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How did you successfully change your lifestyle?

(17 Posts)
Blutopia Wed 07-Aug-19 07:55:38

I'm 46 and have 5 stone to lose, excess weight which has crept up over the last 25 years spent dieting and losing/regaining the same 3 stone over and over.

I lost my gallbladder 2 years ago with a massive stone, and my liver is showing "fatty infiltrates" and signs of inflammation. I have chronic foot and hip pain, long term IBS and migraine.

I am motivated to change, but the motivation rarely lasts - exercise triggers migraine, and healthy whole foods trigger cramps and diarrhoea (amongst other symptoms I won't describe here but which are revolting and to be vigorously avoided). I've had success losing weight by restricting calories but sticking to safe foods, but it's slow and laborious and boring and not sustainable. I've followed multiple diet plans since I was 20 - I know "dieting doesn't work", I have 5 stone to show for it.

How do you make changes and sustain them - did I read somewhere that it takes 3 weeks to form a habit but 7 weeks to break one, or am I making that up?

Has anyone made decent dietary changes for weight loss with IBS, which is triggered by whole grains, pulses and vegetables - and has anyone managed to up their exercise when exertion triggers migraine?

I work full time in a stressful job, 1 or 2 days from home but the other 3-4 days I could be anywhere in the country and spend whole days on site with clients with no breaks.

Would love to hear other stories?

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FlatheadScrewdriver Wed 07-Aug-19 11:31:03

I would probably say my diet doesn't include much in the way of pulses (not on purpose, but because I'm not a huge fan) and I eat rice, pasta and bread none of which are wholemeal. Technically the bread "should" be if I were following my eating plan to the letter, but as this is a long game I decided it needed to be adjusted so that I could not feel resentful!

I was 42 (also no gall bladder) when I lost 5 stone over about 18 months. It's broadly been using Slimming World principles because a)I can't imagine a life where I have to weigh my pasta forever, and b)actually it's still about being able to eat pasta grin I have about another 1-2 stones to go. Have been struggling for a few months but have at least not re-gained. I seem to have hopefully got some energy back so hoping to get there by the end of the year. When choosing "how" I had to pick something that would basically be forever, because my body and appetite do NOT self-regulate sadly.

I found the thing with veg was that there's a huge variety of what is easily digestible and what isn't, so while you might want to entirely rule some things out, it's worth trying others, and trying out different ways of cooking them in case they are easier if slow-roasted, for example. Is it just the very fibre-y veg that cause you a problem, or veg that's more acidic etc? Roasted carrots are yummy. I also love roasted peppers, courgette and mushrooms - will often chop up loads and roast them, then keep in a tub in the fridge to grab as needed. That can be handy for lunches too, with some leftover pasta or whatever. Big field mushrooms are tasty topped with things too.

I went to my GP for help/accountability and they set me up with regular nurse weight checks. The nurse was fab, really encouraging, and gave me some books and recipe ideas too. (I didn't go to any other kind of group, as they aren't my thing, but I knew if there was no external accountability I would be far more likely to give up.)

I really have a LOT more energy these days, I run 2-3 times a week (when I can squeeze it in round single parenting and working) and although I still don't enjoy the heat, I find I cope with summer far better. My asthma is better, my skin is better, my knees don't hurt - it has certainly been hard, and boring, quite often. But overall it's worth it.

Crazzzycat Wed 07-Aug-19 12:07:51

I’m a fellow IBS sufferer, but don’t get migraines so can only give you limited advice.

I follow 16:8, where you eat during an 8 hour window and fast the rest of the time. The usual advice for IBS is to eat little and often, so I expected it to really trigger my IBS, but it did the complete opposite. Giving my digestive system a break for 16 hours a day seems to be enough to keep my symptoms under control. I should stress that it may not work for you, but after doing some googling, it’s clear that I’m not the only one who experienced this.

When it comes to exercise, are you able to do more gentle types of exercise like walking, swimming, or yoga? Exercise doesn’t need to be intense.

And what’s your diet like at the moment? Do you eat a lot of junk food, or do you eat as well as you can within the choices available to you?

