Preamble: When I first started writing this blog post, I had no idea how long I’d be writing for, so I am breaking it up into parts. Enjoy and take from it what you like.
I’ve been doing this weight loss thing for a while now. Pretty much all my life if you wanted to count the number of times I’ve attempted and failed and from what age I started – which would be around 13, if I remember vaguely correctly – so 20 years worth of knowledge there. I pretty much know what works and what doesn’t.
I am totally an expert at what doesn’t, as it happens.
Just so you know.
YEARS of study there too.
Because I’ve lost a fairly substantial amount of weight this time around, more and more people have been asking me what my secret/method/process/whatever is. It’s always so disheartening for me because I know what the reaction to what I have to say will be.
Oops. Unintentional rhyme.
Anyway, the reaction is always disbelief and disappointment or a telling silence.
I will be honest and say that it’s starting to get to the point where it’s making me angry.
I got an email from a friend of a friend who was very impressed with my weight loss and, I quote: “You’ve got to have some advice!”
I do. But I’ve come to the conclusion that most folks don’t want to acknowledge the cold, hard truth of the matter. It’s too simple and it’s too hard.
Look, I am really, really sorry but THERE IS NO MAGIC CURE FOR FATNESS. There really isn’t. I WISH there was. I, of all people, know how hard it is to be huge and deal with the mental and physical ramifications of being morbidly obese, let alone deal with what society at large thinks of fat people and what it can do to relationships.
It hurts. A lot. All of it fucking hurts.
But it’s fixable if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to do it. I have friends who’ve proven that a little effort on your part reaps great rewards.
And that’s the key; EFFORT. Not “will power”. EFFORT. Having “no will power” is just a quick way of saying “I am too lazy to put in the effort I know it will take to do this”.
Ok, so here I will break down what you need to do to be successful in getting fit and losing weight according to Ren.
Because it’s all about me, after all.
Disclaimer: I am speaking as a middle-class female in her mid-thirties who got up to 152kg at her heaviest but was still mostly healthy (heart, lungs, blood pressure, etc). This works for me but it may not work the same for you. Consult a medical practitioner before you do any program that involves food and exercise to make sure there are no particular health concerns you need to be aware of.
Ok, food. You need to eat. Regardless of how big you are, you NEED to eat and you need to eat a good balance of food. That includes trans, unsaturated and saturated fats – yep, all are good for you in various ways as well as being bad for in vast quantities – vegetables, fruit, dairy, carbohydrate in all it’s forms and water.
If you’re an especially big person, you need a LOT of food. When I first joined Weight Watchers, the number of daily ProPoints I got to play with was a whapping 51. That’s a lot of food to play with. To put in perspective for you, a 36pp day (which is what I am on now) is a three Weetbix and milk breakfast (7pp), a baguette with ham, cheese, egg, mustard, salad (12pp), a fruit & nut bar (7pp) and dinner, say a bowl of tuna casserole worth 10pp. Add to that your recommended serves of fruit and vegetables which are points free and you have a crapload of food. Imagine 51pp. Fuck me laughing. I was lucky to get to the high 40s most days when I initially started.
Yep, I’m spruiking Weight Watchers and the points thing again. NO, I am not being paid to do that. I have tried EVERY single diet out there from shakes to subscription-based meal delivery to silly TV fad diets. (Anyone remember Kick Start? The Water Diet? The Cabbage Soup Diet? The Fruit Juice Fast?). Nothing worked. Of course I would lose some weight but then I would get bored, or hungry, or just be jacked off with the low quality of the food (do NOT believe those Lite & Easy ads, folks) and I would end up having huge binge-outs and gaining even more weight than I’d lost.
For the record, I am totally against shakes. They’re not good for you. It’s not food, it’s just a chemical compound mixed with water and a little flavour. You don’t need that shit in your body. Plus you’re starving yourself and that’s just fucked up. I did that and got sick and gained back everything that I’d lost and twice that. DON’T DO IT.
Don’t do anything that starves your body or messes with it’s functions. That includes diet pills too.
Anyway, I digress…
Contrary to popular belief, chocolate will not hurt a diet, even if you have a little piece every day. The trick is not eating the whole block, ya know?
EVERYTHING in moderation. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned with Weight Watchers. You don’t have to deny yourself anything, you just need to be smart about it. Pre-plan for the possibilities of not-so-smart food choices; this I need to do pretty much on a daily basis.
The most common thread amongst dieters that I’ve found is the moment that they start thinking of dieting as a system of restriction and denial, they fight against it. God knows I did. I wanted all the stuff that I thought I wasn’t “allowed” to have. The more I thought of it as “not allowed” the more I craved – and then I caved and bought a trolley full of shit and ate it… and then felt pathetically ashamed of myself and guilty as hell.
If you look at diets as a restriction you will not enjoy the process of losing weight.
Look at a diet not as a diet but as a guide for both portion sizes and meal content. Nothing is set in stone. Don’t think of food as what you “can” and “can’t” have because ultimately, our favourite things fall into the “can’t” category. And that sucks.
Think of alternative recipes or options for favourite meals. If you like chicken burgers from KFC, try a chicken wrap from Nandos. If you like macaroni and cheese, try a pasta bake that includes vegetables and flourless cheese sauce. If you love pizza, try throwing one together yourself on a bit of pita bread. If you like to munch something during a movie, go and buy a big bag of grapes and eat those – this is something I’ve just started doing in lieu of popcorn and lollies and ice cream and it’s great.
It will take some practice and time, both of which require a hell of a lot of patience, but you WILL learn what balance works best for you.
You just need to keep at it.