So… today (Sun 22nd May 2016) brings me to the end of my first week on Dr Michael Mosley’s ‘8-week blood sugar diet’ – and I’m pleased to report this past week I’ve lost 3.0kgs (6.6lbs).

This is good news!  Being overweight carries many risks.  One is increased breathlessness as the excess weight puts a strain on your heart and lungs.  Today’s Sunday Mirror has highlighted this issue (Sadly I wasn’t at Sale Rugby Club to train with some hunky, fit rugby players, I was there to take my final exams for L4 Postural Stability Instructor – and I was in the middle of the practical exam when the photographer turned up for my photo-shoot…so thanks to all on the course for their patience!).

My reason for going on the diet is selfish: I want to be fitter, healthier, and lighter (with an improved body composition: muscle mass vs fat mass) than I currently am.  I want to be an even better Exercise Specialist / Personal Trainer and want to continue to encourage people to look at their eating, activity and lifestyle choices.  I am aware I need to set a good example – as best I can – which helps people to see that making small changes which you can stick to, does reap long-lasting benefits, whether you’re healthy or suffer from a long-term medical condition.

Everyone looks for a ‘quick fix’ when it comes to weight loss… it doesn’t exist!  At least it doesn’t exist if you want the weight loss to bring about health-enhancing benefits that will improve the rest of your life.  Obesity is a complex issue: it has multi-faceted causes and needs to be tackled on many levels if we’re to find a lasting solution.

How did I find my first week on the 8wk BSD you ask?  Well, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be!

 

1) Plan, plan and plan!

Life gets busy – we can all come up with reasons to justify why we are not as fit, healthy and relaxed as we should be.  BUT IT CAN BE DONE with some strategic planning.

BSD 4wk menu

I started my planning for this diet a few weeks ago.  I bought Dr Michael’s book, read it, and made a list of the pro’s and con’s for me doing this diet: it came out as 7:2 in favour.

So I then wrote out the 4-week menu given in the book, wrote a specific weekly shopping list, and put the word out on social media what my plans were.  I struggle to stick to anything for longer than a day, so publicising my intentions and getting support from those around me really helps.

I then wrote out a calendar for the eight weeks I’d be on the diet.  I logged work commitments, planned in ‘me time’, highlighted times of particular stress, and also worked out times / places in my schedule where I could build in extra activity.

This past week involved days when I would be on the road at 6am; not able to stop for a ‘proper’ lunch break; and stressed trying to finish course paperwork in time (deadlines REALLY motivate me to get my procrastinating butt into gear!!).  A friend once shared this poem with me to help with my procrastination:

Portrait of the Artist as a Prematurely Old Man

It is common knowledge to every schoolboy and even every Bachelor of Arts,
That all sin is divided into two parts.
One kind of sin is called a sin of commission, and that is very important,
And it is what you are doing when you are doing something you ortant,
And the other kind of sin is just the opposite and is called a sin of omission
    and is equally bad in the eyes of all right-thinking people, from
    Billy Sunday to Buddha,
And it consists of not having done something you shuddha.
I might as well give you my opinion of these two kinds of sin as long as,
    in a way, against each other we are pitting them,
And that is, don’t bother your head about the sins of commission because
    however sinful, they must at least be fun or else you wouldn’t be
    committing them.
It is the sin of omission, the second kind of sin,
That lays eggs under your skin.
The way you really get painfully bitten
Is by the insurance you haven’t taken out and the checks you haven’t added up
    the stubs of and the appointments you haven’t kept and the bills you
    haven’t paid and the letters you haven’t written.
Also, about sins of omission there is one particularly painful lack of beauty,
Namely, it isn’t as though it had been a riotous red-letter day or night every
    time you neglected to do your duty;
You didn’t get a wicked forbidden thrill
Every time you let a policy lapse or forget to pay a bill;
You didn’t slap the lads in the tavern on the back and loudly cry Whee,
Let’s all fail to write just one more letter before we go home, and this round
    of unwritten letters is on me.
No, you never get any fun
Out of things you haven’t done,
But they are the things that I do not like to be amid,
Because the suitable things you didn’t do give you a lot more trouble than the
    unsuitable things you did.
The moral is that it is probably better not to sin at all, but if some kind of
    sin you must be pursuing,
Well, remember to do it by doing rather than by not doing. 

Ogden Nash

no carb ploughmans lunch Avocado egg bfast

So I cooked and packed up food in advance depending on where I was – this helps by not getting caught out and having (!) to head straight to those ‘Golden Arches’.

