My name is Ms Motivator, and motivating is my game, and aim.
So I can’t really motivate you folks on how, to basically sort out your sh*t (if you’re a fattie which most of us are) without telling you my own fattie story.
SO HERE WE GO
Look. I am NOT a preacher of greatness. I struggle like the best of us with food and weight. Otherwise you would find me annoying and smug. I fight my internal emotional food monster (sausages, cheese, bread and wine are my enemies), whilst wanting to also fulfil my internal healthy potential like the best of them.
So this is how I put on weight (FOUR STONE) in the first place, and how I got back to where my body is healthy and happy (MUCH LIGHTER) as a result. So lets go through this shit together.
It’s also a whistle stop tour over a lot of ‘DIETS’ I am sure you’ve all tried at some point or another…
I imagine that a lot of this will be familiar or will resonate* as we’ve all been FED a lot of CRAP when it comes to diet and nutrition over the years…
*I also want to add a disclaimer, that as an endomorph and O blood group (we will come onto that I promise), grains and starchy carbs are not my friend. As in cut em, and I look and feel great. Consume them and I am bloated and sad. My ectomorph/mesomorph friends may not agree, but they’re probably not struggling with your weight like us so JEFF off 😉
Ahhhhh idyliic gorgeous Malvern where I spent my growing years. Climbing trees, water-fights, riding bikes through fields, constantly walking all over the place, up the hills (probably contributing to my ‘sturdy’ calves) and generally moving about a lot.
I was a normal sized child, consuming the 90s staples of toast/cereal breakfast, sandwiches & crisps for lunch and a ‘balanced’ (so we thought) dinner – you know the sort, an assortment of sausages or faggots (YES ACTUAL FAGGOTS OFF OF THE BLACK COUNTRY!) the odd lasagne, a standard Monday night leftover roast casserole (when was the last time someone mentioned a casserole? Stew yes, some sort of Slow Cooker Medley yes, casserole – not since 98/99?), and a few Cottage/Shepherd’s pies along the way.
Anyway, the amount I consumed was ‘burned’ off because I was constantly on-the-go. Hitting high-school the canteen was full of turkey twizzlers, happy faces and tuck shop sausage rolls – there was too many starchy, high GI carbs, and not enough vegetables by a long shot – from the toast/cereal breakfast through to dinners I have mentioned above.
Marmite toast (another fave) was a 4 piece a day STAPLE for Christ sakes.
Teens hit – my poor mum
“I AM NOT EATING ANYTHING GREEN!”
I rebelled against my real, from-scratch, home cooked meals, onto a diet of tinned hotdogs, super noodles and ready meals. I got a boyfriend, we ordered a lot of take-aways. By 17 I had gradually slipped from a size 8-10 to a 16. How the hell did that happen.
I was, as you can imagine, distraught, confused and desperate. ALL I KNEW WAS I HAD TO ‘DIET’.
Diet One: Weight Watchers
After a short stint on Rosemary Coloney who DEMONISED fat like it was going out of fashion, and got her devotees dancing around to a bit of light aerobics, that made NO DIFFERENCE to my self esteem or weight, I wanted something else.
(By the way, on this plan I could eat ‘light ham ROLLS’ which was gorgeous BREAD rolls, a spread of flora, ‘brown’ bread with lettuce add lettuce and all will be fine right? WRONG! Like that was going to help me lose weight at all ever).
Desperately sad and depressed I looked around for help. My mum had always struggled too, so we decided on Weight Watchers together.
Weekly weigh-ins. Points system – seemed relatively easy? I could still eat the crap I wanted to, especially ‘low-fat’ foods – Walkers Light were a mere 1.5 points – a cone of chips was less than an avocado.
It was FAB!
I could lay around the house ‘revising’ for my AS Levels, munching my way through bags of crisps and I was PROMISED I would LOSE WEIGHT!
I abided my their rules, treated myself to their desserts, chowed down their ready meals (Creamy Chicken thing with potatoes and ‘veg’ a personal favourite), stayed within the points religiously and I was dropping a pound here, putting back on two there. I was ALWAYS hungry, NEVER satisfied, and GROTESQUELY lethargic.
The only benefit to the two years of my life I dedicated to it, was learning the recipe to ‘points free’ soup. Basically sh*t loads of veg – what do you know, a winner! But not really enough to keep you interested. Not when you could save your points up for a kebab and a pint.
