Why you should stop fat shaming

Whenever there’s an article on the web or a status on Facebook trying to promote healthy body image or stop fat shaming, there’s always that person who thinks its a good time to point out that being fat is unhealthy. I’d like to point out that being judgmental is also not healthy.  These people love insisting that if the fat person would just exercise the same sort of will power as they do, they could be healthier, fitter, sexier people.  More worthy of positive assessments perhaps. Anyway, whatever it is, I’m here to explain why they are just clueless.

Losing is harder than maintaining

Eating 1800 calories a day to maintain a slender figure is not the same as eating 1800 calories a day when you’re slightly over weight and maintenance is 2300. We are not simple balloons who can be filled up or emptied at any whim. If you’ve never had a need to lose 20 pounds or more then you may not know this. You certainly can’t appreciate it, unless maybe you’ve tried to gain 20 pounds and had a hard time doing that. Our bodies fight to maintain our weight. We have hormones like insulin, leptin, and ghrelin that work hard giving us cravings, rationalisations and making us ravenously hungry. Losing weight, being in a caloric deficit, doesn’t feel the same as maintaining or eating maintenance calories even when the number of calories is the same between those two different sized people. It hurts physically, mentally and emotionally. And it’s only when all our ducks are in a perfect row that we can actually manage to consistently lose significant amounts of weight over time.

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Cortisol.

Stress makes it harder. If you have a crap job, a crap relationship, small children, or any constant low level stress that you have to endure, losing weight is going to be harder, if not  impossible. At the same time while we can exercise our willpower we also have finite amountsso if just living your life day to day spends all your patience and will power, adding weight loss is not going to be practical. This reduces the number of over weight people who will lose weight this year significantly on its own. Maybe if our society was a bit more civil and equitable it would be easier.

 The media and body image.

We all know that the media is at fault for giving us all unrealistic body image issues. Because of this overweight people will be fighting themselves and their self image. Hating themselves, in part because of people who fat shame. In many cases it’s not until we can actually truly accept ourselves for who we are, the size we are and everything before we can even get to all the other steps necessary to lose any weight. I only read half the book Overcoming Overeating but completely agree with the narrative which tells about how sometimes you cannot get anywhere until you stop trying so hard. Also, you can look at my post How I came to accept my body for what it is. (Note: I’m now a lower weight than ever since I started trying to lose it.)

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Fast food market, crap food market, food scientists

Multi-billion dollar companies spend millions if not billions on food scientists who research how to make us all addicted to their crap products that make us fat. An ex food scientist in this Guardian article says, “These products are designed to keep you coming back to eat more and more and more.” The WHO acknowledges that it’s largely the fast food market making us fat, and it’s known how much money goes into making those products hard to resist. I can’t emphasise enough how good they have gotten at making the physical product hard to resist and the marketing of that product has become so much more sophisticated. They are using a lot of research to manipulate us into getting fatter and unhappier. None of this is our fault. The only fault lies in continuing to allow them to do it.

Lack of knowledge,

If you don’t know what to eat, what to avoid or how to cook, it’s going to be really hard to manage weight loss in the long term. The diet market sells lies all over the place. Do we eat 1200 calories a day or 2000? Do we walk, run or lift weights? Do we eat calorie controlled ready meals or our own cooked meals? Is all of this wrong? The diet industry tells us there are pills and shakes and diet plans that will magically make us thin. Even shoes and leggings can do it! The fact is, even though there’s always that person saying that it’s obvious what you should and shouldn’t eat, it’s not true. I have lost weight eating burgers, tacos, and take out because I know how to make those kinds of decisions. If you eat plain porridge for breakfast, a salad for lunch and plain chicken with broccoli for dinner, you are going to be so under nourished you’ll gorge on some biscuits before the end of the week for sure. And all those people trying to sell you diet plans aren’t helping you learn either. It takes time, effort, trial and error to learn what works for you and what doesn’t.

The fact is it’s not simply a matter of making the decision to lose weight and following through. Maybe technically it is, but if you think human behaviour is that simple you belong in a different century! Losing weight is possible if you’re committed, but not obsessed. If you’re prepared and ready, you have support, the chance to pamper yourself and the resilience to get back up when you fall. I don’t want anyone to feel like you can’t do it. You can! It just takes a lot of preparation and commitment. Much more than someone who judges you could even dream of.  So if you’ve been victim to fat shaming idiots who think they know better, take heart. They are charmed, clueless and not particularly attractive themselves!

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My diet break

Can I just take a minute to celebrate that I have now broken some sort of mental set point I had going on for something like five years! I could never get under this number and somehow, while I wasn’t really paying attention I just broke it! Woot!

