Post by Claire Lichtwark-McInnes.
I don’t remember how long it took for me to get fat.
I just know it happened.
I now understand much more about why it happened.
During my weight loss journey, I have been encouraged to think about why I decided to take action, what were the defining issues?
I was very uncomfortable. So my main driver, my ‘why’ for taking action was I wanted to be comfortable.
I had also noticed I was losing my natural confidence in social situations and I wanted some nice clothes. Wearing tents gets stale after a while. I had given up on the idea of looking good as I had long since stopped looking in the mirror for fear of what I would see.
My Three Cs
Now 16 months later and 17kg lighter, all on a frame only a smidge over five foot, I still carry a card that reminds me of my why, my three C’s: Comfort, Confidence, Clothes.
Where will it end?
You might ask – how did the journey begin? And where does it end?
To answer the last question first, and potentially to disappoint you …..it doesn’t end.
I am not on a diet I am making healthy choices. I expect the choices I make to continue for life.
It started in April 2018, fed up with not fitting clothes, feeling uncomfortable and looking like crap (see above), I decided to go to Weight Watchers, now known as Wellbeing that Works or just WW.
I was not looking for a quick fix, but a long term solution. I still have 9kg to go to reach goal weight, I am not in a hurry it is slowly but surely happening.
I chose WW to support my journey as I like their approach, central to which is understanding that weight-loss is more about mindset than food. I have a lot of supportive family and friends few of whom have ever been fat. As much I love them, as tangible support – they are fairly useless. Real support comes from people who have been there, WW ticked this box for me too.
While losing weight I have been on an Alaskan cruise, had long holidays, attended celebrations and generally lived life to the full. I do not feel deprived. I even had the privilege of dropping into WW meetings in America. This really added to my travel experience, meeting real locals with shared goals and experience to me.
To achieve my goals I make small but frequent changes. I substitute avocado for butter, olive oil for canola, have more fish and chicken than red meat, more fruit and vegetables, and less sugar. My diet now contains way more variety and way more taste than previously. I no longer eat something if it isn’t really nice.
Looking at my journey alongside the Mental Health Foundation’s five ways to wellbeing model is enlightening.
Talk, listen, be there feel connected. – my chosen support group is WW. I find it powerful and inspiring to hear of others successes and challenges. It’s nice not to be alone. I get great advice and friendship from the coaches and members. I have attended meetings in several countries and guess what! …. the challenges are the same wherever you go. I intend to continue to use this support forever.
…your time, your words, your presence. I enjoy supporting other members when they speak of challenges that are all too familiar.
Remember the little things that give you joy. Taking time out to sit with a coffee and the daily crossword is huge. I’m never too busy to do that now.
Embrace new experiences, see opportunities, surprise yourself. I love my new paddle-board ……. Sometimes I stay upright …….sometimes not. I’m looking forward to my first book club meeting tomorrow. I also love learning new recipes and new ways to cook.
Do what you can, enjoy what you do, move your mood. I’m lucky I have no physical hurdles to exercise so I enjoy riding my bike and swimming and I keep fairly active on the farm. However, WW teaches even small things to get moving, gentle walks or chair exercises for example.
I have also learned to understand when I eat even when I’m not hungry, why I do. What my triggers are, how to manage them and how to be kind to myself when I am not perfect. Progress not perfection is the key.
Even at this stage of the journey, I try on clothes in front of those terrible fitting room mirrors without descending into misery. I enjoy my exercise instead of it being a chore.
I am now looking to expand this knowledge to other areas of my life. I will keep you posted as I go.
Meanwhile all the best on your own wellbeing journeys, whatever they are.
Yours as ever,
NB: I receive no monetary or other payment from WW, I am simply sharing what has worked for me, there are other great systems out there – the trick is finding one that works for you.