“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 

 

 

WI Results – Damage Limitation Week 1

Weight loss:   1.5lb

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Current weight:    13st 3.5lb

Weight loss since start:   1.5lb

Lbs to go to reach next target:   4lb

 

What’s gone well?

I’m really pleased with my weight loss this week.  I’ve been exercising really hard using my new training app (more about that soon) and have found it pretty easy to stick to eating healthily.

Unbelieveably, I’ve managed to ‘run’ (more like a steady plod really) two 5km distances this week.  I’m not loving the running aspect of the training so far but I know that I soon will once I get back into it properly.

Despite eating out a couple of times this week, including on a fantastic day out in London taking my mum to see The Lion King, I managed to make sensible choices and avoided the temptations of desert on boths occassions.

 

What’s been difficult?

I’m finding tracking difficult.  I’m not sure why.  I seem to have some kind of mental block.  I did ok with it up until Friday and then it went out of the window.  I still had the plan in the front of my mind but I just didn’t write anything down.  I don’t really know why.  I had time and I’m determined to eat healthily.  It’s a puzzle.

 

The week ahead

I’m planning on sticking with my training programme this week as well as trying a new circuits class this evening.  I’ve got to increase my run to 6km for one of the two this week and I’m quite looking forward to that.  I’m going to add the extra 1km to the beginning part of the route so that in my head, I’m doing the extra before I get tired.

My biggest challenge this week is going to be spending a girls’ weekend in Liverpool.  I’m really going to try hard to track so that it will hopefully help to keep me focused.  I’m going to take my trainers and running gear with me too so that I can complete this weekend’s run along the waterfront.

I’ve also set myself a mini-target of losing another 4lb by the time I go on holiday which will take me back into the 12st bracket.  I’m hoping that this small but achieveable target will help me to stay on track.

Wish me luck.  And if you’ve got any idea about why I hit a block with tracking at the weekend, please let me know!

 

Thanks for reading,

FFF

 

 

 

The Results Are In – Week 15

Weight loss:   +0.5lb

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Current weight:    12st 0lb

Weight loss since start:  6.5lb

Lbs to go to reach next target:   3lb

 

So: I had another small gain this week.

This made me feel a) a little bit annoyed at myself and b) a little bit silly. Why? Because, here I am, writing this weight-loss blog (which was supposed to keep me focused) and I haven’t lost any weight for 4 weeks and I’ve only lost 6.5lb since January!

I allowed myself to feel annoyed and silly for a few minutes, but I realise that if I dwell on these feelings, the effect on my mind-set is likely to be negative: I have definitely been guilty, several times, in the (recent) past of dealing with my disappointment at a weight gain by comfort eating. Because that makes such good sense: I feel rubbish for putting on weight so I eat loads of stuff that is guaranteed to make me put on yet more weight!

So, to combat this, I decided to remind myself of what I have achieved on my weight loss journey:

  • I have lost just over 2 stone since I first started my weight-loss journey
  • I have lost 11.5lb since Christmas (this is calculated from my weight at weigh in prior to my official Weight Watchers weigh in so, although I’m fairly confident in the reliability of the scales used, I’m not counting it as this year’s starting weight)
  • I used to wear size 18 jeans which were too tight and now I’m wearing size 14
  • I have dropped a dress size since Christmas
  • I haven’t given up on my goal

I don’t want to make excuses about why I gained last week, but I think it’s important to think about the reasons why I gained weight to make sure that this doesn’t become an upward trend.

I was still on holiday from work last week and, following a fairly busy first week, it was a quieter week. Therefore, I could’ve gone to the gym each day. Or at least once. But I didn’t. Why? Because I just felt like being lazy! Do I need to feel guilty about that? No. I work hard and I’m always on the go with various other commitments and projects so I think it’s important for my mental health and well-being to have some down-time from time to time.

I did cook a number of healthy meals and have stockpiled a load of portions of different soups (click here for my Spicy Chicken, Tomato & Chickpea Soup and Persian Beef Pilaf recipes)to keep me going for lunches at work over the next few weeks so that has helped with the damage limitation.

I did eat quite a lot of chocolate. It’s my biggest downfall. I love it. I need to think about how to incorporate a small amount of it into my diet without letting it get out of hand. To help with this I took advantage of the Weight Watchers bars being offer and have bought some of those. I’m planning on going back to the Simple Start plan this week and using the bars as one of my daily treats. I’ve put them right at the back of the cupboard so I don’t see them every time I open the cupboard. In fact, I think I’ll even get one out of the box when I’m making my dinner and have it on the side ready for my treat – then I don’t have to see the rest of the box when I’ve got my chocolate craving.

