I’m sorry I’ve not been around for a while. Since I last posted on this site I have had something of an epiphany. What I have learned about obesity and dieting as part of my masters has completely changed my life. And not in the way I was thinking.
In honour of the new me, I have launched a business called Never Diet Again UK. You can check out the website here. I’ll be offering private consultations, seminars, and residential retreats for people with a history of weight or eating issues. Never Diet Again will focus on health, fitness, self esteem, body image, and normalising the relationship with food.
And to go with my new business, I have also started up a new blog. Please come by and check it out. It’s called Done Dieting. And it’s at http://neverdietagainuk.blogspot.com/.
Oh, and feel free to come check out the Never Diet Again UK page on Facebook too for all the latest news.
Hope to see you there.
If you’ve read the previous post, and the comments below it, you’ll know that I’m into setting monthly goals at the moment. I’m going to go with three for this month – one to try and break my sweet tooth habit, and two to keep me exercising whilst increasing both the amount, maintaining the variety, and addressing particular problem areas (CV fitness and inclines/steps) but hopefully without making it a chore. So here goes:
- No sweets, chocolates, biscuits (=cookies) or cakes
- Minimum 10 miles per week, to be achieved in any combination of walking, jogging or cycling (something new for me)
- At least one dance session, one body-mind session, one interval training session, and one hill training session per week
From a compliance point of view, I’m going for 90% again. So no more than 3 ‘cheats’ allowed for the food one; 31 days in the month so 4 1/2 weeks, or 45 miles. Need to get at least 40 1/2 then; and using same calculations, 18 sessions per month so missing no more than 2 over the next 31 days. Simples.
As for my reward, I’m giving it some thought. Any ideas?
It has been 3 months since my last post and a hell of a lot has changed in that time. On the other hand, some things are same ol’ same ol’. I’m not really sure where to begin to be honest. I guess I’m going to have to catch up over a series of posts.
But there have been a couple of epiphanies over that time.
I guess I’ll start with my monthly habit forming exercise. I set myself a goal a month ago to change two behaviours for a month. The first was to walk, or jog/walk, at least a mile, first thing every single morning. The second was to wean myself off sweeties, with chewy sweets bought on my commute a particular weakness. I was aiming for 90% compliance, or no more than 3 slips in the 31 days.
Well tomorrow is day 31. Astonishingly, I have walked or jog/walked a mile on 25 of the 30 days so far. Two of those days I was so ill that I was bed bound. The other three were days when I could have done the walk but didn’t. Tomorrow is the last day and there is no way in hell I’m going to miss it tomorrow. In fact, I might try and beat my record time – more on that tomorrow. Now, to be honest, whilst I started out doing it before breakfast every morning, it certainly didn’t stay that way for long. Some days I walked at lunchtime, some days after work. Some days late at night. But I did it. Does that count? If you’re reading this, what do you think? Technically, I missed 5 days, not 3. Should my 2 sick days be included in my cheat days? And should my not doing the walk first thing matter? Bearing in mind was that having done it a couple of days in a row I was amazed at what a good mood it put me in for the rest of the day, and that was the whole idea in the first place…. Comments please!
The sweetie thing I did even better. Kind of. I found it quite easy to avoid my favourite chewy sweets, only slipping once. But I compensated, when I wanted something sweet, by eating something, anything, that wasn’t a chewy sweet: chocolate, crisps, cake, ice cream…. probably doing worse things to my diet and blood sugar than if I’d had the sweets. Still, I was specific in that goal – I wanted to stop eating the chews and I did. The compensating with other crap is a lesson learned the hard way. I knew early on that sweets weren’t the only problem food in my diet, but I hadn’t wanted to try and change too much too quickly. So I’m going to give myself that one, and ignore the six pounds I’ve gained this month! More on that too in the coming weeks.
The reward I promised myself if I achieved my goal was a tester skiing and snowboarding lesson at a local snowdome.
So what do you think readers? Do I get my reward? Or do I have to be firmer with myself and try again this month?
Well, been keeping track of my goals this week. A quick glance will show you that eating has been reasonable, exercise so-so, and everything else, well…..see for yourself.
Food first: the two missed dinners were when I came home from work and went straight to bed without tea! This working for a living is tough!! The non-compliant food on Wednesday was when hubby bought scones and clotted cream at the supermarket. I had one. I didn’t enjoy it. And I’ve ignored the remainder of the pack for the rest of the week. But the last couple of days, it’s been sugar cravings morning, noon and night. And then today I realised. TTOM. Like ruddy clockwork. I need to find a better way of dealing with these cravings. If you count the ticks – 21 out of a possible 28, or 75%
Exercise: Good bit of walking but been generally quite listless this week. Don’t know if it’s the hormones, the hayfever, or something else. I did do one resistance workout but didn’t push myself to do a second. I also didn’t push myself to do the intervals I’d wanted to start up again this week. My CV fitness has taken a real hit and I need to do something to kick start it. Counting the ticks, there were eight, or two hours’ worth.
Everything else: hmmm.
