Mindful eating – or at least trying

So, this is something I’d been looking to try for a while – I am very guilty of shovelling in food as quickly as possible and rarely taking the time to really savour what I am eating. I recently did a MOOC on mindfulness and this was one aspect of the course. The course leaders showed how to eat mindfully with a blueberry and with a biscuit and it seemed impossible to me to take that much time over each and every mouthful of food. However, mindfulness has been working well for me in other aspects of my life, so I decided to give this a go.

I found it easy enough with the first few mouthfuls and it has helped that I’ve been eating a wider variety of healthy, delicious food, but after a bit, I seem to go back into default mode and then before I know it, the shovelling has recommenced. Studies seem to show that being more mindful with food and taking more time over it can help with weight loss – basically needing less food to feel satisfied and allowing yourself to reach satiety before you’ve overeaten, so it’s something I want to persevere with. General mindfulness was difficult for me for many years, so I know it’s not something I will master overnight, but longer term, I feel this can be a good strategy to help me maintain my weight.

I went back to work this week, after 2 weeks off on holiday and I found my healthy eating quickly back sliding, as I struggled to pack the right lunches based on my location – I work across a number of locations and some have better facitilities than others. I would always rather pack soup or leftovers I can heat in the microwave, but it’s not always feasible, so my plan for this week is to map out my week and pack lunch accordingly. If I get too hungry at lunch, I tend to start making very bad choices. And I want to continue making good choices.

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A more holistic view of life

So, as I look back over my previous posts – two years have passed since my last one and it feels like the blink of an eye in many respects. I have been writing “restart blog posts” in my bullet journal for almost a year now and I have only finally gotten round to it now.

In my defense, I’ve had some enormous life changes again over those 2 years, although from my previous posts, this does just seem to be the story of my life… In August 2017, we moved 200+ miles to Brighton, having enjoyed a number of holidays there and looking for some lovely south coast weather. I took up a new post as Medical School Librarian and tried very hard to get to grips with it over the next year. Still a work in progress there. In August 2017, my weight was actually not too bad, I had been losing weight steadily since 2016 and was at a low of about 11 stone when we moved. I now weigh 12st 3lbs though, so I think we can all see the trajectory that happened after all the changes.

But a lot more changed this year, including my thoughts on how I look at life overall and why my health started to take more of a prominent place in my thoughts. I’ve been hypothyroid for over 10 years now and my initial diagnosis led me to believe that it really was no big deal – take a small pill every day for life and feel better. The reality was somewhat different and I often don’t feel great, enough to keep going in life, but tired, achy and sometimes low in mood. Over the years, I’ve bought and read books about improving my condition, but I’ve never committed to any of the changes that I know I need to implement – gluten free diet (this doesn’t help everyone, but I should at least try it for a few months to see either way), increasing my selenium and vitamin D intake and looking at a move away from levothyroxine as a treatment. I’ll be exploring all of this over the next year and seeing if I can make a positive difference in my life.

I don’t know if it’s the Brighton influence, but I finally started a pilates class – I finally found something close to work – miracle. I’m also gradually getting to grips with mindfulness and trying to reduce my stress and cortisol levels – I am finally out of the “busyness” race and looking to relax as much as possible and not feel guilty for making an investment in my health.

So, whilst I am still looking to lose weight, I am aware that this is turning into a lifelong goal and that I have never managed to achieve the changes I want to see in myself. So to that end, I’m working more on nourishing foods and ensuring I have the right mix of nutrients to feel well. Weight loss should be a side effect of this, as it will mean an increase of fruit and vegetables, which in turn should mean a decrease in sugary food. I recently did a MOOC from Monash University on Food as a Medicine and it has really opened my eyes to what I need to do to feel well and eat properly. Not to lose weight, but to live my best life.

I still find exercise tricky to fit in whilst working full time, but I have committed to my weekly pilates class, I do Zumba at least once a week, depending on my schedule, and I have recently been swimming in my local lido (cold, but amazing). I have no particular goals at the moment, other than enjoyment, until I build a base of fitness.