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That happened of course before my diet break. I just finished my first diet break this weekend and I’m sure I’m a bit higher again. I’m not worried in the least though because it will be just water which will be lost again before the end of the week along with a bit more fat. I found last year that the best pattern for me is two and a half weeks “on” and then four days “off”. This was the most measured and reasonable break I’ve ever had though. I put that down to the relative lack of sugar in my diet right now.

I started “dieting” on 14 July, counting calories to under 2000, but usually under 1800. I had already cut out most sugar from my diet so what I was focusing on is eating enough veg and controlling the high calorie foods. I tend to have greek yogurt and fruit for breakfast, unless I’m really hungry and craving carbs then I have porridge. Lunch is quite varied but I try to go for veg heavy soups or salads. I had falafel, hummous and salad in a whole wheat roll a couple days in a row which was so good. I’ll have to remember to do that again this week. I lost about two and a half pounds so that’s quite a good result. By the time diet break rolled around I felt so in control and not at all in need of it, but I know from experience it’s best to do it anyway, have a few indulgences and get back on the wagon.

Normally I have all sorts of sweets, snacks and cakes on my diet break and end up feeling sick by the second day. This time I didn’t have much interest in filling up with sugary things. I had some nice food that doesn’t fit well into a diet, I relaxed about having two glasses of wine in an evening and I enjoyed a bit of ice cream too.

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This is not my photo. Image source

Thursday: I decided to eat as normal until dinner which was to be home made pizza. I love this pizza and will have to blog about it someday! I had roasted red peppers, portabello mushrooms, and pepperoni on my half. It was looovely! I also had some wine which of course was also lovely!

Friday: Breakfast was cinnamon raisin toast with butter! Lunch has been forgotten about! Dinner was steak and spicy chips! More wine! Yum!

Saturday: Breakfast was more cinnamon raisin toast, brunch was bacon, sausage and egg sandwiches (2!), dinner was chicken parm with spaghetti. We had wine too and late in the evening before bed we dug out the ice cream out of the back of the freezer. It was a bit old but hey, scrape off the edges and yum yum!

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 This is my photo

Sunday: Breakfast was regular whole wheat toast with peanut butter, lunch was a picnic with the kids at the Dino park, roast beef and cheese sandwich, pom bears, some raw pepper sticks. Dinner was mac & cheese with bacon and roasted chicken stirred through. We were going to have margaritas to send off the diet break but my littlest one decided she wasn’t tired and gave me a hard time so I ended up in bed by 8:30! Boo!

Today I’m back on the wagon and not feeling too bad about it. I think I’ll be right back into the swing within two or three days. I’ll let you know if not though.

Have you ever dieted this way? I find that most people think it’s silly to “take a break” but people who do it have better results because you’re not faced with months of deprivation!

How to turn back the clock on your aging metabolism

You used to be able to eat whatever you wanted but now you can’t even look at a chocolate bar right? You and everyone else! It doesn’t need to be that way.

Your metabolism doesn’t just tank because you’ve gotten a few years older. It doesn’t work that way. If it did, everyone would gain weight, but not everyone does do they? Apparently if you’re not overweight by age 40 it’s unlikely to happen because at that point you just naturally eat less food anyway. (These are averages people!) What happens is that sometime between 20 years old and 30 years old you start to lose muscle. Until that time you are technically still ‘growing’ but then you reach your peak and it all starts to slip away.

Lets not forget the other stuff too, the lifestyle differences between a 25 year old and a 35 year old. A 25 year old tends to have lots of energy and is always doing things with friends and family, forgetting to eat lunch, not bothering with dinner, grabbing a couple of crackers and a banana instead. (WTF?) A 35 year old tends to be more likely to be married with kids. This means you are on a synchronised meal plan with your family. The routine is you come home and eat a big dinner with your family. You don’t even think about whether you want it or not anymore do you? In fact you DO want it, because you expect it.  But are you hungry enough for that big dinner after that big lunch you had?

Back to the muscle loss. Muscle as you know weighs more than fat. It also burns more calories than fat. Only a few per pound but it’s still true. So basically someone who is 70 kg but 15% body fat is burning the same amount of calories a day as someone who is 70 kg and 30% body fat.

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This woman weighs the same in both photos, her maintenance calories per day will be the same at both times in her life except that in the fitter photo she’s obviously working out more so her maintenance calories will be more. So she’s thinner, fitter, older and eating more calories. Granted she’s not eating chocolate bars all day, but she can have one now and then and not worry about gaining weight.

If you don’t do something about it, you will be losing muscle mass every year and replacing that body weight with fat. Then the fat burns fewer calories and you gain more fat. This is the rut we get into as we age if we aren’t careful.

So what do you do about it?

You pick up heavy things. You do squats. You do push ups. You eat chicken and eggs and other proteins. Resistance training and eating enough protein (.75 grams of protein per kg of body weight) are the answers to the aging, declining metabolism issue.

