Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Not Trying Much, But Not Losing The Plot Either.

I suspect that's the most some of us can hope for, and in it's own way, it's a good thing.

Many of the food/medical/slimming experts tell us that complete deprivation can lead to a diet (or weight loss programme) being ditched completely. I agree with that and always have.

However, we CAN re-train our taste buds (if I can, anyone can) so that things we used to love no longer tempt us like they used to, but I find it harder to abstain completely from foods which I find 'nice' and pleasurable to eat.

I also find it hard to opt out of social occasions which involve food. Part of me thinks it's sensible to tell myself that I don't have to give them up altogether. We get one life...and food and drink ...eating..is one of life's pleasures in my book. Sitting with people and sharing food and conversation is just not the same when they are tucking into a wonderful roast dinner and I go for a cracker, a small cube of cheese and some cherry tomatoes! I have to build such family food times/celebrations into my diet...and if I lose weight slowly because I do...so be it. I can live with that. I also have to learn about portion control....and I am doing that too.

Getting a balance is what it's all about I suspect. Even more than that, we have to train ourselves out of our piggish and greedy ways. We have become fat because we have eaten too much. We have to get a handle on that...for life. We aim to become the person with self-control. We have to learn to go without fast food, not to turn into the drive-in when we pass one, we have to learn to eat only when we are hungry and to stop ourselves nibbling and 'grazing' throughout the day. We can manage on less. It doesn't have to be too difficult or restrictive. New eating habits help us stay in control, even if the control isn't perfect.

It doesn't have to be all or nothing. There is a middle way. Our biggest challenge is learning to alter our habits on a day to day basis - knowing that eating occasions can be enjoyed, without deprivation but without over-indulgence. It isn't about living on salads and 'slimming foods' for the rest of our lives, thankfully :) If I remind myself that there are no forbidden foods I tend to make sensible choices. It's only when foods are 'off-limits' that temptation rears it's ugly head and messes with my mind. So - no foods are off limits and I trust myself to eat sensibly.

Yesterday I had to see my Doctor. He was going to examine my lower legs, so for a change I thought I'd wear a skirt for easier access. I usually wear trousers or jeans. I dug one out of my wardrobe....one I hadn't worn for about two years.....but only because I don't choose to wear skirts much. It had been washed but not ironed. I ironed it and tried it on. To my surprise (this was a real shock!) the waistband was loose!

Gradually, my middle has become smaller. Not much, but it hasn't grown either.

I haven't been very good about exercising lately. Not good. The plot was lost there...

We've had snow and I have been housebound for some of the time. I have lazed about at home....decorating it for Christmas, tidying up, cleaning etc. I have also spent a lot of time on my computer, a lot of time in front of the TV (good films and comedies on around this time of year!) and lots of time reading. I am behind with my Christmas cards, and not one present has been wrapped yet. I am far too self-indulgent...BUT...I haven't been with food.

Oh, I have enjoyed sweet treats and puddings, but I haven't bought in any chocolates or biscuits for Christmas. I have bought nuts, savoury snacks and my favourite cheese straws (pastry and cheese...eeek...a wonderful combination, especially with a glass of good wine.) I intend to enjoy my food...BUT given at the back of my mind I still want the thin me to emerge, I know I'll undo all my good work if I go overboard. I am 'maintaining' by the looks of it! :)

For me, this is a time for all things in moderation. I shan't pig-out, that I know, but I shall have small amounts of things I enjoy eating and drinking. My weight isn't likely to go down, but hopefully it won't go up too much either..

I could say now that come the new year I'll earnestly cut back and it will be different...but that would be a hollow resolution.

Come the new year, I'll keep on working on those good habits and try to incorporate more exercise into my day. No other promises. Slowly, slowly...I'll leave behind the fat woman I am.

I could leave her behind temporarily if I go on a calorie reduced eating plan and start exercising like a whirling Dervish...I could be slim before my next birthday if I cut right back and became solely focused on myself....but...I am long in the tooth. I know myself. A plan like that would last two or three months at best....and then I'd feel a failure. That is not for me.

I believe in me. I want to be a smaller version of me, for health reasons mainly...and partly because I am vain. I don't like my midriff bulge, my chunky legs, my rounded face. I could look better. It matters. However, I am happy generally.

I hope you are too, wherever you are. We have to remind ourselves that we are more than a number on a scale.

If you have lost the plot..or have, like me, not been focusing much on the plot, why not join me in promising yourself that you won't stop believing - believing that you CAN do this...but you might have to take it slowly, and most of all, realistically?

Don't set yourself wild goals. Do promise yourself that you WILL look after your body...every day, without feeling deprived or on a course of action that you cannot maintain. It has to be workable, long term, and I suspect that's where many would-be dieters come unstuck.

