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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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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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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Progress!

I wrote this on Friday 20th June:

“Well I have some exciting news to report.  I weighed myself yesterday morning and I am down to 11st 2lbs!  That is a 9lbs weight loss since I started the Fast Diet.  I was so pleased.  I have also lost some inches here and there.  I am going to try to insert a graph of my losses so far when I get home but that might be a bridge too far with my so far very basic blog-writing skills!”

Then on Wednesday 25th June I wrote this:

“Well it’s clear to all of you that I didn’t make time at the weekend.  This was because shortly after typing this I had to go home from work sick.  I had the worst cold I’ve had in years and it was miserable.  I can’t remember the last time I went home from work sick; in fact the only time I can remember having to do that was when I was 17 and working at Boots.  I actually had to sprint from my till point to the staff toilets to be sick that time.  This time I just felt well and truly grotty, coughing, sneezing and feeling quite weak.  Thankfully I’m nearly better now but I’ve felt miserable all weekend.”

Both times I was interrupted and then didn’t get another chance to carry on.  I could really do with a few more hours in each day.  I think an additional 6 hours to bring it up to a round 30-hour day would be good.  It could be 3 more hours for getting stuff done and 3 more hours in bed.  Anyone else agree with me?  Perhaps an extra day every weekend would be good too?

Umm, anyway, back in reality!  How am I going on the diet/eating plan?  Am I making progress?  Well you can see from the above that the scales are gradually moving down.  A bit too gradually for my liking but then if I didn’t eat quite so much on the non-fast days it would probably be quicker.  Plus I haven’t had time to exercise for ages.

When I weighed myself on Thursday (26th) I had lost another pound, bringing me to a grand total of 10lbs lost.  Yay!  All my inches are down too but I’m at work at the moment so I can’t look it up (it’s on my phone and I don’t think the students would be particularly impressed if I got my phone out when they’re not allowed to look at theirs!  I don’t think my Line Manager would look too kindly on it either…) but hopefully I’ll remember to make a note on paper later on so I can include the details for you later on.

I am finding the fast days hard but doable if that makes sense.  The worst times are between getting home from work and eating tea, and then it’s really hard between tea and bed.  The temptation is to cook and eat as soon as possible after getting home from work, but that then leaves a longer time before bed.  Unfortunately I can’t just have an early night as I need to get my daughters to go to bed (sadly if I just leave them, they won’t turn their lights out for hours and the youngest then won’t get up for school in the morning).  But I keep on reminding myself that I can eat tomorrow.

I am liking that my fast days are on Mondays and Wednesdays as that gets them over with at the beginning of the week and it feels like I have more time to eat what I want for the rest of the week.  I have to be careful though.  This weekend we went to see Avenue Q on Friday night and to save the exorbitant cost of sweets from the theatre, I bought some from the local shops.  I bought too many.  I ate too many.  Self-Control, where have you gone?  (Actually, if I’m totally honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever known Self-Control particularly well, especially when it comes to eating!)

We had a great weekend.  Firstly Avenue Q on the Friday night, which was excellent.  I’d seen it before with one of my best friends in London, but my husband and daughters had not.  Thankfully they all enjoyed it as much as I did, finding it very funny if a little rude.  Okay, a lot rude at times but still funny.  If you haven’t seen it I really recommend you do if it tours near you.  Maybe you think the puppets thing isn’t for you, but it’s so well done that you don’t really care that it’s puppets after the first few minutes.  And the actors work so cleverly with the puppets and sing brilliantly.  See it if you can (and if you’re not too easily offended).  It has a 14 years minimum recommended age limit by the way.

Saturday was my eldest daughter’s prom night.  Wow is all I can say; she looked stunning.  Okay, I know I’m her mum and I’m supposed to think she’s beautiful, but she really did look amazing.  It cost quite a lot of money of course (dress, shoes, bag, hair, nails, ticket, spending money, etc) but she keeps reminding me that others spent a lot more than we did so apparently that makes it okay.  Which it does really I guess.  It was worth it to see how happy she was and hear everyone say how lovely she is.  Thankfully we didn’t have to splash out for a car as her good friend’s parents own a wedding car hire company and they took her, her best friend, their son and his best friend to the prom in an open-top Cadillac.  What a fantastic evening.  One of the teachers said it was the best prom he has organised ever so that was nice to hear.

