Heart Foundation Healthy eatingI have suffered from depression for a few years, diagnosed for the last three.  In the last 10 years, I have steadily increased in weight, to the point where I wasn’t happy with my body and it made me miserable.  And depression being what it is, is a vicious cycle and the more I got upset, the more my body weight increased.

I have been told by a few doctors that the antidepressants would increase my weight, but I didn’t seriously believe that I would pack on 12 kgs over 10 years – the last 8kgs in the last three years.  And no matter what I did, I couldn’t get over it, I couldn’t lose weight, no matter what I did.

The problem was, I wasn’t really doing anything!  I hadn’t cut back on my portions, I hadn’t cut back on the sugary treats, and I hadn’t cut back on the junkfood.  Whoops.  And because I am a comfort eater (I get upset, I find I am hungry – not for anything specific, just hungry), and therefore the more upset I got, the more I ate.

Diets were something that made me STARVE!  And I mean starve.  If I cut back on any food, I had a tendency to crave it.  Madly.  I have tried all sorts of diets, but nothing really worked, except for two very simple ones.

First is contraversial, its the Fasting Diet, which is actually the wrong name for it.  It is more about fasting – either for 16 hours or two days a week – and they don’t have to be two consecutive days.  And it wasn’t about going without food.  On your fasting days, you cut back the amount of calories you ate to 600 – so your could have breakfast, a couple of small snacks and a nice light dinner.  On the other days you eat normally, but I found that I was tending towards more healthier eating habits on my eating days, preferring vegetables instead of junkfood.

The second, and probably the easiest diet – although again that is the wrong term for it, was to cut out all junkfood for a month.  Junkfood was defined as:  Chocolate, cakes, biscuits, pastries, ice cream, fizzy, chippies (crisps), white bread and fast food (although we did agree that sushi didn’t count as fast food).  Since I have a savory tooth, rather than a sweet tooth, it was bloody hard, and I fretted about it the night before I started, but once I got into it, it wasn’t too bad.

But I did have to re-evaluate my snacking habits.  I have oat bars in my cupboard which had white chocolate in them, so they were out.  Chips, also my favourite snacks was out, as were crackers (generally baked pastry).  I did have ice cream, because I don’t drink a lot of milk, and I need calcium, there is a family history of osteoporosis in my family.  So I was having a milk shake in the evening with ice cream.  Ice cream is recommended by the Healthy Heart Foundation as a way of getting calcium, however only 1 scoop a day (and not a large scoop!!!)

To assist me, I kept a food diary and since I have been taking measurements of my body for as long as I can remember, I had a starting point.  Keeping the food diary is probably the single most motivator.  I was able to see what I was eating, when and how much water I was drinking in a day.  And I was able to compensate accordingly.  Now I drink on average a litre of water (no tea or coffee or cordial) a day.  I am not a big alcohol drinker, but I also recorded this when I did, because I was able to see if there was a pattern there as well.

Another small change I made, was cutting back on sugar.  I went from a teaspoon of sugar in my cup of tea, to a level teaspoon, and I use honey instead of sugar on my porridge in the morning.  Significantly, my sweet tooth has diminished, and I crave sugary foods less.

After 4 weeks, I noticed my body changing shape, and when I did my measurements at 4 weeks, I had lost, a total of 12 cms all up around my body.  That is quite significant.

One thing I didn’t do, was a lot of exercise.  I walk my son to school, and walk around a lot, but not a 30 minute heart pumping walk, so I can’t say that exercise helped, but I know that when I start the exercise, things will change and quickly.  At this point, I am focused on creating a habit, which can take 6 weeks, so at the end of September, I will concentrate on slowly adding exercise into my day.

I am proud of my efforts, and I can confirm that I have lost 2kgs, although I don’t have any scales, and haven’t weighed myself twice on the same scales, but the fact that I can physically see changes is the best part.

I encourage you to take a small step today to improve your lifestyle.  You don’t have to cut out junkfood, it might be just to cut back on sugar, or remove sweet treats from your diet, just one small step can get you started on a healthier lifestyle.

If you struggle with your weight, and want encouragement, feel free to contact me, through the contact form, and I will get back to you with some support.  Sometimes it is hard to reach out to those closest to you, but talking with a stranger can give you the boost you need.

Body Consciousness and Mental Health
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