So, you’ve lost the weight, hit the targets and are managing to maintain. So, what’s next? How do you get to the point where this is just a lifestyle and no longer a diet, no FOMO or depriving yourself? When does it become just routine?
I think the key for me was to not think in terms of good and bad from the beginning. I knew in January that my lack of attention to what I was eating at weekends was my downfall and this needed to change, but I was 100% sure that this was never going to involve completely giving up something. I want to drink wine and I want to go to nice restaurants and have friends over for dinner and sit on the terrace with a cold glass and a plate of cheese. I just know now that it needs to happen less often and in smaller quantities. To be honest, I can’t eat as much as I used to anyway so I’m naturally not pigging out at the weekends.
On holiday, we went for a 3-course lunch and if I’m honest, I struggled to finish it and didn’t feel great after. I’d have been much better off just choosing one lovely main course. In the past I could wolf down a 7-course tasting menu with copious amounts of wine, bread, nibbles; but not anymore. I’m choosing wisely, not because I’m worried about the calories, but because of how it makes me feel and how it makes my body work. I’m also working out on holiday. This was never something I’d do in the past because it’s holiday, right?! A break from the routine! But, now it’s quite normal AND enjoyable to go for a run every other day. I want to work out on holiday because it’s part of my lifestyle.
I’ve never been one to punish myself for having the odd biscuit or glass of wine (or two), but now I’m learning how to ask myself if I really want it and then when I do have it, I really enjoy it. Counting calories has never been my thing either, but I’ve taught myself to know what is high in calories or to know that yes, that is high in fat, but it is good fat. I know that a portion of white and brown rice have almost the same calories, but the brown rice has far more to offer me than the white rice (despite Anthony vetoing this for healthy dinners!). Some vegetables are high in carbs, but also rich in fibre. It’s about looking at the bigger picture.
So ultimately, I’ve made changes, but they are just the norm now and I really believe this is forever. Unfortunately, the radio- and chemotherapy left me with some nasty things to deal with and the best way to try to repair some of the damage is being the healthiest person I can be. Just after my all-clear a couple of years ago I was a little in denial thinking I can just go back to the way it was before and no one was telling me I needed to follow a strict diet or should eat more of this and less of that – something I felt a little bit let down by after my treatment to be honest. There’s lots of information about what to eat during the treatment to get you through, but little for post-cancer. You made it, now be thankful and get on with it! This applied to quite a few of my post-treatment problems.
A few people asked me if I needed to stick to a strict diet and my immediate response was always no – I now know that this was naive. The way I feel now and how my system works is purely thanks to a healthier diet. And now the weight is off, of course I want to keep it off, but this is one of the big pushes to continue to eat healthily and exercise regularly. It’s a new lifestyle and a new outlook. And it’s not too restrictive, because depriving yourself will always set you up to fail. Food and wine will always be my passion, but it now comes second to health and fitness. I want to live longer so I can continue to enjoy the good things in life.
Funnily enough Declan’s message to the group this morning was exactly that. By making the right decisions now, you are investing in your future health. I I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Declan for his part in my journey. His motivational messages, tips on nutrition, fun training sessions, flexibility, professionalism, friendliness and general support has been invaluable and inspirational. He now needs to sub me for some news clothes as half my wardrobe is now too big 😊.