weight watchers flex – my first thoughts

I’ve mentioned in my last couple of meal plans that I’ve been struggling lately.  After getting some bad news about my health, I’ve been swaying between comfort and all-out binge eating.  This week I decided enough was enough, and dragged my sorry arse back to Weight Watchers.  And my timing couldn’t have been better, because there waiting for me was a shiny new plan – Weight Watchers Flex!

weight watchers flex

I’m only two days in, so I don’t have any progress to report.  But I wanted to take a moment to share how I feel about this new plan.  I know change can be hard for some people.  If you’re looking at this new plan with trepidation, I hope I can reassure you.  And if you’re looking to start (or shake up) your weight loss journey, maybe I can convince you that Weight Watchers Flex is the best way to go.

 

weight watchers flex

I am so excited about this plan!  I think it’s going to make life so much easier for so many people.  Previously it was just most fruits and vegetables which had zero SmartPoints. But now that selection has expanded to include vegetable protein sources, unsmoked fish and seafood, skinless chicken and turkey breast, eggs and fat free plain yogurt.

The way you use your allowance has changed too, with the ability to rollover up to four of your daily SmartPoints to add to your weekly allowance. That means you’re covered for weekends or special occasions.  For me, that means being less likely to have that “fuck-it” moment.  You know, where you blow your allowance on one day and then the whole week spirals into food overload. I know I can’t be the only one who knows that feeling!

I think Weight Watchers Flex is the most lifestyle-friendly plan they’ve ever had. It brings together all the things that were so great about previous plans, whilst making it all  more simple.  I suppose the clue is in the name – it’s so much more flexible than ever before.  And healthier, too.

why do we need a new plan?

I know there will be sceptics out there who see a new plan being launched and say well that means there was something wrong about the old plan.  I totally disagree.  Sure – if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it, and all that.  But just because something isn’t broken doesn’t mean you can’t make it better.  And that’s what I think Weight Watchers are really good at.

At it’s very basic level, the science of weight loss is simple – eat less energy than you burn, and you’ll lose weight.  But the science of health, and the science of long-term change are different stories all together.  You could lose weight eating fast food three times a day, as long as you ate less calories than you burned. But I hate to think what your insides would look like, and what would Ronald McDonald really teach you in the long run?

What Weight Watchers Flex does is focus on health and behaviour change.  Those are the two things so crucial to long term success. The zero SmartPoints foods promote healthy choices.  Unlike SlimmingWorld, there are no Muller Lights, Mug Shots or other processed crap in the “zero heroes” list.  And unlike the Clean Eating movement, there is room for indulgences and convenience foods should you need or want them, so it isn’t expensive, restrictive or unrealistic.  And you can make your allowance work for you. More indulgent days can be compensated for by days where you use less SmartPoints.  But that doesn’t mean you go hungry on those days, because the zero hero foods will keep you full and bursting with energy.

 

what weight watchers flex means for me

When I first started losing weight, my diet was full of low-fat this and diet that.  Light versions of things which were just full of crap to mask the lack of real ingredients.  Over the years I’ve learned more about how to eat healthily, using less processed foods.  I think it’s really cool that the Weight Watchers plans over that time have also evolved in the same direction.

When I followed SlimmingWorld, I started eating convenience foods I’d previously worked hard to cut out, just because they were free or healthy extras.   With Weight Watchers Flex I have a plan that encourages me to keep making healthier choices rather than opting for processed foods. A plan which means I can use my allowance on the certain processed foods I want to enjoy (like chocolate…).

My mind has already switched back into a gear which makes me feel happy about my food decisions.  For me that is half the battle. With more flexibility comes less restriction or the feeling of being deprived.  If I feel happy, healthy and in control I’m much less likely to binge, and more likely to stick with it.

So although there wont be a dramatic change to the way I eat, this new plan has reignited my desire.  A desire not only to lose weight, but to be the healthiest version of me that I can possibly be.  That is so important, because this time around I’m not looking to just drop the pounds.  I’m sick of yo-yoing, I want a way of eating and living that I can keep up for life.  I think Weight Watchers Flex is it.

 

 

Are you a Weight Watcher?  What do you think about the new plan?

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back to weight watchers (goodbye slimming world)

If you’ve been following my blog you will know that I’ve been going to Slimming World.  But my diet loyalties always belonged to another programme, and the inevitable has happened – I’ve switched back to Weight Watchers.

 

back to weight watchers

 

slimming world and me

I joined Slimming World when I was pregnant, to make sure I didn’t balloon like I did in my other two pregnancies.  Weight Watchers don’t allow you to attend when you’re pregnant. But I needed the accountability of a weekly weigh-in to keep me on track.  So, feeling like a cheating hussy, I ditched my beloved Weight Watchers for the enemy.

