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10 things I learnt when I lost weight

I've always prided Pride myself on knowing how to cook healthy food and exercise. I had all the knowledge and skills I needed to eat right. Yet I found myself overweight. Going through the process of getting to goal weight I learnt a lot about myself. Here's what I discovered.

1) I'd got out of the habit of planning meals. 
Such a simple thing but having to think about the calories and nutritional values of food meant planning meals again. I used to love it but life got so busy I stopped. In following a weight plan I got in the habit of planning meals again. By the time I finished the plan I had a repertoire of meals or snacks for any time of day in my head. I never need to count calories any more.

2) I'd slipped down my priority list. 
When I realised I'd got out of the habit of planning meals I started to think about all the other stuff I'd prioritised instead work, meetings, other people, social events, faffing about on the internet-none of them more important than my well being. I realised that none were more important than the fuel I put in my body.

3) Why I overate. 
I'm told it's a classic. Really good in your routine at work but overdoing food and drink on evening and weekends. I used to like my job but it just wasn't me anymore. I was good all week but when it was 'my time' I wanted to make the most of it and that meant going out for dinner or for a few drinks. That's not bad in itself. In fact I'd only gain a couple of pounds a month but add that up over 12 months........ and you can imagine the impact that has. The bottom line is I decided to change my situation. I addressed the source of the problem, from there on sticking to plan was easy.

4) If you don't like your body you can change it. 
I was never that bothered by my shape but then it wasn't what I wanted either. We tend to just accept these things. It's usually age, or "that's how I am", "I've always been this way" or for some people it's "when you've had children" or whatever. It isn't. You can change it if you want to.

5) Its not all soups and shakes. 
I'd made the decision to lose the weight so I decided that I would just put up with eating boring food and feeling hungry if it got me the results I wanted. I was surprised by how easy it was to make healthy dinners once I got into it and how much I enjoyed them. I ended up buying and cooking things I wouldn't usually try and I really enjoyed learning to cook new things. Losing weight doesn't have to be a miserable experience.

6) You need less food than you think. 
You can eat well on 1500 calories a day if you eat right. When I started to follow a healthy eating plan I thought the portion sizes were small. I soon realised you don't need as much on your plate as you think. I also realised that you should give it 30 mins before deciding if you're still hungry-let your food go down before making that decision. My portion sizes now are only marginally bigger than on my plan and I feel better for it.

7) Digesting food takes up a lot of energy. 
By eating less I found I had more energy. That combined with eating less 'heavy food' and more fruit and veg meant I felt lighter and less energy was needed to digest what I ate. It seems weird to consume less energy and feel more energetic but I felt so much better. Even now I avoid large meals and 'heavy' foods.

8) The importance of drinking water. 
I'd always have a water bottle on my desk but consciously making a point of drinking 4 pints a day was really useful. Your body often can't tell the difference between hunger and dehydration and water makes you feel full. Drinking adequate amounts of water has huge benefits whether you're on a diet or not.

9) You tell yourself a lot of lies.
"I can't not have a pint on my birthday". "You won't enjoy new years eve if you're sober" "It's a special occasion" "I don't eat that much" etc I had told myself my arms were mostly muscle as I lift weights ("muscle weighs more than fat"). Nope-it was fat and I got a reality check when it all dropped off. I realised I had been lying to myself. This one isn't on the list to make anyone beat themselves up but if you hear you kidding yourself it's a helpful sign that maybe you need to pay attention to something.

10) You get a lot of other peoples crap. 
When you pursue a goal, particularly one like losing weight you get a lot of reactions from other people. "Don't lose too much weight." "Isn't it a bit boring?" "You're so good.-it's so hard to stick to a diet" "Well it wouldn't work for me" "Yeah but you'll just put it all straight back on". Going for what you want pricks other peoples feelings about themselves so remember it isn't about you, it's about them. Don't give those comments too much thought.


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