Sunday, 21 June 2009

Summer Solstice

So it's not going so well. After my last post, I had actually lost a pound, but then for whatever reason, I slid backwards, I can't even pretend I tried to stay on track, and I have had some horrible binges. I know when I've eaten badly because I'm woken from my sleep choking on stomach acid. This used to happen to me a lot, but hasn't been a problem since I started losing weight at Slimming World last year. This week it has happened, and I'm horrified.

I lay awake in bed this morning trying to sort things out in my head. And I've come to the conclusion that I am desperate to be able to get back to my SW class. I miss it. I miss Heather, I miss the support. I miss the food. When I look back, it worked so well for me for months, and when it stopped working so well, that was my own fault.

There's only a few more weeks now of me not being able to get to that class, so I am going to carry on with WW just for damage limitation, and then as soon as I can, I'm going to be back to SW. I know WW has worked so well for so many of you, but for whatever reason it messes with my head. I do think it was starting to reduce my appetite though, right before the binging! So if I can get it back under control then when I return to SW it will be with a smaller appetite and therefore a greater hope of success.

This week in June always seems to represent a turning point for me. I can think of many major changes in my life that have occured around the summer solstice. It is a year ago today since I did the Race For Life, and also a year ago this week since my first weight gain on SW. So I hereby vow that this will be a new turning point and a change for the better. I don't want to binge, I don't want to taste acid, I don't want to be fat, I don't want to die young, I don't want to feel out of breath walking down the road.

I will NOT press that red button!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Beyond The Edge Of Reason

I can't stop thinking about food. I lie in bed awake thinking about food. I sit at my computer looking for ways to make my Points go further. Even as I eat each meal I'm wondering when I can eat the next. I spend ages furtling through my cupboards working out the Points value of each product and wondering how I can possibly utilise it in a low Point meal. Hunger is never far away, and I'm resorting to bizarre food combinations - couscous sandwich? Yum! The best news all week is the discovery that I like my porridge made with water so I can eat more porridge for the same Points - result!

I feel like an alcoholic, constantly seeking my next drink, scary stuff! I'm really wishing this phase would hurry up and be over, my appetite suitabley reduced and my weight steadily falling. I understand that this is a process I need to go through, but Weight Watchers has totally sent me over the edge!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

10 Things You Should Know...

No diet blog would be complete without a comment on the BBC programme "10 Things You Should Know About Losing Weight" which was aired on 27th May and is available on BBC iPlayer for just a few more hours now.

I watched it with a notebook and pen in my hand, and scribbled several pages of notes as I watched. I have made less notes at uni lectures! It was actually full of very interesting information, not all of it necessarily obvious even to the lifelong dieter that I am. For those who have watched, share your thoughts in comments! For those who have not, here's the 10 things, plus a few bits of further information, and maybe a comment or 2 from me!

1: Don't skip meals.

OK we all know we should at 3 meals a day because that's what we've always been told. But now we've been told exactly why skipping meals is so very counterproductive to healthy eating. Through brain scans, scientists have been able to show that there is increased brain activity when starved subjects are shown pictures of high calorie, high fat foods, verus low cal food. When the subject had eaten, there was no difference in brain activity. So in other words, when we starve ourselves, our brains compel us to seek high calorie food to make up for the lost meal. Sounds pretty obvious when you put it like that, but it's nice to be told that it isn't merely a matter of willpower!

I can eat regularly, it will take discipline, because currently I don't. But I can.

2: Use a smaller plate.

Again, we know this don't we? An experiment was shown where people were given either a large or "small" bucket of popcorn while watching a film, and instructed to eat their fill. Apparently the buckets were all large enough that everyone could eat as much as they wanted, and still leave some food. They found that those with the large bucket ate a lot more than those with the small bucket, possibly the size of the container leaving them unable to recognise their full signals? The conclusion was that by reducing plate size it is possible to cut calorie intake by up to 22% without even trying!

I have 3 different size dinner plate in my cupboard. From now on I will certainly choose the smallest even if only eating a salad.

3: Count calories.

Calories, points, yep that's fine. Common enough knowledge. It was interesting though to see all the different ways of consuming 300 cals - a large bowl of fresh fruit salad (a popular choice of mine!) or a small pork pie, a chicken dinner or a smoothie - those healthy treats (every Friday after school, delicious!) certainly do add up!

4: Don't blame your metabolism

OK I'm sure many of us must, at some time or other, have tried to blame slow metabolism for our inability to shed pounds. So what the programme makers did was send a lovely volunteer, actress Debbie Chazen, a lady who eats a healthy diet and gets plenty of exercise but is still overweight, for a metabolism test. And the result was normal which must have been a bit of a blow really! She then had to keep a video diary, plus a written food diary (written at the time of eating the food!) and in addition she was given a special water to drink that would enable scientists to analyse her urine and calculate her calorie intake and output.

Now personally I'm just not sure about the special water! But the result of the test claimed that Debbie was under reporting her food intake by 43%, even when writing her food diary at the time of eating. Isn't that a little bit astonishing? I mean, if I am keeping a food diary, and I have chicken, veg and rice for a meal, how am I going to miss 43% of the meal off the list? I know from doing an SAS log a while ago that I tend not to look at food values until I have already eaten them, but that's a whole different issue.

