They say there’s nothing like a goal to get your ass in gear when it comes to a diet, and mine was very clear from the beginning. I am getting married on the 8th September this year, and so as the bell struck 12 at midnight on January 1st, I decided to check in to my new lifestyle.
My starting weight was not the lowest I’d ever been, but I didn’t feel huge, on the 1st Jan I was 71kg. (71.2kg to be precise), and I had a goal weight of 59kg in mind. I am exactly four months away from my wedding day (5 months into the diet) and I weigh 59.7kg, so I’ve lost over 10kg, and I feel amazing.
There were a few things about being on this “journey” of weightloss that no one had told me to expect, and I wish I had known.
- Energy Balance. You can’t escape it, you can’t eat around it, you can’t out academic it. Literally what goes in, is what goes in. It doesn’t matter if you eat 10x 100cal bananas or one heck of a nice tub of Belgian chocolate Haagen Daaz (also 1000Kcal) the result is identical. I wish it weren’t, but it really is.
- People are going to hate on you. I can’t count the number of times people have told me “you know you’re going to go into starvation mode”, “You know if you just eat protein, your body doesn’t get everything it needs” or my actual least favourite “you don’t need to diet yknow?”. It’s not because they aren’t trying to support you, its because they don’t understand what you’re doing. Opinions on weight loss are like belly buttons, everyone has one. I just hadn’t realised how many people were going to volunteer theirs to me. I started to dread people’s opinion on my Broccoli lunch every day. What’s worse is, they want to tell you that their friend lost weight on some kind of random Keto diet, or Paleo or whatever. I really don’t care what worked for them.
- On the flip side, your support network is key. I’m lucky that my incredible fiance is totally understanding, and is also well educated when it comes to energy balance and nutrition, but even if he hadn’t been, the most important thing is that he recognises my achievements, and is 100% my number one fan when it comes to getting to my goal weight. Sometimes its just him telling me that I look great regardless, that makes it all a bit easier. Not to mention his trips to several supermarkets searching for my elusive chicken sausages, or cooking broccoli at 11 pm so that I don’t have to find an alternative lunch. Outside of this, my gym friends have been incredible, people who lift are almost uniformly able to support you more comprehensively than those who aren’t; and I also have a best friend getting married the same time as me that has a similar weight loss goal; it really helps that she is at work so we can moan about being hungry together!
- The only diet that works is the one that you can stick to. You need to find the one that works for you. I can tell you what worked for me, but it’s not for everyone. I found that I would much rather have days that are miserable (under 500Kcal, or in my case two days with under 200Kcal) and then still have the weekend that I want to have, i.e. Prosecco and burgers.
- Planning is key. I love myfitness pal (I also hate it) because I know what my week looks like before I start. I work in a corporate job, and I’m 28 years old with a social life. Realising that life wasn’t going to stop just because I was on a diet was seriously important. I have to look at my calendar so I know when I’m eating out, and when I can cut. The last thing I wanted was to say no to things, so I make sure I say yes, but I just check the menu before I go so I can plan how much I’m going to eat.
- Don’t kid yourself. If you know you are going to Franco Manca, don’t lie to yourself and be like, “I’ll just eat half”. You won’t. You’ll eat the whole thing. Which is fine, you just need to make sure that’s what you put in my fitness pal or however else you are tracking.
- I don’t track calories out. My mum lives for that little fire symbol on her Fitbit “Oooo luvvie I burned 18000 calories at spin class today”. This is not only very unlikely, it does not help with your diet. I don’t go to the gym any more than I did before, or indeed any less. I play netball, go to puregym for some cardio once a week and I lift weights three times a week. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is that I really care about how much I lift, and I am a heck of a lot stronger now than I was on 1st January. People told me that I wouldn’t be able to lift as much as I got thinner, but I think that depends on where you start, and it hasn’t been true for me. The simple truth is it is really hard to track how many calories you’ve burned, I take any exercise I do as a bonus for my fitness and for my weight loss.
- Coke Zero, Chicken Sausages and Tea. Low calorie alternatives make life so much easier. You can have two chicken sausages for 90Cal, and they are DELICIOUS. Be warned, not all “healthy alternatives” are lower calorie, a chocolate muffin is actually fewer cal than “Supergrain” muffins from Benugo.
- Hunger is the enemy. Drink a pint of water before you eat. Or indeed if you are super hungry and it is a while til meal time, it really helps you feel full. If you know that you get the 4 o clock munchies, don’t try and force yourself not to, just have something planned to fill the gap; one of my best friends has a carrot on her desk ready for snack hunger, that way when it happens the most she’s going to eat is 40Kcal, not the 300 she would have done if she’d gone in search of food at this point.
- The scales are not the only dictator. There are times when you get on the scale and it is MISERABLE. You feel like you’ve had a good week, and then out of nowhere, you’ve gained half a kilo. If you’re anything like me you get really annoyed and potentially get rowdy with anyone nearby but in reality, its just water and it disappears as quickly as it arrives. Regardless of what the number on the scale is, it’s so much important to feel better. I enjoy fitting in clothes better, and that people are more willing to compliment me on how I look, with that in mind, I try not to let the scales be the only measure by which I achieve success.
Dieting isn’t some magic secret that someone has, but without really solid nutritional advice like I get from Steve, or indeed without seeing the results for myself I wouldn’t believe that. Everyone has their own goals, and my best advice is not to put it off. The way I see it, the quicker I get to 59kg, the quicker I can get mayonnaise back in my life.
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