You can’t lose weight while you’re on holiday!

Or so I’d always told myself. But it turns out I was wrong (Ssshhh! Don’t tell Mr FFF – my official line is that I’m always right!). On my recent 14 night cruise, I somehow managed to lose 2lb! And no that’s not a typo. I actually lost weight whilst on a cruise where food and drink were available 24 hours. I’m still in shock. Last year, on an almost identical cruise, I put on about 7lb.

So how did I do it? Did I deprive myself and eat only lettuce leaves and plain, grilled fish whilst sipping water? No. But I did change my mindset towards the way I ate whilst I was away.

On holidays past, I would pretty much eat whatever I wanted, whenver I wanted and would justify it to myself by saying that I deserved it, after all I was on holiday. The thing is, for me, as for many others, it always seems to take longer to lose weight than it does to put it on. And, I’m lucky enough to go away at least a couple of times each year. I realised that my ‘enjoy it while you can’ attitude effectively meant that I was only ever gaining and losing holiday weight.

This realisation, coupled with my latest attempt to lose the weight for good, lead me to review my mindset towards holiday eating before I even packed my suitcase. I knew that there would be wall-to-wall food and drink available if I wanted it. I also knew that, while lots of the options available are at the less healthy end of the spectrum, there would also be plenty of healthier stuff too. So I decided to make the most of having healthy food freshly prepared for me at each meal.

I mainly ate omlettes, bircher muesli and fresh fruit for breakfast. For lunch I would generally load up on the various different salads offered in the buffet and add some chicken or fish to them. At dinner, I generally opted for the fish or chicken options and avoided anything that came in a creamy sauce. I didn’t eat like a fitness model all the time though. I had a dessert every night – but I didn’t have a dessert every lunchtime, just once or twice. I also ate breakfast pastries a couple of times, but not every day.

We also chose not to get the all inclusive drinks package on this cruise. There were several factors that played into this but the main one being in the past when we had a package, we sometimes felt like we were drinking just for the sake of it. I still drank wine with dinner almost every night and enjoyed several cocktails, but it was in moderation.

I think that exercising regularly also really helped. I went to the gym on every sea day as well as the one port day when we’d decided to only get off the ship for a couple of hours. In the past, I’ve had good intentions about exercising whilst on holiday but they’d usually stayed at that – intentions rather than actions. This time, I’d decided in advance that I would continue to get up early and go to the gym before breakfast. This would then give me the whole day to lounge around or take part in the activities offered. Although there were a couple of times when I was tempted just to lie in bed, I reasoned that, once I’d been to the gym, I could spend the rest of the day lying on my balcony reading if I so wished. Exercising first thing also helped me to make healthier choices with my food as I always feel like eating more healthily when I’m exercising regularly.

Better than the view from my local gym.
Proof that I was actually there!

The funny thing was, I didn’t feel deprived at all. I felt lucky that there was such delicious, healthy food being prepared for me for every meal. And I enjoyed being up early and in the gym when there were only a few other people about. Sitting on my balcony afterwards with a cup of tea and enjoying the peace and quiet was also something I really looked forward to each day.

So, it turns out I’m not always right; it is totally possible to go on holiday, enjoy yourself and still lose weight.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

How do yo holiday? Do you follow your usual eating and exercise habits or do you use the time to do as you please? Let me know in the comments section.

Let’s Get This Party Started!

The results of my first weigh-in of 2017 and what I’m going to do about it.personal-record-cover

Start Weight: 13st 12.5lbs

Goal Weight: 10st 12.5lbs

Pounds to get rid of: 42

Mini-goal: Lose weight this week!

So I had the ‘dreaded’ first post-Christmas weigh-in.  I say, dreaded, but actually, I was looking forward to it.  As I explained in my earlier post, this year, I’ve been really excited to get back to focusing on where I want my body to be.

Despite that, I must admit I was still a bit apprehensive about stepping on to the scales to find out what I’m currently weighing in at.  I can’t say I’m happy with my weight, but, importantly, I’ve decided not to give myself a hard time about it.  There’s no point.  What’s done is done.  I can’t go back and change it.  But what I can do, is change what I do from now on.

