Smorgasbord Health – Size Matters The Sequel – Weight Loss – The Benefits of Sleep by Sally Cronin


As I have already established, healthy weight loss is not just about calories in and calories out. Although that is the basic principal of losing fat, there are so many other elements to consider, that are emotionally, physically and mentally critical to a successful outcome.

In the last few months we have explored the impact of stress, emotional and physical, types of foods that are nutrient dense, willpower and exercise. Another daily activity that also has a part to play in maintaining a healthy balance in our bodies is sleep. I have posted before in the various weight loss series but it is worth reminding ourselves how important this period in our day is to us.

If you are trying to lose weight…sleep is one of your most powerful diet aids.

You might wonder why weight loss and sleeping go together. Well apart from the fact you won’t be putting any calories in during that time; your body will be processing those you ate the day before. If you consistently only have five or six hours of sleep not only has that process not been completed efficiently, but you wake up wanting to dive into carbohydrates and as many sugary coffees you can get your hands on. Over a period of time as your body loses energy it will demand that you top up more frequently and consume sugars to keep it going… Before you know it your weight is going steadily upwards.

Sleep is essential for the recovery of the body and mind. It is the time of day when organs continue to function but calmly enough to be able to carry out diagnostics and repairs ready to face the next active 16 hours. Without this down time every night you will find yourself vulnerable to physical and mental stress and if sleeplessness is a long term issue for you it can lead to a number of health problems.

The Power of Sleep

Sleep is as vital to humans as breathing, drinking water and following a healthy diet. We need exercise and movement throughout the day, to keep us supple and fit, but you cannot run any operating system for 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for 70 or 80 years without carrying out essential maintenance.

If we are doing our bit, we should be providing the body with the raw materials it needs to process, manufacture and rebuild our bodies internally and externally. For many of us, however, the ingredient our bodies are deprived of most is sleep.

During the day, our normal activities help our bodies to excrete toxins but the body also needs time to heal, rejuvenate and rest. Most of the day our body is focusing on keeping you upright and able to accomplish every task you set yourself, including providing you with a functional immune system. At night your body can concentrate on cleansing and restoring all the operating functions, ready for the next day.

beating heart GIF

For example: the heart normally beats 82 times in a minute.

That is 4,920 times an hour – 118,080 times a day – 826,560 times a week – Almost 43 million heartbeats a year.  That is a huge amount of work for the organ that keeps us alive!

However, when we are asleep our hearts beat at around 60 beats per minute, or lower. This means that for 8 hours of the day our heart will beat 28,800 instead of 39,360 times, which is a saving of 10,560 for those down time hours.

If you multiply that over a year you will be saving nearly 4 million heartbeats. Take that in relation to our life-span  of an average of 80 years, and your heart will have to work 320 million heartbeats less, saving wear and tear on this vital organ.

With regard to weightloss, your heart will also have to beat less as you lose weight which is one of the reasons that being close to a healthy weight is so important.

The same principal applies to the rest of the body and its operating systems. Your lungs will work less as your breathing slows during the night. Your muscles will rest and recuperate and your brain will undergo diagnostic tests and repairs while you sleep.

Most mental disorders, including depression and Alzheimer’s, are linked to various sleep disorders, some resulting from drugs used to control the disease or from changes in parts of the brain that normally regulate sleep patterns. There are also some concerns that sleep aids, particularly prescribed medication used long term may result in mental impairment. (As always do not stop taking any prescribed medication without consulting your doctor.)

Our dream states are important as it is part of your brain’s downtime function as it sorts information, filing and in some cases deleting unimportant information or spam, much as we do with our computers.

Going without sleep affects hormonal balance, and therefore our mood and stress levels. The glands that produce these hormones, such as the adrenal glands, are on constant alert and have no chance to rest and rejuvenate. As in the case of a rowdy neighbour it is “one up, all up”. The knock-on effect of having all these hormones rampaging around the body is that nobody gets any rest, leading to physical, mental and emotional problems.

Performance levels will decrease without proper sleep and our reactions and internal processes will be impaired. Research has shown that sleep deprivation has the same effect on driving performance as taking alcohol or drugs. People who do not get enough sleep become increasingly less sensitive to certain chemical reactions within the body and in the case of insulin this increases the risk to developing both diabetes and high blood pressure.

If you are tired then your body is trying to tell you something

Taking a nap is actually a way to catch up on your missing sleep. The most natural time for a nap is 8 hours after you have woken up in the morning and 8 hours before you go to bed. This way it is unlikely to affect your ability to fall asleep at night. Even 20 minutes can actually revitalise you and rest your body ready for another 8 hours of activity.

Make yourself comfortable, loosen your clothes and just close your eyes. Even if you do not fall asleep your body will relax and everything from your muscles to your brain will benefit.

Getting to sleep at night

Unless you are Mediterranean, and used to eating late at night from childhood, avoid having dinner just before you go to bed. Leave at least two hours – and if it has been very spicy then leave for at least three hours. I have no idea how anyone can go out for a night drinking, eat a curry and go to bed and not suffer a dreadful night’s sleep.

Alcohol can be a stimulant and whilst excessive amounts may make you sleepy it is going to wake you up four hours later with a raging thirst and a thumping headache. Once in while you may get away with it but if it is the norm you will become seriously sleep deprived.

Sitting up too late, watching an action thriller is not the best way to ensure a good night’s sleep. Those of us who have dogs who need walking benefit from both the physical activity and the fresh air before hitting the pillow and if you can safely take a stroll at night then it is an excellent idea.

Make sure that there is plenty of airflow in the bedroom and sleep in comfortable clothes. I have no idea how people manage in button up pyjamas as they must be so restrictive and you will be moving around quite a bit at night and getting tangled up in both bedclothes and your nightie is going to disturb you.

I find that, however late I go to bed, reading a few pages of a book is guaranteed to help me drop off. Many people have discovered their own sleep triggers over the years, including warm baths with Epsom salts, herbal teas such as Kava Kava and Valerian, and gentle music that drowns out the noise of neighbours, or a snoring partner.

Earplugs can be very useful, particularly if you are sharing a bed with a snorer, although you may miss the alarm clock in the morning.

If you are going to bed at more or less the same time every night you will find, within a very short space of time, you will wake at about the same time every morning. In fact, it is a good idea to follow the same sleep patterns all week rather than opt for a lie in at the weekend. It establishes a healthy downtime for the body and does not confuse it for two days every week.

Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and research is increasingly showing that it is also vital for the development of our brains. Children who do not get sufficient sleep will develop behavioural and learning difficulties as well as compromise their immune systems and future health.

Keeping your children up with you late at night is not healthy. They need far more sleep than we do during their rapid growth spurts. Make sure that they have a nap during the day about half way through their active hours and get them into the habit of getting at least 10 hours sleep per night. When they are very young you will obviously be waking them for feeds and then for potty training but you must always try and ensure that they are kept calm and are put back down as quickly as possible. This will also be healthier for you as this is the time when most parents are likely to suffer from sleep deprivation. The next crisis for those of you with teenagers is when they fail to return before 2.00 in the morning.

Stages of sleep

There are a number of different stages of sleep and it is important that you go through the entire cycle to reap all the benefits.

There are two main phases. In phase one you will be going through Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep or NREM. There are different stages within this phase which naturally lead you to phase two or Rapid Eye Movement sleep or REM.

Phase one NREM

Stage One. This is the lightest stage of sleep and although your main senses are turned down they are not off completely and you can be disturbed by certain noises such as snoring, dogs barking or doors slamming.

Stage Two. If you get into this stage you will fall deeper asleep and your heart rate and temperature will begin to level out and drop. This stage represents about half your night’s sleep.

Stage Three and Four are the deepest stages of NREM and represent about 15% of your night’s sleep. Your breathing will slow; your temperature will drop further as will your blood pressure.

Phase two REM

After about 30 minutes in stage four NREM sleep you begin to move back to stage one and two where your brain will become more active and you will begin to dream. If you are woken up at this point in the cycle you are likely to remember the dream you were experiencing at the time. If you have reached one of the NREM stages then you are not as likely to recall anything when you wake up.

This cycle of phase one and two takes approximately 90 minutes and then begins again. To really benefit from this combination of rest and activity you need to complete at least 5 cycles during the night. This adds up to approximately 8 hours of sleep. If you only manage one or two cycles then your brain and body will not have completed its cleansing process and you will feel tired. If this becomes the norm you will begin to notice the symptoms of sleep deprivation.

Sleep is as essential as air, water and food and if you are not currently enjoying a good night’s sleep then you need to work towards finding a solution.

 

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998- 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 Thanks for dropping in today and if you have any questions please use the comments or if your prefer you are more than welcome to email me on Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You can find the previous posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

This is the last part in this series of updated chapters from Size Matters and it will published with the second part of the original book which was nutritional data, later in the year.. I hope you have found helpful. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters The Sequel – Putting your Plan Together #Fats #portion sizes – Part Two by Sally Cronin


In the last post I shared the starting point for your eating plan, with your weight established and the amount of weight that you needed to lose and the timescales. Also some more information about the amount of fat in your diet and how cholesterol is broken down into the good the bad and the ugly..

In this post I am going too look at the food groups to include in your programme with an approximate calorie guideline.

What food should I eat within the calorie and fat guidelines?

I established in an earlier chapter that a woman needs a minimum daily intake of 1,500 calories and a man needs a minimum daily intake of 1,800 calories. Always remember that the most important aspect of those calories should be the nutritional content.

Let’s look at two sample menus of around 1,500 calories.

