The one where Serenity embarks on a new healthy eating plan with the aim of losing ten kilos, and probably her mind too…
So it’s time I finally admitted it – I’m not twenty anymore. I’m not even thirty, or – FFS – forty! I’m forty-eight in a few weeks’ time, and well, let’s face it, my body isn’t what it used to be. I’m (wince) heading toward the menopause, and while I’m not keen on the old term “the change”, I’m beginning to see what a huge change in a woman’s life it actually is – emotionally, mentally, and most relevant to this post, physically.
Let me start by saying I’ve never dieted. Or rather, never dieted successfully for more than a few days. I’ve never been a yo-yo dieter, or had a fat and thin wardrobe, or spent my life eating celery and grapefruit to get rid of a few pounds. On the whole, my weight has remained relatively stable since I was a teenager, with one small change—it’s gradually gone up.
I’ve never worried about it before. I don’t care about being thin. I’m 5’9” and an NZ size 18, and I’ve always been happy with that. The Silver Fox is a big guy (think All Blacks big) and so it’s never felt important to me to be skinny or tiny – he’d only squish me! I like food, but I rarely over-indulge – I’m not the type who can’t stop eating a pack of biscuits. I don’t have a fabulous diet (not enough fruit & veg), but it’s not terrible either – I rarely eat cake or pastry, I have trim (low-fat) milk, cheese, and yoghurt etc, I drink diet sodas, and I don’t smoke or drink to excess.
But. And it’s a big but (rather like mine.) Whereas I used to be able to “go easy” for a few days and lose a couple of pounds, that’s not happening anymore. My weight seems to be gathering around my middle, and whereas I was a C cup for years, now I’m a D, and my bras are… snug. My jeans are tight. And my weight is now starting to creep up. I have a bad back and knees, and I know being heavier isn’t helping my joints.
But I don’t want to diet!
I believe life is for living, and always have done. I tell my family I love them every day, I don’t have thousands in the bank because if I have money, I spend it on things I want, and if I really fancy chocolate (which is most days), I have a piece. What’s the point in denying yourself the things you love? As Sir Clement Freud once said, “If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and loving, you don’t actually live longer; it just seems longer.”
So I’m not going to diet. But what I am going to do is accept it’s time to make a change in the way I eat.
I’ve been doing a lot of research, and rather than simply cutting down on the amount I eat (although I am going to do that too), my plan is to change what I’m eating. The biggest changes for me are going to be cutting down on carbs (especially sugar), eating more protein, and exercising regularly.
I know I eat too much sugar, and I want to cut as much as I can out of my diet. So some of my changes will be: not having a slurp of caramel syrup in my morning coffee, not having chocolate biscuits with my morning coffee, cutting down on the carbs I have with my main meal (less pasta, potatoes, bread etc), not having an ice cream treat for dessert, not having biscuits in the evening, and only having chocolate occasionally (and then making it dark chocolate.)
I’m not going to cut out coffee. I love it too much, and I only have two cups a day, so I’m going to keep that as a treat to keep me going. But I am going to cut down on the diet sodas. I love them, and we’ve always figured that diet drinks are better for us that full-fat sodas, but artificial sweeteners aren’t great for us either. I’m not super-keen on drinking water, but I do like adding a bit of low cal squash to it, so I’m going to stick to that. I’ve never drunk tea, but I don’t mind some orange-flavored tea, so I’ll have a couple of those a day, too.
The plan is to eat three smaller meals a day with a few snacks in between, not skip breakfast, and cut out that big dinner most nights. I’ve bought fresh fruit like raspberries and blueberries to have with yoghurt and bran in the morning, wholewheat crackers to have with cottage cheese, hummus, or cashew nut butter for snacks, plenty of cooked chicken and tuna for lunches, and lots of lovely soups with veggies, lentils, and beans for dinner (I love soup! But I’m not going to have a bread roll with it.) I’m also going to swap white wine for red. I prefer white, but red’s better for you! And I’ll just have one 5oz glass rather than two (or sometimes three) of white most nights a week!
I’m going to be sensible about it. The plan is to lose 1 kilo a week (that’s 2.2 lbs), each week for ten weeks. That seems doable, right? I’ve made a chart, and I’m going to weigh myself every Sunday. So by mid-November, the aim is to be ten kilos lighter. This would bring me within what I should be for my BMI, and it would be the lightest I’ve been for… I don’t know… years!
We also recently bought a treadmill, because I make excuses about going out for walks if the weather’s bad and I'm never going to join a gym. So the plan is to walk every day for thirty minutes (not run. I don’t want two black eyes…) And in the summer, I’m going to swim more, too.
I’m hoping that by writing about it here, it will help me stick to it. Not thinking about it as a diet, but thinking of it as a change of eating plan and an acceptance of this next phase of life will hopefully help too.
Have you ever successfully changed the way you eat? Or have you lost weight and kept it off? Any secrets I should know about? I don’t mean fad diets, but genuine ways to keep that weight down? Tell me your secrets!
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