Tag Archives: Weight gain

What are we waiting for?

2 Oct

I spent a long time doing nothing about my weight gain, apart from add to it.

I’ve been asked on numerous occasions since I started writing about my story why that was?   The honest answer is I don’t know, days turned into weeks, weeks into months, months into years and before I knew it there I was at 41 and in quite a state. An element of procrastination together with a fear of failure, if I didn’t start, then there was nothing to fail at was there?  It all feels pretty ridiculous now but hindsight is a wonderful thing!

It does make me sad now to think about the amount of time it took for me to make the changes and all the opportunities I may have missed, some are more significant than others but it is a hard pill to swallow now. However it does make me even more determined not to go back and waste any more of my life.

I’m now looking forward to winter and getting down to work.  It’s a weird old situation, since I came back from Italy the sun has shone and today, the 2nd October I have been out in my flip flips in 25 degrees plus of beautiful weather!  Winter still seems a long way off however the BBC weatherman assures me it will make an appearance mid-week so my beloved flip flops will be consigned to their new role of slippers with only their memories of their summer of travel!

So if you do want to lose some weight, just ask yourself the question, what are you waiting for?   And if you want a reminder about getting motivated, take a look at my previous post on Motivation.

 

Why it’s different for boys (over 40)

2 Sep

Yes, I am 43 and heading rather too quickly for my liking towards 44. One thing that I’ve learnt about is that the ‘over 40’ body is very different to the one we had in our 20s. Therefore we need to approach losing weight and exercise in a different way too. Our metabolism is slowing down and our bodies are just starting to see the effects of time, we can’t do anything about it, it’s just biology!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m finding from my research that support and information specifically for men in losing weight and keeping it off isn’t as extensive as it is for women, us girls to tend to talk about it, swap stories and hopefully offer each other some support, but I wonder if men do this?  The sexes do think differently so this is another one of those things where plans built for women will not necessarily work for men.

So if you add the being over 40 thing as well, then it’s becoming obvious that some help is needed!

The piece below is from a web site I’ve found, written by a bloke, he does a great and honest job at looking at why things are different once you reach 40 and uses a lot of the techniques and thoughts I have.  None of us want to be older (ridiculous when you think how much of our lives we spent wanting to be older!) but if you listen to the advice and understand why things do work differently the results can be so much better and hopefully easier. And as things will continue to slow down, starting to make changes at 40 seems like a really good idea!

So check out Forty, Fit and Fabulous , there are a lot of really interesting bits, it’s well worth reading up about how your metabolism now works so you can adapt.

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Weight gain for men over 40 is a natural sign effect of the aging process. Why? Well, because the body’s metabolism is slowing down which most people don’t realize. So they continue to eat the same amount of food that they did when they were twenty years old, and the result is that the body stores that extra fat on the belly mostly.

Combine that with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and we have the two main reasons for weight loss over 40 for men.

Did you know that the mortality rate up to six month after retirement is at the highest in your life. As all of the stresses of work and life disappear at retirement there are no goals anymore and no exercise. Getting older does not mean getting lazier.

There may be other reasons for the weight gain as well, such as emotional and mental health problems that may need to be addressed.

Losing Weight Tips:

1. Diet: Your key to eating right is eating enough nourishing food that you won’t feel famished and binge on empty calorie, high-fat snacks. Good balanced meals, combined with smaller portions at every meal is the way to go. Be aware of what you are eating and how much. Keep a food diary and record everything you eat.

2. Exercise: 30 minutes of exercise everyday is a good goal. Aim to exercise everyday. Walking is good for your joints, and is low impact, as well as being more effective than running. Running is harder on the body, especially when you are over 40 years old, as well as being less effective for weight loss because joggers burn more sugar than fat.  Make the walk something you do where you are breaking a sweat. Walk up a hill or two. So incorporate exercise into your daily life.

3. Mental and Emotional Health: If you aren’t happy with yourself, then you will lack motivation to take the time to put some effort into making yourself feel better. You just wont care. Just getting started with exercising will start to make you feel better as exercise helps to melt away life’s hassles. Adopt the mindset that eating healthily and exercising is a way to tell yourself that you deserve to be healthy and to live a long, productive life. Find a way of exercising that you enjoy and get started with it.

Small & Achievable

22 Aug

If I had told myself in August 2009 that I was going to lose 6 stone, get fit, get to a stage where I loved exercise, swim 5k, climb a mountain, sail a yacht, do Race for Life and write a blog about it all, it would never have happened!