Menu 1 – Bad example

• You could eat three chocolate bars, which would be 1,500 calories or around 60 fat grams.
OR, you could have ALL of the following;

Menu 2 – Good example

Breakfast

• Bowl of cereal (30 g) with skimmed milk with a handful of blueberries (150 calories)
• Slice of toast with scrape of butter and jam (130 calories)
• Cup of black coffee and a glass of cranberry juice (50 calories)
(Total: 330 calories)

Morning snack

• Two pieces of fruit (100 calories)

Light Lunch

• Salad sandwich with chicken or fish (350 calories)
• Fat-free yogurt and one piece of fruit (105 calories)
(Total: 555 calories)

 

Dinner

• 150 gm grilled cod or small chicken breast (140 calories)
• 100 g potato (85 calories)
• Broccoli, cabbage and carrots (120 calories)
• Tomato and basil sauce (100 calories)
(Total: 445 calories)

Evening snack

Fresh fruit salad and low-fat yogurt (watch the sugar in the yogurt) (250 calories)

Total for the day: 1,580 calories or 28 fat grams.

What you should notice here is just how much food you can eat and still lose weight. You would not be hungry with a daily menu similar to this. But, if you had eaten only three chocolate bars throughout the day, you would not just have been very hungry at the end of the day but you would also have filled your system with many times the amount of sugar you need, and your fat intake would have been far too high.

We need a balanced diet whatever weight we are, but it is particularly important if you are trying to lose weight. Every individual requires a different balance in their diet, depending on age, sex and activity level. If you are pregnant, elderly or recovering from illness then you will require a different balance to the types of food you are eating on a daily basis. I discuss supplements in a later post, since it is very difficult to achieve optimum nutrition even on 2,000 calories per day. This is why eating lots of fresh (or frozen) vegetables and fresh fruit is so important.

Carbohydrates play a crucial role in our energy levels and it is important to include a healthy amount in your program. Usually it is what we serve with our carbohydrates that cause us problems. A healthy slice of whole-grain bread at about 75 calories suddenly becomes the snack from hell when you add butter, a slice of cheese and two slices of ham.

As a guideline, if I were on a regime of 1,500-1,600 calories a day, I would expect to eat the following amounts in the various food groups.

  • Carbohydrates:- 4 to 6 servings depending on your activity level. ( 1 slice of breads, small bowl of cereal and starchy vegetables such as carrots large tablespoon, potatoes 1 medium, turnip 1 large tablespoon, swede large tablespoon and beans tablespoon).
  • Green and salad Vegetables:- 4 servings – tablespoons
  • Fruit:- 2 – 3 servings – An orange, apple, pear, banana, handful of berries (variety)
  • Protein:- 2 servings, (1 egg, lean meats, 150 gm chicken or fish)
  • Fats:- In meats, chicken, oily fish and dairy products.
  • Milk:- You can use semi-skimmed milk or skimmed milk, but tea does not taste the same to me so I use full-fat milk and just have 1/4 pint.

The important thing to remember here is that you may need to increase your intake of carbohydrate to fuel certain levels of activity. I have worked with a number of athletes among my clients and their programs were planned around their training sessions. They would eat more carbohydrates, in the form of pasta or beans, on the day before training. This increases their energy and stamina levels even just hours later.

How quickly should I lose weight?

I have found that, for both myself and my clients, the rate of weight loss is variable in the first two or three weeks, depending on how much weight you wish to lose. For instance, someone who is more than 42 lbs (3 st, 19 kg) overweight can often lose 5 to 6 lbs (2.3 to 2.6 kg) the first week, then 4 lbs (1.8 kg) each week for the next two or three, followed by 2 to 3 lbs (0.9 to 1.4 kg) a week thereafter, depending on lifestyle.

In my case, I was losing at least 3 lbs (1.4 kg) a week right up to the end. I did not drop my calories below 1,750, but I was walking between four and six miles a day. If I had not walked, my daily deficit would have been about 750 calories a day, which would have given me a weekly total of 5,250 calories or 1.5 lbs of body fat. However, the walking, and other exercise, that I did each day doubled my daily deficit to 1,500 calories, or 10,500 a week, resulting in the 3 lbs (1.4 kg) weight loss. I was also converting fat to muscle, which uses calories more efficiently, so I felt happy to be losing weight at that rate.

If you are not at that level of exercise, then losing 1.5 lbs to 2 lbs (0.7 to 0.9 kg) of body fat each week after the initial month is absolutely fine. Remember that this is still between 14 lbs and 20 lbs (6.5 to 9 kg) every ten weeks, which is over 100 lbs (45 kg) a year. For someone who weighs in the region of 280 lbs (20 st, 127 kg), this is a tremendous change in a relatively short space of time. You have spent a lifetime getting to the size you are, so it is well worth making the necessary changes in your lifestyle to know that, in a year’s time, you will have lost 105 lbs (7 st 7 lbs, 48 kg).

At this steady rate of weight loss, your body is not going to be under stress. You will be properly nourished and you will have the energy to do the exercise you need to tone your body and maintain the weight loss.

While I recommend walking to speed up the weight reduction process, swimming and cycling are also excellent. I do not, however, believe in spending two hours a day on a treadmill, especially when you are still considerably overweight. If you are obese, probably you will have caused some structural damage to your body. My right hip, knee and foot are very vulnerable.

For years I would use my right leg to push my entire body weight out of the car which did not help the knee joint and then about 20 years ago I snapped my ligaments when my knee was twisted around suddenly.. I am now lucky to be able to walk the distances I do, but aerobics, tennis and similar forms of exercise are less suitable for me. I know a lot of people who have done similar damage to themselves, and they certainly compound this when they exercise too hard.

How much exercise should I do to help me lose weight?

I love walking. People used to ask me how I could walk 6 miles a day and not get bored. At first I looked on it as a chore. I could barely go down the road for ten minutes before I was unbearably hot and sweaty (and hating the way people looked at me).

My attitude began to change after the first 30 to 40 lbs (14 to 18 kg) of weight came off. I was now walking for an hour at a time. I felt better and could see the changes in my body. I had been very worried that, as I lost the weight, I would be left with bags of loose skin, but this wasn’t the case. Some people need an operation to remove such sagging skin, but walking – and drinking plenty of water – are two key elements in avoiding a medical solution.

Apart from the obvious benefits we have already talked about, there is another aspect to walking that has added a whole new dimension to my life. I discovered that the time spent walking was very precious. No one could intrude. I could think about anything I wanted: planning my day, writing my book, listening to my favourite music. There were no interruptions, and no other demands on that time.

I then got myself a personal fitness trainer. All he cost me was a lot of love, three walks a day and massages. He made me get up at 7.30 every morning, rain or shine, and, when he looked at me in that certain way, there is no way in the world I could say no. He would walk for miles, checking messages left by passing four-legged friends and coming back occasionally to let me know he was still there. Even though he is no longer with us, I will never forget his contribution to my walk back to health.

Later I began swimming again, something I loved as a teenager. I swam everyday for an hour and this certainly helped me with my knee injury. It is also an all over toning exercise and will also increase internal organ health including heart and lungs.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 Thanks for dropping in today and if you have any questions please use the comments or if your prefer you are more than welcome to email me on Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

I am joining a growing number of our blogging friends on MeWe and I invite you take a look… a different approach to users mewe.com/i/sallycronin

You can find the previous posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters – The Sequel – Putting your Eating Plan together Part One #Measurements and #Motivationby Sally Cronin


So far in this series I have covered the basics of how you might have become overweight, and some strategies to put in place to make sure you are successful, however much you weight you need to shed. This included making sure you deal with any underlying health issues such as Candida Albicans and getting your willpower in shape. Last week I shared the abundance of food that you can eat as get to a healthy weight and now it is time to put those foods together in an eating plan.

Because this is a longer than usual chapter… I am posting over two days with part two tomorrow.

Creating Your Own Plan

So now it is your turn. Weigh yourself. I hate bathroom scales with a vengeance. They can sabotage a healthy eating programme as quick as anything. They are not always reliable, if old, the measurements are off and if you do not lose weight one week you can get demoralised and give up.

I suggest that you find a chemist or other outlet that has accurate scales and visit every two weeks – same day and time if you can – on the way to work perhaps. I try to find one that does not shout the results across the shop floor! Some of these also have a blood pressure cuff so another measurement to check on a regular basis. Do still have your BP taken officially along with your LDL cholesterol levels and Blood Sugar with your doctor or the pharmacy after 6–8 weeks.

To be honest, I find using a different method to measure progress can be more motivating.

One is to take a photograph, full length of you today and stick it somewhere you see it every day. In 6 weeks time having been following your new regimen of natural unprocessed foods and got into an increased activity programme, take another and compare them. I think you will be pleasantly surprised, especially if you wear the same clothes you did in the first photograph.. They should feel a lot looser and it will show.

Another option is to find an item of clothing that is a size too small and every week on the same day try it on. Keep going until you fit into it. Be realistic. If you are a size 20, don’t think that you are going to be in a size 10 in six weeks. Start with a size 18 and then a size smaller every four to six weeks should be about the right time scale.

A note here, unfortunately, we women lose weight from the top down usually. One of the reasons being is that we have different hips and thighs to men. We bear children and the fat in those regions would be used to nourish the baby when we are pregnant. So perhaps an idea would be to find a top of some kind or jacket to compare sizing for the first few weeks.

