I hit 40 and there was a fat woman desperate to get out of me. I tried different diets and nothing seemed to work. My body was now determined to be fat. Every naughtiness that passed my lips next morning seemed to be sat on my hips. I didn’t need to lose a huge amount (really was keen to even out my shape because I was not getting larger on top proportionally but developing a balloon bottom half with all weight going into saddle bags) but that last bit is the hardest to lose. 2011 I tried to lose the extra inches and no joy. This year I gave myself to end of December 2012 to get back into my skinny jeans or I’d throw in the towel and go buy a whole new fat woman wardrobe and eat cake until I had to buy the next one. Fortunately no need and come summer I was enjoying seeing the tide change. By my September holiday in Greece I was really proud of my bikini body and I still have an average amount of body fat too for a woman of my age.
I want to share what I did to lose weight that worked for me mostly because it’s a way of eating I enjoy, it is easy and I’m happy to do it on a forever basis. I was quite miserable on some diets. I feel so good about what I put into my body now and the results.
I must confess now in the Winter months it is harder to do salads as instinctively you want stodge and when it is bitterly cold I don’t want to leave the house, let alone go for a walk. But before we know it Spring will be here again. For these reasons I suggest you be sensible in Winter reading calorie content of what you eat and start with gusto in the Spring on flab busting.
Age changes everything
Something I was surprised to find out is that as we age we HAVE TO change what and how we eat, and each decade your body needs less calories than the one before. So we should be decreasing what we eat and not having the same amount we had in our 20s. Plus after 40 your metabolism is more sluggish and all sort of hormonal changes for a woman don’t make weight loss as easy as it once was. Men also find middle aged spread is a problem.
Gluten free can make weight control much worse
My husband really plumped out after diagnosis as a coeliac and has just successfully lost over a stone but is still fighting a high body fat %. He never really baked before but all of a sudden after finding out he had coeliac disease was baking lots of gluten free cakes and cookies, plus eating the heavily processed off-the-shelf foods with lots of fat ‘n’ sugar to aid taste, including more sweet stuff than he’d ever had in his life. Wheat was increasingly disagreeing with me so I went gluten free with him. This didn’t help my middle either and I had an addiction to the TruFree chocolate biccies at one point. When what you can eat is severely limited you can go nuts on what you can eat and what you can eat if it comes as a processed food off a supermarket shelf is fundamentally bad for you. Now combine that with the fact to get gluten free food you have to do some intensive processing and anything flour based is intensively processed too. Raising agents or things that aid stretchiness to work how the wheat would, are added and these things are not real food.
The turning point
I was one of those people who could not end my evening without something sweet as body shouted it needed it. The big big big turning point for me was giving up refined sugar. That stopped those sweet cravings and stopped me feeling the need to gorge.
I’ve gone from Mrs-third-helpings to Mrs-too-full-to-finish-my-salad. That was such a huge breakthrough. Evil sugar!
If I have someone made with a lot of refined sugar now it can give me a sugar rush or headache and the cravings come right back so I just have to stay away from it sanctimoniously. I can’t just do one milk chocolate from a box. One and soon the lot would be snaffled if they left me alone with it.
OK so there is still some sugar in the ready cooked salmon I buy (husband hates smell of fish cooking) or free range turkey slices which make my salads so easy and in our favourite bought pizza topping but generally we have massively cut down on refined sugar.
The exercise factor
The other thing I did to lose weight was aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day even if it was just walking. I’ve been told you should do some weight training too for best effect but with a torn shoulder that didn’t work out for me and I hate gyms.
Since reaching my goal of size 10 dress size I have lost the impetus and don’t do much exercise now but the new way of eating is still having a positive impact. I must get back to the exercise though because it makes me feel better mentally and physically, plus is one of the best things you can do for yourself to prevent diabetes, heart disease, etc, etc. We humans were designed to move it, move it!
All day long
Drink tons of water. Aim for 2 litres a day.
Firstly have breakfast – that alone is important. I have a healthy smoothie (ripe pear/half avocado and some apple juice for example or banana/half small bag young spinach/half cup Kara coconut milk) or cooked breakfast without the carbs to start the day e.g. scrambled eggs and a bit of smoked salmon or swap the salmon for mushrooms (forget any toast or hash browns or cereals).
Lunch is quick big salad with pre-cooked fish/meat (nothing in breadcrumbs) and some pan toasted pumpkin seeds which helps me feel more satisfied. I use a salad dressing of Cold Pressed Flaxseed Oil (great for many things inc making you feel fuller I personally think) mixed with Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother (lots of bits in it and reputedly very healthy for joints etc).
Evening I then eat whatever which will have to include carbs but sensible portion/home cooked and now I’ve lost my muffin top, the occasional dessert. We try to reduce fat and carbs in anything we make (use maple syrup or palm coconut sugar instead of refined sugar) plus we love Harry Eastwood’s ‘Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache’ cookbook because her recipes use veggies so you get some of your 5 a day too.
Snacking, timing and meal size
I try to snack on small amount of nuts or fruit or a fruit tea seems to help even.
I should have larger meal at lunch but salad for lunch feels right to me and is quick to prepare in middle of busy working day.
5.30pm my hunger has me thinking dinner so eat dinner early. If it is getting late and you feel hungry, don’t snack but hit the hay before it gets the better of you. I figure you need to be hungry to be losing weight and shrinking your stomach.
Allow extra time for reading the calorific and fat and sugar values. Or keep it simple and just shop in the groceries and fresh meat/fish aisles for your food. If it is not part of a meal don’t buy it and don’t ever let anyone bring it into your house especially those dangerous items like packets of crisps!
Eat out rarely and consult the calorie information. Forget the takeaways which are laced with sugar and MSG.
Tuning your diet to your body
I can’t give up carbs all together as brain and body feel like they have ground to a halt (tried the South Beach Diet and it near killed me) but can get on well with much less. I tried a diet to lose weight that only allowed 50g of brown rice a day but that was pretty miserable and I was heavier at the end of that diet period! What I do now works for me as I am a protein person but we’re all unique.
We also sometimes have raw food and try to include some superfoods too. Learning more about food has become a passion. Some might say an obsession. We’ve also dabbled with the alkaline diet and macrobiotic diet. I’ve tried being vegan (having read The China Study) and failed. It’s a journey.
Anyway so many have asked me how I have managed it I thought it worth sharing in case it helps someone.