Here we are at the end of my strategies for keeping Christmas healthy, although my Christmas blogging is probably not at an end and I’ve been running down my favourite Christmas songs on my dedicated music blog and I’m no way finished with that yet so take a look if you fancy by clicking HERE.
I’ve lost over 110lbs now since April 2014, I’m due a weigh in but I’m confident I have not gained weight since my 111lb weigh in last month. I don’t want to gain weight over Christmas but if I do then I’m like the vast majority of the population but I will be using every strategy I’ve learned so far this year and those I’ve carried over from a life time of yo yo dieting and Christmas times where I managed a weight loss to try to prevent it from happening.
If I don’t manage that then I dust myself off and get back on track. I’ve learned that beating yourself up about a stumble does no good at all, it leads to climbing back on the train to sadsville and I don’t want to go back there. It’s better to admit to yourself that you were just doing what normal people do and forgiving yourself, getting over it fast and moving on with renewed vigor to make up for lost time.
I’ve also learned that making yourself miserable during a festive or celebratory period does nothing to help you in the long run, it doesn’t help your mental health and it doesn’t help your physical if you allow yourself to feel deprived of good things, or joining in the fun then you will be more likely to binge when no one is looking and that is a really unhealthy habit that we’re trying to crack forever.
Christmas is a killer for me and I’ve written many blog posts to help myself more than anything to cope. It is just synonymous with food, over indulgence and excess and those habits and rituals and traditions are ingrained on my soul and I can’t beat them all that easily at once but I can give it a shot and being prepared, admitting that this is a terror zone for me is part way to getting through it.
I’m embarrassed that this is so hard for me, it shows me how far I have yet to go in terms of beating my mental demons but I’m not going to let that embarrassment overwhelm me, I’m going to admit it, face it and get on with being healthy AND enjoying myself.
So all that are left are W, X, Y and Z. I’ve managed somehow to fit the whole alphabet in in a few days and I’m proud of myself for doing that, for obsessing about food and health and Christmas in a positive way. I’m glad I’ve spent time writing, preparing myself for this time rather than baking or shopping for useless things.
Anyway, to the end we go…
W is for Wholegrain
As I’ve said so many times already, keeping some of your routine and some of your good habits going over Christmas is better than none so I’m going to be trying to at least stick to my regular meal times when at home, it might be more difficult when we’re out and about.
The most important meal of the day I’ve found is breakfast,it really is and I don’t think it’s a surprise that many of the obese people I speak to have a common trait in that they do not eat breakfast, or they do not feast on breakfast or eat the right things for breakfast. I consume a huge amount of food at breakfast, well it’s huge these days, it’s when I take in most of what I call my medicating food, things which might not taste great but are going to do me real good, like my wheat grass shot and my turmeric kefir and garlic cloves.
When I said back there that people often eat the wrong thing for breakfast one of the big sins if you like is not taking that opportunity to start a day off with whole grain. Breakfast is a great opportunity to stick to something that is now part of your routine, include some whole grain quite easily and also if you promise yourself you will make sure you eat a wholesome healthy breakfast each day over Christmas it will help you to resist temptations of other foods and resist snacking which for me is a killer at this time of year when food is everywhere all of the time.
This article from Whole Grains Council Website is full of information about the value of wholegrains and also links to several studies into the effects of whole grains on your health.
I’ve recently started to add Kamut and Spelt to my granola, read up about these wholegrains they are packed with good stuff. Here’s a great recipe for Dried Apricot and Kamut granola and you can make a whole batch of it for the family to last you a week saving time at this busy festive period.
But it’s not just about breakfast you can use wholegrains like Quinoa (mentioned before that it’s not actually a grain but acts like one, so see Q for more info) and Bulgar wheat to make stuffings for roasts and you can bake breads using wholegrains. There are tons of recipes on line.
At this time of year I find that dark grains, dark breads, denser starches do go well with seasonal foods and if you make a nice rich fruit loaf you can add in lots of these wholegrains for texture and crunch as well as using wholegrain flours.
Really what I’m saying is if you’re going to do it do it right and get that balance in by not neglecting whole grains, they really are a solid foundation on the path to good health.
X is for X-Ray
Well this one got me but then I thought, no, you know what x-ray, scan … much the same thing kind of 😛
If you’re never had a fat scan why not treat yourself to one after Christmas. Start off the new year with a gift to yourself, a visual of where your body fat is and how much of it there is to lose. It can be a very powerful tool in helping to shed weight and get healthy. I know people who have had one and find it fascinating and motivating to see that fat in their bodies rather than just on their bodies.
Maybe some can get one on the NHS, some can get one through health insurance or through attendance at an obesity clinic or you might have to pay but I would say it might be the best Christmas present you give yourself. I have one booked for mid January and the reason is that I have lost all of this weight and still have a way to go and I want a little new year boost if you like to keep me focused on the job in hand.
I believe that seeing where my fat still lies will really motivate me to shift it. Being an apple shape and carrying my weight more like a man does around his mid section I know my fat is more dangerous than a pear shaped traditional fat carrying pattern of a woman. I know that I’ve shifted inches from that region but I also know that region is still obese and still a danger zone for me at 47 years old. So I’m having this scan and then I’m also having a full body scan and medical.
