Dieting, Dieting sites and losing weight …

So … I’m overweight.  I’ve been overweight for years and years.  It didn’t happen all at once, it kinda crept up on me.  Initially I blamed the washing machine for shrinking my stuff, or Christmas (or any other special event) for putting on a little extra.  I had friends who were heavier than me and seemed happy, and decided that it didn’t matter what I looked like, as long as I was happy.

But there’s the thing … overall I was still generally happy, but I was restricting myself more and more as to what I would and wouldn’t do – the heavier I became, the less active I  wanted to be … I didn’t want to go out, because I didn’t want to show how exhausted I was when I walked up that little hill; I didn’t want to go shopping because I struggled to find clothes that fit; I didn’t want to wear short skirts or short sleeved tops because I didn’t want to show off my arms and legs … and this was all compounding the weight gain.

I was overtaking heavier friends, or they were losing weight, and I  was getting more depressed about it .. and then I’d eat to make me feel better.

Then a few things happened at once.

My husband, who likes to watch cookery programmes (a form of torture, if you ask me!), started watching a series by the Hairy Bikers, who were a couple of overweight cooking “celebs” who loved their food, who decided to lose weight by cooking more healthily; we came into a little bit of inheritance about the same time as our dishwasher died and flooded the kitchen, so we decided to get a new fitted kitchen; we decided to get the garden done at the same time, and had some raised beds put in, and space for a greenhouse (which we’re still to get, because, well, we’re tight, and greenhouses are expensive!).

Prompted primarily by the Hairy Bikers, we decided to follow their recipes together – we set ourselves targets, made the decision to weigh ourselves regularly and note those weights down, and to try to stick to a calorie controlled diet.

I have to stress at this point that we’ve tweaked the idea of “diet” in order to fit in with our lifestyle, and decided that simply “going on a diet” would not work for us … certainly not for me.  The concept of a diet for me seemed to be that you ate less, ate a restricted diet, until you got to your target weight, and then you went back to how you ate before.  You’d pay for a gym membership and spend weeks sweating buckets, then get to your target weight and stop.

But I didn’t want to do that – I wanted a “diet” that would be for life .. something that didn’t cut out all those nice things completely, that had space for cake, wine, chocolate, crisps and all the nice stuff, that didn’t require me to completely change my life, I didn’t want to be getting up at silly times in the morning to go jogging, spending hours on treadmills .. basically, I didn’t need a “diet”, I needed a change in my attitude towards food … otherwise I knew that, at some point in the future, I’d simply give up on the diet and go back to where I was before.

So .. we’re on our own version of the 5:2 diet .. 5 days a week we try our best to stick to the calorie counting.  The other two days, we let ourselves relax and eat (and drink) what we want.  Although I have to say, as the months rolled on, we still generally stick to the right foods on our two days “off” – we just tend to add a few glasses of wine into the mix!!

Because of the kitchen and garden refurbs, I enjoy spending time in the kitchen now … which is probably just as well, considering the amount of stuff we grow in the garden … we had only three raised beds put in, but boy, they produced a lot of food – and all of it healthy and low in calories.

I’m not losing the weight fast … and for a few months around Christmas time I hit a kind of plateau, although that seems to be dipping again now … but I am losing it fairly steadily.  I see people who say they’ve lost 3 stone in three months and feel a little jealous, but even thought my way is slow, the weight is dropping off and I am feeling much better.

The thing that prompted me, really, to write this post, is the amount of “clubs” out there that want a subscription for joining, and helping you diet.  I’m a bit “tight” when it comes to money .. if I see it and want it, I try to ask myself if I actually need it, and if there is a decent free alternative.  Obviously there is a reason for people paying month after month for diet clubs – and I can kinda understand it for those where you actually turn up on a weekly basis, get weighed, see presentations, mingle with others in the same boat .. but I really don’t understand paying for an online service.

Because we’ve become such fans of the Hairy Bikers Diet books, I’ve “followed” them in a few places, and received an email a while back saying they were putting together an online diet club and would I be interested … it would have forums, recipes and various weight tracking tools.  I liked the idea so, when it launched, I was straight there to sign up .. only to realise that all this stuff was locked behind a subscription service.

Well .. I’ve already paid for the books, use them regularly, so I’ll just bide my time for those extra recipes .. no doubt at some point they’ll stick them all in another book – and I’ll probably buy that.

The rest of the stuff … well I’ve been using a free site for quite some time called MyFitnessPal … it has the forums, the tracking tools .. it even has an app you can use on your smartphone to help you track calories (zap the bar-code and it’s automatically entered into your daily log, for example).

I just feel a little saddened that people, who no doubt are already making plenty of money off their TV shows, public appearances and books, seem to feel it’s fine to exploit those who really just want to get fitter and healthier … surely this is something that should be freely accessible to all?

