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All posts for the month February, 2014

Happy progress

Published February 15, 2014 by Crystal

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I’m feeling a little brave today, so decided to share a progress photo.  It’s not a before and after.  I still feel I have a way to go to reach what feels right for me.

The photo on the left is from August 2013, the right from today, February 2014.

Let me be clear.  I am a big believer in living life as much as you want, no matter what size you are.  I don’t believe anyone should feel they have to hide away because they don’t meet the standard that society has set.  There were few things I didn’t do because of my size.  I believe we should respect our bodies, and treat ourselves with kindness.  We should learn to love ourselves, and respond to ourselves as we do other people, and I had learned how to do this in my larger body.   But I felt uncomfortable, and the beginning of September brought some rude awakenings around my health.  So I decided it was time for me to take action, for my wellbeing, and I started a weight loss plan at the beginning of October.  I already feel so much better physically, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little bit happy that my clothes are getting smaller.  My training for the London Moonwalk is already much easier this year, and I don’t find myself getting quite so breathless if I exert myself a little.

I follow a plan, but it isn’t the sum total of my life.  I still eat out, I still drink.  Life isn’t on hold.  But it’s different, and habits are forming for the better.  xxx

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Eyes on your own plate!

Published February 12, 2014 by Crystal

You know, I absolutely love this phrase!  Our bodies are our responsibility, and it is up to us to decide what goes into them.  Someone on a group I visit shared a link today http://evidencemag.com/clean-eating/ and it dawned on me what had been really really annoying me about some anti diet posts I’d been reading.  They were going on, relentlessly about Weight Watchers items being touted, and how they were full of artificial sweetener and bulking agents., and how it’s all bad, and how this diet isn’t showing people how to cook good “wholesome” meals from scratch and so on and so forth.  It made me angry, and I wasn’t exactly sure why, but the article above has kind of helped.  The anti diet posts are so very judgmental, not only towards Weight Watchers, but in being so, to the people who then decide to go to Weight Watchers, and then use the products to help them.  I don’t use the products.  I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I don’t often feel the need for sweet bars, and on a vegan (my choice) diet, I can’t easily help myself to an off the shelf bar.  These bars full of bulking agents and artificial sweetener serve a purpose.  They help people transition from high fat, high calorie foods, to a more calorie controlled routine.  They satisfy the sweet tooth when needed.

I’m sure in an ideal world we’d all be able to cook wonderful meals from scratch.  but actually, the world around me at this moment in time isn’t like that.  The arrival of ready meals and a high paced lifestyle means that many people have lost the art and time to cook.  Their priorities are different.  So low fat ready meals and ready made sandwich fillers etc help people who don’t feel they have the time or inclination right now to sort out those things for themselves.

One part of a blog I read suggested that Weight Watchers did not encourage people to cook their foods from scratch because of all these branded foods they want to tout.  This was one particular point that stirred me up the most, because it’s plain wrong.  I’d go so far as to say it’s a lie.  A quick visit the any Weight Watchers website, and you’ll see page after page after page dedicated to making meals, having a well stocked kitchen and so on.  Since following the plan I cook mainly from scratch, and I haven’t used a jar for the menfolk’s meals since before Christmas.  But it’s a habit that took time in being established, and occasionally a ready meal is still what’s needed to hit some spot, or scratch some itch.

It’s all very well being against dieting (I learnt much as I spent years NOT dieting, and know that I am approaching things from a very different place), but scare mongering around ready meals, artificial sweeteners, and bulking agents is alienating those who find them helpful.  Rather than hating on the foods, and diet plans, these anti diet campaigners could spend more time spreading the message of self worth.  Because THAT IS IMPORTANT.  Reminding people they are always more than a number on the scale is key.  Encouraging people to start living now, not just when they have lost a few pounds.  Those are the things that moved and inspired me and encouraged me when I was not dieting.  And those are the things that actually carry me through a slow and steady weight loss.  Because for many, weight loss IS important.  And if those artificially sweetened bars are helping people then that’s great.  Put what you want on your plate, and keep your eyes there!

Epiblog – It’s My Life.

Published February 11, 2014 by Crystal

An honest final (?) message. xx

This is Not a Diet

Epiblog – It’s My Life

I started this blog after 1 year of dieting.  I had lost 60 lb and was riding high on success and praise.  I continued losing weight.  I met my goal, losing 107 lb.  I continued.  At my lowest weight, I had lost 125 lb.  I went from size 24 to size 8.