If I went for a run, I could eat a chocolate bar. I mean that’s the kind of diet you want right? (NO, the answer is NOOOO). FRUSTRATED AND CONFUSED I looked around for more guidance.
What did I learn from Weight Watchers?
The brilliance of ‘no-point soup’, or rather the magic of feeling full, nourished with very few calories.
Diet 2: Slimming World
Slimming world seemed similar, in the fact I had certain points, but I had to CHOOSE between CARBS or PROTEIN each day. (In the form of cleverly marketed ‘red and green’ days). So hang on, I can eat AS MUCH PASTA AS I WANT? And as long as I have no protein, or dairy then I am fine? Riggggghhhtt. You can imagine how far I got on that one.
Their ‘Syns’ points system means you can save up for naughty treats, and you can eat as much veg as you like – okay that sounds good to me. One of my old massage clients (another conversation for another day), said to me ‘I love Slimming World, because it tricks your body into feeling its full because you eat lots of vegetables instead of normal food.’
WHAT THE ACTUAL JEFF. Can we break that down? She thought that nourishing her body with delicious vegetables was some sort of TRICK?! Madness. But I mean, well done Slimming World if you’ve tricked people into good food.
The confusion lay when it came down to nutrition yet again. So you couldn’t eat an avocado, unless you want to use up 9.5 Syns (I keep using this as an example to show you how MESSED UP AND FULL OF SHIT the diet industry is), but please do enjoy one of our ‘low-fat’ chocolate bars. JEEEZUS. That’s going to help my energy levels.
Sure. Like a Red Bull aids sleeping patterns.
With no portion control, too much confusion, far too many carbs for a world of O bloods. I was losing nothing, and I was out.
What did I learn from Slimming World?
I think both Weight Watchers and Slimming World are good in the sense of the fact you’re taking control of your weight, you’re aware and monitoring your intake, you have a commeradiship when you all queue up to see if you lost or gained in the local community centre. But they both promote their products – which don’t take saeity or nutrition into consideration. And the problem is, if you continue to eat chocolate or sweet/salty food – that’s all you’re ever going to crave. You can also eat FAR TOO MUCH FOOD!
Both ‘diets’ will work for certain people, don’t get me wrong, but there are too many flaws for most of us. Otherwise, why do they have such a high fail rate?
Their business model is built on you failing.
Diet 3: Atkins
So it must have been around… nine years ago… Dr Atkins came into my life.
“STUFF YOURSELVES WITH FAT FOLKS, it’s the CARBS that are a lie”.
Sorry what now?
“HONESTLY, LIKE CHEESE, CREAM, STEAK, EGGS – CRACK ON! YOU’LL LOSE WEIGHT”.
Sorry, I missed my recent hearing test, can you repeat that?
“JUST STICK TO A LOW TO NO CARB DIET, AND UP YOUR PROTEIN, FATS AND WATER – AND YOU’LL BE LAUGHING”.
That was enough for my family. We threw the bread out the window, chucked pasta at the nearest car driving past the house, and invaded every wedding just to sprinkle a few kgs of rice from the cupboard.
I remember my lovely mother and I with glee, and an element of smugness grabbing a ‘bitesized cheese’ selection pack, almost saying to the cashier – ‘Yes we might LOOK like pigs, but ACTUALLY we are on a DIET’.
Funnily enough though. The doctor was right… to a degree. I lost a lot of weight, after the Ketosis kicked in. You need to drink lots and lots of water etc. but I constantly felt a bit… sick? I started to have more energy though, in a weird way, but at the same time I felt like there was just too much fat going into my body. I liked the protein, and it’s satiety – and the veggies of course. But I wasn’t sure about all that dairy.
What did Dr Atkins teach me?
That starchy, processed carbohydrates are sh*t basically. Unless you’re hungover then steer clear. And that was the last time I ate rice, pasta, bread or potato as part of my general diet.
Diet 4: The 3-Day Diet
This is such a flash in the pan diet. Remember Peter Kay talking about how Sandra in the office lost ’14 STONE IN A DAYYYYYY’ – Yep this is the one.
This ‘military diet’ ‘heart diet’ ‘surgery diet’ ‘chemical diet’ that has a million names, but had MAD results. I was in. Where do I sign. 3 days and what, LIFE CHANGED? Or three days each week, okay, still in. What do I do?
HERE, is the diet. A weird balance of very low calories, protein, veg and carbs with a tiny bit of dairy in the form of ice cream thrown in. But actually, NOT MUCH FOOD.
