In September 2011, I decided, not for the first time in my life, that I needed to lose some weight. I emphasise the ‘not for the first time’ as I first became aware that I was larger than other people at the age of 8. Since then, my body image has come and gone as an issue but this time was different. By now I had children, was getting older and was beginning to feel pain as a result of my weight. My hips hurt. Really hurt.
Now, I had tried lots of ways to lose weight over the years, including well-known groups and calorie counting. At the time, the low GI diet was all over the media and so I decided to give it a try. It probably reflects my state of mind at the time that I absolutely refused to spend (waste) any money on this attempt so I went to the local library and borrowed Rick Gallop’s first book The Low GI Diet. For more information go to http://www.gidiet.com
This book was a revelation to me. The very first behaviour changing idea for me was that I should know how much weight I needed to lose and then work out how long it would take to lose it, 1 lb at a week. The answer shocked me. I needed to lose 52lbs. That would take a whole YEAR. Rick kept telling me to remember how long it had taken for me to gain the weight. It didn’t help. I had to stay on this diet for a YEAR!!
Only, it turned out not to be a diet. I promise, I ate more food than I had for years. What I was doing, however, was eating really healthily and had great, easy to understand guidelines on how to do it.
Then I began to exercise every single day. I began with exercise DVDs because these meant I had no excuses. They took half an hour, gave me a complete workout and it didn’t matter what the weather was like. My personal favourites are by Davina McCall http://www.getfitwithdavina.com and Jillian Michaels. After a while I added walking and eventually run/walks. At the time I really didn’t want anyone to see me running and always ran alone, listening to my favourite podcasts.
At first, the weight fell off me. A look back at my journal shows a 6lb loss in the first week and 4 the week after. I was delighted and amazed. Of course, the weight loss did not continue at that rate, but it did continue. usually at the magic 1lb per week. There were times I plateaued but with the benefit of hindsight I was able to see that they lasted long enough to account for the weeks when I had lost more than 1 lb. So I might lose 3lbs one week and then nothing the following 3 weeks. In the end it did take me exactly 52 weeks to lose 51lbs.
An important element I must add is that this weight loss was my personal focus for that year. Once my family was safe and looked after, I prioritised my exercise and healthy eating over everything else. If I needed to work out, the beds were left unmade and the floors unwashed.
After six months, I was fit enough to be running for up to 15 minutes at once without a walk break, which was the furthest and longest I had run in my life. I loved it. The page in my journal of the day I first achieved this is covered in smiley faces.
After I was sure everything I was doing was working, I began to weigh myself monthly instead of weekly. This way I had always lost weight which was highly motivating. I also measured my waist, hips and bust. There were often months where I had only lost 3lbs but had lost a full inch off part of my body. In total, I lost 10 inches from my waist.
Over time, my goals changed. I still wanted to reach a healthy BMI but I also developed fitness goals such as being able to run 5k. The pain in my hips had gone and I was at a healthy waist measurement. I had a check up with my GP who told me I had perfect cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. I was done.
Then I just had to maintain my weight, but that is a whole other post.