and keyring. In ten years of trying to lose weight, that is now my third 10% keyring. I still have the other two, and I’ve kept them as a reminder. Not to remind myself that this is a third attempt or that my previous two attempts were a failure, but to serve as a testament of my stubbornness never to give up. Keep trying. Keep on truckin’. That’s all I can do. IMG_1375

The meeting itself was quite a deep and emotional affair, and I talked candidly about the effect a large weight loss has had on my mother. She’s lost 80lbs, and genuinely is a different person, inside and out – it’s changed her life. And she’s awesome. It made me think about myself. By the time I’m finished, I’ll have lost over 50lbs. Will it change me? I don’t have the lacking confidence like mum did, or the health issues. What else is there to change other than what I see in the mirror?  I had a little talk with myself and decided it doesn’t matter as long as the changes are positive ones –  but I’m not giving up until I find out.

I don’t often go to class with Mum because of my work schedule, but I’m really glad I did. The mutual support is a big help, and there are more connections than both of us realize. We should be there for each other as much as possible, and I’m going to go with her every chance I get. My next goal is my 25lb certificate, which is 4lbs away. I’ll get it at the same weight my mum was when she got her last certificate… I think the weight-loss gods are trying to tell us something?

 

 

Targets, Weight Loss

Didn’t She Do Well?

That escalated quickly.

I sauntered in to my weigh-in this morning full of hope for my 5% goal of 14st 2. I stepped on the scales and my leader said:  “Oh my God!”…. I panicked. I’ve been really good this week, exercised and tracked everything. Surely I hadn’t put on? No, no, no. It was an exclamation of surprise, but for the right reasons. I’ve lost 5lbs – I’m 13st 12.5. Smashed my 5% target, into a new number and half a pound from my stone, and second silver seven. I couldn’t believe it. Cordelia was smiling proudly in the corner of my brain, clapping demurely.

My brain reacted quickly to the clapping – always one for a challenge, I immediately said, “Let me get off and on again to see if I can’t get this stone.” I took off my shirt and hopped back on.

Beep.

13st 12 on the button. Cordelia dispensed with the conservative clapping, whooped, and started dancing in circles, flashing her petticoat at all and sundry. I did a little dance too, and got a massive cuddle from my leader, accompanied by applause from the other WWs. Pleased as punch!

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Although I feel like I’ve achieved above my own expectations, the hard work needs to continue. I have still got a long way to go. I have 5lbs left to lose to get running again, and more hard work will need to follow to get my fitness level back to where it was this time last year. But I’m ready.

More pressing is the coming week. I have my partner home from work (he works away). It’s his birthday, and we will be eating out no fewer than four times before I next weigh in, as well as ‘socialising’ a few nights too. I’m being realistic, I don’t expect a loss next week, maybe even a gain. I’m not one of those people who goes out and orders a chicken salad with no dressing. Life is for living, but I’m taking a tempered approach. I’m going to stick to low-point foods and meals outside of these occasions. I’m going to plan ahead if I can with online menus from the restaurants. I’ll estimate Propoints for meals which I don’t know the value of, and continue tracking and walking as I have been. No beer, no wine. If I want to drink, spirits and diet mixers only. I’m hoping this all-encompassing approach will limit the amount of chaos this week will cause, and draw a line under it next Sunday when James leaves.

Wish me luck.

Healthy Eating, Targets, Weight Loss

These are a Few of My Favourite Things…..

Finally back at Weight Watchers, and I’m really, really glad that I made the decision to do it. As planned, I got on the scales at home the day before, and was relieved to find that I wasn’t heavier than when I started WWs in 2013. Just. This didn’t detract from the fact that none of my clothes fit me, and I was entirely miserable.

The first meeting back, our leader asked us to set a 4-week goal as it’s been found that if you stay to your first four classes, you are more likely to stick it out. My goal was to lose seven lbs in that first four weeks to take me safely back into the ’12’s. Two weigh-ins later, I’m so-so- my first week was amazing and I lost 4.5 lbs. I replicated my first weeks’ eating and cut out the booze the second week and weighed in. Wait for it….. I put on 1lb! I’ve never been so cheesed off about one freakin’ pound. At the time I found it quite disheartening, but have miraculously turned it into determination to lose this week. I’m halfway to my four-week goal and I ain’t giving up that easy!

I don’t know why this has happened, but I have meticulously tracked every morsel, movement and munchie that has gone on in a bid to get this weight-loss kick-started- it is possible that current hormonal issues may be affecting things, but if I put on again this week, what do I do? Fingers crossed………

Stay Positive and Love Stuff

In a bid to keep positive, I’ve surrounded myself with lots of good stuff that I like to eat. For those of us who are WWs Lifers, it’s easy to get stuck in a food rut and eat the same, day in, day out. Then we get fed up. Then we eat more ‘interesting’ things. That we haven’t ProPointed. Then we feel shame when we eventually find out the values. Then it goes horribly wrong……

The things shown here are items I use most days, and I’m hoping it might encourage you lovely readers to try something different and switch up your eating. If you are new to WWs, it might give you some ideas for planning your eating.

