I don’t believe in diets. I’ve ever been on one- the infamous now Ducan diet. I’ve lost weight- lots of it, along with my will to live. The weight crept back up after about a year leaving me with a whole lot of clothes I was never going to fit back in. After that, diets and I never got back together.
But how to lose weight without dieting? After all staying slim is important to me and for most part I can still fit into clothes from a decade ago. There’s no dramatic weight gains or losses but sometimes…well, let’s just say that In December the festivities got the better of me. January was miserable and my birthday was just around the corner so the party stretched well into February…I woke up in March with lumps and bumps, and wobbly bits. Eeek! Something had to be done about it and fast.
I was tempted to go on a crash diet of juices (called deceptively a juice cleanse) but I knew that would make me miserable soon, even if I were to see immediate (and short term) results. So I decided to look into habits of two very slender men in my life- The French and my father, and implement them for a month. Without further ado- here’s what I did:
Ban the snacks:
Do you know the old belief that we should have three meals and two snacks a day? Well, I could forget about it because from now on nothing was going to pass my lips between meals save for water (and black coffee). Not even an apple.
Out of all three this one was probably the most difficult to implement. I’m the worst snacker in the world and also “finisher” meaning that once I open a bag of chips, I’ll mindlessly eat them until I see crumbs at the bottom. I start snacking at around 4pm and happily snack my way into dinner.
I mentioned that it’s a mindless habit because if I don’t catch myself in time, I’m suddenly walking out of Holland & Barrett on my way to the bus stop, munching on protein balls, flapjacks and other “healthy” foods (except they are not healthy of course because they are full of sugar). It got easier to control as time went on but I needed to remind myself constantly that NO SNACKS.
Once I got used to the idea that I wasn’t going to die of hunger between 4-7pm, bans on snacks between meals proved to be the most effective out of all of them. In a convoluted way it was also the most effortless because during meals, subject to little portion control, I could eat everything.
Do 15 minutes of exercise a day
This one is not very quick but it’s effective if you keep to it every day. I love sport and I usually do something several times a week but there are weeks where work or social calendar gets so busy that it’s impossible to do my usual hour or so. That was the case in March so I resolved to getting up 15 minutes earlier to do some exercise in my living room.
Sit ups, lunges, squats, push ups- all the old fashion exercise still work a treat despite being a bit forgotten with BarreCore, SoulCycle and a raft of other new workouts dominating gyms around London. I’m a big fan of Kyla Itsines (Ok, who isn’t :)) and if you look at her exercise programs, they are full of old fashion (if high intensity) workouts.
So 15 minutes a day- you won’t even notice. And how about another 15 minutes in the evening? That’s 30 minutes a day- without a pressure of having to go to the gym. The results are just around the corner…
No food after 7pm
That was another habit I adopted from Mr Skinny Pole and Mr Skinny French. My father has dinner at 6pm and after that time no amount of his favourite food would tempt him into giving in. The French and I live in London so eating at 6pm is unrealistic. We normally eat around 7pm and after that it’s water and more water until I’m a walking waterbed. In March, to help me with the experiment, I scheduled teeth whitening so I spent evenings with my teeth in moulds, unable to chew anything. And even if I wanted to, my fridge was empty save for a carton of almond milk as I decided to not buy anything that could be consumed without cooking it first (and who wants a raw broccoli).
I’ve lost all the weight I’d gained in December relatively painlessly. Changing habits always takes a bit of time and ban on snacking was the most difficult to adopt. I still have to make conscious decisions every day about not eating between meals because lifelong habits die hard.
Sometimes The French points our I’m snacking again and I say “it’s lunch time!” but I know he is right. A bit of baguette before we sit down to lunch, even if it’s only a few minutes before eating, is not considered part of the meal (my flawed argument). Until I sit down and pick up knife and fork, it’s still snacking.
They say that ask any women and she will tell you she has 3 kilos to lose and I’m not an exception 🙂 so I’m soldiering on. I’ll show you the results in July 🙂