Katie Hopkins if she were self aware and honest

I’m coming out of the woodwork to rant about Katie Hopkins. This Journey to Fat and Back show has me foaming at the mouth pretty much daily right now. I could write a whole post about that alone and how infuriating it is to me that TLC (The LEARNING Channel!!!) is airing flat out lies for the express purpose of bullying a large group of people for profit. Maybe next week.

Anyway, I know it’s not very original to hate her , everyone does right? But interestingly what also not very original is for people to be thinking that she’s the one you love to hate because she says what everyone is thinking.

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No.

I’m not thinking what she says, I despair for the human race when she speaks, and even more so when people say that they secretly agree with her. What’s fun though is that I just can’t help but decode her ridiculous comments in my head every time I hear them, so I thought I’d share with you my interpretation of what is really going on inside Katie Hopkins, whether she knows it or not.

Katie: “I don’t believe you can be fat and happy.”

Self-aware Katie: “I cannot imagine my happiness not being intricately linked to what the outside world thinks I should look like.”

Katie: “The difference between most mothers and me is that I didn’t sit around drinking coffee at baby group for 12 months after the birth of my baby. No, in three weeks I was back in my suit, back at my desk earning profit for my business and I don’t see why other women shouldn’t do the same.”

Self -aware Katie: “Money, money, money, money… Nothing’s more important! Nothing!”

Katie: “A name, for me, is a short way of working out what class that child comes from. Do I want my child to play with them?”

Self-aware Katie: “I’m too busy to supervise my children and get to know their friends but I do want to make sure they end up as snobby as I am so I come up with these superficial, meaningless rules so that I can feel like I’m involved.”

Katie: “For me, tattoos are just a way for people to find attention who haven’t found another way in their life to achieve it by conventional means.”

Self-aware Katie: “I’m uneasy with people who operate from a different value system than mine. Why don’t they also worry what small minded bigots think of them? There must be something wrong with them.”

That’s right folks, the problem with Katie Hopkins is that she’s full of self doubt and worry about being judged herself! It kind of makes me feel pity for her. Kind of. I wish I could, I really do because I bet she’d hate that so much. But, alas I’m no Gandhi!

Image credit to Daniel Oines.

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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How to tame the sugar beast

I’m now pretty easily maintaining a weight that used to be my low in my yo-yo dieting routine, and I put that down in part to the lack of baking habit and the conscious avoidance of cakes and biscuits. I stick to the sugar in my coffee in the morning and the occasional dark hot cocoa in the evening as well as fruits during the day but other than that these days it’s rare that I eat anything with a lot of processed sugar. Sadly I can see and feel the benefit of this prohibition quite easily.

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I maintain this weight even though I eat take out once, sometimes twice in a week. I maintain this weight even though we rely on the fryer in this house far too often. I maintain this weight even though I enjoy a good fresh ciabatta from the market sometimes and a glass or two of red wine sometimes too many days in the week. On the one hand I kind of miss my chocolate brownies or at least the freedom to eat them, on the other hand because I’m not eating them I’m not craving them which is such a bonus.

When I get my coffee at the local coffee shop in the mornings I no longer salivate at the cakes and croissants on display like I used to. That pile of chocolate in my fridge doesn’t tempt me and neither do the chocolate digestives on the door. I’m no longer constantly dreaming of the treats I can bake and take to work with me. Having a tray of chocolate chip cookies at your desk while you sit at a computer all day is one of the worst things in the world when you have a hard time maintaining a reasonable weight. It is for me anyway.

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When I eat one cookie, or brownie or cupcake an evil demon arrives to convince me that there is no good reason not to have another. Its not that bad for you, it’s not that calorific, there’s no reason you can’t just have one more. Over and over again. I can remember a time, at work, when I ate 400 calorie brownies all day until they were gone. Another time at home I ate tiny slices of this delicious cinnamon swirl pumpkin cake all day until it was gone, each slice was intended to be the last. That must have been 1500 calories! The beast is addiction and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past six years of paying attention to diet and how my body reacts it’s that I am highly susceptible to sugar addiction.

In the past year and a half or so I’ve been stricter with myself and I hold to one in a day, occasionally I’ll have a second, but not every day. In the past two or three months, I’ve been abstaining completely except on special occasions. Last week I made cupcakes for dinner guests and I had one, was unhappy with how it made me feel and didn’t have another even though they sat in my kitchen for a week. My poor husband had to eat them all himself.

I’ve done it many times so here’s how I tame the beast and cut out sugar.

  1. Don’t worry about calories right now just cut the big culprits like cakes, chocolate bars and sweets.
  2. Eat as much fruit as you need at first to satisfy those cravings. Its doesn’t but it helps.
  3. Do eat lean protein and veg heavy meals
  4. Stay away from energy bars, cereal bars and other candy masquerading as health food.
  5. Drink lots of water.
  6. Get lots of sleep.

