As with all great ideas, a plan of action is called for! So here is my 2013 Get Fit, Feel Epic post.
1: Cut the crap! The first step is simple. I just need to stop eating the sweets, crisps, cakes, chocolates and biscuits that have become my staple diet over Christmas. In January I usually get into a completely bonkers mindset where I decide to binge my way through all the leftover selection boxes, tins of Heroes and packets of biccies. My reasoning is, once they are gone I can start eating healthy again. How mad is that!? As I gorge myself on a 400g of Dairy Milk Whole Nut I feel justification because when it's gone it's gone. Stuffing it all in one go is for the greater good, I tell myself as I force in the next four squares in one mouthful. I neglect to think about the thousands upon thousands of calories I'm pouring into myself. I eat enough calories in one sitting to feed a whole family for 24 hours! So, this year to get rid of all the leftovers, I've packed Ian off to work with a hamper of cake, mince pies, chocolate bars and crisps to share with his work colleagues. They get to share the calories between them and I don't need to become a human dustbin to satisfy my mad desire to rid my house of temptation via my mouth. Sorted!
2: Save Pennies, Lose Pounds. The frequency with which we grab the take out menus from the kitchen drawer has becoming so regular that the Indian restaurant knows us by name and never forgets that I like a boiled egg on my calorie rich mushroom biryani. I do love the treat of not having to cook, but when ordering food in becomes such a habit, it loses its appeal. If I add up the money we have spent buying Paneer Tikka Massala and Tarka Dal over the last few months, we could have bought ourselves a new TV! I want getting a take-away to become something we do for a special occasion, not an easy option because I've lost my cooking mojo somewhere between the Quality Street overdose and the cheese laden Smörgåsbords that have replaced healthy eating. Cooking healthy meals from scratch will prove to be my salvation in the battle of the bulge, and the money saved will be greatly received into my bank account!
3: Meal Plans. As a vegetarian I always feel envious of dieting carnivores who get to eat steamed fish and grilled chicken. Such easy options for low calorie meals with lots of options for variety. For me, a microwaved Quorn fillet day in, day out soon loses its appeal, plus they are so low in calories I begin to starve myself into a malnourished ball of misery. So I'm going to get inventive with lots of veggie stews, chillis, bologneses, curries and bakes incorporating lentils, pulses and Quorn products alongside fresh vegetables. As long as I go light on the carb side of the meal I should be able to eat my fill, get all the nutrients I need and not get bored of the food I eat. Plus I won't have to make something different for the rest of the family. Variety is after all the spice of life!
4: The 'E' Word. This is the one that scares me the most...exercise. I'm rubbish as exercise. I've tried the gym, pilates, yoga, holistic toning and the Mu-Tu system. The one over-riding factor of all these exercise programmes is that I have put my back out doing them all. I have scoliosis in my spine. It's not noticeable and as long as I don't do any twisting, jolting or stretching, it is OK and I am pain free. Sadly, these are the exact movements required to exercise! As soon as I try anything it goes 'ping' and I'm in agony for a few days. So, this year we are going to do more walking together as a family. This is not too strenuous in the short term and will be enjoyable incorporating it into day's out. The kids can go on for hours so keeping up with them will improve my stamina, fitness levels and burn off some calories. When Freddy starts school I will be able to walk him there and back. This was the main reasoning behind choosing this school for him so I will definitely be clocking up my miles come September!
5: Change my Mindset. For me, once I commit to something I become very resolute in seeing it through. That is until the first hurdle comes along to crash through my wall of confidence, leaving me floundering in self-doubt and self-loathing. So I need to be kind to myself. If I have a bad day and find myself scouring the kitchen cupboards for those sachets of sugar you pick up in cafes everytime you buy a coffee, just in case you might one day have a sugar emergency, I will not hail myself an utter failure. Instead I will look at the reasons why the sugar craving killed my resolve, see it as a one off and pick up from where I left off. This isn't planning for failure, but it is being realistic in advance so that one mishap will not sabotage my efforts. Losing weight and getting fit is a long haul effort and as long as the good days outnumber the bad, the over all efforts are never in vain. We can be too hard on ourselves and this is never a good way to succeed and come out feeling good and positive about our achievements.
6: Buy Clothes That Fit Me. I struggle terribly with the psychology of clothes shopping. Even when I'm a size 12 I find it really difficult to buy size 12 clothes. I always see myself as a size 18 and feel more comfortable buying big stuff even though it is unflattering and clearly doesn't fit properly. I'm sure psychiatrists will have a field day telling me why I like to hide myself in man's size XL jumpers. This year, I promise myself that I will get some good fitting clothes that flatter rather than hide the figure. I want to look good and feel good about myself. I am at least finally wearing the right size bra. For years I wore a 38B when it turned out I was actually a 36D which sounds far more buxom! So by totally revamping my wardrobe, I'm sure I'd feel so much better about myself. I think it would also be an incentive to keep the weight off if I had nice things to wear once I'm back at my target weight.
So that's my plan. Hopefully I won't be treading over this same old ground again this time next year. Perhaps one day I'll not put on a stone and a half over Christmas by getting back into my bad gluttonous eating habits. Hopefully this dieting deja-vu will one day be over forever!
Here is a 'Before' shot taken after a particularly heavy family meal (it was good though!!) with my beautiful daughter Megan. Hopefully by my 44th birthday in April I will be rocking a slimmer body and better fitting clothes!
This is my entry into the Get Fit, Feel Epic competition from Moneysupermarket.com.