Determine your frame size and decide what weight you need to be by using the BMR calculator and the addition of normal activity and exercise per day. If you missed that post here is the link How much should you weigh

Remember: It is not healthy to lose masses of body weight too quickly. You start to lose muscle instead of fat and that is not good in the long term. When you lose muscle and then come off your diet, you don’t have the necessary muscle to burn fat, any excess beyond what your body uses up each day will be popped into the fat cells for safe-keeping. That is why when you eat too few calories on a ‘crash’ diet, you put on even more weight than you started with.

Having said that, if you are steadily increasing your activity level, you can sustain a healthy loss of 2–3 lbs (1–1.5 kg) a week, because you are building muscle as you lose the fat.

Most one-dimensional diets work on the assumption that you walk three times a week for 20 minutes. This is hardly enough time to get out of breath! If you are walking for an hour every day, you will be achieving seven times that amount of exercise and will soon see the benefit in additional weight loss and toning.

The weight loss will always be quicker at first, but, if you average it out over a 20–week period, it usually works out to 2.5 lbs (1 kg) per week. You do not need to do the entire hour at once. Intensive and brisk walking for 20 minutes, three times a day can actually be more effective. Also, you are more likely to sustain the level of exercise in smaller segments. For me, I find that if I listen to rock music it keeps me at a good pace although does solicit some odd looks from passers by.

As always, especially if you are very overweight, you should not launch into an aggressive exercise program without first talking to your medical adviser.

Without the use of technical equipment, and complex calculations, it is generally difficult to calculate an individual’s calorific usage during an hour of exercise. To keep it simple, I have listed only a few exercises and divided them into two main groups: Moderate and Heavy (I will cover excercise in more detail in a later post).

Moderate exercise:

Walking, cycling and swimming. These use approximately 300 calories an hour. You should then add 10 calories for every 14 lbs (6.5 kg) you are overweight.

Heavy exercise:

Aerobics, mountain biking, running, and football. These use approximately 500 calories an hour. Here you need to add 20 calories for every 14 lbs (6.5 kg) you are overweight.

Basic Summary:

• Weigh yourself.
• Determine your frame size.
• Decide on your ideal weight.
• Calculate the weight loss required to achieve this weight.
• Determine the amount of calories you need each day to provide basic nutrition – BMR – then add in basic daily activity and exercise.
• Without going below your BMR – around the 1500 calories for a woman and 1800 for a man – design your healthy eating programme to provide a 500 to 750 calorie deficit per day to achieve 1–2 lbs weight loss per week.

It is worth noting that some weeks you may lose less than in others. As you increase your activity level, you will be toning up and this will create more muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat and so you may find that you have lost inches instead of pounds. However, in my experience, it usually seems to average out to about 2–2.5 lbs (0.9–1.1 kg) per week. Think long term, and do not become too obsessed with the day-to-day loss of weight.

I suggest that you keep a journal as I did.. I would list my food intake for the day in detail, plus fluids and the exercise. I weighed myself every Monday morning and made a record of weight lost, gained or stayed the same. If there was gain or I had stayed the same weight, I would take a look at the food and see is anything had slipped in or if I had been doing less exercise.


How much fat should I eat each day?

At this point I think it is important to remember that our bodies have been evolving for a very long time – in a hundred thousand years our DNA will only have altered about ten times – I have said before that the body does not react to sudden changes very well! However, in the last 300 years and particularly the last 150 years since the industrial revolution we have thrown some curve balls at our bodies.

Processed foods with manufactured artificial ingredients is just one area where our nutritional needs are not being met – one of the others, which is the real demon in our diet, is refined sugars – addictive – available from birth to grave, within hand’s reach in shops, in our own fridges and store cupboards – and laboratory constructed fats to extend the sell-by-date on ready meals and other processed foods in our daily diet. No wonder our bodies are in melt-down with increased health issues that lead to Heart disease, Cancers and Dementia.

But back to fats …

We must not cut fats out of our diet – they have an essential role to play in our health and without fats and cholesterol our bodies will be open to infections, poor function in areas such as the brain, heart, reproductive system and our eyesight. I use the 80/20 rule with my diet because I have to be watch my weight – 20% of my diet comprises healthy fats – sometimes I will have more because I am out for a meal etc. but basically my everyday diet comprises mainly seasonal vegetables and fruit, whole grain rice, fish, chicken, red meat once a week, eggs, moderate dairy.

No one person’s diet is the same and you have to find the perfect balance for you and this includes your fat intake – as long as it is not harmful fats.

Briefly, a quick look at the fats you are likely to encounter in your daily diet:

• One fat to avoid all together is not naturally occurring at all and that is manufactured ‘Trans Fats” Liquid oil is hydrogenated to extend its shelf life but in the process Trans fatty acids are formed – found in most processed foods including margarines and snacks such as microwave popcorn, biscuits, cakes, packaged puddings etc.

• The other fat type, which in large quantities is not helpful in maintaining cholesterol levels, is saturated fat – if there is too much in your diet it will raise your total Cholesterol as well as the LDL (low density lipoprotein which is smaller and clumps in arteries, and I call it Lousy Cholesterol). Mainly found in animal products but also some seafood. However, provided you are not eating the rich fat around a steak or roast every day, or eating a block of cheese three times a week, or a pound of butter on your spuds, you can enjoy what is very tasty component of your diet in moderation.

Personally I would rather have a small amount of real grass fed dairy butter with all its nutritional value, than a large dollop of low fat chemically processed glop……

Cholesterol is an essential element of many of the chemical reactions in the body including our brain health and our hormones. Dropping it too low can have an impact on our long-term health.

• The fats classified as healthy fats are Monounsaturated fats – which lower total cholesterol and at the same time lower LDL and increase HDL (High Density Lipoprotein and which I call Healthy Cholesterol) – this is contained in nuts, like walnuts and olive oil.

• Polyunsaturated fats also lower total cholesterol and LDL and these are found in salmon, soya, sunflower oils etc and have a very important component Omega-3 fatty acids. These can not only reduce your LDL and support HDL but are also very helpful in reducing blood pressure and the risk of developing blood clots. Even with people who have already suffered a heart attack including Omega-3 fatty acids in their diet reduces their risk of a fatal attack.

We love fish and it is very easy to include oily fish at least three times a week. Some of the best for Omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines and Albacore Tuna.

At this point a word about cooking your healthy meals – Olive oil is great but not so good when heated to a really high temperature to cook your steak or fish. It should be Extra Virgin Olive oil so that it has not been over processed – do not be tempted to use the light versions!

Use to drizzle over your meat, fish, vegetables, jacket potato etc after cooking – steam bake your food – if you are eating steak put in the oven in a pan with a grid so that the excess fat drains off – if you fancy a little butter on your vegetables, why not – great taste.

A little more info on Olive Oil – great stuff – potent mix of anti-oxidants that can lower the LDL but leave the HDL untouched – obviously if you are overweight it does have a high fat and calorie count but much better to use the Extra Virgin version and get the health benefits than use the diet alternatives.

I also use coconut oil for cooking and I have the liquid oil as a dressing, it is organic and has no additives and mixed with a little balsamic vinegar makes a delicious addition to salads.

The greatest gift you can give you body and its cholesterol is to avoid eating processed store bought cakes, biscuits, crackers some cheap breads, pasta dishes etc. If you make your own from scratch using butter and eat occasionally you will get a better tasting and healthier alternative.

To summarise – do not take fats out of your diet – use unprocessed, natural ingredients in your cooking, use fats and oils in moderation, eat plenty of vegetables, seasonal fruits, whole grains, dairy and eggs.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 Thanks for dropping in today and if you have any questions please use the comments or if your prefer you are more than welcome to email me on Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

I am joining a growing number of our blogging friends on MeWe and I invite you take a look… a different approach to users.  mewe.com/i/sallycronin

You can find the previous posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters – The Sequel #Weightloss – The Project Plan for Success


So far we have explored how you got to this phase in your life where you are uncomfortable with the extra weight you are carrying.  Now it is time for you to tailor make your eating programme for the next phase, which is achieving optimum health for your age. Let’s face it if like me you are 66 years old, with a wonky knee and a love of more sedate sports such as walking and swimming, throwing yourself into rock climbing, triathlons and training for the Olympics is probably not on the cards.

Having said that, it is amazing what you can do once you lose a few of those pounds and you begin to feel lighter. Suddenly more active sports do not seem so out of the question, and there is many a silver surfer who has taken to the waves rather than the Internet. A great deal of this is down to attitude, determination and willpower. All of which is usually fixed by getting a dog who demands walks three times a day and won’t take no for an answer! Whatever the weather!

I know that there are mantras and inspiring quotes out there which encourage you to embrace your body shape and to get out there in swimsuits and lycra….but trust me once you have been the size of a small bell tent.. it is not that easy. Even now I shudder at the thought of exposing my body to the public gaze and chlorine of a public swimming pool and I do have a pretty good body image. I admire those of the more voluptuous body shape to take it all in their stride and certainly the younger generation are better at this. Possibly, forgive me, because there are a great many more younger people who are obese and it is less of an issue of standing out from the crowd.

When you tailor make your eating and exercise programme to lose weight it is not a question of diving in and cutting out all suspect foods and trying to run three times a week. I have already shared how important it is to keep your body supplied with nutritionally dense foods whilst reducing those foods that are not just suspect but sabotaging to your health and waistline.

Such as sugar, white flour and industrially produced foods.

Before you begin your program, it is important to set some ground rules.

There are not many to remember, but they will assist you in becoming successful at sensible and healthy eating.

