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Weight loss and Christmas. The food addicts guide to feasts part 1

I am now living in that nice space where I don’t fear putting on weight simply because I know exactly how to lose it. It’s been a complicated road to get here but worth it. I actually started the journey when I was twelve. Few things stand out in my memory as well as me getting a love for weight training, sculpting my body and learning how it works.

With hindsight I can see the engineering, artistic and practical influences in my particular approach because that is the kind of family I come from. The men are generally engineers, the women more artistic and generally practical.

My inner food addict

What I’ve learnt comes down to accepting myself, my humanity and the life I lead. I am who I am. I get results because I work honestly with what I have. I love to move, to walk, to run and stay active which makes burning calories that bit easier but I could still put on plenty of weight because I’m not a professional athlete. So I don’t have the time to move enough to negate all the calories I would eat had I not figured out how to eat all I want and want what I eat. Knowing that it will get me to the weight I want to be.

Right now I’m really enjoying the holiday season because I know how to make Christmas work for me. I use the basic principle of feast and famine that our bodies expect, to make each day work for me not against me. Right now I just balance quantity with quality. Some days the quantity of food on offer is vast, others it’s more normal. At times I really do eat a lot and I mean like 2-3 meals worth in one sitting, some days I do that for each meal, That’s rare now but something i used to do often.

I still remember when I did just this for a week when we travelled on the QEII a few years ago. I found it easier at each meal to tell the waiter what I didn’t want on the menu. You see I agreed to go because it was a cruise and when I learnt that this means it is

a floating restaurant of the highest quality where all the food is free

The food addict in me took over. How could I say no!!! Each meal would cost atleast £30 in a top class restaurant and I had 3 per sitting and it was all free. My logic was that if I didn’t eat it then it would have gone to waste wouldn’t it. Said like a true addict don’t you think!!!

Fattening up

Of course I put on a stone in one week. Not the first time I have done this but the most memorable and I didn’t regret a gram of it.

I can still remember the feeling of the new fat being laid down.

For those not accustomed to it I’ll try and explain. Each person lays down fat in their own particular way. Some put it in their bellies, some their legs, some deep inside their bodies, others more at the surface. The only exact way to know is to have a scan. That’s a medical procedure and not something I have access to so my low tech alternative is through feeling it. It’s like when you have a hair cut and you suddenly feel the wind in places you haven’t for ages. It reminds you that you’ve had a haircut. The feeling goes in a few days, not because your nerves stop sensing the wind but because your brain stops paying attention to the information.

I hope to explain this process in detail at some other time. For now it’s enough to understand the opposite process is happening. I always get a new layer of fat around my belly. It feels like insulation very much because my sense of feeling around my stomach gets dulled. Touching it just feels different. I know I’m touching it but I don’t feel the sensation as clearly as I did before. Over time this sense adjusts. The nerves either get rewired or their signals are listened to better but for a short while I am acutely aware most of the time that I am now bigger, heftier. Even the way my clothes feel on my skin is different.

If you understand what I am saying because you get the same results. You know what it feels like to gain a lot of weight in a short time. You may then then understand the challenges I face saying “no” to food.  It literally was not how I was raised. Finishing my plate was a sign of respect and wasting it is an offense. So changing my attitude to food, focusing on quality over quality has been anything but easy. It has taken years and huge amounts of learning.

Continue to The food addicts guide to feasts part 2

How to lose weight

Over the years like everyone I’ve tried all sorts of ways to adjust my weight. Some times gain it and some times lose it. I’ve now got to a point where I am very comfortable getting to the weight i want to be so I feel I have the control and freedom I always wanted. So I thought I was in a position to share a few things I learned along the way. I hope they help.

The thing is though, I am still learning and exploring. So I’m really just sharing the lessons from my journey so far. The most important thing to me is that I’ve found an approach that brings a smile to my face and lots of fun to my life. That’s why I find it works so well. What it does require though is searching for new ideas to keep things fresh but that’s part of the fun.

Here are the articles I have written so far presented Fit2Thrive Play, Compete and Create approach to improving your lifestyle

Play

Enjoy what you do. All the research shows that keeping up your weight loss activity is the most important thing you can do. If you learn to enjoy your life while you lose weight then you have the best set up for success in the short, medium and  long term.

  1. How can you lose weight and be happy?
  2. Create a daily feast and famine cycle
  3. Find your weight loss dynamic
  4. Be active, keep motivated and have fun
  5. Weight loss and Christmas. The food addicts guide to feasts part 1 part 2
  6. Running or just moving. What is most important to losing weight?
  7. Get fit to make the most of every minute
  8. Avoid empty experiences: Make the most of each experience
  9. find your happy place and simplify your life

Compete

How do you fit it all in and get on with your life?