Losing weight needs to be looked at holistically: see the ‘Big Picture’ and don’t just focus on what you are (or aren’t!) going to be eaten.  You need to consider physical, emotional and spiritual issues.  What’s going on in your head?  What has been driving you to act and react the way you have been?  What can you do on all three levels to make positive changes?

 

2) Motivation

Making any lifestyle change is hard.  So you need to be focused as to the reasons you’re doing what you’re doing.

So, I have my pro’s and con’s list with me in my handbag.  That way, when I have a ‘wobble moment’, I can read through my list and refocus. I can verbalise the benefits – the spoken word, as opposed to mere thought, is a powerful tool.

I also have photos of people who support and encourage me.  When I’m struggling, I find it a BIG help to be able to remind myself that these people truly want my best.  I am not alone in my struggle.  My initial weight loss of 10st three years ago was greatly helped with the support from Overeaters Anonymous.  Having someone on the end of a phone / text message / email to talk through stuff, who had been in the same place as me and knew exactly what I was going through, helps (especially when you DO make the effort and reach out to them, and not isolate).

 

3) Journal

I find writing down what is whirring round in my head is a great way of getting things into perspective.  Once it’s all down on paper (I’m an old-fashioned kinda girl at heart!) I find it easier to see solutions to my own issues.

CT winning medal

A few months ago my good friend Malcolm awarded me a ‘diamond-encrusted platinum medal’ for Catastrophic Thinking.  Now, every day I try and do a little worse at earning that medal!

When you start to put things into a correct perspective, they lose their power to overwhelm.  You can start to split things into what you CAN change and what you CAN’T.  The things you can’t change, you just have to learn to let go of.  Focus your limited energy on things you can change.  Make a list of the ways you can alter things – be as practical as possible.  Even if the initial idea seems silly, write it down – it may spark an even better solution.

 

4) Distraction

USE distractions list

It’s hard trying to change your lifestyle for the better.  When you’re tempted to go ‘off piste’ and back to your old habits and way of doing things, distract yourself.  I have a list of things I enjoy:

 

When I’m feeling hungry (due to real hunger or sensing the need to make myself feel better by eating) I pick something off the list and do it.  Try it.  It makes a difference.

 

 

5) Pray

As a practicing Christian, I have a personal relationship with Jesus.  He is my strength when I’m struggling with stuff.  He brings wisdom and support way beyond anything I can dream up.  He gives me purpose to life.  I believe He has plans for my life and wants to help me to live up to my full potential.

 

What are my thoughts at the start of Week 2?

I’m wondering if I’ll get hungry this week.  Last week I only really felt hungry a couple of times (Tues afternoon and Wed afternoon), which came as a nice surprise to me.

Will I be able to stick to the diet for another week? The novelty value is wearing off already!

How will I feel if I don’t lose as much weight this week?

What will happen as I continue to increase my activity?  Will this add to the hunger?

 

I remind myself to take one day at a time.  To plan, prepare, and NOT to get overwhelmed by what I can’t control / may never happen.  Stay in the moment.  I can only do my best.

 

I’m enjoying being told what to eat.  It’s just one less thing to worry about.  The meal plans in Michael’s book are for four weeks, you just repeat them for weeks 5-8.  I don’t need to think about calories and complete nutrition etc. All recipes are provided (no, I’m NOT on commission!) and give you roughly 800 calories per day.  I also enjoy trying new food.  I have rarely eaten pomegranate seeds or avocado in the past, but like both.  Trying new foods / recipes livens up the taste buds.  It brings a sense of change, something to look forward to.

USE Desk shot egg muffins

So for the sake of creativity, I’ll leave you with my recipe for Egg Muffins – one my favourite healthy ‘go to’ snacks – tasty, nutritious, and can be eaten on the go when needed.

You can mix up the fillings to suit what’s in your fridge / store cupboard.

Makes 10 muffins

6 eggs / 80g mushrooms / handful of spinach, torn / 30g black olives / 1 garlic clove / 200g grated cauliflower / 45g grated strong cheese

Finely chop the mushrooms and black olives. Beat the eggs together in a bowl, and then add all the other ingredients.

Pour the mixture into the muffin tin (I use the silicon ones from Lakeland – no greasing required, and they pop out beautifully every time) and bake for 30 mins at 180c.  Leave to cool – if you can!!!  The muffins can be stored in the fridge for 3 days