After our baby was born in June, I kept going to Slimming World. The class is a friendly wee place and I like the consultant.  As I had some pregnancy (and pre-pregnancy…) weight to lose I thought I’d stick with it.  But over 7 weeks I only lost 3.5lbs.  Admittedly, my head was not in the weight loss game.  I wasn’t really on plan a lot of the time, so the lack of progress isn’t really a representation of Slimming World if you’re doing it right.   The thing with diets is that they all work, even the crazy ones.  What makes or breaks a diet is whether you can stick to it long term. Whether it fits in with your life.  For me, Slimming World just didn’t, and I wasn’t inspired by the plan.  So I’ve gone back to Weight Watchers.

 

heading back to weight watchers

Weight Watchers was the programme which helped me drop from a size 22 to a size 8.  It was the programme that turned my life around. It gave me skills and knowledge about health and nutrition which I still apply today, 15 years after my first meeting.  I love the programme so much that I even worked as a leader for a short while.  Even knowing what I do now about the diet industry, the importance of a sustainable diet and the trap that low-fat/reduced calorie/light/diet foods are, I still think the programme is amazing.  That’s why I’ve decided to go back to Weight Watchers.

We all operate in different ways when it comes to keeping ourselves on track.  I need to monitor pretty much everything that goes in my mouth or I get a bit carried away.  Let’s just say I’m pretty generous to myself unless I’m making a conscious effort to stay in check.  I’m an eater who doesn’t have an off switch. I think that was why Slimming World never sat right with me.  It was too easy to have more rice or potatoes because they were “free.” And don’t get me started on the Muller Lights (see my rant about the things I hate about Slimming World).  I need structure, limits and a way to measure what I’m shoving in my gob.  Going back to Weight Watchers gives me all of that.

For me, besides the programme itself, the big plus of Weight Watchers is just how good the app and website are.  The app is all singing, all dancing.  You can track your SmartPoints, your weight and your exercise.  You can look up or work out the SmartPoints in literally any food, and even build recipes to work out their SmartPoints too.  It syncs with all sorts of fitness trackers, so you get instant rewards for your activity.  It means I can take my diet with me everywhere. There is no guessing and I always know how to make the best choices.

 

the proof is in the pudding…

…ok, inappropriate analogy for a diet comparison.  But the test of whether a diet works is in the weight loss. In 5 weeks since going back to Weight Watchers I’ve lost 8lbs.  I’ve not been on track all that time, but the programme is so easy to follow and the app such an amazing tool that I’m motivated to stick with it most of the time.

I’m so glad I decided to switch.  For the first time in a long while I feel inspired to make changes, convinced I can do it and excited about the future.  Those size 12 clothes waiting patiently in my wardrobe hopefully wont be waiting for much longer!

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five healthy things to do every day

Is there such thing as a food hangover?  I’m pretty sure there is. I’m also pretty sure that I woke up with one yesterday morning.  If Irn Bru is the manna which cures an alcohol hangover, then I have the food hangover cure.  And these don’t just help with the hangover, these are five healthy things you can do every day.  Even if you’re feeling like you’ve fallen off the wagon, doing these five things can make you feel a little more positive.

 

five healthy things to do every day

a heavy weekend

I’ve written before about how weekends are a bit of a weight loss pitfall for me.  As soon as Saturday (ok, sometimes Friday night) rolls around, the reins come off.  It’s like a switch goes off in my head and I don’t even remember that I’m meant to be making healthy choices.

Since I really started knuckling down in my efforts to improve my diet, I’ve managed to kerb my weekends a little.  Particularly in the last few weeks, I’ve indulged a little but still kept within healthy limits.  And the results on the scale have been good.  This weekend though, especially Sunday, things got a little out of control.  Not binge-level cray-cray, but just…ugly.

I don’t want to turn this into a confession booth or anything. But a cheeseburger, prosecco, birthday cake, cheesecake, wine and chocolate biscuits all happened.  I was at a kids’ birthday party, a night out and a family fun day, none of which had healthy options and none of which I prepared for.  Or gave any more thought to other than nomnomnomnom.  I’m fine with it though.  Life happens, and I like to enjoy it when it does.

 

getting back on track

The party has to stop some time though.  A little of what you fancy is good for you, but too much can actually make you feel gross.  I felt sluggish, cranky and basically yuck when the school run dragged me out of bed on Monday morning.  Some of that was down to a broken night of sleep.  After sleeping through for four whole nights, the baby decided that I’d had enough sleep and is back to 4am snack attacks.  But I do think that a lack of nutrients and too much sugar wasn’t helping either.

Instead of writing off the rest of the week, I decided to hit reset.  And it got me thinking about the five healthy things that always make me feel good.  They make me feel as if I’m treating my body right, and get me back in the healthy zone.  And they’re so easy to do.

I also think they made the difference between a bit of overindulgence, and an all out binge.  I’ve battled with binge eating my whole life, and a weekend like this would easily start me off in that direction.  But because doing these five healthy things is now almost second nature, I was able to stop myself falling down that particular rabbit hole.