  • How many times have you started a diet and told yourself that you’re going to get into a bikini on this year’s holiday when in fact the last time you wore one was in 1996?
  • Or that you’re going to get into that pair of very small jeans that you’ve been keeping in the back of the wardrobe?
  • How about I want to look like the very toned, tanned, 20 something fit bloke who pounds the treadmill in the gym (that was for the blokes by the way!) but you get the idea?
  • And finally if you’ve been told or found out that you are obese or even morbidly obese, that to lose what is an enormous figure is just impossible.

If the goals are too big and unrealistic then you won’t ever succeed, you can’t visualise the end result, that may be years away, you won’t be able to appreciate what you are actually achieving and you are setting yourself up to fail from the start. It will be too overwhelming to comprehend.

As I’ve mentioned before think seriously about how many times you have started a diet, lost some weight and then put it back on, at the time can you remember what were you trying to achieve? Was it a ‘big’ goal?

The trick here is to set achievable goals, something that looks like it might just be possible.

What did I do?  Well I bought the next size down in my normal jeans, of course they didn’t fit when I started, but within a month they did, the sense of achievement was amazing, and this brought with a real sense of motivation, I was then firmly focused on getting to the next pair, I always bought the next pair as soon as I got into them. I still think though that the two best times were fitting into the size 22 ones and then being able to go into Evans, buy the size 14 pair and declare that as this was now their smallest size I wouldn’t be back!

From someone who had no willpower, I found I could walk past the ‘birthday food pile’ in the office or appreciate why the mini bar of Green & Black’s butterscotch chocolate was a better choice than the 2 for 1 offer on the full size bars.

I was celebrating the achievements as they came, I was buying myself something smaller to wear, they did eventually get sold on ebay but hey they did the trick in motivating me and making me feel great about what I’d done.

If you get complimented on how you look, bottle that, when you’re feeling de-motivated, think about that feeling, how good it was and how you want more of it. Think about what being ‘bigger’ means to you, do you want that anymore?

So by small and achievable try some of these:

  • I’ll lose a dress size/an inch in a month – even less if you get overwhelmed by the whole thing
  • I’ll be able to climb the stairs and not be as much out of breath in six weeks
  • I’ll be able to reduce the amount I eat in the evenings or halve my alcohol amounts in a fortnight
  • Be able to swim/run/whatever you’re doing by a small advance each time, not an enormous jump, as you shrink you will be able to increase at a faster pace, remember the Hare & the Tortoise?
  • I’ll feel great because I am doing something – celebrate that, look for the small things that seem easier

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned actual weight lost, I don’t own any scales, I didn’t weigh myself until I’d lost 3 stones, all the initial shrinkage was monitored through how my clothes felt, it’s well documented that yo-yo dieters will weigh themselves very frequently and become quite fixated on it.  If you only see very small losses on a daily or even weekly basis, you lose motivation, you can’t really see what you are achieving, if you lose 2 pounds one week, then only one the next week, you’re already wondering if it’s all worth it, why if you’re doing the same things in respect to exercise and food why didn’t you lose 2 pounds.  However if you weigh after a month, and you’ve lost 6 pounds, that’s fantastic, you haven’t seen the up and down cycle across the month. Then there is biology, our bodies don’t help us here, we will put on weight due to not being 100% well, what we eat, a woman’s cycle will see weight gain at certain times of the month.

So I see the scales as taking away motivation in respect to small goals, you are taken straight back to that enormous ‘eventual goal’. Of course when I did get on the scales it was a very, very pleasant surprise and I can’t tell you how motivational that was. If you can put the scales away and even better get rid of them. If you do feel the need to weigh use the ones in Boots or at the sports centre and limit it to once a fortnight at an absolute minimum.

If you start off not being a slave to the scales then you stand a much better chance of being able to sustain weight loss too, I know that my weight will fluctuate now,  I’ve had periods of doing a lot more exercise or times when there have been holidays or events where I probably eat more than I would normally do, however by not getting on the scales I’m not feeling ‘punished’, my clothes might feel a bit tight, so I adjust exercise and food again (I’m learning all the time here by the way!).

The motivation that I got each time that new pair of jeans fitted was immense. Even when I first went to the ‘Eat as much as You’ want chinese buffet and I didn’t leave feeling as though I was going to burst because I was now in control of what I was eating was motivation too.

So following on from that a question for you to think about:

  • Are you in control of food or is it in control of you?
  • What are the foods that you feel are stopping you losing weight – for example bread, cheese, chocolate etc?
  • Are you prepared to give them up forever or would you like to be able to still have them in your life?

We’ll look at your answers later…as ever be honest with yourself!

Good for my Age

18 Aug

I’m 43.  I can’t change that unless science fiction becomes reality and Captain Jack transports me back to 1992!

I hear people my age saying when they head off on their quests to lose weight and get fit is that they want to look like they did when  they were 25.  Let’s get real here, it’s not going to happen, I am so sorry but Mother Nature has other ideas.

