I don’t believe in diets. The moment you start losing weight on one, you end up quitting. I think that’s why I don’t do diets; they are something that can be quit. They are not permanent. If a ‘weight-loss plan’ is to actually work then it has to be a total lifestyle change. To change, we tend to need those big moments, epiphanies or a large kick up the butt.
I am trying to loose weight because when I was pregnant, my eating habits changed. When I stopped being pregnant, stopped breastfeeding, I didn’t start exercising or change my habits back to pre-pregnancy.
I have a pretty healthy diet. I put it down to my veganism but you can get unhealthy vegans just as much as you can get unhealthy omnivores.
A few years ago, I was at the 30th birthday party for a friend of my husband. Some of my husband’s school friends were there, even a few I had yet to meet. When the buffet came out, I sent my husband on a food-check to see what I could eat. One of these friends who I had just met that night asked what my problem was:
“Oh, I’m vegan. He is just seeing what I can eat so I don’t eat anything by accident.”
“Carrying a bit weight for a vegan aren’t you?”
“Well, thanks for calling me fat.”
He didn’t actually mean it as a criticism, he later admitted, but that most vegans he had met were waif-like and didn’t seem to eat food. I love cake. A little too much.
The upshot of all this is that I have finally changed my habits from pregnancy and learned a lot in the process about the kind of foods I need to eat to keep up my energy levels. I had a great diet pre-pregnancy but it didn’t matter so much if I got tired at 4pm, I could get a coffee and biscuit and coast along in the office until the caffiene kicked in to get me through to the evening. Besides, sleep could be caught up at the weekend.
Now, however, I can’t be tired. I need to be active and alert all day, to match the energy levels of kids. I realised I drank too much tea and coffee and it was doing the opposite of what I wanted by absorbing too much of my iron.
I realised the other month that instead of the low-carb diet which takes about 2 weeks to notice, I needed a good old fashioned low fat, high carb diet to counter the fact I don’t eat animals. I needed more tofu, more sprouts and more beans.
I could no longer go for long runs, or any runs in fact as I was just too exhausted. ThenI heard about a school of thought which suggests a few minutes of pushing yourself to the limit, done 3 times a week can do more for your health than regular runs or other exercise. So, my pushing myself to the limit on wii fit hula hoop was working much better than a 5k jog outside. Short, sharp bursts of energy.
Finally, the moment I stopped worrying about my weight so much was the moment I seemed to kick start losing it. Being happy is more important than being thin and busting a gut to look a certain way was not working for me. I had a better diet when I stopped calorie counting and working out what foods I needed, what point system I was on and if I walked to town I could have a slice of bread.
So, given that I have started using my common sense, I have decided to give my loss of baby weight its own name, like a proper Plan. This is the Know Your Body, Don’t Worry and Smile Plan.
It has a three-pronged attack to losing the baby weight:
1. Eat well. A balanced diet that you are comfortable with where you don’t deny treats or essential nutrients. Any diet, vegan or none, has potential to be a bad diet, make small changes to make yours a good one and build up energy levels.
2. Exercise that fits around your life. Everyone can spare 3 minutes, 3 times a week to get out of breath. Fitness games, running, cycling or er… other stuff that gets your panting. All good for shaping up.
3. Don’t worry about it. It’ll go soon. Work out your bad habits, don’t feel bad about them, just change them. Do something for yourself that makes you happy at least once a week. Don’t calorie count, watch scales or stress about your body. Everyone has things they don’t like about their body, just do what you need to to feel comfortable in yours.
That’s it. Kind of my take on the Eat Less, Exercise More.