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Trim Healthy Thursday: Going down?

Despite getting the flu I managed to mostly stick to Trim Healthy Mama food this week.  After jumping on the scales today I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had lost 3.5 kilos.  This brings my weight loss total to 12 kilos since starting THM.

The scale is finally going down again

The scale is finally going down again (image credit)

It had been a couple of weeks since the last time I’d checked my weight, and at my last weight-in I was left a bit flat due to stalling for several weeks.

The THM fuel cycle works.  It really does.

Since completing the fuel cycle, people are starting to notice my weight loss.  I get a lot of ‘up and down’ body glances accompanied with ‘you’re looking well’, which is polite-speak for ‘have you lost weight?’  A Wellington friend felt compelled to email me to ask after seeing a picture of me on Facebook.  ‘Your face looks different,’ she said.

Today I put on one of my favourite tops that I haven’t been able to fit since having children.  It has quite a fitted bodice, and my husband took one look and said ‘Woah, you really are shrinking!  There’s much less of you than there used to be’.

Now this is why THM is different to anything else I’ve tried – and believe me when I say I’ve tried ’em all – I am 10 kilos heavier than I was the last time I fitted that top.  10 kilos heavier.  That’s not insignificant!  And yet, here I am, perfectly able to get into my old ‘skinnier me’ clothes.

Weird.  But hey, I’ll take that win.

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Trim Healthy Thursday: Photo Update

Getting smaller

Getting smaller

Quite some difference between now and February isn’t it?  Thanks Trim Healthy Mama!

Not so much between June and August obviously, but what you don’t see in this picture is that I am wearing that jean skirt for the last time because it is three sizes too small now, and I pulled the shirt in at the back because it is very baggy and therefore hard to see the shape underneath. I can see in my latest picture my waist is more defined and my tummy is smaller.

Last week I embarked on a one week fuel cycle and a personal challenge of completing an entire week of THM with zero cheats.  I’m proud to say I did it!  In hindsight I won’t set myself a personal challenge in the same week as doing a fuel cycle again, because Oh my Lord was it hard when I did two days of Fuel Pull food (gibberish to non-THM people, sorry).  But having said that, being so close to getting a reward did spur me on to stick with it, so maybe I will.

My reward was $20 to spend at my favourite second hand store.  I spent an hour and a half perusing their racks today (the store is huge) and was delighted to find I fit into clothing from more high street retailers.  I fitted a gorgeous knit dress from Max (haven’t been able to get into their clothes for three or four years now).  I was tempted to buy it and then I thought ‘Winter is almost over, and this time next year it will be too big’, so it went back on the rack.

Emboldened by my success I decided to try a high street chain store whose sizes tend to run a bit small.  Fitting into their largest size was another goal of mine, and then the next size down.

The largest size fit perfectly.  Hand over my reward, D!

The next size down was snug, but is probably only a few weeks away from fitting.

I am so encouraged by my results, and will keep chugging along the THM way.  It works.

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Trim Healthy Thursday: Just Desserts

It’s been a challenging week for Trim Healthy Mama and I.  I succumbed to the stomach bug my tots had, and therefore had a day of eating nothing (always makes me think of that scene in the Devil Wears Prada – “I’m one stomach flu away from being a size zero!”), and several days of eating white bread with vegemite.

Once I was well enough, I began a one week fuel cycle, which I realise is meaningless to those of you who haven’t read the book.  Anyway, I am using this week to get my first reward – some of my birthday money.  The other week I set myself several goals.  The more challenging they are, the higher the reward.  My first goal was really simple: one week of zero ‘cheating’ (no off-plan meals or snacks) = $20 to spend at my favourite op-shop.  Will I make it?  Stay tuned folks.

Exercise-wise I had several days off due to being sick, but got back in the saddle as soon as I could.  I enjoy my morning runs immensely.  As we move into Spring, it is now almost light when I head off (it was pitch black only a couple of weeks ago), and spring blossoms are starting to appear…can you tell I’m hanging out for Spring?

And – big news – I have found a THM dessert I actually like.  Hooray!!!!  Not to be unfair to the authors, I have barely made any of the desserts, but the few I have made I haven’t liked at all.  So I was delighted to discover THM meringues are delicious.  Yes, I eat meringues and cream and am still loosing weight.

