Archive for May, 2012

There is one thing about having a baby that noone prepares you for, probably because if they tried you might be put off having children for life. Well, if you were really vain. Which I am.

At a hen weekend just recently I saw the stomach of a friend who had a baby a few months before I did and was gobsmacked. It was totally flat, smooth and beautiful, and didn’t look like it had ever been stretched beyond a light lunch. This is also what people like Miranda Kerr look like weeks after giving birth. I am trying to be kind but you can imagine the stream of expletives running through my head when I consider supermodels being on catwalks three minutes after popping out twins. Gah. Anyway, the thing to realise is that people like my friend with the flat stomach are not, by any means, the norm. She has always worked bloody hard at keeping in great shape, harder than I would probably ever be prepared to do. So I can’t begrudge her her beautiful stomach because she totally deserves it and was sensibly healthy before she ever got pregnant, waited till she was recovered and then got straight back to the gym. Her stomach barely stretched.

I, on the other hand, may now be a normal weight and passably attractive in clothes, but my God my body looks like a war zone when I get naked. I have tried explaining this to people who haven’t had children and they are sympathetic but honestly, until you’ve seen it for yourself, you’ve no idea. I wouldn’t quite go so far as to say I wouldn’t have had DD if I’d known what would happen to my body, but I’d definitely have lost the weight before getting pregnant instead of afterwards. I’m convinced that the better shape you’re in pre-pregnancy, the better your body will fare. And I was not in good shape. So although I’ve lost a shed load of weight, I’ve discovered that the downside of doing that is being left with stretched skin that used to have the job of holding in your innards, which when combined with the stretching it did to accommodate 8lbs of baby and a whole load of liquid can only leave it with nowhere to go. It has nothing to do with its days except, well, hang there. Limply. Looking a bit sad really. My tummy button is in there somewhere but God knows where; I think it’s hiding under folds of skin. The ‘pooch’ the lovely Jillian talks about splits into two not-so-delicate halves that are each making a bid for freedom, gravity helping out as only it can do. And finally, to add insult to literal injury, my skin is also covered in stretch marks, which are a side effect of pregnancy the lucky ones get (and remember that I didn’t actually gain that much weight in pregnancy!), overall giving my stomach the impression of a very old, wrinkly, saggy balloon that noone loves anymore and there’s no point in popping due to most of the air having seeped out.

Over the past month or so I’ve come to realise that, while for the first time in my adult life I have a reasonably flat stomach, it’s way too late for me to enjoy it in a bikini.

As I said, I’ve tried explaining this to friends but noone really gets it unless they’ve seen it. So, as this is fairly anonymous, and my friends who read it will be too kind to comment on it to my face, here it is in all its glory. Take heed good people: ‘GET HEALTHY BEFORE YOU HAVE A BABY.’

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I read this online a while ago and have been meaning to share it. What have you lost?

1 pound = a guinea pig
1.5 pounds = a dozen Krispy Kreme glazed donuts
2 pounds = a rack of baby back ribs
3 pounds = an average human brain
4 pounds = an ostrich egg
5 pounds = a chihuahua
6 pounds = a human’s skin
7.5 pounds = an average newborn
8 pounds = a human head
10 pounds= chemical additives an American consumes each year
11 pounds = an average housecat
12 pounds = a bald eagle
15 pounds = 10 dozen large eggs
16 pounds = a sperm whale’s brain
20 pounds = an automobile tire
23 pounds = amount of pizza an average American eats in a year
24 pounds = a 3-gallon tub of super premium ice cream
25 pounds = an average 2 year old
30 pounds = amount of cheese an average American eats in a year
33 pounds = a cinder block
36 pounds = a mid-size microwave
40 pounds = a 5-gallon bottle of water or an average human leg
44 pounds = an elephant’s heart
50 pounds = a small bale of hay
55 pounds = a 5000 BTU air conditioner
60 pounds = an elephant’s penis (yep, weights more than his heart!)
66 pounds = fats and oils an average American eats in a year
70 pounds = an irish setter
77 pounds = a gold brick
80 pounds = the World’s Largest Ball of Tape
90 pounds = a newborn calf
100 pounds = a two month old horse
111 pounds = red meat an average American eats in a year
117 pounds = an average fashion model (and she’s 5’11”)
118 pounds = the complete Encyclopedia Britannica
120 pounds = amount of trash you throw away in a month
130 pounds = a newborn giraffe
138 pounds = potatoes an average American eats in a year
140 pounds = refined sugar an average American eats in a year
144 pounds = an average adult woman (and she’s 5’4”)
150 pounds = the complete Oxford English Dictionary
187 pounds = an average adult man
200 pounds = two bloodhounds

I’ve lost 60.5lbs to date, so look where that puts me…

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Last week I upped my daily PP allowance from 26 to 29 in an attempt to stop my weight loss but this morning when I weighed in I had lost another 2lbs…oops. It’s a bit unexpected as I’ve consistently been losing 1.5lbs a week for a couple of months now, so I didn’t think eating more would mean losing more! Maybe I’ve just shaken up my metabolism a bit. At any rate, I’ve put my points up again this week to 32 per day, so hopefully that’ll do the trick.