Resistance training resources:

I can recommend any of the New Rules of Lifting books for everyone.

Shape.com’s “Easiest Plan Ever”

Nerd Fitness Beginners Body weight workout

Spark People Full Body Strength Training

Now I’m not going to pretend that I always follow my own advice. I keep meaning to get back to my body weight routine. Maybe publishing this will spur me into action again!

Half way to my nutrition diploma!

I am now half way through my diploma course in Nutrition, which is awesome. I happened to see a Groupon for this course with Shaw Academy and jumped at the chance for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve been self-studying this stuff for years and I kind of want to prove that I know what I’m talking about. Two, I have for a long time wanted to help people in their weight loss efforts. I’ve had a hard time myself so I totally understand the epic struggle it can be but I see people making so many mistakes and never really feel like it’s up to me to tell them. I still won’t interject where my opinion is unwanted, but I will be able to tell people that I can help; I’m not just another girl with an opinion based on an article I read in a magazine.

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So far, not much has surprised me in this course, except for just how bad for you alcohol is. But that must be very large amounts right? Right. As I said I’m half way through and it’s no big deal because it’s mostly all just a memory refresh. I will revise for the exam at the end, just to make sure I pass as well as possible, but I’m not at all worried or nervous about it. I’ve definitely had a good refresh though and I thought I’d go through where I see I can make improvements in my diet. You may have similar issues.

  1. I could eat more fish. I’ve known this for years. The guidelines state that you should have fish twice a week and one of those should be oily fish for it’s heart protective effects. Ick. Trout, mackerel sardines, and salmon are all examples of shit I don’t want to eat. I’ve been taking fish oil pills for years for this reason.
  2. Eat more fibre. I used to track this but haven’t for years now. I don’t think I do too badly really but I should remember to choose my black bean stews and lentil soups more often. I love these but extra cooking is such a chore at the moment with the two little ones.
  3. Increase my iron intake. I’m pretty sure that I’m iron deficient most of the time. I should go out and grab a supplement to take daily. Maybe I’ll stop craving beef all time.
  4. Water. I’m quite good at drinking enough water when I’m at my desk at work but at home chasing kids around I just forget. This is not an excuse; it’s so so important to get enough water, for everything from feeling fuller longer to higher energy levels. Oh yeah and proper body functioning too.
  5. Fruit and veg. I’m pretty good about eating my 5 a day actually but there is always room for improvement on this one, unless you are literally a rabbit
  6. Sugar. I’ve gotten into a bad habit recently putting sugar in my coffee in the morning. It’s so hard to get away from because it’s so much tastier! Besides that I’ve been mega good about avoiding unnecessary sweet treats like brownies, cakes and sweets.

All these are in addition to the very obvious things like I eat too much processed ready meals, probably too many processed carbs, and rely on the fryer too much. This is all for convenience sake, and will change once both my kids are out of the toddler and preschool phases and everyday is less like an assault course.  The current daily priority is just getting through the day!

What kind of changes do you think you should make to your diet?

 

How to personalise your workout plan

Having just finished my fifth workout on the 30 Day Body Weight Full Body Challenge I realised it doesn’t really look like the one I “prescribed” for everyone and that perhaps I should explain why and how you can change yours up to fit your needs too.

First, maybe I should apologise for giving you a plan that wasn’t so good for you. It wasn’t so good for me either. Really I want to apologise for not explaining better in the very beginning that this plan was actually meant to be whatever you want it to be for you.

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Can’t do 20 squats? Fine, do 10!

Can’t do lunges after squats? Don’t.

Can you do more than 15 seconds in the plank position? I sure as hell hope that you’re doing the longest plank you can manage!

It was always meant to be a starting position. The whole reason that I started this challenge was because all those other challenges are too prescriptive. The squat challenge starts you off at 50 squats? WTF? And you can’t build every day, you need more days off than those other challenges give. The only day really that you should work out 5 days a week is if you do different things each day: upper body Monday, core Tuesday, lower body Wednesday, etc etc. By the way, there may be lots of personal trainers disagreeing with me there; I may be simplifying to the point of being wrong as my husband would put it. The point is though you cannot do 50 squats on day one and add five per day! You will hurt yourself.

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So I did 20 squats, 10 push ups, 20 lunges, a 45 second plank, 10 dumb bell rows and 30 jumping jacks to start. It felt hard but good.

Then I did exactly the same two days later and it felt much harder! Dieting down doesn’t help resistance improvement. I couldn’t even finish the lunges. So the third exercise day I dropped the squats and lunges down to 12, increased the dumb bell rows to 12 and it was all more manageable. I’ve done the exact same thing two more times though so I’ll have to increase something next time.

The idea really is to see where you are and then just try to improve from there. Just keep pushing yourself. Soon, I will give you suggestions about how to progress, because you can’t just go up to 250 squats. That’s ridiculous.