 

my five healthy things

Starting the day off right

Maybe you eat breakfast, maybe you don’t.  But if the first meal you eat in a day is healthy and balanced, you’re much more likely to keep making good choices.  My morning bowl of porridge sets me up well, and makes me feel a bit smug and virtuous.  And even if the rest of the day doesn’t exactly go to plan, at least one meal will have been healthy – damage limitation, people!

Drinking water

I know, I know, everyone bangs on about this one.  But think about it – dehydration can make you feel lethargic and sluggish.  I don’t know about you, but when I feel that way I just can be bothered making any healthy effort.  I’d rather sit on my arse and reach for quick-hit junk food.

Hydrating gets me out of that slump.  Not only does it boost energy and help clear you out (yeah, I’m talking poo), but it keeps your mind sharp too.  Science says so.  If that isn’t a good reason to get glugging, I don’t know what is.

Getting active

Exercise.  I never really want to do it, but I never regret it when I do.  In fact, I feel a million times worse looking at a low step count at the end of the day than I ever would after working out.  But you don’t need to be killing it in the gym every day.  Walking is so good for you, and most of us can fit it into our day somehow.  I’ve ditched the car for most of the school runs this year. Whilst we may need to leave the house a little earlier, it’s worth it not just for the exercise but the time I get to spend with my middle son.  It actually doesn’t even take that much longer, if you consider what a faff parking can be.

A few workouts and daily walking in your week can make a huge difference.  Not just to your weight loss and body composition, but to your mood.  And if you feel better, you’re more likely to make healthy choices.  It’s a win-win cycle.

Eat your greens

And your reds, and your yellows, whites, oranges, purples…  I try to make sure that every meal has a fruit or vegetable component.  And if there are veggies in a recipe, I’ll still either add more or have veggies on the side too.  They’re yummy, they fill you up and they’re packed full of all the good stuff.  A meal packed with veggies makes you feel as if you’re really treating your body right.  But more than that, adding a chaser of goodness to even the cheatiest of cheat meals can work wonders for your mindset.  It’s hard to feel as guilty about eating a big dirty cheeseburger if you also munch on a salad.  Which leads me to the last of my five healthy things you can do every day…

Be kind to yourself

This is probably the most important of the five healthy things I’ve listed.  If you have had a cheat meal, or even if you’ve had a cheat day…week…month, cut yourself some slack.  Maybe you nail all four of the other healthy things and more besides, or maybe you really don’t.  But either way it is not a reflection of you as a person, just a reflection of where you’re at.

I find the easiest way to be kinder to myself is not to look at what I ate or the workout I skipped, and to instead look at the why.  I ate that cheeseburger this weekend because there were no healthier options, because we didn’t have time to prepare something healthier at home that day, because I didn’t think ahead.  So, I’ll learn from it.  Draw a line under it.  And appreciate the fact that although it wasn’t ideal, I still enjoyed it.

It’s taken me years to separate those things, my food choices from my self.  Even now I still catch myself thinking “I’m a bad person” sometimes, where what I really mean is “that wasn’t the greatest food choice.”  There’s so much guilt around food, and for some of us it gets absorbed as guilt for who we are.  Fuck that.  Shake it off, and show yourself some compassion.

The kinder you are to yourself, the easier it becomes to make healthier choices because putting your health first becomes an act of kindness.

 

healthy foundations

If your day has as many of those five healthy things in it as you can manage, you’re on the right path.  I know that by hydrating, moving, eating my veggies and still making some good choices, I managed to give my body what it needed.  Sure, I may not see a loss on the scales this weekend after my indulgent weekend. But I’m not carrying any baggage about it, because I’m kind enough to myself to be ok with that.

 

 

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weight loss wardrobe limbo (or, why I’ve been wearing the same jeans for 11 weeks)

Writing about the five essentials you need on a weight loss journey last week lit a fire under me.  I feel unstoppable with my weight loss right now, because considering each of those five things really focused me.  My results on the scale were better than I’d hoped.  And I’m so glad, because I am sick of being in weight loss wardrobe limbo. Confession?  I only have one pair of jeans that fit me…and I wear them every damn day.

weight loss wardrobe limbo

 

I wear my jeans for two (ok…three) days, then have to wash and dry them strategically so I don’t end up doing the school run in my pants.  Right now they have mud on the bottom of the right leg, so I’m going to have to baby wipe that away because I can’t fit in a wash and dry before the school pick up.

I’m aware I sound like a tramp.

 

how did it come to this?

I’m not sure how I ended up with only one pair of jeans to wear.  Pre-pregnancy I had a few pairs I could rotate.  I can only assume that in my one attempt to Konmari my life (which even nesting couldn’t force me to sustain), I binned all the jeans that didn’t “spark joy.”  Let me tell you, being left with only one pair of jeans that fit ain’t exactly sparking the joy right now either.

weight update

this week’s result

I lost 2.5lb, which takes my total to 7lbs.  But best of all…it means the pregnancy weight is gone!

