Never going back

Due to feeling a mild panic that’s developed regarding things I’ve been putting off and my impending loss of liberty I’ve been trying in earnest to de-clutter my home again over the last few days. 

If I’m honest I normally tend to do this in bits and drabs here and there rather than in one massive sustained effort. This means that I usually never manage to finish the job – and today I have some excellent excuses to put it all temporarily to one side and go for a walk. 

Firstly I’m blaming the frankly useless paper shredder that I’m trying to feed all my old bank statements into and secondly I’m looking at the well timed (it didn’t happen when I’d just started work – yay!) arrival of a head cold. 

Normally I’d call this viral apocalypse flu – but at the risk of censure from my brutally hardened female friends who also seem to be ill (and somehow still juggling this on top of seeing to the needs of toddlers or teenagers) I’m downgrading the severity. 

I’m hoping it’s not going to de-rail me on the scales this week – but I feel really sluggish and bloated at the moment, so what will happen is anyone’s guess. 

I’m trying really hard to have lots of good food – but if I’m honest my appetite has been all over the place for two days. 

I haven’t been eating much more than usual though thankfully – and despite rooting around the house and in and out of boxes whilst waiting in for parcels that never arrive I’ve still found time to fit in some exercise. 

Yesterday I did around 40 mins of cardio – but today I’m already up to (a really begrudged) 69 and I’ve still got a few miles to do. 

In the past if I was ill this probably wouldn’t be the case but I’m trying to develop a new normal. Although I didn’t really need motivation for this I accidentally found some anyway in a documentary on Channel 4 the other night – which made my blood run cold. 

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/super-slimmers-did-they-keep-the-weight-off

As always this will probably only be accessible to people in the U.K. – but it details what happened to lots of ‘slimmers of the year’. Many of them had dropped huge amounts of weight and ended up featuring in magazines and the media as proof that various diet plans worked. 

These people managed to get to their goal weights – but then depressingly almost all of them put the vast majority of what they’d lost (in some cases with more on top) back on. 

There were a number factors in their post success weight gains, but two stood out to me more than the rest. 

  1. Many of them had become convinced that they ‘had done it’ and they could now eat ‘normally’. In most cases this simply meant a return to the foods that caused the issues originally. 
  2. Many did little exercise either during the weight loss or afterwards. 

For newer readers this isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve lost large amounts of weight before. Whilst this time is now the most I’ve ever lost in one go, in 2008 I lost around 10 stone before putting it all (and more besides) back on. 

This is consequently a topic that’s never far from my mind. 

However – I’m not going to succumb to a fear of inevitability because frankly if I do then I’ll just end up making it happen eventually. 

There were some helpful pointers from the experts in the programme – but the one that struck me as the most profound and useful was that (amongst other things) all of the people who kept the weight off after reaching their target had two things in common. They maintained around an hour’s exercise per day and had a continued focus on health and fitness as the main driver of their lives

There were also some slightly more downbeat suggestions that biology would screw most dieters over eventually as their bodies reacted to the loss of fat stores by ramping up the hormones that controlled hunger. 

Simply put – it doesn’t get any easier. Your body is likely to ALWAYS want to overeat. That bit (if true) is somewhat depressing. 

However – this time around I have motivation I didn’t before. I am lucky enough to be holding my diabetes at bay currently and it’s a huge factor in my motivation to exercise. Everywhere you look when trying to find advice about managing or avoiding diabetes there’s a ’30 mins per day’ figure for exercise that crops up all the time. 

I never realised until recently that this is why my Apple Watch pushes me to do this exact amount on a daily basis – and nags me to fill my little rings. 

If you do it EVERY DAY it improves your outcome. It’s not a magic bullet though – and I used the word ‘lucky’ above for a good reason. 

A conversation I had with a friend (who has just become type one) reminded me starkly that when it comes to health an element of our success or failure is a genetic lottery.

Put simply – we can only do the absolute best we can and hope that it’s enough to turn the tide in our favour

I suppose the reason I’m laser focused this time around is that my mindset (because of this) is that it’s not really about the weight alone any more. 

In many respects (as strange as it sounds) diabetes was one of the best things to happen to me. It eventually helped me focus on what’s really important in life – despite it’s horrific potential consequences. 

If I was just looking at numbers on scales without diabetes in the back of my head then I might have something to worry about when it comes to future failure – but I’m not doing that anymore. 

I’m looking at numbers elsewhere. 




Since early January I’ve not had a single day where I haven’t filled all of my activity rings.

Although I still want to drop pounds at Slimming World every Saturday I also need to focus hard on where this is all going. 

I’m going to have a new job soon, and I feel somewhat conflicted about the fact that it’s once again sedentary and office based

I like the type of work that I’ll be doing but I can’t for a moment let it make me blind again to what else my day needs to contain – and that’s a combination of healthy eating and continued activity

If anything my current level of exercise needs to grow in intensity

A different friend contacted me the other day to give his best wishes about my new job and also happened to mention that he now cycles to his job every day and loves it. 

Another ex colleague separately texted me to say he has just bought a bike in a cycle to work scheme – whilst other people I know build activity into their days with gyms or park walks. 

There’s ALWAYS a way. 

A lifelong friend of mine proved this recently when she showed me her new home office desk – which frankly I think is flipping excellent. She’s rattled off ten thousand steps easily by the end of her working day. 


