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 Column – The Gentle Detox – Part Three – Willpower.


One of the hardest things that I ever did was give up sugar 23 years ago… not forever, but certainly for the two years that it took me to lose 150lbs. I still do it periodically when I can see my weight creeping back up again. After being so obese for many years my body is determined to regain lbs it has lost and it is still a struggle for me to stay at a reasonably healthy weight.

Completing this gentle detox two or three times a year has certainly helped me to get back to basics and curb my very strong sugar cravings. Once I start, I find it difficult to stop. I discovered when I began working with clients over 20 years ago that I was not alone in this.

I often would have this discussion with my clients who felt that there was no way that they could give up one or more of these because they ‘LOVED THEM’.

This is a little tip – if you keep a food diary for a week, and after seven days review the food that you have eaten and attach the emotion ‘LOVE’ to certain items, you are probably eating too much of that particular food . If the food is sugary in nature then you are also addicted to it.

You might admire, covet, desire to have an object or type of food but to ‘LOVE’ something implies that there is a chance of reciprocation, that the object of your love is a live, warm entity such as a parent, partner, child, dog, rabbit. I am afraid that all you will get from that bar of chocolate you are eating every day is extra weight around your middle, clogged arteries and indigestion. You can have a relationship with chocolate, but like many that we enter into it is healthier when experienced in small amounts from time to time.

“Surgically implanted willpower”

It is no secret that I am not an advocate for weight loss surgery as I believe that it is ‘surgically implanted willpower’. As we have become addicted to fast foods and sugar, we have also become addicted to the fast fix. It took me 18 months to lose 11 stone (150lbs) nearly 23 years ago. Whilst I am not as slim today – I am still 10 stone lighter than I was in the beginning. I also do not have the obesity related health problems I had then, including high blood sugar levels, very high blood pressure and elevated LDL cholesterol. Neither do I need to take medications for those conditions.

These are the future health problems that they believe will be alleviated by giving at risk obese patients the surgery now at a very high cost.

What is even more disturbing is that whilst there may be valid psychological reasons for such radical measures on medical advice, the private sector is making millions offering this surgery to those with enough money to buy into the marketing. The NHS in the UK is now spending £85 million annually (2012 figures) on obesity related surgery whilst patients with life threatening diseases such as cancer cannot receive the drugs they need to extend their life or more disturbing possibly put them into remission.

When considering any surgery you should always research the benefits and the risks. If you are contemplating any form of obesity surgery then here are a few risks to consider.

Post-operative risks that need to be considered.
1 in 20 people will suffer an infection
1 in 100 people – blood clot
1- 100 people – internal bleeding
1 – 12 people – gallstones (common with anyone who has lost a great deal of weight in a short space of time – including me).
1-50 people -gastric band slippage
1- 2000 people with a gastric band – death

Source – http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/weight-loss-surgery/Pages/risks.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2012/08august/Pages/gastric-bypass-surgery-up-fivefold-in-six-years.aspx

This may seem harsh, but my own experience of obesity is that it is self-inflicted. Of course there are enabling factors – the availability of fast and processed foods, sugar addiction and manufacturers cashing in on our taste buds, but at the end of the day it is actually about our own choices and decisions.

If you read the recommendations for eating following gastric surgery you will understand why a patient can lose 10 stone in a year.

Four weeks of liquid diet a further two on pureed food – the rest of their lives on three small meals a day – minimum snacking – no fizzy drinks, diet or otherwise, eating and chewing slowly and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables with lean protein.

I have worked with a number of clients post weight-loss surgery and found that they had received little or no nutritional counselling (or any that stuck) and had resumed their poor eating habits that had caused their obesity in the first place. A bar of chocolate fits well into a shrunken stomach and saves a lot of hassle preparing a small healthy meal!

Non Surgical Intervention.

So that was the extreme end of the willpower spectrum. But if you are embarking on this gentle detox or any healthy weight loss programme, then perhaps you might consider this formula that I have found very successful for myself and those I work for.

DECISION + VISION + DETERMINATION = WILLPOWER  (DVD=W)

Decision

If you are contemplating anything major in your life that you want to succeed, you cannot approach with a wishy-washy attitude and wing it. This applies to any work, personal or health related project. A decision is not a ‘maybe’ a ‘might’ or ‘perhaps’ it is a firm commitment to do something. It is not an ‘I should do this’ it is an ‘I Must do this’.

So having decided you are going to embark on a healthier lifestyle then you need some incentive to stick to that decision to the end.

Vision – Where do you want to be in six weeks’ time or six months?

You want to be healthier, slimmer, more energetic, and able to do more activities. Well this is where your imagination comes in and you need to see yourself at the end of all this hard work looking and feeling fantastic and that the time spent achieving it was worth it.

To help this process it is a good idea to draw up a balance sheet.

