So, my quest to lose weight has already been interrupted by what one might simply call “real life intervening”.

The first hurdle I came up against was that I had to go and look after my mother while she had, and recovered from, a hip replacement operation. She lives 200 miles away from me, so that necessitated going to stay with her.  So although I was the chief cook, my principal job was I was to create food that would both tempt her to eat and aid her recovery.  I wanted to make sure she had the food she was used to eating.  While she was less mobile (and yes I know they get them walking quickly after a hip replacement, she still wasn’t very quick with her sticks), I didn’t want to risk giving her anything unusual that might cause any digestive disturbance.

I don’t have children myself, I just enjoy my nephews and nieces and hand them back at the end of the day. I suspect anyone with children faces the same hurdles. It’s hard to be completely in control of your own diet while pandering to the likes and dislikes of others. Unless of course you like cooking separate meals, but that’s just a lot of extra hassle I personally can do without.

Looking after her was quite instructive in a few different respects.

There had been a long delay between the decision to have a hip replacement and the actual operation taking place, and in that time she had become quite severely disabled, to the point that she was hobbling gingerly from room to room with the aid of two crutches.  When I arrived to take her into hospital, she came to greet me and standing up she was a good couple of inches shorter than I was.

The first thing I noticed is that almost immediately after the operation she looked a whole lot better.  Before the op she’d been taking huge quantities of pain killers, yet almost immediately afterwards the colour was back in her cheeks and the dull grinding pain that she’d been suffering for months had gone.  As she put it, the pain from the operation is nothing like as bad as the pain that the hip was giving me.  A point which I shall remember if in the future I require the operation myself.

She chose to have an epidural instead of a general anaesthetic, because the recovery time was quicker.  The following day the surgeon asked if she’d heard him hammering the new joint in and at that point she was completely convinced that she had absolutely no recollection of any part of the operation. And, given her progress, I’m certain she recovered quicker as a result of that choice.  The only negative thing I’ve since learned about an epidural is that it makes your blood pressure drop. I was beginning to freak out as I watched her blood pressure dropping every time they took a new observation, but now I know it’s completely normal and indeed it stabilised back to normal levels about 12 hours after the operation.

Once the visitors started to flood in, almost everyone said to her “You’ve lost weight”.  I know she didn’t eat a whole lot in the hospital (despite the food being unusually excellent for hospital food). But I didn’t expect her to have lost a noticeable amount of weight.  Until suddenly I found myself standing next to her, looking her in the eye (she always had been taller than me).  I realised at that moment that it’s posture.  One of the key points to looking slimmer than your friend is to stand with better posture. Stand taller, shoulders back, boobs out and then you will look 10 pounds lighter without having lost an ounce.

The biggest challenge that we never quite figured out is how to put on the compression socks easily. The nurse made it look so easy and I just worried about hurting her.

So the good news is my mother is doing really well. She’s doing her exercises religiously and the physio is really pleased with her (although the first time she went she had to be taught how to walk with walking sticks).  In a couple of weeks she’ll be driving again, but until then she’s slightly suffering from cabin fever (“I know how grandpa felt when they took his driving licence away” – Grandpa was 94, partially sighted and a danger on the roads!)

For anyone who would like a start on looking thinner by improving your posture, here’s a quick pilates technique which you can try.

As I mentioned before, I think I eat healthily.  I don’t live off the local supermarket’s ready meal counter.  Nor do I frequent the local takeaways very often.

So it’s always a bit of a trial when I read the stories of the latest “slimmer of the week” who used to start by breakfasting on half a loaf or bread’s worth of toast and jam, a packet of biscuits with the mid morning giant latte and the rest of the day following in a similarly gluttonous manner.

It’s no wonder that by just beginning to live of what one might describe as a “normal” diet, they lose weight.  What I want to know is how I loose weight when I already eat what I would describe as a non-excessive diet.  I walk (occasionally) so I’m not completely sedentary.

Of course I wasn’t always overweight.  As a teenager and beyond I was fairly slim and quite active.  It’s only as I’ve got older, settled down and started cooking for 2 that the weight has gradually accumulated.  I’ve moved from one size to the next quite gradually, so that there’s never been a time where I’ve put on my clothes and sighed in despair.  I’ve always tended to think that each time I bought new clothes the sizing had changed. Unlike some of my friends, I don’t enjoy clothes shopping so do it as rarely as possible.

My friends and colleagues have tried various diets with varying degrees of success – and varying side effects!  In most cases the results have been consistent with the New York Time article where it’s not easy to lose weight in the first place and even harder to keep it off. So I’m seriously considering doing something different.

So armed with determination (and a little chocolate – just to keep me going:-) I started doing a little research on the internet. Given I feel I eat healthily the first thing I need is some guidance as to where I’m going wrong. Secondly, I think a motivating kick start will help.  I’d like to see something in the way of a quick result just to give me a push down the right path. And then I need ongoing results so that I can (hopefully) try and remain motivated.