Do not skip snacks or meals. Remember – you must eat something every two or three hours so that you stimulate your metabolism and keep your blood sugar levels stable. This will help prevent cravings later in the day and will stop that nagging feeling of hunger. It will also be easier for your body to absorb and process these smaller meals rather than one very large meal. That process begins in the mouth where you should chew the food well and mix with saliva, which will then slip down the oesophagus, into the stomach where the acid will form it into a liquid before it gets mixed with bile and other enzymes to ease it into the intestines where the goodness can be extracted.

There are a lot of articles about Intermittent Fasting and leaving a long gap between your last meal at night and eating in the morning, preferably between 14 and 16 hours. But if you are very overweight and have been dipping into the cookie jar every time you felt the need; it will be much more difficult to stick to the programme. I suggest that you do not fast completely as your body will react negatively to being starved and will only store any food you do then eat as it counteracts the famine.

Despite the operating systems of your body continuing to work overnight, it does so on standby mode using up approximately half the calories per hour as it does during the day. It needs to be given a boost when you wake up to get it back into gear.. You should not go to bed with a full stomach, and I recommend that you allow at least three hours after eating, and you will get a better night’s sleep. If you finish eating by 7pm and eat your breakfast at 8am. You will have given your body thirteen hours to recover, digest and use up some fat before you begin eating again. If you can get in 30 minutes of moderate exercise before breakfast that would be even better. Then for the next eight hours or so eat moderate main meals with healthy snacks between. I will give you some ideas for those meals later in the series.

Keeping a food diary is essential for the first few weeks of your program. Not only will it encourage you to be honest about your daily intake, but you should make the effort to learn from it. For example, apart from Candida Albicans there are other food related issues to consider. Although not as common as the ‘Gluten Free’ multi-billion food industry would have you believe, there are a percentage of people who are allergic to gluten or react to it in a milder form. It is estimated that around 1 in 5,000 people have celiac disease and cannot digest gluten, but that around 1 in 200 may have an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten. By keeping a food diary you can establish a base line of which foods may cause you certain symptoms when eaten. Usually in the last 12 to 24 hours. For example bloating, wind, cramps associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and also NCP (not chewing your food properly!). You cannot swallow large chunks of food, especially the high fibre variety such as vegetables and expect them to miraculous become a smooth addition to your guts.

Another benefit of a food diary is finding the right fuel mix for you as an individual. If in one week you met your weight loss target, felt energetic and looked great, what were you eating to achieve that? By reviewing your diary, you gain insight into the fuel mix that works for you. Likewise if you find you have reached a plateau and have not lost weight. It can be easy to skip snacks, thinking that you are not hungry, but you will soon see that gaps in your food diary can lead to hunger or picking at food later in the day. The diary is your basic tool to help you establish a pattern of healthy eating that one-day you will automatically keep to.

Make sure that you keep your food program varied. Not only do you need the full spectrum of nutrients, but you should also avoid boredom. Get out the recipe books and be creative, especially in substituting other products for fat and sugar. I have compiled a list of possible substitutes later in the series, but if you look around you will find many more. One of the boons of my early days dieting was my old crockpot, now upgraded to a large slow cooker. I would make a chicken stew with loads of vegetables that would last the two of us three nights. I would serve with a small portion of rice (a tablespoon) or a small amount of potato, and it was really filling. Usually by the time we had taken the solids out there was enough each for a rich and nutritious soup for supper. As all the vegetables were cooked with the chopped chicken in a vegetable stock, none of the goodness was lost.

We lose around two litres of water each day, not just as wee, but as we breath and through our skin…and this has to be replaced in order to remain hydrated, and to prevent our bodies from taking fluid from sources that may contain a high percentage of sugars. If you feel tired, and/or suffer from headaches and irritability, it could well be that you are dehydrated. Start the day with a large glass of water and then drink regularly throughout the day. It is better to drink a glass of room temperature water 30 minutes before your meal and then leave an hour before having another.

Avoid drinking large amounts of water with your main meal,(something it seems every restaurant in America provides even if you don’t ask for it) since this can drown the gastric juices that process your meal and cause wind and bloating. Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before your main meal and then about an hour afterwards. There are some fluids that aid digestion – a glass of red wine occasionally, or a peppermint tea after a meal out. All fluids count, although I don’t recommend 8 cups of coffee a day as you will be wired, but certainly both coffee and green tea in particular have antioxidants that are good for you. And also coffee, green tea, ginger, cayenne pepper, black pepper and funnily enough coconut oil….can have a thermogenic effect and aid fat burning!

Only weigh yourself once a fortnight to begin with, but never more than once a week – always at the same time and on the same scales. Your weight will fluctuate during the week, so hopping on and off the scales can be demoralising. Some people swear by daily weigh-ins, and that if that is what you wish to do then leave it until you have lost most of your weight and are getting down to the last couple of stone.

Control your portion sizes. Just because a food is good for you does not mean that you can eat huge amounts of it. Remember, if you eat more than your body requires, you will put on weight. A bowl of chopped salad is great but do remember that adding even low fat mayonnaise comes at a price…100gm of low fat mayonnaise can contain between 6gm to 10gm of sugar. There are hundreds of recipes online for sugar free dressings that are still low in fat. I have a mix of balsamic vinegar with one teaspoon of coconut oil some black pepper and a pinch of salt for one very large fresh salad and it coats it deliciously. Remember, moderate main meals, and small snacks.

Alcohol may be low in fat but it is high in carbohydrates and sugars, and therefore calories. One large glass of wine a day, seven days a week, can add up to 30 lbs (14 kg) of body fat a year. Try to limit drinking alcohol to special occasions, and then have only two or three drinks at a time. Drinking more than this can put additional stress on your liver which has to deal with the alcohol in your system. There are so many articles online about the benefits of alcohol and how one glass a night is better for you than having no alcohol at all… not sure who sponsors them but I can tell you that when I stopped drinking completely for the first six months of my weight loss 23 years ago I lost considerably more than I had previously when I had attempted to lose weight. We used to share a bottle of wine most nights and that adds up to 60lbs (28kg) per year!

Stop thinking like a fat person and start thinking like a slim one. Start talking about ‘when’, not ‘if’, I lose weight. Also there is a six letter word that is your nemesis…‘Should’. We use it blatantly when we want to avoid doing anything. I should lose weight, I should stop smoking, I should save money!…Very wishy, washy and not going to get you over the finish line. Start using the word ‘MUST’ instead. Put some muscle behind it and get it done.

Also stop eating for the size you are. I cannot count the number of times I was told ‘take two you are a big girl’ or ‘have a second helping you need all the energy you can get’… no actually you need to eat for the person you are going to become, not the one you have become!

Find an incentive that will be achieved when you have reached certain weights. When I had lost a few stone, I bought a black velvet dress with white satin trim that was aimed an hour glass figure. That hung in a clear plastic bag, on the front of my wardrobe for the 18 months it took for me to get into it. When I bought the dress I was wearing size 32 UK and it was a size 16. You need to find something that is in your face every day that reminds you of why you are doing this.

Remember – this is not a diet! It is a healthy eating program. It must become integrated into your life, so it needs to be interesting, stimulating and non-restrictive in order to work. And as they say. A little of what you fancy does you good!

And next week a realistic approach to how much you should weigh and identifying how many lbs you need to shift to achieve that.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 Thanks for dropping in today and if you have any questions please use the comments or if your prefer you are more than welcome to email me on Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

I am joining a growing number of our blogging friends on MeWe and I invite you take a look… a different approach to users.  mewe.com/i/sallycronin

You can find the previous posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

Smorgasbord Health -#Morbid Obesity – Size Matters – The Sequel – Chapter Two – The Accumulative Factor of Food and Life – Sally Cronin


This is the updated and fifth edition of Size Matters and will be re-released later in the year. Although it contains much of the original material in relation to my own personal story, the programme has evolved over the last 20 years.

Although I studied nutritional therapy back in the mid-1990s, I have continued my studies and developed new programmes for healthy eating that are tailor made for the individual rather than a one size fits all. I still believe that the key elements of this basic weight loss programme I will share with you in this updated version works. Even when I work with clients who have arthritis or diabetes, I still approach their programmes from the three dimensions that I outline in this book. Our physical approach, our mental attitude and our emotions are all factors in how we overcome disease and obesity, and should all be addressed when looking for the right programme that will work for each individual.

You can read the other posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

Chapter Two – The Accumulative Factor of food and life.

The majority of the diets that I attempted in my adult life were one-dimensional. By this I mean that the diet generally gave the dieter a list of foods to eat and the ‘right’ amount of calories, regardless of age, sex or level of activity. Little effort was spent in analysing the reasons for the obesity.

Having been repeatedly unsuccessful in my previous attempts at dieting, it was obvious that I needed a new approach, to ensure that this would be the last time I would put my body – and mind – through such intense stress.

So, I decided to approach the weight loss from a completely different perspective and from as many angles as possible. This new concept meant looking at the mental, physical and emotional reasons for the weight gain in the first place: a three-dimensional approach.

Obesity is the symptom, but the root causes are not generally immediately apparent. In fact, there are a number of different factors which play a part.

Picture this.

It is 11.30 p.m. at night. I am pacing the floor of our lounge, car keys clenched in my fist. Since 6 p.m. I have eaten a large dish of spaghetti, three chocolate bars, a tub of ice cream and the re-heated remains of a take-away from the night before. There is nothing left in the refrigerator or cupboards. I am desperate for something more to eat – something sweet.

The garage down the road closes at midnight. If I can just hang on another ten minutes, it will be too late to get there before it shuts. Part of me is fighting to go, throw a coat over my pyjamas and take my last opportunity to get some chocolate before the morning. Another part of me is fighting to stay, to keep away from the very thing that is causing me so much misery – the misery of being this gross person that I felt I had become. How on earth had I come to this point in my life? How on earth was I going to learn to live through this?

