Over the last few years I have been introduced to something new, namely being overweight. In my teens, twenties and for most of my thirties, I only had to watch an exercise video to lose weight, so this is a bizarre new life experience and one I’m not overly keen on. After having my second child (to be clear I am not blaming him), I have steadily put on more and more weight and have finally decided that I need to do something about it. The BMI Calculator quite gleefully tells me in big blue capital letters that I am indeed OVERWEIGHT, so I need a plan. I consider that I have 2 options:
- Grow 4 inches taller
- Lose 2 stone
Now, initially I was quite keen to go with option 1, as I would love to be 5 ft 7, however, I stopped growing around 23 years ago, so this is somewhat of a longshot.
Therefore I am left with option 2; lose 2 stone. I decided to do what I think most people in my situation do, and spent an entire day eating, drinking tea and searching the internet for quick weight loss fixes because I really don’t want to put too much time and effort into this and ideally would like to lose 2 stone in the next week. What I found was literally hundreds of diet programmes promising me quick and easy weight loss, including the 5:2 diet, the Atkins diet, Weight Watchers, Slimmers World, the NHS diet, hypnosis, and my personal favourite, the science based diet, you know based on ‘real’ science… These are my favourite because not only do they quote science stuff at you, but to back up their claims they link to their own articles that are not actually based on science! Amazing stuff.
Having looked at these diets, I am not impressed. Firstly anything to do with calorie counting is out, I tried it, created a spreadsheet and everything, but I just cannot get the hang of it. Secondly, if the plan involves going to the gym, I’m out. I have no problem with martial arts, jogging, walking, skipping etc., but i cannot stand gyms. Thirdly, if I have to buy the book/DVD, it’s not happening. There’s only so much I can stand of the before pictures of overweight people looking sad and the after pictures of the happy thin photoshopped alternative, especially if that person is a celebrity that wouldn’t know overweight if it slapped them round the face. So I’m going to go with the old tried and tested method of ‘Eat Less, Do More’.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. For most of my life I have eaten anything I want to and do as much or as little exercise as I wanted to, so this is a huge lifestyle change. But I think the key is doing something that is easy to monitor such as (much) smaller portion sizes, don’t skip meals (to avoid snacking on junk food), and snacks comprised of either fruit or veggies. Of course Thursday’s half a huge pepperoni pizza with a stuffed cheese crust and 3 glasses of wine doesn’t count because it was Question Time, and the rage alone burns more calories than a 3 hour run.
The exercise I’ve been doing for the last 2 months of walking on average 2 miles per day and doing 3 hours of martial arts per week has only seen me gain another 2lbs (even though Google Fit tells me that I’m frequently more active than 85% of Edinburgh), so clearly that is not enough. Another quick internet search tells me that I’m not getting to the optimum time of 20 minutes high intensity cardio (i.e. I’m walking too bloody slowly) for the required 5 times per week and, on top of that, I’m not doing enough strength training (to gain muscle). I have therefore introduced jogging 3 times per week and skipping, press ups, squats, punching the wall bag etc. at home a couple of times a week to supplement this exercise regime and ensure I am ticking all the boxes.
A good friend of mine (who is much younger and thinner) has tried to convince me to try climbing which would be great for strength training. At the moment I feel that trying to haul my oversized backside up the wall of a cliff face might not be the best idea. However, it’s definitely something to think about when I’ve lost my desired 2 stone.
I am now approaching the end of my first week of my new eating and exercise regime and I feel tired and fat, but I’m sure if I persevere I will feel energised and thinner very soon, and I’ll look just like the fresh faced celebrities that lose 2 stone in about 2 days, albeit considerably older and more red and blotchy from all the exercise (maybe this is why they use photoshop).
I am more than open to any suggestions on this, so please feel free to help me if you can. Please also bear in mind that I am sure I am premenopausal (night sweats, gaining weight around the middle, and so on) and therefore a little prone to mood swings, so try to keep the suggestions nice so I don’t end up as a little ball of rage again…