So, let’s tackle the dreaded topic of diet.
Let me start with a holiday snap shot from 2012 in which I was at a healthy weight. I was more
active, living in a city and walked or rode my bike everywhere. I was also more flexible and I guess a few years younger. I was never really big or gained more than 15lbs which then came off again shortly after.
Since then I have had a lower back injury, my other knee is shot after slipping on wet ground and
subsequently I gained almost 70 lbs. My problem was that when you love food, drink and all the bad stuff, going from being able to burn all those calories off to just looking at food and gaining weight is just not sustainable.
The next picture is of me in my current voluptuousness and I am anything but happy in my skin, accepting and perhaps not as depressed as I previously been, but definitely not happy. I went from a size 8-10 to my current size 14 (well depends who I shop with, as it varies and can go up to size 16). My mum came to visit me at the end of March and you can see that I have grown another chin. My partner once joked and gave it a name – Andrea. For him, bless him, he made an innocent joke, to me it was terrifying; but even before that I have already started to find it hard to get a selfie angle that wouldn’t show, well Andrea. Needless to say it was no use.
I really started to put on the pounds in 2014. My whole family and I went on one of those European river cruises. It was a fantastic holiday and I loved every bit of it, but when you are on a boat with 3 meals each day, copious amounts of wine and to be fair not much exercise I knew I would gain weight but brushed it off and thought I will lose it all again once I am back home.
Well I thought wrong; when I came back I continued to eat like I did on the boat and who can turn down a beer in the hot summer sun? Then winter came and Xmas and of course that is never the best time to be on a diet either. January and spring same story, I just didn’t think about the implications of gaining weight.
When I started gaining weight I also started to draw into myself, not leaving the house, buying loose clothes and refusing to admit that I was on the way to gaining even more weight. When it came to the point that my pants didn’t fit anymore, I refused to spend good money on a new and bigger sized pair, so I went to the charity shop to buy clothes. People commenting on my weight gain didn’t help the situation either but instead I just stayed at home even more. I didn’t want to see people that I knew when I was fit and skinny, in fear of what they might think.
For work I would usually wear dresses, some of them I couldn’t get my behind in anymore and others, more stretchier materials still held up but rode up my leg higher and I started looking like I needed a new dress or get rid of the belly, that by this time was a prominent, permanent fixture just under my boobs.
Then things went from bad to worse when my landlord came back from Australia and we were given 3 months to vacate the flat, as he wanted to move back in as well as the company I worked for losing out on vital contracts. Last in, first out and so I was made redundant. This put immense pressure on my relationship (with some previous blips) and my days were passed by holding everything together on the outside but falling apart on the inside. I obviously made no real attempts to work on anything other than finding a new place to live, getting funds together and praying that everything went fine.
I found myself eating comfort food on a daily basis, hungry or not, this was my crutch together with beer this was like digging my own grave. The worst thing was that I was and am fully aware of what is bad for me but not acting on anything and in that giving up on myself and my happiness.
I did try a couple things in that time, signed up to a boot camp on the beach for 4 weeks, tried the gym, swimming and getting out more. Every time I finished I went from the gym to my local pub next door, trying to convince myself that I can have A beer. Well it is never just one right? Damn the empty calories! I went to the boot camp at 6am 4 times a week but gave up after 2 weeks as I was just sore everywhere, all the time, drinking and high intensity interval training do not go together! The boot camp set me back 150 but there was no way that I got a refund so that was a complete waste of money, I honestly actually didn’t have. I also forked out 140 for a juicer and was juicing for 3 days straight, well the initial target was to do it for 30 days but again I had a fry up followed by beer in the pub later on. I lost about 8 lbs so a massive achievement but as fast as it went it also came back.
We did however manage to sort all funds, references and stuff out and found a new house in a very rural location about an hour out of the town I lived in. We moved in the End of October 2015 and I have to say it is my absolute dream house. There is nothing around for miles and it is blissfully peaceful and quiet. Only problem, I am not walking or biking anywhere anymore but rely on my good old car to get me shopping or the next town or anywhere really.
