Week in Review – Week 4

I can’t believe that tonight was my last weigh-in for January!

Despite not having the best week tracking-wise and having two social events, I’ve lost 0.5 lb and I’m happy with that all things considered.  I’ve now got 1.5lb to go to reach my first mini-goal of 7lb.pakorn

The Good

I’ve had two social events this week.  The first was a curry for my dad’s birthday on Thursday night.  I didn’t feel like having a ‘healthier’ option dish so instead I had curry and split a portion of rice and a naan bread with Mr FFF.  But I pointed (sort of – more about that later) what I had and didn’t finish it all.  The result was that I went home feeling satisfied but not feeling as though I was about to burst.  I also chose to drive rather than have a couple of drinks as I thought that this would be a good way of balancing out the food choices a little bit.

On Saturday, Mr FFF and I were at a property investment seminar all day.  It was one of a series we have been going to and I know from previous experience that it is wall-to-wall buffet food.  I prepared myself for this mentally in advance and told myself that I wasn’t going to deny myself all the good stuff but that I also didn’t want to come away feeling bloated and like I’d blown my chances at losing weight for the week.  As a result, I did have a little of everything but just chose larger portions of the healthier salads and fruits and smaller portions of the less-healthy cakes and biscuits than I’d normally have.

Having had such a good time at Zumba last Sunday, and knowing that I’d got two social events coming up, I decided to go to another Zumba class on Friday night.  I took my kit to work with me so I could go straight from there (note to self, don’t leave gym kit in boot during sub-zero temperatures).  As the clock ticked towards 5pm, I didn’t feel much like going but I knew that once I got there and got started it wouldn’t be that bad.  As it turned out, I enjoyed it even more than I had done on the Sunday and I’m planning on going again this week.

The Bad What I’ve learned

I’ve been continuing to work on developing my mindset this week and one of the ways I’ve done this is to listen to another podcast.  This time the topic was about how focusing on the things we do do wrong or the ways in which we fail leaves us stuck in the rut we are trying to get out of rather than helping us to find a solution to our problems.  You can listen to it here if you’re interested.

This really resonated with me.  Often, in the past, I’ve become really hung up on all the things I’ve ‘failed at’ in regards to my weight loss: not tracking accurately; having a binge; not going to the gym etcetera, etcetera ad infinitum.  The result is that I feel bad about myself, berate myself for my failings, feel even worse about myself and then decide that the only thing that can comfort me is diving mouth first at a large bar of chocolate.

But listening to this podcast, I realised that I’ve probably been going about this all wrong.  So I’m trying to accept the blips in my weight loss journey in a non-judgemental way (hence the renaming of this section of the post).

Last week I said I was going to aim to track all week again.  This went out of the window somewhere during mid-morning of day 1!! As I’ve said before, I’m currently finding staying on track to be a mental challenge.  I think this week my mind was thinking, “I’ve got 2 social events coming up this week with loads of food involved so I can use them as my excuse not to track.”  It was also my mind being a self-saboteur and doing it’s habitual ‘I can’t stay on track for more than a week at a time’ routine.

Previously I might have viewed this as a failure and given myself a hard time about this leading to a negative, self-sabotaging cycle (see above).  But instead, I thought back to the message in this podcast, acknowledged that this was simply a habitual way of thinking and decided that I would still try to track the next time I put something in my mouth.

The result was that I physically tracked some things this week and I mentally tracked most things.  It has also helped me learn that not tracking for one meal does not mean I have to throw in the towel completely for the week.  It has also highlighted the fact that when I physically track rather than just tracking in my head, I have more chance of losing more weight.  I’m going to try to remind myself of this as I go through this week.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

What ‘failures’ do you dwell on and how can you try to turn these into positives to learn from?

 

 

Week in Review – Week 3

Weigh-in number 3 tonight and after last week’s little blip, I’m pleased to report that I lost 2lb – thereby proving my theory that when you stick to the plan and track, it works.

That brings my total loss to 5lb now and leaves me only 2lb from achieving my mini-goal of losing 7lb.  My aim is to reach that goal in the next two weeks.  For this week, I’m just going to try sticking to the plan for another week to make it two weeks in a row.

id-100464031

The Good

Last week I set myself the goal of tracking everything for 4 days.  I’m pleased to be able to say that I did in fact track everything for the whole week!  I feel really pleased with myself for that.

I went to my yoga class on Wednesday and found that it had been cancelled.  I was really disappointed but rather than going home and flaking out on the sofa, I went home and put on an old Davina workout dvd and did 30 mins of pilates instead.  It wasn’t as good as an hour of yoga but at least it was something.