I’d like to lose about 3st.  As it’s been a long time since I was down near this kind of weight, this is only a loose target at this stage.  As I get closer to it, I’ll reassess my goal.  I’ve decided to think about it in terms of ‘pounds to get rid of’ rather than ‘stones to lose’ for 2 reasons:

1) I don’t want to lose weight – psychologically, I might try to find it again! (as my good friend Darren at Team Achieve explained in one of his blogs some time ago)

2) I don’t know why but 3st seems to be a lot more unwieldy to me that its equivalent in pounds.

As I restart my weight loss journey, I’m going to be focusing on 3 main areas each week to help me lose weight: eating healthily, moving more and developing a positive mindset.

In the past, I’ve usually only focused on the eating and moving side of things but I’ve been ww-weekly-card-week-1doing a lot of work around mindset during the past 8 months or so and I’ve come to realise just how important it is to take care of this aspect of ourselves.  As I’d already decided to work on these three areas, I was pleased to find out at my meeting last night that Weight Watchers will also be focusing on all three of these areas during the coming months.

Eating Healthily

I know from my past successes that meal planning is a vital aspect of making healthy eating choices.  As I’ve been off work for two and a half weeks for Christmas, I thought this would be the ideal time to get back in to planning my meals.

However, unexpected things came up and I found that every time I scheduled some time to plan my meals for week 1, something happened that meant it got pushed down the list of priorities.  By 30th December, I was starting to panic about this slightly.  I’d decided that I wanted to shop on New Year’s Eve, so that I was ready to make healthier choices straightaway on January 1st, and I still hadn’t had chance to sit down and plan my meals.

Then I noticed an email in my inbox telling me about the BBC Good Food Healthy Diet Plan for January.  I had a quick look and, although I didn’t have time to sit and work out the Smart Points values for each of the meals, it was clearly all fresh, healthy food options with all recipes and even a shopping list provided.  Winner, winner, healthy dinner! And breakfast and lunch too!  So I printed the shopping list off and dragged Mr FFF round Asda feeling rather smug with my trolley full of curly kale as everyone else was stocking up with party food.

I didn’t fully stick to the plan on January 1st or yesterday – that had never been my bbc-good-food-amended-plannerintention – and I only got round to working out all the Smart Points values today.  What I’ve done is to work out the Smart Points values for each meal.  I then actually cut the meals out and rearranged them to better suit our schedule for the week.  As I didn’t use the lunches on day 1 or 2, I’ve also ‘bumped’ them to next week, so I’m already ahead of the game there.  Get in!

So far, all of the meals I’ve tried have been delicious.  I’ll definitely be making them again.  The only thing that tripped me up a bit is that I’ve had to work out the Smart Points using the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website rather than using the nutritional information provided with the recipes.  This is to take account of those foods which are ‘zero’ pointed (hence the scribbled out and re-written points values on my planner!).

 

Moving More

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of exercise.  I know it’s really important and really good for you both physically and mentally.  And I know that when I get into it, I do enjoy it.  But I’m definitely not a natural gym bunny.  I’ve had several periods in my life when the only contribution to my weight loss efforts that has been made by my gym membership is that I’ve had less money to spend on chocolate and wine!  However, I’m determined to move more.

I’ve learnt from experience, and the words of others much wiser than I, that, if I say I’m going to exercise every day, or even every other day, it ain’t gonna happen.  Not for much longer than the first week or so anyway!  So instead, I’m making a much smaller, easier to achieve commitment: I’m going to exercise twice a week.

