In an ideal world, I would like to shift about 7lbs*. In this crappy “real world” I have actually gained about 3lbs lately. There is no mystery to this; I am 100% to blame.
There are a few traps I fall into, that I just have to avoid if I want to control my weight. It frustrates the hell out of me that there is no way around this, but there isn’t.
Overeating “healthy” foods
Yes, nut butters and olive oil contain good fats. No, this doesn’t make them any lower in calories and I shouldn’t go out my way to eat them. Yes I run, but no, I don’t need to replenish glycogen levels immediately after a 10-mile run when lunch is in an hour. Fruit might be a healthy snack, but if you’re not actually hungry, a glass of water would be better.
I have this feeling that if I am not actively being healthy (i.e. consuming something healthy), I am not making progress. I don’t seem to realise that the healthiest times are where I am not consuming anything. I shouldn’t eat cherry tomatoes for a mid-afternoon snack if I don’t actually need a mid-afternoon snack.
I see friends fall into the same trap. “A quick post-gym snack!” photo on Facebook is accompanied by a picture of two slices of bread and peanut butter and a banana. Yes, the bread is wholemeal, yes banana is a fruit. Healthy healthy healthy. But if you spend 45 minutes at the gym then eat this, you’re probably consuming at least half the calories you just worked off. If you’re actively trying to lose weight, what’s the point in that?
Some of the “healthy” foods are downright unhealthy. Reduced fat crisps – come on, surely I know better than this! They have crept back onto the agenda, often (daily) eaten as a snack when I get home and should just wait for dinner.
I just need to eat less, and more often than not, consider just not eating anything, and instead wait for my next meal.
I have great admiration for people who come across as balanced. I read several blogs that present this ideal. They do a long run, and then enjoy pizza and red wine – and they seem to stay in great shape. Well, this is nonsense. They either have way faster metabolisms than me, or they are not actually eating what they appear to be. I need to control everything I eat, and not kid myself that something doesn’t count because I ran that morning.
The maths is pretty simple. I burn about 105 calories per mile run. That’s a slice of Domino’s pizza for every 2.5 miles – and I’m not looking to break even, I want to lose weight.
Yes, The Good Wife strides around drinking red wine with a 20″ waist, but no, that doesn’t mean I can do this. Gilmore Girls eat like animals but are both very healthy weights. Isn’t it refreshing that aren’t hung up on food? Don’t they seem fun and care free? Fiction Hannah – come on! The Gilmore Girls would be 20st each in real life.
It’s fine to have a treat from time to time, of course. But I need to do this with my eyes open – not just assume that running in the morning means I can have chocolate spread on my toast (“but it’s wholemeal” – no one cares!) immediately afterwards.
This is your classic good girl Monday to Friday, out-and-out pig on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday morning usually starts okay, but the second the fun starts, I don’t even try to control myself. Food, wine, snacks – anything goes. If we don’t have plans, I will invariably suggest we eat out, we will over-order, we will drink wine, and so on.
Again, from time to time you need to have fun. Always ordering the salad without dressing, without croutons etc. isn’t fun for anyone. But perhaps I shouldn’t order the burger every time. Perhaps a picnic for four needn’t involve enough food for ten. Maybe I should have a coffee instead of pudding. Maybe sometimes I don’t drink wine. Maybe we don’t need takeaway every Sunday evening….takeaway and a bottle of wine, naturally.
Ultimately, I can eat and drink whatever I want, but I will gain weight. It’s that simple. The calories add up, and all my hard work can be undone. If I want to do this, fine; I can give up and buy bigger clothes.
I am not giving up. I am not weight obsessed, and I will never be skinny, but I would like to keep things under control. I have done the free-fall-to-13st before. Check this out from October 2011:
I worked hard to rectify things in 2012, and I won’t go down without a fight!
I will keep you posted.