Can't lose weight

Let’s not lose touch!

My blog is still alive and kicking.  If you still have an interest in the trials and challenges of losing weight, then hop over to my new blog site and subscribe so the blogs are delivered to your email address!  Hope to see you on the other side……http://timetosortit.com/blog/

Wishing you slenderness

Anna x

The ‘Time to sort it’ blog is moving

Greetings to you all and hoping that you have realised that it’s always a good idea to make the time to sort, whatever your current ‘IT’ is!

This is a very short note just to let you know that I have now moved my blog.  Here is the link to it’s new home

http://timetosortit.com/blog/

If you would like to continue to follow it via email, then pop over to the new site and enter your email address to subscribe.

The next instalment will highlight the ‘whole life approach’ to managing your weight.

See you on the other side!

Anna x

Spying on the naturally slim…………………

As well as starting up my Coaching practice, I also work at my local library and I love it. I get paid to touch books and talk to people (and try my very best not to confuse the two!)  Maybe I should have started working there years ago, as the majority of the other women who also work there are beautifully and enviably ‘naturally’ slim.  Their slimness is fascinating to me, more so because the coffee table in the staffroom is cluttered with biscuits and cakes and chocolates, and also empty boxes that used to contain the afore mentioned items.

I have taken to observing their tea break and lunchtime habits in a David Attenborough type way.

Imagine Mr Attenborough’s hushed tone’s uttering the following question-‘How is it that these lovely library ladies can chomp on these treats and not gain weight?’

So I sit quietly and watch and listen for clues……

Deb is eating soup and fruit for lunch.

When Lesley asks her if that’s all she’s having-she replies it’s what she usually has for lunch.  She is careful at lunch time because she likes to eat more in the evening and at weekends. The other thing I observe is that Deb always cuts her fruit up and eats much more slowly than I do-she eats mindfully (Remember?  I talked about that before- here.)

After finishing her usual very healthy lunch of pitta, cottage cheese and sliced pear (it’s what she likes) Lesley contemplates having a mince pie.  She ponders a while and then decides against it. There’s no angst, no turmoil, just a considered and informed decision that it’s high in saturated fat and she’ll be having a different treat later on. Besides she’s not really hungry. (David Attenborough voice again- ‘Species Library Lady has evolved over the years to understand when she has had enough food! Remarkable…’)

That’s not to say that if my colleagues fancy a biscuit or two or a mince pie that they don’t have one- they simply (!) pause and think first and then totally enjoy (The mince pie box was empty anyway as was the three quarters empty box of Ferrero Rocher- let’s just say everyone except me seemed to know they tasted good-how does that work?)

Although I haven’t yet managed to infiltrate their home environments and spy on them when they are on their own in their kitchens at night, I am pretty sure that my colleagues behave in the same way in private as they do in public. No declining chocolates in public and then scoffing them when no one’s looking.  They’ve been practicing this behaviour all their lives; David Attenborough might comment that their sensible eating habits have now become second nature.

I find it so interesting that people who struggle to manage their weight, think that slim people are ‘naturally’ slim and can eat whatever they want and still stay slim.  Some slim people believe the same. I believe that in reality slim people do generally eat what they want, but (and this is the significant bit) they simply don’t WANT the same foods or the same VOLUME of food that many overweight people ‘want’.  The library ladies are a great example of how the slim stay slim-they put some thought into maintaining their healthy weights; their good habits help too.

So now I have a great opportunity to keep watching, and to attempt to copy those slim eating habits until they become second nature (normal?) to me too. I know it won’t be easy as I have spent the last er-hmm years practising my own unique bad habits (I do have some good ones too-just saying!).  This week I’ll keep practising mindful eating (I’m getting better at this and I enjoy food much more when I am mindful) and I will make a huge attempt to pause before I snack.  Pausing will enable me to ask myself-‘do I really need to eat this?’, and I’m hoping sometimes the answer will be ‘No!’

What have you noticed about how slim people behave around food and what could you copy that could lead to better weight management skills for you? 

Please leave your comments below-I’m curious to know your thoughts.  And if you decide to share this ……well I’m not sure how I feel about the ‘naturally slim’ reading it (giggles nervously) – it might encourage them to start watching us more closely!

I have killed my number ONE excuse…………now what??

I have been quiet for a few weeks and here is my excuse…………there has been a major change to my life! Just over a week ago I delivered my last ever Weight Watchers meeting; I have left the job that I have done for the last 12 and a bit years and briefly, it has left me bewildered.  I still don’t know how I feel…….relieved, sad, excited, bereft, free, alone, grateful, empty, proud……hungry? (By the way ‘hungry’ was a joke J and emotional eating is a subject for another blog post.)  Seriously though I’ve had so many emotions and also new routines to work through, bewildered is a good way to describe how I have felt over the last few days.

