Diet, exercise, where to even start? (Embarrassingly long, sorry!)(5 Posts)
I’m wondering how I can get into a diet and fitness routine that works well for me long term. I find it very frustrating because I know all the right things to do, and have plenty of opportunity – the gym is literally 5 mins walk away – all the barriers are psychological. I have a number of quite high-profile (relatively high profile, I mean, I’m not going to the Oscars or anything!) events coming up that I would like to look good for. But mostly I’m just fed up with my self-destructive eating habits.
I started putting on weight about 5 or 6 years ago when I changed from a physically active job that I walked to and from, to working from home, at a computer. I have also had a baby and my body shape has changed. I think a lot of the food I eat and enjoy is healthy – chickpea salad, stir fry etc. I rarely drink alcohol. However, I comfort eat all the time, so even if it is healthy food I’m eating too much of it. Also, if I’m working on my laptop in a café (I often do this) I will buy a pastry when I’m hungry instead of doing the sensible thing and going home for lunch. Or if I’ve had a bad day I will cheer myself up by buying chocolate or ice-cream. I currently don’t limit or count portion size at all, and have no idea what I weigh. (I am about 5:3 and a size 14).
Two years ago I started going to the gym. I really enjoyed the gym which I wasn’t expecting. For the first couple of weeks I went 2 - 3 times a week, and ate only lean meat and veg. I did sit ups and HIIT and got much more toned, went down a dress size, but after a month I hadn’t lost any weight or any fat, which was discouraging. The trainer at the gym was nice but useless at helping me set goals – I kept asking him, for example, to suggest a sensible weight I could aim for but to be honest he was a very young guy and I think his idea of ‘progressing’ at the gym was just lifting more and more weights. I also hurt my side so couldn’t do sit-ups any more. Without goals I started to feel as if there wasn’t any point, I dropped out of eating healthily and started going to the gym less, so I maintained (just) my size but didn’t lose any more which was even more discouraging. Then a woman made a (no doubt nicely-intended) comment at the gym that made me feel self-conscious and as if I didn’t belong there, and I felt completely discouraged and never went back to the gym after that.
I recently bought a fitbit and that is helping; for example, if it’s the evening and I find I’m nearly at 10,000 steps I will jog up and down until I meet the target! Once again it’s having goals that helps. So I’ve just ordered the Fitbit scales and I am hoping the two together will help. I find it very difficult to justify time to exercise though.
Currently I go to a hula-hooping class which I love, which usually runs twice a week, an hour each.
I would love to go back to the gym but I feel like a failure now because I stopped going.
I don’t want to run; it’s something that has never appealed.
I think giving up sugar would fix a lot of problems, but it’s hard because this is the only way I cheer myself up…
I’m also wondering about 5:2 because it seems simple enough to stick to. SW and WW feel very complicated although I really like the idea of group meetings and having someone to ‘report to.’
Any thoughts?? I don’t know where to start!
Gym - don't feel a failure. I've just had 5 months off, work and various health issues conspired and it got longer and longer and I felt guilty and then how unfit I was... Eventually I just went back. And it was fine
Or ditch the gym and find something else you like. Any park boot camp type places, climbing, aerial hoop/arts?
Slimming world has been amazing for me. Its not as difficult as it seems its basically just about making sure you are always full of better types of food so you are less likely to eat tonnes of crap. Its very good for people who are emotional eaters. The getting weighed every week and winning shiny stickers is actually quite fun as well. Ive stuck at it a long time and lost nearly 3 stone now. I thought it would be too complicated but it really isnt, takes about a week to get your head round the point of it. It encourages you to eat more filling foods instead of empty calories. Anything that is essentially just sugar or fat has a syn value and you are allowed up to 15 a day... this is also good as it means you can fill your sugar cravings so are less likely to cave and binge eat. Instead of counting calories it aims to just get you thinking about generally eating healthier. Its alot easier to stick to long term than more rigid diets. x
I'd say work out where you are. Use My Fitness Pal to keep a food diary to see your habits- you seem to have a decent idea to start. Is it reining in portion size and reducing routine "treats". That was how I lost 2x 2sts after my babies as my general diet was fine; the gain came from becoming sedentary from SPD and comfort eating for energy fixes.
Be realistic about what you can fit in. How can you move more generally. What exercise motivates you. When can you fit it in. For me, I need the motivation of a class when at the leisure centre to perform well. I love swimming, but there isn't even a pool in my city! Running is flexible and fits in around childcare/ DH's work hours.
Reducing sugar and aiming to keep blood sugars stable is fairly painless and effective. I've replaced sweet juice drinks/ hot chocolates for fruit teas. Simple substitutions like that can go a long way if your basics are decen already.
I've been banging on about this in just about every thread I've contributed to on MN, but what works for me is eating vegan before 6pm, and then having a normal dinner, plus running at least 5k 4x per week. I've been doing it for about a year now (I don't eat vegan during school holidays generally - too complicated to make 2 sets of meals!) and my weight and blood pressure haven't been this good in years, and are just getting better.
Any weight loss will be slow, but sustainable - you don't ever get the feeling "once I reach this goal I can stop dieting" which I think is where so many weight loss programs go wrong. It's a way of eating you can do more or less for the rest of your life. I don't count calories, or points (does WW still do points?) or fat grams, or GI index, or whatever the hell else others count to make sure they're staying within their program - the only question is: does it have animal products in it? If so, I will wait till 6pm/dinnertime to have it - if I still want it. I let myself eat as much as I want of veg, fruit, nuts and pulses, and don't worry too much about other starches. It means I don't have to be hungry, which means I'm not fixated on food and the next time I'll eat, which makes me much less likely to overeat, even when the "omni" curtain is lifted at 6.
I can't recommend it enough! Good luck with whatever you do.
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