I also got Slimmer of the Week at SlimmingWorld.

moving forward

I have finally channeled the motivation that I had been struggling to find.  I’ve seen that weight loss is possible and I have my sights firmly set on seeing that number drop each week.  I’ve been keeping track of everything I’ve eaten, and even though I’ve not been on plan all the time I’m confident that the scales will make me smile this week!

Why don’t I just buy more pairs?  Because I do not plan on staying this size long enough to make that a worthwhile investment.  I find it very difficult to justify spending money on clothes, and when I do it’s because I know I will wear those items to death.

The other issue is this.  I’m a size 14, and I have at least two other size 14 jeans in my wardrobe.  I honestly thought once the pregnancy weight was gone I’d fit back in to all the 14’s.  But I forgot that clothing companies are fucking crazy.  So whilst this current pair of size 14’s (Primark) fit me and have done since a week after giving birth, my other two (New Look and George…I know, I’m the style queen) don’t.  I’m not even looking at my 12’s.

 

there are no other options

And I do have leggings, and dresses, and skirts.  But I’m a jeans girl.  If I did the school run or Baby Sensory in a dress I’d feel a bit overdone.  And wearing leggings in public makes me feel as if I forgot to get dressed.

I scoured the charity shops at the weekend, but it would appear that size 14 jeans that fit are something no woman wants to part with.  Even for cancer research or homeless people or heart conditions.  Though I did get a cute little knitted skirt with snowflakes on it for Christmas.  Priorities.

 

the weight loss wardrobe

When you’ve yo-yo dieted the way I have, you can end up with a weight loss wardrobe.  A closet that covers all bases.  Mine has ranged from size 22 down to size 8.  When I lost weight the first time I gleefully chucked away all my “big” clothes as the weight came off.  But I had to replace items all the way back up to a 16 after gaining weight in pregnancy.  When I lost the weight again, I was too scared to chuck away too much in case I needed them again.  But at the same time, I couldn’t bring myself to chuck out my “skinny” clothes either, as I hoped I would one day wear them again.

A few years ago I wondered whether part of my yo-yoing was because of my weight loss wardrobe.  Every time I opened the doors I simultaneously felt guilty for not being slimmer and reassured at still having clothes to wear. I’d diet to slim down, get disheartened at still not fitting in to my old clothes, and gain weight again with clothes waiting which provided a crash pad.  My weight loss wardrobe was not helping me at all.

So I decided to take some action.  I sent all my size 8, 10 and 16 clothes to charity shops – I didn’t want to be a 16 again, and the smaller sizes were unrealistic.  The size 14 clothes were what fit me and I decided that a size 12 was my ideal, so I kept those.

So that’s why I’m now in weight loss wardrobe limbo.  Too stubborn to buy bigger clothes, too big to wear the clothes I’ve got.  But it’s serving as a motivator.

And at least it takes the decision making out of getting dressed in the mornings…

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weight loss journey essentials

Last week, I wrote about how I was struggling to get motivated to lose weight and get healthy.  I’m still lacking that vital spark to kick start my efforts, so I thought this week I’d remind myself about what it takes to lose weight.  If losing weight is a quest, then I thought I’d share my weight loss journey essentials.

weight loss journey essentials - the five things you need

When people say weight loss is a journey, they’re on to something.   And I don’t mean in a hippy-dippy-gonna-cleanse-your-aura way, or even an X-Factor-reality-tv-cheese sort of a way.  I mean a journey in its truest sense – there is no magic teleporter taking you from A to B in split second time.

It stands to reason then that, like any journey, you wouldn’t set out without even just a little bit of planning and preparation.  After all, even if you’re only nipping to the shops you at least know how you’re going to get there!  Like any good traveler though, you should be focusing on making the journey almost as rewarding as getting to your final destination! Enjoying the process is the best way to get to where you want to be, and key to staying there too.

 

 

my weight loss journey essentials

 

a destination

You need to know where you’re going – what is your goal?  More importantly is it realistic, is it healthy? Is it going to motivate you, or just make you feel as if you have too far to go? You could maybe give yourself other places to stop off at along the way – set yourself mini-goals, to break the journey up.

 

weight update

this week’s result

I lost 0.5lb, which takes my total to 4.5lbs.

I know some people freak out about “just” half a pound, but I hadn’t had a great week and so anything less than a gain was a win for me!  I’d started the week off badly and was only mindful of what I was eating in the last few days before weigh-in, so I was expecting worse.  It also meant I finally broke through the barrier of the 2lbs I kept losing and putting back on, and a weight loss two weeks in a row was something I hadn’t had since July!

moving forward

This week, again, has been a bit crappy.  Like I said, I’m struggling to find my motivation.  And because I’m not focused, I’m more inclined to let myself indulge when the opportunity comes up.  Which it did a lot this weekend, with cakes and a meal out for our son’s fifth birthday.  I’ve tried to reign it in again, but it may be too little too late!

a mode of transport

This is probably the most important of the weight loss journey essentials.  What way of eating and what way of being active are going to get you to your destination?

