Tag Archives: weight loss

How easy is it to give up sugar?

sugarI’m not going to tell a lie, it’s difficult.

After all, if you start looking at the labels on stuff there’s pretty much added sugar in everything from bread to the really naughty food stuffs.

And then there’s all the naturally occurring sugars in fruit, which gets increased when you smoothie them down – glad I sold my juice extractor!

Sugar, although it doesn’t have any real nutritional value is still part of the carbohydrate food group, which give us energy.

And we all know that anything sweet, sticky and generally looks sugar laden might be bad for us, but boy does it give us a quick, almost instantaneous sugar rush.  (You only need to watch a group of children at a party once the ice cream and cakes have gone).

The addictive nature of sugar is what makes it so tempting and easy to reach for a chocolate bar or a slice of cake (or even the entire cake) when we’re feeling down, tired, emotional, etc.

But sugar is now the bad boy of the food world.

We consume too much refined sugar which in turn, can increase our chances of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to name but a few. And with a health service that’s already stretched shouldn’t we do something that may ease the burden?  Even if it means missing out on a slice of cake?

Now, I don’t eat chocolate. I know, I’m a girl so I must have chocolate cravings, right? Um, no. Actually, I can’t eat it. I’m one of the rare few for whom chocolate actually does not give a euphoric contentment. It does the complete opposite, I get a real, real, bad low.

And, as you all know I’m a recovering “Biscuitholic” – it’s now been 4½ years since my last biscuit!

But, I do have to confess to liking cake. The creamier the better. Carrot cake (slightly healthier option), coffee cake, vanilla, you name it, if it has got frosting, yes please.

Well, back to the point, last year I kind of got to the stage where I thought I needed to lose a few pounds – the jeans were feeling a tad on the tight side – and I had a bit of a flabby tum from not having done too much ab work following my op.

When lo, what should behold me at the local newsagent but a magazine about how to get rid of your “sugar belly”. And so, of course I bought it.

It was very enlightening, I can tell you.

For instance, I now know that the little aches and pains I notice in my joints after I’ve had something sweet are actually called “sugar aches” – who knew?  That certainly explains a lot.

So after reading the magazine thoroughly, several times, I decided that I should try this crazy idea. (At this point I had weighed myself – big mistake, huge!)

The basic idea is that you go pretty much cold turkey for 2 weeks and then gradually reintroduce sugar, see what reaction your body has and then just reduce the amount you eat.

After all, going back to the fact that it is a carbohydrate, it’s not all bad.  Just like anything it’s better in moderation.

Out went the sugar-laden breakfast cereal (I hasten to add it was only Shreddies) and in came porridge. I have to confess I couldn’t give up milk (which yes has sugar in it – obviously a naturally occurring one, but still pretty much ½teaspoon every 100ml), so I didn’t go completely cold turkey.

And to the porridge I added cinnamon. This gives it the sweet(ish) taste that your body may crave, but is actually (and I didn’t know this) a “fat-busting” herb! (Bring it on!)

I’ve got so accustomed to this now, that I simply couldn’t go back to any other cereal – it would be too sweet.

So, what else did I cut out?  Fruit, smoothies, cake, bread, etc., and I avidly began reading labels off everything.

The first day was breeze, by the second day I did start to feel a bit shaky and headachy, the third day I was pleased I didn’t actually have to work but by the fourth day I felt much brighter.

So, for the first few days you do have to think of the long-term aim and not give up.  It is hard, but you have to use that old willpower.

Over the next 2 months, I was amazed at how easy it became not to reach for the sugary stuff. And yes, I did substitute, like all the celebrity magazines. I’ve used brown sugar for years instead of white, but I also now use agave nectar, which is low GI and has a lower sugar content than honey.

And like when I gave up biscuits, my taste buds changed. I no longer craved sugar, and when I smelt something sweet all I could smell was the manufactured, processed yuckiness!

And did I mention the weight? Well, it literally fell off. (As that weight control freak, I wanted to lose a good 10-12Kgs. Not that I needed to, but that would then get me down to a weight I felt comfortable with and pretty much back to pre-baby weight).

