Monday, 18 May 2015

Weighing up weighing in...

After over a month of dieting, it's fair to say I've been through both the good and the bad of the experience.  I can definitely understand why people are dubious about dieting as a health choice, particularly when there is so much misinformation and fashion involved, but I also know I feel better and look better as a result.  If you are thinking of taking a shot at calorie restriction, here are my top five tips*:

1)  Make a meal plan and STICK TO IT!  One of the reasons my weight loss has slowed over the past fortnight is because of failing to plan for those days when I'm out and about for 12 hours with no access to a fridge or oven.  No matter how hard you try, you will almost always eat more calories from shop-bought food than from the equivalent made at home.  Look at your diary, plan for the week ahead, and you will see the difference.

2) BUT, give yourself some wiggle room.  If you have planned a diet of celery and salad for the next six months, you'll almost certainly fail.  We eat for so many reasons, from hunger to stress relief, and trying to avoid all naughty food doesn't take into account the pivotal role food plays in all our lives.  So, if chocolate is your weakness, allow yourself a small ration of it, perhaps as a weekend treat.  If you're a pizza person, check out a lower calorie version to help tide you over. Completely remove these treats from your diet and the cravings will just get harder to control.

3) Drink plenty of liquid.  Preferably not alcohol or full-fat soda, but water, tea and the like are all important.  We get a lot of water from our food so any diet can risk increased dehydration.  Having a drink can reduce hunger pangs, so try a glass of water before reaching for a snack.  Dieters with a sweet tooth can also get some relief from diet soda.  It's never recommended to drink too much of it but the sweetness can feel like a treat for those missing sugary foods.

4) Yes, you're going to have to exercise to see the results, but it can be as easy as taking a walk. Some people get sniffy if you say that taking the stairs is exercise but the fact is that all additional movement is additional calories burnt.  If you can manage 10,000 steps a day, you're well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.  Resistance and weight training is a real boost for weight loss too, and can be done in a spare fifteen minutes of your day.  At the very least, try to factor more movement into your daily life.

5) The most important thing: don't get too hung up on the numbers on the scale.  Some weeks you can bust your arse at the gym and eat like a supermodel only to see the scales refuse to budge from where they were last time.  But weight loss can be affected by lots of factors (particularly for women, sigh) and pounds will often come off in bursts rather than at a consistently steady pace. Also remember, is it the number that matters or keeping the weight off?  Do the scales tell the whole story or is there more to be learnt from how much better you feel and the changes you see in the mirror?  It's easy to see a bad day on the scales as a sign of failure but each weigh-in is just a step on a longer journey.

Nothing revolutionary, I'm afraid, but these are all things that I've discovered during the dieting process, if not always stuck to.  Honestly, I've had a bloody awful week foodwise and cannot expect any joy on the scales when I weigh myself, but I need to remember the positive comments I've received from colleagues, how much more control I feel I have over my eating, and the increased physical confidence I now have.  That is surely what matters.

Ok, time to see the damage.

As of 18 May, I weigh 11 stone 5 (72.1 kgs).  Still.

But if I can manage to just about maintain my weight despite eating out more than I ate at home, I'm clearly still making decent enough food choices.

The plan for this week is to lose 2 pounds, as this will take me to my allegedly optimal BMI.  More gym, more eating at home, fewer excuses.  Let's do this.

*Inevitable disclaimer: these are based on my opinions and experiences only.  Get yourself some proper medical advice if you're thinking of making changes to your diet and lifestyle.

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