My (new) fat year: (new) week 1 = 3lb loss

Right, now that I know that there are no underlying reasons for my weight-gain, and having put on quite a lot of weight while we were on holiday, I’m biting the bullet.

However, I’m not concentrating on “lose weight”. Instead I’m thinking “eat less”.

There are two reasons for this. The first one is that I found myself stuffing my face with sweets one day, and I wasn’t even hungry. I wasn’t really enjoying the sweets, other than that sweet, gooey taste in my mouth. The sweets weren’t satisfying anything other than a desire to taste something sweet or even just to shovel something into my mouth.

I really was “out of control”.

The second reason is because, during my various readings and reviews (some for NetGalley), I stumbled upon eating-less guru Gillian Riley.

I started with Gillian’s latest book, Ditching Diets, which was very good (and an updated, re-titled edition of Beating Overeating), but it didn’t cover enough for me – although it did give me a basic understanding of compulsive eating and showed me how to recognise the difference between real hunger and food-addiction hunger.

So I swapped that book for an earlier, more detailed Eating Less: Say Goodbye to Overeating. This is a more relaxed read for me, and more of it seems to be going in – although that could because I had the Ditching Diets introduction.

In conjunction with MyFitnessPal and MapMyWalk, I’ve been taking this new approach for a week. And while I’m still trying to wean myself away from the bathroom scales (I’ve decided to update MyFitnessPal twice a week for now, on a Friday and on a Monday), so far I’ve lost 3lb.

I’ll say that again. In less than 5 days, I’ve lost 3lb.

How have I managed that?

Well, the first thing I did was visit the NHS “live well” website to find out what my BMI is (it’s 31.5), and while I was there I discovered that walking the dog for at least 30 minutes a day classes me as “active”. Apparently, if you exercise for 60 – 150 minutes per week (7 x 30 minutes = 210 minutes), then you are “active” – according to the NHS.

Until this point, because I’d always considered myself to be “sedentary”, having such a sit-down job, slimming tools like MyFitnessPal gave me around 1400 calories per day. And 1400 calories per day is never, ever enough.

So the second thing I did was go back to MyFitnessPal, armed with this new information. This tool is so much more advanced since the last time I used it. The android app saves a lot of rewriting and I love being able to connect it to MapMyWalk, which I’ve been using for several years. (Yes, we’re also a bit gadget-barmy in our house.)

The bar scanner is excellent, as it saves you doing any sums, and I can even add in the poet’s wonderful recipes – the problem here is getting the poet to remember to write them all down (which, of course, is all good fodder for our book Wormy’s Kitchen). The app will then calculate the calories and nutrients per portion.

There are pie-charts on it now that show how my nutrition has been distributed. There’s a graphic for water intake – the glass fills up as you enter either set amounts of water or your own measurements – and you can count coffee, tea and squash as well as plain water.

It takes into account any exercise you do, adding the calories to your daily allowance. And it isn’t as US-biased as it once seemed to be. There are also some very good articles and blog posts on there.

I now currently have up to 1780 calories per day, plus any exercise calories earned – those extra 380 calories can equal a lot of food. Even some nice food. So far this week I’ve only needed all 1780 of them for just one day, and that was because we’re using up food in the fridge and cupboard before gradually replacing it with less stodgy, higher-fibre and generally “cleaner” foods.

Eating better already has its rewards (i.e. fresher ingredients, fewer processed foods, drinking more water). I know it’s only week 1 still, but I feel really good . I’m already sleeping better. The arthritis in my knee, hips and lower back isn’t giving me as much gip. I can feel my belly getting tighter, ever so slightly. And I already have more energy.

I’m not snacking between meals. Any time I feel the urge for a packet of sweets, I ask myself if I’m really, genuinely hungry or do I just want that sweet sensation. And if I am hungry for a snack, I’m choosing a banana or a bunch of grapes or a pear before raiding the goodies tin. No food is forbidden, I can eat what I like, so long as I remember to log it.

Hopefully it will last this time.

If you would like to buddy-up with me on MyFitnessPal, this is me.