We are OK. It isn't a race. We'll get there.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Christmas is Coming, The Goose is Getting Fat...

"Please put a penny in the old man's hat."  My Mum used to smile and repeat that rhyme when I was younger.

"If you haven't got a penny, a half-penny will do" (half penny, said "hape-nee" as it's prounounced here in the UK)

"If you haven't got a 'hape-nee,' God bless you!"

Hmm. Christmas IS coming. I can't afford a fat goose. The only fat thing around here is me:)

I won't be able to afford much this Christmas, but that is OK. I have come to terms with it and I'll determine to make the house warm and welcoming and hopefully create happy memories. Love is what Christmas is all about, after all.

I'll go and sing some carols at church - carol services are always packed - and I'll decorate the house and tree as usual. I'll play lots of Christmas music and listen to brass bands...We have snow in the UK at the moment and lights decorate many houses, so it's all beginning to look very festive. I feel a little out of the loop. All I can offer really is hospitality.

Fortunately, I am not fond of many edible Christmas goodies. Mince pies are OK but I eat very few, I don't like Christmas pudding much, or rich Christmas fruit cake. So, I haven't made any. I'll buy a small pudding from a local baker, who makes rich, nutty ones. That will be served after Christmas dinner. I do like thick brandy cream and Stollen though! I shall try to hold back. My man is cooking again this year, so he'll buy the turkey and take on board most of the expense - and hard work. I feel bad about that...my pride is hurt, but I'll hide it and do what I can. I want to be the provider, the hostess. This won't be my show - it will be his, but when all is said and done - does it matter? Nope. I must swallow my pride and learn to accept and take gracefully. That's what I have to do. He'll cook the vegetables. I'll buy and cook a small ham, and do all the trimmings. I'll decorate the table. My adult children will contribute too..buying Stollen, cheese, crackers, a chocolate log perhaps. I shan't over-eat on Christmas day. That bloated feeling is horrible. It's just another day after all - a special day, but not one for gorging on food. I hope I have a handle on that.

I am proud to say I haven't bought any sweets, liquers, chocolates, pastries etc, even though the shops are packed with them right now. I am not tempted by them, so it hasn't been that hard. Even if I wanted to I cannot afford the excess buying.  For years, my parents house, and my own house, the house I shared with my ex husband etc, was always stocked well for Christmas. We used to laugh and buy 'Christmas Fayre' as well called it. We'd stock up week by week on food and drink goodies which we'd put away for the run up to Christmas. In many ways, it's hard not to be able to afford to do that now, but I have to convince myself that it's OK. My tummy and waistline will thank me for it.

Part of me feels sad that I can't go overboard, be the hostess with the mostess, indulge in excess, and part of me feels perhaps this is the way it SHOULD be. There is a case to be made for the immorality of over-indulgence on special occasions I guess, especially when so many people in the world are starving.

I shan't starve, I shall have a jolly, happy family time and for that I am grateful. I am rich  in many ways, and I must remind myself of that, often. This year, my focus is not on food. I have felt a bit like the poor relation. However, is there is a silver lining in that cloud which is the shortage of funds? It's another learning curve for me, that's for sure even though it's been a hard one to take onboard. I have had to tighten my belt, and sometimes, that is a GOOD thing.

A blessing in disguise perhaps?

Food-wise, is the run-up to Christmas day easy for you?

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Fat and Lazy?

I deliberately put the question mark after lazy.

I suspect I am fat because I am lazy. There. That takes the heat off all those people who might have become indignant.

I can say that I don't make much effort. I give in too easily. No healthy eating regime stands a chance for long because it involves effort...and I can't be bothered to make that effort every single time I need to eat.

There are a group of overweight people who would have us believe that because of some profound damage done to them they have no choice but to eat and eat and eat..Alcoholics would say there is a need to drown their sorrows. Drug addicts would say there is a need to get high and forget reality. We all know we have to wean ourselves off the substance which soothes us. It involves effort and determination to do that.

I'd also say OK. Yes, I eat out of 1) boredom, 2) because I don't like my fat self much, 3) because I am greedy, 4) because I have no self-discipline, 5) because fast food tastes great and  6) because there have been times in my life which have had a damaging impact on me and caused me to be the way I am now. They all apply.

I know all about comfort eating, but to the suffocating feelings with food lobby I'd say - we do it, but we have a choice.

In simplest terms? Our choices are 1) to lose weight, or 2) to remain the same.

What's easier? Choice 2 of course. To continue sitting down, continue eating all before us....for whatever reason we do it. We don't want to stop the rot, or we cannot summon up the effort it takes to stop the rot. In allowing ourselves "Just one more slice of cake" we inwardly make a pact with ourselves to remain a fat person. We choose. We do it with every mouthful of food.

