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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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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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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Last Post Before Christmas (probably)

I thought I’d better get a quick post in before the Christmas break.

Life has been manic as I’ve just started a second part-time job which is good fun but eats into my free time.  The worst shift is on a Saturday morning when I have to get up at 5:15 in order to get to work for 6:45am.  It’s a 15-20 minute drive, depending on traffic.

I’m on checkouts in a supermarket and I’m enjoying it so far.  It never stops, just when you think there’s a lull, someone else starts unloading their shopping onto your conveyor belt.  I am loving the customer interaction though, talking about their Christmas plans.  One customer said she was going to have a quiet Christmas this year, with only 17 to cater for.  Apparently she usually has 45 people to feed!

So I can’t remember when I last shared my “stats” with you so here goes:

Inches at last measure (Thursday 27th November)

  • Bust 38.5″
  • Waist 35.5″
  • Hips 37.5″
  • L Thigh 21″
  • R Thigh 21″
  • L Arm 11.25″
  • R Arm 11.25″

Nice to be balanced for a change!  (My arms and legs are often half or even a whole inch different!)  I have lost a total of 17″ (I might have told you that last time).

Mind you I’m only partly balanced as I have also added in two new measurements – my calves – at the moment the left one is 16″ and the right one is 15″.  Weird, huh?  I hate my calves, they always seem so huge and dangly, out of proportion to the rest of me I sometimes think.  I can’t buy regular wellies (glad I noticed that auto-correct, I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what it changed to 😉 ) because they are too tight on my calves.  So I have to buy expanding ones or 3/4 height ones which is annoying.

I weighed myself on Thursday 11th December and I was 10 stone 7 pounds.  10 and a half stone!!!  That’s now 18lbs off since 19th May.  I can’t believe it and I was so pleased with myself.

Now, Christmas is coming (in case you hadn’t noticed).

I love Christmas.  I love Christmas food.  In particular the sweets and crisps and other snacks which are always in abundance at this time of year.  I have to find a way to indulge, but in moderation.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that moderation hasn’t been a particularly strong point for me over the years so somehow I have to do it this year or I’ll undo all my good work.

I expect to put on a few pounds, but I really hope it’s only 3 or 4 at the most.  I really, really don’t want to pop over the 11 stone barrier again.

I have re-jigged my fast days so I’m not fasting on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, but will try to still have two fast days in the week.  I have to keep my grip on my self-control so that food doesn’t wrest control from my grasp again.

One problem with being so busy is the lack of time to exercise.  I really need to get out and run as it’s been ages since I last ran and I can’t do Parkrun any more because of working on Saturdays.  The past two Thursdays have been taken up with training so I haven’t been able to go to my usual circuits class but I’m hoping to go this week.  Also I’ve been on mum’s taxi duties quite a bit so haven’t been able to get to Run Club either.  Next week for that hopefully!  And maybe a run or two?

Half the problem is I’m so tired when I get home that I can’t quite summon the energy but I do know that it will be worth it if I do.  It’s just convincing myself of that!  And sadly early mornings are no good as I’m up at 5:50 most mornings anyway; I’d have to get up before 5 to fit a run in then!

As I said earlier, I love Christmas.  As well as the food and snacks(!) I love the family time, giving presents to friends and family, seeing the children’s eyes light up when they see what we’ve got for them. I love planning what I’m going to get for people to make sure I’ve got them something special or meaningful for them.  I love hearing and singing along to the Christmas songs in the shops and on the radio.  I love decorating the house (see the top picture of our tree with Polly inspecting it) and seeing all the lovely lights on other people’s homes as we drive around.

For me, though, the most important thing about Christmas is the message which so often is forgotten in the busy lead-up to Christmas Day.  The message which, over time, has become buried under all the tinsel and Santa suits.  The Christian message which celebrates the birth of Jesus, God’s son.  Please feel free to ask me more in the comments, or have a look at http://www.alpha.org.

To close, I’d like to wish all my readers a very happy and laughter-filled Christmas, and a happy and healthy 2015.

See you all next year! 🙂


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I never thought I’d miss bread….

Hello again.

Okay so it’s been another couple of weeks since I posted but there’s lots been going on.  I won’t bore you with all of it or you’ll maybe never read one of my posts again!