I find it takes me about three to five days but everyone is different. I’ve heard for some people it can take significantly longer than that, others just a day or two. And of course some people never get addicted to sugar at all. I don’t know, takes all kinds I guess.

Are you a sugar addict too? Have you been through the detox process or do you want to? Let me know about it.

 

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 I came to accept my body for what it is

A bit of “Love Yourself” motivation today. I set out to find these inspiring quotes because I know a lot of people who feel almost desperate to look more like the media messages tell us to. I remember this feeling, sometimes it creeps in a bit even now, but I do make an effort to look for the inspiring messages, which tell you that you are good enough, instead of the disparaging ones, which tell you that you are not, but you could be if only you lost a bit of weight or straightened your hair or used this foundation or that mascara.

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Getting pregnant with my first daughter in 2010 was the best thing that happened to me body image-wise. You see in 2006, still with my first husband, my marriage was falling apart, we had just sold a business that wasn’t working and were losing our house. I became quite anxious and just couldn’t eat most of the time. There were points I didn’t eat anything at all until 8:00 at night and then ate a bit of pasta and went to bed. Unsurprisingly I dropped about 30 pounds in a few months. It was not healthy, however I was now the “hottest” I’d ever looked in my life, I was model thin – you could see the ribs in my chest and everything. Well I obviously loved it and vowed to stay that way, which ushered in my disordered eating phase, where I would try to eat only 1000 calories a day. It didn’t always work and I didn’t know what I was doing so I was probably eating closer to 1500 a day but still, I did a lot of starving myself.

That was until I started to date my current husband; we went out to dinner a lot, I was happy a lot and I didn’t do as much walking. Obviously I gained some weight back. Then I moved here and stayed happy and added baking to my list of favorite hobbies. That did nothing good for my waistline at all let me tell you. I’m not one of those bakers who can eat one and give the rest away, I’m a bit lot greedier than that. All this time though I was trying to lose weight again. I would try crash diets (750 calories a day only protein for five weeks!) and more reasoned diets (lost 4 pounds in 6 weeks, WTF!), I ran and I lifted weights. I never got anywhere. I mean I would lose 10 or 15 pounds and then just as quickly it would come right back again. I remember feeling like I was actually going nuts because while I was trying to eat sensibly I had 4 or 5 insanely fattening and intricately delicious dinner ideas going on in my head. I was about to eat chicken breast and cottage cheese but I was imagining in great detail sausage lasagna and lobster pies! I’d created a feeling in my head and my body of complete deprivation even though I was unable to actually lose any weight (and keep it off). I remember lying there sobbing to my husband that it was just impossible for me to do and I would never be attractive again.

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Then, I got pregnant and had to just eat and not worry about how my body looked, because that was not important anymore. Eating wasn’t about me anymore, it was about my baby. Not only that, I was so sick I didn’t care and had to eat in order to feel a little less sick. It was lovely to eat again guilt free. I tried not to go overboard but also tried not to worry about it. It may have sometimes looked like me going overboard but I did the best I could.

Then I had my daughter and a lot of time and effort went into getting used to this new life we had. It took some time to even get to the point where I could notice but I recognised some time after I’d had my daughter that I didn’t feel deprived anymore. The insatiable, ravenous feeling was just gone. Even when I ate less, actually dieted to lose some baby weight, I didn’t feel it. To this day I get extremely creative when I’m on a diet, I texted my husband the other day to tell him I wanted mac & cheese burgers someday, but it’s not the same as the absolute hysteria I felt back then.

I just needed to eat.

No, I wasn’t managing weight loss but I was managing to make my body feel as though it was in a time of real stress and deprivation and like at any point the food would disappear and I’d just starve to death. I’m sure that’s how it would work in the jungle and my body doesn’t know it doesn’t live there.

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These days I don’t feel so desperate. I’d like to lose those 20 pounds but equally, it’s not worth my mental health or any extra stress on the family. If I can’t manage it right now, maybe later. If not later, that’s ok; I’m busy with some other things anyway. Health is important, but we are already healthy. I want to teach my kids to value intelligence and compassion more than beauty and vanity, so I try hard not to let them hear us talk much about calories and weight loss.

I would like for you to know that if you’ve been trying to lose weight for a long time and you’re feeling desperate and hopeless, maybe the most important thing that you could do for your long term happiness is to take a break from it all. Find the book Overcome Overeating and read it and then take a break. Skinniness is not worth your happiness, your sanity or even very much of your time.