Over the last 23 years I have walked thousands of miles, so there has been plenty of time for reflection. When I began keeping a journal, it was to record my personal journey of discovery and enlightenment. Some of the events and feelings that I am sharing with you are very personal, the kind we do not usually reveal to strangers. The reason for this openness is to illustrate that there is usually a lifetime of accumulated baggage that makes up the person we are today. Good times and bad times are recorded and stored and replayed time and again, a bit like a stuck record. In the process, we can get caught up in a ‘poor me’ state of mind, where we blame our past and those who inhabit it, for our present.

Without being too analytical, I have tried to identify some of the factors that may have contributed to my attitude to eating and my attitude to my body. I very soon came to the realisation that I was carrying too many layers, in more ways than one!

I am going to ask you to travel with me for the next few chapters and then complete your own journey. You need to establish where and when you might have unconsciously turned to food as an answer to your problems. Maybe you even developed a physical reason for your weight gain.

When you are looking for answers remember that you have to look inside yourself. You are the only person who knows what has really happened in your life. ‘Know thyself’ is a fundamental idea that has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks, and it important to remember this as you make your journey. Another famous saying is ‘You are what you eat’. Keep these two ideas in mind and they can help you to get to the root of the problem.

When I was working with clients and creating individual strategies that worked for them, I developed a tool that helped them understand food and how it impacts the body in a different way.The fat accumulation table shows the amount of calories consumed in a year of certain foods, the good, the bad and the ugly.

We might think that having two digestive biscuits everyday with our cup of tea is not going to make a difference to our weight, but if you check the figures above you will see that over a year that amounts to16lbs. Just by cutting back to one biscuit a day will halve that number. I love chocolate and when I was in my binge eating days I could consume at least two bars a day. That amounts to 112lbs over the year, considering that I needed to lose 150lbs back in 1995, giving up that little habit made a big difference!

I like using this cumulative approach, because I feel that it really reflects how life works to help us to gain weight a little at a time, so you don’t really see it happening. I wonder if you have noticed our little habit of eating two things at a time? Two pieces of toast for example, as if it is wasteful not to use the empty slot in the toaster. By the time you have added the butter and the other toppings you have just turned a snack into a light meal.

It is not just food that accumulates over time.

Everyday events, concerns, stress and worries also accumulate over time. Much like a snowball rolling down a hillside, we collect ‘layers’ which slow us down until we come to a stop at the bottom, pretty to look at, maybe, but it is impossible to tell what debris has been collected, along with the fresh layers of snow, during the journey.

Of course, not every layer that you add will be harmful. For most of us there is a combination of happy and unhappy events in our lives… unfortunately for some the balance is uneven and they seem to be the recipients of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Whilst there have been moments in my own life when I thought that I would never be able to rise above the challenge, I was very lucky in so many other aspects. It was an interesting and worthwhile process exploring 40 plus years of events and decision making that had resulted in morbid obesity. There is a dark side to life and to us as individuals. A side that we rarely share with others and is usually self-destructive.

Some people live in a world of balance. Others tend to live at the extremes of their abilities and senses. Extremes are important to an addict, and an addict is what I had become. I had developed an addiction to food, particularly to sugars, that was extreme compared to any normal consumption. Later, I will come back, in much more detail to the vital impact of sugars and how they can affect us and the way that we develop our eating habits.

This is a record of my journey back to my past from a mental, physical and emotional point of view.  It is not my intention to bare my soul of all my past traumas, as they are way behind me now. As with many people I do carry scars, but I chose to use my experiences to foster strength not weakness. I had clearly allowed some events to define me, and that was not a successful strategy.

In my role as a nutritional therapist I found myself listening to very similar stories from clients who were not just obese, but dangerously so. The answer did not only lie in creating an eating programme that changed a lifetime of poor nutrition, but in identifying the mental and emotional reasons why food had become so important.

©SallyGeorginaCronin Size Matters 2001 – 2019

Next time some of the events in my childhood that encouraged me to turn to food as a coping mechanism.

You can read the previous post in the series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

Thank you for reading the post and your feedback and questions are always very welcome. Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Who is referring others to your blog? Guests, music and laughter


Welcome to the weekly round up of posts you might have missed.

This week I got back into the swing of things and began the 2019 book promotions and the first of the Sunday Interviews. It was a terrific break but very happy being back to normal.

As always a huge thank you to my regular contributors and guests as well as the support on social media. Whilst managing the various platforms is time consuming and sometimes distracting, it was interesting to see, when I looked at the year’s analytic data, where the most referrals were generated from.

At the top end of the list and accounting for approximately 50% of the referrals out of 221,000 views:

  1. WordPress Reader.
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Yahoo.com
  5. Other search engines.

The other 50% were referrals from individual bloggers.

This confirms a few things to me:

  1. That WordPress Reader is a very powerful promotional tool for promoting not just our own posts but also when we reblog and ‘press’ posts we enjoy by other bloggers. Since people browse the Reader looking for posts that are interesting, it is well worth making sure you titles and the short summary at the top of your post catch their eye.
  2. That my time spent on Twitter and Facebook is not wasted!
  3. That using key words and tags on blog posts gets results from search engines. (but need to do better)
  4. That connecting and becoming part of a supportive community is essential to the success of a blog.

A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to share the posts this year directly to their own blogs which resulted in referrals and to all of you who took the time to like, share on social media and comment.

This week William Price King shared the life and music of the legendary Duke Ellington.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/08/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-jazz-duke-ellington/

This week Carol Taylor shares her favourite recipes of 2018… and they look delicious.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/09/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-column-with-carol-taylor-favourite-dishes-of-2018/

D. G. Kaye – Debby Gies shares a recap of her 2018 travel column with a reminder of the places you might like to visit on vacation.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/07/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-recap-take-a-look-before-you-book-your-summer-holiday-with-d-g-kaye/

Welcome to the first of a new season of Getting to Know You and my first guest for 2019 is Australian author Frank Prem who has recently released a collection of poems and short stories about his childhood – Small Town Kid.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/13/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-you-with-author-frank-prem/

I was delighted to review Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration by Colleen M. Chesebro.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/12/smorgasbord-book-reviews-fairies-myths-and-magic-a-summer-celebration-by-colleen-m-chesebro/

I wrote the original Size Matters in 1998 about my 150lb weight loss… I did update when the book went digital but that was several years ago. After working as a nutritional therapist for the last 20 years, and having continued to research and study food and its role in our health, I decided that it was time to write the sequel. 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/smorgasbord-health-size-matters-the-sequel-after-20-years-by-sally-cronin-introduction/

It is 1996 and it is a year of change with a move to Brussels and Anthony Robbins Life Mastery.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-1996-a-year-of-change-and-celine-dion/

I am had fun with Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 118 with the synonyms this week of ‘Begin’ and ‘Fresh’

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/09/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebro-tuesday-poetry-challenge-week-118-etheree-initiate-and-crisp/

It is now 1986 and both David and my father have their birthdays back to back. We are also making plans for a day trip and a much longer road trip over to New Mexico.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/12/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-houston-1986-birthdays-and-plans/

New on the shelves this week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-sciencefiction-fantasty-voyage-of-the-lanternfish-by-c-s-boyack/

Author update with recent reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-don-massenzio-marcia-meara-and-teri-polen/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-bette-a-stevens-jane-risdon-and-christina-jones-sally-cronin/

The Gentle Detox

As part of a gentle detox it is useful to employ the power of nature as a cleanser for your liver and kidneys. Dandelion is powerful and has many health benefits.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/07/smorgasbord-health-column-the-gentle-detox-tool-box-water-retention-dandelion-by-sally-cronin/

It is a good idea to complete a gentle detox to find out what food triggers or environmental contaminants might be causing you to suffer from allergies or health issues.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/08/smorgasbord-health-column-the-gentle-detox-food-intolerances-nightshade-family-and-environmental-toxins-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/08/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-2/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-snitching-cheating-failing-and-a-change-of-career/

Thank you very much for dropping in today and for your continued support. It keeps me motivated to keep writing.. thanks Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Health – Size Matters – The Sequel by Sally Cronin – Introduction.


This is the updated and fifth edition of Size Matters and will be re-released later in the year.  Although it contains much of the original material in relation to my own personal story, the programme has evolved over the last 20 years.

Although I studied nutritional therapy back in the mid-1990s, I have continued my studies and developed new programmes for healthy eating that are tailor made for the individual rather than a one size fits all. I still believe that the key elements of this basic weight loss programme I will share with you in this updated version works. Even when I work with clients who have arthritis or diabetes, I still approach their programmes from the three dimensions that I outline in this book. Our physical approach, our mental attitude and our emotions are all factors in how we overcome disease and obesity, and should all be addressed when looking for the right programme that will work for each individual.

I used to weigh 330 lbs and was given a death sentence 23 years ago. I had very high blood pressure, cholesterol levels through the roof and my blood was awash with sugar. I took this swift kick up the backside to heart and did something about it, losing 154 lbs in 18 months and regaining my health in the process.

I am now 66 years old, have a moderately active but busy lifestyle as an author and blogger,and thankfully, do not need medication other than the specific supplements when required.  I think about those days 23 years ago, when even climbing the stairs to bed were a challenge and left me breathless. My story, and the programme that I have adapted over the years, is still relevant today, as we face a massive increase in obesity and in the associated health problems – Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes and Dementia.

When I was classified as morbidly obese it was very uncommon in the UK, although having lived in Texas in the mid-1980s, it was evident that the obesity epidemic had already begun.

