Sometimes losing the weight is the easy part. It’s maintaining your weight loss that’s the struggle.
After putting on 4 stone when I was pregnant with Caitlin in 2007 and only having ten months between pregnancies, it is not surprising that after having Ieuan in 2009 I was still 2 stone overweight. I was determined to lose the excess in time for my wedding in 2011 and to return to my healthy weight of 9 st 9lbs (I’m 5 ft 6).
|Baby weight gone in time for my special day in 2011
I did this by following Rosemary Conley’s low-fat Hip and Thigh diet and, even though it has been overtaken in popularity by diets like the 5:2 diet and a whole host of healthy eating plans (such as Deliciously Ella’s for example), I still think there is a great amount of common sense in the Conley approach.
Give and take the odd ‘blip’ over Christmas and holiday periods, my weight remains around the 10 stone (140 lbs mark). I won’t lie. It requires quite a bit of self-discipline to ensure I don’t go crazy and return to the days of multiple takeaways each week and creamy restaurant desserts and I still don’t eat as much fruit and veg as I should. But I have managed to keep my weight relatively stable and avoid putting the pounds back on.
There are a million diet gurus and I am not medically qualified to tell you what to eat. But here’s what has worked for me and the Husband, who would eat peanuts and crisps till they came out of his ears if left to his own devices.
Tips for maintaining your weight loss
1. Weigh every day using a decent set of scales which remember your previous weight measurement and tell you by how much it has increased or decreased. They’ll also tell you your BMI.
The standard advice is to weigh once a week but I find daily weighing helps keep me on track and if my weight has increased I can make sure I eat lighter on that particular day.
2. Eat breakfast but eat it later
A bit in line with the idea that fasting is good for the body and that having a mini fast between your evening meal and a later breakfast does you good. I find that eating a later breakfast stops you reaching for biscuits around 11 am and also makes you less likely to go mad a lunchtime.
3. Don’t eat two main meals a day
By that, I mean either have a bigger lunch and a smaller dinner or vice versa. If we have a roast dinner, for example, we’ll have sandwiches or soup for lunch.
4. No takeaways
Given that a portion of fish and chips can contain as many as 2000 calories (i.e. practically a full day’s calorie allowance), let alone the fat content of some of our favourite curries, we just don’t bother with these any more.
We will have a bag of chips whilst on the sand at “Barrybados” though. Nothing like lots of salt and vinegar on your chips and a brisk walk on the sands at Barry Island – and we wouldn’t deny the kids one of life’s greatest culinary pleasures.
5. Find something to snack on that’s healthy and that you really enjoy eating
It’s pointless munching your way through pallets of crispbread and carrot sticks if you hate the stuff. Better to eat a few olives (which I love) or even a few squares of dark chocolate than to eat the crispbread and carrots and get so depressed you end up eating biscuits because you’re starving.
6. Buy clothes that fit you NOW
There is no point in wearing clothes that are too small because you don’t want to go up a size because I find you get so depressed because your jeans are too tight that you cheer yourself up by eating. You do need the discipline though to make sure that you go up one size and don’t keep going.
7. Improve the quality, decrease the quantity
Think like a foodie. Better one or two glasses of a really good quality wine than a bottle of cheap plonk; one or two squares of amazing dark chocolate than a selection box. No, it’s not a question of money either. Lidl and Aldi have some amazing choices.
8. Take each day at a time
Women come in all shapes and sizes. As the life coach Fiona Harrold says – gorgeousness is yours for the taking and it is available to everyone.
9. Make sure you’re losing weight for you
You’re not daft. You know too high a weight is bad for your health (and your fertility for that matter). You certainly need me to point that out but if you’re healthy and otherwise happy just make sure you’re losing weight for you and not because some guru in the Daily Mail’s ‘sidebar of shame’ has decreed “stick insect” is the look to aspire to.
Maintaining your weight loss is something that may well be something you need to pay attention to every day, but it needn’t take over your life.