The Not-So-Secret Diary of an OverEater

My Battle to Have a Healthy Relationship with Food


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Whatever happened to Lazy Liz?

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Me with Ian at Kira’s 18th birthday party March 2016

*** Spoiler alert ***

She’s gone and Lean Liz is here, and here to stay!

I should probably start at the beginning.  The first few months of 2016 were tough ones as far as my health and fitness was concerned.  I was trying so hard to be healthy and keep the eating under control but I was regularly defeated.  I ended up feeling low and despondent.  I hated my body, I hated myself for being so weak and I really didn’t believe I could actually do anything about it.

I’d lose a pound or two, then they would creep back and bring some friends with them.

Daily I would lose the battle with food and end up eating and eating.

Then I heard about something called Level 10 which is basically a 90-day challenge to get to your personal Level 10, in other words the best you you can be.  It cost £10 to enter and included three fitness classes per week.  This was being set up by a friend of mine and the classes were being held in Haywards Heath and Crawley.  At first I thought it sounded too good to be true.  I knew that this friend was a Herbalife distributor so thought perhaps it came with the caveat that you have to buy the products.  He assured me this was not the case, so Ian and I decided to join in.  What did we have to lose?  We couldn’t afford gym classes or boot camp any more and this seemed a great opportunity.

It was almost 90 days to the day when we would go on our Mexican holiday of a lifetime so I thought, “Right, come on Liz, 90 days, just three months, that’s more than 30 exercise classes, you can be good for that long, you have the motivation of the holiday, you can do it!”

We signed up, duly had our “before” photos taken and I started (again) trying to be good.  I even printed out photos of our holiday destination and stuck them all over the food cupboards and fridge to incentivise myself.  And I did it; I was good for three whole weeks and guess what – I lost, drumroll please, a whole pound.  What?? Three weeks of “deprivation”, just for one measly pound???  I was not impressed, not impressed at all.  What was the point of suffering that much just for one pound?  Yes I know, the slower you lose it the better/healthier, and yes I know, muscle weighs more than fat but ONE POUND??  Urgh!  I was back at square one, despondent and feeling a failure.

Others on the challenge were using Herbalife and I could see their results.   I was Mrs Sceptical, and I mean totally sceptical.  I did not believe in meal replacements.  I mean, they were higher calories than a salad (but they have all the nutrients you need and the correct balance of slow release proteins and carbs to keep you feeling fuller for longer).   They had additives I didn’t like (actually they don’t).  They tasted horrible (actually they’re really yummy now I make them up properly).  They couldn’t be good for you (they totally are).  I was also desperate. At this point there was only a couple of months to the holiday.  I asked my friend about a million questions about Herbalife.  I almost tired him out with questions but luckily he likes to talk ( 😉 ) so was happy to answer them all.

I decided to beg, borrow or steal the money to use the products for two months and had my first wellness evaluation.  This involves talking about goals but also involves getting on some special scales which look at your body composition – in other words, what’s going on inside as well as the overall weight.  The scales can also tell you your metabolic age.  This is how old you are on the inside.  What a shock: it told me I was 57!!  (I’m only 46 and in fact I was only 45 then!)

I told my friend, now my coach, that I wanted the fastest results, so he set me up with the gold programme, which I have been on since.  I love the products because they’re so easy.  Each morning I make up my breakfast and lunch shakes.  I have a multi-vitamin too (some vitamins just taste disgusting so they can’t put them all in the shakes or no one would want to eat them!) and their special fibre and herb tablets which help in the downstairs department if you get my drift.  I also have a cup of Herbalife tea twice a day.  My evening meal is just whatever the rest of the family are eating.  I try to make it healthy but don’t have to panic too much.

I am going to 24FIT (those free classes) three times a week, running mid-week and also doing parkrun weekly so it’s not just all about what I’m eating.

I know, you’re all dying to know my new figures.  (If you’re reading my blog history, such as it is, I had put on quite a bit of weight since weighing in on 1st January this year.)

I have lost 23 lbs!!  That’s 10kgs!!  When I picked up two 5kg hand weights the other day I was like, “woah, my knees must be rejoicing, this is heavy!”