On Sunday we went to church and then came home and did some more work in the garden.  We got about a third of the deck oiled.  It looks really good.  I’m looking forward to the whole garden being finished but we are needing a bit of a capital injection at the moment.

What is really good about life at the moment is I’ve been able to have a few quality times just me and each of my daughters on their own.  I had a few hours’ shopping with my youngest daughter, followed by a quiet evening meal at home watching TV together.  And I went shopping with my eldest to get her last-minute prom essentials as well.  It’s really lovely to spend time with them and I wish we could do it more often.  Back to needing more hours in the day!

Today is an eating day but I’m feeling quite hungry.  I didn’t have time for much breakfast before I left this morning (bad I know, most important meal of the day and all that) and my lunch is in the fridge at work and I couldn’t be bothered to get it out for a break time snack.  I keep reminding myself that according to the 5:2 ideas fasting between meals is better than lots of small snacks.  And I’ll certainly enjoy my lunch when I eventually eat it!

It’s after lunch now.  And I did enjoy it, even if it was a bit rushed with only 20 minutes to eat it in!  Mind you, having a limited amount of time is good in a way because I didn’t have time to eat everything I had with me so that’s fewer calories consumed, which means fewer inches/lbs the next time I measure myself!

It’s Wednesday 2nd July now and am going to finish this blog post after I’ve weighed in tomorrow, I promise!  It’s taken me aaaggggeeeeessss.  It’s easy for me to type when I’m in a nicely behaved class, where they’re getting on with their work and as I’m quite a fast typist I can get quite a lot done in between going around and checking that they are actually working and presenting the next lot of work to them.  That theory breaks down when a class is trouble, or needing a lot of help and I’m up and down the whole time with no time to just sit and type.

Another fast day today.  I was out of bananas this morning so I had a smoothie with low-fat natural yoghurt, strawberries, a nectarine and a kiwi fruit.  It was quite tasty but not quite as good as the banana/strawberry one.  I would have liked to have added a little sugar but I resisted!

I’m kind of dreading weighing in tomorrow morning because I feel I’ve over done it a bit over the past week and so will the scales be heading in the wrong direction?  I really hope not.  It’s so hard though.  I would be really interested in hearing from people where/how they’ve found the motivation and self-control to eat sensibly.  If you’ve never had a problem with overeating, you’ll probably not be able to understand how it feels, but I would love to hear from a former overeater.  I know that the “aha” moment, when it all suddenly clicks into place and you find that motivation is different for everyone, but to be honest I’m desperate and hope that hearing other people’s experiences will help me to believe it is possible, and maybe inspire me to find my personal motivation.

Okay, it’s Thursday 3rd July now and I weighed myself this morning and I’m 11 stone! That makes a grand total of 11lbs lost over the 7 weeks since I started the 5:2 Fast Diet Plan. I measured myself as well and have lost a total of 11″ as well. So it’s all about the number 11 today!!

I’m so pleased with myself. I really worried that I would have either stayed the same, or worse, put on. It makes me feel really positive that I can still lose on this diet even when I’m not being as controlled as I could be on my eating days. How much more progress could I make if I was exercising and not going quite so over-the-top in between fast days??

I’m going to sign off here or this will never get finished.  I hope I’ll hear from a few people sharing their experiences.  Pretty please??!

Table showing my weight/inches loss.  I tried to cut and paste the graph but it wouldn’t paste for some reason.  I also couldn’t work out how to type under the table!  I’ll get the hang of it eventually I expect…

Date 19/05/2014 27/05/2014 03/06/2014 10/06/2014 19/06/2014 26/06/2014 03/07/2014
Weight 165 161 161 160 156 155 154
Bust 42.5 42 41 42 40 40 40
Waist 40 38 39 38 38 38 37
Hips 40 39 39 39 38.5 38.5 38
L thigh 23 22.5 22.25 22.5 22 22 22
R thigh 24 22.5 22.25 22.5 22.5 22.5 22
L arm 12 12 11.5 11.5 11.5 11.5 11.5
R arm 12 12 12 12 11.5 11.5 11.5