After 2 months I had lost 5Kgs and felt great. I actually had more energy than when I had been eating sugar.

So, then I started gradually introducing a “sin” – not every day, but once a week. What I did notice, was that after eating it I got sugar-aches. The weight stabilised, but then as we drew near to Christmas…let’s just say “Oops!” maybe a few pounds crept back on – what can I say, I’m a sucker for Stollen!

But, here we are 4 months into the year and I am almost, so very nearly there. I have maybe 2-3Kg to go.

I’m still on the porridge with cinnamon and I try to avoid foodstuff with sugar in, but if it does I actually (how sad is this?) calculate how many teaspoons it is.  I generally manage to stick within 1tsp a day – it’s tough, but you can do it.

I now find I have more energy not eating sugar than I did when I did.

 

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Was Joan Bakewell right to link anorexia to narcissism?

narcissus

Before I answer that, let’s have a bit of a Greek Mythology lesson:

Narcissus was the son of the river god Cephissus and nymph Liriope. He was proud, in that he disdained those who loved him. Nemesis noticed this behavior and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image.

And from that vain lad we get the expression “narcissism” which means (according to Dictionary.com) an inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity. And in a psychoanalysis context, erotic gratification derived from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.

So, no. Baroness Bakewell was emphatically wrong to link anorexia with narcissism.

An anorexic is not in love with the way they look, or indeed in love with themselves. Believe me, I know. I’ve been there.

After being teased about the way you look, or made to feel worthless, or that you are the stupidest person in the world, you feel hopeless and helpless and not in control of anything in your life.

You look in the mirror and see fat, ugly and stupid.

There’s a little trigger that switches on in your brain that says, “if you lost a little bit of weight, you’d look and feel amazing!”, and then after losing, say a couple of kilos, the trigger switches on again, and so you lose a little bit more, and then a little bit more.

And there isn’t a problem, you see, because you’re in total control – but when you look in the mirror that fat, ugly, stupid girl is still staring back at you, so you lose another couple of kilos.

You start exercising in secret – 100s of abdominal exercises to trim the wobbly bits around your tummy.

You start hiding food, pushing it around the plate and making it look as if you’ve eaten something.

You become clever at hiding the fact you don’t eat. You find ways to skip breakfast. You lie about having lunch, and then you eat a tiny amount for supper.

When I was a teenager, I lived on a sandwich a day for 2 years. Not a fact I’m particularly proud of now, but at the time it was the only way I could feel that I was worth anything.

I didn’t have many friends at secondary school – I was different (a bit geeky (something I’ve embraced as I’ve grown up), preferred performing arts to make-up and boys, etc), I was never one of the “special pretty” girls at dancing – just the tall, plain one at the back.

I just wanted to fit in! And I thought if I was thinner, maybe I would be prettier.

Nowadays, I love being different. Different is me! 😉 And, as I’m always telling SC “why fit in, when you were born to stand out”. The one thing I have learned in life is to be yourself. People will either love you, hate you or blow hot and cold no matter what you do.

But back to the point in question, anorexia is not about vanity, it is ultimately a cry for help.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I never got so bad that I had to be hospitalised. I could never make myself throw up, tried it – stuck my toothbrush down my throat, gagged, but couldn’t do it.

If anorexics were narcissists, then they wouldn’t self-harm either, would they?

Self-harming, like eating disorders, is again brought on by feelings of such low self-esteem and self-worth and trying to grasp back that sense of control.

Even a recovering anorexic will always have an issue with food. Sometimes they go the other way and become bulimic. But again, that’s just the control coming in to play.

I had both anorexic and bulimic tendencies – meaning I munch an entire packet of biscuits and crisps and cake in one sitting, then I would starve myself for a couple of days to punish myself.

For the record, I never self-harmed!

I had periods of anorexic-skinniness throughout my teens, twenties and thirties.

Did it make me feel happier? Did it make me feel prettier? Did I ever feel thin enough?

No, no and no.

So, what changed, if anything?

One word. Me!