Goals for this week:
Just had my first official weekly weigh in for three weeks, and up less than half a pound from where I left off. Although this is time that could have usefully been spent losing another three to five pounds, more or less staying the same is a lot better than I deserve. I have been engaging in the classic dieter’s downfall of ‘well, if I’m not following my plan, I may as well enjoy myself’ and indulging in all the wrong foods: chocolate, take aways, more chocolate, crisps, and chocolate.
Anyhow, have been back on plan now since Monday. I know it’s only two days but am feeling virtuous all the same. Tracking success really does help. Just putting those little ticks in my Joe’s Goals goal chart is so rewarding. Funny really, but I guess all that childhood conditioning means that even as adults, we still like to get the little gold star to show that our achievements have been recognised.
Actually, have just reread the ‘How much weight should I be losing’ posts below and decided to crunch the numbers. In the 15 weeks since the start of the year when I weighed in at 221.6 pounds, I have lost 13.2 pounds, or 6% of my starting weight – an amount that should make a real difference to my health. That works out at 0.4% per week, on average. So according to PN, this could be better but is nevertheless on schedule to produce jaw dropping results if I keep it up. I know what I need to do!
A few days ago I was interviewed about my weight loss history for a PhD study. One of the things she asked me about was when I was successfully losing or maintaining weight, what things did I attribute my success to. It made me realise that despite knowing what kind of things worked for me in the past, I’ve stopped doing them.
So am going to go back to basics – make small weekly changes, concentrate on upping good behaviours, rather than reducing bad ones, and fill out a goals sheet for motivation. I’ve been playing with following a low-carb diet at Tesco Diets, but for the last few weeks I haven’t been sticking to it. So I have updated my Joe’s Goals account to include a tick box for each of my three meals and one snack per day, and for the next couple of weeks I’m going to concentrate on compliance.
I’ve also added boxes for exercise and sorting out stuff at home, both in 15 minute blocks – baby steps. But the main thing is sticking to my eating plan. There’s no point in trying to fix a plan that I’m not sticking to in the first place! 90% compliance would mean no more than 3 eating opportunities per week that were off plan, so that’s what I’m aiming for.
PN, or Precision Nutrition to the uninitiated, is a scientific, restricted carb, weight-management and lifestyle programme. The guy who developed it has a PhD in the field and really knows his stuff. Plus he’s put together a top-notch team of nutrition and exercise experts and coaches everyone from national sports teams to joe blogs. I have tried PN, and to be honest, it didn’t really agree with me or my lifestyle, but I have nothing but respect for the guy and I know people who have had amazing results using the programme.
In fact, over the last 3 years, nearly 6000 men and women have successfully completed the PN online fat-loss programme. Each season they have a big body transformation contest, where the people with the most inspiring transformations can win big prizes. They also keep detailed data about how people are getting on, if they’re following the diet and exercise plans and so on. Based on data from people who did at least 80% of what they were supposed to, AND ended up as finalists in the $50,000 contests, they have calculated what kind of weight loss can be expected from people who are doing everything right. Remember, these are not the world-class athletes. These are everyday schmos who need to lose weight and get in shape. Some of them have had incredible success, but surprisingly, when the numbers were crunched, the week to week weight loss that led to these fantastic body transformations were a lot more modest than you’d expect. And here it is – what you could expect from the men and women who do what they were supposed to and had phenomenal results:
* Men should be losing 0.678% of their body weight each week.
* Women should be losing 0.678% of their body weight each week.
Now these are average weight losses over the 24 week programme. Some weeks were more, some weeks were even less, or nothing at all. Even the odd gain here and there. But over six months, to do something amazing for your body, the average weekly weight loss is just over half a percent of your body weight. Now remember, this is for people who were getting personal weekly coaching and following a cutting edge exercise and nutrition plan. But even so, there are some big variations:
For example, on average, Lean Eating male finalists typically lose between 0.3% and 1.2% of body weight per week to end up with jaw-dropping transformations. And Lean Eating female finalists typically lose between 0.2% and 1.5% of body weight per week to end up with jaw-dropping transformations.
Anyhow, they have done some statistical number crunching and come up with a formula that should give ordinary people a pretty good idea of what to aim for. And those nice people at PN have kindly put a calculator on their site so that you can work out what kind of weight loss you can expect if you are on a sustainable healthy eating and fitness plan. Using their calculator you can find out what your average weekly weight loss should be, and also, how long it will take you to reach your goal if you are following a sensible plan. And without further ado, here it is:
If you scroll up the page on their website you can also read more about how they came up with the numbers and see some of the before and after pictures of their contest finalists. You’ll also find links for the PN programme in case you want to find out more about it. I haven’t added a link here because I only recommend programmes that I like myself. But if you’re interested….
For the record, I asked it how long it would take me to go from 15 stone to 10 stone, and the figure it came up with was a surprising 63 weeks! And when I asked it how much I could expect to lose in 4 weeks (you can put in any time you like), the answer was 5 pounds. Remember, this is based on real numbers from people who have done amazing things.
So the take home message is: Don’t give up if you don’t lose half a stone every two weeks. Focus on the big picture. Make it sustainable. Make it long-term. And you will get there. Best of luck.