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Trim Healthy Thursday: Pluses and minuses

I have not had a good couple of weeks doing Trim Healthy Mama.  As I don’t normally eat sugar, my birthday brownie had the usual results: fatigue the next day, an all-day headache that painkillers won’t fix, and a couple of weeks of spiked appetite.

I’ve been sooooo hungry and eating everything in sight, including carbs.  I upped my protein levels in the hopes that that would do the trick, but going three hours between meals has been impossible at times.  I just need to ride it out as my appetite will get back to normal soon.

I definitely won’t be indulging in anything sugary for a long, long time as it’s just not worth it.

I have been doing great at exercising daily (I mix up running, HIIT, and yoga) so my abstaining from NOT working out seems to be working as a strategy to form a new, positive habit.  My HIIT workouts have really helped my cardiovascular fitness – running is much easier.  I’m enjoying my early morning workouts, and actually look forward to them(!).  My BFF and I have set ourselves the goal of doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in December, so I will be adding stair climbing to the mix in preparation.

I was asked what the monitoring sheet I mentioned last week looked like, so here it is:

My 'PA'

My ‘PA’

It has been really useful at nudging me in other areas of my life, like doing daily devotions and keeping on top of all our laundry.  As I said last week, if that all seems rather pedantic to you, it’s probably because it’s a strategy that won’t work for your personality.  I’m finding monitoring my habits closely sure as heck works for me.

I weighed myself the other day and the result number was still depressing.  I have lost about 8 kilos which I know is not to be sniffed at, but still.  I feel like it should be more.  However, today I went to a local department store called Farmers, as I had a gift card from last year’s birthday burning a hole in my pocket.  I needed to replace a pair of jeans that are too big for me (a nice problem to have) and was delighted to discover that I no longer fit the Plus Size range – I can fit the clothing in the ‘regular’ range.  If you’ve never had Plus Size clothing as your only option, you cannot comprehend what a big deal this is.

All of a sudden an abundance of clothing becomes available, in shapes and colours that are actually fashionable and flattering.  Plus Size clothing manufacturers seem to think that fat women are just dying to wear shapeless sacks that look like your Nana has attacked them with her bedazzler.  Seriously, I could go on about Plus Size fashion atrocities for hours, but I will stop here.

As it was, I left the store holding a pair of skinny jeans two sizes smaller than when I started THM, and from the ‘regular’ rack.  Awesome.

IMG_20150806_151214

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Trim Healthy Thursday: Monitoring the situation

So last week I talked about needing to take my application of Trim Healthy Mama eating principles up a notch, as I’d been freestyling a bit too much (oh bread, what am I going to do with you?).

After reading Gretchen Rubin’s book ‘Better than Before’ on habit formation I decided to put some of her strategies into action.

I won’t go into the ‘why’ details (read her book), but a strategy that can work for people with my personality is to closely monitor yourself.

I devised a daily planner where I tick off whether I exercised, ate a THM breakfast, lunch or dinner, and did several other daily tasks.  I know, I know, it all sounds rather tedious and extreme but…

IT IS TOTALLY WORKING FOR ME.

I have been surprised how something so simple has a powerful effect on me.  I seriously feel guilty if I put a cross next to THM lunch or whatever.  I think it helps that I am also a visual person, so seeing ticks and crosses laid out in front of me helps me to see the scale of any ‘cheating’ and where I’m doing well.  I’ve also found it has been a terrific prompt to do things around the house when my sleep-deprived brain isn’t firing on all cylinders first thing in the morning.  Hopefully I will get to a point where my tick sheets are no longer required as these new, better habits become ingrained.

Another useful strategy for me is rewards.  I wrote down some goals that I want to reach, and allocated rewards that I will be given when I hit those goals.  I got a whole bunch of gift cards and cash for my birthday which I have handed over to D.  When I reach a specific goal he will release a card or some cash to me.  The more difficult the goal, the bigger the reward.  I’ve only just started this so I haven’t hit any goals yet, but I am looking forward to doing so.

If you are someone who is only doing so-so with any kind of habit change, such as sticking to a diet, exercising regularly, or sticking to a spiritual discipline, try really thinking about what strategies have worked for you in the past, and what haven’t.  Think about what suits your personality.  It’s no good telling yourself you will get up at 5am in the morning to go to the gym six days a week when you are not a morning person, and would be much better off exercising after work.

Have you tried different strategies to create a new habit?  What works for you?

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Trim Healthy Thursday: Taking it up a notch

6 months in.

