Okay, so I forgot to tell you all that I had a little moment of achievement yesterday – so I’ll share it now before I get started! I haven’t been ‘out’ in public for ages…I get into my car, go to the horses / Slimming World / hospital appointments and this is it. My other half does the shopping whilst I wait in the car – as I’m still too embarrassed about my size and worried about people making comments. But yesterday, whilst babysitting the kids, I went to the park! It might have been a quiet park, in a village location, but there was another child there with her grandad and I still got out of the car to play with the kids! It was a real milestone for me – and the kids loved it…my nephew was thrilled that I was pushing him on the swings and playing on the choo choo train with him. This is what it is all about for me – being able to claw my life back, slowly but surely, and having fun with my family. I was standing up for a good ten minutes – I couldn’t manage more than a few seconds before losing 10st – and was actually out in public without being in pain, or being a sweaty heaving mess! Happy doesn’t quite describe it; my other half was thrilled and took a little video on his phone…one day, I’ll share it with you.
Today’s big news is that I have been published by the Guardian online – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/21/diet-weight-loss-readers-respond – excited! They were looking for six people to comment about their struggles with obesity…and had thousands of submissions, and chose little old me! Have a read and let me know what you think; it was edited, but I didn’t expect it not to be…I think they used my opening and closing paragraph only!
As you all know, I am a proper Slimming World convert. I love the plan and I am so thankful for the lovely consultants I have had the pleasure of knowing – if it weren’t for them I don’t think I would have kept going back…I am the epitome of a serial rejoiner! Now that I am over 10st lighter life is getting a little bit easier, but as I still have a huge amount of weight to lose I want to ensure that I am continually checking that what I am doing is contributing towards this loss – I don’t want to slip into bad habits.
I was pointed towards the Slimming World website to have a look at an article that aimed to respond to the myths that surround the plan. You know the kind of stuff – being told you haven’t eaten enough and that’s why you’ve not lost weight; it seems strange and unthinkable that this could be the case. So I thought I would take a closer look at some of these myths and see if I agree. Now before I get started I must point out that Slimming World have been in business for longer than I have roamed the earth; they also have teams of experts who know their stuff. Sometimes however, I do like to challenge and occasionally I have been proved right…so get ready for Weight Loss Bitch vs Slimming World!!
Here we go…
I’ve been told that I haven’t lost weight because I haven’t eaten enough – could this be true?
Slimming World respond by saying – “If you’ve ever heard this said about Food Optimising, it’s not quite what they meant. Generally, if you’re not losing weight, by eating more Free Food (remembering that all-important 1/3 of a plate of Superfree Food at breakfast, lunch and dinner) you’ll kick your weight loss back into gear… because you’ll be filling up more on this super-satisfying food, and turning to your Syns less.”
Weight Loss Bitch says – “Your body needs at least 1200kcals to exist; to perform basic tasks such as breathing, pumping blood around your body, producing hair, nails and new skin. If you take in less calories than you need, your body will go into what is known as ‘starvation’ mode. When you next eat, regardless of how healthy this food is, rather than process this food – extracting the nutrients and expelling the waste – your body will store it to use when you next ‘starve’ it. So whilst you think you are doing yourself a favour by cutting down the amount of food you eat, you aren’t – you are causing your body confusion! Regular meals, containing a suitable amount of calories, will turn your body into a lean, mean, food-processing machine. Food Optimising encourages you to eat a well balanced diet with enough calories to survive, but less than you need to maintain your weight – with the result being weight loss and not ‘starvation’. Enjoy your Free Food, your Superfree Food, your Healthy Extras and of course, your Syns! But don’t eat until you burst!”
Are couscous cake, Smash pizzas and lasagne-sheet ‘Doritos’ Free?
Slimming World respond by saying – “You might be disappointed to hear that they’re not. Because changing the use of a food can make it easier to over-eat, to protect your weight loss they become Synned. When foods like pasta, rice and grains are used in their original form they’re low in energy density (calories), bulky, appetite-satisfying foods. Pasta, couscous and rice are usually the main ingredient in a meal packed with other Free Foods – giving it sufficient bulk to be satisfying as a meal in itself. However, when ground down, used as flour (like in couscous cake), used as a sauce thickener (like Smash), seasoned crisps (like Doritos) or puréed (like smoothies) they’re often used as additions to a main meal… and on top of your days Syns. It is a very effective way of adding a lot of extra calories in a non-bulky way, and as such would then be counted as Syns.”