  1. food addiction linked to obesity
  2. Why walking is good for you
  3. Why a food addict can not go ‘Cold Turkey’
  4. The men who made us fat
  5. Calorie and nutrient intake over time
  6. 1 mile a day burns over half a stone in a year
  7. Confessions of a foodaholic
  8. Losing weight is like paying off a loan part one part two
  9. Losing weight: Don’t limit yourself by having a limited goal
  10. Could losing weight be made easier by just taking longer to eat and enjoying every mouthful?
  11. You can’t burn fat without a carbohydrate flame.A general point that must be made clear The body has an abundant supply of fat for energy but a very limited (generally around 500g) store of sugar (carbohydrate) in the form of glycogen. Carbohydrate is crucial to providing energy because you can’t burn fat without a carbohydrate flame. This is because the citric acid cycle
  12. Horizon: The truth about exercise. Brilliant episode: In line with everything I believe. Much of his research is from Loughborough. Shows that 3 mins High intensity Training per week has major health benefits, and that just being active in general is most important. Common theory is being challenged. It’s easier than we thought to get fit. High intentsity exercise and can 3 minutes of exercise a week help make you fit
  13. Daily habits: they can make or break you
  14. Constant stress and weight problems?
  15. Body Rhythms: Hunger
  16. Smarter Goals are key to successful weight loss
  17. Activity doesn’t have to be physical
  18. Body economy
  19. pay off your fat loan
  20. help your body access stored fat

Create

Keep learning and expanding your knowledge of how your body works and what options are open to you.

  1. Exercise and weight loss: Do we know it all yet?
  2. Lose weight and save on heating bills with brown fat!!!
  3. Can we predict calorie consumption so accurately? and could this partly explain yo yo dieting?
  4. Training your intake: Intermittent Fasting
  5. Acheiving your goals means being good at fixing mistakes
  6. Can we both enjoy our meals more, and become healthier?
  7. What’s the fat story? Why do some gain pounds while others stay thin?
  8. Understanding individual uniqueness and complexity is the only true way to finding permanent solutions
  9. Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.
  10. How crucial is your diet to your health?
  11. It’s not what you eat but the way that you eat it
  12. What can snooker tell us about obesity part one part two part three
  13. How do you control hunger? Don’t eat too much each meal
  14. How do you control hunger? Don’t eat too regularly
  15. Is weight watchers any good?
  16. How activity and exercise improves your health
  17. more exercise helps
  18. Surprising new clue to the roots of hunger, neurons that drive appetite
  19. Lifelong BMI patterns: analysis shows that losing weight at any time can reduce cardiovascular risk.
  20. Do fit flops work?

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Further references

  1. Enjoyment is the way to go

Weight loss and Christmas. The food addicts guide to feasts part 2

This post follows on from part 1

Holiday health

What I have learnt at these times of feast is that they are also times that I don’t feel as healthy as I normally do. You see I am fortunate because I generally enjoy good health. I don’t suffer with regular pain like many others tell me they do. The pain of headaches or stomach problems or whatever. This could be luck but I’ve always felt it’s also down to my lifestyle. What tells me this is that when I live like others do, which is what happens during the holidays and other periods of feast then I start to suffer the ailments that others do.

For example, yesterday I had the usual holiday back pains, I know how to fix them because I know why they occur. Lack of normal activity is, funnily enough the biggest trigger for injury. Strange, but true. So a walk and a few simple moves cure it. I just need to keep my body ticking over until normal activity resumes after christmas. I know this is the solution because it has happened so many times. Lack of activity is always the cause and being active always fixes it.

Handling a food hangover

So you can see why being uncomfortable is now what I associate with eating too much, very much like a hangover comes from drinking too much alcohol. It doesn’t mean I don’t ever eat too much. If the urge takes me I do it. Life is for living and when good food is around I eat it. What I have learnt is how to recover quickly and avoid the problems it brings. This holiday one approach has been mixing days of less food with days of plenty. The maths is quite simple.

If I eat the equivalent of 2 meals in one sitting then I often skip a meal.

I just wait until I am hungry again. I don’t do this for long, weeks or months but a day and particularly a meal here and there makes all the difference.

Fast weight loss

What it means is that I am enjoying the food that I eat more because I want it because I am hungry. Less and less do I just eat because food is there.

I don’t have food laying around, that would be silly, I would just eat it, whether I want it or not.

To prevent this I’ve frozen food or packed it away some how and ensured the dates are long enough. So I have set up my environment to support me and minimise my binge eating but I’ve also set up my mind. I am actually never that far from a lovely meal and I can happily enjoy the pleasure of looking forward to it. This is one of the most powerful influences I have found. I know that eating too much beforehand will literally change the taste of the food and ruin the experience. This gives me the strength to enjoy the process of fasting.