I have lost 5″ off my waist circumference, and adding up all the measurements I take, I have lost a total of 21.25″!

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Me now!

I am also using some of the Herbalife sports products and as a result my parkrun time has come down from around 33:30-34 minutes, to my new personal best, set this week, of 29:39!!  I was so very excited about that as a sub-30 minute parkrun has been a dream goal since 2013 and it felt so very far away at the beginning of 2016.

The most exciting thing though is my metabolic age.  I’ve lost a whole Kira!!  I have gone from 57 to 39 – I’m now 18 years (my daughter Kira’s age) younger on the inside.

Actually, more exciting is my attitude.  I now know that weight is just the headline figure; it’s what’s going on inside that’s more important.  For many, losing weight is usually just fluid and lean muscle tissue rather than specifically losing fat and building muscle which is more important and more healthy long-term.

Also I am not on a ‘diet’.  I am living a healthy and active lifestyle which I will continue forever.  I want to enjoy retirement with Ian; to be able to travel and experience so many things with him.  I can’t do that if I’m ill because of my weight, or depressed because of my weight.

I am so excited about my results that I have decided I would also like to help other people achieve their dream health and fitness goals.  So if anyone reading this knows anyone who might be interested in achieving similar results to me (they don’t have to be in the UK), please get in touch.

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After one of our free exercise sessions.  My top says, “Excuses don’t burn calories”


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New Year, New Start

Relaxing together

Relaxing together

Hello to readers old and new – although probably  most of the “old” ones have given up on me ever writing another post by now!

 

So I could give you a raft of excuses.  But the excuses have to stop now.  I am no longer working at Sainsbury’s and am therefore away from the constant food temptation.  Customers find the most yummy things which would often accidentally fall into my shopping basket after work!  I am also no longer able to use Sainsbury’s as my excuse to miss ParkRun on Saturdays.

So here we go again.  It’s time for Lazy Liz to accept she has to go and make way for Lean Liz who has long dreamed of her chance to shine.

I haven’t started the healthy eating yet (I was ill for 2 days immediately after Christmas so there’s a lot of less than healthy food still in the house) but we did ParkRun on Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and again today.  My times are slow, painfully slow really with over 7 minutes to knock off to get back to my previous PB, but I managed to knock off 1 minute between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day and another 8 seconds (not much but I’ll take it!) today.

I also discovered that I have done more ParkRuns than I thought – today’s was my 40th so only 10 to go before I get my 50 t-shirt!

I have entered a Run Mummy Run challenge I found through FB which is to run as much as possible in January.  The minimum is 10k which I’ve already done so any more is a bonus!  I have to upload “proof” (I’m recording my runs with the Strava app) at the end of the month and then I’ll get a medal.  A good start to the year.

We have also entered the Winnie the Pooh race through Ashdown Forest.  It’s not until October so plenty of time to go but hopefully that will give us the incentive to keep on training.

Walking and running are going to have to be my main exercises now that we’ve left the gym (need to save some pennies) but I may try some “at home” body weight exercises for building some muscle too.  More muscle = more calories burned so that’s a no-brainer really.

Healthy eating-wise (I refuse to use the term “diet” any more as it has to be permanent, not a temporary fix!) I am going to try to cut down on sugar and go back to 5:2 as well.  Mondays and Thursdays will be my restricted calories days so I’ll weigh in on Fridays.

Starting point: I weigh 11st 11lbs and the total of all my key measurements is 224.25 inches.

Wish me luck!


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Feeling better already…

I’ve lost 5lbs since I last posted!  I am really pleased with that as it’s been hard but I do feel a bit better already.  My jeans aren’t quite so tight (squeezing my flabby self into those skinny jeans wasn’t easy!) and I don’t have quite so much around my middle to rest my elbows on when I’m sitting down.

Exercise has been a bit of a challenge but this week I went to Run Club on Tuesday (my eldest daughter came with us too which was great) and yes I was slow and the last finisher in all the runs but I was there!  On Thursday, I was due to go to circuits class but I had to wait for a phone call first which didn’t come so I missed the class.  I was already in my kit with my trainers on and everything so I dragged myself out of the door for a run with Amber instead.