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Splenda: 0ppts – this is a must for me, it’s the closest thing to sugar without being sugar. I like sweet tea. I like sweet porridge. I drink a lot of tea. I eat a lot of porridge. I’ve tried stevia extract sweeteners, and they are rotten. Aspartame- based sweeteners give me a headache. Splenda is pricey but versatile, as I use it for baking as well, lowering PPts values for ‘naughty’ things.

Tinned Fruit Cocktail: 0ppts – note- this refers to fruit in natural juice, which is drained off before eating. I regularly use these as an afternoon snack, because there are so many flavours without any of the hassle- I eat a whole tin in one go, kinda like a bowl of cereal, and the best of it is, it counts as 2 of my 5-a-day!

Warburtons Wholemeal Thins: 3 PPts, Free on F & H- a godsend. I am a carb freak, and used to easily munch my way through half a toastie loaf without thinking about it. No more! I build massive skyscraper sandwiches with these little bad boys, cutting down the points by half of what I used to eat. Quite versatile, too. Very good for curbing that bread-y craving. Beware: toast at your peril. (think Melba toast)

Blueberries: 0ppts – this is a recent one for me, full of antioxidants and fabulous in porridge. Sometimes I make a smoothie in the morning, and blueberries give it the most awesome colour! Also try berry toasts, which can be found in the WWs ‘your way’ booklet.

Bananas: 0ppts – I eat these every day. As a runner, bananas are one of the few things that agree with me before a run, so I’ve always had one at breakfast time (sometimes they go into the smoothie or the porridge!)

WWs sausages: 1ppt each – Oh. My. Word. A sausage for ONE ProPoint? Amazing! More to the point, a TASTY sausage. Switch in for a healthy Sunday fry-up, slice and have in a sandwich cold, or bake in the oven for bangers ‘n’ mash. Fabulous.

Jaffa Cakes: 1ppt each – this is my ‘biscuit’ substitute. I know they are technically not biscuits, but for 1 measly point you get chocolate, tangy orangey goodness and a little sweet sponge.

Maple Syrup: 1ppt per 2 teaspoons – great as a natural sweetener, once again, this sometimes goes in the ole porridge, on pancakes, ice cream….. And for a special treat, bung it in a low-cal hot chocolate.

Olives: 1ppt for 10: I know these are not for everyone, but I love them for ‘picking’ – that point in the day when you’re not really hungry but hankering for something. Pickled onions are another favourite of mine.

Finally, the one thing I could not survive without. Crisps. I eat crisps every day and it’s the one thing I would feel deprived of if I was on a ‘diet’. These pickled onion Space Raiders are a ProPoint bargain a 2 per packet, meaning I can easily slot them into my daily allowance while still making other healthy choices. So there you are, you can eat crisps every day, still have a balanced diet and lose weight.

What are your go-to foods and favourites?

Exercise, Life Journey, Running, Stop Smoking, Targets

No Smoke (ing) Without Fire

The first full week of ‘behaving’ into the New Year has been interesting. I’ve got myself very organised, and got straight all the things in my head that need to be done. The next date that sticks in my head is my 30th Birthday in March, the day after my Half Marathon, so I can review my overall goals again then, and I’ve felt for a while that this will be a major turning point in my life. I weighed in on Saturday, finding that I was just 2.5 lbs heavier over the Festive period than at my pre-Christmas weigh-in. Not bad considering I ran twice over the two and a half weeks, and ate and drank like it was going out of fashion.

Patchy Patches

My weight hasn’t really been my main concern this week, because I’ve been overridden by the urge to SMOKE. It has consumed me, and Walter is poking me in the side of the head with his dirty, chubby finger whilst he puffs away on a Lambert & Butler. James and I decided to quit together, which is much easier I have to say, but it has meant that we have both been like bears with sore backsides since New Year’s Day.

I joined a smoking cessation programme at my local pharmacy to try and make things a bit easier on myself, and I need to check in once a week for the next 12 weeks. I was offered NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) which is supposed to help take the edge off the cravings and eventually wean you off nicotine completely. I was offered loads of different options, and I specifically wanted to get away from the smoking motion of hand-to-mouth so refused an inhalator or electronic cigarette, and patches seemed to be the most sensible (and least disgusting) option.