The slight complication this week is that I’m going on a coven hen weekend which will involve a lot of eating and drinking. (I know this because I’ve organised it!) I think I’m going to save my weeklies and then write them all off at the weekend, which I haven’t done for a while, but I think it will help me to know I don’t have to feel guilty for thoroughly enjoying some bubbles…

1 bottle of champagne is 20PP and I figure with 49 weeklies to play with in addition to my 32 dailies I’ll be fine-I don’t drink very much and I’m sure that post baby I’m a total lightweight so even if I do manage half a bottle to myself that will be fine, points wise, and will leave me with plenty of gourmet foodie points too!

Now I’ve just got to figure out how not to spend the weekend missing DD. I know she’ll have a lovely weekend with DH (and she always adores Daddy time) but I keep having nightmares that she doesn’t recognise me when I get back…argh!

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I keep thinking about the 49 weekly ProPoints that are an optional part of the WeightWatchers plan and I think there’s a real problem with how they’re presented to members. There are threads on the WW forum at the moment, and pretty much every other day, with people saying they’re scared to use them. Psychologically, that’s serious stuff.

If you’re on 26PP, at roughly 40kcal per PP that’s 1040kcal per day. Now, while that doesn’t include most of your fruit and veg, even if you had several big portions you’d still be hard pushed to hit more than 1300kcal. That’s not very many calories, especially if you are overweight (as most of us doing WW are, or have been, surely!) and used to eating considerably more than the 2000kcal RDA.

Adding 49PP a week is, if you average it out, only an extra 280kcal a day. That is really, honestly, not very many, especially if you have in the past been overeating. Of course you don’t have to split them up equally, but on average that will be the daily extra.

I think the way WW have let some people think it might be bad or dangerous or scary to have such a tiny amount of extra calories is really irresponsible. Obviously some people do need to be on a lower calorie diet in order to lose weight due to their metabolism/starting weight/other factors and the weeklies don’t work for everyone, but I would guess that for most people they turn a very low calorie diet into a sustainable, long term plan where you don’t feel deprived. Certainly that’s the case for me.

Maybe WW should tell everyone to use all 49 weeklies for the first two weeks they do the plan, see how their bodies react and THEN drop down a few at a time if they turn out to be one of the people who do need to eat slightly fewer. I hate the idea of people not eating them and then experimenting with adding a few but being scared or nervous and then upset and disappointed if they show a STS or a small gain. I think, psychologically speaking, it would be much better if everyone had to use them for, say, two weeks (make them compulsory like dailies for that period) and then each member could be advised by a leader (or online help desk-is there one, for online and at home members? There should be.) as and when to lower them, and by how many at a time.

There is no real point to this post. I am just upset every time I read someone using the word ‘scared’ about eating, or saying they’ve been ‘bad’ or feel ‘guilty’ because they’ve used some weeklies. It’s not a healthy mindset and I think WW is doing people a disservice if it lets them feel this way. It’s the mindset of someone with an eating disorder, and while I’m sure the majority of people at WW don’t have an EA, I can’t bear the idea of WW allowing people to think like this and potentially find themselves more ill in the long term.

WW has a responsibility towards its members and at the moment I think it’s failing many of them.

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This week in my meeting I hit 9st 7.5lbs and decided to change onto the maintenance plan. Essentially this means adding 6PP to your daily allowance but WW recommend doing it in stages so you don’t shock your body too much. (I have no idea whether this is very scientific. Doesn’t sound it, does it?!) At any rate, this week I’ve moved from 26PP to 29PP dailies. I still get my 49 weeklies too. The trouble with the increase is that because I’ve got used to cooking in a certain way, it’s actually easier to add a chocolate bar than to add healthy food. For instance, yesterday I realised that the omelette I was making DH and I for tea was going to be very heavy on veg and a bit light on eggs, because I was using up mushrooms and courgettes that needed to be eaten. It took about a minute of going ‘Hm, I wonder whether this is going to hold together in the pan or whether I’d better turn it into scrambled eggs with vegetables’ before I realised I had the points available to just add another egg and make it a slightly bigger meal. Not rocket science! Still, it’ll be interesting to see how I get on at next week’s weigh in. Until you find the right level of daily PPs for your body your weight can fluctuate quite a lot I believe, so I’m prepared for a bumpy ride for the next few weeks. My main concern is that as I eat all my weeklies anyway (which lots of people don’t do) and I’ve lost 1.5-2lbs a week most weeks, 32PP daily might not actually be enough to stop the weight loss. Most people in my meeting lost 0.5-1lb a week on 26PP and only a few weeklies so I’m already eating more and losing more weight than them. Hopefully I can figure out the right level for me soon.

