Monday, April 21, 2014
This weekend I hosted a little dinner party for girls I met at a diet club. I left the club because it wasn't working for me, but I didn't want to lose track of some of the lovely people I've met while I was attending, and I thought it might be nice to invite them over as a way of getting to know each other away from that single point of interest.
It was a nice evening, although I didn't drink half a much as I expected to... which is probably a good thing, (I might need further convincing of that).
One thing that I realised today (2 days later, as I'm STILL eating leftovers), is that Sparkpeople allows me to continue eating dinner party food (ie, full fat, non-diet-modified food), even if it contains flour, sugar, cream, etc. Because, so long as I'm recording what I eat, I can eat whatever I happen to have in the fridge.
I'm really happy about that. I had overcooked and there were plenty of leftovers. If I had still been in the diet club I would have had to throw a lot of the leftovers away. They were 'sinful' because of ingredients like cream, flour, oil, etc. The rationing for some of these ingredients is so low that I would probably need a 2nd freezer to fit all my leftovers.
Today, as I'm eating leftover creamy cauliflower soup, and home made sundried tomato, olive and feta scones, I'm grateful for having left the confines of the diet club. I feel like a 'real person', even though I'm technically back on the wagon again. I can eat whatever I want, nothing is sinful, so long as I moderate and keep an eye on portion sizes.
After all, I'm not overweight because of flour, cream and oil. I'm overweight because of an unhealthy attitude towards food. I have a feeling that the diet club was making my views of food even more unhealthy, by telling me what I could and could not eat, labeling certain foods as sinful and others as sin free, etc.
I read somewhere that only 5% of diet club members get to their goal weight. And of that 5%, 95% put the weight back on within 5 years.
In 2007 I lost 63lbs without the help of a diet club. I did it the way I am doing it now, by keeping track of my behaviours, trying to continuously learn about foods, recipes and emotional triggers, and by building my dieting confidence and emotional resistance.
It's now been 7 years since I lost that weight. I fluctuate by around 10lbs (up and down). But largely I have kept the weight off. I'm not part of the big song and dance that is the diet club. But sometimes I think that all that singing and dancing is actually nothing more than a way to camouflage the fact that 99% of customers ultimately fail.
Yesterday, I happened to bump into yet another friend who had attended the same diet club. She said she had stopped attending and had subsequently been bumped into a 'lapsed members' page on Facebook. She laughed as she said that whilst the active members page had around 100 members... the lapsed members page had around 1000 members. That's when it finally dawned on me, that I made the right decision by leaving the diet club.
It's days like this that I need to hang on to. I am in control of my own destiny. So I am the single most important dieting tool I have at my disposal. Not some diet club.
And in my very exclusive club of a single member... LOL... I am still allowed to eat flour, cream and oil, even when I'm back on the wagon.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
I'm intending for this to be quite a short and snippy blog. So please stop me if I begin to ramble...
After a year or so of yoyo-ing, I feel as though I've finally found my mojo again. And this week (week 1 of my back to basics healthy living plan), I've lost 4 lbs.
I didn't get nazi about it. I actually had 2 nights of alcohol (one of which included dinner out). But I made sure that I logged everything that went into my mouth, so that I couldn't accidentally lie to myself about what I was doing. It worked! And I'm delighted!
Because I logged everything, I was aware of what I was doing so never actually lost control. Yes, on Thursday night I had dinner at a bowling alley (how many healthy choices there?). And last night I had friends over for a bottle of wine (well 2 bottle actually, but who's counting?).
The fact is that I went approx. 50% over my ideal calorie count on Thursday. And 20% over on Friday. Every other day was 100% on point. That's why I'm triumphant.
I spent all of last week living a normal life. I followed a sensible and healthy eating plan most of the time, but allowed myself to enjoy the little indulgences of life, without going overboard and without feeling guilty.
I feel free. And I'm so pleased that it resulted in a significant weight loss because that shows me that I must be on the right track.
Well done me. I'm giving myself a pat on the back now, in case you aren't sure what I'm doing.
Right, enough said. Time to take my dog for a walk as I ponder how I'm going to make this coming week a success too!
Saturday, March 22, 2014
I just logged on to write a blog, for the first time in nearly a year. Thought I might take a look at my last blog, for inspiration and perhaps to see if there were clues about what went wrong.
Did I get a shock or what!?!
