25 July 2012

The weight loss post

I've been asked a few times to post about my weight loss.

It's no secret that I gained a lot of weight during the stressful two-year emigration process. I tend to gain weight when stressed and / or suffering from depression, and add the fact that I am a comfort eater and the results are obvious.

I'll be straight up honest and say that I ended up 20kg (44lb / 3 stone 2lb) heavier than I was at my lightest since having children. Ouch.

I have used the Weight Watchers programme before and found it easy, effective and enjoyable. It taught me about appropriate portions and how to make better food choices. I kept the weight off that I'd lost, until we started the whole, stressful, emotional emigration process, when it piled back on (and a little more).

Weight Watchers is a fantastic programme. But let me tell you, you can have all of the knowledge, tools, opportunity and even motivation in the world and you will not stay on plan and be able to see it through until that magic switch flips in your head. And I have yet to find out how to make that happen at will. In my experience you are ready when you are ready. And if you're not ... you're not.

Since arriving in NZ I tried numerous times to get on programme and stay on programme and it just couldn't "take". The smallest thing would derail me. My cravings would become overwhelming. Or I would just get fed up and find myself turning to sugar again (my greatest weakness / addiction). But finally in March that magical mental switch flipped and that was it, I was committed and focused and nothing could sway me! Sure, I've had off days but I have stayed on plan since March.

I have been doing Weight Watchers by myself without meetings or online tools. It has been so thrilling to see the weight coming off consistently when I weighed in each week. (Okay, not every week as I sometimes seem to be doing two steps forward then one step backward.)

I had a list of little milestones and things I was looking forward to along the way (like being able to wear my wedding and engagement rings again and fitting into certain items of clothing) and it was so satisfying to have a look at my list every now and then and check a few more items off.

Now, my first Weight Watchers journey was different to this one. I lost an average of 1kg / 2lb every week. I lost every week, except for a couple of times when my weight stayed the same. I only gained once (half a pound!) and I came home and cried about it. I was so focused. I never had a "treat day" as I didn't feel like I needed one. I used to sit in meetings and listen to people who had gained that week, or who hadn't lost, and they'd talk about how they had eaten X, Y or Z, or gone off plan and I used to feel amazed. They wanted to lose weight, why didn't they just stay on plan? It was a no-brainer to me.

This time it's taking a little longer and I'm more understanding of those people. I usually have a "treat day" once a week where I won't go crazy but I won't track and I'm more likely to eat "naughty" things that I've been wanting during the week, meals that aren't exactly WW-friendly, etc. I also allow myself to relax about things like grabbing some sushi when we're out and about, or eating at a friend's house.

So some weeks I gain a little but I always follow those weeks up with more discipline and tracking.

And overall, it's working. I've lost about 12kg (26lb / 1 stone 12lb) so far, with another 8kg (17lb / 1 stone 3lb) to go till I'm back at my lightest weight again. I feel healthier and happier.

In case you didn't know, I do have another blog called Project Jen that I post on. If you'd like to see examples of what I eat I sometimes food journal there. Here's the blog if you'd like to hop on over. Here's a link to what it's all about.

As far as exercise goes, I was doing a little walking / running at the end of last year but had some problems with ankle pain and shin splints so I stopped. I do plan on picking it up again now that I'm lighter, but we've had a lot of rain lately so I'll probably wait until the spring. So exercise really hasn't played a part in my weight loss at all.

I'm afraid I don't have any magic wand or quick fix - it's a matter of discipline, preparation, persistence and the obvious things that we all know about cutting out (or cutting down on) sugar and saturated fat, reducing carbs, switching to whole grains, lean protein, lots and lots of fruit and veg, etc etc etc, blah blah blah.

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments or email me, I'd be happy to answer them!

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