It’s not going so good. Granted, I haven’t touched a cigarette in 5 days, but there are a few practicality flaws in the Masterplan. Firstly, you only get a weeks’ worth at a time, and you only wear one a day during your waking hours. Great, but no matter where you stick them on your body, the first hint of moisture and they peel right off and don’t stick again. So if you are showering/running/exercising you need to wait ’til you are done before you slap your patch on, or face the rest of the day nicotine-less. This has resulted in a few very tense mornings in our house, with cravings gnawing away at me sometimes until well after lunch-time.

The second issue is strength. I’ve smoked 10-15 cigarettes a day for nearly 15 years (give or take a few previous attempts at quitting) and the patches decrease in strength in three steps. Lovely stop-smoking lady gave me the mammoth strongest ones but said I may only need them for a week or two (instead of the full three) before switching down to middle-strength. If I wear one of these patches (which is roughly the size of a fold-out road map of London, by the way) I think I’m going to vomit within 2 hours, and end up taking them off.

Thankfully I’ve found a remedy for both problems that’s sorted me until my visit on Wednesday – I’ve done a little DIY job on them – Cut them in half. This gives me less nicotine, and also gives me 2 patches so I can wear one pre- and post-run 🙂

I’m going to bring these points up with my Cessation Leader and hopefully next week will be better…….

Weird things are starting to happen – I can smell my house. James and I have never smoked in the house, but I can smell stale smoke on the coats hanging in the hallway, and the laundry basket smells of it too (Febreze!) I can also smell ‘doggy smell’ in the porch – where the collies are left to dry off after a hard day at work.

We’ve binned all the lighters, so there really are no means of smoking at all. This is also weird – it’s unusual to get through a load of washing without seeing one swishing about in the washing machine! I’m not sure if my lungs are starting to work better yet, but my chest doesn’t feel as heavy when I wake in the morning, and I can taste the awful morning-breath. At least as a smoker you know you smell like a week-old ashtray when you wake up, but now I cannot identify the grotesque smells emanating from my mouth. It gives me an overwhelming compulsion to brush my teeth.  Suppose that’s a good thing.

Something that interests me is the ‘Stop Smoking Timeline’ and added benefits – lung function and circulation are important to me for running, and it’s nice to see how things are coming along. Nicotine levels obviously don’t apply to me for the next 11 weeks, but all the other nasties are leaving my body rapidly, and I like being able to compare how I’m feeling to the chart.

Change is as Good as a Rest…..

In other news, my WW leader decided to give up my meeting. I did not like this. I do not like change with stuff like that. I was annoyed, (purely for selfish reasons!) but this was partly due to the difficulty of trying to get to a meeting in between work – the two meetings are 20 miles each in different directions from home, and I was starting to get frustrated. I NEED the discipline of knowing that someone is going to be weighing me in, and also now I’d be jumping between 2 leaders.

I received a text message from a strange number on the 2nd of January. It was my new leader telling me that the meeting venue had changed, and there would be an additional meeting on a SATURDAY! HAPPY DAYS! Another problem solved! 1 meeting I can attend regularly, 1 leader (who is lovely and also a keen runner) no more hassle. Voila!

Race Day looms ever closer, and training is increasing. I’ve clocked up 26 miles running and at least 5 walking this week, so I’m hoping this will give my weight-loss a much-needed boost over the next few weeks. My sponsor forms are ready to go, and I’m now explaining to people what I’m running for. It’s a non-profit organization in the village that offers support to the frail and elderly in the local community, helping them to stay independent for as long as possible. Ballantrae has welcomed me wonderfully over the last year, so it’s nice to put something back.

I’ve yet to pick up my guitar, but other resolutions are off to a good start, so here’s hoping for another week of not-smoking, more running, a loss at the scales on Saturday, and maybe even a little strum…..

 

 

Healthy Eating, Running, Targets

Soup

Weigh in:  STS

I’ve had an interesting little holiday. I decided to take a week off from everything usual to get some more unusual things done. This included travelling 400 miles in one day, spoiling the Birthday Boy, nursing a fat foot, purchase of a car and having a little spending splurge (Very uncharacteristic). Although I’ve taken some time out, I still went to class to get weighed in, and went up and back down since my last post. I did, however get my 10% keyring and added it to my keys – I already have one of these, and it’s a reminder that I’m never adding a third. Do it once, do it right.

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‘New Shoes? Suits you Sir!’

After hitting my 10k distance I planned to go to a specialist running shop and get fitted for new pair of shoes and roped Mother Dear in for a girly trip. Before I managed to get that far, I managed to do myself an injury. I ran a total of 6 miles on the Sunday and then walked 5 miles to the pub (ahem) for some drinks for James’ birthday. I woke up on Monday morning with a fat foot which was painful to stand on. How the hell was I going to get a shoe on that?! (Sniggers from Walter)

It turns out I had tendinitis – an inflammation of the tendons usually caused by over-working the foot with poor support (i.e crap shoes – there’s a surprise) After some frantic RICE, some anti-inflammatories and a word from the doctor (‘No running for two weeks’ – yeah right!) Thursday arrived and my foot looked almost normal and the pain was gone.