My last blog... dated Sunday, April 14, 2013, was about the absolute futility I have experienced with 'dieting clubs'. This is quite an important discovery, because since writing that blog I rejoined Slimming World (I missed some of the members). And this week, I quit again. Because it just wasn't working for me. I wasn't losing weight in a sustainable way. Perhaps I'd lose one week, but then I'd gain. And then lose, and gain, and then lose and then gain... like a roller coaster that was driving me into a frenzy of frustration!
But I had completely forgotten that it didn't work... so for ages I was feeling as though my lack of success at Slimming World had something to do with me being a dieting failure.
I'm not saying that Slimming World doesn't work for others. But it doesn't work for me. Fact. I understand the reasons why too...
SW has 3 eating plans. Red (original) - where the focus is meat, vegetables and fruit. Nearly everything else needs to be rationed. Green - where the focus is starches, vegetables and fruit (with a similar rationing element for proteins). SW is trying to shift away from these 2 plans so whilst they still offer them, there is no member support if things get tough.
Plus, the biggest selling point of these 2 plans is that you can 'eat as much as you want' so long as you restrict yourself on whatever foods don't fall into the 'red' or 'green' category.
'As much as you want?'... wow, that sounds like a perfect diet. Except for someone like me all it really does is give me permission to binge, so long as I'm binging on the 'right stuff'. As we all know, a person can never always be perfect, so learning to binge on the right stuff, eventually leads to an off-plan day, in which you end up binging on the wrong stuff.
Lose one week, gain the next, lose for 2 weeks, gain or stay the same for 4 weeks. That was my experience with Slimming World. It didn't teach me to eat sensibly, so I had no defense mechanism when things went a bit wrong. And no support system either, because the Slimming World Consultant just responds with encouragement to follow the 3rd plan... the plan that Slimming World is trying to push forward - 'Extra Easy'.
Extra Easy has a very simple philosophy... you can eat everything which is free on either red or green days, so long as you also ensure 1/3 of your plate is made up of fresh fruits and vegetables (I'm paraphrasing slightly).
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
The only problem is that this philosophy assumes that you will put protein and starch on 2/3 of your plate, then add 1/3 of veggies and fruit, and done! You have eaten and you're happy! But it doesn't work that way in my life.
My way of eating is to make a recipe.. such as spaghetti bolognese, with tonnes of vegetables, minced meat, and add it to pasta. By the time it's cooked I can't tell how much 1/3 of my plate is, so I add more veggies, which thins out the spagbol, and leaves me unsatisfied. So then I have another plate (i can eat as much as I want remember). Again with 1/3 of my plate devoted to veggies and fruit. But the whole point is to eat as much as you want, so by the time I've eaten as much as I want (of what I want, which is the spag bol section of my plate), I am so stuffed with fibrous vegetables that I feel bloated and quite ill really.
But the emotional response is to eat as much as I want. Because Slimming World says I can.
It's a WHOLE OTHER ROLLERCOASTER that leads to weight gain in the end. Because I've eaten way too much food. So when I step on the scales and have gained after following the diet for a week, the consultant tells me that I'm not following it properly. Except I am... so then she tells me that there must be something wrong with me. Which makes me feel bad about myself. So I try harder, and eat even more to prove that the diet works. Except it bloody well doesn't.
And the result is...
Well, I'll give you a clue. In the year since my last blog I've put on 8 lbs... LOL.
And all it cost me was £5 per week.
I'm embarrassed. For the past few years I've accomplished nothing. Because all I've been doing is letting a young girl (aka the diet club 'consultant') lead me around in a circle with a very limited portfolio of support to rely on when things don't go to plan.
I'm sure she thinks I've 'quit'... or 'lapsed' my membership and therefore my weight loss attempts.
Fortunately, my self esteem is still intact enough for me to see that I've not quit or lapsed at all. Instead I have emancipated myself from the madness that is the diet club.
I'm a reasonably intelligent person who wants to learn how to eat sensibly and turn my sensible eating into a habit that comes naturally to me. I can't achieve that in a diet club. Impossible.
The only way to learn a natural, sensible and healthy style of eating is to invest myself in learning as much as I can about what is healthy living, listen and respond to what my body is telling me, and keep persevering through the occasional hunger pangs or feelings of deprivation.
The hunger pangs are not really hunger. They are the sensation of my swollen and stretched stomach coming to terms with the fact that healthy living requires less food.
The feelings of deprivation are also a farce. They are just my mind trying to trick me into believing that a slice of cheesecake is more important to me than living longer and enjoying life more.
I get it now. Last year's blog was trying to tell me something. But I wasn't listening.
I hear it now. I hear the message and I have digested it.
