I signed up….again

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I love food. I love shopping for it. I love preparing it. I love devouring it. I love cooking it for others. My body is testament to that. That, right now is not what I’m loving.

After two children, virtually back to back I’m not embracing my lady lumps much, or at all. My stomach looks like an empty carrier bag right now and is hanging a little bit too much over my waistband whereas before it used to just sit on it. Despite my everlasting gratitude and pride in producing & sustaining life I feel i should start to take measures to ensure my body knows it is loved and cared for how God intended it to.

That is not to fill it with chips, wine and other calorific treats that should be just that, treats – not everyday items. Since being pregnant & nursing for the best part of two years I’ve lost my way with what is considered a normal healthy diet, particularly with portion sizes. I noticed last night that i had the same sized dinner as my husband who at 6 foot 3″ is considerably bigger than I. That is not loving my body, that is abusing it.

I promised myself that when Jools hits 6 months I would take a look at my diet and get back to my best. She is 6 months next week and I’ve been aware this date and my promise have been getting ever closer. Having successfully lost weight after the birth of Belle (26lbs in 14 weeks) by signing up to what is in my opinion, the healthiest and most sustainable approach to weight management currently on the market; WeightWatchers. No, i am not affiliated with them in anyway.

I needed to be (re) educated about portion sizes and the right foods to eat and it was a revelation. Actually, it was just common sense but a revelation to me. It was also a great way to stay on track with the fear of being publicly weighed each week. I’m a people pleaser by nature so to stay in the losers enclosure each week at weigh in was all the incentive i needed. That and the ability to squeeze into my pre-pregnancy wardrobe – my vanity started to outweigh my greed.

Like it has this morning,  i awoke feeling uncomfortably fat and promised myself i would start again at Weightwatchers next week. Or maybe the week after. After telling Peter of my plans as he stepped out the shower, he asked the obvious question ‘why put it off, why not start today?’.

He had a point. I know I would continue to stuff my face until i signed up and would probably start a good half a stone heavier with this attitude. I knew it was what i needed to kickstart ‘Project Me’ but mentally i kept listing reasons why today wasn’t the day. The ‘Meeting’ would clash with Jools breakfast/nap/feed or I needed to put a wash on, or I needed to make some calls about this Charity Raffle I’m helping organise.

With Belle at nursery this morning and all the reasons i listed as being obstacles to my signing up with Weightwatchers became, strangely, non issues. It was like the universe had conspired to get me there. Jools woke earlier, ate her breakfast in a nano second & was content to play on her mat with her toys whilst i got ready. I had run out of washing capsules so laundry wasnt going to happen this morning and I received an email changing a few things regarding the charity raffle which needed doing before i could put more calls in.

I had no excuse. So I went along and signed up. Now before you all sigh a collective yawn at what sounds like another Weight Loss blog in the blogosphere, I can assure I will (try) not to bore you with all this. People losing weight are boring, unless its you doing the weightloss, without having worked at it.

The ‘meeting’ was held in the hall attached to the church in town. I thought that at 9.30am on a Tuesday morning it would be quiet, probably an empty meeting. How wrong could i be? I opened the door, struggling with Jools in her car seat to find about 50+ people busying themselves with all matters relating to weightloss. The queue to be weighed snaked all the way to the door i had just walked in through and i could see all the women (there were no Men weirdly?) waiting patiently, all in various states of undress, determined to be their lightest when their turn on the scales came. Their ages varied from pensioner to twentysomething girls. I joined this queue and sheeplike started taking my coat, shoes, jumper and even watch off. At that moment I probably would have cut my hair off to make less of a dent on the scales.

I must add before i go on, that after years of yo-yo dieting i reached a kind of peace treaty with myself whereby i accept that i am never going to look like Gisele Bundchen on a fat day and all that matters is I’m the best i can be. Thats being healthy & fit which includes eating right. Thats the part i’m trying to work on now and my reasoning for enlisting; Eating well, eating regularly and eating in moderation. It’s not doing this that has led me to yo-yo. Always one to practice abstinence better than restraint i want to adopt an attitude of moderation. This will surely keep me on the path that i so want to be on, as well as teaching my girls the value of looking after themselves.

