Thursday, 28 February 2013

One Month In!

I've just realised that I've been blogging for a whole month! When I started I was so nervous about putting myself out there and the response I would get. I needn't have been, because it's been such a positive experience so far. It's been both motivating and cathartic.

Without a doubt, though, the best part of this whole thing has been connecting with some inspiring and wonderfully encouraging people. I love following the journeys of others who are themselves working on losing weight and/or improving their health, as well as hearing their thoughts and encouragement on my own experiences. To anyone who has been reading and following this blog, and to anyone who does so in the future, thank you. Just having you here is motivating me to make the positive changes I want to in my life.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Food Fight

I've said it before and I'll no doubt say it an inordinate number of times again, that for me weight loss begins and ends with food. In today's post, I wanted to share what I'm doing, food-wise, to battle the fat.

1. Kilojoule Counting
Years of horrific eating have left me with almost no sense of how good or bad foods are, nor how much of them I should eat. Having a daily kilojoule limit of between 5000 and 6000 kilojoules (roughly 1200 to 1430 calories), and keeping a record of everything I eat helps enormously to correct for this lack of knowledge. Doing it religiously also keeps me accountable and firmly planted in reality about what I'm eating. It makes seeing mistakes in my eating a breeze and takes away the ability for me to fall into denial about what I've eaten.

At the moment I'm using a free version of the Shape Up app on my phone. It's a decent enough app (although the features are a little limited with the free version) and it's handy to be able to input my foods on the go. The only reason I use this over MyFitnessPal is because it has the option to use kilojoules. Here in Australia pretty much all food labelling uses kilojoules, rather than calories, to measure energy. MyFitnessPal looks to be the better app, but unfortunately they still don't have the option to record or measure in kilojoules.

2. Meal Replacement Shakes
Meal replacements have always been something that I looked down on and had no interest in. When my partner started on a meal replacement scheme to lose weight last year, I repeatedly voiced my concerns about how healthy they were. In the end, I struggled so much trying to lose weight with food, because I couldn't curb my compulsive and binge eating behaviours, that I caved and gave it a go. I'm glad I did because I've really benefited from the structure it provides. Sustaining myself with something other than typical foods has also allowed me to start addressing my compulsive food habits and building willpower.

The meal replacement plan I use is by Herbalife. Their weight loss plan involves replacing two meals a day with shakes and taking nutritional supplements with all meals to ensure adequate nutrient intake. The shakes are made from Herbalife's powder formula and your milk of choice. Depending on what milk you use, the shakes are fairly low in kilojoules. Currently, I use the shakes dependent on my mood. If I just can't do a shake, then I'm pretty happy to change it with a healthy meal.

3. Eating Lots of Vegetables, Fruits and Whole Foods
Bodies love that stuff. I partake in the school of thinking that our bodies are made to consume this stuff and so probably benefit from a diet high in foods that are natural. While I haven't eliminated processed foods from my diet (see point 2 above), I try to focus on adding and substituting in lots whole foods, especially vegetables. It helps to keep my kilojoules down, while making sure my body is getting lots of nutrients.

4. Drinking Water
I know water is not a food, but maintaining adequate hydration helps me to feel less hungry. The body has difficulty distinguishing between hunger and thirst signals, and often when I'm underhydrated I tend to feel hungry more often and end up eating more. This was part of the difficulties I had last week. Proper hydration is no doubt also important in helping the digestive system do it's job.

Although not all of these things will work for everyone, they have been really working for me so far. I think the key is to find out what makes sense to you and what you can reasonably stick to. Let me know what food based plans you're using and having success with!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Weekly Weigh-In: Week Four

No loss for me this week. If I'm completely honest with myself I kind of expected it. I've been BAD this week. Especially the last few days, when I've almost let myself eat whatever I want.

Even though it was expected, getting on the scales and seeing that those numbers haven't changed made me feel pretty discouraged. I've been going so well so far and I knowingly blew my diet. I let myself fall back into my old mindset about food. For almost three months I've been fighting so hard to escape it, that I'm disappointed in myself for giving in.

Despite my disappointment, I'm going to try not to beat myself up. Instead, I need to focus getting back on track. Starting this whole weight loss attempt, I knew there would be days and weeks like this where I would falter. I made a deal with myself that when it happened, big or small, I would pick myself up and keep going. That's what I intend to do.

