Yesterday I managed 70 kgs (154 pounds) on bench press. Not bad for an old chick!
I also managed 100 kgs (220 pounds) on the hammer strength decline press machine. Another personal best.
I was really pleased with both.
I’m putting on a lot of muscle at the moment, and the fat is coming off. My stomach is almost flat, and I’m no longer embarrassed to be seen in light summer clothes.
I can thank Overeaters Anonymous for so much of this. They’ve given me support through everything, a sensible approach to food, and a plan to follow that got me away from the binge eating and overly large portions. OA is a part of my life now, because it works. Add in regular exercise and sensible eating, and I’m a completely different person to who I was a couple of years ago.
Success doesn’t come from fad diets, or from eating well for a short time until you reach your goal weight, then you’re “done”. Success comes from genuine change – reaching a point where you don’t want to go back to those old habits and old ways of being.
I don’t want to ever go back. I’m happy where I am now. Sticking to the plan is easy, because I’m happiest when I do.
Pretty much everyone wants to lose weight to look better. But hardly anyone talks about the changes in your body that can make you feel better when you start to get fit and lose weight after years of, well, sitting on your arse.
So let me talk about a few of the changes I’ve experienced.
I sleep better. I used to suffer from the three a.m. nasties. You know – waking at three in the morning, and not finally falling asleep again until ten minutes before my alarm was due to go off. These days a proper night’s sleep is the default, not the exception.
I’m in a better mood. My family and friends are less likely to catch grumpy me, and far more likely to catch serene, content me. The difference is striking.
My skin and allergies are better. I’ve struggled with asthma, allergies and eczema all my life. These days you wouldn’t know it. Rashes are rare, I don’t need an inhaler (unless I come across a dog or a rabbit), and I barely touch antihistamines. My eyes are no longer puffy and red in the mornings either.
I don’t get earwax buildup any more. An odd change, but really noticeable.
I don’t get tartar build-up on my teeth any more. Another weird improvement. Go figure. I always thought tartar had something to do with water quality and getting old, but apparently it’s bodily wellness. Who knew?
Change comes from persistence. As does wellness. We don’t become healthier from one meal, or one “good day” but from real transformation repeated daily, over and over again every day of our lives.
We can get better. Those of us who are obese can become fit and well again. The slide into poor health and misery is not inevitable. It takes commitment and support from family, friends and groups such as Overeaters Anonymous, but we can do it. We just need to believe in ourselves, and believe we are worth the effort necessary to change.
Portion sizes and snacking. Weight loss is not difficult, once you figure out these keys to weight loss.
Without them, weight loss can be impossible.
Since the eighties (mainly), portion sizes have expanded like crazy, in step with women joining the workforce in millions and consequently eating out more often and not having time to cook properly.
Restaurants and eateries wanted to be seen providing “good value”, so they increased sizes more and more, and people were happy, getting more food for their dollars.
We mirrored the burgeoning portion sizes at home with bigger home-cooked portions, and the result was a massive increase in obesity.
Along with bigger portions came the snacking. Junk foods, sweets, cakes, biscuits – all grew more common due to more discretionary cash available to families, and after-school snacking became common for kids, because mum didn’t get home to make dinner until later. Convenience foods added to the mix.
There were other contributors – food being more processed, eating out becoming more affordable, the increase in screen time (and the junk food that went with it). But overall, the big culprits were portion sizes, and snacking.
I’d got to the point a year or so ago where I didn’t even know what a healthy portion looks like. I’d lost touch with my hunger signals, and I’d stuff myself daily to feel “full” instead of “comfortable”.
When I finally started tracking my food intake properly (thanks to MyFitnessPal), I was horrified to learn many days I was topping out over 2500 calories, sometimes as many as 3500 a day! It was a real wake up call.
Truth is, most of us don’t know what healthy portions looks like. For example, I bought a bag of potato chips the other day (yes, it was a mistake). Then when I checked the nutrition panel on the bag, I saw that a serve is 15 chips. Nobody eats just 15 chips!
Check out the nutrition panel on my stepdaughter’s Doritos:
Portions matter. Prior to wiseing up, I’d have eaten the entire bag. These days I try not to eat chips, but when I do I remind myself I’m eating half a day’s energy needs in just a “snack”!
This is how we’re all getting fat. Obesity is now more common in the world than starvation. Even previously third world countries such as India are grappling with an obesity epidemic. It’s everywhere, and it’s getting worse.
I grew up right at the height of the bad advice. I remember my mother banning butter and eggs from the house, and switching to “healthier” margarine. I remember learning in school that it was ideal to eat between 6-11 (!!!) serves of carbohydrates daily, and 6 “mini meals” was the ideal eating pattern.