Diet is obviously vital. It’s important to chose comfort and safety over speed, especially on a long journey.   A crash diet may get you there faster, but it isn’t safe and can take you back where you started just as quickly.

And what about exercise? This all comes down to being honest about your fitness levels, the time you have to hand and what interests you most.  Then you can find activities to match.

Remember though, you can do all the exercise classes your gym offers, but if your diet is crap you wont get the best results.  After all, you can’t outrun a bad diet1!

 

a route planner

Planning and organisation are the biggest tools when it comes to weight loss. You can follow a miracle diet that has helped a million people lose weight before you, but if you aren’t organised and don’t have a plan then it isn’t going to work as well for you.

This is my favourite of the weight loss journey essentials, I love being organised.  Shopping lists, meal plans and tracking your nutrition will all help you map your route, and help steer you back on track when you get lost.

 

a weather forecast

Your environment impacts on the progress you make. You need a good mindset, to approach weight loss from a positive place.  A clear field of vision and positive people to support you are really important too.  The more of these things you have, the more likely you are to reach your destination.

But life doesn’t always work that way. You should  look ahead to any saboteurs or things which may knock you off course. Do you have a time of the month where things may be a struggle? Do all your social occasions revolve around food? Think ahead and have ideas of how to get through each patch of bad weather before it hits.

 

mementos

Mark your journey with postcards of your progress, snapshots of your changing body and rewards for every milestone you hit. They will keep you motivated as you go, showing you how far you’ve come.  They’re also incredible to look back on once you get to your final destination.

 

 

what that means to me…

I’ve looked at each of the weight loss journey essentials to try and get more focused.

My ultimate destination is a body in a healthy weight range for my height and a healthy body fat percentage.  A body which fits into size 12 clothing and is fit and strong.  That means a 10% body fat reduction and 24lb weight loss, dropping a dress size (and a half!), and making noticeable charted strength and fitness progress.

I honestly believe that a diet of high quality, nutritious food in the right amount is the way to go.  I’m going to focus on a diet based on as few processed foods as possible, with quantity kept in check by tracking.

Fitness-wise, I’m going to work through my maternity leave fitness bucket list.  I’m on the final level of my postnatal recovery DVD, then I’m going to focus on strength and flexibility with yoga.  Cardio is covered by Zumba and walking over 5 miles four times a week.

I need to work on my mindset, and be more mindful of situations that can throw me off.  Weekends and times out of my routine are danger zones for me.  Unfortunately I haven’t quite figured out how to get through those times without coming out of them a little weather beaten.

I have taken before pictures, and will be taking some progress ones as I go.  I’m also logging my changing measurements and body fat on MyFitnessPal which presents it in a graph. I am a sufferer of the “fat day” which can make me feel as if I’m getting nowhere. A record to look back on can keep me motivated.

I have a plan.  I have my weight loss journey essentials.  Now lets just see if I can put it all into action!

 

 

1 – British Journal of Sports Medicine

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motivation for improving my health – kick starting my weight loss

I wrote last week about my plans to lose the baby weight (and then some).  I put on 7lbs in pregnancy and said that I would update weekly until I’d lost that before tackling the rest of my weight loss journey.  This week, I’m trying to find some motivation for improving my health and losing the weight.

motivation for improving my health - kick starting my weight loss

 

weight update

this week’s result

I lost 2lbs, which takes my total to 4lbs.

If I’m honest, I was actually surprised by that result.  After a bit of a mixed week, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It hadn’t got off to a great start food-wise, and it was only in the second half that I started being more mindful.  I think what saved me was upping my activity levels.  I’ve started a Zumba class, and I’ve been walking over 5 miles a day on the school run.  At 9 weeks postnatal, that’s the most active I’ve been in quite a while!

moving forward

I’ve been flip-flopping on these 2lbs for the past four weeks though, and this week has again got off to a rubbish start food-wise.  A cake sale at the school, a choice of burger or hot dog when out on Saturday, a curry and a big Sunday dinner have all gone under my belt already!  I’ll not be surprised if I see that 2lb back on again.

 

i need motivation

For some reason I’m struggling to find motivation for improving my health.  I’m getting frustrated with myself.  I really want to start seeing evidence of fat loss but I’m not motivated to put the effort in.  Especially with food.  I know the healthy choices I need to make, but somehow I just can’t be bothered.

Sure I want to be slimmer and more toned, but that want isn’t strong enough to light a fire under me.  It pales in comparison with the want to veg on the sofa with a bar of Dairy Milk right now.  I need to find a stronger motivator than just what I look like.

 

finding motivation for improving my health

People often say they want to be healthy so that they can live longer or be around for their kids.  And those are great reasons to aim for better health.  But as a motivator for right now, those reasons are too out there for me.  They seem too far away to really get me focused.

