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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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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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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Woohoo!! At last!

Yesterday morning I got on the scales.  Having stayed the same weight again last week (which is why I didn’t bother blogging) I tried not to get my hopes up too high.  I reminded myself that I am healthier than I’ve been for ages, I’m enjoying (sort of) spin classes, and I feel thinner when I am lying in bed, resting my hand on my middle.  So that is all positive.

Well I was absolutely elated to find that I have broken that horrible 11 stone barrier, and I’m now 10st 12lbs!!!  That means a total of 13lbs lost since I started on 19th May!  It’s taken me 14 weeks, but I have heard that the slower you lose the weight the more likely it is to stay off so I’m hoping it will stay off for good. This is my chart:

(It will not cut and paste for some reason so I’ll have to add it via a separate post…)

I also measured myself.  I have lost 15.5” in total – that’s 2.5″ off my bust, 5″ off my waist, 2.5″ off my hips, 1.5″ off my left thigh, 2.5″ off my right thigh, 1″ off my left arm and 0.5″ off my right arm.  As you may realise I was, and still am, slightly lopsided!

I can’t quite believe it but obviously I’m really happy!  I have checked and my BMI is actually in the healthy range at long last – at the top end still, but healthy!  (I know that BMI isn’t 100% reliable when it comes to judging health but I think I’m average enough for it to be at least indicative of where I should be.  I’m certainly not muscle-bound (far from it!) so I don’t think the results will be too skewed.)

So my BMI now is 24.5.  According to the NHS, the healthy weight range for someone of my height and age is 8st3-11st2.  The middle of that is where I’d like to be.  9st7lbs is right in the middle with a BMI of 21.4.  Ideally I’d like to get a few lbs below 10st so I have a bit of leeway – if I gain a few lbs it’ll be easy enough to lose them and I’ll still be in a good place weight- wise, whereas right now if I put on a few (please no) I would be back in the overweight bracket again.

I think I’ll be aiming for 9st10 as that’s a BMI of 21.9 and feels kind of achievable.  So – another 16lbs to go then!  I did make it down to 9st7 way back in the Dark Ages, pre-pregnancies, so hopefully I can make it nearly there again.  There are 17 weeks to go until Christmas, so at the same rate of weight loss I should be reaching, or nearly reaching, target by then.  It would be so amazing to be able to shop for a Christmas outfit and not have to worry about wearing my very uncomfortable (and very unsexy) “hold all the fat in” pants this year!

Another thing I’ve found to be positive about is doing my fast days during the holidays.  I had deliberately planned my fast days to fall on days I was at work where food isn’t so easily available, and I was really worried that I would find it very hard to resist the food in the house, especially when the girls are around.  As it turned out, it wasn’t too bad at all.  My eldest daughter and I have been watching the first series of Masterchef Australia (the UK version is much better by the way) which has been a bit frustrating when my tummy is rumbling, but I’ve managed to get through it.

I keep on realising, over and over again, how much easier this way of eating is than traditional “deprivation” dieting.  I know I still need to be sensible on my non-fast days, but it’s so much easier to stick to the 500 calories when I know I can eat tomorrow.  I know it will be possible to maintain my weight once I get down to target by keeping one fast day a week in my routine.  It means if I do eat some chocolate on a non-fast day, I can enjoy it without feeling like I’ve failed yet again.  It was my mum’s birthday yesterday and we organised a family afternoon tea party for her.  We had scones, crisps, cheese and biscuits, and of course, cake.  I could eat it without feeling guilty!  And I don’t think I ate as much as I usually would do.

To end on a happy note: this morning, I thought of where I was in life a few years ago.  Then I thought about where I am now.  A *huge* smile spread across my face.  Life is good!


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Need to talk…

I am struggling this evening.  I’m really tired and the girls are being typical stroppy teenagers.  I want to sleep and I want to eat.  I have already eaten several stale cookies my eldest made with her boyfriend a couple of weekends ago (they were very tasty) and half a left-over Easter egg.

I thought I’d better start writing on here to distract me from eating the rest of the egg and anything else I can find in the kitchen.  Off the top of my head, that would be: salted cashews, a banana or two, a bag or two (or three) of the not-very-tasty Weight Watchers crisps, a yoghurt, a WW mini chocolate roll or two, and, and, and.  Some healthy, some not so – all unnecessary!

(As an aside, I was introduced to the WW mini chocolate rolls by a colleague of mine and she’s right – they are tastier than the “real thing”!)

I’ve got a whole host of jobs which need doing at home: we’re in the middle of re-landscaping our garden so there’re many tasks relating to that including weeding, digging, clearing ground, re-planting, planting seeds in seed trays, etc; I have a(n?) humungous box full of stuff which needs to be photographed and listed on eBay; I have about 6 boxes full of stuff which we were going to “car boot” but have decided for the £70 (if we’re lucky) we’d be likely to get it’s not worth the time and hassle so I need to get them into the car ready to deliver to a charity shop this week.  All the beds need to be changed.  The filing cabinet needs to be sorted and the old documents shredded.  You get the picture.

All I actually want to do is veg in front of the TV, or go to bed.  Or both – except we don’t have a TV in our room!

Then the guilt starts.  My lovely hubby says it’s good I have a rest as I deserve it.  I just think of the things I should be doing but can’t quite muster up the energy for and then I feel guilty.  Guilt makes me feel low.  Feeling low makes me want to eat.  Eating makes me feel guilty.  Guilt makes me feel lower and on it goes in an ever downward spiral.

The idea of writing this blog and doing the 5:2 Fast Diet is to help me to snap out of the spiral.  Can anyone else relate to this?  Or am I as odd as I suspect?  What do you do to help you snap out of it?  If you have managed to win in your battle against food (this is all assuming I’m not the only one), what was it that finally motivated you to keep going and beat it?