Back in September, I was having coffee with a good friend of mine bemoaning the amount of ‘baby’ weight I was still carrying. I was about 20lbs heavier than I wanted to be and knew it was time to act. Together we agreed that we would aim to lose 14lbs in 10 weeks. I wrote my starting weight in my diary (11.05st) and worked out an end date.
The only problem was that I did not have a clear plan of how to get there. Doubts started to creep in. I jotted down the mantra ‘strive for progress not perfection’. In honesty, that really meant that I didn’t believe I would succeed in my aim.
However, the following Monday a colleague introduced the idea of ‘Growth Mindset’. It’s a bit of a buzzword at work at the moment, but it really is just a way of encouraging a more positive form of thinking:
What is Growth Mindset?
You begin by actually listening to what the ‘voice’ in your head is saying.
In my case, it was full of doubt: Maybe my body didn’t want to lose weight. Maybe it was meant to be this way after having children. If I didn’t try, then at least I wouldn’t fail.
The second stage to to realise that you have a choice. You can listen to those voices and say that they’re right. You can accept that ‘fixed mindset’ and stay where you are. Or you can talk back.
I had to remind myself that most successful people have failures on the way. Lots of people who have had children have lost weight. My body was in shape before – there was no real reason that it couldn’t be again.
The final stage is to act – take the challenge on wholeheartedly, with no reservations. Accept that sometimes there will be setbacks and that it might not always be easy.
In short, it was time for me to get going.
Taking on the challenge:
My first stage was to sign up with a new personal trainer at my gym.
I met Jasmine at my initial gym induction and had really liked the program she put together. But a bit of online stalking clued me up to the fact that she was also a specialist in nutrition.
Running through my daily diet with her gave me a bit of a wake up call. I discovered that most of my calorie intake was actually from red wine. Honestly, I really love red wine. I still love red wine. But I had to accept that it was empty calories and wasn’t doing me any real favours.
I agreed to see if I could do without it on weekdays but ten weeks on, I’ve had a few glasses but have dramatically cut down. It just didn’t seem worth it.
For breakfast I devised my own breakfast smoothie which easily carries me through to lunch. My crucial addition is a shot of coffee which helps get me going in the morning. I’m inevitably always in a rush after getting the kids ready so I take it with me in my travel mug.
I’ve also had to admit that my daily visits to the ‘salad’ bar at work weren’t really as healthy as I was pretending. Whilst I could opt to have a jacket potato and a bit of salad. In reality, everything else was too tempting. By the time I added cheese, beans, a selection of meat, a bit of coleslaw etc. it wasn’t exactly diet friendly. In fact, it was ensuring I was slowly gaining weight.
My alternative has been to take homemade soup to school or rely on a tin of Heinz. They do loads of lower calorie options which along with a couple of crackers are more than sufficient.
Snack wise I’ve continued as I always have by having a couple of pieces of fruit in my bag. I know a lot of people are wary of even natural sugars, but I personally think nothing is bad in moderation. We’ve been getting some lovely seasonal fruit in our veg box and I’m not going to resist it.
For dinner, we’ve always cooked from fresh and have included lots of vegetables. I still like to follow Deliciously Ella recipes during the week for easy quick meals. Obviously, this isn’t unhealthy but I’ve just had to be careful to eat as much as I need to be full. If I like how something tastes, I would normally eat as much of it as possible. Even if it meant feeling slightly sick afterwards By eating slower than usual and by upping my water intake, it’s much easier to judge when I’ve had enough.
I’ve also changed what I’ve been doing at the gym more, introducing a lot more HITT workouts and lifting more weight than before. I’ve not been going to the gym more often so I do think a lot of the weight loss has come down to diet. That said, it’s definitely on the agenda to keep prioritising time to go to the gym.
All in all – I’m happy with what I’ve achieved so far.
Lessons I’ve learnt on the way:
Don’t get too hung up on numbers.
I’ve been devastated when my weight has suddenly gone back up. My weight can easily vary by a few pounds within a day. I might have drunk more or been slow to digest a meal. Sometimes I have no idea. But I’ve been utterly crushed by a number.
The stupidity of it all is that at times, I’ve ignored the obvious. My clothes have become loser. I can fit into my pre-pregnancy wardrobe again. I’m obviously smaller. In short, even thought I’ve been pleased to see it reduce the number on the scale isn’t all it.
Finally, drink water. On average you need to drink about 2 litres of water a day. Then another 500ml for each hour of exercise. Sadly, red wine and gin do not count.
I was queen of headaches believing that I needed a sugar or caffeine hit to keep me going. In reality, I was dehydrated.Whilst water intake can make the number on the scales go up. Ultimately, it helps them go down.
Finally, it’s really helped to be accountable to others. My personal trainer checks my weight each week but my coffee buddy has also checked in. Knowing that they expected me to make progress has hugely helped me along the way. When I’ve wanted to give up, they’ve encouraged me to keep going and fight the negative thoughts.
Next step? I want to up my muscle to fat ratio and get rid of my flabby arms. Realistic? The voices in my head say no, but I’m going to fight them anyway!
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