Thursday, 5 January 2012

How to lose 40lbs in a year

My New Year's Resolutions last year were to stop biting my nails, to be less shouty with the children and to lose 3 stone (aka 42lbs). Well, my nails are still bitten to the quick but I did manage to shout less (not congratulating myself too much there - having both children in full-time education helped enormously) and, as you may have guessed from the spoiler in the title, I lost 40lbs. Not quite the 42lbs I'd aimed for but it still translates as 4 dress sizes, which is really quite significant. ("Really quite significant" is of course hugely underplaying the pride I feel in this achievement. A more realistic description would be "yyyaaaayyyyyyyyy!!!!! I'm slim! slim, I tell you!)

This weight-loss has not gone unnoticed by friends, family, or anybody who knows me. And do you know what is the thing I am asked most often? It is "Have you been trying to lose weight or...erm...?" The alternative to 'trying' is never vocalised and at first I thought people might be wondering if I had lost loads of weight through some kind of illness, but since they invariably then say "you look so well!" this was clearly not the case. And I finally realised that they are hoping I am going to tell them that weight loss is actually terribly easy once you know the magic secret. So I do tell them the magic secret: hunger + sweat = weight loss. And their faces always drop.

Because the truth is that losing weight is, in fact, really quite hard. The theory is simple enough - you eat less, you move more, you lose weight. Back in March 2011, I tried moving more when I started running (using the Couch Potato to 5k programme - highly recommended by the way). I could see my body changing but I wasn't losing weight. So I moved a lot more - I did hooping, cardio tennis, ballroom dancing. All great fun but the scales still didn't budge.

The penny was starting to drop so I added in some eating less - you know the kind of thing: cutting out sugary snacks; eating less fat; yada, yada. My portions remained the same and .... you've guessed it!... the scales didn't budge. So I eventually joined Weightwatchers and the scales finally started to oblige.

Don't believe the Weightwatchers advertising puff. Believe me, if you do Weightwatchers, you will know that you are on a diet. For the first 4 months I was hungry for 19 hours every day. Truly. But eventually, I got used to eating so much less, and now only feel hungry at the normal times. And I have only 7lbs left to go to reach my ultimate dreams-come-true target.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that losing a lot of weight is a serious commitment to make. It's especially hard to do when you have small children because it involves making time for yourself. This is not trivial. You have to be selfish - even a 30 minute run never takes only half an hour. If you don't want injuries, you have to warm up and cool down. The time all adds up and we all know that mothers of young children do not have time to spare. And this is where I do have a magic solution to offer.... and that is Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred! (NAYY)

This is a flipping brilliant DVD for the reluctant or time-starved exerciser. It takes just under 30 minutes to do, including stretching, and as long as you take the DVD out of the sleeve, put it in the DVD player, and follow Jillian's instuctions, it really will work. Or at least, it did for me. Not on its own - I like to vary my exercise regime so as to reduce boredom and injuries - but when you need a short burst of indoor exercise, Jillian's 30 minute workouts are the business.

Not least because they helped me to realise that exercise can be fun.

I know lots of mums who run. I suppose I can see why - it's free and it's effective, but by golly, it's dull. I never really took to it. The good news is that there are lots of other forms of exercise that are nearly free and much more exciting. For example, I do taekwon-do with James, so we get some family time while working out. It also helps his coordination and confidence so we all win. Zumba is great fun and very social and not hugely expensive either. Ballroom dancing won't get me thin, but it's fun to do so, why not? My husband has lost 3 1/2 stone using a stationary bike. Now THAT is dull, but it's working for him and I think that's the key. Find something(s) that work for you and suddenly, exercise becomes to fun part of losing weight and keeping it off.

So there you go... how to lose 40lbs in a year! But what would any gloating weight-loss post be without the before and after photos? Truth to tell, I don't have many before photos. When I was fat, I hated having my photo taken. By December 2010, I tipped the scale at 'obese' and I wasn't queuing up to have pictures taken of that. But Nigel snuck one in....This is from our summer holiday 2010. As you can see, I'm not slim. But I still managed to add another 8 or 9lbs before Christmas 2010.

Christmas Eve 2010. That's actually a fairly flattering picture by the way - thanks Nigel!

And now for the after. Again, I'm not so photogenic that I like having my picture taken, but in the interests of inspiring other mummies, here goes....
As you can see, still a bit of a way to go - 7lbs to be precise - but I now feel as though I can eat cake in public without people tutting at me (yes my slim friends, people - even some fairly rotund people - do audibly tut when they see fat people eating cake in public. It is not helpful.)
And I finish with a different kind of 'before' and 'after'. The above photograph is of a coat I made in winter 2009/10. It was a fab coat - swingy and flattering, from the Ottobre Salma pattern, and it fit me beautifully and got loads of compliments. It was also size 18 to 22. I hated it. I could now fit two of me in it. So out of the 3 or so metres of fabric, I made this beautiful formal coat for Laura. It's also an Ottobre pattern. Now this coat, I unreservedly love!

Credits Thank you to Maria who dragged me to cardio-tennis in January 2011, thereby making me realise that I was quite frighteningly unfit, to the guy who developed the C25K programme, to Jillian Michaels and Weightwatchers and all those people who complimented me over my hungry journey for the last year. Especially thanks to my darling supportive husband. I couldn't have done this without you. Mwah! Mwah!


Millie said...

How inspiring! Congratulations! What an achievement!
I am also delighted to see that you have managed to repurpose that beautiful red coat of is equally (if not more!) beautiful in it's new form!

Cindy said...

Congratulations on the impressive weight lost! I appreciate your honesty that it's not been busy AND I admire your determination.:) The red coat is indeed lovely repurposed for your beautiful daughter.

Nicole said...

What an amazing achievement!! Congratulations! And the red coat looks lovely on Laura...

Joy said...

Congratulations! You really should be proud of yourself for your hard work. Is anything worth doing easy? Accepting that there's no "magic pill" is a huge part of the psychological battle.
Love the red coat, too!

KathleenS said...

Congratulations on your weight loss! LOL at people's disappointment about the magic secret.

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