To start off with it was hard going and I thought I’ll just do once or twice round the lake but then ended up doing 4.81 miles!  This included running – all the way – up Chevron Hill (my nemesis on ParkRun) and even trying a sprint towards the end.  My average speed was 12 minutes 23 seconds per mile which is slow but is a minute faster than my speed when I went out for a run with Ian a couple of weeks ago so that’s progress too.
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(If I’m totally honest though, it could be a faster pace because I didn’t take a ball for Amber so didn’t have to spend time searching for it every few hundred yards!)

I’m also pleased that I didn’t lose the eating plot when I didn’t get a job I interviewed for last week.  I really thought it had gone well and had high hopes and was very upset when I didn’t hear one way or the other for ages. I assumed the worst and as expected I got the “sorry but” email on Monday.  I rang one of the interviewers for feedback on Tuesday and this was actually very positive as she said it was between me and the person who got it and it was very close.  Apparently I had surprised them at how well I had interviewed and had there been two jobs, one of them would have been mine.  She asked if I would be interested in casual hours and I said yes in the hope that this would be a foot in the door.  And I’m secretly hoping the person who got it finds that it’s not right for them after all!


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Lazy Liz, your days are numbered!

As you have no doubt guessed from the lack of posts lately, I’ve well and truly fallen off the wagon since Christmas.  I’ve really struggled to get back on track as far as eating and exercising is concerned.  So I decided to give myself a deadline (yesterday) up until which I could eat what I felt like and then after that (today) I have to start again, back on the 5:2 diet and exercising as well.

My reasons behind making the deadline yesterday rather than another day were to get Easter out of the way and make sure I’d eaten up all the chocolate in the house (easy) and it’s my Dad’s birthday today so my idea was for us all to go out for a meal yesterday at After’s, a restaurant which serves only desserts; mainly ice cream sundaes and waffles but also crepes and gateaux.  And it was delicious!  We all had two desserts each (we’d skipped lunch) – I had a cinnamon waffle with strawberries, milk chocolate sauce and two scoops of toffee chunk ice cream and after that I had a classic lemon and sugar crepe.

A user's photo.

And then yesterday evening we had a Chinese takeaway to celebrate the end of the school holidays which was very tasty.

This morning I have weighed and measured myself.  It’s not a good story to tell.  I’ve gone back up to 11st 5lbs and put on inches everywhere.  I only have myself to blame – well myself and the people who make food so very tasty!

I am feeling it in all my clothes.  When I first got my uniform work trousers which are a roomy size 14 with elasticated waist, I thought I could probably have got away with a 12.  Now they are very snug.  When I sit or hold my arms close to my body, I can feel my tummy and waist bulges.

I feel sluggish and lethargic.  I am not sleeping very well.  I feel low.

So today is the start (again) towards Lively Liz coming back and Lazy Liz being consigned (permanently I hope) to history.

My plan is: Mondays and Wednesdays are fast days.  Tuesdays are for 7am spin and 6pm Run Club.  Thursdays are for 9:30am circuits class.  I’d like to fit in some other classes and maybe a run or two as well if I can.

When I’ve finished this, I’m going to sort through the kitchen cupboards and get all the temptations packed away.  Perhaps I should have done it a few days ago so they could have been eaten too and not wasted!

Both my daughters say they are going to join me on the wagon for a while, and although my lovely hubby is already very fit and doesn’t need to lose any weight he would like to eat more healthily so hopefully the whole family will benefit!


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And now for something completely different!

Sisterhood of Bloggers picI have been nominated by my virtual friend (as I’ve never met her in real life) and author of the soon-to-be-published novel There must Be An Angel, Sharon Booth, for a Sisterhood of Bloggers award.  In short, this seems to be a challenge for female bloggers to answer some questions from their nominator and then pass on the baton to other female bloggers they know.  Unfortunately I don’t know very many so I think I’ll nominate a few friends who I know read my blog to answer their questions in the comments box below – if they want to of course!

