menopause diet blog

Time for a Change

Day 90: Your Target Weight – the beginning or the end?

My goal was to reach my target weight in 100 days. This meant losing a stone (14 lbs) and trying to control my menopausal symptoms (hot sweats and migraines) through diet.

I am now half a pound off my target and now that the summer is coming to an end and I have other priorities looming, this will be my last post on a regular basis. My menopausal hot sweats and migraines have vastly improved to a manageable level. So, all in all, a huge personal success for me… and my initial reaction was “Yay, its the end of my diet… now I can eat what I like… freedom at last!”

But the statistics on the number of people who put all their lost weight back on (and sometimes more) when their diet ends do not make happy reading. I quickly realised that reaching my target weight is far from the end, but is actually a new beginning, if I am to keep it that way.

I cannot go back to my old ways of eating and whilst I can indulge occasionally in a treat – a dessert, chocolate bar, some chips and dips, a few glasses of wine, a slice of chocolate cake or a plate of fries, these things will have to remain just that – treats! To maintain my weight, manage my menopausal symptoms and keep my energy levels and self esteem up, I will need to carry on eating in pretty much the same way that I have been doing for the last 90 days. Always!

I must admit that it does feel a little scary. I am a little worried that without the discipline of writing this blog that I will slip back into old habits. Time will tell.  I hope I have learnt enough for this not to happen.

So do I feel deprived? Am I destined to be ‘on a diet’ forever?

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Well no… it doesn’t feel that way. I would not want to go back to the bloating, migraines, hot sweats, too tight clothes, tired all the time  lifestyle that I had 90 days ago. I no longer think of living by my ‘diet rules’ as a penance, or as depriving myself, but as a positive, new, healthy way of life. The joy is that I don’t have to be so strict as the last 90 days but in the main, I will still stick to the principles that I have learned.

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Thank you to all my followers… you will probably never know how much your support has meant to me and how instrumental it has been in helping me lose weight. Keep in touch and let me know if you start your own blogs!

Food Dairy Day 90:

Breakfast: menopause muesli

Lunch: M&S quinoa and nut salad

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Dinner: Smoky marinated prawns and stir fried mixed vegetable

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Drinks & Snacks: herbal tea, 6 squares dark choc, apple, carrot & hummus

PS I finally got some coconut oil – see my earlier post on the hormonal benefits of this – delicious to use for stir frying vegetables

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Day 89: My secret for losing weight? Write a blog!

Many diets advocate keeping a food diary to keep track of what you are eating. They are a great way to monitor your diet and track progress. They are also a useful tool to identify why your diet is/is not working. For example you might find that you are tempted by sugary snacks every day at 4 o’clock… a food diary helps to highlight such issues so that you can then do something about them. I have tried keeping a paper food diary before but it never seemed to last more than a couple of weeks.

This is the first time I have kept a food diary on a blog and it is a much more powerful tool than a paper diary. Without a shadow of a doubt it has been a major contributor to the success of this diet. Why?

  1. Other people are reading it and I therefore felt accountable to these unknown supporters of mine. It was comforting to know that other people were following my story and that they were going through the same ups and down as I was. I felt that I owed them my time & an honest account of my dieting day and I hope I was helping in some way on their dieting journey. Finding something interesting to write everyday, other than simply an account of my food diary, meant that I stayed very focused on the task at hand. At the end of each day, when I wrote the blog, I was forced to think in detail about my food choices, dieting experience and how I could maintain/improve it.
  2. The blog recipe pages are a great pictorial record of the meal ideas that have worked and it was often helpful to revisit these pages when I was in need of inspiration.

It was a real commitment and some days I had to summon up the enthusiasm to write. But once I did I never regretted it as I nearly always leant something that would help me and it really helped to keep healthy food  choices top of my mind. The thought that it was only for a finite amount of time helped to keep me going.

So I would really recommend keeping a blog about your dieting experience. Its a effort but its one that will help you reach your target weight and therefore the effort more than repays itself in reward!

Food Diary Day 89

Breakfast: menopause muesli

Lunch: felafel, salad leaves, beetroot, cucumber

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Dinner: Yo Sushi (blue plate day – those aren’t all mine!)

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Drinks & Snacks: herbal tea, 5 squares dark chocolate, slice of cheese and parma ham

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Day 88: 4 Surprising Things that Increase Insulin Levels

Keeping insulin levels low is one of the main premises of this diet. It is why this diet (and many others) restricts carbs – put simply… because carbohydrates are digested into sugars whose presence in the bloodstream cause levels of insulin to rise… and insulin makes our fat burn/fat store gauge switch to ‘store’. – which we do not want!

Stress: This is not always an easy one to control but be aware that  when a person is stressed their adrenal glands release the hormone cortisol. This tells the liver to release sugar into the blood stream in preparation for fighting or fleeing, which in turn results in the pancreas releasing insulin to bring blood sugar levels back down. When this happens on a constant basis, the elevated insulin stores fat from the food you take in.

Artificial Sweeteners and Zero Calorie Fizzy Drinks: People think that by replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners they will prevent an insulin spike, however many studies have found the hormonal response to both sugar and artificial sweeteners to be the same. Notwithstanding the fact that most products containing artificial sweeteners are usually also chock full of other nasty fake chemical ingredients.

Chewing Gum: In addition to the artificial sweeteners present in most brands of chewing gum, the constant chewing may cause insulin levels to rise because the body is expecting to receive food and nutrients, so it releases insulin in anticipation of the digestive work it must perform. Even though no food enters the stomach, insulin levels stay up.

Caffeine: Caffeine results in an insulin spike, even black or unsweetened.   Try to completely avoid coffee, tea, fizzy drinks to keep insulin levels in check. Drink only herbal tea and water until weight loss is achieved.

Food Diary Day 88:

Breakfast: menopause muesli

Lunch: Smoked salmon and steamed broccoli – this is a version of one of my favourite Yo Sushi dishes. Simple and quick to make. Dress with soy sauce and mirin.

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Dinner: Felafels and ready made edamame bean salad, stewed apple and blackberries with a spoonful of vanilla yogurt

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Drinks & Snacks: herbal tea, 3 mini pittas and hummus, slice of cheese and parma ham, 5 squares dark chocolate

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Day 87: The Diet that Works for YOU

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Once you start reading about healthy eating and dieting it is very easy to get confused by all the different theories, diets and weigh loss programs. Much of the advice is conflicting, yet most are backed up with scientific research and proven trials…  so which one do you believe?

Are carbs good or evil? Should you eat regularly or incorporate fasting into your weekly plan? Should you avoid fats? What about red meat? Should you try the meal replacement shakes?

The answer is that they may all be right! How come? Because we are not all the same and therefore different approaches work for different people, different lifestyles, different tastes and different goals and at different times in your life. So just go with the one that you think will work for you now!

I had been sneaking weight on for a while and did keep trying various weight loss plans that never seemed to work until I found this one. It isn’t necessarily any better, or worse, than the others I tried but it worked for me. I liked the kinds of food that formed the basis of the diet, I could incorporate into my lifestyle without too much difficulty and the rules just kind of made sense to me.

So here I am now… just a couple of pounds away from my target weight and if you are reading this and wondering if it will work for you then if it feels right, just go for it.

Day 87 Food Diary

Breakfast: menopause muesli

Lunch Skinny Glorious Soup, carrot and hummus

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Dinner: left over poached salmon, salad leaves, beetroot, alfalfa sprouts, pine nuts, avocado and green beans

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Snacks and Drinks: herbal tea, 4 chocolate toffees, 4 squares dark chocolate

 

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