I fast every day, but it’s just a normal fast. For normal people, not food addicts, it’s the space between a meal. I see it differently. For me it’s actually the void where random nibbles used to be. The technical term is snacking which is what I always thought the point of a holiday was. You snack all day, a mince pie here, an orange there, some cream, don’t mind if I do. At least that’s how it used to be. These days I don’t allow myself to go too long without a meal that inspires me. it must be a meal that is an experience that I savour. This is what gives me the strength and desire to avoid food in between. The way I live is that I remember the last heavenly meal I had and spend my time happily in the knowledge that the next is coming soon and it will be just as good, hopefully better.

Eating holidays

The challenge for the holidays, Christmas being the hardest next to Easter, is that it is an eating holiday. It is literally what you’re supposed to do. A food addicts nightmare and heaven rolled into one. I’ve just realised that what happens over christmas is that you either willingly, or sometimes against your will, visit a place that you can’t leave until you have eaten and drunk more than you should in a week. To do anything else would offend those who invited you and spoil everyone elses fun. For a food addict it can be a little like a prison. A very well appointed one but something you can’t escape with rules and expectations you must abide by all the same. The message is clear.

You are going to eat a lot and you won’t leave here until you have done so.

You see, since I’m known to eat plenty, people often lay on the types of and amount of food they think I will like. That’s nice though isn’t it. It’s nice that they went to all that effort. Often its home made so they really have gone to a lot of effort. And I don’t like to disappoint. I no longer gorge myself often but this is the season of plenty and I absolutely hate food going to waste. So I find space. I know far too much about how to adjust my metabolism, posture or whatever I need to get food from my plate to my stomach. Even when it won’t fit, I still have more tricks and I’m not talking about bulimia. That would be a waste of food.

I get big because it all goes down and stays there. I still do this because that’s life. What is fun is that I now have a thousand ways of dealing with this challenge. Short fasts or just not snacking so much is one useful solution. I’m not so hungry between meals when they’re so big so I take advantage and the calories even out, or more accurately the calorie surplus is just a lot smaller.

Forbidden fruit

What life has taught me is that abstinence makes the heart grow fonder. I have also found plenty of reasons to value foods that are supposed to be banned. Of course moderation is the answer but it sounds dull. So let me tell you about the moderation I just practised. Lunch generally has a dessert with it. At least in my life that’s true and at Christmas the standards are raised. Yet there is food that is getting past its use by date and I have to balance my compulsion not to waste food. It’s the same story we all face this time of year with so much great food around but few seem as bothered about letting food go to waste as I. So they don’t have to learn how to eat this all up along with the food that I planned to eat in the first place without eating too much.

It gives me something to think about. That’s actually the fun part. It becomes a problem to solve. What would you do if you wanted a mince pie but then saw the banana that needs eating up and remembered the last bits of madagascan vanilla custard on its last day. Maybe its obvious. You make the banana the star accessorising with the mince pie and custard as the supporting cast. Of course then you have to top with a little irish cream. It is christmas after all. Mouthwatering. It was for me of course. It may be an obvious solution to you. Either way it’s a reminder that fruit works because, if you know how to use it, then it is all about quality over quantity. Quality of taste and nutrients over quantity of calories. Making it the star and pairing it with something means you can literally have your cake and eat it. Another day I will pair the mince pie with a satsuma. The orange cuts perfectly through the indulgence of the mince pie. It’s perfect with or without cream.

I just wanted to inspire you. I love fruit, using it as part of indulgence is just natural to me. It’s just a benefit that it helps shed the pounds.

The story continues

I sense I am getting into my stride now. All sorts of memories are flooding back to me that I want to share but I expect neither you or I have the time to explore it all right now. This has turned into such a long post I feel it should be broken into parts so it is not so overwhelming and becomes easier to digest. The rest of the story will come out over time. The point has been to explain a little why I feel I know a little about losing weight. That means I have to introduce you to my inner food addict. The fact that I have never got particularly large is not luck it is through prolonged effort. It shows that I must know something. I am just like any one else, I gain weight and lose it for the same reasons.

I used to think I would eventually just get really big because I hadn’t proven I knew how to lose weight, only put it on. I had to put on a stone or two and lose it several times before I could trust that what I was trying would work. Making this manageable and fun has been my lifes quest and taken several years longer. Even now I’m still learning.

With this post I also wanted to build on the idea that happiness should make you thin not the other way around. So being happy should achieve your life goals. That’s a dream but so many amazing things have been achieved simply because people followed their dreams.

This post follows on from part 1

Related articles

Of course this post is related to so many more that I couldn’t include.