I need to look at the here and now.  What changes to I want to see this time next week or next month?  What does better health look like to me in the short term?  Two things come to mind – feeling more comfortable with daily activity, and improving my mood.

 

not letting sweat get in the way

Activity is the area I’m doing best in right now, but I’m a long way from my fittest.  That means I’m finding daily activity a bit tougher, and not working out at the level I want to.

The school run is on a hill, so by the time I get home I’m a sweaty puddle.  I cannot stand the feeling of being sticky and damp.  I know there are a lot of things that contribute to my hot mess-ness, like the temperature and what I’m wearing.  But carrying extra weight contributes to sweating, so losing weight and not having to work so hard to get up the hill can but help.  The thought of feeling a bit more comfortable with daily activity is motivation for improving my health.

When it comes to exercise though, I know it’s unrealistic to expect not to break a sweat.  Especially when in any given fitness class I am always the sweatiest in the room.  I like to work at the top end of my ability and tend to really go for it. When I’m fit I don’t really mind people seeing me all red and shiny, because I’m proud of putting in the effort.  But when I’m soaked and puce even from the warm up, I feel really self conscious.  I’ve noticed in my Zumba class that I don’t go quite as hard as I could, because I’m embarrassed at looking so unfit.  I know it shouldn’t matter, but for me it does.  So improving my health will help me enjoy exercise more, and to get more from it.

 

improving my mental health

In order to get the weight loss that’s going to help me get more from my activity, I have to start eating better.

With being up each night with a young baby, not to mention all the effort it takes to keep him and the rest of the family alive each day, I’m knackered.  When I’m knackered I feel stressed, angry and down.  That just leaves me feeling awful, and triggers a mental health slump.  My motivation to get anything done disappears and then I end up feeling even worse because not only am I tired but the mountain of stuff I have to do is looming over me in piles.

Eating crap is not going to help any of that.  It’s not going to fill me up and it’s not going to give me energy.  It just makes me feel worse because I’m either starving or drained. When I feel bad I turn to food, which will make me feel even worse…lather, rinse, repeat.  I need to focus on the fact that I do enjoy healthy food and I do feel good when I nourish my body.  Improving my diet is going to boost my mood because I’ll feel productive and energised, and that is great motivation for improving my health.

 

so what now?

My plan of action is to keep up the level of activity I’m doing and to really examine my diet.  Hopefully together they’ll start to help the weight come off, make me feel more positive and help me feel more comfortable when I’m exercising.

Diet-wise, I’m considering stripping it right back.  Just focusing on nutrients and not being too concerned with counting calories or Syns or points just now.  Maybe if I start feeling better by eating better, I’ll be more motivated to then knuckle down with trying to stay within a certain allowance to try and get some weight loss happening.

 

I’d love to hear what inspires you to improve your health or motivates you to lose weight – what keeps you going?

 

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lose the baby weight [ & then some ] – my plans to get back in shape

It’s taken me a little longer than I thought it would to get round to writing about my plans to “lose the baby weight.” And that’s because it’s taking me a little longer than I thought it would to get round to actually try to lose the baby weight.

lose the baby weight & then some

 

pregnancy weight gain

You may know that I’ve just had baby number three.  He is now eight weeks old, and my pregnancy with him was my healthiest ever.  Ordinarily I put on about three stone in pregnancy, but this time around I was determined not to do that.  So I joined SlimmingWorldexercised until 38 weeks and prioritised sleep.  The result?  I gained just 7lbs.

I can’t put in to words how good it felt to be pleased rather than devastated when I weighed myself after birth.  That helped incredibly when it came to how I viewed my postpartum self and for the first time in three pregnancies I loved my postnatal body.

 

my body now

But that isn’t to say I’m happy.  I’m proud of my body, and as postnatal bodies go (at least, my previous postnatal bodies) it’s pretty awesome.  But the reality is that I’m still overweight and I’m not as healthy as I could or should be.  I’m not as slim or toned or strong as I was this time last year.  And I want to be.  It’s time to lose the baby weight…and then some.

Currently I’m sitting at 5lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight, and 27lbs over the BMI prescribed healthy weight for my height.  I want all of that gone.

Last year I had finally gained some (slight) definition in my upper arms and shape to my usually flat bum.  Those have disappeared, so I want them back.  I also want to be able to fit my calves into knee-high boots again.

I want to be able to run a 5k again, to lift a decent amount of weight again, and to make it through a dance class without wanting to quit.

 

my attempt so far

I went back to SlimmingWorld three weeks after giving birth, but in five weeks I’ve only managed to lose 2lbs.  I keep gaining and losing the same couple of pounds.  My head isn’t really in it.  I’ll have an ok week, and then a week where I just don’t try at all.

I’m too tired and busy to find the drive to lose the baby weight, let alone face the further weight loss journey.  But I need to find that drive, because without it I could easily fall in to the trap of putting more weight on.  I don’t want to undo all the body positivity I’ve felt from having a healthy pregnancy with minimal weight gain.