30 Day Body weight Challenge; Day 3

Obviously I missed day one because it was Fathers Day, but I thought you might want to know how I’ve done since then. I started Monday with both going hungry eating more reasonably and the exercise routine.

I did this series twice:

20 squats
10 push ups – from my knees
20 lunges, each leg – but I didn’t manage all 20 the second time around
10 dumb bell rows – the weight I used was too light
Plank – I managed 45 seconds the first round and 30 the second time
30 star jumps

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It was more difficult than it looks so I’m hoping that I will improve quickly as usually happens when you begin after some time off. I needed a 60 second break between and at the end I was actually out of breath; so that’s good at least I’m getting a challenge!

The next day I was quite achy in my legs and glutes, a little in my core and very slightly in my arms and back. Very very slightly. So the plan for today is to try to do push ups normally or if I can’t and have to do them from my knees I’ll go slower and more deliberately and make sure to go down as low as possible. I’ll use a full milk jug for the dumb bell rows and try to do the  plank for 60 seconds both times.

Edit: I just did it and it was hard! I didn’t manage the lunges the second time around at all. Calorie deficit does indeedy affect your energy and stamina guys! Friday I will be hoping to accomplish a bit better than today and if not I’ll have to think about an extra snack on exercise days!

As far as food, I’ve managed to go without a sandwich so I’ll have one tomorrow. Here’s what I’ve eaten:

Day 1

Breakfast : Greek yogurt with strawberries and blueberries

lunch: a can of soup and an apple

Dinner: left over beef with mac & cheese (can’t let that go to waste!)

Hot cocoa for late night early evening snack

Day 2

Breakfast: Greek yogurt with strawberries & blueberries

lunch: falafel salad and can of soup

Dinner: chicken curry and two mini naans

Hot cocoa for early evening snack

Day 3

Breakfast: Greek yogurt with strawberries & blueberries

Lunch: raw veg with low fat hummous

Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognaise

Hot cocoa for early evening snack

So I’ve actually done really well so far and will reward myself with a slice of pizza for lunch tomorrow! Yum yum! I shall post a nice pic for you all.

Are you surprised? I can easily eat a slice of pizza and stay on target, even if only occasionally. Do you treat yourself when you’re on a diet?

Deep And Dark As Sammy J Hot Cocoa Recipe

Tomorrow is the first day of my 30 Day Challenge and I hope some of you are going to play along! Don’t feel like you have to keep up to do so though. Do what you can and be proud of yourself for it! I for one will be doing just that.

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Of course tomorrow is Father’s Day so we’re going to be gorging ourselves on roast beef, macaroni & cheese and probably ice cream sundaes! But the calorie control starts Monday. In truth I’ve been attempting calorie control all week, maybe a little longer but it’s not been working out at all. I can’t bring myself to not have a sandwich for lunch. I don’t know what it is but that one little thing seems so important to me right now. So maybe I won’t try to cut out the sandwiches, maybe I will make them healthier sandwiches first. We’ll change the chicken mayo sandwich or the brie and tomato sandwich into a chicken and salad or roast beef sandwich this week. Greek yogurt and fruit for breakfast and something sensible for dinner. I’m not trying to go too low because going really low while also introducing a new exercise routine is a bit dumb. I’ve been a bit sloppy lately and I need to edge my way into it.

Tonight we’re having some of that dark hot cocoa I told you about. We went shopping and picked up a liter of milk and then came home to realise we now have three containers of milk in the fridge! So cocoa it is. This cocoa is a life saver for me. Last year while losing weight I allocated the calories (230ish) for an end of day treat. Every. Day. Well any day that we did well and stayed on target we would have these. If we didn’t and had an ice cream at a fayre or something we would skip it and not feel guilty for the small ice cream during a day of walking around. It was awesome.

This is a really dark, not-too-sweet cocoa. You may prefer less cocoa and/or more sugar. Play with it, that’s how we ended up with this recipe ourselves.

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As-Deep-and-Dark-as-Samuel-L-Jackson Hot Cocoa

makes 2 servings

600 ml milk
30 g cocoa
30 g sugar

Pour the milk into a measuring jug.

Measure the cocoa into a small cup, add some of the milk (60ish mil)

Heat the milk in microwave or on stovetop (we nuke for 3 minutes, stir then 2 more)

Make a paste with the cocoa and milk

Measure out the sugar and add to heated milk. Stir.

Add cocoa paste and stir.

Heat again for another minute if you’re like my husband who hates to actually drink his cocoa right away. He prefers to stare at it and smell it for a while. I don’t know why. (He does other stuff that makes up for it which is why I put up with this.)

Wait for optimal temperature. Sniff, it’s divine!

DRINK!

Let me know if you try this what you think but don’t forget I warned you its dark!