People I knew and strangers alike treated me like a hero.  They all wanted to know my secrets.  How did I do it?!  What advice could I give?!  Suddenly, I was very interesting to people.  They listened to me.  They read my writing, commented on my thoughts, followed me on facebook in droves, and begged me to write a book.  They made me feel important.

Feeling like people wanted to listen to me was not something I was used to experiencing.  As a fat person, you learn to feel invisible.  Friends would talk…

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In defence of…..

Published February 8, 2014 by Crystal

I almost cannot believe I’m writing this.

And doubtless I will get some stick and criticisms, but I feel compelled to write in defense, of all things, Weight Watchers.

They’re a multi-million pound corporation, we know that.  They don’t altruistically give out health and diet advice.  They charge for it.  Every year they bring out something new to their plan to keep the punters coming in, we know that.

Every year millions across the globe will be following a Weight Watchers plan of some kind.  I would hazard a guess that nearly every person who reads this blog, knows someone who’s doing it, or considering doing it, or has just stopped doing it.

And for every person who successfully loses and maintains a loss, there will be hundreds who lost, and then gained again.

Let’s not mess around with language here though.  Let’s not tout out the same old lines of “You didn’t fail the diet, the diet failed you”, or “it’s not a diet, it’s a life style choice”, or any other limp, lame, arguments for or against diets.

The fact is, that a calorie deficit is needed if someone wants to release extra pounds.   How much of a calorie deficit is the more confusing point that merits discussion and research (maybe that’s another blog entry).  And I want to release extra pounds.  I am not happy at a heavy weight.  I don’t feel healthy.  I don’t like the way my clothes fit.  And I don’t feel particularly attractive at a bigger size.  Those are MY issues.  Personal to me.   And when a health issue struck back in September 2013, I decided I needed real help to start releasing those unwanted pounds of weight.

So I joined Weight Watchers.  I signed up for the monthly pass, and I found a local class, with the most funny, stimulating leader.  She doesn’t expect people to put their lives on hold, gives out sound advice about eating what you want so you don’t end up gorging on a load of foods you don’t want, and she doesn’t look down her nose at you if you gain half a pound in a week.  She is a genuinely lovely person, who you can see cares about the people who come to her (as a point of interest, WW consultants were once self employed, but are now employed by WW. I wonder how this changes the incentive to have classes stuffed to the rafters, because my consultant doesn’t act any differently whether she has a class of 10 or a class of 50, and I’ve been there for both).

I decided I needed that extra help.  Yes I know the foods of better nutritional merit.  Yes I could put together a healthy meal.  But weight loss wasn’t happening for me.  And not doing anything was not helping my self esteem or self worth.  I needed to act, for me.  To feel like I was doing something positive, for me.

But I’m a realist.  I appreciate that some weeks my weight loss won’t be of much significance to me.  I’ll be enjoying evenings out, and socialising with friends.  The weather will be sucky and I won’t be able to walk for hours on end.  I also appreciate that this weight loss isn’t going to happen overnight.  It will be slow, and for optimum health that is a good thing.  I don’t want to lose valuable muscle in a bid to hit a lower number on the scales.   And those scales.  All they show is my weight, my gravitational pull to the earth.  They don’t show my worth to other people, my value on the earth.  They just show a very physical number.

Since I started at the beginning of October I have lost 21 pounds.  It’s a slow, steady loss, with the odd maintain, and the odd gain.  I haven’t felt miserable.  I haven’t felt deprived.  If I want it, really want it, I eat it.  If I have a bad week emotionally, chatting to people in the online community is good and helpful, people support each other and encourage each other.  OK, there’s the odd person who reminds me of my weight loss journeys in the past, obsessed with the skinny, giving out harsh judgments, and saying “no pain, no gain”, but actually, mostly, these are people who make amazing leaps and bounds in their lives, embracing movement, learning to love themselves where they are, and realising weight loss is just a small part of their life.

The thing is.  At some point.  I had to stop talking about wanting to lose weight for health, and actually get on and do something about it.  I am big.  How I got here becomes pretty irrelevant if I’m not prepared to break the mould and get on and do some positive things for myself.  I know dieting isn’t long term if your weight loss goals are based around unrealistic dreams of a perfect life and supermodel existence.  But it might just work if I do it with love, and appreciation of myself.  If I accept myself where I am.

Yes Weight Watchers is a million pound business, but inside that million side business are people who do care about others, and who haven’t just got ££££££££ signs in their eyes.  And if I can take the good bits, let go of the bad bits, and let go of my blame, then I can achieve my goals, little by little, bit by bit.

 

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