I’m going to go to a yoga class and I’m going to go swimming.  I’ve chosen these activities because they are activities that I enjoy and I’m actually looking forward to going to.  I haven’t arranged to go with anyone as I know that the first time they can’t make it, I’ll use that as an excuse not to go myself.  I have mentioned my plans to a couple of friends who’ve said they want to exercise more but it’s a case of if they decide to tag along, great.  I’ve treated myself to a gorgeous new swimming costume and a new hoodless zip-up top.  Believe it or not, one of the things that has put me off going to yoga in the colder weather before is that all of my long-sleeved exercise tops had hoods which are extremely irritating when you’re trying to concentrate on your downward dog let me tell you!  So now I’ve got no excuses.

 

Positive Mindset

I’m going to continue reading a book I’ve begun using to help me to develop a more positive attitude to my weight loss efforts.  So far I’ve found it very enlightening but I’ll review it fully once I’ve finished it.

I’m also going to take time to interact with others on social media to share tips, experiences and motivation.  If you want to join in, please like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter using the links on the right.

I think I’ve rambled on more than enough for one post.  Sorry if it has been a bit long-winded today, but I’m honestly brimming with enthusiasm for getting back on track.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

What are you planning on doing to help you on your weight loss journey this week?

 

“I will not find comfort in food.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love food.

Woman meditating

Image courtesy of Marin at FeeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Sometimes this is a good thing – I love cooking fresh meals from scratch and planning healthy menus.

But sometimes, it’s not such a good thing and I find myself using food to deal with my emotions.  That’s right, my name’s Fat Fighting Foodie and I’m a comfort eater.

In the past, I have let this emotional reliance on food sabotage my goals to become fitter, healthier and more comfortable with my body. But I’m currently making a big effort to address this.

If I’m honest, comfort eating has probably been both my best excuse and my worst enemy in my weight loss battle.  Time and time and time again, I’ve dealt with being stressed or bored by scoffing bars of chocolate (usually family sized) and slabs of cheesecake to make myself feel better.  Ironically, it’s only ever made me feel worse as I’ve usually crammed it down my neck at lightening speed (I swear I could break world records) rather than taking the time to enjoy it and have then felt guilty at having lost control.  I would usually then conclude that I’d ‘blown’ my healthy eating for the week and so I’d eat rubbish vowing to ‘get back on track’ following my next weigh in.

So what’s different this time around?

As I mentioned previously, I’ve got a new mantra that I stole from the TV show ‘Fat: The Fight of My Life’:

“The purpose of food is to nourish my body and mind.  I will not find comfort in food.”

Unfortunately, I’m currently having a stressful time at work and a week or so ago I had a particularly hard and emotional couple of days.  I had to nip in to the supermarket on my way home from work for some cat food (for my cat – I’m not that extreme in my efforts to curb my emotional eating that I have substituted chocolate for pet food).  It was cold and dark and I knew that Mr FFF wasn’t going to be home for a few hours so I’d be going home to a cold, dark house.  As I walked through the doors of the supermarket, the urge to head to the bakery section was strong.  I could almost taste a chocolate-covered donut.  I reasoned with myself that I could work it into my points,but knew that, in reality, I wouldn’t – that’s not how comfort eating works for me, there’s no point if I’m not going to try to cheat myself; the guilt’s just not the same.  So I dug deep and reminded myself of my mantra.  I thought really carefully about the donut, and all the other stuff in the bakery section.  Would they nourish my body? No.  Actually, they wouldn’t even taste that nice compared to home-baked stuff.  I decided it wasn’t worth it and would only set me back further on my weight loss journey.  I still needed comfort though.  So I thought about what I could treat myself to that would be comforting but wasn’t food.  The result: I bought myself a nice, new pair of pyjamas.

When I got home, instead of sitting on the sofa, mindlessly stuffing my face, I ran myself a nice bath then got cosy in my new pjs and caught up with Mr Selfridge.  And do you know what?  I actually felt a lot better for having done that.  It might seem pretty obvious, but I’m so used to the cycle of feeling fed up–>comfort eating–>feeling worse that it actually felt really empowering to not comfort eat.

So for me, so far, that mantra is working and I hope it continues.  It’s going to be tricky as work is likely to be stressful for a good few months, but I’m hoping that the more I practise saying no to comfort eating, the easier it will get.