Weight Loss Bitch says – “I agree that making things like crisps using sliced potatoes and FryLight, or Doritos by baking cooked and seasoned lasagne sheets, is a tweak. Obviously, it is far healthier to make your own snacks as you know what you’ve put in them. But just consider for a moment how many calories will be in that bowl of crisps you’ve made. For a start, you’ve probably made more crisps than would be in a bag of Walkers. Secondly, you’ve probably made them because you’ve run out of Syns and are craving something that a piece of fruit won’t satisfy. That bowl of crisps still has calories in and, unfortunately, regardless of what diet you are following, calories matter. You will not lose weight if you eat more calories than you use! When you consider that a packet of Walkers is 7 Syns, you can kind of understand why getting into the habit of making your own means that your weight losses could be affected. However, I don’t agree when people say that making a pizza from Smash is a bad thing. After all, I would have the same amount of Smash on-top of a portion of cottage pie as I would use for a pizza base. So my own little rule – just my opinion – is that if it is eaten as part of a meal, then go ahead and enjoy using your creativity to keep the meal healthy and the Syns low. But if you have used your Syns and fancy a snack then perhaps you should enjoy slightly bigger portions of dinner instead! There’s always a caveat…if it’s a choice between a small bowl of homemade crisps or a blow out at the local Chinese, then I’d chose the crisps!! Just keep an eye on things and make sure that you aren’t trying to get too smart…as you could end up being your own saboteur.”
Can my Scan Bran cake really be just 1 Syn per slice?
Slimming World respond by saying – “You’re are an inventive bunch when it comes to finding innovative ways to turn Scan Bran into delicious cakes, nibbles and treats! Discovering a whole cake is just 10 Syns can be too tempting, however we have spotted that a few Scan Bran cake calculations have gone a bit wrong…5 Scan Bran can be counted as 1 Healthy Extra ‘b’ choice or 1 Syn per slice. If you’ve counted some of the Scan Bran you’ve used as a Healthy Extra, it will need counting as Syns once it’s cut up – unless you’re eating the lot! As well as the Scan Bran, most recipes call for cocoa, spread, milk, jam, etc. which all add up. If someone else has made the delicious Scan Bran delight, and you’re not sure of the Syns, ask for a copy of the recipe. They’ll be delighted that you love it so much, and you can feel confident that you’re keeping within your 15 Syns… even with a slice of cake!”
Weight Loss Bitch says – “Why would you make a Scan Bran cake and not want to eat the whole lot?! It is probably the only tasty way to enjoy these little sheets of cardboard sent from goodness knows where to torture us slimmers. On a serious note, it makes sense to Syn it if you’re going to have a slice. On an even more serious note, eating whole cakes is probably why you need to go to Slimming World in the first place! Part of losing weight – and keeping it off – is about learning to break those old habits that got you fat. So perhaps making a whole cake and scoffing the lot isn’t the best of ideas…certainly on a regular basis anyway. Again though, if it’s a choice between walloping down a family sized full fat carrot cake or a healthier alternative made with cardboard – sorry, Scan Bran – then I would choose the Scan Bran cake time and time again!”
You can’t save your Syns up for a night out at the weekend!
Slimming World responds by saying – “Yes, you can! If you really want to – and you feel really confident that by depriving yourself of Syns for some or most of the week, you’ll be able to enjoy your night out knowing that you’ve stayed within your week’s Syns – go ahead. If missing out all week feels difficult… and especially if you’re worried about ‘blowing it’ part way through, the alternative is to stay flexible with your Syns. Your weight loss may be a tiny bit slower, although in the long term you could actually achieve a greater weight loss because you avoid those feelings of deprivation. What’s more, with flexible Syns, you could eat healthily and happily for the rest of your life and keep your weight off for good!”
Weight Loss Bitch says – “Good news for all of you weekend binge drinkers then! My other half and I were talking about how tough it must be for those with a fabulous social life – drink, more drink and a kebab – to stick to the plan. So the fact that you can save your Syns is great. After all, calories are calories – whether they are consumed across five days or two days! I guess that my only concern with this goes back to the ‘starvation’ issue I mentioned earlier. If you eat well throughout the week, but keep your calories lower because you aren’t having your Syns, what happens when you suddenly bombard your body for two days? I’m sure it would even itself out in the long run, and if it works for you then why not? Perhaps do this as the exception rather than the rule…what happens if you’ve blown all of your Syns at the weekend and then have to wait until the following Thursday for weigh in…what do you do if you get cravings on a Monday, Tuesday or a Wednesday?!”
My muscles will turn to fat if I stop exercising!
Slimming World responds by saying – “No, don’t worry, they won’t! Muscles and fat are different tissues that have different functions so one can’t turn into the other. If you do stop being active then your muscles will lose the strength they developed and may even become smaller so you’re likely to lose the metabolic benefits. Long term, our aim should be to gradually develop a more active lifestyle. If you do miss the odd session at the gym, or forgo the dog walk on the occasional night, it’s important not to see this as a failure. The important thing is to find a way to overcome what it was that stopped you, and get back into the routine.”
Weight Loss Bitch says – “Yep, muscle is muscle and fat is fat – simple! However muscles give your body definition and tone, so whilst they don’t turn to fat, they will get smaller and you could end up with that ex-bodybuilder saggy look! Try and keep up an exercise routine that fits with your life and is something that you enjoy. This way, you’re more likely to do it and more likely to miss it – and therefore get back to it quickly – if you do take a break.”