I have no expectations on weight loss going forward. We will see what happens.

Job impeding progress!

I sometimes find that very little changes in life! I got over my chest infection, only to find my dreams of going part-time disappeared. I’m not too sad though, as I do really need the money, but it does mean that exercise slides down the priority list again and I find that my food choices get worse when I’m inactive. I currently have 5 different cheeses in my fridge and I’m sure I would only have a maximum of 3 if I was fitter and more disciplined…

Again, my weight was dropping steadily and I hit a slight plateau after a holiday in Brighton, which could have been much, much worse! The holiday itself was great and the weather was beautiful. It has also just reminded me that I also went to Florida for a week in June this year and actually lost 2 lbs!! I was sure I would gain a small elephant in weight, so this was astounding for me. Sadly I didn’t carry the lessons forward to Brighton, but I have since reflected and I think the next holiday will be better in terms of weight.

So, what has happened since May? I went to my first Zumba class in over a year, and didn’t die. I really enjoyed it and it made me realise that despite my lofty triathlon goals, I need to build in some fun at times and that Zumba can give me some quick wins with my fitness. I also got really bad back pain in July and visited the osteopath. My plan to reduce this pain in the longer term (apart from shifting a few stone) is to take up  yoga. I am trying to find a class nearby that isn’t too competitive or scary. I have also been swimming, although I go at the same time as the small child has lessons and he stares dolefully at me the whole time, as he hates swimming. It is a bit off-putting. Getting in the swimming costume never gets any easier, but hopefully it might start to fit better soon.

And what is on the agenda for the next few months? Juice!!! I love juicing, but I only seem to do it twice a year. I need to find a way to make this work around work. My new job is much closer to home than my old one (although I’m still doing two days a week in the old job – will I ever learn?) and I think this will start to make a difference soon. I move to just one job at the end of this month and I can’t wait.

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Illness impeding progress

So I’d been giving the treadmill a good go and then it ground to a halt when I developed a chest infection. I figured a week off running would be plenty to allow it to pass and then I’d get right back to it. However, the chest infection had other ideas and it hung around for 5 bloody weeks. It was never bad enough to warrant a trip to the doctors or anything like that, but combined with asthma, it meant strenuous exercise was a bad idea.

So, it is finally on the way out now – I’m hardly coughing at all and I have been wondering the best ways to try and make some fitness gains. I’ve been walking on my lunch break at work most days, but I only get 30 minutes, so it doesn’t feel like I’m making a load of progress there and I am committed to getting back on that treadmill and starting again – hopefully marginally fitter than before.

It’s been very slow progress with the overall weight loss in the last 2 months – I’ve lost 4lbs in total, but I’m only set to lose 1/2lb per week, so that is very much on track. I’m finding that my body rebels against a calorie limit below 1500, so I’m having to be patient and accept that this is going to take some time.

There will be a number of changes taking place in my life in the next few months – I might be going part-time at work (although if another part-time job crops up, I’m unlikely to turn it down) and I will be working much closer to home, which will make a big difference to the time I have to look after myself. In the meantime, it’s as much damage limitation as I can manage.

Buying a treadmill

The treadmill was the biggest saga ever in our house. Firstly, we deliberated for about 5 months on what one to buy. I didn’t really care, a treadmill is a treadmill in my book, but my other half wanted something with an incline and a good top speed for his fartleks (snigger). Then we had decided we waited another 2 or 3 months for a good deal on it. So far, so good. When we had our deal, we had to wait 3 weeks for shipment and when we finally hit d-day, we got an email to say that they’s gone into the warehouse and our model is the last one and its broken. Another 3 weeks till their delivery. By this time, I am ready to go to Argos for the nearest one they have. Another few issues and we finally take delivery of it a week and a half later.Nordictrack-Elite-9500-Pro-Treadmill1

I feel by now that I have really earned this treadmill, so we put it in the garage so no one can hang their clothes on it. I ignore it for a few weeks. There are a lot of buttons on it and I am so unfit. But then last week, I put on my running gear and pressed the start button on it. The first go was awful. I managed 20 minutes, mostly walking, and had to take my inhaler when I finished. The second time was marginally better, but I didn’t see any real gains until I took my inhaler in advance of my run. Suddenly my lungs were capable of so much more and I managed 20 minutes mostly running this time.