Another year was marked with another Xmas and the overindulgent food that comes with the season. Sometime in February I signed up to the local gym and in an attempt to do it all at once I went everyday sometimes twice a day to do a class. Over the next 3 weeks I saw positive changes in my body but also had increased hunger and after a couple times of not going the space between classes became bigger and bigger to the point that I cancelled my membership as it was an expense that, still without a job and just my partners income was something I couldn’t justify. So that was that then. It is also worth mentioning that I hate waste so any leftovers I ate.
I then tried the LCHF diet (low carb, high fat) this was by far the best diet BUT and that is the make or break of it all, NO CARBS, not even a chip or a sip of a beer and it all turns very nastily against you. The principle is great but with my partner having carbs with his dinner and beer on the weekend the constant temptation meant that I would give in sooner or later. I actually want to go on this diet again but to be honest it is more of a lifestyle than a quick fix. Mind you, I have to mention that when I did stuck to it (my partner is away all week at times which makes it all easier) I lost 9lbs in a couple weeks. The thing with this diet was that although you eat shit load of fat, like seriously a lot, you still loose weight. I did buy a size 12 skinny jeans and was almost fitting into them; totally uncomfortable but nonetheless. It seems that the fat is slowly melting away without being hungry; but I had to break all good habits again, didn’t I!
Well, you ask where am I now? What have I decided to do? How is it all going? What’s the plan?
For the last few weeks I actually decided to not give a shit, I mean I think I have tried a lot of things that in the end just not worked for me. Since then something strange happened in my brain. I started to revert to positive thinking and not to worry too much, while still being conscious about what I eat or put in my body. Easier said than done, right? I mean I have a love for food and a cooking blog for crying out loud!
I guess the best advice is to keep busy, that’s one way of distracting me from hunger, for example, when I am writing my blog I get totally submerged into the subject and don’t think much about eating but more about writing. Yes, portions size, eating consciously and not eating too late are also important ones. I mean portion size is a tricky one, you can load up on veggies until they come out of your ears but then some diets restrict you of starchy veggies. In the end, anything that is too restrictive and structured is not feasible for anyone that hasn’t got the willpower, I am the perfect example. Eat what you like and I am pretty sure everyone knows what’s not good for weight loss or when it is definitely too much food on your plate that is not veggies. Mainly it is the bingeing, fast food and ready meals. I mean weight watchers do ready meals and I even tried that for some time, I ended up eating 2 at a time, completely defeating the purpose. Eat 80% healthy and 20% naughty, this is a good principle, but my experience is home cooked meals are always the best as you know what’s going into it and I also add salad to everything. Watch out as I will be writing about a few very nice salad dressings!
My recipes are not always healthy but a good mix of everything, thus keeping me on the straight and narrow and minimising the days where I want to eat everything in sight!
Another problem I have is that I am cooking for my partner as well, he has a physically demanding job being a carpenter. I guess he also added to mine as well as his own weight gain, although he is only about 10 – 15lbs more than he should be. He is quite the typical male to me, eyes bigger than the belly but they shuffle it into them and then are bloated and tired. I myself plated up almost the same portions and I mean it was too much at first but eventually I had the same portion sizes.
A very good way to get around this is to make enough for 2 people but not super big portions; I add a bunch of salad now. Luckily he likes salad, but there are salads that are not lettuce and gorgeous. Sometimes he tells me he is still hungry but I then ask him to wait 20 minutes. This allows the brain to clock that you have eaten and are full and it works.
Some people, who say they don’t like salad, mostly have the classic and boringly plain, side salad in their mind. Let me tell you, you have seen nothing yet! Good things are to come on this blog!
Hopefully I can take you on a culinary journey to feel better about yourself and enjoy things that you might not have tried before or didn’t think you like. All I say is give it a try, you’ll be surprised. In the same way I hope that sharing the story will help me likewise.
If you have any questions please leave a comment or send me an email and I will be happy to get back to you 🙂