I’m 2 days in to my new week now and I’ve already taken a couple of positive steps towards achieving my goal of losing weight this week: I’ve stuck to the plan on both days, I went to the gym last night and I’ve bought a pedometer. I’m going to use it over the next couple of weeks to gauge the average number of steps I take each day. Then in a couple of weeks, I’ll try to up my average.

Looking back at my achievements so far, I think the last one is probably the most important. And that’s what I’ve got at the front of my mind this week as I get tempted to indulge in foods that aren’t going to help me to achieve my goal, or as I’m tempted to miss an exercise session: DON’T GIVE UP Fat-Fighter!

Thanks for reading.

What do you do when you feel like you’re stuck in a weight-loss rut?

 

The Results Are In – Week 14

Image courtesy of pakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of pakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Weight loss:   +0.5lb

Current weight:    11st 13.5lb

Weight loss since start:   7.0lb

Lbs to go to reach next target:   2.5lb

 

I realise that I’ve skipped straight from Week 12 to Week 14 but I’ve had a week away from the blog (and away from the plan) for Easter.

Following a gain on my last reported weigh-in, last week I stayed the same – which I was pretty pleased with after not really getting fully back on track and attending a friend’s birthday party on the Saturday night.

So, this week, I’ve had another small gain.  Previously this would have completely thrown me and I’d be well on my way to letting my weight creep all the way back up.  But not this time.

I knew I’d most likely put on as I’ve been on holiday from work, have eaten out nearly every day (and even twice on Saturday) and I’d eaten several hot cross buns and a couple of Easter eggs.  So prior to my weigh-in, I was pretty terrified that I was going to have crept (or leapt!) back over that 12st mark.  So worried was I about this that my intention was not to weigh.  I felt that seeing my weight back over 12st would dent my motivation.

As I’m a clerk at my Weight Watchers meeting, I knew I needed to go to the meeting and eventually I woke up to the fact that ignoring my current weight would in all likelihood just do more damage.   I realised I couldn’t change the choices I’d made over the previous couple of weeks, but what I could do was to take control of my decisions over the coming week.  With this in mind, I made a plan of all my meals for the coming week, and went and bought all the ingredients needed.

I’ve also reset the mini-goal I’ve been working towards.  I was aiming to lose 4lbs in April but have actually put on 2.5lb.  If I stick rigidly to the plan there is a slight chance that I could achieve this by the first weigh-in in May but I think it’s better to keep things more realistic.  Therefore my aim is to lose the 2.5lb that I’ve put on by that point (2 weeks).  This is easily achievable, and if I manage to lose any more, then that will be a bonus.

As I’ve still got another week off work, I’m going to get ahead with some soup making as I know from previous experience that I lose weight successfully when I stick to having soup for my lunch.  So my plan is to make 4 different soups this week, and freeze portions for when I’m back at work.  I’ll be sharing the recipes on here over the course of the week so keep an eye out.

Thanks for reading.

 

The Results Are In – Week 13

Weight loss:   +2lb

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Current weight:    11st 13lb

Weight loss since start:   7.5lb

Lbs to go to reach next target:   6lb

What’s gone well?

Despite the fact that I’ve had a small gain this week, I’m actually pleased with my mental reaction to it.  At weigh-ins past, when recording a gain, I would often get annoyed and feel fed-up.  It would seem as though I had completely let myself down and that I’d never get to my goal.  This week though, I’m feeling really positive.  I know that this week life got in the way of my weight loss this week but I’m determined not to go back into the 12 stone bracket so that’s going to help me to refocus this week.

What’s been difficult?

I’ve been incredibly busy with a whole host of commitments over the past week which has meant that I haven’t had chance to plan and shop for my meals for this week.  While I think this could be good due to me trying not to obsess over food, there is the danger that I will succumb to the call of the chocolate when I pop into the shops after work each night to get things for dinner.  However, I’m going to view this as a test of my will power and I don’t do failing at tests!  This strategy worked tonight so here’s hoping…

 

The week ahead

We’re going to a friend’s 40th birthday party on Saturday.  There’s a champagne reception and buffet.  As the location is about  an hour’s drive away I don’t know how close to the event I’m going to be able to eat or what the food will be like.  I’m going to save the majority of my weeklies as a buffer and make sure I’ve eaten plenty of filling and healthy foods (I’m thinking of making some kind of lentil soup for lunch and maybe a chicken curry for dinner) throughout the day so that I’m not starving.