The biggest news is that as of this morning, I now weigh 10st 9lbs!  So another pound loss although I did put one on last week.  I had a really horrid week because of a number of things (which ended with me sobbing in the staff room on one of the days).  So I did indulge a little.  But not as much as I would have done previously.

And then I climbed back onto the wagon and had a good week this week so I effectively lost 2lbs this week.  I’m pretty pleased with that!  It’s so hard now but I must remember to celebrate those little victories.  One of my biggest weaknesses is for sausages.  We had sausages for tea on Tuesday (a non-fast day) and yesterday (a fast day) the left overs were there.  I had one and then later on went back for another.  I had it in my hand, was walking through the kitchen with it, when I made myself go back and put it back on the plate.  A significant victory for me!

On Tuesday we went to Run Club and it was a timed mile session.  My previous PB over a mile on track was 10:04.  I wasn’t hopeful that I would get under that time as we haven’t done as much running as I’d like lately.  But I pushed it, especially on the last half a lap, and did it in 9:53!  11 seconds off so not a huge breakthrough, but encouraging none-the-less.

I’ve also re-started going to circuits thanks to my good friend who wanted to go.  The leader has changed and it’s a much more fun but also much more challenging workout than before.  Today’s was particularly challenging – the sweat was flowing and I’m definitely going to feel it tomorrow!  I still enjoy spin but I think I have to mix it up a bit more than I have been.  It’s hard to get to a mix of classes when I’m working (it’s been half term this week which has helped) but I must make more of an effort.  And at the same time hope that I don’t put on weight with muscle which is always a bit disheartening.

Anyway, back to my title and bread.  I have known for some years that I have a sensitivity to yeast, and bread especially.  About 6 years ago I stopped eating white bread because I always got a severe, stabbing pain in my sternum after eating even the smallest amount and stuck with seeded brown bread which seemed to be okay.  Other bread products seemed to be okay.  After a year or so I found I could eat tiger bread (a firm favourite) and other white bread again as long as I didn’t eat too much.

When I first started trying to lose weight in 2013, I found I only lost a very little and then it seemed to plateau for ages.  I was trying to calorie count and then discovered that the bread I was eating each day was about 110 calories per slice!  As I was aiming for 1200 calories a day, that was a huge number gone just like that.  So I decided to give up bread.  And the weight started coming off again.

But then after a few months, I saw bagels on special offer at Tesco and bought some.  Before I knew It, I was buying bagels most weeks and often having them for lunch.  I knew really that I shouldn’t be eating them, and my colleague said that she didn’t eat them because they make her feel bloated.  And what do you know?  The weight was creeping back on.

So when I started the 5:2 Fast Diet, I knew that I would have to give up bread.  Sandwich bread and even bagels I could cope without.  I thought maybe every now and then I would be able to have a little and it would be okay.  But no.  Perhaps I overdosed with the bagels and now I’ve really messed up my system.

The other Thursday we had a fry-up and I thought I would be okay having just one slice of fried bread, especially as it was brown. But almost immediately I felt painfully bloated.  My tummy was hard and tender.  This lasted all night and well into the next day.  During the afternoon I ate a doughnut and the bloatedness came back.  Then on Sunday I was feeling better until I took communion at church.  Such a small piece of bread and woah, the pain was horrible!

Since then I’ve realised I’m also going to miss things like: pizza, sesame prawn toast, treacle tart, and worst of all – hot cross buns!!!  One of my colleagues often has a toasted hot cross bun at work.  The smell really gets me drooling but I know I can’t have one.  Easter will be so hard!

Well that’s all from me for now.  Let’s hope there will be more good news the next time I post.  Take care everyone! 🙂


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Quick Update

Just to say I’m back down to 11 stone this morning. I wasn’t as good as I could have been this week so I’m quite pleased with that although it would have been nice to nudge into the 10 stone-something range!

Only a few more days until our holiday so I probably won’t post again for a while.

When we get back I’m intending to start again as if it was 1st January! Continuing with the 5:2 eating plan and getting back to running and exercise classes.

So watch this space – an average 1lb a week loss between now and my birthday will see me another half a stone down and by the beginning of November I could reach my target weight.

It’s doable. I just need to do it.

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Our Amber. Who is rarely this still!