Okay, so this isn’t normally the type of post I write, but I really wanted to share something personal with you.
Over the course of the last 18 months, my weight has slowly crept up by 24lb (almost 11kg)! At first I didn’t notice it… then, after a while, I tried to “ignore” it until finally I hit a figurative wall. It wasn’t so much the fact that I put on weight that was the problem – it was more about how it made me feel.
How My Weight Gain Made Me Feel
Once I was able to acknowledge that I was gaining weight I realised I had lots of anxious feelings around my body shape, which I believe was a symptom of my weight gain… I tried to make a joke out of it, but in reality my weight gain made me feel much more self conscious and even started to make me feel down which, by the way, is saying a lot as regardless of what weight I’ve been in the past, I’m typically quite body-confident). For me, weight gain is such a personal thing – its generally something I don’t tend to talk about and often seems like an isolating experience. I’m not sure if everyone is the same? Yes, I have those quick burst conversations that usually go “Arghhh, I need to lose some weight”, but in reality, my true feelings around weight gain were very personal that would linger in the back of my mind. I even retrospectively began to notice so many pictures of myself eating delicious treats… arghhhh! 🙂 (I think this observation was a symptom of me becoming more conscious about my weight but how had I not noticed!?!)
I know weight gain is a super “hot topic” to discuss and I’m not advocating weight loss as a means to feel better about yourself, far from – but I do know that my personal weight gain made me feel different (and not in the most positive way) and that is what I wanted to change.
I know the “ideals” that society puts on people to have a certain body type – which, I totally disagree with. Any pressure to have a certain body type is ultimately unhealthy. I genuinely think that being healthy and happy (regardless of weight) is paramount – but I equally know how down my personal weight gain was affecting my confidence. I know there is a lot, if not much more, of societal pressure on ladies so this is why I wanted to share my own perspective on how body image affects us all – ladies and gents.
Understanding Weight Gain
The first I wanted to establish was the casual factor for my weight gain, which in my case was easy. Yaya and I have been travelling lots over the last year, visiting some exciting new places, with lots of new dishes and sweet treats to try. I want to try everything whenever I go on a holiday or vacation! Turkish baklava, Scottish short-bread and freshly made Italian carbonara were (and still are) my guilty pleasures.
Although I’m not a huge fan of the gym (I know it’s supposed to be good for you for I find exercising in confined spaces a bit hard to get motivated by), I do try and stay active – I tend to go on brisk walks around London 2-3 times a weeks, usually for 4-5 miles (6.5 -8km) and I regularly use my Apple Watch to quantify my calories being burned and distance walked. This allowed me to quickly realise it was my eating habits that were the problem.
How To Change Eating Habits
After writing a little eating diary for a week or so, I was able to establish where my weight gain was coming from. I tended to eat (and drink) lots of carbohydrates. I would regularly have pasta meals, or potato based meals – finished off with a glass of wine (If I was dining with friends). These all seemed to add up to a rather “stodgy” and somewhat gluttonous diet, which is okay in moderation but it seemed to be the majority of my meals. I really enjoy lots of different foods so it was a real eye-opener to see that most of my meals had somehow become carb based.
After realising this, I did a little bit of research online particularly about cutting down my carbohydrate intake. I researched on The Live Strong and Mayo Clinic Websites, who provide scientific and medical views on nutrition and dietary requirements. After reading a while, I found something called Ketosis, which is sometimes caused by a lower carbohydrate diet. Ketosis is ultimately a metabolic state where your body starts to break down stored fat and to burn it for energy. It also said that this should not be done in longer term dieting – so I thought I would try it for 14 days to see if it was carbs that was the cause of my weight gain.
Creating A Diet Schedule
Each day I regularly ate lots of vegetables, lots and lots of proteins, eggs and fruit. I never let myself become hungry. I was a little careful with the amount of fruit due to the higher carbohydrates in them, so I limited myself to two pieces per day. My diet schedule consisted of:
Breakfast options that I alternated each day:
2 x Scrambled/poached eggs with bacon loins
1 x banana
1 x A serving of low Fat Greek Yoghurt with a little honey and/or blueberries
1 x A grapefruit
1 x A portion of roasted pumpkin seeds
1 x A portion of frozen grapes
1 x currants or dates
1 x Apple
1 x Pomegranate
1 x Frozen yoghurt & berries
1 x A portion of soup
2 x Skinless chicken breasts
15 x Mini Tuna wraps made with spinach leaves instead of crazy wraps
Anything with lots of vegetables and lean meat or fish.
I also made my own pizza with a cauliflower base instead of dough, alongside chicken, parmesan and tomato puree. Recipe by Justin & Amy
Have A Treat Meal
Once a week I had a treat meal: where I could have whatever I wanted. this was a great motivational reward for me and really kept me on track. The first week I had a chocolate fondue… yum! The second week I had a cheeky pizza (a-la-Dominos). 🙂
After two weeks I lost 12lb (almost 6kg), which I was shocked at! This was probably too fast a way to lose weight and I don’t want to advocate this as a long-term technique. I have now introduced some carbs back into my diet and I am trying to slowly manage my weight loss to 1-2lb per week. After all, everybody needs some carbs and it can be dangerous to completely cut out one food type, but after reading through the advice from the Mayo Clinic and Live Strong, it was a good eating plan for me to try and I’m pleased it worked.
If you too are considering a change in diet, do undertake some research to see what is best for you. If you are not sure, check in with your doctor to be 100% sure you are making the right decisions for your body. The NHS website has some amazing resources to look through, too!
Why I shared this
I didn’t share my “diet” to prompt others to do the same, or to introduce another “fad” diet that seems to promote extreme measures to lose weight. I think, more than anything I wanted to open up a little more about how weight gain made me feel vulnerable and surprisingly knocked my confidence a bit. In reality, there are lots of reasons why one might feel this way but I do know that in this instance, my weight gain “brought them to the surface”. I think that’s the hardest part to overcome – becoming truly happy with my body and learning from my eating habits to maintain a healthy weight that makes me happy.
I recently took some new shots for our feature in TimeOut Magazine, which I was able to fit back into my favourite H&M jumper! You have no idea how happy that made me. I felt a little like Miranda in Sex & The City, when she finds her skinny jeans! 🙂