On one side the negative impact your current health is having on your life. Why you feel that you need to undertake this project. Perhaps you are too overweight to keep up with your children or grandchildren, you have painful knees and hip joints that are feeling the strain or you have high Blood Pressure, LDL (harmful cholesterol) levels or High blood sugar that could indicate that you are pre-diabetic.

It might be that activities that you were passionate about are now not possible because of your fitness levels. You get the idea. It does not matter – what is important is that you are really clear about why you want to improve your health and lifestyle.

The other side of the balance sheet is the positive impact you expect from working hard over the next six weeks or longer. It is where you visualise what you will be able to accomplish, enjoy and participate in once you have completed the job. This is your reward for making a decision and sticking to it.

Determination

This is where the determination comes into it. Having made your decision, have a clear vision in your mind of where you want to be in the time frame you have chosen (realistic) you then have to be firm with yourself every time you feel that you are going to veer from the plan and indulge for a few days.

If you are half-hearted about the process it is effectively taking two steps forward and one step back..It is also likely that you will not complete the project because eventually it will fall by the wayside and end up as one of the high percentage of ‘diets’ that fail.

So the choice is yours when it comes to willpower. If you do not want to be where you are today with health and weight, then you need to make a firm decision to change, visualise where you want to be and stick to it.

Unlike surgically implanted willpower, the only side-effects to this type of attitude are a positive result and a great deal of self-satisfaction in a job well done.

Next time I will be looking at some of the other reasons for doing a periodic detox or health reviews which include food intolerances and unexplained health problems.

You can find the other posts in the Gentle Detox series in this Directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-gentle-detox-2019/

©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/

 If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments.. or if you prefer send in an email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Weight Reduction – Willpower and written evidence.


Smorgasbord Health 2017

Today  I am going to be taking a look at the elusive superpower when it comes to losing excess weight… Willpower.

Also having been there and got the T-shirt, I know that there is a certain amount of denial about how much we weigh… how much we really eat and drink….and how much it really matters to us.

I have met very large people who tell me that they are very happy as they are, they love their curves, and the fact that there are certain normal everyday activities they can no longer carry out, means nothing.  I remember saying those very same things to people when I weighed 330lbs.  The problem is that once you get three stone overweight it is not just activities that are restricted but also the function of major organs such as the heart and liver who are in fat overload. They are not happy!

So willpower is required to change habits, often of a lifetime.  And most importantly it is vital that you create a paper trail that lays it out in black and white..here is what you are eating and drinking, when and how much…..very revealing!

Decision making.

We are not born with willpower, it is developed as we mature and it is based largely on our reward system and also our ability to make a decision and stick to it. I will be covering reward systems in the next post but right now – You have to make your mind up!

If you are reading this blog and have also looked at the last four posts on the subject, you will understand that I do not believe in crash diets or any type of regime that does harm to the body. A family wedding tends to be a good reason for an unexpected famine. Suddenly six weeks before the day when the dress fitting takes place there is a mass panic and suddenly food is off the agenda for the bride, bride’s mother, bridesmaids, grooms mother etc. Of course as soon as the wedding is over, normal service resumes and many of those lovely dresses and outfits never get to see the light of day again. (Don’t worry I was as guilty of that one too!)

If you have established that you need to lose excess weight that has accumulated over a period of months or even years then you need to make a decision to do so and stick to it for however long it is going to take. Carefully, slowly and with an awareness of the needs of your body.

You need to change your language as well.  How many times have you said to yourself ‘I SHOULD lose weight’?  That is very wishy-washy.. you need to change that to ‘I MUST lose weight.’

I appreciate that for some of you this means keeping to that decision for the next year or two possibly but it will be worth it physically, mentally and emotionally.

There is a process to making a decision that you need to do first to help stimulate your willpower.

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With a clean piece of paper in front of you, draw a line down the middle of the page.

On one side write all the things that irritate, annoy, frustrate and worry you about your current weight. Health issues, not being able to buy clothes that fit, feeling older than your years, being unfit, unable to keep up with grandchildren, walk the dog etc. On the other side of the page write out all the benefits and pleasures you know will be associated with being a healthy weight.

When I did this exercise at 24 stone – my list was endless on the negative side – and you will be surprised what topped my list on the positive. I could not take a bath at that weight. There was no way that I could physically get in and sit down, and certainly there was no way I had the upper body strength to get myself out again!

I longed to be able to have a soak with a good book- showers are great but this was one simple pleasure that reinforced my decision to lose weight.

With that goal in mind – I lost my first 6 stone in ten months and at 18 stone I was able to take that bath. There were many other physical activities I had restricted myself from enjoying – and it was not wearing skinny clothes that spurred me on but being able to enjoy simple, everyday pleasures and activities that others take for granted.

What helps me keep my weight off 20 + years later, is that there is no way in the world that I want to go back to that place again. I have decided that it is not something that I want and I will keep fighting to stay where I am now. That is what fuels my willpower. There have been times, when stress in particular has tried to sabotage that willpower, but thankfully I have managed to get back on track supported by those around me. I do not want to give the impression that it is an easy process, but it is worth it.

