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Do you have it in a size 12?

12 Oct

Throughout my weight loss story, clothes have been such an important part.  Getting rid of the old ones, fitting into new ones, being able to wear things I could only have dreamt of!

I was a little ‘off’ clothes after my shopping trip last week but I have an important night out tomorrow and I wanted to feel really good about myself so needed to have a re-focus and get out there and buy something!

There is a lovely independent clothes shop in town, around the corner from my flat, I’ve bought things from them before and the service is great, I needed somewhere I felt ‘safe’.

So I went in and declared I needed a dress.  The lovely ladies went off and came back with a stack of them.  The first one went on and was fabulous, it fits to my curves and I loved it!  I also wanted this season’s sweater dress, it looked like it might be grey or black but I still have an aversion to wearing them, I spent so long draped in dull non-colours in an attempt to disguise and hide myself that I felt I needed to move on.   Luckily after a hunt in the stockroom, a beautiful dark cerise version was found, gorgeous!

Of course I now had two that fitted, I was on a roll!  The final one went on, it was too big, I had in my head that it was a 16, so took it off and had a look at the label, only to find it was a 14!   So after taking a very deep breath, said the words I had dreamt of saying ‘ Do you have it in a size 12!!’   I could have cried!

And yes the size 12 fitted and will be worn on my important night out.  It makes me feel lovely, we did joke in the shop that perhaps the label needed to be on the outside!  I really enjoyed that hour, I’ve learnt my lesson, no High Street for me, it’s depressing, overwhelming and I deserve better!

Oh and I bought the other two dresses as well – that’s my winter sorted!

So my motivation is boosted!   I want to be wearing and enjoying those dresses for a long time. And getting the joy out of wearing a size 12!

My message to you is, that as you lose weight, buy clothes that make you feel wonderful about yourself, even if you are planning to lose more, do it, it will boost your motivation and confidence!  You can always sell them or give them away afterwards – you’ll also get some satisfaction out of doing that.


Boosting your Confidence

27 Sep

I picked up a really useful article this morning, I’ve learnt how much exercise can boost your self-confidence and make you feel pretty darn good about yourself over the last couple of years.  I’ve also met lots of people who have also found the same thing.

Take a look:

Body Mass Index

10 Sep

Let’s talk BMI.  I have had various discussions with health and fitness professionals about the virtue of using this as a tool to motivate. I am still classed as overweight according to my BMI, strictly speaking I could lose another 2 stone. Yet I am fitter and healthier than at any other point in my life. When I was classed as ‘normal’ I was smoking ( a bit!) , eating a stupid ‘student’ diet and did no exercise whatsoever and looking at photographs I think I look far too thin.

BMI doesn’t take into account, age or fitness levels, people who have a large muscle content e.g. rugby players will be classified as overweight and long distance runners may be underweight.  And very importantly you can be classified as ‘normal’  but be completely unfit, as you smoke, drink and eat all the wrong things. I think you get my point?  Even the professionals admit it has limitations.

Let’s be realistic too, I’m 43, I have spent almost half my life very overweight, biology has declared that my skin will not contract back to the place it was in when I was 25. In fact the more I have lost and toned, the more loose skin there is, so for me to lose the recommended weight to be totally ‘normal’ would result in me looking ridiculous, it has though been something I have had to come to terms with, me and my naked body have had to develop a new love for each other!

I thought I’d share what I think has happened.  I have toned the muscle and lost the fat, when I was bigger the muscle was covered by a layer of fat, this levelled under my skin and sort of held everything together, padding it out.  Now that layer doesn’t exist, the skin hasn’t contracted back in certain areas – tummy, thighs, upper arms (all the areas where there was excessive stretching) so there ends up with a ‘loose’ effect.  It won’t happen to everyone, some people have stretchier skin than others and the length of time you are overweight will also have an effect, as will age. It wasn’t really something I had even thought about when I was big, but for some of us it is a reality. I do remember though that when I was a teenager I did get quite a lot of stretch marks as I grew and this also happened when I got bigger in my 20s, this is an indication that the collagen in my skin isn’t amazing so it’s not too much of a surprise.

While we’re discussing the loose skin,  I have friends who have ‘tummies’ after having babies, unfortunately it is unlikely that in their 40s that this will go away no matter how much exercise they do but hey it’s amazing what support underwear can do!   It needs a degree of acceptance and that this is also probably those extra few pounds they are striving to lose.  I’m pretty sure if all my loose skin was removed I’d lose quite a bit more weight, but that’s not going to happen but it doesn’t mean that I am unhealthy or unfit.