On a very cheesy note, I found a YouTube video of a Weight Watcher who lost over 6 stone in just over a year. YouTube is full of these kinds of videos and they inevitably have a sound track of M People (as this one does!) but this one is particularly good in terms of before and after pictures. It’s helpful to watch because when I look in the mirror I don’t really see much of a difference. I know that sounds crazy and objectively I know I’ve lost almost 4.5 stone and gone from a size 16/18 to 10 so, of course, I know my body’s changed. But the mindset of ‘I’m fat,’ ‘there’s no point in trying that on because it won’t fit,’ ‘let me see whether they have it in a large’ etc still prevails and is hard to shake. Even though the lady in the video isn’t me (and even though she’s lost a lot more weight than me) it’s nice to see the change on someone else’s body and think maybe other people can see it on mine.

M People lady

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I haven’t written for ages as I wanted to write with good news and was annoyed last week not to have hit my latest mini goal! I did hit it this week though so I’m pleased to report that I’ve hit 4st off (and 1lb!), which feels fantastic. It also means that at 9st 9lbs I’ve lost 30% of my starting body weight. If I get to 9st 2lbs I will have lost exactly a third of my body weight, though I can’t imagine ever weighing that little, though it’s only half a stone away.

In all honesty though I think there’s no reason for me to continue much further. I’m fitting size 10 clothes (with the occasional 12 to accommodate my boobs!) and my BMI is 22.5, down from 32 when I started this process, so smack bang in the middle of ‘healthy’. Part of me would like to continue to 9st 7lbs just because it’s a nice round number, but beyond that I think I’m done. Apart from the life long task of maintenance of course!

I was asked to attend a recruitment day for potential Weightwatchers leaders last week but unfortunately couldn’t go as it was very short notice and I couldn’t organise childcare for DD. It’s something I’d really like to do in the future though; as well as great motivation in the need to always set a good example, I like the idea of helping others to adapt to healthier lifestyles and to change their lives for the better by taking control of their health. I’ve asked them to get back to me if they have another recruitment session locally so I can arrange for DD to be looked after for the day, so fingers crossed…

A while ago I started the Beck Diet Solution Workbook and said I’d report back; I have to say that I think it’s absolutely excellent. It’s very much based on common sense, the exercises it requires you to do are easy to fit into your day and good at focusing you on a particular aspect of your weight loss journey at any one time and, most importantly, it’s not a crazy diet but a logical, sensible approach to changing how you think about food, deal with cravings and plan your meals. I’d highly recommend it to anyone doing WW, Slimming World or any other sensible diet who thinks they’d benefit from some insight into how to make it a change for life.

Other recommended reading at the moment is ‘The End of Overeating’ by Dr David Kessler. This book is TERRIFYING. It’s about how our bodies react to sugar, salt and fat and how the food industry manipulates products to make them, literally, irresistible to some people. Honestly, with every chapter I read I get a little more disgusted with the whole concept of the food industry. If only we could all buy all our foods in farmers’ markets we’d be SO much healthier.

Here are a couple of horrifying nuggets from it:

‘…Starbucks offers a Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino with whipped cream and eighteen teaspoons of sugar: All in all, this ‘drink’ contains more calories than a personal-size pepperoni pizza, and more sweetness than six scoops of ice cream.’

‘If a food contains more sugar than any other ingredient, federal regulations dictate that sugar be listed first on the label. But if a food contains several different kinds of sweeteners, they can be listed separately, which pushes each one further down the list. Gail Civille (founder and president of Sensory Spectrum, food industry consultants) thinks this requirement has led the industry to “put in three different sources of sugar so that they don’t have to say it has that much sugar. So sugar doesn’t appear first.”
“Where else do you see four or five different kinds of sugar?” I asked.
“Breakfast cereals,” Civille answered. Cereals often include some combination of sugar, brown sugar, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey and molasses.
“This is all so you don’t have to list sugar first?” I asked.
“Right…they hide it from the mothers.”‘

Food for thought.

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