It was an incredible experience to take part in the first Marillion Couch Convention and a very uplifting event.
However, I was alarmed to see how unhealthy I looked in the Brave Live 2013 video! My weight was probably around 22 and a half stone (143 kilos) at the time. It was quite shocking for me to see as you're not really aware when you're gaining weight - it sneaks on like a thief in the night, but it made me even more determined that this time, I'm really not going to go back to the bad habits responsible for my weight gain.
When you have a lot of weight to lose you have times in your life when you feel really motivated to do something about it. You buy a new exercise bike then the latest diet book, restock the fridge and pantry with whatever it is this time (powdered shakes, low carb food and on one occasion tuna and beetroot!) And off you go!
Usually a few months in, you've lost several stone and you're feeling good about yourself but there will always be a special occasion; birthdays, Christmas, Easter, weddings etc just around the corner, waiting to trip you up. If you're like me you'll probably think I'll just have that one piece of cake or slice of pizza (how quickly we forget)! In my case that's all it would take to flick a switch, and probably due to my uncontrolled diabetes at the time, the painful food cravings and rebound hunger from low blood sugar would return and the weight that I'd worked so hard to lose would quickly come back. You get depressed because you've put weight back on so you eat something to cheer yourself up!
I'm determined to break that pattern this time. My understanding of the mechanism of weight loss and what is I personally need to do is greater than it ever has been. It isn't a diet, diets fail. This is a re-balancing of eating habits combined with exercise. I think the only way to see this, is as a long term (12-18 month) goal. There will be times when I slip but the important thing is to come back to it. Walking for over an hour most days has really helped too, not just for the calories burnt but for the increased fitness.
I weighed myself at the beginning of lockdown in March but now only every month or so. I've found that a better way to measure progress is by waist size otherwise we drive ourselves crazy that we haven't lost as much weight as we expected to, so feel despondent (or that our weight has even gone up a couple of pounds).
Food can still be a pleasure but there are some changes needed to eating habits to really make a difference. The following is what's working for me.
Some alcohol if you really can't give it up (a large glass of wine or a shot of spirits) a couple of times a week but definitely no beer/cider or mixers.
No cake, biscuits, chocolate etc
Nuts, a small handful, preferably unsalted (as you tend to eat less).
A very small portion of hard cheese.
Fruit, apples, pears, nectarines, peaches, and berries
160g 5 or 10% full fat Greek yoghurt with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and 1/3 banana. This keeps me feeling full until lunch time
Unsweetened porridge (oatmeal) made with semi-skimmed milk with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and 1/3 banana
Two poached eggs on wholemeal bread with crushed avocado (with finely chopped red onion and a squirt lime juice)
Tuna and sweetcorn with mayonnaise and finely chopped red onion, lettuce, cucumber and tomato on wholemeal bread
Hummus, wholemeal pitta bread and crunchy salad
Mixed salad with 1/4 pack of feta cheese and half an avocado, with a virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing and salt and pepper
Two large tomatoes sliced with fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, chopped red onion, with a virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing and salt and pepper
Occasionally something like a toasted cheese sandwich on wholemeal bread
Steamed or baked fish - Haddock, Cod or Salmon
a small portion of new potatoes, steamed vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and asparagus
Home made Ratatouille usually with either steamed vegetables or wholemeal pasta
Home made Chicken curry with brown rice
Steak with mushrooms and steamed vegetables
Parsnip and sweet potato fajitas
Butternut Squash chili
Kedgeree made with mackerel fillets, fried onions, red peppers, sweetcorn, brown rice, soy sauce and a sliced boiled egg
Sunday roast - either chicken or beef with steamed vegetables and gravy (a couple of roast potatoes very occasionally)
70% Dark chocolate - a couple of squares. I'd recommend Green and Blacks or better yet Godiva
Very Occasional Treats
Clotted cream (this is great with strawberries with a few squares of melted dark chocolate drizzled over the top.
Fresh warm homemade cheese scones with butter
If you have a bad couple of days, don't give up! This is a marathon, not a sprint!
Good luck :-)