Tips for weightloss success

I have been asked many times recently about my success and how I have achieved my loss (now almost 5 stone – 31kg), so I thought I would share!

I’ve used 5:2 fasting as just ONE of the tools to assist me during my journey. Basically for two days a week, I limit my calorie intake to 500 calories. I go from the night before a fast day to dinner time the following day (around 5pm) just drinking fruit tea and water, and then eat one meal that is around 400 calories. This usually involves lots of vegetables and some protein like chicken or fish.

I do ensure that I stick to my allocated weight loss calories for the whole week though, so… 2 x 500 calories on two days and the remaining 6,700 calories distributed amongst the other 5 days. The allocated calories are low as I am close to my goal weight and because I am so short (4ft 9 inches – 145cm).

I also exercise really hard on as many days as I am able to, usually 1.5 to 2.5 hours , and earning between 700 – 1400 calories each time (measured using a heart rate monitor).

I don’t eat meat often, have more or less cut out pasta, bread, rice and replaced with low calorie alternatives (courgette spaghetticauliflower rice, crisp breads). When I do eat those things, I only have a small portion (50g dry weight of pasta and rice, 50g of homemade ciabatta bread).

I don’t really eat many sweet treats (but do occasionally!), even after two and a half years of weight loss, I log what I eat every single day and still weigh all my food to enable me to work out how many calories I am consuming. I cook most of my meals from scratch using fresh ingredients and lots of vegetables and search out low calorie recipes which I adapt.

I have more or less given up alcohol…. which as well as being full of calories (half a bottle of red wine = 330 calories), have made eating out a special treat that we enjoy once in a while rather than planning to include indulging in food every time we leave the house.

We rarely have a take-away meal.  I now just see these as far too calorific and usually full of fat or MSGs.

I have devoted a LOT of time to this, more or less made it a part-time job, and spend the best part of most days exercising, planning meals and cooking meals.

Finally, I have just carried on going even when things get tough!  I have been following this way of life for over 130 weeks so my weight loss averages less than half a pound – 225g,

I do hope this helps anyone who struggles! If you look at my weight loss graph, there have been blips along the way, but I just keep on going!!!


 

Weight maintenance (Part 1)

So a big part of all this weight loss has to be maintaining, right?  In some ways, losing the weight will probably turn out to be the easy part.

Becoming overweight isn’t something that happens overnight.  It happens over weeks, months, years of bad eating habits.  Now that I have successfully lost 4.5 stone, I can look back and understand why I got to the situation I found myself in almost three years ago.

I am disabled – but that in itself doesn’t give me a reason to be overweight.  It meant that because my mobility is restricted, my walking, my ability to exercise – then I needed to eat less calories (many less calories!) than my two younger, taller, physically fit sisters.  They are both a foot taller than me.  I’m only short because my femurs are shortened.  If I hadn’t been damaged by Thalidomide, there is a good chance I would have been a 5ft 9, long legged fit bird!  By “fit” I mean athletic, rather than attractive…  they are both!

My sisters both lead very “physical” existences, to the point of being a bit excessive.  Not that I knock that, and they’ve even considered if perhaps their wish to participate so fully in everything physical is because of my disability.  We’ll never know.  Anyhow, both aged 48 and 50, they enjoy visiting the gym, cycling a 9 mile round trip to work, water based activities, running, walking, mountain climbing, trekking, etc, etc.  They both enjoy a real physical challenge – there is no doubt about this!

Me and my two “bigger” little sisters, aged in our late twenties.


It may just be the company I keep, but I don’t think many of my friends of similar ages are quite as “sporty”!

Back to me.  At school, I was encouraged to join in all the various sporting activities on offer.  Tennis, rounders, badminton, gymnastics, athletics….  The school I attended cannot be faulted for ensuring that I got to have a go at all of these things and more!  Sadly, my involvement alongside my pals served to make me feel a bit of a physical failure.  I mean, having the high jump bar lowered to about 50cm and being tasked with virtually stepping over the damned thing did little for my self-esteem.  

I was spared having to endure some of the longer distances when it came to running, but I was forced to run the 100m and 200m.  How demeaning.  I’d only just left the starting line whilst my classmates were being cheered over the finishing post!

I did manage to hit the ball once in rounders.  I was so shocked by this event that I forgot what I was supposed to do next!

The poor girl who partnered me for tennis and badminton spent the whole of the hour picking up stray balls and shuttlecocks!

So, I have learned I either have to (1) move a lot more and a lot more regularly and (2) eat less.  Ideally finding a good balance of the two.