Portions matter. We all ate to excess because none of us were taught how big a “serve” actually was. Was a serve of bread a thin slice of white bread, or a piece of stuffed crust pizza? Nobody knew. I sure didn’t.
So here’s how I’m easily losing weight: I’m practicing portion control and I’m eliminating snacks. My meals have got a bit bigger, but I’m not eating all the junk in between. Plus, what I’m eating at my meals is wholesome, real food.
I was that person. The one who would order a “hunger buster” value meal (Big Mac, cheeseburger, large fries, chocolate sundae, large soft drink) and ask for a diet Coke with it.
I can be really dumb sometimes.
My logic was that I could easily avoid the calories in the drink, but I still wanted my junk food. It was non-negotiable.
Then I’d get on the scale at the end of the week, and wonder why I hadn’t lost weight.
Things have changed. These days, when I get a craving for junk, I go a cheeseburger or a whopper jr. That’s it. And it’s enough.
I make sure I always have a water bottle on me, so I don’t need a drink. And when I don’t need a drink it seems a bit pointless to have a meal deal (add-on fries and soft drink) when I don’t need or want half of it.
What I realised is no matter how much junk food I ate, it was never enough.
Junk food is not about portions with me. It’s about getting a fix.
I knew – when I began to be honest with myself – that no matter how much I ordered, I’d always want more. I’m perfectly capable of eating two hunger busters, probably. Maybe three. That hole inside me never seemed to get full, no matter how much junk I shoved down my neck.
I realised – and admitted – that I’m an addict. Just like an alcoholic can’t control their booze intake, I can’t control my food addiction.
However, if I only have a burger, by itself, I seem to not go so nutso on the junk food.
I can’t control having large amounts, but I seem to be able to manage small amounts.
Plus, to be honest, I really believe the addictive part of junk food isn’t the burgers. It’s the fries and drinks.
That’s the case with me, anyway.
So these days, if I go with friends to a junk food place, I just order a small burger. Nothing else. I enjoy the experience, and my eating stays in check. I get my fix – because I’m still an addict – but I’m happy.
A whopper jr contains 340 calories. A McDonald’s cheeseburger contains 313 calories. That’s about right for a lunch for a woman who is trying to lose a few.
Compare that with the calories in a McDonald’s “hunger buster”: 1587. Or a Burger King whopper meal: 1620. Either is my whole day’s calories in a single meal. No wonder I wasn’t losing weight!
I know it’s not socially acceptable to believe we can eat the occasional burger and still lose weight.
I know it’s also true that some people are so addicted that they can’t even have just a burger yet avoid going nutso.
I find that this works for me. Maybe it will work for you too 🙂
After just over a year on OA, and working hard to improve my eating and exercise, things are finally falling into place.
These days, I eat 2-3 healthy meals a day, exercise roughly 5x a week at the gym, and am attending OA meetings regularly.
I’m feeling better, eating better, and the muscle that atrophied over the last five years of not exercising is coming back.
It’s taken – is taking – a lot of dedication and consistency, and the results are starting to show.
Gone are my old habits of eating family sized blocks of chocolate and litres of Pepsi Max every night. Instead I drink plain bubbly water (thanks to my soda stream), and when I feel like a snack I have a piece of fruit or some low calorie jelly.
It’s nowhere near perfect yet. I still occasionally binge, and I’d like to be able to say no on our weekly workplace morning teas, but I’m getting better.
It’s true what they say about consistency. You just have to keep coming back to OA, and keep practicing the good habits instead of the bad. It’s not easy – not one bit – but it will become a lifestyle if you keep working.
I’m finding that I sleep much better, and just feel better overall.
Gym keeps me sane. I forgot how well it keeps me sane, and wish I’d never stopped going. But covid happened, and everything ground to a halt, and the gym was closed.
Then when I could have gone back, I didn’t.
However, I’m back now.
I’m feeling very weak in comparison to where I was – I’m back doing baby weights again.
It’ll soon improve. I’m taking things very cautiously, as I don’t want to injure myself. It’s easy to forget I’m not young any more! (I’m in my 50s now…yikes!)
But I am loving the movement. I love feeling better about myself. I love eating better too.
I’m fully aware these days that junk food, like drugs or alcohol, is addictive. And I am an addict. So I have to keep away from junk, or it sets me off, the monster inside is released from its cage, and everything goes to hell.
I’m better off just eating well. I’ve learned from experience that I can’t control myself with certain foods, so more and more I’m just ruling them out of my life. That doesn’t mean I’m fully successful at ruling them out. But I’m doing the best I can.
Today’s food is prawns (well, shrimp really), and asparagus for lunch. Dinner will be chicken and asparagus. 1 cup of chicken, and a fair bit of asparagus (I’ve learned that I don’t have to count or limit green veggies).
So that’s where I’m at. Still doing OA, still eating well (mostly), and still doing gym every weekday.