After last weekend’s disrupted exercise plans, I decided to take charge of things again.  I invited my sister to come and do some kind of exercise on Sunday as I haven’t seen her in a couple of weeks.  I suggested Zumba or swimming but she wasn’t up for either of these options and suggested a walk instead.  I checked the weather and it was forecast to be dry so we agreed to go nice and early.  However, my sister unfortunately had a slight personal emergency (nothing serious and everything is fine now) so messaged me to say that she wouldn’t be able to go after all and suggested that I go to Zumba instead.  So I did.  It was hard, sweaty and I looked something like a baby giraffe throwing my somewhat gangly self around the exercise studio, but it was great fun and I plan on going back again next week.

Mr FFF took me to the cinema on Saturday night to see Split which was a great, if disturbing, film with a fantastic performance by James McAvoy.  He decided to eat at the cinema but I’m not keen on their offerings in terms of the low ratio of food satisfaction and quality to Smart Points and nutritional values.  So I ate at home before we went – tuna sandwich with red onions and peppers served with homemade potato wedges.  We also decided to take our own popcorn with us as we always find the stuff on sale at the cinema tastes stale.  This helped me to control my portion size as the bag we got was smaller than the box I would’ve had otherwise.  And it was tastier.  We also got some sweets (Mr FFF was a bad influence, although it didn’t take much any persuasion to lead me astray) but I let Mr FFF eat most of them and I pointed what I had.

 

The Bad

I feel bad about not having done any yoga this week – maybe I’ll look at some routines on youtube or something so that should my class be cancelled again in the future, I’ll be able to keep up my practise.

I didn’t get/make chance to plan my meals this week before going shopping.  I decided I had 3 options:

  1. Just get stuff for that day and the following day then go shopping a couple of other times in the week.  I thought I probably wouldn’t have time to plan meals and go shopping during the week and that this option would lead to a reliance on takeaways.
  2. Just get a load of ready meals.  This would have been fine in terms of allowing a certain number of points per meal but I still want to steer clear of as much processed food as possible and I know that ready meals don’t really fill me up very much.
  3. Plan in my head as I went round the supermarket.  This was the option I went for.  It was a little bit disorganised but I was able to use my knowledge of which foods to go for and which to avoid to help me plan simple meals that will see me through the week.

Although I wouldn’t want to shop this way every week, this showed me that it is possible to stay on plan even if I haven’t been able to plan ahead as I would like to.

I haven’t dedicated as much time to working on my mindset as I wanted to this week although I have done a little bit.

I’m going to keep the same targets for this coming week, but I’m going to up the tracking goal to tracking for the whole week.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

What do you do to help develop a positive mindset to making healthier choices when it comes to food?

 

 

Week in Review – Week 2

id-100267606

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphoto.net

Weigh-in number 2 tonight.  I wasn’t expecting good things this week as, although I’d planned my meals carefully and followed my plan, I didn’t track snacks or extras so I have no idea whether I stayed in my overall budget or not.  The result is, I’ve put on half a pound.  It’s not the worst thing in the world, although I am pretty peeved with myself about it.  But, I’m drawing a line under it and moving on.

The Good

I went to my yoga class again this week.  I’d also arranged to play badminton on Sunday instead of going swimming.  This wasn’t my idea but I enjoy badminton and thought it would be fun.  I was astounded to find that I was extremely annoyed when the person whose idea it was cancelled it on Sunday morning.  By that point it was too late for me to go swimming and I was annoyed that someone else had been able to ruin my exercise plans.  Mr FFF suggested that we could do some circuits in the garden but a) it was persisting down with rain and b) I don’t enjoy circuits at the best of times.  I must admit to feeling sorry for myself for about five minutes before deciding to go for a walk and to do some yoga at home.  This turned out well in the end as I was able to listen to a motivational podcast whilst on my walk.

I’ve been eating plenty of freshly cooked foods with a good amount of fruits and vegetables and very limited amounts of processed foods.

I had a takeaway on Friday night that was unplanned but I convinced Mr FFF that we didn’t need to order enough for 4 people (as we usually do) and pointed what I had.

I replaced some one chocolate-based after-work snack with fruit.  Ok it was only once, but that’s a small step towards developing a healthier lifestyle right there.  Admittedly, a very small step, but still.

 

The Bad

As I mentioned earlier – I didn’t track my snacks and treats this week and I still had quite a bit of chocolate.  Why did I do this?  The simple answer is, I don’t know.  I really do want to eat more healthily and lose weight.  What went wrong?