                                                                        Source: Uploaded by user via Rylie on Pinterest

For clarity's sake, here is what I did wrong this past week and what I need to address for the next:

  • Let myself eat for eating sake, and not because of hunger
  • Gave in to food cravings, resulting in poor food choices
  • Didn't make my usual weekly meal plan and go shopping to stock up for it all at once
  • Barely drank water
  • Did not get up and moving, even once!
  • Forgot why I was doing all of this and how far I've come

Starting today I'm back on track and whether I lose weight next week or not, I am going to be able to say that I gave my best and didn't let a hurdle overcome me!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Weight Loss Bucket List

Since I’ve started losing weight, I’ve been thinking so much about the future and the things I want to achieve and do. Some are directly weight related, some I physically can’t do because of my weight and a lot are things I won’t do because of how I feel about myself.  I’ve been trying to write them down as I’ve thought of them, and have compiled a heap of them into a sort of weight loss bucket list. As well as this post, I’ll be adding the list to a permanent page, which you can find in the menu just under the blog header. This way I can add to it and (more excitingly) mark them off as I do them.
  • Get under 100 kgs
  • Get under 80 kgs
  • Buy a pair of swimmers
  • Feel comfortable enough to go to the beach
  • Feel comfortable enough to go for walks outside
  • Find a fun outdoor activity to enjoy
  • Host a party
  • Dance at a party
  • Go overseas
  • Shop in regular sizes
  • Ride a horse
  • Go skiing or snowboarding
  • Learn to run
  • Go camping
  • Be more adventurous
  • Buy (and wear) a dress that sits above my knees

My progress so far, both weight and mentally, has made me feel so positive and excited for the future. I can’t wait to see some of these checked off!

Let me know in the comments below if you have any weight loss goals and what they are. Also, feel free to leave a link if you have a list like mine. I’d love to have a look!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Weekly Weigh-In: Week Three

So it's week three! Time is flying since I started this blog, and this is really only my second weigh-in after my scales carked it last week.

I've kept up my momentum and dropped 2.5 kg's in the last two weeks, for a total of 13 kg's lost.

I'm really happy with the loss. After feeling really unmotivated with my eating just a week ago, this past week has felt very easy and settled. Sticking to eating right has been almost effortless. After two and a half months, eating better and eating less is becoming more and more habitual. I know there will be hard patches again, but right now I feel so encouraged by the feeling that my body is starting to relearn how to eat.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Look At My History as a Fatty

I’ve always been “bigger”. This freaked my Mum (who I now realise had some body issues of her own) out no end when I was a kid. When I was two, I was a bit of a chubbette. My Mum was so concerned about my weight, she took me to a doctor for testing. I don’t really recall any instances where my weight was mentioned or talked about, but I do remember knowing that I was big and that my parents thought of me as big.

As you probably can imagine, I grew up very conscious of my body and weight. I can remember being eleven and feeling embarrassed because I couldn’t wear cool clothes, like my nine year old sister, because I would look bad in them. Around the same time, in the late 90’s, when midriff tops were all the rage, I decided to wear one, one day. I sucked my stomach in so hard and for so long that I gave myself a horrific stomach ache.

Looking back, I realise how overly conscious I was of my body at such a young age. I took this with me into high school and added to it with the typical body issues that happen for most during puberty. In my mind I labelled myself as the fat kid and had some seriously rock bottom self-esteem. Throughout high school I often felt severely socially inept and at times overly defensive, because I let my weight and feelings about it get me down. The dumb thing is, I was never really bullied at school, and I had some really great friends who never did anything to make me feel like I was different. It was all in me that made me feel that way.

High School was also pretty tough for family reasons as well. I won’t go into detail here, but looking back, it was when food really turned into a coping mechanism for me. I would eat to feel better, and I would eat A LOT.

In Year 11, I met a wonderful boy and started dating him. Nearly 8 years on, we are still together and are engaged. This man loves me harder than I ever imagined possible, and I him. Unfortunately for both of us, over the years we have not only grown up together, but also out. We've bonded over food, shown love with food, comforted each other with food, and generally fed (pun intended) each other’s abnormal relationship with food, without even realising it.

The more I really look at myself, the more I feel that my issues with food and weight go so much deeper than just some bad choices. It’s developed over many years and has become almost like an emotional aide. There isn't a single person who I can or want to blame for that. Not my parents, certainly not my fiancĂ©, and sometimes I think that this whole thing was beyond even my control. I take responsibility for it, and I take responsibility for changing it, but I’m trying not to blame myself. What’s happened has passed, and no good can come from punishing myself because I didn’t realise what was happening. It took so much time, knowledge, and introspection for the light bulb to finally come on, and the fact that it has is all that matters now.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Week Two: A Weigh In Of Sorts

So this week won't be a normal weigh in because my scales broke! If anything will make you feel like a fatty, it's breaking your scales.

I'm especially bummed that I can't weigh myself this week, because I haven't had a great week. On Friday I posted about how I've been feeling less resolve. I haven't completely gone off of the rails with my diet, but I would have liked to see how the week of slightly higher daily kilojoules and being a little too lenient on myself affected my progress. It would also probably be good for me to see the effect of the boozy night I had last night at my best friends engagement party and subsequent drunk Macca's run (the first fast food I've had so far).