I realised that the only way to feel happy, is to feel happy with who you are. You may be different, quirky, geeky, normal, flamboyant, etc. But the thing is you’re you. Nothing can change that – and just because you don’t fit into some conventional society-labelled pigeon-hole – why should you?

If we can feel happy with who we are on the inside, then it shows on the outside.

I tend not to look in the mirror these days – only to apply make-up. I don’t weigh myself 5 times a day any more. I exercise, but not to excess.

I still am careful with what I eat – but nothing as bad as it was. If I want cake these days (admittedly I tend to ration to once a week- still a slight issue of control) – I’ll have a slice – after all there are just some days when you need cake. So you buy cake, eat cake and the cake is good 😉

In conclusion, society and the media has a lot to answer for. We tend to always point out the negatives about people, rather than the positives, which is a shame, because everyone has something good about them.

Focussing on the positives is a great thing to do.

Here are my 3 positives about me that I’m grateful for:

  1. I love my very long legs
  2. I love my pixie chin
  3. At long last, I have grown to love me 😉

What are 3 positive things you love about you?

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What Can We Learn from the Yo-Yo

The one thing we can all learn from the humble yo-yo is that what goes down will always come back up and then go down again!

And this can be applied to many aspects of life, but let’s focus on weight and relationships.

How many of you have been on a diet?

Hands up now, don’t be shy…mine’s up too.

How many of you have reached your target weight and looked fabulous?

Now, how many of you, when you reached your target weight then resumed eating as you did before you dieted?

Come along now, I’m sure there’s a few more hands need to go up!

And didn’t you all find that you ended up back where you were when you first started the diet, plus a few more pounds?

So what do we do?

That’s right, we try another diet plan, because clearly the first one didn’t work?

And so it continues, ad infinitum.

See, the yo-yo effect. And what did we learn? Absolutely nothing, because when we reached the start, i.e., back where we started, we launched into yet another diet.

Stop the yo-yo!

The same thing is true of relationships.

How many of you have been in a relationship, which didn’t last for various reasons, only to ‘give it another go’ and then rediscover why you broke up in the first place?

Because, the same faults, things you didn’t like or clashed on were still there.

A leopard can’t change its spots, so despite all best endeavours, really you will just end up going backwards and forwards like a diet.

Take my first love, Boomerang Boy – we’ve been out many times, and it’s always ended the same, he says that he’s got too much going on in his life (commitment phobe?) to deal with a relationship as well. I never see him for ages, and then out of the blue he reappears in my life, we both still like each other, start going out and the yo-yo effect takes hold. I remember why I loved him – he’s funny, can be a gentleman and has never been unfaithful when we’re together. Then all the bad stuff starts coming out – his immaturity, his drinking problem, etc!

Mr Wrong No. 1 was exactly the same – not that we broke up frequently. I used to bottle up how I was feeling with regards to him treating me, e.g., asked me to move in and I end up living out of a suitcase, does everything he wants to do, etc. I then exploded and explained that a relationship is a two-way street and we need to make an ours. All is fine for a couple of weeks and then, back to exactly as it was before. How I survived 3½ years I still wonder!

But you see that’s the yo-yo effect. We want it to change, but we never learn that it won’t.

So what do we do?

THROW THE YO-YO AWAY!

Forget diets. If you want to lose weight you don’t need to watch points, give up carbohydrates, starve for 2 days out of every 5, etc. You need to eat a balanced healthy diet and most importantly exercise. Yes you can have a slice of cake, but not 6!

And you need to be sure of why you want to lose weight. Is it because the jeans are feeling a bit uncomfortable, or do you think you will be happier thinner?

Trust me, if it’s the latter it won’t work. You can only be happy by being true to yourself and accepting yourself for who and what you are. Be happy being you, because you won’t be happy trying to be someone else’s idea of you.

And if it’s for the former reason, then yes, you are the only person who can lose weight. But a diet involves a permanent lifestyle and mind-set change, not just a temporary one!

As for relationships, sometimes people can change, but it is very rare. So when it’s over, remember the good times, but don’t wear rose-tinted glasses. Remember the bad times and vow never to go back there again!

Never look back!

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