Exercise is a bit of an issue for me.  Until two years ago, I believed I really didn’t like exercise!  Now I’ve discovered that I do enjoy exercise, as long as I can do what I want to do and fit it around my life.  A good “workout” leaves me feeling virtuous, alive, in less pain, able to move much more easily – and – best of all, it earns me some calories so that I can enjoy occasional treats and meals out.

I haven’t exercised during the recent hot weather spell we’ve enjoyed, but that ended about two weeks ago.  I now am using the excuse that I have an extremely heavy 11ft long 5 barred wooden gate leaning up against my treadmill and across the centre of my “gym”.  But the guy is coming to instal the gate on Saturday at 8am….

I know it’s just a question of getting back into it again, and I am absolutely sure that I will do.  Far from hating getting out of my bed on dark Winter mornings and spending an hour or two in the cold air of the garage, I enjoy being able to get my day going early and working up a bit of a sweat ahead of my shower.  I especially enjoy my weekend workouts, when my showered is closely followed by a calorific and enjoyable cooked “brunch”.





Reaching my goal weight….

August 2011 (around 14 stone and size 24) and goal weight.   September 2014 9st 7lb and a size 14/16.

Well today, I did it! After 2 years and 5 months (130 weeks) I have reached and exceeded
my goal weight of 9 st 7 lbs!

I’ve lost a total of 4 and a half stone (63lbs).

My start weight at the end of February 2012 was 14 stone and I was a size 24.

I am now 9 st 6.6lb and size 16.

I am only 4ft 9!

It’s been hard work, but well worth everything!

To celebrate, I put on a bikini I had bought a couple of months ago, and had some shots taken.  Looking at the picture of me in my bikini, I found I was self-critical of what I saw.  In my head I saw a sleek, slim body.  The picture showed loose skin and wobbly bits.  However, I stuck the picture on FaceBook and shared it with the world, and the more I looked at it (alongside the “before” picture, which was REALLY unflattering) the more I realised just what a remarkable feat I have achieved!  I have shifted the equivalent of 9 newborn babies!!!

I was in Southsea today collecting my Mum from a weeks holiday.  I saw many, many obese people – like myself – enjoying a portion of fish and chips.  However, my fish and chips was a reward for my years of hard work, and was also the first take away fish and chips I’d eaten during my weight loss journey.

They tasted WONDERFUL……

And now the really hard work begins.  Maintaining my new weight.

I plan to try and get to 9 stone and then to maintain my weight between 9 and 9 and a half stone.  It sounds easy, but I am sure it will be a challenge!

5:2 Fasting

Two of the vegetables that have really proved invaluable to me on my weight loss journey….. Cauliflower and courgette.

Not two vegetables that may immediately strike you as being particularly exciting or tasty… but WAIT!!!

caulirice
Cauliflower Rice

I first discovered cauliflower rice in the Summer of 2012.  I read a post somewhere on line about it and decided to have a go at making a batch and trying it in place of regular rice.

So the method is:  Approx 150g of cauliflower.  Wash, break into florets and place into a food processor with a metal cutting blade.  Use the “pulse” setting on the machine to chop the cauliflower until it resembles rice grains.

Place cauliflower rice into a microwave dish and cover.  Cook on full power in a microwave for about 2½ minutes.  Serve in place of rice with curry, chilli, chicken supreme, etc.

The calorie saving is phenomenal!  150g of cauliflower rice = 46 calories.  150g of dry rice = 523 calories!  In reality, you are likely to eat about 80g of rice, but even that would be 280 calories, so six times more calories for a portion.

Unbelievable as it may seem, the “rice” doesn’t actually taste too much like cauliflower.  Served with something with a strong flavour and a sauce, it instead absorbs the flavours and works very well as a substitute.  Excellent too for anyone following a gluten free diet

courgetti
Courgetti

The second discovery was even better!  Courgette, cut into fine strips using a Julienne peeler and then stir fried for about three minutes in a wok to provide an excellent alternative to spaghetti!  Such a great alternative that I actually PREFER the texture (slightly crunchy) as well as the fact that after a meal I’m not left with that “bloated” feeling that rice and pasta sometimes leave me with.

So calorie savings here?  200g of courgette, julienned and cooked with ½ tbsp of olive oil = 86 calories.  Compared to 200g of cooked spaghetti = 238 calories.  So two and-a-half times more calories.

Courgetti and Cauliflower Rice

 
curry
Sweet potato, aubergine and azuki bean curry
with cauliflower rice, half a nan bread and natural yoghurt

Two of the vegetables that have really proved invaluable to me on my weight loss journey….. Cauliflower and courgette.