I’ve managed to lose 3 stone since the start of the year by doing lots of walking, 16:8 and keeping an eye on my calories. It was difficult at the start, but once I started feeling the benefits of losing those first couple of pounds, I used that to keep me motivated.

My top tip for motivation is to not focus too much on that 5 stone you need to lose. Break it up into smaller goals that feel more achievable.

Good luck!

Blutopia Wed 07-Aug-19 21:04:55

Thanks so much for the replies.

Yes it's fibre that causes me most problems - raw more than cooked, so roasting veg is a good shout. I tend to avoid onions, pulses etc, and what veg I do eat has to be in moderation - it only takes an extra sprig of broccoli to push me over the edge! Dried fruit is lethal, as are grapes and mango. Usually ok with dairy, but definitely not cream...carnage.

Wholemeal anything can set me off so sadly, the processed variety or bread, pasta and rice has the least intestinal side effects. I followed slimming world for a while, liked it but DH said it was making him put on weight!

I am very interested in the 16:8 method - despite being fat and loving sugar, I find it very easy to fast. Putting off eating for a few hours holds no fear for me at all. I experimented giving up sugar and aiming for higher fat, and that was quite effective - didn't upset my IBS and although I didn't lose weight, I lost inches and was way less bloated over a spell of about 6 weeks. And then, well...Christmas.

Yep gentle exercise is ok, walking is generally fine - it's running (which I would LOVE to end up being good at) that is murder for migraine. I like swimming - but in recent years I haven't been able to get over the psychological barrier of swimming in human soup!

Good idea not to focus on 5 stone, that does sound awful. sad

OP’s posts: |
StrumpersPlunkett Wed 07-Aug-19 21:16:26

Very different from person to person but I have bounced with different diet plans for ages and what I needed was a total reboot of my relationship with food.

For me what has worked (so far) is found the total meal replacement 1:1 diet (formerly Cambridge).
There are bars shakes soups and savoury packets of noodles/rice.

I did it religiously for 6 weeks. Lost 2 stone of the 4 I need to loose and I am set.

I love cooking. I love eating. But I had bypassed what a healthy portion looks like for a 5,6 small framed woman.
I was eating the same as my 6ft husband and teenage sons.

Too much healthy food still puts on weight!

I have come back to real food without the support for my last 2 stone and it really is great.
My desire to snack on a family bag of crisps isn’t there. I have a snack bowl which is a small rice type bowl and if I want crisps I have them but only a small portion.
If I want a kit kat I will have one. But not 4-5.

I am also really comfortable with the idea that I may put in a couple of pounds whilst in Germany on holiday for this fortnight.
But with sensible choices when I get home it will go again.

A total reboot worked for me. I understand it isn’t for everyone though.

Snowdrop30 Wed 07-Aug-19 21:25:02

Another vote here for 16:8. Reduced bloating in two weeks and digestive problems seem to be clearing up! Lost 11 lb in about a month and it wasn't hard. Best of all my tastes have changed - I don't get sugar or booze cravings at all any more.

Blutopia Wed 07-Aug-19 21:36:53

Reboot is an interesting concept, I get what you mean...will give it some thought. We're away for 2 weeks on hol from this weekend, so a good time to take stock away from the stresses of work.

Have you been restricting calories as well Snowdrop - presumably it's not just the timing?! I skip breakfast (I discovered recently that quire a few people with IBS and no gallbladder find that breakfast can cause a day of griping pain and toilet trips), so sometimes if we eat early I'm virtually following 16:8 anyway. It's just that when I do eat, all I want is a packet of dry biscuits or chocolate. Or know, high carb/high sugar stuff, that's my craving.

I need to crack the habit of falling into food when I'm worrying, panicking, procrastinating or angry.

OP’s posts: |
Blutopia Wed 07-Aug-19 21:37:29

*quite a few

OP’s posts: |
Couchpotato3 Wed 07-Aug-19 21:45:05

I've found hypnotherapy really helpful to help me take control of my health and form better habits. Worth a try if there is someone near you? It can apparently help with IBS too. It has helped me break the link between anxiety and over-eating.

Blutopia Wed 07-Aug-19 21:47:04

Really? I've certainly considered it, and I've had hypnotherapy for phobic anxiety in the past.

