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Life Chez Dee Episode #123: Pounds for Pounds

Have you seen me lately? You might have missed me, there’s a lot less of me now than there was 6 months ago. I’ve been trying to lose weight, and really making a conscious effort to, but in a way which was not only going to be effective, but also steady and indeed sustainable.

The science is all there. Consume less than you burn in energy and the weight will come off. It’s true. But it’s been hard. I’m not as young as I once was, and just cutting down, doesn’t actually cut it when trying to shed the pounds. The body is quite remarkable at conserving energy, at holding on to the fat, at not letting go of it … and it has taken commitment and perseverance to battle through those times when my body has held on tight.

Why am I telling you all this? Well firstly, because I know that losing weight is something so many of us are constantly trying to do. Some are always conscious about weight loss, others are yoyo dieters, some have given up entirely, and for some it has only lightened their wallets. I know that my story won’t be the right thing for everyone, but maybe it will be of use to someone. The second reason I’m writing this is that actually I’m bloody proud of myself, I want to tell people, and I want a big well done and a big pat on the back!

I’ll start by talking about exercise, because let us not forget that exercise definitely plays a part when it comes to weight loss. I’ve been walking lots. I used to love going to the gym, and to classes, but I haven’t for years, and not since I had Edward, and the thought of returning to this is not only daunting, but I honestly don’t know whether I want to fit this into my already very busy life, and I don’t actually know if I have the spare cash for this either. I hate running, so I’ve discounted that straight away. I know it works, I’ve actually put my efforts into doing a couch to 5K not once, but twice now in the past 10 years! But I hate running, it’s a real slog, I don’t know if I’m mentally strong enough to push through, but I’m certain that my knees are not strong enough either, as they have always screamed at me whenever I’ve pounded the pavements! And I’m rubbish at it too. I know that when I’ve timed myself, I’ve done a faster walk than when I’ve jogged the same route. My legs just don’t want to run! Edward frequently told me how rubbish I was at it too. “Is that only how fast you can go? Dad’s miles faster than you? Are you going to need a lie down when you get back?”. Yes, Yes, Yes … there’s nothing really more to say about it.

Walking I love … always have … and I’ve incorporated walking 4-5K into my daily routine. I feel better for it, walking at a fast pace, enough to elevate my heart rate, being out in the fresh air, and giving myself both headspace and time out. So killing two birds with one stone, this is good for both my physical and mental health.

When Edward died I lost a lot of weight, I didn’t eat, I couldn’t eat, and I didn’t even remember to eat. The weeks went by and as I started to eat again, I started to pile on the pounds. People were lovely and invited me for coffee and cake and a well needed chat, but the weight began to pile on gradually, and before I knew it, I was relying on clothes with lycra far too much. Lockdowns in Covid saw my weight increase even more … I did a lot of baking, and a lot of eating of the goodies I made.

I still bake now, but I resist the urge to eat it myself, and now I make for the boys, or give away to others. I’ve even resisted the urge to eat cake whilst I watch bake off, and that’s taken some willpower I’ll tell you.

Food wise I decided to cut out bread. For me, bread is the main culprit for me piling on the pounds. I don’t miss it at all either. Every day for lunch I’ll have a huge salad … and when I say huge, I mean ridiculously huge, and I feel completely and utterly stuffed. I make it interesting by getting some lovely cold meats, pickles etc, and I vary the salad and include a variety of leaves and raw vegetables. For the dressing I use balsamic vinegar and salt, so there’s nothing weight lifting in that. I’m enjoying this lunch, and that’s all that matters really. I’m enjoying it, and therefore I’ll continue with it.

Breakfast I just have a banana, or occasionally I’ll have a bowl of mini shredded wheat. It’s enough for me, and seems to curb my hunger, but there are times when I crave more and so I’ll reach for a piece of fruit as a snack, or I’ll have a cup of tea or coffee. I’ve had many pulled faces at the amount of tea and coffee I drink in a day. Yes, I admit, it’s loads. But I’ve always floated on my brews … no sooner have I finished a drink then the kettle is on again. I don’t drink coffee for the caffeine rush, and therefore as I’ve upped my coffee drinking (to fill me up) I’ve changed to decaf. Nothing posh here, I like the cheap Aldi decaf at just over £1 a jar!

I have a few … and I mean just a few Pringles as a treat at weekends, and I also have the odd treat of chocolate (about 10 of the Aldi chocolate buttons only work out at approx 55/60 calories). For me this is just enough to feel satisfied with a treat, and feel that I’m not deprived of the naughty stuff. And the next myth I’m busting here is that you don’t have to buy watery milk to lose weight. I buy whole milk, the proper full fat stuff, organic if possible. It’s lovely and tasty in my hot drinks and I know helps to curb my hunger pangs.

Except for one occasion when I went to a “do”, I’ve not had an alcoholic drink either. Most weekends I’d have a glass of wine which Justin poured for us both. I didn’t really crave a drink, but I didn’t ever refuse this either. I thought to myself that I was probably only drinking to be sociable, as the drink was poured for me. I decided to give this up, knowing that this too would cut calories down for me.

My evening meal has been a normal evening home cooked family meal. We have always sat round the table as a family for our evening meal, and it was important to me that this continued. Again, my new routine needed to be something which was sustainable. We’ve been for meals out, that’s not made much difference overall, as it’s just another evening meal. Sometimes we’ve treated ourselves to lunch out, and on those days I’ve been good at tea time. It’s all about balance.

So since the beginning of June this year, I’ve lost 3 stone! People have been shocked when I said this to them. I don’t seem to carry weight in one particular area, but rather an evenly distributed layer all over. But the weight has come off all over and I’m now throwing out my bigger clothes, and wearing clothes which I’ve not worn for a long, long time. Some of the clothes I can fit in now I’ve had for years. Yes, this is another thing I need to address, given that some of these I was wearing when the children were very small, or even pre children. Time for some new ones really!

I’m reminded of a tshirt I had, which I know I had when Edward was a toddler, as I remember a conversation I had with him as we sat chatting in the car. I was parked up, and looking in the mirror, and I said to him “Gosh I feel fat!”. “You’re not fat”, he said, “Mrs [XXX] is fat”! I’ve never forgotten this, and I’m now back to the weight I was then! So I know now that I’m not fat! Thanks Edward.

I’m proud of my perseverance, I’m proud of my achievement and I’m proud to now tell others, and let them know how I managed this … no gyms, no costly membership fees, no branded products, no milkshakes or other powdered meal replacement products. I lost this weight being mindful of what I was eating, and going out for a daily walk. Three stone has evaporated from me … that’s 42lbs … 21 bags of sugar … 84 blocks of butter (approx.) … it’s huge.

I’m so proud, that I’ve decided to give a £1 for every pound I’ve lost in weigh t, to charity. I’ve decided that every penny of this and any more I can raise will go to meningitis research, in memory of Edward. And I’m so proud that I’m going to ask others to support this too, with the price of a coffee, or an odd £5 or £10 to support me, or maybe you would join me in matching my £s for lbs and give a donation of £42, to say well done for the 42lbs I’ve lost. Anything you can give to support a good cause, and indeed me, would be very much appreciated.

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