So while I work out what exactly I have to do to get a thinner lifestyle I can maintain, I’m going to start by having a look at diet plans.  The “done for you” approach which tells you what to eat, when to eat it and what exercise to do.

As I’m a bit of an internet junkie, I the first thing I do is to find a website which compares diet plans. Weigh To Diet appeas to be one of the few which actually compares a number of plans and allows me to immediately discards the ones I know won’t be able to stick to.

The first thing I look at is the chart to compare weight loss programs.  I’m going to identify the ones which I think will be least traumatic to do and then see if one of those might just give me the kick start I need.

There are 2 plans which immediately meet my criteria  of dietary advice and a trial period.  The first one is the Venus Factor.  Designed for women by a man who, if the photos are to be believed, has the most incredible 6 pack.  It seems to be based on the idea of Leptin resistance causing weight gain.  I had heard of Leptin as there was a BBC News story recently which talked about how Leptin and Ghrelin were the two hormones which control how hungry or otherwise we feel by producing feelings of either fullness or hunger in the brain.  The BBC story also  explained that there appears to be a link between Leptin and Altzheimers, so that alone will persuade me to look in more detail at that particular plan and the science behind it.

The Venus Factor does, however, require exercise and I am by nature lazy. Despite my stint as a fitness instructor in my early 20, I prefer not to have to get sweaty unless absolutely necessary. I know that exercise is good for mental as well as physical health so I realize I might have to make the effort and get moving.

Which leads me to the second plan which meets my criteria,  the 3 week diet.  Again the plan is designed by a man and it does promise very fast weight loss. The plus point for me is that there doesn’t seem to be much exercise involved.  Going for a walk is one thing, but I’m not even going to start a diet which also involves a gym membership and me sweating and looking fat and unfit in front of a load of gym bunnies!!  The review sounds like they’ve actually tested it out by doing it properly, so hopefully I’ll be able to get the same results in the 3 weeks.

So I think I might try out the 3 week diet and if I don’t lose weight then there’s planty of time to get my money back and try something else.

So here’s the thing.  I like eating.  I enjoy chocolate and I’m really not prepared to give it up in the quest for a slimmer me. However…

My Fat Bottom.  Motivation for weight loss.

The Final Straw. Time to Lose Weight

I’d never liked being photographed. I found the thing to do was to be the photographer myself. I could hardly believe it when I saw this picture of my bottom. It really was a wake-up call. I sooo don’t want to believe, that this is how people saw me.

So clearly I have no option but to do something, unless I want to be seen as that fat girl wobbling about over there.

So I did a little research.  The height weight calculator at the Health Central website gave the following result

Ideal weight range is 142 – 156.2 lbs. (64.5 – 71 kg.).
You are overweight by 33.8 lbs. (15 kg.).
You may wish to consult with your physician for medical help.

That’s quite scary.  I know that the other test I should do is measuring my waist, but one of the joys of being a woman is that unlike men’s clothes, sizes aren’t measured in inches!

I know that losing weight isn’t going to be easy.  And I also know that keeping it off is even harder than slimming in the first place.  This New York Times article, The Fat Trap explains how difficult most people find it to keep the weight off once they’ve initially slimmed down.  It also explains how some people are genetically predisposed to be fat.  How I hope that’s not me!

So the basic question becomes, “What exactly do I need to do to lose weight?” and the secondary question is “How can I fit that into my life in a way that I can sustain?”

I’m not one of those people who have always been overweight.  I was always moderately fit, and indeed in my early 20s I worked in a gym.  With unlimited access to all the equipment, and ample time to use it I was at my slimmest.  Since then, I changed to a slightly better paid career and this lead to a fairly high pressure desk job and not much free time. All those lunches at my desk have taken their toll.

It’s not like I eat badly.  I enjoy cooking and cook most things from scratch. But I do have a sweet tooth so that might be some of the problem. I’m hoping to find some kind of diet program which will allow me a little latitude with chocolate, I might be healthier without chocolate, but I doubt I’d be happier!

Intellectually I know that there will also be the additional benefits.  I hope to feel generally healthier and more confident.  I expect to fit into a whole box full of nicer clothes that I have stored away.  But just because I know this doesn’t make it easy or stop my heart from sinking at the very thought of dieting.  I hope this blog will help to keep me going in those dark moments.

I expect the biggest challenges to be mental ones.  How to stay off the chocolate when I’ve had a bad day. How to motivate myself to go to the gym when it’s cold and wet outside. And how to stick to the diet plan when I’m out with my friends.

So it’s time to move more and eat less.  Time to make a diet plan and get started.  I know that this may be hard going at times but I will try and be philosophical about it, few things worth having come easy.

Time to get cracking…