We never know where life is going to take us or what challenges it brings. In January 2010 I was happy, so happy I wanted to stay that way for as long as I could. I realised that if Ali and I wanted a long and healthy life together, we had to change. I was clinically obese, had a bad back and my knees were feeling the strain. I had various health problems and I was ageing faster than my years. I looked ahead to a life I did not want. It was time to change. By the end of the year I had lost 4 stone - 56lbs. My confidence rocketed - I had taken control and it had worked. I was exercising, enjoying buying clothes, speaking up for myself.

I began to believe in myself again, I began to dream. For years I had watched marathons with admiration and a lump in my throat. In April 2013, I ran my first marathon.

This blog is about living life as a slim person, staying slim and fulfilling my dreams. Come and join me, support me, advise me!

Take care, Sue

Friday, 9 September 2011

Keep your diet on track: when to ditch the dietplan

Very  few of us get through anything in life without a few wobbles or meanders.  I came off my dietplan a few times and I still do deviate from healthy eating - and running.  Handling the ups, downs and setbacks is what makes all the difference between success and failure. Most of the time, we get back on track with a stiff talking to about how we don't want to be fat and unhealthy. But sometimes things go badly wrong and the struggle can get too much. What do you do then?

For a lot of us dieters, we struggle on, we blame ourselves, we feel a failure. But just hold on, before you start on the self blame game, ask yourself two simple questions:
  • Is this diet plan the right one for me? 
  • Is this the right time for me to diet?
The most important decision you make after the one to lose weight is you diet plan. You have to pick a diet strategy that fits you right here and now, not one that  worked for Kerry Katona or one you try and squeeze into like a size zero dress. If you are having serious problems with losing weight, change your strategy. And keep changing it until you have something that works.

You've nothing to lose. Research shows you'll lose the same amount of weight over 3-6 months regardless of what plan you follow - as long as you take in less energy than you use.  Effective weight loss simply means using and sticking to the right plan for you.  There isn't a magic plan, but there are plans that work better for different people at different times and there is a plan for you for now. The trick is to find it. Experimenting won't do you any harm, you might enjoy it!  And of course by trying different plans you will eat less anyway and you will lose weight. Win-win!

You might need more protein; more veg; less exercise; more flexibility; more treats; more discipline. You might have got a plan that means you're losing weight too quickly or too slowly to keep you and your body on track. If your diet strategy ain't working, fix it! Keep going till you find a plan that you can live with for 3-6 months and give it a go. If you get the right plan, you'll find that you're not just losing weight successfully but you're putting in place a way of eating that keeps you slim and healthy for the years to come.

Sometimes diets don't work because it's just not the right time and you have other fish to fry. This can be really hard to accept. I've spoken to lots of people who say that trying to diet at the wrong time just doesn't work and it is totally demoralising, just at the time when you need every ounce of energy to get by.

Deciding not to lose weight right now is not failure, it's taking control and making a decision that's right for you. But how do you keep positive? Well, first and most importantly, don't despair. It's much better to accept the fact that this is not the time to diet and move on.  OK so weight loss is too much, but this can be a good time to begin to prepare. When I was caring for Mum and Dad I read a lot about healthy eating  and tried out some recipes.  I made sure I exercised when I could. Small signs that things would change one day.

There's a saying that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. That applies to any challenge, whether it's getting a getting back to fitness after a serious injury - see Mel (http://www.melanieryding.co.uk/) or running up and down Ben Nevis (well done Davie! http://www.dingerswhw.blogspot.com/), or losing weight. Yes, losing weight is a challenge just like any other difficult thing we try to do.

I've learnt a lot from my running chums about how important it is to prepare; how despite everything, sometimes you have to step down from a challenge because you're injured or sick. They find it a real struggle to stop and wait until they're recovered and ready, but they know that to reach their goal, that's what they have to do. Same goes for us. Diets are challenges we take on, just like runners take on mountains and deserts and marathons. We need the right training plan and there are times when we have to wait.

So, when those serious diet wobbles kick in, remember this is not failure, this is about winning your challenge. Feeling like a failure will make you fat, don't do it. Keep your eyes on your goal, check you have the right plan; assess what you can do.  Draw on the support of your friends; your heros and people who know what you're going through. They're the real experts, they know exactly what it's like.

It took me a few years for my time to come and when it did I was ready and raring to go and I went for it. I succeeded. You can too.

Take care and good luck!