So, you think the hard bit is done…. getting the weight off. Wrong! The hard bit is keeping it off. Everyone who has been overweight has, at some point in their life, lost weight and put it all back on.
As I have always been active and nutritiously minded it’s always been a gradual process, but one way or another, those pesky ten kilos always managed to come back, and there I was, back on the slippery slope.
So, for me now, the real challenge is to keep it off for good, and don’t get me wrong, I’m really determined, but there’s always the holiday, the party, the friend visiting and it’s only a couple of kilos and I’ll lose that again no problem. I caught myself the other day randomly eating a chocolate Kinder Egg at 10am! It’s not a crime, but I wasn’t hungry, and I wasn’t bored, it was just there. I don’t even really like Kinder Eggs, but I scoffed it down in the knowledge that it’s ok because I am in the ‘weight loss zone’ now.
So, the question is how can I keep it off?
I truly believe that small changes to habits is the key. We drove to France recently for the Easter holidays and I knew it was going to be an active holiday, but I really wanted to try to not slip back into old habits. Sure, I was going to drink wine and sure, we were going to eat some nice food… just not every day as we had in the past. I realised it’s ok not to have a dessert just because the 3-course menu is better value than the à la carte menu.
As chief co-pilot for all our car journeys, I’d always pack us a big cool bag of goodies for the journey including cheese and ham white-bread rolls, a large box of pringles, pick and mix, biscuits etc. It is holiday after all, so it can’t all be hummus and carrots and walnuts, so instead this time I bought a mini box of pringles, I baked chicken and made healthier sandwiches, made a couple of salads with bulgur and packed yoghurts with berries. It all sounds a bit righteous, but both me and my husband are really trying hard to change our lifestyle and these little changes are what’s giving us the results.
I also looked up a number of recipes for healthy nibbles and more fish-based dinners, so we didn’t just grab a pizza or bowl of pasta and this worked really well. Declan’s weekend WhatsApp messages always include a mention of the importance of doing your food prep for the week when you’ve got time at the weekends. Make the soup, cook the chicken, plan some recipes. So, I made a shopping list before leaving on holiday and we stocked up in the local French hypermarket and the fridge was then full of healthy options – and of course, some treats, but mainly healthy options.
At home, I’ve tried to reintroduce some things into my diet which were to be avoided when doing the 31-day challenge, but again, I’ve tried to adapt it knowing now what I know about these foods. I ate porridge every day without fail with a large milky coffee. Porridge itself is so good for you, but when I was looking at how much milk I consumed, I realised it was a bit excessive. Now I have it once or twice a week and with half milk and half water and have much less milk in my coffee. These small changes have made such a difference. I now know how to get my calcium intake without gulping milk down by the gallon (eating seeds, nuts, legumes, oily fish, Greek yoghurt etc.).
I tune in regularly to healthy eating podcasts and one guest speaker recently mentioned that she ate way too much ‘beige’ food: toast for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner. Learning the importance of ‘eating a rainbow’ has been a key habit change for me and my health. My colleagues tease me every day for taking the time to chop up numerous colourful veggies for my lunch, but it’s just a habit now and I shrug it off. They are also the first to complement me on the way I look now so it’s all worth it.
Fingers crossed these little changes make the difference and the weight stays off!