Just like Scarlette O'Hara said to the reddish earth.... 'As God is my witness...'
I will never return to another diet club again.
The best way for me to get the best out of a healthy eating plan, is to do it myself. That way I can find lots of different types of support, and adapt lots of different philosophies to my unique situation. I can pick and choose what works for me, without looking like a 'traitor to the diet club'. And by being in the driving seat, I will be strong enough to deal with little blips as they occur.
I have 16.9 lbs to lose to get back to where I was in 2007. That's my first goal...
Sunday, April 14, 2013
I'm back again. I never really left, but I did appear to go for long enough to forget my password. That can't be a great sign...
Just getting reacquainted with my Sparkpage. Updating my goals, revisiting my history of weight loss. And something suddenly occurred to me - the last time I reached one of my 10lb goals was around 2 years ago!
Since then I've had some time with Weight Watchers... I've also just left Slimming World after around 9 months of membership. I lost a bit, I gained a bit... but actually, I ended up in the same boat that I was in when I began using 'diet clubs'... In 2 years, the overall results has been... ZERO.
Unless you count the £5 per week that I've spent. Plus the weekly support from other members. Plus, to be fair... at some times during my membership(s), my state of mind was such that without the weekly monitoring I might have gone off the deep end... and put on everything I've lost so far.
Okay, so I've spent £520 on weekly diet club dues... and the result after 2 years has been maintenance. Not a horrible result, but not a great one either.
In all honesty, the only time I have managed to successfully lose a significant amount of weight (everything I've lost so far in fact), has been using SparkPeople, on my own.
Sometimes I get too busy to fill in my food diary. Those days are tough. Sometimes I forget that there is a ton of support here... all you have to do is get online and you'll find inspirational blogs, recipe ideas, community discussions and videos.
I don't have to wait for my 'weekly weigh-in' to get support. And I can dip in and out of any number of groups and discussions here.
All I need to do is make the decision... that THIS is the club I want to belong to.
For me, Sparks has been the only 'group' or 'club' that has worked so far. I'm still 54lbs lighter than when I started.
And it doesn't cost a penny!
I think that I might put £5 in a jar, every week that I experience a weight loss. And when I get to goal, I will take that jar and cash it in for a nice holiday in the sun.
Okay... that does it! I've decided that I am back... I might not be perfect, because life isn't perfect... but I'm going to do my best to track my meals (I'll probably do that around 85-90% of the time). And I will weigh in every Saturday morning. Just like I would at one of the diet clubs.
And I'll get my support here at Spark People... because I know from experience that the support here is unlimited.
All you have to do is log on and everything you need to succeed is here.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
I am an optimistic person by nature. You may not believe me because right now I'm feeling blue. But I swear I am very positive about life. Even the really tough stuff.
The problem is that life seems to really pile it on sometimes. I sometimes wonder how I cope with the number of life-issues I have to juggle at once.
There are people out there who manage to successfully shift their worries onto someone else. Or they have elaborate networks of supportive family and friends. On the occasions that I've tried to lean on others, they have generally let me down. So over the years I have learned to take care of my own business, which has made me a very strong person, but also doesn't give me any rest.
Sometimes, there is only one, or possibly two things to deal with in life. That's not so bad. But at other times there are so many things that I have no idea what to deal with first. I feel heavy with burden, like I weigh 10 thousand pounds. And what do exceptionally heavy people do? They eat.
I have great periods, months at a time, where I am able to separate the rest of my life from my eating habits. During those periods I tend to eat well, get plenty of exercise, and lose a substantial amount of weight.
There are other times however, when I feel as though food is the only friend I have. I know all about relaxing in a hot bath, or talking a short walk, or pampering myself with a manicure etc. I know that there are other ways to nurture myself, rather than eat. But those things don't work. They aren't my friend. Food is my friend.
Sometimes I want to murder my friend, food.
So, the question I ask myself is... how can I commit the perfect crime and get away with it? How can I murder the one friend who has gotten me through 10 thousand pounds of burden, time and time again?
Surely, without my friend, I will be crushed by the undue weight of my life-issues.
A hot bath is not going to fix some of things I need to deal with. Neither will a long walk. What fixes things is 'being resilient', 'fighting back', 'persevering'. All of which are exhausting. Something about food replenishes me so that I'm not exhausted anymore. It's the friend who lifts the burden and gives me the strength and resilience to carry on further.
What to do, when there is no-one to fall back on, and the only thing that seems to provide respite is food? How does one do away with the crutch of food?
How should I endeavour to murder my toxic friend, food, and get away with it?
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