So if we believe in the magic water, then this lady with a healthy diet is actually overeating by around 1000 calories per day, and portion sizes are the main problem. I can't argue with portion sizes, and that leads back to points 2 and 3.

5: Protein staves off hunger pangs.

Now this one is interesting! Eating 10% more protein at each meal floods our brains with a hormone called PYY and causes the brain to think we are full. That's pretty useful information. If I choose a boiled egg for my breakfast, that means, allegedly, that I should feel fuller for longer than if I choose toast or more usually fruit and yoghurt. This is going to come back to discipline though, making the effort to have a little bit of protein with every meal - it's a small change but new habits do take a while to sink in.

Atkins fans must be delighted by this information now I think about it!

6: Soup keeps you fuller for longer.

Wow, this one really is quite surprising in my opinion. This theory was proven by giving the exact same meal to 2 groups of people. I think it was chicken, rice, veg and a glass of water. Group 1 ate the meal and drank the water. Group 2 had the water mixed with the food and liquidised it into a soup before eating. Then they had scans done of their full bellies, and the soup group had full stomachs for longer than the solids group. We are told that this is because when the glass of water is drunk seperately, it briefly inflates the stomach but then leaves quickly, leaving the much smaller volume of solid food left to digest. But when the liquid is mixed with the food and consumed as soup, it isn't able to pass through the stomach as quickly, leaving you fuller for longer. Result! I love soup, I have a blender, happy days!

7: The wider the choice, the more you eat.

Apparently we are absolutely hardwired to eat more when there is greater choice. The prrof presented to us was in the form of 2 bowls of sweets. 1 multicoloured, the other all one colour. They were left on a table with a hidden camera in a public place. The multicoloured sweets were rapidly eaten, while the single colour sweets were largely ignored. Hmmm. Again, not sure about this - the evidence is a bit flimsy there really. Multicoloured sweets look more appetising, in the same way that a multicoloured salad looks much nicer than a plate of beige food. I'm not convinced restricting choice has any connection to that. But I agree with them that at a buffet table there is a tendency to overeat because there is so much choice. Hmmm. What do you think?

8: Low fat dairy helps you excrete more fat.

Wow, low fat dairy works like Xenical! Apparently the calcium binds fat molecules in the small intestine and transports them undigested from your body - brilliant!

Well that's me in trouble then because I consume very little dairy. I hate milk, I don't even use milk in hot drinks. I take my coffee black. I do love cheese, but cheese is a real danger food for me so I don't buy it. No point buying it if I'm going to end up eating my own body weight in the stuff - I doubt it's *that* magical! I eat yoghurt, but not loads. And especially not now on WW because there's no particular incentive to do so. I ate more on SW because, as any SW member can tell you, Muller Lights are free food!

So give me your top dairy consuming tips, pretty please!

9: Exercise goes on burning fat even while you sleep.

Here's some heartening news. For hours and hours and hours after you step off the treadmill, your metabolism remains higher, and the fat keeps on burning. But we already knew exercise is good for us in so many ways. It is nice to know it just keeps on giving though hey!

10: Keep moving and lose weight!

Yep, and writing a blog isn't using that much energy, so I'm off to walk my dogs!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A catalogue of bruises!

Wow, what gorgeous weather we are having! I've managed to get a teeny bit sunburned, even though I've really not spent ages in the sun. I suppose accumulated time must count almost as much as lengthy roastings on hot beaches. If you take into account 20 minutes or so twice a day to school and back, plus dog walks, plus pottering in the garden, plus sitting in the garden reading for half an hour, plus whatever else I do outside, and not forgetting being in the car with windows and sun roof open, there is a fair chunk of exposure, and my shoulders know it!

There isn't much of me that doesn't hurt right now. 10 days ago I had a couple of falls while skating. My own fault entirely for getting carried away and joining in a game of British Bulldog (a game that I believe is banned from school playgrounds but is alive and well and on skates at the leisure centre every Saturday!) I bruised my hands, my wrists ached, but primarily my coccyx hurt. A lot. It still does. I can't sit properly, any sitting position has to be carefully considered and arranged so that my weight is taken on one cheek or the other, but never on my coccyx. Levering myself out of the car involves hauling myself up a little on the handy handle above the door (why *is* that there anyway??) so that I can exit the vehicle with the least possible pressure on my bottom. I'm semi reclined on the sofa, on my right hand side even as I type. Thank God for laptops!

So there's the bruised coccyx and mild sunburn. And then there's the bruises all down my left side from when I fell of a wall onto a bike. That happened Friday I think. It's hard for me to explain how, but I was sober and it only happened because I was wearing a skirt. Had I been in jeans, my stride would not have been curtailed halfway through my leap and I would have landed on my feet on the path, instead of face down in a bike halfway down some steps. So my left arm is a criss cross of brusing (think bicycle wheel spokes!), plus there are 2 cuts on my elbow, and further bruising to my left thigh, which hurts deep into the muscle! Oh and a couple of less dramatic bruises to my right shin.

So I'm moving like an old and very infirm woman. At church on Sunday I had to give serious though to whether it would be wise for me to kneel for communion, but in the end the call of leaving my hard seat for a few minutes was too great and I went for it.

It's a good thing I have no pride, because if I had any, you can bet that would be hurting most of all!