Ok I will admit it, I am an overweight middle aged woman and I need to lose weight. Ooh that is a bit painful to read on the screen. Did I really write that! Yes I did and unfortunately the truth really hurts.
My waist circumference has gradually been increasing for a number of years now and despite some sporadic efforts to decrease it, I have been largely unsuccessful.
The scary thing is, is that I am extremely knowledgeable when it comes to diet and exercise. I have a degree in Human Movement Science, I am a qualified personal trainer (even though I don’t practice anymore) and I work part time for an organisation that has health and wellbeing at its core.
So why am I overweight?
There is no simple answer, but instead a whole range of contributing factors. Firstly I am an emotional human being and I absolutely LOVE my food. Food makes me feel happy and I love feeling happy. I am also not eating spring chicken, which means my muscle mass is decreasing. As my muscle mass decreases so does my metabolic rate. Therefore I am not burning as much energy at rest as I was in my 20s, 30s and 40s. I also have an Achilles injury which has severely hampered my exercise regime. Put all of those factors together and it’s no wonder I am overweight.
However, all of the above is not an excuse for being over weight. In fact, more than ever I need to take control and focus on my health. An 80cm waist circumference for a female is considered healthy. Every cm over that and I am increasing my risk of diabetes, cardio vascular disease and stroke.
So what do I need to do to lose weight?
There is so much conflicting information on weight loss that it stops you in your tracks.
Diet and exercise programs multiply by the dozens every day on the internet. The mere thought of choosing one to following is exhausting and confusing.
Michael Mosley tells me I should be fasting two days of the week and eating normally on the other five days. The Keto diet, currently one of the trendiest eating plans in the world, instructs me to eat a low carb, high fat diet. The blood type diet says I need to eat only certain foods according to my blood type. The CIRSO considers its ‘total wellbeing diet’ as one of its top 10 innovations in 100 years – right up there will WiFi and Aerogurad. This diet is based on a higher protein and low GI diet regime. Then there is the Australian Government recommending that I eat a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups, whilst limiting foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugar and alcohol.
On top of that there are literally hundreds of exercise programs on the internet to choose from. All of them advocating that if you follow their program you will lose weight.
So how does one navigate ones way through this jungle of information without getting so overwhelmed that you want give up before you have even started.
My hot tip is that you don’t navigate your way through it. Instead tune into your inner wisdom and consider these four simple words.
Eat less, move more.
That’s it. Nothing more. Just eat less and move more.
I realized very quickly that when I tried to follow a set eating plan I couldn’t sustain it. Most of the time I was making myself eat food that I didn’t particularly enjoy and I was doing exercises that I hated. This was not a recipe to help me lose weight.
Instead I decided to stick to the foods that I enjoy eating but just eat less of them.
Even though it’s a simple method, it’s not easy to do. It takes a hell of a lot of discipline and a constant awareness of what food choices you are making.
You can’t afford to eat mindlessly and you always have to plan ahead. If I know I am going to have a JimBeam and Coke on a Friday night I don’t have morning tea on that day. If I know I am going out to dinner on Saturday night (which always involves dessert), I have my egg without toast and butter for breakfast, I also skip morning tea and I have a very light lunch. These are all planned choices and compromises that I can make to ensure I don’t overeat.
So if you are in the same boat as me and would like to lose some weight, imprint these four words on your mind and then most importantly take some ACTION. A healthy body is a key factor to your happiness.
By Claire Mass