There is an upside to this post though, because as well as weighing myself each Sunday, I also take measurements. I was very surprised to see this week that I had lost 1.5 cm from my waist and 3 cm from my hips! These are very decent losses compared with those in previous weeks, so I can't wait to go get a new set of scales and see how much my weight has changed.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Feeling Wobbly

So this four week stretch of various illnesses has finally worn me down. I haven't broken my good food habits yet, but I won't lie and pretend I haven't thought of swan diving into a can of Pringles. 

Right now, my willpower is seriously shaky. I'm finding it so very hard to stay on plan, and have been pushing the boundaries of staying within my daily kilojoules.

While I know that it will get a lot easier when I'm feeling better (and I'm nearly there), I'm worried that the little not-so-amazing decisions I'm making now will take me a few steps backwards, willpower wise. I really don't know how well I'll handle any sort of major stumble right now. I guess I'm just a bit nervous.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Master Plan: My Goals

A Hunger For Happiness | Goal Setting

I’m taking a bit of a wholistic approach to goals, by setting more than weight based check-points. Weight loss is my biggest focus, but on its own, it isn’t enough to a) motivate me, and b) help me make the changes I want to make. For this reason, I’ve included my meta-goal of “living a happier life”. After all, it’s the reason I want to lose weight. Acknowledging this goal will help me to stay mindful of why I am doing this. When things get difficult, I’m going to need the bigger picture to keep me ploughing through.

I’ve also included “focus on happiness” to my goals. I know that being happier does not begin and end with losing weight. For this reason, I think it’s important for me to do focus on it as a standalone goal.

Each goal, I’ve broken down into little, tangible steps, to make following them more easily. If each day, I can do all, some or even one of these things, then I’m going in the right direction.  The steps are:

  • Count kilojoules – this has been so incredibly helpful with keeping me on track so far. A big part of how I’m fighting this battle in the early stages is by working on reducing my kilojoules. It’s also been helpful in teaching me about foods and portion sizes. Having an inner awareness of kilojoule density and appropriate portion sizes is just not something that I’ve got right now, so count I must!
  • Focus on eating for fuel – this one’s a bit multifaceted. For me, it means eating structured healthy meals and snacks, but also stacking my meals with fruit, veg and unprocessed foods. Striving to eat foods that are good for my body will not only help me lose weight, but also give me something else to work towards. In the past, when trying to lose weight, I’d never focused on this, and would continue to eat highly processed foods, like those I ate when I wasn’t trying, only the “healthier” options. Each time, I’d end up sliding back into eating the crap I had before, because it wasn’t a bit leap to make.
  • Exercise to increase fitness – I don’t like exercising. Shoot me, I’m human. Right now, I don’t even find potential weight loss is enough to motivate me to workout. But, that’s ok. Food is my major obstacle in losing weight right now, because my relationship with it is so out of whack (I’ll be explaining this in a future post). What I do find motivating enough to get of my generous behind and get moving is the idea of improving my fitness. The idea of finding everyday tasks physically easier because my body is stronger interests me much more at this stage, so this is what I will focus on.
  • Learn to say no to food and cravings – this is a big one for me. I crave food like nobody’s business, to the point where it is a compulsion. Just eating better and less doesn’t work for me, for this reason. I need to LEARN how to say no when the needless cravings for food hit. The more I say no, the easier it will get.
  • BLOG! – blogging adds an extra level of accountability. Knowing that my achievements and failures will be out there for even a few to read gives me extra motivation, and I need all the motivation I can get.

My general happiness goals are:

  • Do something that I enjoy each week – this can be something big or small. It’s selfish, but will help me to stay out of the “woe is me, life is too hard” mindset.
  • Say yes to things – I avoid anything I’m not 100% comfortable with. I especially avoid doing a lot of things because of my weight. From now on, I’m going to forget about all of the reasons I want to hide at home, and just do them.
  • Take time to be thankful – I have a lot to be thankful for, and I don’t appreciate that enough.

Let me know in the comments if you've set yourself general goals too, or if you have any suggestions for me to add to mine.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Weekly Weigh In: Week One

Ahoy hoy! I was pretty nervous about my first weigh in on this blog. To be honest, I haven't had the most stellar week. I'm putting it down to the fact that this is my fourth week of being sick, and my third type of illness.

Anyway, it turns out I had nothing to worry about, because I lost 1.5 kgs! Here's a pretty chart to show you.

A Hunger For Happiness | Weigh In Chart Week 1

This puts my total loss to 10.5 kgs. As you can see, I've still got a big chunk of green to go, but seeing it in a visual form like this makes it feel less daunting. After 2 months I'm already about an eighth in!