When I was young, it seemed as if I could eat absolutely anything and I would never put on any weight at all. When I started in my first job, there were a pair of metric scales in the workshop and I would weight myself quite regularly. I was always 60 Kgs or, in old money, 9 stone and 7 pounds (132 pounds). That was a bit skinny for my height of 5 feet 9 inches.
As I got into my twenties, I managed to gain weight. It was when I started to eat fish and chips for my lunch and then also eat a full dinner in the evenings. In addition, I would snack on sweet things like biscuits and cakes and chocolate whenever I felt like it. In my thirties, I was beginning to become a little overweight but my active life, that involved running seven miles most days, managed to help me balance things reasonably well.
By the time I reached forty, I was overweight. Not a lot, but definitely carrying a stone or two too much and since then – for the past twenty years – I seem to have been struggling to get that couple of stone off, permanently. Today, I am embarking on another campaign to shed that excess weight – and keep it off.
From past attempts at both putting weight on and keeping it off, I realise that any kind of short term effort is flawed and that’s why diets fail. I tried the Slimming World diet – the one with red and green days – with great success in terms of shedding the weight. I actually lost the excess two stones in about six months.
The problem occurred when I came off the diet and tried to resume a ‘normal’ lifestyle. All the weight I had lost went straight back on. Thing is, after eating jacket potatoes (with baked beans but without butter) every day for six months, I really couldn’t look another jacket potato in the eye. Even today, many years later, I will rarely choose jacket spuds when out for lunch although I have recently rediscovered that I do actually enjoy them.
Over the years, I have also discovered that I am not very good at cutting down on things. I don’t know why, but the idea of restricting my intake of something to just one or two glasses or portions per week just doesn’t sit well with me. I would rather cut something out of my diet completely than to cut down. So I realise that any changes I make to affect my weight need to be changes I am prepared to make permanently.
From past experience, I realise that there may not be many changes I will need to make to start losing weight. But, if I decide to give something up, I need to be prepared to give it up completely and to do that forever. The same is true about anything I decide to add to my diet and my lifestyle; I need to be prepared to take such changes on permanently.
The idea of displacing unhealthy choices by making more positive, healthy choices is something that appeals to me. If I choose to eat vegetarian meals more often, for example, then I will naturally be displacing a certain amount of meat from my diet for example. So that’s the kind of thing I am going to start with. Rather than thinking about cutting out things, I am going to do the exact opposite and try to consume more.
Here are some of the changes I am going to try:
- Eat More Fruit
- Eat More Vegetables
- Drink More Water
My thinking is that by simply concentrating on consuming more of these healthy things, I will naturally displace other things. As I said, more vegetables translates into consuming less meat. Similarly, more fruit means less unhealthy snacking and more water means less tea, coffee and squash. To begin with, I will just focus on these three things and will try this for a week to see what happens.
In deciding to consume more of these things, I will not be focussing on cutting anything out of my diet. If I want to eat meat, I’ll do it; if I want to eat some chocolate, I will. In changing my diet, I am not trying to focus on stopping anything at all. But what I think may happen is that, by consciously choosing to drink more water, for example, I will simply feel a lot less like drinking tea and coffee. If I drink less of those drinks, I will consume less milk and sugar. In addition, I will not be tempted to eat the kind of unhealthy snack that might easily accompany a cup of tea – perhaps a choccie biscuit or two.
So, that’s my plan: eat more, weigh less and, of course, I’ll let you know how it goes.