“It’s all in your head, it was never about the weight” – quote from successful OA member.
That’s so true. When I first joined OA, I was desperate to lose weight. I thought OA might provide an easy answer.
But the longer I’ve been in OA, the more I’ve learned there are no easy answers. You can’t just sign up to something and magically, suddenly lose heaps of weight.
Life doesn’t work like that.
What I have learned is success follows action. You won’t lose weight until you perform the actions that result in weight loss.
Those actions are different for everyone, but for me that’s 2-3 meals and no snacks. Sometimes I have breakfast, sometimes I don’t. I also incorporate regular fasting and exercise into my plan. But the big thing is no snacking.
When I think back to how things were when I was a kid in the 1970s and pretty much everyone was lean, I remember how snacking was frowned upon.
We’ve got fatter as a society because 3 regular meals have become 6, or 8, or just one long meal that lasts all day.
The other difference is people eating out a lot more. These days it’s a regular hobby for many.
I was nine years old before I went to my first restaurant for dinner. I remember it clearly. And my experience was typical of our generation.
These days there are many people who don’t ever eat at home! I know some of them, and being overweight is the norm.
I don’t eat out very often, so that hasn’t been a huge problem for me. My problem is snacking. But for many people, the eating out incessantly is a huge part of their weight problem.
But yes, I’ve learned that my biggest mind game has been recognising that snacking causes weight gain. And some of the so-called ” healthy” snacks – often found in the “health food” section of the supermarket – are the worst offenders. The advertising is so slick they convince you a 500 calorie snack is “healthy”. It’s not, not for me.
When I stick to a regular plan of 3 meals a day, nothing in between, a daily walk and occasional fasting, I lose weight. When I don’t, I gain.
The mind game of this simple realisation is accepting the truth that restraint in my life – a balance with commonsense – is getting me closer to my goal.
Here I am again, about 15 pounds lighter than when I started late last year.
OA works. However, what also works is OA with a combination of meal prepping and portion control.
Portion control is that butt-ugly phrase that nobody likes to use. All the diets keep on claiming eat as much as you want and lose weight!
It’s not true. What is true is that modern-day portions are mindbogglingly huge in comparison to what people ate in the past, and that’s a big part of why we’re all getting fatter.
I’ve had a big wake up call recently because I bought a meal prep book that provides easy keto recipes in controlled portions. The book is Easy Keto Meal Prep by Aaron Day. It not only makes meal prep easy, but it takes the guesswork out of the big question: how much should I be eating?
(I’m not getting a kickback for mentioning the book…it’s just an awesome resource that deserves to be shared.)
At first I was stunned when I saw the size of the portions. I thought, “That’ll NEVER keep me full!” And I was right. At first it didn’t. But now I’m adjusting to smaller portions and it’s enough. Adjustment took a couple of weeks, but I’m doing fine now. And my weight is dropping fast.
So that’s where I’m at. OA is providing the emotional and spiritual support I needed, while meal prepping is giving me a common sense path to eating well.
For the last two years, I’ve wondered why I can’t lose weight. But I finally figured it out.
Two words: portion control.
I started actually tracking my calories in food I eat, together with carbs, sugar and fat.
This sounds really basic, but if you eat double the amount, you’ll consume double the calories and nutrients.
So while that breakfast smoothie might be very healthy, if it’s too large a portion, I’m not going to lose weight having it.
Same with meat, fish or any other food. No matter how healthy, if I eat too much of it I’m not going to lose weight.
Checking my portions is really important. I just made some curry egg omelettes for work lunches this week. I didn’t realize how much cheese I was going to put on them until I measured it. What I thought was “about right” was actually about 1.5 cups of cheese. I would never have guessed that!
Now, cheese is a great food, but it’s high in calories. A cup and a half of cheese would have easily stymied my weight loss efforts for the week. And get this: I wouldn’t have even realised it.
So for the next few weeks I’m weighing and measuring everything. Sounds Draconian, I know, but it’s the best way to get my intake down to reasonable amounts.
This has been a wake up call for me.
Likewise, I would normally have eaten two egg omelettes for lunch, instead of one. Not because I was hungry enough to need it, but because it “looked right”.
That was stupid. I didn’t need two. It was just a bad habit to eat two, nothing more.
And here’s the great thing: if I cut my servings of such things in half, I’m having my calories.
While eating one egg omelette is about 250 calories, two egg omelettes is 500 calories.
And if I eat them at work every day, I’m swapping out 2500 calories and instead eating 1250 over five days at work.
Make that one small change, and I’ll be dropping 3750 calories every 3 weeks, which is a pound of weight loss.
That’s a huge improvement for something I don’t even need!
They say life is a learning curve. That’s true, but you can’t learn if you don’t open your eyes to begin with!