What is your earliest memory? I love being asked this question.  My earliest memory is seeing my baby brother for the first time.  I was 28 months old and I remember being put on my grandfather’s shoulders to look through a window (which had a thin metal reinforcing grid in).  My mum was wearing her pale yellow dressing gown and Charlie was in a crib.  This was back in the day when you spent a week or two in hospital after giving birth and the babies were all taken into nurseries.  Both my daughters were delivered at the same hospital, and I think I found the actual door when I looked around on my first tour of the unit!

What was your favourite Christmas present? That’s a tricky one!  I think probably my favourite is when we bought tickets for the girls to see One Direction in concert.  They were both fans at the time and they were so excited when they opened the gift!  We made a day of it and climbed up and over the O2 in the snow!

Who would you like to go on a date with? (Excluding current partners/spouses) Oh, why can’t I choose my lovely hubby?  Okay well if you insist, I’ll choose my dad and my brother.  We don’t have much quality time together so I think it would be really nice to just sit down and chat over a steak and chips (plain for Dad – no parsley or anything scary like that please!).

Which film would you choose if you could only ever watch one again? Another tricky question.  I think I would probably go for The Notebook.  It’s such a beautiful love story and it makes me cry every time I watch it.

What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my lovely girls and the young women they are turning into.  Looking back, there’s lots I could have done differently bringing them up but they’ve managed to be fairly well adjusted despite me!

Which woman in history do you most admire? The ladies who campaigned for women to be allowed to vote.  Whatever your politics, I think every woman should honour their sacrifices and vote.

Which book do you wish you’d written? That has to be Anne McCaffery’s Pern series.  It really captured my imagination and I’d love to live in that “universe”.  How amazing to be able to have that story in your head.

What one thing do you think would surprise other people about you? I have a hankering to travel the world.  There are just so many amazing places I would love to see!

You’ve had an unexpected windfall of one thousand pounds. What would you spend it on? Plants for our garden.  We’ve been re-landscaping it for coming on two years now and it’s nearly finished!

Who is your secret crush? If I told you that, it wouldn’t be a secret any more now would it?!

Well that’s it.  The only female blogger I can think of who hasn’t already been nominated by Sharon is my friend Angela who writes a fitness blog.  Maybe I’ve forgotten someone?  Anyway, perhaps some of my regular readers would like to answer the same questions – or some of them – in the comments below.  And if you write a blog, please feel free to answer the questions on it and nominate any of your female blogger friends!


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An attempt to explain

A good friend said to me recently that when she read my last blog it made her want to cry.

I assumed she meant because I’d written that my dad had given me a rare compliment and I was pleased that I was making him proud, especially as he doesn’t share his feelings very often.  (That makes me cry – happy cry – when I think about it.)

But actually she was feeling sad because she had read it that my parents were not accepting me as I am – overweight or not – and putting pressure on me to lose weight.  So I thought I should explain a bit more in case others were thinking the same thing.

I am so blessed to have amazing parents who support me and encourage me and absolutely accept me for being me – whatever my weight and despite all the anxieties I must have put them through over the years.

My parents worry about me (comes with the parenting territory).  They could see that I was putting on weight and that I wasn’t happy about it.  They just want me to be happy.  Although they would probably still have concerns about my health if I was 30 stone, they wouldn’t love me any less and knowing I was happy would be the most important thing to them.

When I am overweight and I look in the mirror I don’t like what I see.  I realise few people are 100% happy with what they see but to me when I see myself overweight I see failure.  I have failed to control my eating; food has controlled me instead.  I have been weak and allowed myself to overeat – again.  I’m not aiming for the “perfect” body; just to be in control.  I realise there’s a thin line: maybe I’ll achieve the weight loss but won’t be happy with my flabby arms or my saggy boobs (gravity gets to us all eventually!).  Perhaps I’ll always be unhappy with something.  Perhaps I think losing weight will make me happy but it won’t.  Perhaps…. perhaps….

A part of me (a little part, but it has a very loud voice!) says well if that’s the case, why bother at all?  Why put myself through the deprivation twice a week?  Why even have a set of scales in the house?  And a slightly bigger part of me worries whether my efforts to lose weight and become healthier will have a negative impact on my youngest daughter who struggles with similar issues to myself.  Am I just putting all my hang-ups onto her?  I’d like to think I’m setting a good example – but will it have the reverse effect?