I’m also going to alternate between alcohol and soft drinks as I hate feeling rough the morning after a party.

Thanks for reading.

 

The Results Are In – Week 12

Weight loss:    1.5lb5%

Current weight:    11st 11lb

Weight loss since start:    9.5lb

Lbs to go to reach next target:    0lb

What’s gone well?

I’m delighted to have finally reached (and actually exceeded) my “5% since January” goal and can now pick a treat off my list (more about this tomorrow).  My next small goal is my “10% since January” goal.  I need to lose another 8.5lb to reach this target and would like to do so by 2nd June.  However, that’s still a long way off so my next mini-goal is to lose 4lb by 28th April.

I was on the ball with tracking my weekly points this week which I think really helped with my weight loss.

I was really pleased with my exercise because, although I was unable to attend two of my usual classes, I went to my spinning class and actually stayed for a couple of extra tracks and I went back to parkrun and kept going even though my hip-flexor was niggling a little bit and the devil on my shoulder was more than ready to use this as an excuse to throw in the towel.

I think it’s been helpful to not be as focused on food: I’ve been cooking less recipes due to being extremely busy with work and trying to get a new business off the ground.  Instead I’ve been relying on simple foods such as jacket potatoes and beans on toast.  It’s actually been really liberating to realise that I can still lose weight despite not having time to devote to trying out new recipes all the time.

 

What’s been difficult?

It has been a little bit difficult to fit in all of my planned exercise due to other commitments this week.  However, I’m already not letting this throw me off course by making sure that I go to the classes I can get to and work a bit harder while I’m there.

 

The week ahead

I’m going out for a friend’s birthday on Saturday to Chiquitos.  I’ve been wanting to try this place for a long time as I really like Mexican food.  However I do know that the meals are quite high in PPVs.  But I’m simply going to plan ahead, save my weeklies to help cover it and limit myself on the cocktail front.

Thanks for reading.

PS Look out for my post on rewards that I’m finally going to get round to posting tomorrow!

Don’t Stop Fat-Fighter!

I’ve had a bit of a mixed experience when it comes to exercise this weekend.

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Firstly, I went to my normal spinning class on Friday despite me not being that keen on the music now that there’s a new instructor.  When the class started, she announced that she’d be doing a couple of extra tracks at the end of the normal class but gave people the option of leaving after the timetabled 45mins.  I firmly decided “No! It’s Friday night.  I’d only planned on doing the normal 45mins.  At soon as possible, I’m out of here!”.

However, as the class progressed, I started to think, “I’m here now, so I might as well do a little bit extra.  It’s early on a Friday evening after all so I still have the rest of the weekend to do other stuff.”  To my own surprise, I stayed and worked really hard for the extra 13mins.  I left feeling very pleased with myself.

On Saturday morning, I was back to Parkrun after a break of a couple of weeks.  I was running it with two of my cousins – one of whom left her house at 4:45am to drive 140miles to take part (yes she is a bit mental but we love her!).  It was a nice sunny but cold morning so I was thinking it was going to be a lovely run.  However, about 1mile in to the 3mile course, my hip-flexor started to pull.  I tried to ignore it and focus on my music thinking that as I got into my stride a bit more it would probably loosen up a bit.  It didn’t.  By about mile 2 it was really hurting and all I wanted to do was to stop and walk.  But I didn’t.  It took a lot of positive thinking to keep me going including: the amazing challenge completed by Davina McCall for Sport Relief that I’d watched  a programme about last week (Davina: Beyond Breaking Point).  If she could keep going for all than distance, I could manage to complete a 5km run; all those who managed to complete the Coventry Half Marathon last week; and thinking about writing this blog post!  Despite my hip being sore and this having the knock-on effect of making my lower back sore from my altered gait, I managed to keep running all the way around and still run a little bit faster over the last 100 yards (not my usual sprint finish but hey).  I was surprised, and not a little proud, that I managed to dig-in mentally and keep going.  Even more surprisingly, when I checked my time this morning, it was actually only 47 seconds slower than my PB!!

During the run, and reflecting on my mental attitude towards it post-run, I started thinking about how the mind-set needed to complete a physical challenge is mirrored in the challenge of losing and maintaining weight: sometimes it is unexpectedly hard to keep going and obstacles that are not of your own making can slow you down.  But if you keep a positive mental attitude, dig in and keep going, you can achieve your goals.

Thanks for reading.

PS How do you keep going when the going gets tough?