OK so I’ve not been very good at updating this part of the blog – but that doesn’t mean I’ve been neglecting the new healthy lifestyle. In fact the opposite is true. Following Helen Yarnold of 12-14 Fitness‘s advice I’ve been eating less, exercising more and … da daaaaaaaaa … after just 11 weeks I have lost 14 pounds – yes, that’s a whole stone!
This is the first time in my life I’ve ever managed to lose a stone. I’ve tried Weightwatchers, Slimming World, calorie counting, other crazy and not so crazy diet plans and I’ve always lost the first half stone fairly easily, but then got stuck, got bored, gone back to “normal” eating and put on 10 pounds. I think all those diets have just made me feel I was missing out in some way, which meant they weren’t sustainable for more than a few weeks.
This time round it seems to be working. On Helen’s advice I do five days a week on 1400 calories and two days on a more generous 1700 – and as I’m not restricted on what I can eat or drink I don’t feel I am missing out. The benefits have gone beyond weight loss though – I’m having to make more sensible decisions, so for example instead of going to the pub and drinking three pints – a massive 600-ish calories – I’ll have three gin and slimline tonics instead – only 150 calories and half the alcohol units too. Or if we’re having wine at home I’ll have a diet Coke in the pub. I’ve even been able to have the odd takeaway too – Saturday kebabs are still on the menu, because it’s only grilled chicken and salad and I rarely eat the pitta anyway, and when we had a McDonald’s at the Paralympics I chose cheeseburger, chips and diet Coke, which was eminently more sensible than my former favourite of Big Mac, chips and milkshake – yet I didn’t feel I was missing out, and I didn’t go away feeling bloated and greasy and sleepy like I normally do!
I’ve also discovered an exercise I really enjoy – Aquafit! I never thought I’d look forward to going to a keep fit class but I really do enjoy this one, and I go regularly twice a week now, as well as doing one or two swimming sessions and a couple of walks every week.
The end result? I’m a stone lighter, I feel fitter and less heavy on my feet and my clothes feel a bit loose – and all without me feeling like I’m on a diet. Which means I KNOW I can carry on like this for as long as it takes to lose the weight. I’m only aiming to lose a pound a week – so far I’ve exceeded that target, despite eating and drinking like a pig on holiday and putting on 2lbs that week (but losing 3 the following one!) So by my reckoning by the end of the year I will have lost 2 stones in total, and that should really make a difference to my figure, my health and my body confidence.
So how has working with Helen made a difference? Well once a week she gives me a call to check how I’m getting on – I guess that’s like the weekly weigh in at Weightwatchers etc, but because it’s just her and me I actually feel more inclined to have good news to report, and upset when I let myself down – and boy, does she let me know when I’ve messed up! At first I didn’t like being “told off” for making bad choices, but actually it gave me a kick up the backside and showed me that I am the only one this affects and I am the only one I’m doing it for and I am the only one who can take responsibility for my food choices – whatever the circumstances, I decide what I eat and I’m the one who can change those bad decisions. Knowing Helen is there to support me and advise me has really spurred me on and I look forward to passing on good news every week. She also has a series of workbooks that look at different emotional aspects that can trigger weight problems. For example, the book on Values looked at what makes me tick, what my values are and how they are affected by my weight – and how I can change them in future. Goal setting looked at why I want to lose weight – not just to hit a magical number but how different elements of my life could improve, and how I plan to do it. These workbooks make me think differently about how I think about myself, and have helped me spot a few issues that have made weight loss difficult in the past.
So there we go, I’m about to start week 12 and all is going well. I can highly recommend Helen and her 12-14 Fitness programme – whether you live local to her (Cheltenham) or prefer to work remotely, as I am doing, it’s a great way to get you losing weight in a healthy and sustainable way.