When people say "There, there. I understand why you are fat" they give the overweight a get-out clause. We even give ourselves that get-out clause. "My life is crap, I am mentally and emotionally fragile, I am fat and useless...so I'll eat. Hell, I might as well pig-out too." This allows us more time to continue eating cakes and feeling sorry for ourselves because the scale shows us that we weigh more today than we did yesterday.

Don't most of us, no matter what our past, choose the easy way? Yes we do.

It's harder to make a salad than it is to buy a bar of chocolate or a burger.
It's harder to find self-discipline than it is to say "Oh well, I'll do better next week".
It's harder to remain stead-fast and disciplined than it is to say "Well, I deserve that cake. A little bit won't matter much."
It's harder to promise ourselves "I'm going to do this!" than it is to remain in a nice comfy rut of our own making.
It's harder to walk round the block on a cold winter's night than it is to sit in the warm and watch TV.
It's harder to prepare and cook vegetables than it is to microwave a ready meal.
It's harder to determine to change than it is to remain the same.

By the way - I AM that person I'm describing above. I conclude that I am taking the easy way out by remaining the same. I know myself quite well. I'd rather be fat and lazy than disciplined, hard-working, determined and thinner. I am choosing not to put on my walking shoes, and choosing to stay in my comfort zone.

You too?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Lack Of Effort Or Giving Up?

First of all - thanks to those people still interested in my progress, or lack of it.

I haven't posted for a week or so, for two reasons. I've been busy one way and another, and I haven't had much to report. Amazingly, I stood on the scale this morning after my shower and couldn't believe that I hadn't piled on all the weight I had lost. Today I weigh 203lbs. I have gained six pounds since my last weigh-in. Not too bad.

My trouble is I am just too....'lack-a-daisical' as my old Mum used to say. I am too laid back, too easy-going, too contented. I just don't want this enough. I don't seem able to make the sacrifices I have to in order to lose weight. It's not just about sacrifices though. It's about effort, and I'll hold my hands up. I haven't been making any!

What to do? Make an effort with Christmas approaching? (I can hear you scream "YES!")

I am partly kicking myself, because when I read about some of the struggles with food other bloggers have, I know I have it fairly easy. I tend not to binge eat. My sweet tooth tends to be for cakes...but not all cakes. I hate cakes with icing (frosting?) or fudge. Far too sweet. A bit of jam in a soft doughnut? Lovely. Fresh cream in an eclair? Mmmm. A flaky pastry apple turnover filled with whipped cream? Yes please. However, the craving I had for cakes has subsided. It's been sated. I walked to get the cakes, and I walked back home again, so I worked off a few of their calories! (I am laughing here at my trying to justify my cake-buying spree.) Cakes aren't tempting me any longer. Wine and savoury nibbles at night whilst watching TV has been my latest downfall...but one glass of wine and one small packet of something savoury isn't a major over-indulgence. I am doing silly things like having tortillas and sour cream with chilli con carne - as well as the rice. I am not pigging out. I am just not being careful, not cutting back, when I could. Nor am I exercising enough.

I cannot remember the last time I had a take-away from a fast food place. I really have forgotten when that was. They don't tempt me. Last night I nipped over to my daughter's house to drop off a birthday present for my neice who is living there temporarily. It was late when I left after a cuppa (with no biscuits or cake!) and a McDonalds with a drive-through had to be passed on the drive home. I momentarily thought "Oh a burger and fries...that would save me cooking." Did I stop? No.

Earlier in the day I was out shopping and again, felt peckish as I hadn't eaten for a while. As I walked back to my car with the shopping I could smell in the air the tempting aroma of fried chicken. A KFC was about 200 yards away. I got into the car and decided I'd call in and get chicken and fries. Now, I do love KFC...but again, I cannot remember when I last had it. However, once buckled up, I told myself "Hang on. You are broke. You cannot afford fast food. Go home and cook something. How stupid! You do not want to be paying out money for something greasy and not good for you!" And with that, I drove home. No pangs, no regrets.

OK, so when I got home I heated up a creamy chicken curry and had two chappatis with it. I also had one glass of wine later, and a small, individual packet of potato rings...

So - not good choices really. I am not eating much in the way of fruit and veg, and I am not being very good about cooking healthy meals either, as the boys tend not to be around at dinner time. (The girls in their lives hold more appeal than home-cooked food! Bad really, because I don't want them to go down the "I'm hungry - I'll grab a burger, kebab, fried chicken" route.)

Anyway. If I get my act together and try a bit harder, I could do this.

I guess that is true for a lot of us?
I just have to want it enough, and I don't seem to be able to work up a sense of urgency or need in myself. I don't like what I see in the mirror (from the shoulders down!).

Perhaps I need to invest in more full length mirrors?

How do you keep going? How do remain fired up to do this?