Before I decided to write this post, I put a poll out on both Instagram and Twitter to see if it was “OK” for me to write it. Weight loss is a controversial topic, but with the post, I wanted to share how I’ve lost some weight in a healthy and mindful way. I’m not going to pump this intro with disclaimers about body positivity – this post is ALL about body positivity, and I honestly believe that there’s no “right” size or shape for anyone’s body to be. Love the skin you’re in folks.
However, if you’re struggling with that, or just generally want to work on improving your relationship with your health and fitness, read on.
There’s no fad diets or gym torture to be found here. Just the simple methods I’ve used to get more active and improve my relationship with food. Those are the two things that meant the most to me. Not fitting into a particular clothes size or standard of what a woman’s body is “supposed to look like”.
Let’s start with how I felt about myself before I started actually paying attention to the changes I could make.
I’ve been in a long-term relationship for almost 10 years. Needless to say, I’ve put on what I call “happy fat”. That’s fine, and I’d have been totally OK with that if I hadn’t of felt sluggish and lethargic. My clothes were getting tighter, and I realised I just wasn’t looking after myself well. I could feel that for some time, but it took a while before I cared.
I’ve gotten to this stage in the past multiple times and been on the hunt for “quick fixes”. I’ve joined Slimming World more than once in my lifetime. I’m not here to knock Slimming World, but I didn’t realise just how unsuitable it was for me until I knew there were healthier, more sustainable ways to lose weight, get fitter and just feel much healthier. Slimming World never made me feel healthy – it just made me obsessive over “syns” as I began to categorise food as either good or bad.
Shall we fast forward to now?
Over the last month, I have lost roughly 8lbs. I have no idea in the grand scheme of things if that is supposed to be impressive to anyone else, but it is to me. It’s particularly impressive to me because in that month I have not felt “deprived” at all. From a cyclical history of forbidding myself to eat chocolate and other such “naughty” foods and then caving and basically binging on them, to now truly understanding and appreciating that magical word – balance.
Ironically, that mindset shift occurred when I was convinced by Liam to use an app that I used to hate…MyFitnessPal. I hated MFP because it triggered that obsessive mode within me to try desperately to stay under the daily calorie goal. I was reluctant to fall back into that relationship with food, but I gave Liam the benefit of the doubt and started logging my meals. Before I knew it, I relaxed into a rhythm of recording every day. Some days I go a little over the calorie limit, some days I go a lot over (hello meals out in restaurants or takeaway nights), but overall it averages out as being pretty spot on or even sometimes under if I’ve had a particularly active day (more on that to come).
Logging my food intake this way allows me to pick up on patterns in my eating, and does give me the motivation to make smarter choices with my food rather than just shoving anything in my gob. I can pre-log food as well to see how many calories (and the nutritional value) it has, and sometimes adjust my portions accordingly. Instead of having a mountain of chips that I would have haphazardly piled on my plate in the past (and felt shit after eating too many carbs), I can reduce the portion and spend calories elsewhere – such as some fruit or chocolate in the evening for that inevitable post-dinner sweet tooth attack.
I realise that MFP might not work for everyone, but having previously had a mildly toxic relationship with it in the past, I now wouldn’t be without it.
So that’s how I’ve started to change my food habits up – but what about getting more active?
My Fitbit has been a bit of a gamechanger when it comes to just generally “moving about”. I have it set to buzz every hour to go for a short walk (250 steps), which literally takes only a few minutes to do. If I’m at work, this could be heading to get a cup of tea from the downstairs canteen, or if I’m at home and can’t get out then it’s a few laps of the downstairs!
These movement reminders get me away from the screen for a few minutes and help me reach my daily steps goal a lot easier – who else can straight up forget to move for several hours when they are working?!
On top of upping my step count and getting sweet, sweet relief from staring at the computer screen, I also actively try and incorporate more exercise into every day. No, you won’t catch me at the gym Mon-Sun, but I’ll go out for a lunchtime or evening walk in the week. The little things can make a big difference once they become a habit. A 5K parkrun on a Saturday morning has also become a habit (even though the idea of running outside used to make me seriously cringe), but if the idea of running with 600-odd other people on a chilly Saturday morning isn’t fun for you, it’s all about finding an exercise that is.
So there we have it – the not so groundbreaking secrets of how I have lost weight in a healthy, mindful way. Weight loss shouldn’t be about torturing yourself, it should be about listening to your body and giving it what it needs.