Not two vegetables that may immediately strike you as being particularly exciting or tasty… but WAIT!!!

I first discovered cauliflower rice in the Summer of 2012.  I read a post somewhere on line about it and decided to have a go at making a batch and trying it in place of regular rice.

So the method is:  Approx 150g of cauliflower.  Wash, break into florets and place into a food processor with a metal cutting blade.  Use the “pulse” setting on the machine to chop the cauliflower until it resembles rice grains.

Place cauliflower rice into a microwave dish and cover.  Cook on full power in a microwave for about 2½ minutes.  Serve in place of rice with curry, chilli, chicken supreme, etc.

The calorie saving is phenomenal!  150g of cauliflower rice = 46 calories.  150g of dry rice = 523 calories!  In reality, you are likely to eat about 80g of rice, but even that would be 280 calories, so six times more calories for a portion.

Unbelieveable as it may seem, the “rice” doesn’t actually taste too much like cauliflower.  Served with something with a strong flavour and a sauce, it instead absorbs the flavours and works very well as a substitute.  Excellent too for anyone following a gluten free diet.

courgette
“Courgetti” cooking in the wok

The second discovery was even better!  Courgette, cut into fine strips using a Julienne peeler and then stir fried for about three minutes in a wok to provide an excellent alternative to spaghetti!  Such a great alternative that I actually PREFER the texture (slightly crunchy) as well as the fact that after a meal I’m not left with that “bloated” feeling that rice and pasta sometimes leave me with.

So calorie savings here?  200g of courgette, julienned and cooked with ½ tbsp of olive oil = 86 calories.  Compared to 200g of cooked spaghetti = 238 calories.  So two and-a-half times more calories.

My Julienne peeler is a handheld device, dirt cheap (from Amazon) and can be stuck in the dishwasher following use.  It has a deadly blade, so I always use a fork to pin the courgette down to a chopping board whilst I slice away.

peeler
The “OXO” Julienne Peeler

The great thing about courgette spaghetti is being able to add things like prawns, strips of ham, low fat flavoured cheese (such as Philadelphia with garlic and herbs) and “hey presto” you have a very quick, tasty and nutritional low calorie dinner ready in minutes!

I use these two versatile vegetables again and again, especially on a “Fasting” day when I need to be really economical with my calories.

Try them and see what you think!

 

Cinema Snacking

20090515-popcorn.jpg

When did snacking at the cinema become compulsory?  

A post on a discussion board today has prompted me to give this a little thought.  The post asked readers which low calorie snacks they could enjoy whilst taking their children to the cinema.

The truth is, if you are going to buy your snacks there, there are no low calorie snacks.  The following nutritional information is taken from the Cineworld website:

Large sweet popcorn                                  1,005 calories
Small sweet popcorn                                     458 calories
Regular rollover nachos                                 539 calories
Large hotdog                                                 406 calories
Large Nachos                                                 808 calories
Large Coke/Sprite/Fanta                                407 calories 
Large Tango Ice Blast Bubblegum (blue)          900 calories

I am pleased to say that I have broken this “habit” as I realised that was all it was for me.  I now sit smugly at the back of the cinema watching people juggle their large buckets of popcorn, their flimsy gallon paper cup of pop and do my very best to enjoy the film above the rustle of thousands of collective calories being consumed.

Many of those consuming these “treats” will return home to dinner, a take-away or possibly travel on to a pizza restaurant and eat twice as many calories again!

Breaking the “movie = snacking” cycle was not a difficult one for me.

BBC News Website – Front page!!

I appeared on the front page of the BBC News website today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-27927280

This sparked a flurry of messages to my FaceBook account.  Mostly quite complimentary, but one from someone who was complimenting my…. physique… shall we say!Still, a compliment is a compliment!!

Embedded image permalink


There clearly are lots of people out there, both disabled and non-disabled, who have been inspired by the fact that I have been able to achieve what I have done.  I hope that I got across that it has been jolly hard work.  It’s not all be plain sailing!

My only fear now is that in the way the story was reported, the folks from the Disability Living Allowance Department are going to be getting in touch, as the article makes it sound as though I have no mobility issues at all!

If you saw me walking on my treadmill, I can assure you that it bears no resemblance to the way I walk.  I am always hanging on to one or t’other side of the handrail on the treadmill, virtually leaning on it to steady myself and stay on board!  My exercise initially was about earning more calories to eat.  But I quickly realised that by regularly stretching, bending, twisting and MOVING… my body feels so much better!  My pain is reduced, my movements are easier and there is no doubt that I am able to manage much of my self care with less pain, discomfort and breathlessness!