When we arrived we were met with a wonderful abundance of food, huge portions when out for a meal, and a bewildering array of industrially produced foods in the aisles of the supermarket. In the UK at that time we had fish and chip shops and curry takeaway, but we were mesmerised by the amount of fast food available 24 hours a day.  It was also clear that  manufacturers were already catering more than food for the growing population, with outsize fashion for both men and women making billions of dollars a year.

When I look at group photographs taken at work with other people back in 1995, it is clear that I stand out from the crowd, and not in a good way. I usually avoided photographs like the plague especially when standing next to what I considered to be normal sized people. That sense of being alone as the one obese person in the room has changed dramatically in the last 24 years.

Here are some statistics that are very sobering about obesity today in the UK and I know from doing some research that a similar set of statistics is causing grave concern in most Western countries that are literally the lands of plenty. (https://www.healthexpress.co.uk/obesity/uk-statistics)

• 1 in 4 adults are classed as obese and a further 62% are overweight.
• This makes Britain has the 2nd highest rate of obesity in the world and the largest in Europe.
• 48 billion is spent managing the social causes and healthcare of obesity.
• There are 7 million cases of diabetes, 6.5 million cases of heart disease and stroke and 500,000 cancer cases linked to obesity.
• Hypertension (high blood pressure) was twice as common in obese adults compared to those with a normal weight.
• A BMI of over 30 can reduce life expectancy by 3 years.
• Approximately 68% of men and 58% of women are classed as overweight, however, there are more hospital admissions linked to women.
• Obesity is generally more prevalent in the north of England.
• Morbid obesity rates have almost triple since 1993. This is a BMI of over 40.

This is an epidemic of catastrophic proportions. Unless action is taken in the next few years, these statistics will increase to the point where not only will more and more individuals become crippled and diseased, but so will the health services who will be attempting to repair the bodies at great cost.

I wrote this book over 20 years ago to share my story and some of the strategies that I developed to take back control of my life, body and importantly my addiction to food, particularly a combination of fat and sugars. That combination lies at the heart of the obesity epidemic and if you look at the profile of industrially manufactured foods, they are the leading ingredients.

Another thing you will discover is that I am very anti crash and fad dieting. I starved my body into submission for over thirty years and my body responded by storing everything I ate. I will explain this process in more detail later in the book, but for the moment I just want to reassure you that this programme is about eating and not starving. You need to provide your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to function and be healthy. This means eating the right food, and plenty of it.

My journey began in despair, with a long road stretching ahead of me. Luckily I had a wonderful team to support me and I would have achieved very little in those first few months without my husband’s love and support. My family, friends loved me whatever weight I have been but I know that they were tremendously relieved when I gave up my self-destructive behaviour and changed my life so drastically.

I still communicate with people around the world who have severe obesity problems as well as those people who want to improve the standard of their health or support their body as it deals with certain medical problems. I believe passionately in the power of food to help you lose weight and regain health and I am on a constant mission to learn more about all the wonderful varieties that are available to us.

This book is not just about promoting a healthier lifestyle. It is a personal story that I hope will inspire other people who are desperate to find a solution to their weight or health problem.

This was my journey and I hope that after reading the first few chapters you will relate how I felt, to your own story, and be motivated to take control of your weight and health. Whether you need to lose 14 lbs. (6 kg), 50 lbs. (23 kg) or 150 lbs. (68 kg), it is still necessary to understand how you managed to become overweight in the first place.

As I have become less active and become more desk bound the weight has slowly been creeping up, so I can assure you that I am not a paragon of virtue. And in fact over the last twenty years, when encountering stressful experiences, I have all too gladly dived back into the sugar and fats that bring such comfort. Thankfully, it does not take long for me to remember how I felt when trying to navigate doorways and stairs, and I give myself a good talking to and get back on track. As I update this edition of Size Matters, I will be making sure that I retrace my own steps and lose those extra pounds.

The physical, mental and emotional elements of obesity.

There are physical, mental and emotional elements that influence our lifestyle and diet, and remembering those difficult and sometimes distressing times in our lives can be painful. I  hope that like me that you also have many happy memories to help bring things back into perspective. When you finally succeed in achieving a state of balanced state of health it gives you an amazing sense of achievement and for me that feeling persists today.

My journey to health was not all smooth sailing and  I have climbed a very steep learning curve. For instance, I came to appreciate the power of that little word NO. Instinctively we want to fit in, to have people like and accept us, and so we say YES, but trying to please everyone is stressful and unrewarding.

The satisfaction of eating a bar of chocolate is nothing compared to the satisfaction I feel now when I say NO to eating one. I can now say NO to many things that have caused me harm, though I have had to learn to say it graciously without offending well-meaning family and friends.

My reason for sharing some of the most challenging experiences of my life, is not to gain sympathy but to demonstrate that it does not have to define you and that you can move through it to a much better sense of worth. If you don’t and you find self destructive ways to comfort yourself, the experience or the people who caused your pain have won.

A brief overview of the programme in part two of Size Matters.

I believed in working with people on a one-to-one basis, rather than in a group, helping them to achieve their desired weight loss. In a way that is also achieved today as you read this book or read my health posts on my blog. The program that many have followed over the years when I was in practice, forms the second part of this book. Everything is there for you to design your own healthy eating program around your personal likes, dislikes and lifestyle.

If you are overweight, you need to take back control of your life and your eating habits, and this program is a tool to do just that. No gimmicks, pills or special diet foods, just good healthy eating, several times a day, with some walks thrown in. Nothing hard about that. We all possess the ingredients to ensure the success of this program – determination, willpower and patience. All that remains is to discover how to activate those particular skills and start using them.

My life has been transformed, and there is no way in the world that I will go back to the old life however many times I have been tempted over the last 23 years. Particularly when I remember that my life expectancy at the time was counted in just a few years. If this book makes a similar difference for just one person, then it will have been worth it.

If I can communicate a single message to you it is that obesity, and the misery attached to it, need not be for life.

Next time Chapter One…Life or Death… I am told by a doctor that at 42 it is likely that my obesity related health issues would make it unlikely I would reach 45.

You can find all my books and recent reviews in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

Let’s Walk a Marathon – The internal fitness programme coming next week!


Right about now the women’s magazines will be starting with the headlines that drive up gym revenues and bikini sales.

‘Get a bikini body in six weeks’

‘ Get beach ready in just four weeks’

‘Drop two dress sizes in a month’

I look in the mirror, and if I put the right glasses on, it is clear that short of having extensive liposuction there is no way in the world that I will be displaying my body, in a bikini, on the beach in six weeks. And I have a sneaking suspicion that lying on the beach in four weeks in any form of swimming costume might result in a rescue effort to push me back into the ocean.

I can hear you now.

 “Oh Sally don’t say such dreadful things about your self.. Love the body you have and beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

That is lovely of you, but you have to understand that having been 24 stone (330lbs or 150kilos) 22 years ago, I am not very keen  to get to that weight again. This requires honesty and  being very overweight is not healthy, it is not attractive and it shortens your life.

Sorry to be so blunt, but not only was I morbidly obese, but I had all the lifestyle induced diseases to go with it.  I have worked hard to maintain both my weight and the key indicators of health such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels and fitness.

However, I realised a couple of months ago that I was slipping back into a sedentary lifestyle, weight was going on around more than just my middle, and I was getting out of breath climbing the stairs. So easy to slip into denial, and I realised that I was really missing the sunny days outside walking, swimming from May to October and daily workouts on my treadmill in the winter months.

The weather does have a lot to do with it, and whilst I love being back in Ireland, and in the past have walked our dog Sam in rain, hail and snow, I just could not work up the enthusiasm.  I was going to join the gym.. however I realised that like many before me, I would go for a month and then leave the balance of my membership in their bank account;  part  of their marketing mission!

So three weeks ago I made the decision and we bought a top of the range treadmill.  It is in the spare room downstairs… has a monitor on the wall connected to a playlist of videos and looks out over the garden. My playlist on my iPod is loaded with my favourite work out music and I also have a 4kilo kettle weight that I use after walking. (more about my progress during the challenge)

Get fit or die sooner than later.

The issue here is not what you look like on the outside and certainly you can carry a certain amount of extra weight and still be fit. However, the more important picture is the one we cannot see.

If we are carrying a lot of extra fat it is not just lying under our ever expanding skin… it is wrapped around our major organs, slowly sucking the life out of them by limiting their effectiveness.

You are not going to like these images.

Here is the link to the article that goes along with these images.

Confirmed: Belly Fat associated with visceral Fat is Far More Dangerous than Having a Total BMI

A study on belly fat presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress confirms that visceral fat – the type that gathers around your internal organs – is far more dangerous to your health than you might think.

The traditional index of obesity, BMI (body mass index), has been proven to be terribly flawed as having a normal overall BMI and high abdominal obesity was found to be more dangerous than having a total BMI in the obese range.

For example, cardiovascular deaths in the study were 2.75 times higher for those of normal weight who had big bellies compared to those with both a normal BMI and a normal waist-to-hip ratio. It also implies that monitoring one’s belly fat is more important than watching BMI.

Images and article courtesy of: http://www.impianemasmedicalcentre.com/visceral-fat-more-dangerous-than-you-think/

 Back to my view of my body.

I can live with being a bit chubby and certainly I have clothes in my wardrobe that expand over a number of sizes. But what I cannot live with is the build up of fat around my heart, liver, kidneys etc.

A note about that! A little fat around our kidney’s is there to act as a cushion to protect them in case of severe injury. But there is not supposed to be enough to strangle them.