Is there such a thing as the slimmer’s plateau?
Slimming World responds by saying – “The simple answer is no. However, the full answer is a touch more complicated! Many members find, after Food Optimising for several weeks – even months – that they reach a sticking point. Despite great weight losses to begin with, those pounds just don’t shift! (We’ve all been there!) Firstly, remember that it’s not unusual for weight losses to be inconsistent week to week. All sorts of factors can affect our weight from the time of day the weighing takes place, the amount of clothing worn, differences in fluid retention etc. This is why we recommend you get weighed just once a week at around the same time, and wearing similar clothes… or none at all (although we don’t suggest this in our groups!!). Seeing our weight loss over, say, a month gives us a much better guide to our progress. Weight loss does generally slow down after the first few weeks too – where you might have experienced 5, 6, 7 or even 8lbs losses. Weight loss should generally settle to a steady rate as the body adjusts to your new way of eating and body fat is lost. After Food Optimising for a while, it’s also easy for little habits to sneak in – to lick the lid of the kid’s creamy yogurt pot, to finish off the leftover oven chips, to be a little too generous with your Healthy Extra portions. No matter how positive we are that we’re Food Optimising 100%, sometimes sneaky Syns creep in and can play havoc with our weight loss. We have a wealth of motivational tools to help you discover if any little habits might be scuppering your weight loss, and overcome them to get beautifully back on track… so whatever might be causing you to think ‘plateau’, take advantage of all the support offered, because you’ll be back on track in no time.”
Weight Loss Bitch says – “Aarrghh – I am a little shocked by this response – and a little bit angry on behalf of my fellow slimmers! It is a scientific and clinically proven fact that when you lose weight you lose more than you think…you lose fat and water, but also muscle tissue and bone density. Whilst the fat loss is great, we obviously need water – as, dependant upon your age and physical state, your body is made up of between 45% – 75% water. Muscle loss and a decrease in bone density is not desirable at all…and our bodies agree by replenishing this loss. When this happens you can find that your weight loss plateaus and – according to my highly qualified dietitian at the hospital! – you may even experience a slight gain. This process can last for a couple of weeks, and WILL happen at some point during your weight loss. I do agree when Slimming World say that weight loss slows down – it’s obvious really; as you get slimmer, the number of calories your body needs to haul your fat bum around decreases, and therefore your weight loss slows the closer you get to target. This isn’t an excuse to cut right back on the amount you eat though – unless you are still managing to be a glutton on Slimming World! I also agree wholeheartedly with Slimming World when they say that little habits can creep in without us even realising it though. So muscle and bone density replenishment should not be an excuse for you not taking a closer look at how you are eating and identifying whether or not you are becoming your own little weight loss demon!”
There will be those of you that do all of the above and still lose weight – and if this is the case, keep going! Why change it if it is working for you? But if things aren’t going according to plan then it could be worthwhile reviewing the above and identifying whether or not any areas mentioned could be contributing. Above all else, enjoy the wonderful healthy foods that Food Optimising encourages!
Right then, myths debunked, onto the usuals…
Today has been a day of fun and excitement! Although I woke up feeling like something from The Walking Dead, it got better following a BodyPump and Boxercise session. We then headed off to the horses, Asda and then home so that I could help edit a book that my other half is writing. I was then told about my little comment on obesity being published by the Guardian; I was so excited that I called the family…mum, dad, sister! I know it’s only a small thing but it gave me a bit of a boost – perhaps my comments are worth something and, if it helps one person take notice – or seek help – then it’s worth it. On the plus side, it keeps my head out of the fridge with all of this activity if nothing else! So my eyes are now crossed from reading, re-reading and editing, so it’ll be a night of TV to relax.
Breakfast: Pineapple, banana and a Benefit bar.
Lunch: Lentil, chickpea and tomato soup – with chilli, green pepper, onion, celery and spinach.
Dinner: Stuffed mushrooms, syn free chips and homemade coleslaw.
Snacks: Benefit bar, Special K bar, and two packets of Snack a Jacks.
Breakfast was lovely and cak in equal measures…the Benefit bar was wonderful – choc orange flavour and far less sweet than the HIFi bars of the same flavour. However the pineapple was fizzy and sour despite being two days in date still…rubbish! The soup for lunch was great – really easy to make and tasty too, with enough left over for tomorrow…although I wonder if there’s such a thing as making a meal that’s too healthy? If so, then that was it – it tasted lovely, but with absolutely no hint of naughtiness at all! Dinner was gorgeous – I love stuffed mushrooms and so decided to use my garlic and herb Philli to do my own, and partnered this with syn free chips and my homemade coleslaw – delicious!
Exercise: BodyPump, Boxercise, Sit-ups, Dancercise – fifty minutes.
That’s it then – Silver Body Magic target achieved! I now just need to keep this momentum going…and get my ass back on the treadmill tomorrow.
Loads of bright sparkly wishing-stars,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx
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