I’ve heard it said that the cobbler’s children go without shoes, although I don’t remember hearing anything similar about poor bankers’ children. So I got to thinking about me which reminds me that many of my clients come to me wanting to make changes to their lives and one of these changes is about weight. My usual stance on this is that weight is about far more than exercise and diet. Just as eating is about far more than nutrition. Food may be fuel and yet it provides a great deal more for us; comfort, validation, excitement, company, community, distraction, relief from boredom and I am sure that you could add a few more to that list.
However, I’ve decided this this blog post will be about me making some changes and not my clients, hence the cobblers statement above. I received a couple of emails recently from clients about their failure to achieve the weight loss and physical results that they wanted and some details about past failures. Then I looked at my recent past. The short story is that over the past three months I’ve successfully reduced my weight by 12.5lbs and not a diet in sight. I thought that I would describe how I’ve made this work for me.
We are bombarded with pictures of the “perfect” human body all day every day. These images are not there for the benefit of human kind they have been created in order to sell something; clothes, cars, cosmetics or magazines. So the first thing that I did was to realise exactly who is doing the talking and ask myself – what do they want from me? Mostly, they want my money.
This lead to the next question: “What do I want?” After some thought I arrived at; to look and be fit and healthy so that I can lead an active life which ensures my independence into old age.
At 52 and 6’ 4” my 223lbs (16st) was measured as close to obese. Last year I decided that I wanted to be fitter so I cycled a couple of times a week and then had a chat with myself and joined a gym. I started going once or twice a week and had a session with a trainer. I was watching my nutrition but not really sure what was the best to eat and what I needed to avoid. I needed guidance on that.
Last October I came to the conclusion that my original gym was not helping me and I needed a change so I found a better more welcoming one that was just as local to me and I met up with the trainer there. With more guidance and direction I felt much more in control.
Interestingly, it was not so much what my trainer said as much as the direction that it set me thinking, here is his advice:
To reduce body fat for me, 2 or 3 times a week:-
Replace vegetable oil with coconut oil or ghee when frying at high temperatures.
Increase oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring and sardines; rich in vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids.
Increase cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and spring greens. Good source of magnesium, indole- 3 – carbinols and vitamin C.
Increase deep coloured ‘rainbow’ vegetables: red, blue, purple, orange, yellow – tomatoes, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peppers, squash and pumpkin.
Include nuts and seeds: almonds, brazil nuts, hazel nuts, walnuts, sunflower, sesame, pumpkin and linseeds. Add nuts or seeds to porridge to increase protein content, and also try nut or seed butters.
Try alternative gluten free grains, such as millet, buckwheat, corn, quinoa, brown rice and camargue red rice.
Try stevia as a natural sweetener.
Substitute beer with red wine; red wine is associated with a number of health benefits, more than one glass is not recommended.
This got me asking the question What are the calories in my food? This began a hunt across the App territory to find a programme that I could add to my (android) phone to help me understand more and measure what I was eating. After a couple of false starts I landed on this one My Fitness Pal (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/) I use the iPad version as well.
Just to be clear – I have no connection with this company and other such programmes are available.
Having advised many clients to keep diaries and records and having done so myself in the past I am now re-learning the benefits again. It’s this that has made a real difference. I simply had not realised just how many calories some foods contain. Taking the advice above, although I do take issue with the suggestion of ghee, I found that my original foods were far higher in calories than I thought and those listed above much less and more balanced. All there in black and white in front of me.
The programme allows me a record everything that I eat quite simply. It has a bar code reader to find all those pesky difficult foods. It keeps records in numbers but more importantly for me it shows graphs so I can actually see the line going down. For me that’s very satisfying. As is the confirmation of easier fitting clothes and the positive comments from friends and clients.
I need to return to the gym for a another training session to discover what is next. For now I can eat what I like within a simple boundary of 1900 calories a day and watch my weight gently slide consistently at around one pound per week.
There are, however, unexpected consequences. I was trying to work out how come is it that I’ve got rid of this 12.5lbs excess weight and my husband 24ibs but the fridge is still full. “Ah”, he says, “I’ve got the hang of eating less, just not shopping less……” some habits, it seems, take a little longer to catch up.