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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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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Week One – A Success Story??

My first "fast" evening meal.

My first “fast” evening meal.

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I could have a guilt-free cake at my colleague’s leaving do on Friday!

Hello to my vast audience of two!

I really have no idea what I’m doing regarding making this blog. I know what a blog is, I have read blogs, but I have no idea what various terms mean like tags, categories, parent/children/orphan categories, etc. From just a brief exploration of my dashboard, my head is spinning!

I think I managed to add a category (weight loss) but I don’t know what difference that will make. I haven’t yet managed to work out how to search for other blogs on WordPress. I’m sure it’s not as difficult as it seems! I’m logged on at work though and lots of the pictures don’t seem to be showing properly so maybe it will be easier to see from home.

So, Wednesday’s fast day was okay.  Again, I managed to eat below the 500 calories with nothing between breakfast and dinner, and then nothing again until breakfast today.  I don’t think I was quite as hungry as I was on Monday so that’s good but it was very hard during the afternoon when I got in from work.  That’s my usual kitchen cruise time so I was pleased with myself for resisting.  I hope it will become easier with time.  My evening meal was roasted smoked haddock, poached egg and green beans.  Tasty.  Hubby had the same, except with a jacket potato as well.  My girls were not impressed with the strong fish and egg smells filling the house, both of which they hate!

On Thursday I was back to eating as normal.  I had a smoothie for breakfast although because it’s not a fast day I didn’t weigh the ingredients.  They are sooo yummy!  Lunch was pretty healthy with a tuna mayo and salad wrap, cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas, a yoghurt and a satsuma.

Dinner was Stand ‘n’ Stuff Tacos and I even remembered to get the mince out of the freezer before I left for work.  Perhaps thinking about my food a bit more ahead of time will help me become more organized.  That’s the theory anyway!

We were away for the weekend, camping at the Big Church Day Out event in Wiston, near Steyning, West Sussex.  This is a weekend we’ve been to on three occasions now and for the last two years we have volunteered on the Saturday which means that we get the rest of the weekend and the camping for free.  This year we were on the stewarding team from 9am.  It had rained quite hard overnight so the ground was pretty muddy underfoot but was dry at the start of our shift.  Hubby was selected to go with the tractor rides to make sure that everyone stayed safe (remain seated until the vehicle comes to a complete stop and all that) and I was allocated part of the Food Avenue to patrol.  It rained for ages and I got absolutely drenched!  I was cold and my feet ached but later on it stopped and I had dried out by the end of the afternoon.  I dealt with a call for a first aider when a little girl tripped over, helped a parent who had lost their toddler (thankfully she reappeared very quickly) and found someone to help a teenager who had dropped her phone into one of the portaloos!  Hubby stayed pretty much dry the whole time.

Sunday was the complete opposite and it was beautiful sunshine all the way.  We even caught the sun a little bit.  What a contrast!

Anyway, the eating was a bit haphazard during the weekend.  We had planned our meals to save money and it all went well although I did perhaps eat more than I probably ought to have done between meals, including sharing a large bar of my favourite chocolate (Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations Jelly Popping Candy Shells) with Ian.  But that was fine.  I didn’t need to feel guilty.  After all, the whole point of this diet is that you are only deprived for a short time and then can go back to normal eating.  I know that normal for me isn’t the same as normal for other people and the advantage of being away is that we only had with us what I’d brought.  And I did put back a few things I had originally packed.  And I also resisted the temptation of the candy floss stall!

Then it was Monday and another fast day.  As it was a Bank Holiday we slept in and I decided not to eat anything until dinner time as I thought my meals would be too close together if I ate a late breakfast.  I made a chicken and bacon pie (it was supposed to have leeks in too but I didn’t have any) which according to the website I got it from should have been under 300 calories.  I couldn’t quite believe that considering that pastry was involved, but I only put the pastry on the top rather than it being a filled pie so that kept it down a bit.  Another time I think I’ll just do the filling and put pastry on it for everyone else.  It was quite tasty.

I decided that I will weigh and measure myself on Tuesday mornings, just after a fast day, for the best and most consistent results.  So here are my vital statistics – put here in the hope that being honest will help me to stick with it.  The first table shows my measurements before I started on 19th May.  The second one shows my measurements this morning (27th May).

Weight 11st 11lbs
Bust 42.5”
Waist 40”
Hips 40”
Left Thigh 23”
Right Thigh 24”
Left Arm 12”
Right Arm 12”

I’m not entirely sure why one leg is a whole inch larger than the other here – I did check them both twice to confirm!

Weight 11st 7lbs
Bust 42”
Waist 38”
Hips 39”
Left Thigh 22.5”
Right Thigh 22.5”
Left Arm 12”
Right Arm 12”

As you can see, a pleasing improvement!  4lbs off and 5.5″.  I like making measurements as well as weighing as I’m aware that sometimes weight loss won’t be as quick as hoped for due to hormonal cycles, fluid retention, muscle gain, etc and in fact for me the most important thing isn’t what I weigh, but what I look like in clothes.  (Well what I look like naked too, but that’s just between me and hubby!)

Well that’s all for now.  I’m going to try to get some photos and tags inserted as well so I hope I don’t lose it all!  (The photos have ended up stuck at the top of the page.  I’m sure there’s a way to move them to within the text.  I’ll maybe work that out next time!)