I’m a 49-year-old woman, average height, average bone size, but have been overweight by about 30 pounds for 15 years. I LOVE food. I know my portions are probably too big, and my willpower is not fantastic. If there is cheesecake, I will have a piece. When I’m in a restaurant, I want the fries. I do eat a lot of vegetables, and we eat quinoa a lot. I don’t even care for meat that much. If I eat any meat, it is lean. However, I do have teenagers and a super carnivore husband, so no vegetarianism is in my future. I have epilepsy, so I can’t drink. Even before I knew that, I didn’t drink much. I drink no pop.
I have joined online Weight Watchers twice and lost 10 pounds, then plateaued and given up because I was already eating the minimum points and couldn’t cut down further (to below their minimum) or I would have been even more miserable. All I ate was chicken breasts...I don’t like steak or salmon that much.
For exercise: I have joined bootcamps in the past, I walk the short walk to work. I have a large dog and with the pandemic, I can walk her for an hour a day, through wooded trails and up hills, etc. It will get harder in the summer as she is very thick coated, so I must get up quite early to walk her safely.
I have had some sort of disc problem in my back and my epilepsy meds make me more tired. I was doing hot yoga once a week before the pandemic. I used to love floor hockey, but it isn’t available in my small community. I am not much of a swimmer, I can dog paddle, but I don’t love it.
I have trouble sticking with things like diets and exercise regimens that aren’t integrated into my life (like dog walking). I do have a treadmill and a TRX. Also, a big yard with trees that need pruning, etc. I do have a Fitbit and find it somewhat motivating. My fave hobbies are knitting and reading, with tv a close second, getting sweaty has not ever been my thing (unless I was playing floor hockey, or mixed softball, which I don’t think will be in the cards for me anymore).
I know to be healthier I should shed some weight. I would love to go back to 130, but I think 150 is a more reachable goal. Could you tell me what you think of Noom? It seems like it might be a more livable version of WW, but I really hesitate to pay for something that may be just a gimmick.
Interior BC Mom
Hi Interior Mom,
Thank you for your question and I wanted to step away from the weekly workouts this week to give this some attention as I think you are not the only one struggling with this.
For some of us food is like a drug and on some scale, I feel like many of us struggle to find a balance between eating healthy and allowing ourselves to whatever we like. During this pandemic, it is extra hard to be balanced as we are stuck inside, food is very easily accessible, and it really is the only thing we can look forward to these days (or at least that is the case for me). I am going to answer your Noom question in a moment, but I want to share something personal that I struggle with as it may help with what you’re dealing with.
As much as I have struggled with my relationship with food throughout my entire life I have also struggled with my relationship with alcohol, mainly wine. I could hardly wait to get home after work and pour myself a glass of wine. Sometimes it would just be one, but usually two glasses during the week and many on the weekends. I could easily polish off a bottle of wine on a Friday night, and then again on a Saturday without thinking about it. It was the weekend! To me this meant it was time to relax and socialize and that meant drinking.
I didn’t like that about myself though, the fact that I couldn’t go to a family dinner without having a drink or two, maybe three. I didn’t like how uncomfortable I felt on the nights I tried not to have drink. I felt like I was taking away one of my rights, but I didn’t want to be this way. I just didn’t know how to live without having wine at least four days out of the week.
Since beginning on my fertility journey, I have had no choice but to stop. And to be honest, I don’t miss it. Not one bit. Having something I am truly working towards, creating a family, has given me the reason to put my health first. No longer am I uncomfortable sticking to mocktails and soda water on Friday and Saturday nights. That reward of a beer after a mountain bike ride has turned into a lovely decaf coffee. I have stopped associating joy and happiness with the ability to have a drink. I feel like a better human and I am so happy. Will I give up alcohol forever? Probably not. But I am so grateful that I no longer feel that the only way I can truly relax and enjoy myself is with a cocktail in hand.
So, let’s bring this back to you now and what you say is overconsuming. I will be honest with you right out of the gate, you will not succeed unless you want to succeed. No food tracking app or program will help you. All they are going to do is remind you that you are failing every time you order fries at a restaurant or eat cheesecake. (There is nothing wrong with ordering fries or having cheesecake but when you are trying to lose weight, foods like that need to be enjoyed in small and limited quantities.)
What you should to do is disassociate food with an emotion like guilt. But if you do want to be healthier, you should accept that we don’t get to have what we want all the time. Trust me, I wish I could live off my homemade oatmeal chocolate cookies, but I know I can’t.
You don’t have to diet. You don’t have to count calories. You don’t have to meal prep and eat ground turkey and boiled vegetables all week. But you should make the right decisions one at a time. If you do it all at once it is way too overwhelming and you won’t succeed. So, you need a little patience when approaching weight loss this way. Understand that it will not happen overnight, and this is something that you have to continue focusing on every single day.
Your workout routine sounds perfect. Hiking with your dog is great and honestly that is all you need to do. If you are walking an hour a day at a brisk pace you are getting way more than the 150 minutes of weekly exercise recommended by Health Canada. But how different would your life be if after you get home you head to your TRX and you do 3 rounds of 10 pull ups, 10 pushups, 10 squats and 10 lunges? Probably not that much, right? And while you are on your morning walk spend some of it thinking of how you are going to tackle your day. We don’t really have to worry about making the right choices at a restaurant right now, but where else may you encounter a roadblock and how will you overcome it, without allowing yourself to feel deprived. Create your plan and your strategy and stick to it. Make this about you…and creating the life you want to live.
Don’t waste your money on that app if you haven’t succeeded with other programs, so why would this one be any different? I see this so many times, people thinking if they just pay something to tell them what to do, they will shed the pounds. It doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t matter if you have an app telling you what to do, a dietician telling you what to do, a personal trainer telling you what to do, or me telling you what to do, YOU still have to do the work. Nobody will do it for you. You know, and I know, that you want to make changes because if you didn’t you would not have taken the time to write me. So, start doing the work. Fill your morning up with fruit, berries, oats and lots of water and fill your evening up with all the yummy vegetables you can stand. And if you want a piece of cheesecake, have it, don’t beat yourself up over it but also don’t swing too far on the other side and associate it with all your happiness. Your health and well-being are your happiness.