I’m struggling to find my approach.  As I’ve said before, there is a lot I don’t like about SlimmingWorld and so I mainly go to have someone weigh me.  I need that, to be held accountable.  If I just rely on weighing myself I’ve got even less drive to try.  As far as “dieting” goes, I’m using MyFitnessPal to track calories.  But I’m keen to do some sort of mix of the two, just to see what happens.

I also need to get active.  I’m struggling to find the time to workout at home because baby boy feeds every two hours and only sleeps for 20 minutes (if I’m lucky) at a time!  Thankfully, with the four year old starting school I have the perfect reason to walk 3.5 miles per day on the school run, so that’s something.  But I was heartbroken to hear that my beloved Clubbercise class has been cancelled.  Getting out to a class is the only way to guarantee I’ll get some exercise in, so I’m having to revert to Zumba…not as much fun but at least it gets me sweaty!

 

my goal – lose the baby weight & then some

The first step in finding the drive is to set myself some targets.  First I want to lose the baby weight – 5lbs off in the next 3 weeks (so by 7th September).

Next, I want to lose the rest.  It’s a fair amount I want to lose, and I don’t want to punish myself doing it.  So I’ll aim for 1lb off a week.  My goal is to be at my healthy weight by the end of February, which builds in a little wriggle room to account for Christmas!

I know BMI and weight aren’t always the best way to judge a body, but I find I am motivated by the change on the scales more than any other form of tracking.  However, I will also be taking measurements and photos to show my progress, as I think together these will all tell the full story of my journey.

 

my weight loss journey

I’m hoping to bring this blog back more to what I had pictured it being when I started it – a place to chart my journey to health, sharing my tips and struggles along the way.  Until I reach my first goal, I’ll update weekly on my progress.  After that, probably monthly will be enough.  But along the way I’m hoping to blog about recipes, workouts, tools and the reality of getting myself into shape.  I’d love it if you would join me!

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weekly menu + health update

 

Last week…

I’m feeling pretty good this week, as after struggling for a while I found it very easy to get back on track.  I’ve had a week where moderation has been the name of the game.  Having said that, I’m 37 weeks pregnant and not on an out-&-out weight loss mission, so the form of moderation I’m taking right now is just to minimise the number of indulgences but not exactly the content of them!  So I went out on a lunch date with some of my friends on Friday where I temporarily appeased my one and only pregnancy craving (burgers…*drool*), and Hubs talked me into a curry last night (he’d been breaking his back in the garden all weekend and my SlimmingWorld-friendly syn-free lasagna just wasn’t going to cut it).  At the moment I’m ok with one or two little discrepancies!

I got good results too – a 1lb loss at SlimmingWorld on Thursday which it looks like I’ve maintained over the weekend so I don’t feel too shabby.  Ideally I’d like to avoid any massive gains from here on out, but I’m keeping an open mind as I’ve never watched my weight during pregnancy before and have no idea what the next few weeks could bring!

I did make the SlimmingWorld oat cookies (recipe by Kate @ WitWitWoo) as my evening snack, and I’ll have to be honest about them – Millies Cookies they ain’t.  But of course they aren’t.  They simply fill a hole, that hole being my need to nibble something whilst I watch the telly at night.  We have some sugar-free syrups for coffee and I’m tempted to try adding a few teaspoons of that to the mix to see if that makes them a bit more interesting.

 

This week…

It’s my birthday on Thursday, so I’m hoping to get out for a meal to celebrate.  We’re very lucky that the town we live in is a bit of a foodie haven.  I’m torn between the tiny artisan place where the chef is so passionate and creates his menus based on what he has in that day, the tapas restaurant with the huge selection, or the lush bistro restaurant which was the catalyst for all the other high-end restaurants to open up in our town.  Decisions, decisions.

Other eating-out-of-the-norm situations this week are lunch in a primary school canteen, and a buffet at a christening.   The school lunch is part of our youngest’s primary school induction and we’re basically at the mercy of the dinner ladies, and buffets (or any sort of free-for-all eating) are my kryponite.  Oh, and then there is a cake-based send off planned on Wednesday at work to see me off on maternity leave!  What did I say about wanting to avoid massive gains?!

I just need to make sure the meals in between keep me on plan, so what’s on the rest of our dinner menu this week…?

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weekly menu + health update

 

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve shared a meal plan…mainly because Hubs was working away and as the kids get fed by their grandparents when I’m at work I didn’t really have any motivation to cook just for myself.  I did make a plan last week, which we stuck to for the most part, but I do still feel that I’ve been way off track.

As a rule, I have the same thing for breakfast every day (either porridge or overnight oats made with water and fromage frais, or Grapenuts and almond milk, all with a banana chopped over the top), lunch is always leftovers from dinner the night before (or a salad with couscous and either mackerel or egg), and our dinners are always healthy.  So meals are not my sticking point.