I want to help them as much as its conceivably possible to adopt a healthy approach to food. Starting at home, in their childhood. A good food lifestyle whereby nothing should be off limits but instinctual right choices are made thereby side stepping the life long sentence of the diet trap. And this all starts with me.

After having (re) introduced myself to my Weight loss leader and inching myself slowly onto the scales i realised that it wasnt as bad as i predicted. Yes I was on the heavy side, but not as heavy as i was after my first pregnancy and the stone or so i want to lose to take me back to pre-babies is realistically achievable. I felt enthused by the thought of wearing floaty summer clothes and above all not feeling my stomach touch my thighs when I sit down.

Whilst joining another queue to pay for this privilege of being told how to eat right they had laid alongside on tables, all the various Weightwatchers products that you can buy. Chocolate biscuits, crisps, herbs, spices, sauces everything you could possibly need to make the points (you are allowed) to go further. Picking up a pack of chocolate crunch biscuits (deux points!) i read what was in them. Not a single natural ingredient or one that i could pronounce. And the same for the fish sauce and cheesy crisps. It went on. And  as i looked the women around me were stock piling them up in their arms waiting to pay for them. One woman even brought her own ‘bag for life’ to carry them in.

Then it dawned on me, we are merely slaves to this whole Weightloss industry. All the synthetic ingredients that are put into these products are just perpetuating the myth that we can eat all these things and still be thin and at the same time, the more you eat of them the more you will want to eat of them. It’s the same for all diet products. They are full of crap (aspartame & the like) and don’t even satiate your appetite just making you crave more.

I am therefore determined to lose weight without these aids or crutches despite how much further my food point allowance will go. My priority is to be fit & healthy after all.

With our dinner already waiting in the fridge to be cooked, Spaghetti Bolognese I decided I would still eat it but make sure the portion i had was within my allowance.

Spaghetti Bolognese is an institution in most households. It’s the one dish I know every child eats and it can be loaded up with as many vegetables as you can fit in the pot. Peter often asks for clarification of what dinner is when i ladle vegetable rich Bolognese onto his plate. He says he’s sure the Italians don’t put courgettes or kale in theirs.

As I always do, I sautéed the chopped onion & garlic with some carrot, celery & mushrooms. I then stirred in some fine steak mince and cooked it off before adding tins of chopped tomatoes, little seasoning and a tiny bit of Worcester sauce. I’m not sure why. There was a nit at the bottom so i thought I’d use it up.

I let that simmer for a couple of hours and then left it to rest. Normally when we have pasta i like to make my own but find that with a topping as hearty as Bolognese the pasta needs to have more of a bite to it and homemade pasta is so much lighter & more delicate, that shop bought pasta seems to partner it better.

I weighed out the amount of cooked pasta considered a portion: 90g and was amazed at how tiny it looked on our plates. I wouldn’t even consider it an appetiser portion of pasta. I think i give Belle more when serving up. I then weighed out the Bolognese and again was distraught to discover how little it actually was.

My plate next to Peter’s looked like a pygmy’s version.

We sat down to eat it and i resisted the urge to inhale in one breath. I took my time with each spoonful and chewed thoughtfully and consciously. Whilst Peter next to me shovelled mouthful after mouthful of cheese laden Bolognese.

Surprisingly once i had cleared my plate I was no longer hungry. Of course i could have smashed back ten times as much as that but i was aware that actually, it was enough. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was no longer hungry.

As i had now used up my daily allowance for the day on all that I had eaten, cereal, fruit, sandwich & spaghetti bolognese i sipped on ice lemon water until bed time. I thought i’d be ready to eat my arm come bed time, having not devoured my normal intake but i was pleasantly surprised and felt really good about my day of moderation.

I am aware half the battle with dieting is in maintaining. The thrill of losing is enough to sustain but the maintaining is the hardest part and why the statistics of people piling back on the weight are not in their favour. Thats why i am determined to not let this be ultimately about reaching a weight goal but about getting there and trying to enjoy it by cooking tasty, nutritious & food that a non dieter would want to eat with the (very) occasional glass of wine thrown in.

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