So .. in conclusion … thanks for the kick up the bum I needed to get going, Hairy Bikers, but bigger thanks to MyFitnessPal for providing the means to track it all, for opening my eyes to how certain individual foods are stupidly bad for you, and providing the tools for free … big thumbs up 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Dieting, Dieting sites and losing weight …

    • Cool, thank you 🙂 I write about a huge amount of things tho, so it may not be that interesting :p Good luck with your training!

      I’ve had a quick peek at your link and it looks very informative and interesting. I know one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome was simply getting motivated to do it .. I needed someone to start me off. In this instance, it was my husband, who was also overweight, who cajoled me into starting the attempt to lose weight together. I’m not sure I could have stuck to anything if he had continued to sit and stuff his face full of all those nice cakes and crisps!

      But now that I’ve experienced the benefits of actually losing weight .. reduction in dress size, ease of buying new clothes, new energy .. that in itself gives me the encouragement to keep going.

      I would also say that I don’t go out of my way to exercise. That was something that always put me off “dieting” … people always put an attempt to lose weight hand-in-hand with sweating buckets at a gym, or jogging, etc. I’m just too lazy for that. I work part time, in a three storey building, and regularly have to visit other floors .. so I make it a point to use the stairs all the time now; but other than that, I do virtually no additional exercise …. although admittedly I probably get a fair work-out simply cleaning the house regularly :p

      I’d suggest that the two main things that need to happen in order to get to, and keep to, a healthy weight .. is continued motivation and a willingness to change to a lifestyle that works for you, but that also gets you to a stable, healthy weight. In my case, that boiled down to knowing how many calories was in things, and laying off the cake!

      • You got it! Motivation is usually the biggest hurdle. You need support from others and everyone will need a different approach. Diet is usually the easiest place to start because you can cut out 500 Calories of food way easier than sweating buckets at the gym to burn those 500 extra Calories like you said. Sometimes it’s about a small change in one regard like taking the steps and a bigger change in the eating department.

  1. Dont know how I missed this post, but interesting read, I wish in some ways that my otherhalf was overweight so we could diet together, I am sure if we did I would keep the weight off and he would appreciate my dilemma with my weight more, sadly he has one of those envious metabolisms that runs at 100 miles an hour whilst mine chuggs along at about 10….plus he seems to prefer the buxom version of me more so is has a bit of a feeder personality, giving in when I ask for stuff and just making me wonderful meals that could probably feed our entire family.

    I have always struggled with my weight ever since I was a young girl, I have tried many diets over the years, Cabbage Soup, Rosemary Conley (yuck, never again the food was disgusting), Weight Watchers you name it, even going so far as ordering those pre-packed food deals where they provide you with the food for a month and you only eat that. And I have lost the weight, for a while I even stayed down at a nice weight but I always, without fail, creep back up to the little chubby, going on rotund person I seem to be destined to be. I wish I could be content like this but I really am not, currently I blame the knee surgery for my weight, and it might be slightly true as I have been unable to walk to much for a good few months now, but its not the only reason it’s crept up again. Another usual choice of blame is my height, being only 4 foot 10 inches I always use that as an excuse but then some tiny little skinny woman no taller than me sits next to me on the train and that gets blown out the water 😛

    I am not a cook and we have no garden space for veggies (not to mention that fact the dog destroys anything green in the garden), but I love seeing your garden photos and feel a bit green with envy over ‘The Good Life’ you are living 🙂

    Hopefully if I keep seeing your posts and all the food you are makingI will get some of that motivation and plant a hanging basket of tomatoes or something to start me off on that same path 😀

    Good luck with your weightloss

    • Haha .. thanks! It helped enormously that my hubby did it at the same time – but being a bloke of course he has a larger calorie “allowance” than me – and he takes advantage of it! Sometimes I do just give in, when he offers me a bar of chocolate or a packet of crisps – I do try to balance it out over the week (soup is very helpful in that respect!), but it doesn’t always happen. I’m still overweight, but I’m well below the “obese” BMI now, so I just have to be aware of what I’m eating.

      We did try the cabbage soup thing many years ago … I actually really liked the soup, the first day :p

      Soup is now my excuse to eat bread … I make that lovely crusty cheesy bread for days when we’re having soup, which means I don’t crave it the rest of the time 🙂

      I can highly recommend the Hairy Dieters books .. each recipe tells you how many it feeds, and how many calories – and they’re all recipes for REAL food. It doesn’t feel like a diet at all and, in fact, we’ve managed to convert a lot of people to their recipes who aren’t watching their weight, just because they’re so tasty.

      You also pick up a lot of tips .. one being that chorizo, although high in calories, helps enormously as you only need a little bit for a lot of flavour and if you use it, you don’t need to use oil – just start it off in the pan before putting anything else in. The other tip is that spicy food “fills you up” more than non-spicy. Stick a bit of chilli in your food and you’ll need less to make you feel full. Oh .. and one more, for the summer .. instead of sprinkling sugar on your fruit/strawberries .. sprinkle some cinnamon on instead … very yummy and much better for you 😉

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