It’s the eating between meals that scuppers me, and I  have struggled to keep myself on a healthy course these past few weeks.  Its been a combination of lack of planning, lack of motivation and just plain greed.  If there’s been food available, I’ve eaten it.  I was thrown a surprise baby shower this weekend too, and the amount of cakes we’ve been left with is crazy.  Sure, I could chuck them out…but I’ve been conditioned never to waste food and basically I want to eat them.

But I’ve seen the impact on the scales, and whilst I can kid myself on that it’s all baby weight I know deep down that I’ve probably gained more than the wee fella has!  This week needs to be one of focusing on moderation and giving my baby the food he really needs, rather than the goodies that mummy wants.  So I’m having a clear out this morning to get rid of any remaining tempting-but-unhelpful treats, and giving myself a stern talking to.  Snack-wise, I’m going back to my fruit and natural yogurt, and I’m going to have these SlimmingWorld oat cookies (recipe by Kate @ WitWitWoo) as my evening snack.  I made them a few weeks ago with some added spices, but I’m going to keep trying to tweak them.  I know they’ll never be the real biscuit deal, but if I can make them interesting enough to enjoy with a cuppa that’s fine by me!

So, what’s on our dinner menu this week?…

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managing my pregnancy weight gain with slimmingworld

 

Balance is key to a healthy lifestyle…and so I feel I want to add some balance after my rant about SlimmingWorld the other week.  Because you may be forgiven for thinking I hate every last thing about SW, and that isn’t true.  After all, it has helped me have my healthiest pregnancy ever, and that is not something to be shrugged off.

I went into my first pregnancy blind.  It was unplanned, unprepared for and I didn’t have the first clue about health.  I was an overweight teenager who drank heavily, lived on junk food and the extent of my cooking skills was to fire up the deep fat fryer in my grotty little council-flat kitchen.  I have no idea what my weight gain was, as I didn’t own scales, but I went from a size 16 to a 22 so it’s safe to say it was probably near or even more than 4 stone.

My second pregnancy came ten years later, and I was a much different person as I’d been through my 6.5 stone weight loss journey.  But although I’d achieved that loss and made big changes to the way I ate and lived, that pregnancy came at a time where things were sliding.  I’d made the shift from an active job with time for fitness to a desk job which left me with little (perceived) time for exercise.  The job also made me miserable and I had turned to food, so I ate my way through my pregnancy and put on nearly 3 stone.

This time around, I’m different again.  My knowledge of health and nutrition has grown beyond diet/light/low-fat and I’ve made big advances in my fitness levels too.  That saw me get down to a size 12 less than a year after our four year old was born, and down to a size 10 for my wedding two years ago.  Unfortunately though, some things have not changed – I still struggle with using food as a coping mechanism, and my control around food is tied to my mood and emotions.  So I came into this pregnancy overweight again after a stressful year at work, culminating with both losing my job and having the stress of starting a new one after dropping the pregnancy bomb.  Oh…and then Christmas.  I put on nearly a stone in the first 18 weeks, and it looked as if I was on track to pile on the pounds yet again.

But something clicked in my head.  I’ve never enjoyed my changing body in pregnancy, and always felt self conscious about my weight gains, but as this is my last pregnancy I didn’t want to spend it hating how I looked.    And then there are the health consequences of a bad diet and big weight gain, both for myself and my baby.  I didn’t have the excuse of ignorance this time – if I wasn’t going to be healthy for me I should at least be healthy for my baby.

So that’s where SlimmingWorld came in, and where it has helped me.  I’ve been critical about some of their “free” foods and approaches, and I stand by that.  But following a plan and going to weekly weigh-ins has been key, and that is what SlimmingWorld has given me.  I’ve written before about how I’m more of a Weight Watchers girl and that too gives a plan and weekly weigh-ins, but SlimmingWorld have gone a bit further and had themselves accredited to accept pregnant members.  Having to be mindful about my food and being held accountable at the scales each week have helped me to make good choices whilst also ensuring I don’t overeat – two things I struggle with when left to my own devices.  Two things that are pretty much all you need to nail to maintain a healthy weight.

If I hadn’t been allowed to join a group, I fully believe I’d have carried on putting on weight the way I had when I started.  But thanks to SlimmingWorld (and my own efforts!), at 32 weeks I’ve only put on 3.5lbs since January.  I know I’ll probably gain weight each week from now on, and that will be something to get my head around, but most of that weight will be my little man filling out and getting ready for his arrival.

I’m hoping that after the birth, my overall weight gain will have been less than a stone.  That just blows my mind, how different this pregnancy has been to my others.  And the impact has reached further than the number on the scales.  I feel happier, I have more energy and I’ve been able to keep active.  I’m sleeping almost as well as I did before pregnancy, I’ve had minimal heartburn and no back issues.  And more importantly, I’m enjoying the pregnancy and don’t feel self conscious or bad about my changing body.  I’m hoping this is all gearing me up to the birth I want, and of course a healthy baby!

Life According to MrsShilts
My Petit Canard
Twin Mummy and Daddy
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