I'm a little nervous about revealing my hideous secret eating habits, but needs must...

OP’s posts: |
pussinwellyboots Wed 07-Aug-19 22:12:58

I've just finished the first 12 weeks on the 'our path' programme which is a whole lifestyle programme that aims towards a balanced lifestyle, trying to cook healthy foods from scratch, eating mindfully and watching portion size as well as increasing exercise and so on.

It's working for me as I have a lot of weight to loose (1 1/2 stone so far and about 3 more to go which I hope to slowly loose over the next year), I'm also feeling fitter and better in myself overall. It's mostly the changes I knew I needed to make but having access to online mentor support has helped me to stick with it.

(If anyone wants a discount code mine is, - I think it gives £20 off - yes I do get a reward but so does the person signing up and I do feel that it's a good programme)

FlatheadScrewdriver Wed 07-Aug-19 23:49:04

Just to re-visit the exercise part because reading my post back, it was very insensitive to mention running in view of your migraines. Apologies. I did no exercise whatsoever until I had lost almost three stone. I was very self-conscious, not terribly keen, and had lots of reasons why it was hard to find the time. So while it will be good for other benefits to find a form of exercise that doesn't trigger your migraines or other issues, it may not be as critical in terms of weight loss. There are lots of stats thrown about that say things like weight loss is 70% diet, or you can't out-run your knife and fork etc. I don't know what's true in terms of proportions of impact, but solely in my experience, it's been mainly food that made the difference. The (very very slow) running is fab for my mental health though, so hopefully there will be something else that does the same for you.

And I definitely agree with PP who said not to think of the whole challenge at once. Many people suggest 7lbs at a time, and I also bought a small reward for myself for every stone (a new bead to add to a bracelet, which had the added bonus of being a visual reminder to keep going). Good luck, I hope you find a combination that suits what you need!

Constance1234 Thu 08-Aug-19 00:02:24

Another vote for 16:8. I’ve lost 12kg since the 22 June following this way of eating. I’ve been really surprised how easy it has been. Still have another 10kg to go, but I am confident for the first time since I can remember that I have a good chance of getting down to my goal weight!

Minnie747 Thu 08-Aug-19 00:04:03

I have IBS/Fatigue and this is my own personal process (can’t stress enough it’s important to seek advice externally).

I paid for a private food intolerance test, which interestingly showed things I never would have guessed along with some I already had guessed.

I fast 16:8 most days and at the moment do 1x 24hr fast per week/four tonight.

I drink bone broth to heal the gut and take tumeric for systemic inflammation.

I cut sugar (refined) totally and non-refined I consume only in fruit/veg.

It’s boring and hard work, it’s so difficult to eat out. But do you know what - it’s worth it. Some d changes in such a short time. Including weight loss/less IBS symptoms/less fatigue or fog.

I’m also doing lots of research into ‘leaky gut’ and certain minerals that can help heal/resolve it.

MacaroonMama Thu 08-Aug-19 12:47:58

pussinwellyboots the Our Path thing sounds good, have PMed you, hope that is ok.

Nothing to add OP, but following with interest!

ckc45d10 Thu 08-Aug-19 21:17:40

Yes, turmeric may support digestive health, and one other thing to note is that a supplement form that is hydro-soluble absorbs better.

Weaverspin Sun 11-Aug-19 10:53:36

I didn’t have loads to lose, but I’m 50+ and had noticed the weight creeping up and clothes getting tighter. The lifestyle change that worked for me is - I suppose - a form of 16:8. I don’t eat until lunchtime. Then I’ll have a light meal, then nothing until evening meal. And that’s it until lunchtime the next day - though I confess a glass of wine will often sneak past the curfew!

I notice that - for me - once I start eating, I will snack all day, demolish biscuits, crisps & whatever. But being really clear when is and isn’t ‘eating time’ it helped me keep my resolve.

Plus my skin is better, I feel brighter, and the slight hunger pangs are completely livable-with. I do drink tea ‘out of hours’, mostly decaff with a splash of soya (no milky lattes, which are a meal in themselves!) but it still seem to work.

Oh, and portion size. Eat less than you think youlll need - it takes your stomach/brain 20 minutes to register fullness. Allegedly!

Good luck!

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