Another bewildering realisation is, that just like that, (abracadabra), I have removed, what over the last few years, has become my number one weight loss barrier.  Let’s see if I can explain this in a way that makes sense to me, to my readers, (and of course to you Mr Blog):

There is an assumption,  that working in the weight loss industry is all the motivation one could possibly need to stay at a healthy weight.  I know I am not alone and that many of my ex-colleagues will agree, it’s not quite that simple.  That’s not to say that everyone who works in the weight loss industry struggles-of course that’s not true and many admirable people lose weight and keep it off forever. There are however, challenges that present themselves specifically to people who spend many, many hours in the week thinking and talking endlessly about losing weight, eating less and being slim!  Over the last few years I have felt as though I have pretty much become ‘immune’ to it all.  It has ended up being a subject that I know lots and lots about, but I appear to have forgotten that what I talk about can be applied to me too! Someone along the way must have given me a sneaky booster jab, which has made me resistant to weight loss!

The other side effect of trying to help others to lose weight, is that the focus is on THEM and not on me.  I’m not saying this in a ‘woe is me’ kind of way.  I have found it incredibly pleasurable and rewarding to see others change their lives for the better. It was and still is my job, after all………..but come on……..who wants to take work home with them every day of the week? We all need a break right? I was recently coached myself, and one of the most interesting things that came out from the session for me, was that I may have been deflecting the desire to be a healthy weight onto others! (Bing! Switch that light bulb on!)

Here is one more ‘reason’ it is challenging to lose weight when trying to help others do just that- some members find it reassuring/comforting that their leader is not a ‘stick insect’ (who remembers that television programme?).  Many members have told me that they like the fact that I totally understand how challenging it is to lose weight. And who am I then, to take that comfort away from them?

As I write this down now (why didn’t I do it years ago??) I realise what a big, giant excuse I have woven for myself.  What an enormous barrier to overcome!  And now it’s GONE! And I have 2 choices………..I can dip into my big bag of excuses and come up with a different one……………OR I can ditch the excuses and look for a way to achieve my weight loss goals.

What is your BIG EXCUSE? And what needs to happen for you to get over it?

Please comment below-I’d love to know how ingenious (or not!) you all are.  And if you know anyone else who may have their own weight loss excuses please share this blog with them.

OOPS-I’ve had a binge!

