Saturday, March 5, 2011

Barriers To Losing Weight: Excuse 1

In the 'Barriers To Losing Weight' series, I will outline some of the biggest obstacles (some self-imposed and some not) that previously prevented me from getting in shape. I will also describe how I overcame these obstacles, in the hope I aid someone else in doing the same.

1) I'm going to turn my life around...TOMORROW.

For me, this was the biggest hurdle. For about ten years, I seem to have been hovering on the cusp of getting in shape. I've wanted to get fit and lose weight since I was about 16 years old, and all I've really done is put ON weight. I am the ultimate put-offer. In all aspects of my life.

The reason this had such an impact on my weight was, as I was starting my new regime 'tomorrow', it meant that 'tonight' was my last night to 'enjoy myself'. If I was giving up ice-cream, chocolate, crisps, cakes, biscuits, energy drinks etc tomorrow, then tonight was my last chance to have them! So I'd better get to the shops right now, and buy one or two of everything, and have one last binge!


When I was living at home, I would need to keep my own roll of binbags in my room, as I produced such a volume of wrappers, boxes and tubs. I KNEW it was ridiculous, and even became embarrassed going into the small village shop to buy such a bulk of junk food EVERY DAY. Every night I would intend to start afresh with a healthy diet plan, and every day there would be some slip, some reason to have ANOTHER binge. I would 'accidentally' have a chocolate bar during the day. I would find a bag of crisps I'd forgotten to eat the previous night. I would go out with friends to the cinema, and HAVE to buy some chocolates. I would be really tired, and NEED a Red Bull. I'd do really well all day, and DESERVE a treat. I'd do really well all day, but it was a Thursday - surely a new program was best started on a Monday morning?

Any of this sound familiar?

But how did I overcome it? I wish there was a magic, fix-all answer. What worked for ME was the following.

- Call a general strike. Don't worry about the date, or the time, or how your day has gone so far. Just look at your watch and say, from right this minute, you will stop eating and drinking all the crap you do. If you're here, reading this blog, you're already so close to starting the change. All you're waiting for is an 'opportune moment', to quote Jack Sparrow (Captain). But that wait - for a birthday, or New Year, or start of the month - will never end, so just do it. Right now. It may not seem like an especially significant or memorable date or time to start, but believe me, if you make the change now, it soon will be!

- Find what you enjoy, and is allowed.
Yes, I love junk food, but I also love my mother's cooking. She doesn't use additives, or preservatives, but honest, natural ingredients. So why not just eat them? It's easy for me to say perhaps, as my biggest Achilles heel (and the thing I've had to give up in this initial stage) is carbs, but I love meat too. So although I'm not allowed to indulge my love of bread, pasta and roast potatoes at the moment, I am allowed to indulge my love of bacon, chicken breasts, poached eggs and burgers. So I'm holding on to that - and by giving in to the acceptable cravings, it makes the other pangs more bearable.

- Set mini-targets.* This one appears everywhere, but it works. When I started I was 21.2 stone, so I said that when I reached 20 stone, I was allowed one day of eating whatever I wanted. I could have a stack of bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast, then head into town, work my way through Burger King, McDonald's and KFC, before renting a DVD and sitting on my bed surrounded by ice-creams, chocolates, crisps etc. Sounds pretty decadent? Well it should. Every time you feel like letting go, just add what you fancy to the menu on that special day. It allows you to fantasize about what you want (rather than punishing yourself for having greedy thoughts), and uses your cravings for your own benefit - you want that Ben & Jerry's? Then lose that weight! (It's also worth mentioning that, over time, your cravings for these things become less. I'm only a few pounds away from my 20 stone mini-target today, and you know what? I DON'T WANT to give in to my cravings, I'd rather drop the pounds - I've become addicted to losing weight instead!)

- Release the pressure. I'm wary of including this one here, but as I've done it, I can't tell you not to. Sometimes, if you crave a chocolate bar, its better to just have one, rather than resist and resist until that craving has grown (into one for three chocolate bars and a cream cake), and THEN give in. The PR folks all say that these bad foods are allowed 'in moderation' or 'as part of a healthy balanced diet' or whatever. And you've seen slim people eating chips and drinking Coke before, haven't you? The difference is that we couldn't control how much of these things we consumed before. Now, you've been on your diet for a few days, you haven't had anything bad - treat yourself. And DO treat yourself - don't feel too guilty about it. Enjoy it. We used to eat this terrible stuff because we felt bad about ourselves, then we felt worse when we did, and the vicious cycle just went on and on. Now, you've been healthy for a few days (feel good about it) and are giving yourself a treat now (enjoy it). See? Best of both worlds! (For myself, I am tracking my weight every day in a spreadsheet, and comparing it with my target weight loss for that day - I'll explain more in another post. But basically, I only give in to these little desires if I'm more than 5 lbs ahead of schedule.) 

So there you are! I'm sure there are other methods out there, but this is what works for me. I hope at least some of the above can help you too!

*I have since amended this piece of advice, so please here click to read why!


  1. Great blog!!

    :] I especially enjoyed this post for I've been in a rut lately.

    The advice really does help and I await more to follow.

    Keep going!!

  2. I love this post and it's so true!!!! "I'll start tomorrow" is the story of my life and I am sick of it. I have officially wasted my teens and my twenties being fat - when I hit 30 that will be the case no more! ;)