Monthly Archives: January 2014

A Brief Affair; Not Marriage

Did that quote get your attention??

It got mine and it’s not quite what you think it is.

The other day we were watching a program about people who had successfully lost lots of weight, only to put it back on again, and again and again etc and end up weighing even more.

I think the program was called “Got Thin,  then Fat again” and it was looking at the reasons “Diets” fail.

Many of us who weigh more that we would like to have got this way due to a lifetime of eating habits which are difficult to break and the phrase “A brief affair; not Marriage” was used in relation to our obsession with trying the latest diet fad, hoping for a quick fix without really committing to a long term “relationship” with a healthier lifestyle that will over a long period of time will see a sustainable improvement in our health and fitness.  We starve ourselves for a couple of weeks and then binge on all the things that we have been “deprived” of.

A friend who is also battling to regain control over her health said something like;

It has taken me all my life to get to the size I am now, it is therefore going to take the rest of my life to get it down to a healthy level and keep it there.

In other words; a short term “diet”  will fail but a long term lifestyle change commitment will see a gradual result which will stay with us.

In many cases a couple of small changes can make a big difference.

People beat themselves up saying “I’ve only lost 1lb this week”, but if you do that every week that adds up to 4 stone in a year!.

We beat ourselves up for “breaking the diet” by having that piece of cake or chocolate and then give up all attempts to continue.

In the grand scheme of things, it won’t make any difference if we say “Ok, I shouldn’t really have had that, It was a nice treat but I’m not going to make a habit of it.  I’ll be a little more careful over the next few days and try and be a bit more active and it will be burned off”

The “experts” say that 3500 calories equate to about 1lb in weight, so to lose weight we need to burn off 3500 more calories than we consume for each 1lb.  This sounds a big challenge but when you break this down into 500 calories a day equates to 1lb a week adding up to 4 stone a year, it becomes more manageable. 500 calories equate to two full fat latte coffees a day, or two chocolate bars or a 5 mile walk.

So instead of trying for a “quick fix affair”, why not commit to a marriage with your health and make some small changes.

Eat smaller portions (use a smaller plate and your brain is tricked into thinking you have a big meal)

Don’t have that chocolate bar after exercising, you are probably putting back in more calories than you have burned off.

Put the chocolates, sweets and biscuits in a plain airtight box away in the cupboard.  Research has shown that if it is visible and to hand, we eat up to 6 times more than if we have to get up and go and get it and we are more aware of how much we are eating.  We did this with our Christmas treats and presents allowing ourselves 1 shortbread biscuit with our afternoon drink and one chocolate after dinner.   That way we are not feeling totally deprived and find that we appreciate them more (if you can control the initial urge to have more than one – try – it does pass) and our presents will last until February.

At the end of the day, it is down to a simple mathematical formula:

Calories Consumed > Calories Burned = Weight Gain

Calories Consumed < Calories Burned – Weight Loss

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I am NOT “going on a diet”

So today, being January 1st is the day when traditionally most people make resolutions.

For some it will be “to get fit”, others will stop smoking and millions I expect will “go on a diet” only to have given up by next Monday when work resumes.

On checking my diary, I was pleased to note that I have started 2014 exactly 1 stone (14lbs) lighter than I started 2013 which I was very pleased about as over the last 6 – 8 weeks I have not been able to stick to my normal routine having been occupied with some family matters and regained about half a stone from my lowest weight in 2013 (and in fact for about 25 years) but the day after Boxing day I began being a little more careful about what I eat and despite being away for a few days managed to drop back down a couple of pounds, so to finish up at the end of the year still lighter I think is an achievement.

So on to 2014.

Do I want to lose more weight? YES.

Am I “going on a Diet”? NO.

Do I want to get fitter? YES

Am I rushing down to the GYM?  NO

For a start, my budget no longer allows for a gym membership (especially as I don’t really enjoy it) even though there is a swimming pool and gym at the end of my road.  So if the current weather allows I shall be back out walking.  My pedometer tracker tells me that I walked 2500km during 2013 (approx 1500 miles) just walking into town or about 3-4 miles every day. Even with the English weather I very rarely had days where I was unable to go out but the forecast at the moment is not good so the waterproofs will have to be put to use as I will still have chores and commitments which dictate that I walk whatever.

If the weather is nice and I’m feeling energetic I shall get my bike out.  It’s not worth using it most days as by the time I’ve togged myself up and got the bike out etc. I would be almost at my destinations walking so the bike is reserved for a bit of an adventure.  Failing that: housework always beckons which is also good exercise.

A far as “going on a Diet” is concerned; I will simply return to just being a little more careful about what I eat again (avoiding some of the comfort eating quick and easy meals we’ve had over the past few weeks) and ensure that I cook the healthy meals that we have become used to which are filling but low fat and gradually over time the pounds will slip away.

This will take a little planning and organising but is not difficult and saves time and money as well as enjoying the health benefits.

We shall still eat the nice biscuits and chocolates we were given for Christmas, but they will be carefully rationed (one a day) meaning that we will be able to enjoy them right through til February and won’t feel deprived.