I did this, not as in depth as I’m going to be doing in January, a few months ago and I think it’s time to repeat it and dig a bit deeper. I was pleased at my last one that there was nothing untoward detected other than my fat. I was particularly pleased because I had worked myself into the belief that I had some nasty disease that was killing me, the papers told me I should have and I believed them and I was lucky not to have. I was too afraid to go for the full works then but now I’m ready to face the deeper probing and ensure that there is nothing lurking that shouldn’t be there and I believe that this last fear about my health being put to rest and being able to visualise that fat left to shift will give me renewed enthusiasm and strength to get through the winter and get to my ultimate goal where I can then work on a life time of maintenance.
So this is my gift to me, even though I don’t think I really need a boost, I figure I will after the come down from Christmas, I don’t cope well with winter months so I am expecting a trough in my mood and it may not come but I’m not leaving that to chance, I’m going to do something practical to off set it.
So it might not be the most romantic or exciting or indulgent of gifts to yourself but booking in for a medical check and a fat scan (x ray haha) will be one of my most important gifts to me.
Y is for Yesterday
Yesterday is gone, forget it and move on. If you can’t control yourself and over eat or if you can’t be bothered to leave the comfy sofa and go to the gym do not beat yourself up, forget it, it’s yesterday’s news, it’s history, today is where we are and today is what we shall deal with.
In short just don’t let yesterday come into today with you, shake it off and start afresh.
Z is for Zebra
I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel now but this one is important. I have often described my wardrobe as a hiding place for a zebra, it was so black and white and I find that my larger friends are almost all building zebra hiding places too, with a couple of exceptions who take it to another extreme… how I admire them.
I have been injecting more colour into my wardrobe steadily throughout the past 8 months with a real burst early on and continued pieces being added but I’ve found that lately I’ve reverted (probably due to the winter) to buying blacks and greys again.
So if this sounds familiar, pep up your wardrobe and your mood with a big bold splash of colour. You might already have your Christmas outfits picked out by now but it’s not too late (if they are bland) to pop out and purchase some big bold bright scarves or tights or jewellery pieces to let your healthy bright new way of living and thinking shine through and manifest itself in the way you show yourself to the world.
I am not joking when I say that when I do wear bright colours I feel so much happier and also when I go to business meetings wearing a nice bright business dress under contrasting jacket or even when I team up a black business suit with a big red or vibrant jade green scarf I just feel better, more professional, more finished and more as if I’m representing who I am. I’m a very colourful character and black and white doesn’t tell the world anything about me, they are my hiding colours and I know it.
So treat yourself to some bright wardrobe additions, be bold and get rid of the zebra in the closet. If anyone is struggling to buy you a gift bright bold scarves can never feature too heavily in a lady’s wardrobe. Don’t forget the footwear either. My daughter had a pair of bright red knee high suede stilleto boots and I coveted those boots, I nearly cried because I wanted to wear them and as luck would have it my feet have shrunk a size and she thinks they are boots befitting a hooker so won’t wear them and I have inherited them and I’m like a kid with a new toy. I dare wear them now and I don’t care what anyone thinks. When I wear them I feel amazing and I often team them with a black pencil skirt and top and a vivid red suit jacket and I feel a million dollars strutting to a meeting.
For New year’s eve my daughter who is stunningly gorgeous and has a striking to die for hour glass figure and since she’s been undertaking all manner of outdoor pursuits has developed a flat as a pancake toned abdomen allowed me to buy her a gold dress for her new year’s eve work party and I cried when I saw her in it, not because she looked amazing (that girl is having a wedding dress to end all wedding dresses one day I hope) but because I wanted to have a golden dress. I’ve never had one, not one like that all low cut and strappy and beaded and shimmery and fitted. I don’t think I’ll ever look like her in one and I wouldn’t want one the same but I can’t wait for next year when I can have a golden tight fitted strappy floor length gown for Christmas, even if I have to go on a cruise to wear it or gatecrash someone’s swanky London ‘do’, I’m having one.
See the you of the future this Christmas. As you enjoy yourselves with friends, family, pets, alone, as you face temptations of food and drink and try to muster strength and will to go to the gym or for a walk or a run, picture you next Christmas. I don’t mean like we yo yoing fat people do every year, telling ourselves next year we’ll be slim and beautiful, but really see yourself, next Christmas, thinner, fitter, healthier, with more life ahead of you to live than you imagined you had, with more adventures to come, feeling sexy, feeling beautiful, feeling like a normal, valid person, putting yourself out there on the dance floor, not being self conscious as you fill your plate at the buffet, feeling it’s OK to stick a sausage roll or two on there because you’re not fat anymore, no one notices or cares what you eat, you are just a regular person having a little bit of a treat at Christmas, in your tight fitting clothes, with your sexy santa lingerie on (guys read boxers) and see yourself enjoying your life, enjoying being you and enjoying being free of the fat and the demons which made you that way forever.
Make yourself a real promise this year and it will help you to resist temptation, it will help you to over come hiccups you have, it will help you to keep emotionally and mentally strong and focused and it will help you to achieve your dream of just being like everyone else… although you’ll never be that because inside you will know that you are a fighter, a survivor and a victor, you will know how far you came and you will know that you will never be just normal, you will always be a winner, you’ll always be amazing even more amazing than you are now for having come this far or for having even had the bravery to take this challenge on and to overcome whatever is making you use your fat body as a shield to hide behind.
I believe I can do it and I believe that anyone can do it if they just believe in themselves and find the right motivators for change.