Over the years I have lost my total current body weight. And then I go and put it back on again, with interest. I have always been on the heavier side, and really like eating sweet things and drinking those glasses of pink wine. Funnily enough, I don’t like sweet drinks, but I love chocolate, cake and cookies.
My Mother was one of those naturally slender, although curvy, women. She never dieted a day in her life. My weight carrying genes come from my Father (thanks Daddy). If I could bottle my Husband’s metabolism, I would be a rich woman. He can – and does – eat whatever he likes, and just doesn’t put on weight. His weight has remained more or less constant since he was 18. Fortunately he loves me whatever shape and size I am, but he is always proud when I do lose the weight because he knows it makes me feel good about myself.
I could write a book on dieting. My journey has given me a lot of knowledge on good eating habits and what does and doesn’t work for me. What I do know is that I need a support system, and most of all I need the discipline of standing on the scale in front of someone else.
So let’s take a look at my ups and downs and back up again (maybe more like a roller coaster than a yo-yo now I think about it).
In my early 20’s I went to a Naturopath, who taught me to eat only healthy foods. The eating plan was quite hectic, and was more about getting healthy than losing weight. I did lose weight, but don’t remember how much. I did learn a lot about how food relates to health.
A few years later I went to a French beautician who ran a weight loss program. A friend, who was getting married, went to her and lost weight quickly. As an interesting aside, this friend went to a dressmaker to get her wedding dress made. The Dressmaker told her to lose some weight and then come back again – almost as if she wasn’t prepared to make a dress and have it look less than perfect! The French beautician insisted I had a very “Chanel” figure, meaning I was the right shape but just needed to lose a few pounds. In those days I had a small waist and carried all my weight around my hips and thighs. She put me on a calorie reduced diet. I lost those few pounds but of course inexorably I found them again – with interest.
When my Husband and I started living together I put on a lot of weight. I guess it was contentment. We moved to Cape Town and the sight of a picture of me in a bikini was enough to motivate me to join Weigh-Less. The Weigh-Less eating plan is very useful in that it teaches a balanced diet. I was a real evangelist for a while, and even considered becoming a group leader, but at the time they only wanted women who did not work. I lost 19 kg’s in total, and kept much of it off for a few years, but slowly the weight crept back up. Anyone thinking of going to Weigh-Less should do so. It does work. Some of the Group Leaders are better than others: find another group if you don’t like yours. I have to say though that I did best with a group leader who did not seem to take to me – being as contrary as I am I think I was determined to prove to her that I could do it. I did try going back to Weigh-Less a few years later, but found I was bored.
Fast forward a few years, and having now regained all the weight I lost – plus interest, I joined Weight-Watchers. I really loved the flexibility of the eating plan and think that psychologically it’s really good to be in charge of your own eating, with tools to measure and control your daily and weekly intake. Once again I lost approximately 19 kgs, once again I stopped going because I was bored, and true to form the number on the scalecrept back up.
I had a small flirtation with the Atkins Diet. Lost weight quickly, put it on – with interest – twice as fast.
In the early 2000’s, because I was downhill skiing annually at the time, I knew I had to be fit. I went to join the gym, and signed up for the Body for Life program. I have to say that it really worked for me. I never followed their eating program (but by now I did know how to eat LOL). I was weighed and measured monthly, and the exercise regime was increased in intensity every month. Although it was necessary to go to gym six times a week, the programme only lasted 20 minutes at a time. So it was really easy to fit in, and once I was in the groove, I became very dedicated. When the program was over, I signed up for a Personal Trainer, but eventually I just did not have the money or the motivation to continue.
In 2008 I hit an all-time high weight-wise and for the first time my blood pressure was higher than usual, my cholesterol count a little worrying, and after eating my way around Milan, the time had come for drastic action. A friend introduced me to a dietician who helped me to detoxify first, and then put me on a low GI diet. Five meals a day and no carbohydratess allowed after lunch. I also learned what foods my body does not tolerate. The great thing was the dietitian measured me as well as checking weight, BMI and body fat percentage. I really got into the zone and once again lost 19 kgs (what is it about this number?). Moreover, apart from having a too thin face, my body was probably a better shape than I had been for a long time (no more thunder thighs) I stopped my visits just over a year ago, and despite knowing exactly how I should be eating, I am gaining centimeters around my stomach, hips and thighs at a scary rate. Part of the problem is that I work from home building my business, and so don’t get nearly enough exercise. I joined the gym again last year, but have now acknowledged that I really don’t enjoy gym – this means I always find excuses not to go.
There is a saying in weight-loss circles “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”. I don’t believe this – if it was the case I would simply stay thin!
I decided to write this in the hope that I would learn something about myself, and maybe help others do the same. At the very least, many women out there will know they are not alone. After thinking about and writing the piece, what I now know for sure is:
- As you grow older, it gets harder and harder to shift the weight. And each time you lose and then gain, you gain a little bit more.
- When I am motivated to lose weight and shape up, I really do “get with the program”. In fact, I realize that I probably bore my friends going on about my latest diet and how well it is working for me. I become a bit fanatical. I bet they all have a quiet laugh as I grow larger. I do have a sense of letting people down, but it’s not enough to keep me on the straight and narrow..
- As my GP pointed out, all of these weight-loss programs do work. It’s the motivation that is difficult.
- I get bored easily (I already know this about myself). This is why I never go back to the same program.
- Gym is not for me, I need to find a dance class because I love dancing.
- I need a support system.
- As much as I enjoy online communities the commitment level is not the same. Although maybe if I ran such a community I would be conscious of needing to be an example.
I need to find the next viable weight-loss program and then “keep it off”. If I could find a weight-loss coach who could also be any exercise buddy, that might help. The Coach would have to challenge me an keep me stimulated. Any suggestions or volunteers?
(I’m also trying to get into the habit of writing – the experts say “Just write anything to get into the habit”. So this is me doing just thaT)