If you are over 40, it’s worth thinking about what you think you will look like when you’re smaller, if you think you will look like you did when you were 20, think again, it’s not going to happen, Mother Nature has other ideas I’m afraid.

Now I’ve reached what I feel is a sensible, healthy weight, I have no intention of losing any more on a significant level, I don’t want to get to a stage where I am more self-conscious about my body than when I was bigger, this would be a sorry state of affairs.

I think about it this way, even if I had not put on all the weight and remained a smaller person for the last 20 years, I might still have a tummy and bingo wings – that’s just aging?   Men in particular seem a little obsessed with regaining their youth, it’s just not going to happen and they are starting out with an impossible goal!  So my affirmation here is look to become a fit and healthy ‘whatever you are’, don’t hanker after what has gone before!  You will still probably look better and be fitter than the majority of today’s 20 year olds anyway!

BMI should therefore be taken as a guide, especially when you are starting out. If you feel you need an official ‘you’re way too big’ label then it may help and give you a quick kick up the bottom, please don’t make it the objective, it’s only one possible motivator you can use and for me it hasn’t been that helpful.

Personal trainer monitoring a client's movemen...

Image via Wikipedia

My gym won’t even weigh people anymore when doing inductions, they measure instead.  My instructor told me it was very depressing to have women who complained after their first 3 months of training that they hadn’t lost much weight, they had though changed shape and in some cases lost a couple of dress sizes, remember muscle does weigh more than fat.  Getting fit will change your shape and you will shrink!

One thing I do once in a while is to do a bit of people watching in a shopping centre to get your head around what the majority of the population actually look like.  Focusing only on the fit bunnies in the gym isn’t going to help you as much here in reminding yourself how well you’ve done. I promise you once you’ve done this you’ll feel much better about yourself and as you shrink it just gets better and better.

BMI is an indicator, it should just be one thing you take into consideration but for me it’s a bit like the scales, a bit unnecessary on a regular basis to focus on now.   Be realistic about what your shrinking 40 something body may look like, love it, you’ve achieved something pretty special by getting smaller and your life will be so much better, wobbly bits and all.

A final thought, is your weight loss target too big, could you be fit and healthy but not have to lose it all?

The top photo is me on my 21st birthday, according to the BMI scale I was ‘normal’ . Bizarre.

Feeling Full

9 Sep

I’ve just had my supper.  And I feel full, but too full. I really don’t like this feeling now.  I do however know where I’ve gone wrong, it’s actually David Walliams fault!  I was watching his Thames swim on the TV while eating and I forgot to do my crucial thing, stopping at about 2/3rd of the way through and seeing if I am full, but being distracted meant I just kept on eating until my bowl was empty.  It wasn’t a massive meal but obviously now it was a bit too big.

Walliams Thames Swim-04

Image by FlickrDelusions via Flickr

Now I feel full and uncomfortable.

So I continue to learn and I’m sharing with you that even after all this time, I still need sometimes to remind myself of what feeling full is like so I pay more attention!   But as I’ve mentioned before I’m not going to beat myself up about it – firstly, it was a healthy meal and secondly it doesn’t happen that often anymore and I’ve recognised it.

Oh and sponsor David, he’s a real trooper, he’s not a sportsman, he didn’t even really do that much exercise when he was younger but he’s showing that at 40 you can still achieve what feels unachievable!

The Rough and the Smooth

8 Sep

One thing I learnt early on was that there were going to be good days and bad days through this process.

The good days are amazing, you feel motivated, fabulous, full of energy and you know you’re on the right path and look great. The bad days, well those are the ones where you do fall off the wagon, maybe not big time, often it’s something out of your control – a really bad day at work, or girls, just because we’re girls! And of course there are going to be times when you just don’t feel motivated!

What I did though was accepted that this was going to happen, we are only human and a whole host of things could come along and scupper the best laid plans.

I was in an interview once and the guy conducting it said that just down to complexity of some of the projects the company worked on, errors would occur, I replied that that was fine, the objective couldn’t reasonably then be to ‘get it right first time’, rather on how the errors were managed and rectified.  I got the job and yes within a week, we were putting right an error, we knew what to do, and how to make sure it didn’t affect the project and everything was delivered on time and budget.

I learnt that it’s how you deal with situations and the same is true in managing my new life. So now I am in control of food, a few days of not being as good isn’t going to end the world, I can pull it back. If I don’t do quite as much exercise it is manageable.  It doesn’t de-motivate or push me off course. I look back to the things I have written about how I felt I was big, that is always enough to bring me back on plan.I know there are going to be bad days, so when they do arrive, it’s not a surprise.

