It’s been 3 and half years since I took an interest in Diet and Nutrition and decided to make big changes in my lifestyle and eating habits.
By the end of 2008 I was at a low point. I weighed more than I ever had before. In fact I weighed exactly as much as I had whilst 37 weeks pregnant only without a baby growing in my belly. I was emotionally and compulsively eating, my biggest danger zones being eating whilst driving and snacking in front of the computer after midnight. I was sneaking around, throwing out packets and wrappers on the drive home so I wouldn’t be caught having consumed such ridiculous quantities of junk. I was racing out to the shop to replace packets of corn chips and biscuits to cover up my latest binge. I was out of control and my weight was climbing at an alarming rate.
January 2009 came around and I was so totally over being fat and miserable. I knew I needed to make changes (big ones!) and so I started researching healthy diet and lifestyle. I joined the gym and started slowly improving my eating.
Here’s a brief overview of the kinds of things I was doing wrong:
- Skipping breakfast 4 out of 7 days
- Eating a McDonald’s breakfast on the way to drop the kids off at school on the other 3 days
- No set lunch just endless snacking on crap from mid-morning right through until the kids bath time
- If I did eat lunch it was normally take-out and it was usually whilst driving, possibly not until I was on my way to pick the kids up from school at around 2:30pm
- I’d eat some kind of baked good (and not the kind I baked myself, think 7-11 donuts and a whole packet of chocolate biscuits) at least twice a day, normally more
- I ate large quantities of pasta or white breads at least once a day
- Vegetables were only ever incidental (the onion on my pizza counts, right? That burger had two whole pieces of tomato on it…)
- The worst time of day was after 11pm, when I’d begin snacking and continue right on through until 2 or 3am
- I drank zero water. Unless you want to count the water I made my coffee with then it’s zip, zilch, nothing! On Friday night’s I’d have dinner at my Mum’s and drink her bottled water so Friday’s I probably managed 800mL’s
- Walking was incidental, yes I’d do that thing where you park a long way from the entrance to the shops so you’re forced to walk but that was the total sum of my exercise on any given day
The sad thing is that I was feeding the kids mostly nutritious food yet I stuffed myself with sugar and empty calories all day long. I served the kids vegetables with their dinner every night and often at lunch time yet I very rarely ate any myself. I’d pester the kids to drink more water but I drank none. I wouldn’t let the kids eat too much sugar yet I stuffed my face with it on car journey’s several times a day. I made the kids go into the back yard to play during the day so they’re run around and get some exercise yet I sat in front of my computer screen all day, every day not moving at all. Craziness!
Why am I fighting the internal tantrum of late and needed to come here to vent? I’m feeling a bit shitty and down because I’ve made so many changes over the past 3 and a half years yet I step on the scales each morning to find myself not far off my starting weight (5kg’s lower most days but the number creeps up regularly). It makes me mad. Mad at myself for having tiny slips every now and then that somehow add up to the same weight gain from years gone by. Mad at my body for being so sensitive to weight gain despite 99% of what I’m eating being really healthy. Mad because sometimes being angry is all there is left when you’ve tried and failed time and time again and you just want to scream and cry.
I look at the changes I’ve made and whilst on a good day I’m proud, lately it feels so unjust to still be struggling with my weight so many years on.
The permanent changes I’ve made:
- I eat breakfast every morning
- I drink my coffee black and my tea with a tiny splash of milk. I’m not saying that to be healthy others should drink their tea and coffee this way. For me I just feel like that’s a huge leap in the right direction from my former life where every morning I made myself a milky coffee with a shot of flavoured syrup (pure sugar) and my tea with milk and two sugars
- Breakfast is either a high fibre cereal or eggs (no toast). Yes I realise the cereal doesn’t fall under low-carb/paleo but I figure I can cross it off the list when I eventually manage to eat enough veggies that I don’t need the extra fibre in the mornings (baby steps)
- I’ve cut out sugar almost all together. On birthdays I find it impossible baking a cake without licking the spoon and having a slice. I’m just not strong enough
- The only baked goods I ever eat are the ones I bake myself. This doesn’t always equal healthy (think birthday cakes and cheesecake!) but at least I know what I’m eating and once it’s gone I’d have to go to the trouble of making more myself if I want to continue the gorge-fest. It’s a mentality more than anything. The old me would eat a donut I bought after filling up the car at the 7-11 and then want more. I’d go through the next McDonald’s drive through to satiate my sugar craving and then when that was finished the cycle would continue…
- I eat salad/veggies with dinner every night and often with lunch too and they’re served with a healthy piece of meat or eggs, not stuffed onto a white bun with a crappy sauce and greasy burger patty
- Snacks even of the midnight variety are raw nuts and seeds
- I drink at least 1.5 Litres of water every day. I know I should drink more and most days I do but a bare minimum of 1.5 Litres isn’t anything to scoff at when you compare it to zero
- I don’t drive any more, I walk
- I walk a minimum of 40 minutes on a school day
All these changes yet fighting off the weight gain is such a painful struggle. Worse is that I lost over 10kg’s and let so much of it creep back on.
I know I could do better. I know I should do better, but some days it just feels so damn unfair. I watch people eating ridiculously large portions of crappy fast food and they are no bigger than me. I watch my own husband diet full on for a measly 6 months and lose all his excess weight.
I know I should just be thrilled for him, but I burn with jealousy. It eats me up inside and makes me want to shout and scream at the universe. It makes me want to throw myself on my bed teenager style, kick my legs and bawl my eyes out like the world is falling down around me.
Logically despite still being a fatty I’m sure my insides must be healthier than they once were. Surely some good must come out of all the things I’ve changed, all the treats I’ve given up. Right? Is that enough to make it all worth while? It certainly doesn’t change that my belly fat puts me at higher risk of heart disease and type II Diabetes. Eating right but still being overweight certainly doesn’t make my self esteem any higher.
There’s no easy solution here. I’ll keep plodding on, trying not to slip when one of the kids brings home a snack size pack of oreos from a party bag at school and offers me one. I’ll try and make even more changes (though at this point I feel like all the quick fixes have been done and only the nit-picking like drinking the full 2 Litres EVERY day are left) but just for the moment it all seems very, very unfair.