I’m still a long, long way away from my personal best times or even just a 5km steady run, but I feel like I have made a start.

Will the fat ever go? It’s 2016 godammit!

lisaIt’s been well over a year since my last post on this site and my weight is probably the same, maybe slightly less. The question I need to ask myself is how committed am I to this goal?

I tell myself time and again, that the weight is slowly coming off (I’m due to hit 8st in 2115) and that I can only do so much at a time. I have a new job, a new 2nd job, a new house (again) and a 4 year old. A really bossy 4 year old for that matter. My new job is quite far from home, by my standards, an hour + commute each way, 5 days per week. I get home and I want to eat cheese. Actually, I eat so much cheese that my bossy 4 year old has started to tell me off about it, although he also offered to buy me some for Mothers’ Day. He’s clearly an enabler/feeder.

But, if I am truly honest with myself – I am being lazy about my goals. I know if I exercise more, I have more energy. I know if I make and drink juices, my skin improves. I know that when I lose a bit of weight, I feel much better.

Wins this week?

  • Making a homemade, sort of calorie counted, lunch each day for work
  • Drinking one juice (and buying the beetroot for many juices)
  • Not buying a Dominos on buy one, get one free day
  • Maintaining my January 3lb weight loss (I have a virus to thank for this to be fair)

I’m never going to win Slimmer of the Year at this point, but I’d settle for a few pounds right now and some motivation.

 

Still thinking about shifting the lard in 2015…

I can’t believe its been so long since I’ve written in this blog. I moved house (again) in late September and by the time I had the internet up and running, I had well and truly fallen off the weight loss wagon. I had gotten down to 11st 2lb in March and spent the rest of the year yo-yoing around 11st 4 and 11st 9. I was on track with my eating, but it didn’t seem to make a difference and any time I went a little off-piste, gains would show very quickly. I found it quite tiring to be dieting as long I had (11 months by October when I stopped) and I had zero motivation.

In November, things weren’t awful, but I was sitting at 11st 13. But then three things happened – a bout of glandular fever lasting a month. Unfortunately, my throat was sore, but not so sore I couldn’t eat, and I found the lack of exercise made a big difference. I’m still a bit post-viral, so I have been trying to rebuild my stamina slowly. Then I had my contraceptive implant replaced and realised the side effects, which I had put down to being post-partum three years ago, were actually side effects. Horrific weight gain, acne, lady problems, low mood and to top it off, the bloody thing is moving about in my arm. The pain is quite bad if I move my arm in a certain way. And finally, Christmas eating. Last year I managed to lose weight over Christmas – with walking and mindful eating. This year has been totally different. As I’m still at my in-laws in Scotland, I don’t know my actual weight, but it MUST be in the region of 12st 7-9, based on my clothes.

So today I did two things. I dusted off my WLR membership and started to log my food again. I had decided to just see how it went, but I’m pleased to be within calories for the day. I also bought a new dress for the summer in a size too small. I didn’t actually do this on purpose – I saw a gorgeous dress reduced from £69 to £20, but they only had a 12 left. I really wanted it, so I got it anyway. It will be perfect for a wedding or fancy night out and I am really looking forward to wearing it.

I am also planning to write up (and post) my New Years resolutions – some will inevitably be about weight loss, but I also want to start looking after my health more this year – I’ve been very neglectful of myself whilst looking after my gorgeous son, but it has to stop now. If I’m ill or run down, I’m no good to him.

So what gives me cause for optimism? I’ve done this before – I can do it again. My head is finally in the right space for it. I’ve had my thyroid meds increased in the last few months – the benefits are kicking in around now and improved metabolism is one of those – hopefully no more long plateaus this year.

So, another New Year and another try. Time will tell how it goes.