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

Sunday, 8 January 2012

More bad (eating) habits: naughty nibbling exposed!

As I clamber back onto the wagon after an indulgent Christmas I've noticed a few bad eating habits are still around and impeding my return to normal. They are aided and abetted by me being unable to run anything off and of course having what should be running time now available for other things.

Here, in all their shameful glory are my bad eating habits - well not all, just the ones causing problems at the moment:

I hoard food and I hate to throw it away. Christmas is a double whammy for this pair. I've already blogged about my Christmas hoarding instincts so it's no surprise that I have in the house lots of food; lots of rich food. To get rid of it I have to eat it or throw it out.  I was brought up not to waste food, never mind throw it out. This year, for the first time ever, I threw food in the bin (only if the birds or the cats wouldn't eat it!). This is a crime I know, I am ashamed as I type. And of course I haven't thrown it all out (discipline failure!) so there is some temptation at hand.  I am hoping that this experience has been so traumatic that next year I am sensible and don't overbuy, that will remove temptation and set a boundary for the return to normal. 

Family foods are good foods.  As a child I learnt about eating just like everyone else, in the family home and at school. There wasn't much on TV, Fanny Craddock didn't really impact on family cooking and cookbooks were rare. No Biggest Loser for us! Normal eating in the 1960s and 70s was a big roast plus pudding on a Sunday; fish and chips after swimming on Saturday or on the way home after a night out.   Mince and veg almost every night  (though of course veg were soaked overnight and boiled and boiled). Porridge for breakfast. School dinners, meals at other folks' houses and what we concocted in cookery lessons were all the same sort of thing (except the Pineapple Upside Down Cake circa 1969 only found in cookery rooms thank goodness!).  These foods are foods that Mum recognises, that the family ate together, they are comforting in a very deep way.

Food is a reward for hard work. We didn't have many biscuits or chocolates as kids but tea and toast was a treat and a reward to be had at almost anytime of the day or night for almost any reason you can think of.  Bacon and toast was a very special reward, usually for studying hard. I knew I was in favour and a very good girl when I got tea and a toasted bacon sarnie delivered to my desk.  Nowadays, I self-administer the treats. Health and Safety ban toasters at work so I am reduced to chocolate biscuits, but the principle remains in tact.

Diets are bad.  Like many women of their generation, my Mum was always on some weird diet or another - grapefruits, eggs, lemon juice (remember PLJ!). I never really understood why, she always looked slim and beautiful to me. These diets made life tense and uncomfortable.  Despite the diets, Mum also used to nibble in secret.  She'd have a tiny plate at dinner but fill up in the kitchen. We'd sit with big plate-fulls whilst Mum apparently ate like a bird and dieted. This left me feeling greedy and confused about food and portions. How could she possibly survive on such a small amount of food? Was this how women ate? Dad didn't seem to have any problems with eating and he could eat loads. I knew who I wanted to be like!

By the time I left home I had learnt a lot about what 'normal people' - people like my family - ate and about how food worked.  Over the years, I just applied and adapted what I'd learnt. Not surprisingly, I put on weight. I didn't diet and had no workable notion of weight control, so I exercised to control my weight when I got too fed up. The rest as you know is history.

Over the years I did change as I learnt new things and met new people, but I never really changed my basic beliefs about food.  My 'normal' expanded to include broccoli, garlic, butternut squash and aubergines. Out went lard, batter, three course lunches and the top of the milk.  When I started on my weight loss diet, very late in life, things changed.  I had to do a serious shed load of re-learning about healthy food, healthy portions and all the rest of it. It took me a year to begin to make those changes.

The emotional stuff though is harder.  I struggle still with my hatred of diets and I have to crack this.  I know (in theory) that I only need to eat fewer calories than I use for a few weeks, I don't even have it call it a diet! I'm going to have to re programme myself and @nuuutymel and my friend Helen have both suggested I take a look at NLP which I'm going to do (no I really am this time!). 

Similarly, the nibbling. As I type I realise that I don't nibble when watching TV, I nibble when I am working. It's partly that I get up, stretch the legs, stretch the mind, make a cuppa.... and yes, give myself a little foodie pat on  the back for working hard.  

A little while ago a friend told me about a conversation she had with her daughter who was being bullied at school for being 'fat'. At 9 years old, Fiona is not fat, but she is a bit heavier than her peers. My pal Sarah was worried, how to take Fiona's predicament seriously whilst avoiding any suggestion that weight loss was the answer.  Sarah handled it beautifully. They had  a long chat about how Fiona felt and decided that they would both read about healthy eating and exercise. As a result, they both learnt a lot; they had quality time together and now they are both training for Race for Life next year. Fiona is happy and more confident and their relationship is even stronger than it was. Fiona has a fantastic base for healthy living in adulthood.

Children are programmed to learn and they won't just learn what you want them to learn, there are always hidden messages to be decoded. What child ever fell for the 'do as I say not as I do' line!  Nowadays children have many more influences on them and more sources of information - for good and ill. For them it will be about keeping in good shape using self confidence, self belief and self esteem, much the same as for my generation I suppose!

As 2012 gets underway, I'm still not sure what my running goals will be this year, but I do now have some eating habits to sort out.   My two big challenges are getting over my diet phobia and my thing about rewarding myself for working with toast. I'll deal with Christmas hoarding in due course - remind me!

I hope wherever you are you enjoyed the festive season, survived the weather and are back on track for reaching your goals and aspirations for 2012. I hope to be out and running again soon. I will have my foot up for another 2 weeks, recovery is slow, but I will get there. Toes crossed!

Take care