I have already lost 20kg but I am not done
If you have kept up with my previous blog posts you will know that last year I reached a total of 18kg/39lb weight loss which I was very happy with. I managed to lose 2 additional kilos while travelling (so running total 20kg/44lb loss) I have also gained a bit of muscle. My family commented on how much slimmer I look, I can also see more ab and shoulder definition than before. The work is however not done and I am not satisfied where I am at right now in terms of health and fitness.
My relationship with food
I have had a very unhealthy relationship with food. In the past eating mostly for pleasure and in copious amounts even when I transitioned to a vegetarian diet at 18 years old, for ethics. Eventually, I moved towards healthier eating when I adopted a pescetarian diet at 25 years old, for health. I used and abused food as a coping mechanism. Binge eating, to deal with diagnosed chronic depression and anxiety which I have been dealing with for over 8 years. This is my ‘dirty little secret’ which I have been shamed into being quiet about for many years. Food was a band-aid for my emotional pain, an escape from uncomfortable thoughts and I would overindulge for any reason available. But I did not eat for health.
Mindset is key
Everything changed when I lost my first 18kg. I started eating as a form of self-care, not to punish myself, even though it felt like that at the start. I ate most of the time for health and health alone. I embraced exercise that I enjoyed – walking, hiking, body-weight exercises and Pilates and I dug deep when I struggling. I realised that I am strong enough to bear the difficult thoughts and feelings and that by facing them head on that I get stronger each time. If you have been living with mental illness long term, let me tell you, you are strong enough to do the same thing. After all, you are still here, you persevered despite those extremely difficult times where even death seemed like the easier option than going on. These days I try to be very mindful before indulging and consider my intentions. I ask myself questions even as simple as ‘why am I doing this?’. I am a creative cook and this definitely helped with transitioning to healthier eating, years of cooking vegetarian food forced me to experiment and learn. Admittedly, I struggled with healthy eating while I travelled – not all of the time but in some particular places. This is a whole different blog post itself and I will make a conscious effort to continue eating as healthy as possible when I head off again.
You may also notice that I haven’t written a lot about food in general or shared food posts until recently even though I love food. I even considered becoming a chef as a teenager. Being overweight in the past has made me very overly conscious and anxious about what other people think of my food choices to the point where I have had panic attacks in supermarkets (this used to be a big problem for me) and I honestly get very nervous before going out to eat in public. I want to break through this discomfort and look it in the eye as I have done with my other issues.
Although I ‘look good’ now (cue the messages reassuring me that I am not even fat and that I ‘look fine’) I still have a lot of visceral fat or belly fat which is the most dangerous type of fat to have. It is a predictor for a number of preventable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease (the number one killer of Australian women – killing more than cancer), as well as extra fat everywhere else on my body. After turning 26 it dawned on me that it is really time to take care of myself and make my health a high priority. For me personally, the only thing I have found to help with my mental health issues is purely by putting energy into improving my health by eating healthy, exercising and meditation/mindfulness. It is a lot easier to prevent myself from going downhill even to begin with just by doing those 3 things rather than trying to deal with myself when I am at the end of my rope. I want to look and feel better especially as I have also been dealing with fatigue issues for many years. I have heard the last 5kg/11lb is the hardest so maybe I am crazy for trying to lose it over the next 11 weeks but I am determined to lose the rest before I head off again.
Week One Friday 8th June – Friday 15th August 2018
Not beginning to exercise just yet
Only a week ago I arrived back in Melbourne after my very long trip home from Europe. I have been super jetlagged up until very recently with yesterday being the first day I was awake during more normal hours but I have however come down with a stupid cold which I am hoping comes to end soon. I won’t be doing exercise besides just walking until my cold subsides.
Diet: adding and reducing
This week I am focusing on adding more healthy meals to my diet and slowly reducing the amount of bread, dairy and processed foods that I consume. I have cut out soft drink, milk chocolate and potato chips. These are the foods that I get addicted too easily and cannot control myself with so they are reserved for the rarest occasions.
Trying new foods
I just started eating oatmeal and I am enjoying it which is funny because I thought I hated it due to trying packaged microwave oats in the past which had the texture of vomit. I actually gagged trying it. I am feeling good physically so far about the changes I have made and very motivated. I’m feeling full and content.
Winter weight loss
I thought this would be very hard because it is easy to gravitate towards carby comfort food during winter but things like oatmeal and soups are a great way to get filled up with nutritionally dense food and get warm at the same time. Tea is also a great way to satisfy sweet cravings and also give you warmth and give other positive effects depending on which tea you drink – my favourites are peppermint and chamomile. Admittedly with less weight, the cold weather gets more bitter so you do have to dress a lot smarter – layering and using the right materials.
I have gone out with my family twice for meals but I am so determined to get this weight off that I made very good choices and opted to have light meals both times. I am a bit nervous about going to some other places in the future because I am worried I won’t be able to resist over-eating and as aforementioned, this is generally a source of anxiety for me.
I am kind of surprised by how unwaveringly determined I am right now, I don’t think I have ever been this focused on this kind of goal. I think it helps that I am very very happy right now and I am coming from a place of self-love and not self-hatred.
Stats (starting point)
- Weight: 71kg/156lb
- Waist measurement: 91cm/35in (a healthy measurement for women is 80cm/31in or less). After taking this measurement and looking at the one I have for my heaviest recorded weight – 101cm/39in – I wonder how much weight I will have to actually lose to get this down to a healthy number. I guess we will find out.
I am kind of scared to share this
I am scared to share this publicly as it kind of puts the pressure on to get the results, it is public accountability on the world stage. I am pushing outside of my comfort zone. Regardless of the end result – I might lose less or more than 5kg/11lb. I will be content if I truly do my best with my diet and exercise. I will share updates and at the end a longer post with my before and after shots.
Do you have any health goals you are looking to achieve or are you on a similar journey? I’d love to read about it below.
Here I go.