The recognised and 'approved' formula for losing weight is - good, healthy food, in sensible, balanced amounts, plus exercise = weight loss. My formula this week (for most but not all days) has been - eat crap in small amounts plus exercise a bit more than you used to a few months ago = weight loss. Woohoo! I lost 4lbs this week!
OK, so the experts would say cut out the crap. Your body doesn't need it. I ate bread and very fatty, creamy cheese (lots of bread!) for lunch one day this week. I ate two portions of chocolate covered ice-cream for lunch on Friday. I have to say, I enjoyed both 'sinful' treats. I also had a glass of dry white wine and scoffed some chocolates I found left over from Christmas. I felt lots of guilt....BUT I also told myself I am probably not a woman who'll stay off such foods forever more. I want these things (perhaps not the chocolates) to be part of my diet in the future.
It's when we pig out on junk and allow it to take over that the warning bells need to ring I think. Filling ourselves every single day with crappy foods in large amounts brings us down. Our weight goes up, but our spirits come down.
When our spirits hit rock bottom (and we've become fat from eating unhealthily) it's very hard to motivate ourselves to give up foods we have started to enjoy AND to start an exercise programme. We do it enthusiastically initially, but perhaps fail to appreciate that we have to KEEP doing it, day in and day out before our body will show the signs of improvement. After the initial burst of enthusiasm wanes, those foods are STILL out there beckoning to us. Then we have to be strong. We have to learn tactics to keep us on the straight and narrow...this path which will lead to weight-loss.
I have been a USELESS role model for anyone out there who wants to lose weight. Let me apologise now. I talk the talk but haven't been able to walk the walk. BUT...given my lapses, something is working. I have not become a Saintly Dieting Person, but, I AM losing weight. Something is working - slowly.
I am so glad that I am blogging because I am finding out what works for me. Tell me I can't have something and I immediately want it. Bear with a sore head time. When I succumb I tell myself I deserve it..fat arse or no fat arse. Weak. I am weak, but, I am also older than MOST weight-loss bloggers out there, given I am in my mid-fifties. As I see it, I don't want my life to be one of restraint and denial. I do want to be a smaller, fitter me though. Dilemma.
What IS working for me ( a woman who just doesn't do gyms) is the 'all things in moderation as long as I shift my arse every single day' method. Or ATIMALAISMAESD. (Ha ha. It doesn't have the same ring as 'South Beach', does it?)
I would be a completely miserable, foul-tempered bitch if every food I loved was off-limits. I also know I am not a binge-eater...therefore, a little of what I fancy will satisfy me. Given I don't fancy burgers and fries, sweets and soft drinks but do fancy garlic bread and wine....I think I can live happily knowing that I won't pig-out, that I will apply my eating brakes, that I will be conscious (mindful?) of everything I eat, and that I MUST, without fail, move my body so it sweats each day. Now..that I can do. Moving more seems to be a small pay-off for having a little bit of what I fancy every now and then.
I have watched colleagues, relatives, friends embark on strict eating plans and join gyms and for some, the transformation has been amazing. We read in blogs of people who begin to LOVE exercise and loathe all the foods they used to love. I think that's great. However....I KNOW myself too well. I could do that...embark enthusiastically on a new way of living and for a while I'd be just great. Indeed, I did try becoming a gym bunny...several times. I never got into it. I have also watched SOME colleagues, relatives and friends do the deed for two years, lose excess fat, tone up......and sadly, become just the way they used to be within a few years. It happens, doesn't it?
All I know is...having lived this long, I know myself well. I know that if I can't open a bottle of wine to share with friends on a Friday night I'll be resentful. (I have learned however, in between times, that fizzy water with a tiny hint of lime cordial added, is a great substitute!) I'll have my wine on Fridays, and hell, I might even have a slice or two of garlic bread as well. I am cutting DOWN, not OUT...and for me, that is going to work, because I am going to be more active.
I think for me, the 'more active' bit is crucial. It's also great that I am finding activity seems to beget activity. Because I am doing more...more housework, more gardening, more walking, more biking (indoors) I am feeling better. I am consciously moving this body more. Given I could sit for England and that I love sedentary activities...the 'moving more' is helping me. I think those 'feel good' endorphins are being released. I have a few bits of exercise equipment at home, and some work-out DVDs and when the mood gets me, I use those. I am not doing anything religiously. I don't feel I HAVE to have an exercise session..but often now, when I am at a loose end (now that I am not working) I think..'go and pedal that bike' or 'walk to the post office and buy a stamp for that letter.' Before it would be "I'll do that tomorrow...or some time."
Given I'll eat the odd food treat and feel no guilt, I think my weight loss might be slower than most. However..I am determined to keep writing about it - even if it is only me that reads it! - because writing (and reading other blogs) is having an affect on me. (Some of you bloggers out there are SO inspirational. Thank you for being there.) My life WAS wasting away. My body was deteriorating, my mind was thinking dark thoughts, I was beginning to dislike what I had become, and all in all, living a healthier life seemed like a difficult thing to do - an uphill struggle. I want to be a successful slimmer. I want to be an active, middle aged woman..not one who has given up on herself, not one who lets her body atrophy, not one who spends her time sitting in a chair. Being that way depresses us after a while. When we feel down, we don't feel like sorting our lives out, do we? Hell, I'll sit in a chair all day (God willing) when I am in my nineties and infirm. I am not going to live that sort of life now...and that knowledge, that awareness has been SO good for me.
I have to live...and for me, living means enjoying food, enjoying socialising and enjoying my days. I shall become best friends with a bowl of salad, but I won't drop my old friend the pizza entirely. I shall however see less of the pizza, and the pizza will see less of my insides. I have learnt my days are richer and fuller when I move more....and that's been quite a startling revelation. I have perked up because I am doing more, being more physically active. You can't eat when you are moving and doing things, can you? (Well, not easily!) Don't we all get a sense of achievement because we tackle something, whether it be a junk drawer cleared out, a long over-due letter written, or a walk taken because it's good for us to move our bodies?
For me, 'all things in moderation' (ATIM) and an awareness of what I am doing at meal times and with my days seems to be working...but I know the minute I stop being aware of how life is passing me by I am lost. Each day is one to be enjoyed and cherished....whether it has cheese in it or not. If it does have cheese in it, I won't beat myself up. I will however make sure one cheese moment isn't followed by another.
This is forever folks..not just for a short while. Even when we lose weight we have to be conscious of how we are treating our bodies. I have to treat myself nicely, gently, kindly. I love myself if I aim to become healthier and remain mobile. I am doing that...slowly. No 'feel the burn' for me I am afraid. That is short-term talking. I might not be inspirational, so I aplogise if you think my way is a bit of a cop-out. It might be for you, but for me I think it's the only way to go. We have to find a way that suits us. However you are going about this, however you are walking (running?) the weight-loss road, I wish you luck.