Wednesday, 25 March 2015

My weight loss journey - how easy was that?


It's a non-book-related post today because, quite frankly, I'm just not feeling the writing vibe this afternoon. So, rather than sitting here faffing about on Pinterest, I thought I'd share a little bit about my recent weight loss... Here goes...

For as long as I can remember I've had a battle with my weight. It wasn't so bad when I was younger because I was a child of the 70s, and back then there were no such things as Playstations or laptops or satellite television, so we were usually to be found outside tearing around on our bikes, or pretending to be Charlie's Angels - and I mean the TV show, not the movie!! Yeah. That was our life back then, kids! We even walked to school! Almost unheard of these days, but we also had no such thing as Facebook or mobile phones, so the only chance we got to catch up with our mates before class was to actually talk to them, face-to-face, on the walk to school. 

Anyway, because of this extensive outdoor activity I was never really an overweight child. And we ate some rubbish back then, too, believe me. Once I reached my teens, though, that's when things changed. When diets became a part of my world, and ever since then I have veered from quite overweight to the perfect size 8-10 (4-6 if you're in the US). My weight has been up and down more times than a demented yo-yo! But last year it all kind of came to a head. Both my husband and I knew we'd put on weight - and quite a bit of weight, too - but we'd just used age as an excuse, you know the kind of thing; what's the point in trying to lose weight once you hit 40+? Doesn't your metabolism give up the ghost and nothing shifts anyway? No. That's complete rubbish, and to be quite honest, we were just in denial. 

So, last summer, both my husband and I stood on those neglected bathroom scales, faced the terrifying truth (I was almost 11 stone! My heaviest yet!!), and started to do something about it. And now, almost 9 months later, we've both lost over 3 stone each, look better, feel better, and our eating habits have changed in a way that will make sure we won't put that weight back on in a hurry. And it really was quite easy. How? When, in the past, I have faced every diet I've ever undertaken with a feeling of dread, which was why they never really lasted all that long. Well, for starters, losing the weight as a couple was a HUGE advantage. And secondly, I don't think either of us could have done it without the help of a little app called My Fitness Pal



And what's more, it's a FREE app! (Download it HERE).You fill in your details, set yourself a target weight, a goal, and then all you have to do is enter in ALL the food you eat - and they have a MASSIVE database of food, so anything you put in there is almost guaranteed to appear - and it counts up the calories for you, letting you know how many you have spare as the day goes on, and whether or not you're going over. 



It also lists all the nutritional information of the food you eat, so you can keep an eye on things like your fat, protein and carbohydrate intake, too. OK, it takes up a bit of time, having to enter in everything you eat, but without that I seriously doubt we would have lost the weight. Because it also educated us about food - about the type of things we were eating that we thought were OK for us, when really they were something we should be substituting. Take bread, for example. We always thought bread was OK. And it isn't exactly bad for you, just quite calorific. But I wasn't going to give it up. So we replaced it with Danish bread - half the calories, just as nice, and it makes cracking toast! To be honest, we didn't actually give that much up. We just cut down. Portion sizes had been a real problem, and one of the things that I think had added to our weight gain. So those were cut down. Instead of binge-eating a whole bar of chocolate at the weekend, I ate a couple of squares a night, therefore spreading the calories around. And I did NOT give up alcohol! No one was taking that pleasure away from me. Basically, as long as you log it all into My Fitness Pal, and keep an eye on the calories, you can eat pretty much what you like, within reason, of course. And exercise needs to play a part. We've bought a treadmill, some weights, and we both exercise regularly. And it's helped. We can both see the changes, and feel the benefits. I feel younger, more alert, more confident. Losing the weight has been the best thing we've done.

And, to keep an even closer eye on things, because neither of us really need to lose any more weight, but we don't want to put any back on, either, we've now bought something called a FitBit - a small flexible bracelet that counts your daily steps, the calories you're burning, etc., and then syncs all that information with My Fitness Pal to give you an even more accurate read-out of your daily exercise and calorie intake. 


A FitBit flexible
In terms of a tool that helps you to control your weight, it's an absolute must as far as I'm concerned. Because, this time, I have no intention of re-gaining that weight I've lost. I've reached my ideal weight - just under 8 stone, and back down to a size 8-10 (US 4-6). It's a weight I'm happy with. And I'm staying this size! 


However, if all else fails, I can always call on this man, American fitness expert and TV host Jessie Pavelka, to get me back me back on the straight and narrow. And I'm not sure that'd be a bad thing... ;-)



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