Now, I can’t rely on buying pyjamas every time I want to comfort eat as I’d soon be bankrupt (although I suppose it would be good for the textiles industry) so I’ve been trying to think of other sources of comfort.  So far I’ve come up with:

  • adult colouring whilst listening to music
  • having a bath
  • playing a computer game
  • watching some tv
  • working on my blog
  • reading other blogs

I reckon I’m going to get quite a bit of practise at resisting comfort eating over the next few months though, so if you have any other ideas for alternative sources of comfort, please let me know.

 

Thanks for reading

FFF 

 

 

Menu Planning: KISS It!

As the name of my blog suggest, I LOVE food.  I love cooking it, reading about it, shopping for it, watching programs about it and most of all, eating it!KISS

My love of food often serves me well.  But when it comes to menu planning and staying on track, it can sometimes become a bit of a hindrance:  In my efforts to avoid getting stuck in the rut of having the same things to eat week in, week out, it can take me ages to plan what to have as I scour my numerous cookbooks (51 at last count.  And that was after a massive cull!) for inspiration.  Having spent a lot of time and effort planning what to eat and having shopped in advance for ingredients for the week, I often find myself in the situation where I can’t be bothered to spend an hour in the kitchen after getting in from work.

So I’m trying to address this issue by taking a different approach to my menu planning.  I’ve decided to taking the KISS approach: Keep It Simple Stupid.  My thinking is that if I plan to have meals that are simple to make in the week,

  • I’ll save myself time in the planning & cooking stages,
  • I’m more likely to stay on track rather than ordering a takeaway
  • I’ll throw less food away
  • I’ll take more pleasure in cooking fancier dishes when I’ve got the time to take my time and enjoy it.

What I’m eating

So, over the past week or so, I’ve enjoyed: a salmon stir-fry; jacket potatoes with various fillings; Tuna & Pesto Pasta (simple recipe coming soon); Bacon, Mushroom & Tomato Pasta; cheese on toast; beans on toast; bagels with soft cheese; and a variety of soups that I’ve made in batches and frozen to take to work for my lunches.

So far, I’m finding that it’s making it easier to plan meals and to stick to my plan in the week.

I also used the KISS strategy when out shopping at the weekend: I hadn’t had chance to plan the meals for the week but I knew the kind of things to buy so that I’d be able to work the points in.  I nearly came unstuck when my husband said that he wanted shepherds pie for Sunday dinner.  He was happy with a ready made one but I knew that would work out to more points than I’d be happy to spend and I didn’t have the time (or inclination) to make one from scratch.  So instead, I got myself some pork chops and had one of those with some potatoes, veg and gravy for 8 Smart Points.  Simple

What are your go to KISS meals?  I’m always looking for new inspiration.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

 

PS The link in this post is to an old recipe with Pro Points values, it will still work out well on Smart Points as you only need to count the bacon and pasta (and oil unless using spray oil).  I hope to get round to updating my recipes to show Smart Points values soon.

 

My New Year’s Promise

Happy New Year!

Image courtesy of Heavypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Heavypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been away from blogging for quite a while now but it’s already starting to feel as though I’ve never been away.

As we are already half way through the second week in January, it feels a little bit weird to be saying ‘Happy New Year’ still but I think I’ll keep things a bit traditional for my first post of 2016.

The reason for the delay is that I’ve been given a LOT of thought about the theme of my first post.  Last year, I spoke about not wanting to make resolutions because they’ve previously left me feeling like a failure.  But clearly that didn’t have the intended effect and I sit here around the same weight as I was last year, if not a few ponds heavier, and I’m still unhappy with my body and fitness levels.

So what went wrong and what am I going to do differently?

Firstly, I let too many things get in the way of me achieving my goals last year.  Some of these things I had control over and some I didn’t.  To cut a long story short, last year was Hectic (and yes, that IS Hectic with a capital H) and looking after myself pushed off my priorities list.