Now it’s been almost a year of ‘maintaining’ my weight, it also doesn’t even feel like a plan anymore, it is a way of life for me now, it feels normal so the control is better.

And importantly I don’t give myself a hard time when I do have a bad day – after all the good days still far outweigh the bad ones and I am still smiling!

The photo is of italian ice-cream, delicious, often a little bit of what you fancy does you good!

Tricks for eating out and enjoying it!

3 Sep

The vital part of losing all the weight was finding a balance.  To be able to continue my love affair with food, I had to try really hard to find the best way to sort out how much I actually needed to eat.

My stomach was shrinking, my body was actually helping me to help myself. So the smaller portions weren’t that difficult to manage at home, the biggest challenge came when I had dinner with a friend, he is a great cook, the food was bound to be good, so how would I be able to cope, in my head was a fear I would eat too much and my stomach would protest and make me ill or that I would offend because I’d be seen to not appreciate his hard work by not being able to eat it if I was worried about eating too much and how bad it was for me! The trauma of it all!

As predicted the food was great, I asked for about half of what he had dished up, it didn’t actually look too bad, not ridiculously small anyway, I had still had something of everything, and I really enjoyed it!

That’s been the thing, I haven’t damaged my relationship with food in any way, I love food more now than before. Back then there was a love hate thing going on, I loved eating it but hated the control it had over me and my body.

Because I now have control, I can enjoy it and relax.

There were other challenges to come, eating out was an interesting one, of course I don’t have control over the portion size, however I decided early on that this wasn’t going to force me to always end up choosing what looked like the lower calorie option in a restaurant, that seemed like quite a waste!  Or even worse never be able to go out or always feel it was traumatic and no fun!

And after all because I was doing well at home, I should be able to go out and enjoy food too, for a long-term sustainable approach, this had to be tackled head on.

So the trick is to eat about half, then put your knife and fork down, I normally then have a bit of a chat with my fellow diners, while this is happening, my head and my stomach sort themselves out and I can then decide if I am full or not.  Amazingly this is the point where I do normally decide I have had enough, I have enjoyed the food, savoured it and am not stuffed, I then place the napkin over the food or if it’s looking like the staff are beginning to clear I put my cutlery on the plate, it’s then normally taken away – result. I have changed the way I eat, I stop more than I used too, I think we all perhaps just look at the food on our plates and just shovel, it’s a kind of endurance challenge!

Yes it takes a bit of willpower to be able to do that however I counterbalance with the thought of being stuffed and perhaps feeling ill later and the waste that will be, together with the fact that because I use this technique I can eat what I want, not the salad or the boring options.  It makes eating so exciting!  I’d never have been able to have gone on a week’s foodie holiday in Italy without being able to perfect it!

There are some things I do to help myself, I may not have the chips, I love chips however I love new potatoes just as much and I can have a few more of those…but essentially there isn’t much I won’t eat now.

I can do it for puddings too, more difficult but it can be done, Pizza Express have really helped me out here with their ‘tiny’ desserts which come with coffee, a result!    And often if I’ve been really good with the main then a pudding on a special night out is not going to end the world, especially now I’m in maintaining my weight loss!

Same principle for takeaways, stop when you’ve had your small plate full, chat, reflect and if you then think ‘I’m full’, put the lids back on the containers, for some reason once I couldn’t see the food, I lost interest, others could help themselves but I was more than happy…..with a pizza, cut into 8ths not quarters…it’s all really about tricks.

And if the waste bothers you, well for takeaways, order less next time!  Even talk to your takeaway proprietor and see whether they can do you smaller portions, you may be surprised.  I’d love to see pubs and restaurants reduce their portion sizes anyway, some are just crazy, you don’t need to eat massive amounts to enjoy good food.

Give it a go once your stomach has started to shrink, you’ll be getting used to smaller portions, and have in your mind that this is the way forwards to be able to have a normal and healthy relationship with food, it is a head game of tricks!  I can go out and eat, enjoy a takeaway and the lovely food that friends prepare, that’s what motivates me!

So again, it’s all about less.  Just let your head and stomach work together, stop regularly when you’re eating and think, believe me it does work.

The photo is of my first attempt at home at making pasta from scratch! Went quite well, because I’ve sorted my relationship with food, I even love cooking more!

Eating outside

2 Sep
Some chicken, pork and corn in the barbeque

Image via Wikipedia

On what is a beautiful sunny day and will result in many a BBQ being lit tonight, here’s a thought for you to ponder?

When you eat outside, do you naturally eat more?


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