As I sat down to write this post, I initially gave myself quite a hard time about this.  I berated myself for the fact that I’m only on the second week of my renewed efforts to lose weight and yet I’ve already veered off track.

It was at this point that I got the phone call to say that my badminton session had been cancelled.  So, I decided to take a break and go for that walk.  The podcast I was listening to was titled Your Eating Habits: What They Are, How You Get Them, and How to Change Them and I thought I might be able to get something useful out of it. 

Previously, I’ve always thought of habits to be based around actions (having a biscuit with a cup of tea; always putting grated cheese on pasta dishes etc) and I’ve done quite a bit to change several habits over the course of my weight loss journey so far.  Interestingly, this podcast also talked about habitual thought patterns and I realised that this is exactly what applies to me in terms of my mindset to staying on track – it’s become a habit for me to think that I can’t keep up my motivation beyond the first week of an attempt to live more healthily.

This reflection made me realise that I have neglected my mindset development over the past couple of weeks so I’m resolving to make that a big focus this week.

The Plan for Next Week

I’m going to begin work on breaking my habit of thinking I can’t maintain the motivation needed to develop a more healthy lifestyle.  I’ve set myself 2 small goals in relation to this:

  • to track EVERYTHING I eat for 4 days
  • to read something or listen to a podcast to develop a motivational mindset every day for 4 days

I’m still working on replacing some chocolate-based snacks and treats as well.  As the idea of replacing chocolate with fruit last week wasn’t really doing it for me – there’s no comparison really is there! – I’m taking a different tack this week.  My trigger times for chocolate, biscuits and other sweet treats are when I get in from work and in the evening after dinner.

When I get in from work, I’m going to try a totally different routine.  I’ve examined this habit (as suggested in the podcast I mentioned earlier) and determined that the reason I eat chocolate then is to relax after a busy day.  So, what I’m going to do instead is have a cup of fruit tea (I got some delicious ones for Christmas and they spoil the taste of chocolate and biscuits) and read for 20 minutes before I get on with making the dinner and other household chores.

With my evening trigger, I’m going to replace the chocolate and biscuits with yogurt, honey, granola and seeds.  This is something I wouldn’t normally choose because of its high points value (no low fat yogurt for me!) but because of this it still seems like an indulgence but at least has a slightly higher nutritional value than chocolate.

Thanks for reading.

FFF

How have you successfully ditched bad habits and created new ones? – all advice gratefully received.

 

“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 

 

 

You Never Fail Until You Stop Trying

Women sifting peanut shells to make a living in The Gambia - image copyright Hayley Shortt 2014

Women sifting peanut shells to make a living in The Gambia – image copyright Hayley Shortt 2014

Last night I had my first weigh-in following my latest bout of not focusing on my weight loss.  I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it as I’d not been completely ‘back on track’ due to another busy week and weekend (Good Food Show and Father’s Day).  I had considered this when I wrote my last post pledging to get  back on track.  I did think that I could wait until this week to begin but I knew the chances were that doing that would lead to another 1-2lb creeping back on.  So I recommitted knowing that I’d have a week where it would be difficult to focus on healthy eating.

I stepped onto the scales expecting to have stayed the same or put on 1/2-1lb.  Imagine my delight when I found that I’d actually lost 1/2lb!!

I’m so glad I decided to refocus on my weight-loss despite knowing that it would be a challenging week to do so.  Although I didn’t completely stick to the plan it helped to have my weight-loss goal in mind as I made decisions about what to eat and drink throughout the week.

It reminded me of a motivational poster that I saw years ago which said “Putting off something easy makes it difficulty.  Putting off something difficult makes it impossible“.  This really resonates with me when it comes to my weight-loss and sticking to the Weight Watcher’s plan: I know it works when I stick to it and sticking to it is pretty easy when I get back on track.

So I’m going to be seizing the proverbial bull by its horns this week and getting my WW mojo back on track.

I must admit that I’d thought about giving up on this blog as I feel pretty foolish for having to write about getting back on track again for what feels like the umpteenth time this year!  But then I thought about the words of the late, great Albert Einstein who once said “You never fail until you stop trying.”

So, with that in mind, I’m setting the following two small goals:

Weekly goal – to stay on track this week leading to a loss at the scales next Monday

Medium-term goal – to lose 5lb in the next 5 weeks, at the end of which I’m off on holiday.

Thanks for reading.

PS For those of you short on time but eager to cook tasty, healthy food, look out for a review of a fresh food delivery service that I’m trialling next week…

 

 

I’m Still Fighting!

Hi everyone!