Earlier in the year I serialised my weight loss programme that I have developed and introduced hundreds of clients too during my career as a nutritional therapist, and if you want and need to lose weight then I will give you the links to all the posts that you can read and adapt for your own requirements.

Smorgasbord Weight Reduction 2017

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/smorgasbord-health-weightloss-meet-helena-the-first-of-my-clan/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-how-much-should-you-really-weigh/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-the-nutrient-shopping-list/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-the-accumulative-factor/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/smorgasbord-health-2017-weigh-reduction-reward-system-and-calories/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-reward-system-and-calories/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-get-your-beauty-sleep/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-stress-factor/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-the-plateau-and-fluids/

But whilst you are embarking on this safe and healthy weight loss programme you can be joining me in my own challenge which will help speed up the process, help lose the internal fat and get you fit.

The aim of the challenge:

Walk the equivalent of a 26 mile marathon in 6.5 hours over one week after 12 weeks of training.

Starting at midnight on Monday, I will be posting the preparations you need to make to walk safely and to set realistic targets.

For those of you who might just be starting out in getting fit then please join us and remain on the various training levels for longer until you are comfortable moving up to the next level. It is not about how long you take as you will still be getting the health benefits once you take that first step.

NB. If you are very overweight then it is important to begin to exercise slowly but surely to prevent injury or health problems. Do consult your doctor if you have concerns.

By the way – I have just completed my first marathon and I did it in 10 hours over 14 days. So I have a way to go too.

During this challenge please feel free to ask me any questions regarding the weight loss programme and I am very happy to help to design your eating programme to suit you shouuld you need that.  sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Ready, Steady Go  and see you on the start line Midnight UK time on Monday.

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Weight Reduction – Some meal options


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I know that I said that I would leave you to decide what you ate based on your shopping list that I gave you at the beginning of this series.  But, I also know that boredom can set in and you can find yourself sticking to a few tried and tested meals in case you get too adventurous and put weight back on.

I am cheating with this as this post is Chapter Fifteen of my book Size Matters… but it will give you a few alternative ideas for your main meals and snacks.

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This chapter outlines the building blocks of your personal programme. You must adjust the amount of food you eat according to your weight and I have included some guidelines for you to follow. Do not miss your snacks as these will help maintain your blood sugar levels throughout the day and minimise your cravings for sweet or starchy foods. There is a great deal of information now on the web that was not available twenty years ago and you will find differing opinions on the subject of snacking between meals. It depends what you snack on firstly. If it is a biscuit, bar of chocolate or a cupcake then you are not going to get far. But, when you are first beginning a healthy eating programme the first words that usually pop into your mind is ‘deprivation’ and ‘starvation’.

That is the last thing that your body needs and neither does your newly adopted willpower. There will come a time when you won’t need to snack between meals and for those of you who need to lose in excess of three stone or more, I suggest that you enjoy your mid-morning, mid-afternoon and supper snack for several weeks or even months. I lost 150lbs in 18 months eating between meals and combined with some regular exercise it is a strategy that works for most of us.

The options that I suggest for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are just that, options. Variety not only prevents you getting bored with a particular diet but also ensures that you are getting the widest possible range of nutrients. Keep checking your food groups and make sure you are including all of them as regularly as possible.

I know that there is a new train of thought that precludes all carbohydrates from the diet but I am not in favour. Wholegrains have been a part of our human diet for thousands of years and there is evidence that we were eating wild grains as far back as early man. They provide important nutrients and fibre and should be included in moderate amounts. If you do not have a very active lifestyle then reduce to a handful with breakfast and lunch and leave off your evening meal.

First though, you need to adapt the following programme for your own individual requirements. If you suffer from Candida then you need to be careful of the amount of sugar and yeast that you are consuming. I recommend that you find a source for yeast and sugar-free bread from either a local baker or a health food shop. Fruit is too full of nutrients to give up completely and I suggest that you eat apples and pears, as they have the lowest amount of sugars, and only drink fruit juices sparingly. Apart from that you should be able to follow the basic programme adjusting it in the same way as someone without Candida.

Notes

  • Eat the programme exactly if you need to lose up to 3 stone or are a woman.
  • If you are a man, and need to lose up to 3 stone, you need to add 2 snacks per day to the programme.
  • If you need to lose 3–5 stone add one extra snack per day.
  • If you need to lose 5–7 stone add two extra snacks per day.
  • Breakfasts
  • Always eat breakfast and begin with a fresh vegetable juice. I recommend carrot juice – a small glass.
  • Cereals should be natural and sugar-free. Use chopped fruit to sweeten, or a teaspoon of honey, in preference to refined sugars or artificial sweeteners.
  • If you need to lose more than 42 lbs. (3 st or 19 kg) then you can add a piece of whole-grain toast with tomato and a drizzle of olive oil or mashed banana.

Seven Basic Breakfasts – small glass of juice not half a litre….

  1. Vegetable juice, porridge oats, tsp. honey, skimmed milk, a pear and a cup of tea.
  2. Carrot and apple juice, poached egg on slice of whole grain toast, drizzle of olive oil, seasoning and a cup of tea.
  3. Bowl of fresh fruit salad, low fat yoghurt, and slice of toast with modicum of butter. Cup of tea.
  4. Carrot juice, 2 Weetabix, semi-skimmed milk, fresh raspberries and a cup of tea.
  5. Banana smoothie made with one banana, 400 ml semi-skimmed milk and 1 oz. of porridge oats. Cup of tea.
  6. Apple juice, Shredded Wheat with semi-skimmed milk and fresh strawberries and 10 gms of chopped almonds. Cup of tea.
  7. Carrot juice, two scrambled egg, one rasher of salt-free bacon and one slice of whole grain toast with a drizzle of olive oil.

Note: you can eat anything you want for breakfast.. do not think that you have to start with eggs or cereal.. you can also have chicken breast and mushrooms, spinach and tomato if you fancy it!

Seven Lunch Suggestions – I always include a small amount of wholegrains in my lunch though I usually skip with my main meal at night.

wholegrains

  1. Large jacket potato with herbs and seasoning. Fresh raw vegetable salad made from tomato, cucumber, broccoli, carrot, rocket and raw onion. Drizzle potato and salad with 20 ml of seasoned olive oil – (useful if you are eating out).
  2. Brown rice pilaff with onions, mushrooms served with a baby leaf spinach and tomato salad. Can be reheated at work.
  3. One corn tortilla filled with steamed red peppers, onions, and 100 gms of chicken breast. Home-made salsa with onions, tomatoes, celery, garlic and a little olive oil.
  4. 200 gms of cooked whole grain pasta with home-made tomato, basil, onion, mushroom and celery sauce. Can be served cold and taken to work.
  5. Mashed potato and vegetable pie. Mash potato with semi-skimmed milk and herbs. Vegetable filling made from steamed carrots, onions, mushrooms, leeks in a tomato puree sauce baked in the oven with 2 oz. of grated Edam cheese. Can be reheated at work.
  6. Sandwiches – if you cannot have a prepared lunch of your choice then try to make sandwiches to take to work. You can have one round of whole grain sandwiches with lean fillings such as salad, chicken breast, tinned salmon or tuna, tomato and banana. Have two pieces of fruit or a fruit juice. (Sunday evening supper)
  7. Stir-fried vegetables served on brown rice. Use 20 ml of olive oil and seasoning, finely chopped celery, onion, broccoli, spinach, bean sprouts and mushrooms.

Seven Dinner Selections

Dandelion greens salad

Begin each dinner option with a bowl of fresh salad – e.g. mixed leaves, tomato, cucumber, pepper, celery – and 10 ml of olive oil and seasoning.

Three or four times a week include half a chopped avocado. This will not only be very nutritious but also knock the edge off your hunger.

  1. Roast Mediterranean vegetables with carrots, aubergine, courgettes, squash, onions and mushrooms drizzled with olive oil and roasted. Serve with a large lamb chop.
  2. Grilled turkey or chicken breast with carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and green bean mix.
  3. Roast salmon with stuffed peppers (chopped mushroom, onion, courgette sprinkled with 1 oz. of Edam cheese). Serve with broccoli or spinach.
  4. Lean steak with roast Mediterranean vegetables.
  5. White fish, lightly grilled with olive oil and seasoning. Mashed carrots and green beans.
  6. Weekend dinner. Half an avocado and prawns with olive oil and herb dressing. Calves liver and onions, mashed parsnips, mixed green vegetables. Two glasses of white or red wine.
  7. Sunday lunch. Roast beef with carrots, broccoli and green beans. Dry roast potatoes and home-made gravy made from the meat juices and a little corn flour.

Snack Options which means keeping it down to a small plate.. not a dinner plate!

walnut

Three a day unless you require more for your individual weight.

  1. Banana and green tea
  2. Apple and orange.
  3. Carrot juice and an orange
  4. 2 rye crisp bread with sliced tomato and drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Fresh fruit salad and ½ pot of yoghurt.
  6. 10 walnut halves
  7. Slice of whole grain toast and mashed banana
  8. Half a melon filled with strawberries and a live yoghurt drink.
  9. Strawberry smoothie with 400 ml semi-skimmed milk – 10 strawberries and some crushed ice.
  10. Pot of sugar free yoghurt mixed with 1 oz. of porridge oats.

You can find all the other posts in the series on Weight Reduction in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/weight-reduction-programme-2017/

©sallycronin 2016

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and if you would like a private word then please email me sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

 

Size Matters Serialisation – Chapter Twelve – Managing the people around you as you lose weight.


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Chapter Twelve – Managing the people around you as you lose weight.