So this year I’m making myself a couple of ‘promises’ as I think this sounds a little bit more positive than making some resolutions:

  1. I promise to be kinder to myself
  2. I promise to prioritise the things I actually want to spend time on rather than the things I think I should be spending time on

That’s it.  Short and sweet.

This week, I was back to work after a two week break for Christmas.  In order to keep my promises to myself, I made sure that I left work at a reasonable time each night.  My plan was that I would go for a walk in the evenings to make sure that I clocked up 10,000 steps each day.  I did this on every day except for Saturday (when I forgot due to it not being a work day and by the time I remembered, it was raining so heavily that I think I would have drowned if I’d gone out in it – note to self, check weather forecast in advance in future!) and I even found myself agreeing to restart the Couch to 5K training plan which I did on Thursday & this morning.  I must admit I was a little bit nervous at first as I can’t remember the last time I ran, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought and I felt really good after doing it.

Although I was back to Weight Watchers for my first weigh in of the new year last Monday, I haven’t been very focused on my food this week.  However, I have made up 6 batches of different soups to take to work for my lunch each day and my goal for this week is to be more focused on my food choices.  I’m not going to promise myself that I’m going to stay on track 100% for the entire week but I’m going to aim for that.  If I can track for 5 out of the 7 days I’ll be happy with that.

I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the new Smart Points plan too.  I’m motivated by the way it seems tailored to encourage healthier food choices.  To help me, I’m stealing an affirmation that I’ve just seen on an episode of Fat: The Fight of My Life (I find these programs massively inspirational):

“The purpose of food is to nourish my body and mind.  I will not find comfort in food.”

I also aim to get my blogging mojo back this year.  I really enjoy it and I find it really motivating – I just need to make sure I prioritise it.

Now, in the interests of being kinder to myself, I’m off to enjoy a lovely, relaxing bath.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

 

P.S. Have you made any ‘promises’ to yourself this year? I’d love to hear how you’re getting on with them so far.

 

Fresh Start Statistics

So, I braved the scales last night for my post-holiday (which was 2 weeks at a Gourmet Inclusive hotel) weigh-in and I was astounded to find that I’d only put on 1.5lbs!  I nearly fell off the scales!

Whilst I’m not happy with having let my weight creep back up to its current reading, I’m not going to dwell on it – there’s no point: I can’t change the past.  What I can do is learn from it and move forward.

So here are the starting statistics for the next leg of my weight loss journey:

Current weight:    13st 5lbs

Waist:    36in

Hips:      44in

Bust:      42in

Arms:    13in

Thighs:  25in

These are the targets I’ve set based on my current weight:

Goal Amount  to lose Target Weight Date to be achieved by
Mini-goal

4lbs

13st 1lb

05/10/15 (loss of   1lb/week for 4 weeks)
5% of current weight

9.5lbs

12st 9.5lbs

16/11/15 (loss of   1lb/week for 9 weeks)
10% of current weight

19lbs

11st 13.5lb

25/01/16 (loss of   1lb/week for 19 weeks)
Goal Weight

40lbs

10st 7lb

20/06/16 (loss of   1lb/week for 40 weeks)

I have based the dates for each of my targets on a weight loss of 1lb per week which falls well within the Weight Watchers plan’s recommendations of between 05-2lb per week.  I’m sure there will be some weeks when I do better but I want my targets to be realistic and achievable.

As I achieve each of my small targets, I will be setting another one to help break my final goal down into more manageable chunks.

It was actually a bit disheartening to calculate how long it will take me to get to goal – 9 months!! However, I’m trying to view this in a positive way – I definitely don’t want it to take any longer than that so I need to stay focused.  And who knows, if I stick to the plan, I might even get there a bit quicker.  After all, I know from experience that when you stick to the plan, it works.

Here are my current pictures – taken on the last day of my holiday.  I plan to update these and my measurements every month or two to help show my progress.  Although in subsequent pictures, my skin is likely to be even pastier as, believe it or not, these show me with what is a pretty good tan for my Irish heritage, so apologies in advance for that!

Me, September 2015

Thanks for reading,

FFF