Picture the scene….(excuse the clichéd beginning, but I’ve always wanted to start a piece of writing with this little phrase)-so…..
Picture the scene: I have had a very focussed and controlled food week. I have added to the little reminders I’d set up on my phone, by downloading a little free app called Diet Coach (it’s very cute)-and I am being reminded daily that my body deserves good healthy nutrition, that I should drink more water and less coffee, that I shouldn’t ruin a good day by eating too many sweeties and crisps in the evening, and I am even being advised to look at my motivational pictures at a set time each day (I’ll talk more about those pictures another time).
So all in all my ‘reminder’ tactic is working fabulously. I am starting to believe that I can actually do this. I even have evidence that I CAN do it- 2 and half lbs down since last weigh in. I’ve caught myself at odd moments walking with my head held a little higher because I am a woman on track to weight loss heaven. I believe that nothing can stop me now that ‘my head is in the right place’ and so are my healthy breakfasts, lunches and…….
Ah but hang on a moment. Last Friday afternoon turned out to be an irritating one. I had been summonsed to attend a family gathering which I did not want to attend. I won’t go into details because apparently blogs as well as walls, have ears, and I don’t want to have to cope with the irritation of another family altercation any time soon (one had already occurred when I originally tried to wriggle my way out of said family gathering). So I headed off to do my duty, and in order to reduce my resentment at having to waste a couple of my precious ‘catch up with some of the stuff on my to-do list’ hours, I decided that I could sort my daughter’s prescription out en route as the Pharmacy was on the way. Now who could have guessed what a big mistake that was?
The saga of the prescription had started 10 days previously with me traipsing around to 4 different chemists only to discover that this particular medication was not available-I needed to get the doctor to write an alternative prescription apparently. So on the way to my Mother’s (I didn’t mean to mention it was Mother’s house that I’d been summonsed to-oh well it’s done now!) I ‘popped ‘ into the doctors to see if the new prescription was ready. I queued almost patiently for 15 minutes, then waited another 5 minutes while the receptionist disappeared around the back and was eventually told that the prescription (and presumably me and my daughter) did not exist. ‘
Not a problem’ I said-‘Could I come back later, on my way back from a family event that I didn’t want to go to?’ I said.
‘Yes that’s fine’ the receptionist said, ‘Come back at 5.30pm and we’ll have it ready for you’ . ‘Great’ I said, and headed off bravely to dreaded family gathering (which incidentally I managed to survive).
So back to the Doctor’s surgery I went. I queued a little less patiently this time (and now we are getting to it……the defrosting salmon and roasted vegetables would take at least 45 minutes to prepare and if I didn’t get home soon they just would NOT happen). I waited in the queue for 20 minutes. A different receptionist this time disappeared behind the scenes for another 8 minutes. She sent someone else out to break the news that there was STILL no prescription. Look I’m going to cut this short and let you imagine the steam coming out of my ears, the deep breathing exercises and the scrolling through Facebook that occurred for the next 40 minutes!!!! (Can you believe it??40 minutes plus 8 plus 20 plus 5 plus 15 equals 78 minutes altogether and all on the same afternoon as dreaded family gathering!!)
Anyway the outcome was that the salmon was definitely no longer on the menu and the Doctor’s surgery happened to be across the Road from a Pizza Hut takeaway. After 2 large glasses of wine and 3 large slices (or was it 4?) of pizza the rest of the evening is a blur. I think some chocolate biscuits came to the party and some peanuts and I really can’t remember what else. But do you know what? It doesn’t really matter. Because sometimes that’s just how life is-sometimes we do eat a bit too much pizza and sometimes things just don’t go according to plan and sometimes life is stressful. And yes I know Pizza can’t possibly fix life’s stresses but sometimes in the moment we forget that, right? As I say it doesn’t really matter.
While I was waiting in the doctor’s waiting room (the 40 minute wait) a youngish woman came out visibly shaken and upset. I think the reason I had to wait so long was that her session with the GP had overrun substantially-but seeing the state she was in made me realise that although I’d had a stressful day, things can always be much worse. And OK so I had lost control briefly of my eating-but tomorrow is always opportunity for a fresh start. In the old days if I’d had a binge I would have carried on bingeing until Monday. Nowadays I just start the next day with a clean slate and have a bowl of porridge. I believe this is one of the most important weight loss behaviours that we can practice. What do YOU think?

Tick tock…………..

So back to the topic of time.
The more I think about it, the more complex I find the whole concept of time in relation to weight loss.

My last post revolved around how when I am busy and short on time, I feel out of control where food is concerned. And I know that when I have made time to plan ahead for the week and I spend time preparing food and I make sure I don’t miss meals, I generally have a ‘good week’ and a weight loss.

And BINGO!-there it is in print-‘when I have MADE the time’. When things are high on our list of priorities, when things are important to us -like picking the children up from school-(thanks Sue) like watching our favourite programme on TV, like meeting a good friend for a drink, like putting the bins out on the right day, we MAKE the time to do what we need to do. And you know what? Losing weight really IS important to me-in fact I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about how great it would be to lose 20 lbs. I spend a silly amount of time thinking about how unhappy I am with the size that I am-I won’t go into detail on this……..it’s too boring; yet endlessly , day after day the glum soundtrack of my dissatisfaction plays inside my head.

Here are some of the reasons losing weight is important to me. I want to feel better about myself. I want to feel more comfortable in my own skin, as well as in the latest New Look or M and S fashions. I want to preserve my health. I don’t want my ankle to ache when I have spent all day on my feet. I want to spring out of bed in the morning, and with a sense of freedom throw on a pair of jeans and feel great. I want to buy clothes because I like them and they suit my character-not because they cover up my dodgy bits. And this is difficult for me to share-but I will anyway- being at my happy weight would give me more credibility and more confidence in my job. So actually yes it’s very important to me to ‘just get on and do’ this weight loss thing. So where’s it going wrong?

It goes wrong at certain TIMES of the week, and at certain TIMES of the day (there goes that word again!): namely at weekends and in the evenings! So at the beginning of my weight loss week –which is the day that I weigh in- I am really clear in my own head about how important my weight loss is to me and I feel focussed. But by the time the weekend arrives that sense of importance has become a lot fuzzier. Similarly in the mornings when I have had the ritual daily discomfort of deciding what to wear (does my bum look big in this?, oh no look at those thighs! etc.) my motivation to have a ‘good’ day is high, because at that moment in time I want to delete those negative wardrobe feelings for ever . As the hours tick by during the course of the day and my wardrobe-trauma memories become more distant and I become more tired, again my weight loss desires become fuzzier. And those are the times that my resolve weakens and I ruin all the good work I have done during the day by mindlessly munching.