Being totally honest here – it would be much easier to give up.  I want to.  It would be much easier to eat without care or concern.  If I could only get rid of the guilt and the nagging voice (also very loud) that I’ve failed.  Yet again.  Failed at what?  Failed at being the person I want to be on the outside.  I’d like to think I’m already the person I want to be on the inside – honest, kind, reliable, faithful, hospitable, loving, and patient (well I probably need a bit more work on that last one!) – and who cares about what a person looks like?

The sad truth is that in this world, lots of people care what people look like.  Very overweight people can suffer terribly from bullying, rude/thoughtless comments and strange looks.  They are sometimes overlooked for jobs or dismissed as inadequate/unacceptable in other ways.

I’m not obese.  Right now, in fact, I’m “normal” weight.  Slightly to the high side of normal, but normal none-the-less.  Woohoo!  I should celebrate that success!  This week I got back down to my pre-Christmas weight.  Yay!  So no one (should) look at me and judge me.  It’s just me doing the judging.  I haven’t exercised in ages so although my weight is down (yay again!) I’m feeling flabbier around my middle and thinking it’s mostly muscle mass I’m losing rather than fat.  So when I do start exercising again the weight will go up instead of down and that could potentially cause another downwards spiral for me.

How to stop it?  How to stop the self-judging?  How to let it go?  Answers on a postcard please… (or blog comment!)


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A Slippery Slope

Hello everyone (well I hope at least one or two people are reading my ramblings!)

Sorry it’s been a while again.  I’ll keep it short this time; maybe if I write shorter posts I’ll get round to doing them more often.

I’ve been really struggling to get a grip on my eating again since Christmas.  Although I had planned to fast on different days over Christmas I genuinely forgot and the rest of the time I was just eating whatever I felt like whenever I felt like it.

I only put on 4lbs which I was pleased about, and lost two of them the next week.  However I have since put two back on so I’m now only 1lb down since Christmas.

I feel I have lost control again.  Even on my fast days I am eating too much in the evenings.  On non-fast days I’m eating chocolate, sweets, you name it, it goes down my neck.  So fast sometimes it doesn’t touch the sides.  I feel fat and bloated again and really annoyed with myself.

Darling hubby and I had a really lovely weekend away together last weekend as an early Valentine’s and late anniversary present to ourselves (using our Christmas present money).  I decided I would eat what I liked then but that would be it.  So it was full English breakfast both mornings, a good-sized lunch and a full meal each evening, with chocolate and sweets in between.

One of my shifts in my new job is on a Thursday evening but as I have to leave home around 5pm, and then don’t get home again until 11pm, there isn’t time to eat an evening meal.  So I’ve decided it would be easy to add in an extra fast day on that day.  So I’ll be doing 4:3 for a while.

I have handed in my notice at my school job; it was just getting too stressful with full-on days most days, loud and difficult teenagers and sometimes vague or tricky cover work supplied by the regular teachers.  I’ve wanted to leave for a long time but was waiting to hear whether I could have extra hours at the supermarket.  In the end I just handed it in anyway and I wish I’d done it sooner.

I am now enjoying my “last” half term of freedom (well Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at any rate) and I have just 5 more school days left until my last day.  I can’t wait for it to be over.

My only regret is that I will miss my lovely colleagues.  We all get on so well together and everyone has been so supportive to me during the two years I’ve worked there.  Thankfully, as a team, we arrange socials every few months and include two former colleagues already so I’ll still see everyone.

I’m hoping I’ll manage to wrest control back from food in the reasonably near future.  I’ll keep on blogging, in the hope that it will give me some incentive to continue.

The other incentive is more personal.  On Boxing Day, when we visited my parents, my dad told me I looked smart.  I love my dad to bits but he’s not one for expressing himself very well so these simple words were very precious to me.  I know they have been worried about me putting on weight and I want to make them proud by losing it and keeping it off.

What do you use as motivation to help you achieve your goals?