I have learned a lot about myself over the last twenty years and hope that by sharing some of my experiences in this book, you will be able to bypass some of my early struggles in your efforts to lose weight.

Know who you are

We may think we know who we are, but I remember just how confused I was when I started out on this process. Over the years I had become many things to many people and behaved differently, or was expected to behave differently, with each and every one of them.

I was a daughter, sister, friend, lover, wife, employee, employer, niece, cousin and counsellor, and this is the same for everybody; it is a bit like having a multiple personality disorder. I was constantly trying to please everybody else but myself, always striving to fulfil their idea of who I should be.

Me age 40 and 330lbs

Me age 40 and 330lbs

Be prepared for some surprising reactions from the people around you when you start on your program. You are going to be making some major changes to your appearance, and some people will find that threatening. Changing from a plump, motherly, comfortable, predictable sort of person to a slim, sexy, confident and slightly surprising ‘new you’ can make the people you love uncomfortable. Most people are wary of change and, if their perception of your role in their life does not fit with your new image, a certain amount of emotional upheaval may ensue.

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Ten years later me at 50 and 170lbs

The last thing you want at this point is to feel tempted to hit the comfort food. So, as soon as you hear things like ‘Don’t lose too much weight; you will look gaunt’ or ‘You are beginning to look ill’ or ‘I liked you the way you were’, you will need to sit down and discuss your reasons for losing weight.

Husbands, especially, can feel a bit threatened if their wife and the mother of their children goes from being their ideal picture of how a mother should look to a slim and perhaps sexier looking woman who might just be paid some attention by other men. Some men are delighted to have back the woman they married, but others may need some extra attention and reassurance that the changes you are making will benefit both of you.

Mothers can always be relied on to pass comment on any changes you make to your weight, up or down. You are her baby at any age and she will interfere whether you want it or not. Mothers will spend all their time telling you to lose weight and then when you do they will tell you to eat properly, don’t starve yourself and have another cake; one more won’t do you any harm. They are natural worriers, so just accept that and try to work with it. Involve them wherever possible, and, who knows, you may just change some of their habits of a lifetime.

At this time you will also discover who your real friends are. There are those who loved to stand next to you when you were fat because you made them feel good about themselves. Start looking better than they do and suddenly they will be telling you that weight loss does not suit you, and your face looked much better with a little more padding. However, your true friends will be delighted for you. Do not pay any attention to those people who want to deflect you from your goal. Respect their feelings and involve them if possible, but do not let them make you go back to a place you hated.

Inside of all of us is a child who is still afraid of the unknown, but the unknown can also be exciting, an adventure of discovery, and, with this program, the only thing you are going to lose is weight. If you manage the changes within yourself and in the people around you, it will be immensely rewarding.

Lastly, being true to yourself is your greatest strength and you are going to need that to see you through the next few months.

The art to developing willpower

baby eating chocolate

Exercise your willpower to the best of your ability, but avoid temptation like the plague in the first few weeks of the program. Do not have open boxes of chocolates within reach. Tell friends and loved ones that the only acceptable gifts are non-edible ones. However, do not stay at home and cut yourself off from everyone and everything. You will have to learn to live with this program for the rest of your life, and it important that you still have some pleasure and do not end up feeling deprived.

Tough as it may be there are times when you have to remember that you are an adult with a serious health issue and you are not two years old and zero decision making skills!

Learn how to go out for dinner or to a party. Learn to say no graciously, so that you do not give offence (‘That was delicious but I really don’t have room for a second portion’). You can start making choices about what you put into your own mouth. Do not be afraid of offending chefs; after all, you are the customer.

It does not matter if people know you are on a diet. If necessary, tell them you are on a healthy eating program, not a diet, which is quite true. However, if people see that you are overweight and making an effort to lose the extra pounds, they will most likely respect you. Most people admire willpower. So enjoy yourself, and you will soon discover that you can have just as much fun eating healthily as unhealthily, and the bonus is that you will not feel guilty. Guilt was always a bitter sauce for me whenever I went out for a meal, but I do not have to feel like that any longer. So practice, practice, practice your willpower.

On a bad day

I would be lying if I said that losing weight is going to be all plain sailing, with no hurdles and no pain. You will have bad days. Sometimes you will have worked very hard and not lost a single pound in the week. This does happen; your body is not a machine and is subject to hormonal changes, water retention and various other internal and external stimuli. Go back and read the section on ‘The Plateau’ and reassure yourself that you are on the right path. You have to persevere, pushing through the bad days and accepting them as part of the program.

Re-read your list of reasons for losing weight in the first place. Get together with a friend who understands. I often give myself a good talking to, treating myself as if I was a client who is going through a difficult phase. Rest assured; you will come out the other side. You will continue to lose weight and you will not slip back into your old habits.

Keeping motivated as the weight comes off

There have been times when I thought I had done enough. When I had lost 56 lbs. (4 st, 25 kg), my nosebleeds stopped and my blood pressure was down, as was my cholesterol. I was walking an hour a day and, although I was still a size 26, I felt and looked a great deal better. This was a dangerous time because it was easy to convince myself that I had worked hard and that it would be unrealistic to expect to continue losing weight.

Clearly it would not have taken much to push me back into my old eating habits. However, I was still 98 lbs. (7 st, 45 kg) overweight and I had made a commitment to myself that I would see this thing through. I still could not do half the things on my wish list and I was not as healthy as I wanted to be.

Every time you reach one of your goals, you must re-focus. Be proud of what you have achieved. Reward yourself as promised; then look towards the next goal. Try not to be too ambitious. I used to focus on 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) at a time, now it is 3 lbs. (1.5 kg) at a time.

It can be very hard to get back into the program after a night out, or a good holiday, or Christmas. This is the time to sit down and look at what you were, what you are now and what you are going to be in the near future. Do not throw it all away for the sake of that chocolate bar.

Visualise

When I am out walking, I often spend time thinking about the new me. This is not selfish or obsessional; it makes perfect sense. When our body is undergoing major changes, we need to prepare for each one before it happens. Not only did I visualise myself at my target weight, but I also thought about how I would look and feel along the way. Instead of the word ‘if’, I would use ‘when’. When I have lost another 10 lbs. (4.5 kg), I will be a size 20 and I will be able to travel on a cheap airline with small seats. Some ambition! However, this strategy enabled me to break down the overall target into manageable pieces, giving me the opportunity to imagine my body changing over a period of time. I got used to this image and I liked it.

Having said that, I was fat for such a long time that I still sometimes experience a shock when I see myself reflected in a shop window, or when I try on a size 16 item of clothing and it fits. Because you look at yourself every day in the mirror, you do not always see the dramatic transformation that would be very obvious to someone who sees you infrequently. I still get a kick out of people’s reactions when they meet me for the first time in years. There is nothing quite like being ignored because someone doesn’t recognise you!

It is always useful to have an important event as a target. This is not to say that I believe you should go on the program just to lose some weight before a wedding. However, I remember knowing that I was going to be at an industry dinner one year, where I had not seen anyone from my former workplace for over twelve months. I had lost about 84 lbs. (6 st, 38 kg). When I walked into the room, I felt a million dollars, and the compliments I received all evening more than compensated for the hard work I had put in. Do not deny yourself a little grandstanding from time to time. Your morale and self-esteem can use the boost and it will help you reach your next target. Be careful not to get carried away by all the compliments and think the job is finished if you know you still have some way to go.

How long will it take?

You may have a long job ahead. It is not just going to happen overnight. However, trust that the project will be completed according to schedule and celebrate each measuring point as you reach it. The goal is a healthy, slimmer individual who will have succeeded at one of the most difficult tasks we can undertake. Losing weight and then keeping it off is an amazing achievement and one to be proud of. I hope that this program will guide and support you through the process, because the rewards are so worthwhile.

Remember, it has taken you a lifetime to get to where you are now, so it is surely not asking too much to spend a few months, or even a year or two, putting things right. I can promise you that although there will be difficult times ahead, the excitement, rewards and satisfaction you will feel along the way will be incentive enough.

Enjoying the party

One of the most embarrassing questions you will be asked as you lose weight will be ‘Are you on a diet?’ You may feel that whenever you decline food or drink, your hosts and the other guests want to talk about it. My response always used to be to joke about it. Now I tell the simple truth and say that I am following a healthier lifestyle. Unless asked specifically, I do not discuss weight loss. I do, however, talk about my new healthy eating lifestyle, and how much fun I am having.

buffet

There are a couple of tips to help you relax and enjoy yourself, while also deterring people from commenting on your eating and drinking habits. At the beginning of a party when food is laid out, get yourself a large plate and put one of everything on the plate. Take it away, nibble from the plate during the evening and make sure you do not go back to the table. If you do not do this, you can lose count of what you have eaten (was that two or three sausage rolls?). This way you get to have a little of everything, people will not comment on your ‘diet’ and you will not be tempted to overdo it. As for alcohol, alternate your wine with a soft drink. Or offer to drive.

Whatever you do, enjoy yourself. Life is too short to miss out on meeting exciting people and trying your new social skills.

©sallycronin Size Matters 2001 – 2105

You will find the previous 11 chapters in this link.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-serialisation/

The reason that I began writing Size Matters nearly 20 years ago was to record my journey. From a journal it became a message that I wanted to share. The misery of obesity does not have to be for life.

I am sharing this book free here on my blog because the need for that message is even more necessary today. Apart from the health issues there is nothing worse than looking in the mirror and feeling powerless.

You can find out more about my life and journey as well as my books here.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

Please leave your feedback and if you would, click on one of the share buttons.. help me get the message out there..

thank you Sally