Since gaining weight (and having a terrible haircut due to chemo) my interest in clothes has been close to NIL. (My objective has been to not look like I was ever sick. Not much of a goal).
Now I am focused on losing all the weight I gained comfort eating for 6 months (10 kilos!). As a first time dieter I’ve gone with the approach of experimenting with things and seeing which works for me.
Firstly, I tried one of those meal delivery services where everything is provided for you, and you just heat it up. My idea here was to see what it is like to eat like a celebrity, who has a dietician planning all their meals.
What I learnt from this was:
- I do not eat enough protein for breakfast. After my week eating like this, I now make sure I have a good fistful of protein every meal, including scrambled eggs a couple of times a week.
- I started forcing myself to have fish a couple of nights a week (I don’t love it but I can tolerate it). When you are trying to eat more protein you need to look for other protein sources than chicken and red meat.
- Planning meals ahead of time works for me. I don’t slowly get hungry. I’m fine one minute, starving/hangry the next. So if I have the next meal/snack already planned it means I make better food choices, and don’t panic so much.
Next, I started following /r/Loseit on Reddit. It is quite an active, supportive forum with lots of new postings daily so there is always something to read. Whenever my motivation wanes, I find reading a few posts here really helps motivate me again. Also they have a great guide here to losing weight.
What I learnt:
- You can’t outrun a bad diet. /r/Loseit is very keen on CICO and eating below your BMR. Basically get your diet sorted first (as in what you eat in a long-term sustainable way, not starvation diet) before worrying about exercise.
- Exercise is for health (mental and body) not to lose weight.
- Everyone fails. You just have to pick yourself up and start again.
Lastly I have started visiting a dietician. I have found that things I won’t do for myself, I will do for her. That’s just how I am wired. I am a people pleaser. So she has set me goals and given me suggestions. In theory I could do this myself. But I don’t.
My dietician rules (for me) are:
- No eating after 8pm. (Stops the late night binge in front of TV).
- One bottle of alcohol a week. (As and when I like but no more than that). I like prosecco on a Friday night.
- Instead of alcohol, drink herbal teas (no food goes with herbal teas so it kills the snacking).
- Instead of a biscuit with my afternoon tea I have 2 dates and 2 almonds (that’s all I need).
- Instead of large skim cappuccino, I have 2 regular full cream cappuccinos.
Other than that, I just avoid processed food as much as I can. No chocolate in the house. I try and eat a plate of: a quarter protein, a quarter carbs (like rice or potato) and a half vegetables or salad.
What I’ve found is that eating like this is easy, as long as you don’t go out. So the approach is to treat this as my default eating plan, and then during social events I just do my best, but I don’t get weird about it. She says to just not eat so much of it. Have it. Enjoy it. Just don’t eat it all if you don’t want to. Or just have the burger but not the sides.
So…. I haven’t lost a ton of weight, but I definitely feel like I’ve found a long-term, healthy way of eating. I think I was heading down the path of binge eating, and I needed to turn it around before I got a proper eating disorder.
Full Disclosure: I almost gave up yesterday. I’d had 2 weeks of being away from home at 2 conferences, plus a weekend away with friends. No exercise. Kind of overwhelmed by being around people ALL the time. I did my best to eat healthy but I really blew it. So I got depressed on Sunday night and drank half a bottle of Rose, and thought: “stuff this, I can’t do it”. Monday, I visit my dietician, ready to say I give up. Turns out I didn’t gain weight. I didn’t lose, but I didn’t gain. Also, she gave me a pep talk. Reminded me how far I have come. Reminded me that I can’t give up. It’s just not an option. So here goes round two!