Friday, 28 June 2013

Flat Tummy Diet Part 1: Background

It’s come to that time again where I take a good look at myself and sternly tell my reflection, “right enough is enough, we’re going on a diet”.

I’m definitely what you could call a yo-yo dieter.  I spend 80% of my time eating what I like, whenever I like then the remaining 20% furiously trying to undo all the damage and fit into my skinny jeans.  Having an aim helps.  For example, for my last holiday abroad I lost 8lbs in 3 weeks and for our wedding I lost 10lbs.

That was 2 months ago and I have now put that 10lbs back on.  Ok so we’re not talking huge amounts of weight here but the principals, motivations, hard work and potential failures are the same. 

A combination of two resources has been key to my past successes.  These are the My Fitness Pal app  used to track calories and offset this against calories burnt by exercise, and Kate Adams’ Flat Tummy Club Diet.

The Flat Tummy Club Diet is by far my favourite diet book, focusing on healthy food choices and portion control rather than calorie counting.  Kate Adams uses the Stages of Change Model to demonstrate building a successful case for weight loss and maintenance.

The Stages of Change Model:
  1. Pre-contemplation:  you don’t acknowledge there is anything to change
  2. Contemplation:  you acknowledge there is a problem but are not ready to make a change
  3. Preparation: you set your intention and work out how you are going to change
  4. Action: change
  5. Maintenance
  6. Relapse
In the past I have been through ‘action’ then failed miserably at ‘maintenance’ before spectacularly falling into ‘relapse’.  At the moment I would say I’m somewhere between contemplation and preparation.  These are necessary steps, as Kate points out jumping straight into action usually results in good intentions falling by the way side 3 days into your new diet.  Preparation is key.

Today’s motivation
So why do I actually want to lose weight?  I’ve come to the point in my life where I’ve accepted I won’t ever be a size 6, 5ft10 model and I actually quite like my some of my humps (my lovely lady lumps as Fergie would say) but I also have a ‘happy weight’ which I aim to get to and then (this is the tough bit) stay at.

In a nut shell, I’d like:

  • my clothes to fit better and not have to buy bigger knickers
  • to feel more confident
  • to stop feeling guilty about what I eat
  • to be healthier and learn to prepare nutriet-rish home-made meals
  • to eat a larger variety of foods
  • to stay at a steady weight and not crash diet pre-holiday/event
  • to set a good example
  • to have clearer skin
  • to feel less sluggish, have more energy and fitter
  • Mr H to think phwoar look at my wife (!!!!!) and actually agree with him!

So why is it sooooo hard?!  These are my excuses:

  • I like chocolate (see Chocolate Blackout)
  • I’m lazy
  • I don’t/can't be bothered to cook and have very little food knowledge
  • I have a very limited diet, eating the same foods day in day out
  • I eat like a student
  • I’m too busy
  • Processed food is easier to prepare and lasts longer in the fridge/freezer
  • I’d rather eat crisps, chocolate or toast than fruit
  • I comfort eat
  • I can’t say no
  • I’m married to a chef (see Mr.H page for more details)

But the mother of all reasons/excuses = “I’M JUST SOOOO TIRED!”

Tiredness is my nemesis.  When I’m tired all good intentions go out the window.  I pick at my skin, make bad food choices, snack rather than making meals, skip workouts and generally feel sorry for myself.

Sometimes you just have to admit you’re tired and re-coup but mostly I’ve gotten into a cycle of bad eating, irregular sleep patterns and lost all motivation.  The toughest part when embarking on a new regime is keeping the willpower to get through days when I feel tired and fed up.  Willpower is the hardest thing in the world, especially when you’re mentally tired from a day at work etc.  So how do you crack it?

  • Make a plan
  • Be honest
  • Walk away
  • Keep temptations out of reach (take lunch and snacks to work and leave your wallet at home, ban chocolate from the house etc)
  • Have alternatives
  • Avoid trigger situations
  • Keep busy
  • Remember why you’re doing this
  • Avoid mindless eating
  • Don’t starve yourself (even willpower needs energy)

I’m not suggesting you never eat chocolate ever again, but it may be a good idea to avoid temptations like this initially until your willpower is strong enough and portion control is in place.  They say it makes 21 days to develop a new habit.  Kate Adams’ Flat Tummy Club Diet starts off with a 21 day plan to get the ball rolling.  I love this idea on Pinterest of using 21 sticky notes, removing one each day as a motivational tool. 

Ok so I don't know about you but I’m starting to feel more motivated already! 

Watch out for the next part of this series when I’ll set out my plan of action (‘preparation’).

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