It’s now nearly two years since I changed my life. I know – sounds drastic doesn’t it? Well, it was. My son is 25. For 25 years, I carried the weight that I gained during my pregnancy plus some. Being ‘large’ became normal and I adjusted my lifestyle accordingly. At work, as a teacher, I wore long length jackets that skimmed my hips and hid my stomach. On holidays and outings, I avoided anything that would cause me to become out of breath, anything which required me to squeeze my bulk into tight spaces. Was I happy? I was cheerful. I was jolly. I always had a smile on my face. My mantra was be happy in your skin. As for food – I enjoyed it! No diets for me, I ate everything. Pasta, risottos, cakes, desserts, ice creams. A typical weekend involved a ride out for a coffee and a slice of cake. I was fat and thirty. I was fat and forty and even though I didn’t really want to, I became fat and fifty. Then everything changed!
The catalyst was my son’s decision to spend a couple of years in Canada and no, I didn’t pine away. I knew that we would go out and visit him and I remembered with sadness previous holiday flights when I had been squashed into an airline seat, when my stomach was so large that there was not enough room for the tray to drop down. To suffer a nine hour flight in that condition – well, it couldn’t happen, it wouldn’t happen.
I didn’t go on a conventional diet, I certainly didn’t rush out to buy replacement meals. I have seen too many friends lose weight on these replacement diets only to put the weight back on as soon as they reverted to normal eating. No, I changed my eating habits. Although I stuck to 1500 calories a day, I kept my meals normal except for one huge change. No potatoes, no pasta, no rice. Being aware that my one weakness was chocolate, I would buy 200g bars which I would break into squares which went into a plastic tub which I kept in the fridge. I allowed myself 2 squares a day – enough to satisfy my craving, enough to stop me going mad because I was depriving myself. My passion is bread; if you have read my previous posts, you will know that I like experimenting when I make bread, and so I allowed myself a sandwich at lunchtimes. As my husband is a vegetarian, at home we always eat quorn which is low fat compared to meat so that helped as well.
A typical daily menu:
Breakfast – a bowl of porridge
Lunch – a sandwich made with my homemade bread
Dinner – a quorn dish with at least three servings of vegetables followed by a yoghurt
Evening – 2 squares of chocolate.
I never felt that I was depriving myself of anything. When we went out, I would choose meals carefully. Places like Pizza Express and Prezzo have ‘lighter’ menus. Restaurants are quite happy to exchange chips for salad. Desserts I didn’t miss because the benefits were amazing.
After a few weeks, for the first time in years I was able to go into Marks and Spencer and try on something off the shelf. It might have been the largest size in the shop – a size 22, but when my usual size was a size 28 – well, that was progress. Seeing my shape change and shrink was fantastic. I developed a love of shopping. There were some real fashion disasters because, as I dropped down the sizes, I wanted to try on every thing. And the bonus – that was getting on the plane to Canada as a size 18, 9 months into my ‘journey’ and seeing my son’s face at the change in his mum.
It took a year to get to my goal – a loss of 80lbs/36kg. That was in July 2014. Since then I have dropped another 15lbs/6.8kg. I don’t calorie count any more because I have become accustomed to my new way of eating. It isn’t a hardship and I will not revert to my old habits. I don’t miss potatoes, pasta or rice. I occasionally treat myself to a dessert when we go out. On holidays, I enjoy myself – in Vienna I had cake!!! As for chocolate – after allowing myself 2 squares a day, I gradually found that I didn’t need it. I go for days/weeks without even wanting any and when I do – one small bar is all I need and then it might be weeks before I fancy any again. The benefits are brilliant. I can walk for miles without getting out of breath, my energy levels have increased. I feel younger. I should have done this years ago