It amazes me to say this, like I’m having some sort of wonderful dream that I’m about to wake up from. But, the truth is that I have lost 101lb or 7 stones and 3 lb so far, in about a year. Little old me! Me who has been fat her whole adult life, and who has been on every diet going. Yet one of those endless tries at weightloss worked, even though I suspected they were all going to end in misery. Yay! Don't give up!
Let me tell you, there is NOTHING special about me. If I can do it, you certainly can.
This is me on the 24th August 2012, and the 24th August 2013:
In my experience, people who ask this question want me to answer that I’ve found a magic tablet / supplement / diet plan, and the weight has fallen off quickly and easily. I bloody wish. Sadly, the “secret” of my weightloss is no secret at all.
If you want to take away a headline, then this is probably it:
To lose 100lb, you need to do what you do to lose 1lb, but for longer.
Like, durr. We all know that. But, do you KNOW that? Really know it in your heart? Because, in my experience, people tend to expect that I have dieted harder, been more extreme, found something new. But it doesn’t work like that. You didn’t get fat overnight, you aren’t going to get thin overnight either. You need to change your habits. Long term. Long. Term. But you know this.
Whilst we’re about it, I’m not keen on the word ‘diet’ either. I haven’t followed any commercial diet plan, been to classes or had hypnotherapy, or read a certain book. I have no beef with other weight loss plans, I suspect its about finding one that suits you. This time, for me, I have NOT DIETED. I have eaten healthily and counted calories. I've just eaten sensibly.
Tip 1) Don’t diet. Eat wholegrain, eat your five a day. Try not to eat too much meat, but enjoy it without guilt when you do.
Tip number two would be this. And yes, you are reading right.
Tip 2) Eat cake every day. Yes, really. Yes, I have eaten cake every day and still lost seven stones. Pinky promise.
Counting calories is just magic, I promise. Don't dismiss it because its not as fashionable as Dukan, or 5:2 or whatever. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. You could eat just Mars bars every day - if you stop when you get to your allocation, you’ll still lose weight. It might not be sustainable long term, but it works. This means that NOTHING IS OFF LIMITS. Yes, that’s right. Take a minute to think about it and let it sink in. You don’t have to give up anything. You can have whatever you like and you can still lose weight. Even 7 stones.
For me, I have a wicked sweet tooth. My normal diets usually go like this: start hugely committed and stick to them rigidly. Fight that darned sweet tooth. Have some success. Get a bit more laid back. Fancy something I shouldn’t have. Dabble with the banned food. Maybe gain a pound or stay the same. Thereafter, for the next few weeks / months, I can be found face down in the banned foods, scoffing as though my life depended on it. My self esteem goes through the floor as, yet again, I have failed, yet again.
Well no more, my friends. What I did was to work out exactly what I needed, and what I could give up on. Wine I liked, and crisps, but I can generally give those up without too much stress. Chocolate, cakes and biscuits? Not a chance. These are my weak spot. So I have them every day. There are a few rules. I count EVERY calorie, especially the treat ones. I only treat myself once a day. It's better to go out for cake, because the rest of the cake isn't whispering to you. If I can substitute a treat for something that hits the same spot but is more filling, I do that. A great example is Nutella on crumpets as a mid afternoon snack. It has roughly the same number of calories as a bar of chocolate, but actually fills me up more whilst still satisfying the craving.
Prioritise the cake (or whatever your 'thing' is) – its what keeps you on the wagon. Its much harder to fall off if you allow yourself to eat anything you fancy. Do this every day. Enjoy it. Nothing is banned. I even allow myself wine and crisps on occasions.
Tip 3) Write everything down
As I type it’s the end of August 2013. I have written down every single thing that has passed my lips, with the exception of two days (that I regret when it was my children’s birthdays) since January 2013. Every single thing. It keeps me accountable. I love ‘My Fitness Pal’ which is available as a web site and app. It is a database of calorific values and helps you record what you eat. It’s a GOOD discipline to get into. Do it and do it religiously.
Tip 4) Weigh and measure
Yawn! I can hear you from here. Weighing portions is so unfashionable. We perceive it to be a massive bore. You know what? It takes seconds. It keeps you on the straight and narrow. It helps produce pretty graphs in My Fitness Pal. Trust me on this; just do it.
Tip 5) Exercise
I’ve just lost 50% of the audience, I know. You know this stuff. I was the MOST unfit, 20 stone lump of womanhood, seriously, I couldn’t run for a bus. I was almost 40, mother of 3, morbidly obese. Don’t tell me you can’t exercise, because you can. I know you can because I did. I downloaded the Couch to 5K app (C25K, I used the Zen Labs one, but there are loads and they’re all the same) and I had a go. It was not a pretty sight, but I did it. Remember this:
It’s never easy, but its always possible. Nothing worth doing is ever easy.
You can do it. All you need is a decent sports bra and, once you’re sure you’re going to stick with it, a pair of proper running shoes – but I didn’t even buy these for six weeks. If its too hard, repeat a week. If I can do it, you can.
Within five months, I was running a 10K. Looking knackered, and a bit grey, but I did it. A year ago I would have laughed in your face if you’d told me I would run a 10K, but look! Here I am! I'm about a stone lighter now too.
And that’s the basics. I am hoping this blog post will be useful to those who are trying to lose weight, and will be a place I can refer others when they ask me what I have done. Of course, I can only speak for myself. If you have any questions, experiences, tips or suggestions, please will you consider leaving them in the comments section below?
Good luck with your journey. Your health is the most precious gift. Hard is the new black, yes? You can do it too.