For those of you who read my posts regularly, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while (and thanks to those of you who’ve asked when you’ll see my next post).Exhibition Flyer

I’m still fighting the fat but I’ve been incredibly busy over the last couple of months.  I won’t bore you with the details of what I’ve been busy with (although if you enjoy photography you might want to take a look at one of the reasons – Spectrum: A photography exhibition hosted by myself and fellow students at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.  On until the 26th June).  However, my crammed schedule has meant that I:

a) Haven’t had any time for my blog; and

b) haven’t had as much time as I’d like/need to devote to my weight-loss.

 

As a result, my weight has remained pretty static – small losses and small gains – and currently stands at 12st 1.5lb following a fab Hen Weekend in Liverpool last weekend.

Two main things have spurred me on to restart my weight-loss efforts:

1) My leader has pointed out that it’s only 29 weeks until Christmas!  I vowed that this would be the year I’d finally get to goal so I really need to get a wriggle on.

2) In my Weight Watchers meeting, we have been developing our own visual representations of our weight-loss.  I’ve used glass candle holders and red glass beads.  The 2 smaller jars show the weight I have left to lose (22lb) and I’ll be moving a bead for each pound lost into the ‘lbs shed’ jar.  The larger jar holds a glass bead for each pound I’ve lost so far on my Weight Watchers Journey – 21lb.  I’m really looking forward to moving my first bead (or maybe even beads…) into the ‘lbs shed jar next week.Jars

I’ve got some more recipes ready to post in the next couple of weeks and I’ll also be writing a blog about getting my priorities straight (I may need your help and advice with that one!) so please keep an eye out for them.

Thanks for reading.

PS What visuals do you use to help record your weigh-loss?

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?

 

Even The Pros Struggle

Two of my closest friends are personal trainers and they are two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.  Over the years as I have struggled with my weight, I have often felt inferior to them in terms of my body

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

image and my self-control and motivation around diet and exercise.  This is not in any way because of anything they have ever done or said: they have only ever been extremely supportive of me and have congratulated me on my successes.  I realise that what lies behind these feelings of inferiority is my own attitude towards myself and my weight-loss journey.

Imagine my delight then when on Saturday, just as my anxiety towards my Monday night weigh-in was starting to build, I read the following blog post by one of these friends:

 

A dieting downward spiral            

In our private FB coaching group our members post their meal plans,
food choices etc for accountability and support to keep on track
when they feel a little out of control.

Having a group of supportive people who have got your back when
things start to slip can really help, everybody who has ever been
successful with weight watchers or slimming world know this.  The
meetings can really work.

However, sometimes things do slip through no fault of our own,
we're not even really aware that we have made any changes at all.
 Until suddenly you wake up one morning and your clothes feel
tighter and you feel like shit.

You decide that you know what to do and you will get started
straight away.  A day in and you realise that you just haven't got
the energy or inclination to put the effort in to eating well and
making informed choices.

You simply can't be arsed with the effort of it all.

There are many reasons that this happens and I will cover in more
detail over the coming weeks.

One of the reasons is that you can lose sight of the goal or the
importance that looking or more importantly feeling good no longer
floats your boat.

Another is that when you get in to the shit food cycle, it is hard
to break free.  Essentially we are just big test tubes that walk
around and interact with each other.

Every item that you consume will create a chemical reaction in your
body, which in turn affects your bodies chemistry and more
importantly your brain chemistry.

Eating good quality food will reset it but you have to get through
those first few days of change.  When your brain chemistry is
running on crappy processed foods, it is more difficult to make
choices that will put you back on track.

And that's without even starting on the addictive nature of some
additives and ingredients in processed foods.

If you fall off track, don't beat yourself up about it, it doesn't
help you in anyway.  You just end up feeling shit and wanting to
punish yourself.

Do the best you can and surround yourself with like-minded people
(this can be on FB it doesn't have to be in person) who want to
support and help you in your quest for better health.

Darren "Mince is definitely not steak" Checkley

P.S.  Our next Achieve Bootcamp starts on Monday 31st March 2014.

P.P.S. I know I have sent this after my 8.30pm technology
water-shed but we have been out for dinner with friends and I
didn't want to miss a day :)

 

Reading this made me realise that I am not alone.  Many of us face these diet-demons and the difference between those who succeed and those who fail is that the successful people don’t let the demons win.

If you’d like to read more of Darren’s blogs about nutrition and exercise, you can find them here: http://archive.aweber.com/achievebootcamp/4lQLb/h/A_dieting_downward_spiral.htm

Here’s to fighting your demons!

 

 

<!–