My thinking spot

My thinking spot

Woah.  That’s a lifetime in diet years.  Am I happy with my progress?  Yes and no. Yes, I have dropped two dress sizes, and have discovered I have a waist after all.  But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to wanting more dramatic results like some people share on Facebook.  I know, I know, slow and steady wins the race and all that.

If I am being totally honest with myself, my ability to stay on plan waivers from day to day.  Some days are fine and other days are derailed by various off-plan things that slip in here and there.  I’m not a purist sort of person, I think some ‘cheating’ (I really hate that term by the way!) is okay.  In fact, you must expect to cheat.  There are people out there who can stick to an eating plan and never waiver, but they are few and far between.  Some people allow themselves a cheat meal a week or a cheat day, which I think is a more realistic way to live.

I haven’t been allowing myself a cheat meal here and there, but I have been doing it all the same, so it’s time to take Trim Healthy Mama up a notch.  So I think I might officially give myself one per week (especially as my birthday is this week!), and try something new to curb bad habits and encourage the good.  I took myself off to my best thinking spot and thought.  And thought some more.

I have been reading books by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, and have been particularly taken with her work on habits.  You can check out some of her work here.  The psychologist in me loves this sort of stuff, and Gretchen’s take on habit formation makes a lot of sense to me.  In her book, Better than Before, Gretchen spells out the need to understand your personality before you attempt to change a habit.

A strategy that works for my personality is ‘monitoring’ i.e. keeping a close eye on how things are going.  In the spirit of trying something new, I have devised a weekly sheet where I will tick off all the meals where I stuck to THM, when I exercised and when I got to bed before 10pm (I need lots of sleep).  I have also devised some rewards for when I hit a goal.  It all sounds a bit simple and rather schoolish, but I’m pretty sure it will work for me.  If that all sounds rather boring, read the book to discover what might work for you.

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Trim Healthy Thursday: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Despite a few ‘off-plan’ meals while I was sick, I managed to mostly stick to being a Trim Healthy Mama.  And it’s paid off.

I went through my stash of ‘smaller me’ clothes, and several items now fit.  Hooray!  Many others are only a few weeks away from fitting.  I have officially retired a pair of skinny jeans as they are too baggy and can now get into a pair of skinny jeans that I could barely zip up a few weeks ago.

Reclaiming some of my old clothes I was keeping ‘just in case I lose weight’ felt great, and my bedroom looked at lot like the aftermath of Christmas morning with my new-old clothes strewn about.

The funny thing is I am heavier than I was the last time I fit these clothes.  LIke 5 or 6kgs heavier.  That’s pretty significant.  The last time I fit these clothes I was sugar-free and running several times a week.  This time around I have done little exercise (although I was just getting back into it when I got sick).

I know I am not the only Trim Healthy Mama who has discovered this.  On Facebook I see several Mamas a week posting about they have dropped dress sizes without the scales budging much.  I can visibly see how much weight I have lost in my top half.  I carry most of my weight around my midriff and at times it has felt like absolutely NOTHING was changing down there.  But it is.  The weight might not becoming off there as dramatically as I would like, but my new-old clothes don’t lie.  It’s shrinking.

The other day D asked me ‘How long have you been doing Trim Healthy Mama for now?’

‘Just over five months,’ I said.

‘Wow.  That’s pretty great,’ he said.  ‘My understanding is that most people go off a diet within a few weeks.’

He’s right.

Five months on a ‘diet’ is terrific.  This recent UK found that most women last a mere five weeks on a diet.  Five weeks!  And most of these women put it down to lack of ‘willpower’.

The simple truth is that willpower only gets you so far.

It’s not you, it’s the diet.

‘Diets’ must be sustainable.  The reason I have chalked up almost six months of being a Trim Healthy Mama is that it is NOT a huge departure from how I was eating previously.  I do not count calories, or suffer through kelp-and-kale smoothies.  I do not sit there and feel deprived eating lettuce and salad while others are tucking into heartier fare, because I can mostly eat what they eat.

I know I am fortunate to have been sugar free already when I started THM, as this made the transition much easier.  But what keeps me going is that it is just easy to keep on going.  I eat what I would normally eat, just in slightly different combinations.

As I looked at a favourite summery skirt that zips up but is still too tight, I thought ‘I should fit this by summer’.  And you what?  I bet that I will.

Place your bets now.