But hey, some more high profile people have something to say as well:

‘I have a crumble baby belly, boobs are worse for wear after two kids…I’m doing all right. I’m 33. I don’t look in the mirror and go, “Oh, I look fantastic!” Of course I don’t. Nobody is perfect. I just don’t believe in perfection. But I do believe in saying, “This is who I am and look at me not being perfect!”. I’m proud of that.’ Kate Winslet katewinslet2

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“How much time have I wasted on diets and what I look like? Take your time and your talent and figure out what you have to contribute to this world. And get over what the hell your butt looks like in those jeans!” America Ferreira americaferr

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‘I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I don’t want little girls to be like, “Oh, I want to look like Katniss” (her character in The Hunger Games), so I’m going to skip dinner. That’s something I was really conscious of during training, when you’re trying to get your body to look exactly right. I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong, not thin and underfed.’ Jennifer Lawrence jenlaw

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‘As a child, I never heard one woman say to me, “I love my body”. Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. No one woman has ever said, “I am so proud of my body.” So I make sure to say it to Mia [her daughter], because a positive physical outlook has to start at an early age.’ Kate Winslet katewinslet

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“I am allowed to look sexy, feel sexy, and be in love. I am worthy of all of those things, and so are you. Own your good and bad, and all the scary parts that you’ve been covering up because it is yours and no amount of judgement can tell you how to love your body.  You are magic.” Mary Lambert mary-lambert-630-80

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You are magic, and don’t ever let anyone make you feel less than that. Least of all media and marketing people.

xox

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?

Why weight loss is not just about calories

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Some people think that carbs and sugars make you fat while other people (scientists) think that too many calories are what make you gain too much fat. That’s probably not very nice, there are plenty of people trying to explain to us (pseudo)scientifically why it’s not about calories, it’s about carbs. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that, because this is not a science blog, it’s not true and you probably don’t want to read complicated theories about weight loss. I am, however, going to try to explain a few things, including what pisses me off about the media (shock) and the one proven way to trick your body into losing weight (you’re not going to like it, and yes I know I sound exactly like that same media now).

You may have seen the post I shared on Facebook where a thin attractive woman was shown along with something to the affect of, “If you want to get fit, have a look at what these fitness models do to keep fit.” That’s not exactly what it said, and you can go have a look but substantively that’s what it said. It got my hackles up and I’ll tell you why; as I said on the post, getting fit is not the same thing as staying fit. It’s ridiculous to say that someone who is a stone or two overweight and sedentary could just start the diet and exercise regime of any fitness professional, model or anyone who has spent the last five, ten or more years getting fitter and fitter who probably also never had to lose much weight because they’ve always been thin. You either won’t be able to keep up or it won’t have the effect you want (a body like this person). You aren’t going to start doing pilates and look like Miley Cyrus in 3 months.

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In fact even though the advice is always “eat less, exercise more” if you do precisely that to the extremes the “professionals” and the media suggest you will probably be left, “sprawled out on a couch with injuries, screwed hormones, and hunger to rival that of Ethiopians on South Park,” says Leigh Peele, my favoritest diet guru ever. If you want to know more read her stuff, she’s no nonsense, doesn’t sell packs of lies, doesn’t judge, and tells it like it is. All that hormones and hunger stuff is why it’s so hard. Set weight theory is why the diet industry is a multi-billion pound industry. When you maintain a particular weight for a while your body considers that its proper weight, whether that’s ten stone or twenty. If you start eating less or moving more or any combination that results in a calorie deficit your body fights it by making you hungry, sluggish, and grumpy and sneakily tries to trick you into getting more calories. That’s why low carb works for a while and then you start finding more fun things to eat and the deficit goes down the drain.

That whole starvation mode thing? Its true and not. Metabolism always slows down when you’re in a deficit, after two or three days. This is why the 5/2 diet is good, your metabolism doesn’t get a chance to slow down. I’ve still found it quite difficult once in a significant caloric deficit though. Lots of fitness professionals, including Leigh, recommend diet breaks and refeeds, where you eat your current maintenance calories for up to two weeks after dieting for a while. It helps to reset both your metabolism and your willpower. I can attest that knowing a diet break is coming up soon helps with willpower to keep going. Last year, I did rounds of two and a half weeks on the diet and four days break for about five months and that helped me get the baby weight off. But as I’ve been explaining even though it wasn’t easy it was much easier than going below the weight I was pre-pregnancy. I haven’t managed that yet.

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That’s going to take a considerable effort and to be quite honest I’m not sure that I “want it” badly enough. It has to be high up on the priority list to succeed and with my work and home life as demanding as it is right now and the fact that I’m on the “accept your body the way it is” bandwagon, weight loss is a bit lower down that list than the success threshold.

Oh yeah, that one proven method to trick your body to lose weight? Gastric bypass. But it comes with it’s own risks and you have to be like 100 pounds overweight to qualify. Bummer!