How excellent is that?! A treadmill desk!

This ‘must do attitude’ is filling my head at the moment – and thankfully it’s taking up more space than my cold occupies. I may be moving a bit slower than usual and feeling a bit crappier but I’m still moving and THAT’S THE WHOLE BATTLE

So Internet – I’m going to be thinking over the coming days about food optimising and pre-preparation, as well as what I can do during my soon to be working day. 

I will be considering batch cooking and freezing lunches, things I can do around an office, walks I can do in breaks and lunches, places where there are stairs or hills, locations I can park that are further away from the office – basically ANYTHING to keep the momentum going and ensure that this change is lifelong. 

I want to see my future as a little mountain to climb every single day – not just a difficult but temporary road to a comfy sofa. 

I’m not going backwards ever again. 

Davey

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15 comments

  1. Sympathise with the flu thing Davey. Hubby and I are just getting over it and it floored us both for over a week. Cough is the worst as it’s kept us awake at night. Don’t worry about the scales, you never know, your lack of appetite might give you a nudge in the right direction anyway even if you’ve been eating the wrong things (did me, I lost 4lbs this week, jammy or what?). Health first, weight loss second. The body knows what it needs to repair itself so go with it and get back to basics when you’re feeling better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I really hope the flu doesn’t get to you, because I have been out all week… Getting super tired of being a couch potato… 🙂 So hopefully you can continue to fill those rings.
    One of the things that helped me to loose the weight and with keeping it off is to accept that I indeed will always have to be careful of what I eat and make sure I get enough exercise. And that is ok. And what’s more, most people are in the same boat. Only the very few can eat whatever and not gain weight… And you know what? Those people often consider themselves too skinny and would love to gain weight :).

    Like

    1. Booooo you have the flu too? 😦

      That sucks (hug) x

      I actually rather like the fact (maybe perversely) that this isn’t some kind of faddy ‘swimsuit diet’ that I’m doing – and that my objective is forever (although as Prince said in Let’s Go Crazy – ‘that’s a mighty long time’).

      I genuinely want every aspect of my life to be different – as it’s all in some way been tainted by my various appetites and weight.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I have read quite a few blogs that promote calling it a lifestyle change rather than a diet. And I tend to agree with them. 🙂
        And yes forever is a long time, but it’s worth it! 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I saw the programme too – so sad to see all the ‘regainers’. I think a key part of the problem with regaining is if you see achieving a certain weight loss as being ‘job done’ and then revert, however gently, to old habits. (That sense of ‘job done’ must be even more strongly reinforced if you’re the winner of a big weight loss award.) I’ve done it, for sure (followed WeightWatchers at the time), but this time my ‘diet’ is my new healthy lifestyle – and it’s for keeps. And the difference between eating for weight loss and eating for maintenance is staggeringly small. That’s something to get your mind around! Hope you’re feeling better.

    Like

    1. (sniffle sniffle, cough cough) A little today thanks – reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated 😀

      I agree – this is for keeps, and I think the best thing we can do for ourselves every day is remind ourselves that what we’re doing isn’t a diet, its a new way to live – and in following that path we will happen to lose weight and get fitter.

      I for one have never felt younger and happier!

      Like

  4. I have bookmarked this blog and this TV programme Davey as highly interesting.

    As someone with *many* previous failed diets behind me and even one (semi failed, not so successful) weight loss surgery I am painfully aware of the percentages of people who do regain.

    Back in 2007 I went on a boot camp weekend hosted by Jodie Prenger (who at that time had just won the UK Biggest Loser in 2006) and Angie Dowds (one of the Biggest Loser trainers).

    Well that weekend was one of the most useless wastes of time I have ever done.

    Altho I did *allegedly* lose 10 lbs due to being starved on approx 500 calories a day…… whilst doing six hours of exercise per day …… as soon as I left that camp I ate like a pig for days as my body *desperately* wanted to stop being starved.

    Well …….. that was the last time I saw Jodie Prenger at size 8/10. Those methods used during the weekend boot camp are pretty much the “secret” behind the big weekly weigh ins on The Biggest Loser…… contestants are “encouraged” by trainers to starve or just eat fruit for the day before weigh in …….. despite on the programme the TV insists all the house mates are eating a “carefully balanced meals of around 1500 calories a day”.

    Is it any wonder most of them regain weight ? Hmmmm.

    And yes moderate diet with not so moderate exercise is the key to actually maintaining. **

    ** Which I hope I will finally get right *this* time when I eventually reach goal weight with SW.

    Even in the Slimming World Body Magic book they have on page 5 a useful little graph showing how a decrease in weight plus and increase in exercise is the only thing that is going to keep you in maintenance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exercise (for me anyway) is the key. Walking has changed so much about who I am physically and mentally that I can’t begin to describe it’s impact.

      Make it part of every day – and make it something that’s naturally part of your life.

      Remove ‘willpower’ based solutions and it just becomes natural.

      Even the most committed nutcase in the gym’s willpower will eventually fade.

      My need to walk to work is a no brainier.

      Find something similar. Do it all the time. Feel the instant benefit. Feel the continual benefit. Feel the long term benefit.

      Feel ALL of it. Just from doing something free and simple.
      X

      Like

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