But here’s the thing, ask yourself a few questions:

1. If you hadn’t put on weight, would you look like you did when you were 25 anyway?   Our bodies (men and women) change drastically over time, we hold fat in different areas,  we are slaves to hormonal changes, having babies etc etc.  We may have been able to convert fat into muscle easily in our 20s, we can’t necessarily do that into our 40s, it’s just biology!  So the odds are that you would still look different today than at 25 even without the weight gain.

2. What is wrong with looking like a great 4o something!   I love now being told I don’t look my age!

3. Are you trying to regain your 20 something levels of fitness? It takes a special kind of person who can achieve the same levels of fitness in their 40s as they did in their 20s if you haven’t done pretty regular exercise all the way through, be a bit kind to yourself and think about that.  Start with small goals that are achievable and importantly safe.  If you’ve been unfit for a long time, getting fit will take time and be a gradual process.  Miracles cannot be performed!

If you start out with an unrealistic goal it will never happen, you’ll get de-motivated pretty quickly and achieve nothing.

Despite the fact that I now weigh about the same as I did when I was 25, my body is very, very different to how it was then, but hey I am fit, healthy and happy so it doesn’t matter.

I am not going to be able to tone up all the wobbly bits, 16 years of extreme weight gain stretches your skin, when you lose it you end up with toned areas under what is essentially loose, baggy skin, bit like having a second body layer, it doesn’t matter what you do it won’t change drastically without surgery.  My legs will never look toned even if they are,I have a lot of loose skin on my tummy and my arms will always be bigger.  If you’ve had children you may have the same problem and our old friend Mother Nature will decide how your body will react and how the collagen is your skin behaves.  the younger you are the more success you may have in avoiding this.  So there’s a little incentive to doing something sooner than later!

This has taken a degree of acceptance, the thing is that I can’t change it, therefore there is little point beating myself up over it. I can see that this consequence of losing a lot of weight can damage self-esteem almost as much as being big in the first place.It has been a long road to get here but I have accepted that this is the body I now have at 43.

This is why I have taken the focus away from losing weight and now towards being fit and healthy.  Support underwear has come on considerably and can now hold in all my wobbly bits!  After being fitted for the right underwear I actually lost a dress size, try it, it does work.

And if you do all this work to look great, then don’t do anything that is guaranteed to age you, at least give Mother Nature a helping hand and show your body a bit of respect.

1. Don’t smoke.  If you get fit and healthy why jeopardise it with something that will kill you?  There is plenty of help out there, if you have found the strength and focus to lose weight use the same to quit smoking.

2. Don’t sit in the sun and tan.  Get a fake one and embrace the factor 50, the better your skin, the younger you will look and no cancer risk.

Be realistic about what you will look like when you’ve lost weight; you will though still look miles better than you did before though so always remember that!

In any case, I’m not planning to walk the streets naked so most of the time it’s all covered up and when I’m in the pool, well I leave a lot of younger people with completely toned bodies standing so I’m not worried, I’d rather be fit and healthy!

And do I feel younger?  Hell yes!  I must do I’ve just posted a photo of me in a spotty swimsuit!

This photo was taken in August 2010, it was exactly a year to the day since I’d started to shrink, I’d lost 5 stone and to celebrate I went for a dip in a rather chilly Solent with my best friend, she’s been an absolute rock through the whole experience and now we’re a similar size even lets me wear her clothes!

Being big

16 Aug

Ok time for a bit of honest talking…

I got back in touch with an old friend about seven years ago, we hadn’t seen each other since leaving school at sixteen, the email conversation turned to what we now looked like, he had met up with another old male friend I knew a few weeks before who had also put on weight.

He decided to grade the weight gain in relation to football teams, he classified our other friend as ‘first division’, I realised that I was actually bigger than him so I unfortunately had to take the ‘premiership’, it felt awful, I will never forget it, I didn’t do anything about it however?

A couple of years ago, a car almost knocked me down in a supermarket car park, I protested verbally, the driver shouted an expletive that ended with ‘Fat Cow’ – that really hurt, I sat in the car and cried. Not because I was upset, rather that I was angry that I was a ‘Fat Cow’.

I was in bed with someone, he said, ‘you’re a big girl but I really fancy you’, now on the one hand, how lovely, he liked me for who I was, on the other I was screaming inside that I didn’t want to be a big girl?

I wasn’t being honest with myself about how I looked or how I felt about it, I hadn’t been honest for over a decade. That was about to change, it was a turning point, I might be being loved for who I was now, but I didn’t love myself very much at all.

Ask yourself, how do you really feel about being big?  Like me, are there things that have happened to you or been said that really stick in your mind?

Be very honest?

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