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I was absolutely amazed at how far shoe technology has come on – it’s been a long time since I bought a pair and they have become like racing cars – slim, sleek and light. I bought a fantastic pair of shoes and immediately shaved over a minute off my 5k time on the first run!

Autumn

Between holidays/mood/laziness I’ve felt I’ve sort of been languishing on the eating front, and relying heavily on running – i.e I run to eat, not eat to run. Hurting my foot made me realise this (that’s how to put on 4lbs in a week!), and made the firm decision to get my finger out and track properly. I find the run up to Christmas (sorry) easier to keep on the straight and narrow, as the weather is still reasonable enough to get out and run, but the inclination to drink beer disappears because the sun isn’t out. Also, autumn means SOUP!

I love soup.

What’s not to love? Something warm, tasty and filling with zero points. I’m not talking watery chicken noodle/cup a soup-type rubbish, I mean proper, thick, squidgy standy-up-spoon type-of-soup. Perfect. The sky is the limit when it comes to flavours and combinations, so if you do ANYTHING this week, make a pot of soup. For those of you unfamiliar with this, I’ll post a recipe up later.

As Cordelia and I spent the last few days perfecting our soup game plan, meeting day rolled round and I was relieved to find I’d lost the 4 lbs I’d put on the previous week – just a blip from inactivity. Imagine my glee when I opened up my ‘Your Week’ leaflet to see the 12-week countdown to the party season. Great timing, and it’s pinned on my Weight Watchers board and finishes up a few weeks before I start my half marathon training plan.

Things seem to be coming back together, and I’m relieved that I have no more holidays/events/birthdays to deal with, so I can get stuck in, beat the impending stone hump and eat buckets of soup. Christmas party season in 12 weeks? Bring it on, Sissy.

Exercise, Targets, Weight Loss

The Happy Wardrobe Dance

Weigh in:  2.5lbs loss

I’ve made my first wardrobe goal! Last night I poured myself a large JD and diet, and spent an evening trying on a pile of clothes that didn’t fit me 15lbs ago. It was met with moderate success, fitting into a lot of my favourites that had been languishing at the back of the cupboard. (I did a little victory dance in a lovely red dress)  My two pairs of work trousers and favourite jeans were another matter. Have you ever tried something on that you can get fastened but it’s just too tight for comfort? That was me. I relegated one pair of work trousers to the next Happy Wardrobe  Dance (another 7lbs away) and the other I decided to promote to mainstream wardrobe. I reckon they will slacken off in two weeks or so, but in the meantime will be fine for shifts in the office when I’m not bending down to pick up boxes (rrriiiiip!) The same situation with the favourite jeans – just don’t think I’d be comfortable in them for a whole day.

Eating

Although I did well on the scales this week, I didn’t do well eating and tracking. My experiment was put straight out the window with the arrival of ‘time of the month’ (Cue cravings for bread, crisps, pasta) so I resorted to damage limitation and after getting the all-clear from the doc this week, strapped my knee up and ran like hell. I loved all of it (well, apart from the last uphill quarter mile on every run) and squeezed in 3 5k runs, a 3.5 miler and a 2 mile speed run. This is clearly what got me my loss. I realise that this kind of running isn’t sustainable at the moment, and need to address my eating this week. Easy Solution? Send my tracker to my mother every day via iMessage. She’ll kick my arse if I don’t behave!  Job Done!

Plans 

After talking at our meeting about making a commitment over the next few weeks, I realised I am 2.5 lbs away from my 10% goal. I’ve committed to getting there by James’ birthday, which is 2 weigh-ins away. This week we are having a party at home for all of our Uni friends, so realistically a 1lb loss will be enough for me. The following week I’m going for it and will get that 1.5lbs to get to 10%.

Immediately in my head, that makes me think about how close I am to the ‘stone hump’ and getting into the 11s – something I remember is feeling really good through my 11 stone bracket last time, because it was a transition from being ‘big’ to just carrying a little extra weight.

Reflection

Going through the clothes-sorting  process has been a huge motivator for me and I strongly urge anyone who still has ‘skinny clothes’ to put them somewhere visible, and use them as a Non-Scale Victory. Mine have been in a pile in my wardrobe with a label hanging from them saying ‘Try on at 12st 7’ – something I see every time I open that door. Directly underneath is my running gear.

Today I get to change that label to 11st 13 and think about the next pile of nice clothes I’m missing out on. It’s days like today I’m glad I never threw out my size 10 (U.S 6?) clothes from the first time, and that I have a steady stream of smaller clothes to try on. If you don’t have that luxury, why not buy a few items you love in various sizes and do it that way?

Go on, try it – maybe in a few weeks you can do a Happy Wardrobe Dance all of your own 🙂