Surgically implanted willpower.

At this point a little about surgically implanted willpower. I am against it for a very good reason, from a health perspective it is both risky and the long term affects have not yet been identified.

If a person can lose 10 stone in a year because they have a band around their stomach, restricting their calorie (not nutritional) intake, then they can achieve the same with the word “NO” and regular exercise. It is a quick fix and having been through the process of losing that amount of weight, I know it can be achieved naturally – but you have to work at it.

If you think that the only way that you are going to lose weight is by that route then I suggest you try the hypnosis alternative. It works for many people and is definitely safer than undergoing surgery. There are reputable therapists offering this in most countries now and most sites should give you all the information you need. The cost is about £300- £400 – surgery around £10,000 – so apart from the dangers of any surgery and the long term health issues, cost also might make you think twice.

So hopefully you have now made a decision to lose your excess weight and here is the second part of today’s blog to provide you with some more tools to help you achieve that goal.

Sometimes the little things make a big difference.

We have already established the healthy weight ranges according to your frame size. If you are overweight, there will be a link between the food you are eating and your extra fat. And it does not necessarily refer to the amount of calories you are consuming. For example.

Diet one. (I did have a client who followed this for 4 weeks to lose weight and she was not well at all)

chocolate

  • · Three 3 chocolate bars
  • · = 1,500 calories (approx.) Plus of course lots of fats and sugars.

vegetables

Diet Two

  • · Bowl of cereal, with fresh fruit and tea.
  • · Apple and orange
  • · Chicken salad with tomato, lettuce, cucumber, and some new potatoes
  • · 2 Ryvita with low fat cream cheese
  • · Roasted salmon with carrots, broccoli and two tablespoons of brown rice.
  • · Bowl of fresh fruit salad and yoghurt.
  • · = 1500 calories (approx.)

No guesses which is better for your body!

Food Diary

One of the tools that you can use to successfully monitor your intake without counting calories is a food diary. It is amazing what leaps off the page at the end of the week when you review your eating.. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and the snacks in between. If you then circle in red all the meals that contain a lot of sugar you may be in for a surprise, as this can include many of the processed savoury sauces that you might have used.

Keeping this daily record will help you maintain your willpower too. We can all go into denial about what we are really eating and drinking and there is nothing like seeing the evidence on one page!

If you also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Candida or other digestive problems you will also be able to identify what foods within a 24 hour period might have triggered an episode.

It may seem a little time consuming to use a food diary but I promise you that after a couple of weeks you will find it is one of the most important tools in your road to health.

Next time the Fat Accumulation Table which shows that two is not necessarily better than one!

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 Thirteen – Before you get started.


Losing weight is not a sprint it is a marathon and your mental and emotional attitude towards the project is a key factor in your successful weight loss.

Over the last few weeks I have looked at the factors that have led to you being overweight. It might be 10lbs or 100lbs but whatever the amount, it did not magically appear. There might be emotional, physical and mental issues that needed to be addressed such as low self-esteem, yo-yo dieting in the past or illnesses that impacted your body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. I have also looked at foods from our body’s perspective. What it needs to be fit and healthy. Ways to identify what emotional factor has made eating certain foods so important to you.

Now is the time to put all of that preparation into practice.Over the next couple of weeks I will be introducing you to more strategies and to the tools that will enable you to manage this extremely important project. There will be high points and days when you wonder why you bothered but overall as with any marathon if you keep walking and running, you will reach the finish line.

images

With any project there needs to be a clear timeline with specific goals that need to be achieved. This will not be accomplished if you are half-hearted about the need to get to the finish line. There is no need to be obsessive but being organised will help.

Forms and graphs do not translate well into WP but if you would like me to send them to you once we get into the next few chapters then very happy to do so.

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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. 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. But if you are 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. Despite your body continuing to work overnight it does so on standby mode. You should not go to bed with a full stomach and I suggest that you allow at least three to four 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.
  • 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 instance, 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. 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 (Chapter sixteen), but if you look around you will find many more.
  • We lose around two litres of water each day, 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Alcohol may be low in fat but it is high in carbohydrates and sugars, and therefore calories. One 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.
  • Tea and coffee if you enjoy them should be part of your new programme. One or two cups of tea a day, can be beneficial because of its anti-oxidant properties. I love my morning cup of coffee – it is as a social event as well with family and friends and meeting for a cup rather than a meal is a way to maintain contact without over indulging. Herbal teas,are not stimulants and can be enjoyed anytime of the day. Green tea is a big part of my day as, apart from several health benefits, it also has a thermogenic effect that can help you burn more fat.
  • Stop thinking like a fat person and start thinking like a slim one. Start talking about ‘when’, not ‘if’, I lose weight.

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!

Dog-Eating-Ice-Cream

Here are the previous twelve chapters.

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

©sallygeorginacronin Size Matters 2001- 1015

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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/

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