Note: This is just a post to show a personal change for me. I understand that everyone is different and that everyone’s diet is different and that some things that worked for me won’t be suitable for other people. I’m not a dietician or doctor and this is not meant to be an advice article, so please don’t take it as such.
I chose to change my diet and lose weight for me, but my target weight and size are no reflection on what other people should do. Everyone is different and it doesn’t matter what size you are happy at, as long as you are happy.
Anyway, enough of the disclaimer and onto the post!
I’ve never been a “diety” sort of person. Since my early teens, I’ve championed food-eating of any kind, devouring takeaways, crisps and chocolates with my friends. I was the sort of person who ate family-sized chocolate bars for breakfast, jokingly ordered three starters and loved a good all-you-can-eat buffet. I was the sort of person who read diet articles and questioned why on earth someone wouldn’t just eat the damn cake instead of struggling against it. I was the sort of person who couldn’t understand why the girls at work couldn’t have the cake and the chocolate bar. I was not the sort of person who calorie counted and bought avocados.
Until this year.
In January 2015, I unsuccessfully attempted to get dressed for work. I grabbed one of my favourite pairs of jeans, pulled them up to my waist, then attempted to fasten the button. I heaved and heaved and heaved, gave my wardrobe a confuzzled eyebrow raise, then realised they weren’t going to fasten. So, confused, I took them off, folded them back up, and put them back in the wardrobe, ready to question Andy’s washing skills later.
To put it dramatically, I was devastated. Those jeans were my favourite grungy, grey “look at how awesome I am” legwear and they were unwilling to put up with the size of my arse. How was I supposed to go to work without them?
Luckily, I had some bigger jeans that still fit me, but I was still incredibly sad. I tried on a few shirts and dresses that also didn’t fit and just felt awful. Why was my body betraying me? Why couldn’t I wear my favourite dress anymore?
When I was in university, my body lulled me into a false sense of security. I’d eat a diet that consisted of mainly chocolate and pizza and I’d lose weight. It was amazing, at the time, and I made the most of it by pigging out on Domino’s pizzas and family size chocolate bars. Unfortunately, that was all a trick. A bluff to make me believe that I was a superhero with epic metabolism-based powers. And, as soon as I turned 23, that came to a fast and cruel end, causing me to pile on all the pizza-weight that I’d been saving up for four years.
So, about 20 months ago, after struggling to fit into the majority of my clothes, I decided it was time to think about changing my diet. I’ll be honest, I’d never been a particularly “good” eater. I barely ate any fruit or vegetables, snacked on whatever I wanted, and my idea of “cooking” was banging a frozen pizza in the oven without burning myself. So, even without the weight gain, I knew I needed to make a few changes if I wanted my body to work at its best.
I began with trying to eat more vegetables. I learned to make stir-fries, bought a steam cooker and had a flick through recipes on the Internet. I still ate all the chocolate and snacks I wanted, and the majority of my meals were still the same, but it was a start.
Then, around April last year, my friend gave me her old Slimming World book and introduced me to the world of dieting. I’ve always been against diets, as I’ve always associated them with being hungry. And I hate being hungry. But Slimming World was a diet where you could still eat large portions, so I thought I’d give it a go.
Initially, it didn’t go well. I stuck to it for a couple of days, then went back to my evil chocolate-eating ways. But, even though I was terrible at following the rules properly, I did start learning new recipes, and, after another six months, most of my main meals were veg-filled and cooked from scratch. No more processed foods and ready meals!
After months of half-dieting, in January I decided to challenge myself to do it properly. And for a couple of months I did, and I lost over a stone.
But, it wasn’t the weight that was the most amazing thing. It was the changes I’d started making, changes that meant I was feeling more energised, and wasn’t getting the dreaded after-dinner stomach pains. Changes that made me happier and more confident in the kitchen, so I didn’t have to rely on frozen ready meals.
So, how has Slimming World changed things? What has it taught me? Here’s a little list:
1. I make more meals from scratch
Did you know that you can make a really nice pasta sauce using a tin of chopped tomatoes?! I was absolutely amazed!
2. I eat less chocolate
Chocolate is not a breakfast. Chocolate is not a breakfast. Chocolate is not a breakfast.
3. I eat more vegetables
Through this I’ve learned that leeks taste a bit onioney, peppers make any meal amazing, and fresh broccoli is sometimes full of flies.
4. I’m better at portion control
Which means I don’t end up throwing platefuls of food in the bin anymore.
5. I know how to make rice now
Basically, just don’t throw half the bag in and hope for the best. Measure your rice!
6. I don’t need to buy a snack on the way to and from work anymore
This saves time, money and prevents the petrol station from selling out of Cadbury Starbars.
7. I know which foods make me feel good, and which foods don’t
I might not always eat the right ones, but at least I know.
8. I’m better at meal-planning
I can make a tray of mushrooms last all week now, which makes the weekly shop much cheaper!
9. I’ve learned that healthy meals can actually be nice
No more plain vegetables for me!
10. I know you can have the cake and the chocolate bar
You know, for a treat!
Even though all of this may sound amazing, I’m still not a perfect, clean-eating machine. I still have takeaways, still snack on chocolate occasionally and still have the occasional ready meal. I almost always skip breakfast, don’t vary my diet enough and probably don’t get enough iron. But even so, I am so proud of how far I’ve come. I’m finally eating something other than frozen pizzas and chicken dippers! GO ME!