Recently I celebrated my 38th birthday. The countdown is now on until I turn 40. Getting older hasn’t really ever bothered me. Getting older while being overweight does.
I’ve been overweight for most of my life. Except in my late teens/early twenties when I only ate one meal a day (assisted by an evening shift job after uni and sleeping lots – I couldn’t sustain treating my body that way now); and before we had Squidge when I lost quite a bit of weight via Weight Watchers by correspondence (it seems sooo long ago!).
I’ve set goals and seen them sail past. I’ve tried motivating myself by not setting long term goals but rather short term ones like, I’ll eat very well today. Day by day.
Makes me sound like an addict doesn’t it? Taking one day at a time. In a way perhaps I am. Instead of dealing with anxiety and stress by drinking or drugs I reach for food. On days when I feel anxious I can eat and eat and never fill a void that I truly feel in the pit of my stomach. And over time it’s become a habit and one that I need to break.
One thing I remember about the period when I didn’t eat or when I was achieving success via Weight Watchers was how good it felt to be in control. I controlled what I ate and when, rather than blindly giving in to the urge to eat.
Why now? There’s more and more evidence linking being overweight to disease such as breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes and the list goes on. I carry a lot of my weight above my belly button – close to my heart. And the simple fact is I don’t feel good. I don’t feel attractive, or sexy, or confident. I feel lumpy and awkward.
I know what I should do – eat fewer calories and expend more via exercise. Sounds simple yet I don’t seem to achieve it. But I’ve decided to take back control. It is as simple as saying No. To others when they offer me sweets or biscuits. But most importantly to myself when I reach for food I don’t need.
What tools will I use to help me in gaining control? Well outing myself on the interweb is one – I hope it makes me accountable.
What I really enjoyed about Weight Watchers was the thinking was done for me – I had meal plans which told me what to eat each and every day for 3 months. It’s harder now that I have kids and have to take into account their likes and dislikes come meal times because I just cannot make multiple meals for the family. The other thing it did was encourage me to keep track of the food I was eating.
I can achieve the same thing for free via Calorie King. You set how much weight you want to lose and it sets a target calorie intake for a day. You record your meals against for that day and see how you are progressing. There are recipes, articles and forums. The database of food is pretty good.
There’s also Weigh It Up – the group that was behind Channel 10’s Million Kilo Challenge earlier this year. I’m sure they are connected to a health brand (Swisse from memory) but it sets out meal plans and exercise for 8 weeks of weight loss. I’ve taken ideas from here but found it hard trying to juggle the various dietary requirements in the house. And just recently I subscribed to Healthy Eating Planner on Facebook – they have weekly menu plans and regular motivational posts.
So how did I go today? My calorie budget was 1460. I snacked on a banana and mixed nuts but had lunch at a local cafe of a chicken burger with a few chips. I came in at 1419 calories. So far, so good.