THIS ‘Diet’ taught me about… hunger. About portion size. About the fact that you don’t have to be ‘full’ to be satiated. But seriously, if anyone tried this more than like 3 times and didn’t get bored of tinned hot dogs and tuc biscuits I applaud you!
APOLOGIES MUM I LOVE YOU AND THIS NEXT BIT IS NOT YOUR FAULT…
Raise your hand if growing up when you looked down at the remaining bits of food on your plate, your mum said, “there are children starving in Africa who would love that food you MUST eat it. Imagine how they feel”. We were bribed that to be allowed ‘pudding’ (Angel Delight), we HAD to finish our food.
Dear god, dear dear god what the hell kind of a world was I been brought up in?
No wonder we all have such odd habits around food.
We were taught to finish our plate NO MATTER WHAT. If we didn’t we were WASTEFUL. But do you know why?
Our parents grew up with THEIR parent who faced RATIONS who were scared of there being NO ACTUAL FOOD. Now in 2017 we are STILL applying the SAME PRINCIPLES.
There is a stark difference between HUNGER and STARVATION.
I want you to try tomorrow to eat within an 8 hour window. Eat well balanced and nutritious meals, and don’t eat till your too full. Try say 9-5. Then stop eating. Around 8 you’ll feel hungry, but that’s okay, you’re only going to bed you don’t need anything, drink a pint of water instead. In the morning, you’ll feel more full of energy oddly. Around 9 again you’ll be hungry, but still not STARVING. Real HUNGER can’t physically happen within hours – if it does it is because you ate the wrong kind of food.
In layman’s terms – grains, legumes, high-GI carbohydrates will all spike your insulin – just like sugar does – and then you’ll crash much sooner when it’s processed within your body. Unlike protein which will provide satiety, and vegetables which will provide vitamins and minerals. (I will eventually give you a full easy guide for this, but if you’re interested, try starting with this article on sugar).
You have to remember though, with any fasting you have to eat sensibly the rest of the time! I have seen people on 5/2 starving themselves then GORGING on food the moment they’re able to.
What did 3-Day Diet teach me?
Portion control and the fact that hunger isn’t always a bad thing.
So what do you do?!
Apart from all this, I tried cabbage soup plan, just eating eggs, Dr Dukan (where I basically lived off chicken and black coffee and lost loads, but felt gross) and pure veg – all of which meant that I was smelly breathed or smelly… you don’t want to know.
The world of food and nutrition is a tricky one to navigate – with all the rubbish we’re told, and the fact that eating has become so much an emotional problem as a physical one.
So I try to follow these rules… They’re in order of what you should eat the most of heading downwards to AVOID AVOID AVOID!
THE FOOD RULES
I do intermittent fasting, eating between about 8am-2pm around 4/5 times per week. Always have eggs for breakfast. Snack on mushrooms. Fill up on vegetable based meals. And drink a TON of water. I also try to exercise early in the mornings when I am fasted.
BUT this should be around 80/20 of your life – the rest of the time just enjoy yourself otherwise what is the point?!
- Eat good food (see my post on good food), as un-processed as possible
- Delve into a world of veggies, a rainbow of colour and especially greens
- Go egg mental, there are 1,000 ways you can do scrambled eggs
- Snack on nuts, that haven’t been messed about with (shame as that crunchy coating is delish)
- Fresh fish should be a staple at least 2/3 a week – mackerel, sardines, trout mmmmm
- Meat should be a treat – only eat good quality stuff. If you can afford to eat it every day, it’s not good quality
- Good fats – Avocado, olive oil, macadamia nuts are all fine examples of this, but just don’t go mad (funnily enough though, you’re body doesn’t let you eat too much of this, unless you’re teaming it with carbs, or its covered in salt – you feel full very quickly).
- NO ‘BAD’ CARBS (yeah I know, they’re the best), and limit the ‘GOOD’ ones – personally I don’t even eat oats, quinoa, buckwheat or any of Waitrose finest ancient grains – but if you feel like you need them, stick to the lowest GI so it releases slower
- NO SUGAR – I mean really, come on!
- NO DAIRY including CHEESE – (BUT YAY ON CHEAT DAY!)
- NO TRANS FATS
- LIMIT ALCOHOL – Read my post here
Good luck – good to hear how you get on if you give it a whirl! Would also love to hear your weight loss stories.