And another thing about time! It goes so fast doesn’t it? I have been replaying the above routines for 4 years now-WASTING time! So I am now CHOOSING to repeat this cycle no more-there will not be any more wasting of precious hours because what I am also wasting, is my precious life.

This week I tried a new technique to help my memory: I have set reminders on my phone to coincide with my ‘forgetful’ times- these reminders come with messages such as ‘Don’t ruin today’s hard work by chomping on junk’ and ‘Make sure you stay focussed over the weekend-you deserve to look after yourself!’. And do you know what?…….. so far it’s working! 

Is this THE answer???

I may well have stumbled on the answer. Just to remind you of the question- ‘Why when I know EXACTLY what I need to do in order to lose weight, do I not just DO IT!

Are you ready for the answer? I wonder if my answer is the same as your answer?

The answer is TIME!

‘Time to sort it….’ she said. Well actually that’s exactly what I have been short of this week-TIME! It’s been a full on, higgledy piggledy week and the consequence is that I haven’t had time to write this blog! I’d intended to check in on Friday………well you know how it is…. Anyway I may be 3 days late, but at least I haven’t stood you up completely Mr Blog.

And if I sign off now and leave it at this, am I just making excuses? (For you to decide)
And if I prioritised my weight loss more, would I have found the time to focus on it more? (For you to decide)
And if I used the next 15 minutes to plan meals for the week ahead, instead of blogging-would that be more sensible? (For you to decide)

I’ve decided… that’s what I’m going to do-shopping list here I come!……….but I promise to come back to the question of time again, next time.

I’d really love it if you could leave comments below and share whether lack of time is what stops you.

Anna

Oh and did I mention I lost a pound last week?

Scales avoidance-what’s it all about?

I’ve been brave this morning and faced the scales. It wasn’t my finest moment numerically-and it wasn’t a surprise that the number had gone up since my last weigh in. But I DID IT (smiles to herself) and now I have something to work on. It’s been two whole weeks since I last had the courage to clamber aboard and the result has been a loss of control over my eating (and drinking….hm,hm,… clears throat!).

What a strange relationship many of us have with the scales. (Who agrees?)

My theory is that when we feel in control and are feeling thin, we (maybe a little nervously) WANT to see the result on the scales. Conversely when we feel out of control and know that we have overindulged, many of us believe that by NOT standing on the scales somehow we can pretend that our actions haven’t impacted our weight. Many of us know that if the number goes up, it will ruin our day and we’ll feel a great sense of failure. And when we feel like we have failed it knocks our confidence. And when our confidence is knocked it reinforces the deep seated belief that we ‘just CAN’T do this weight loss thing’, that we are ‘meant to be this way’. Sometimes it even makes us feel like it’s not just weight loss that we are rubbish at, but we are failures in every area of our lives. And sometimes some of us decide the effort of trying to beat the scales is just not worth it and we give up. Yes indeed! Those pesky scales can definitely ruin your day.

They can also MAKE your day! I bet many of us have had weeks when we could have eaten more healthily and could have been a bit more active, but somehow magically when we’ve had our weekly encounter with the scales the number’s swung the RIGHT way. And of course there are those days when we stand on the scales knowing that we have had a ‘good’ week and we get a result we deserve. Those are FANTASTIC days! Those are the days when anything is possible, when the universe is on our side; those are days for celebration and jubilation!!

How strange that an inanimate object can create so many different emotions………and now I’m wondering is this just a female thing? Do men have this odd dynamic going on with the scales. My experience as a ‘weigher’ of humans (it’s a big part of my job you know) tells me no! The menfolk seem to take a scientific approach-they tend to use the scales as feed back to help them identify what’s working and what’s not. (I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable right now as I realise that I am making generalisations…….please comment and put me right if I am getting it wrong.)

Anyhow, the moral of today’s ramblings is as follows-

It’s time to take the emotion out of weighing in.
Standing on the scales once a week gives great feedback on what has gone on the week before. We can use this feedback to help us on our own unique weight loss journeys.
(N.B. The scales DO NOT offer any judgements-they just give feed back)

Standing on the scales can help you feel cleansed (a bit like a Catholic confessional???)

DELETE that last sentence (guess who was brought up as a Catholic?)- let’s change it to this-
Standing on the scales each week gives you the opportunity to leave the previous week (and any potential guilt-Oh god there goes that Catholic thing again-oops and now blasphemy-sorry!) behind and move forward.

I am going to start practising this outlook as of now-how about you?

Anna

PS. Please don’t give up on your weight loss and your health. Think about all the benefits you will gain when you are at a weight that you are comfortable with. We can do this-I know we can.