'My willpower on weight loss journey was put to the test, and I failed miserably'
Audrey Kane (47) continues her midlife fitness kick. The wrist is healed, the back is in good shape post-surgery and she's returned to work. But has she allowed herself a little too much celebration?
You may remember in my last piece I said I was going out for dinner and wine with himself. I vowed I'd only have a little drop of wine. Well - I lied.
Turns out a little drop of wine translates to a couple of glasses on the Friday with dinner and then a few glasses more during a BBQ on Saturday with family. Before I knew it, it was Sunday and I'm off the self-imposed red wine ban for the entire weekend; much to the delight of himself, who can now enjoy his glass without the glares and constant tutting coming from my side of the couch.
Now, hear me out, I did stay on plan with the food. See it's not all bad, so if not gold-star behaviour, at the very least silver? I didn't fall off the weight-loss wagon, just the red wine one.
Turns out I was wrong again. While I may have enjoyed myself that weekend, it reflected in my results the week later with no changes in inches or weight for the first time since I started this journey.
Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.
If I'm to be completely honest, once I reached my size 14, my attitude changed a little too. I thought - and not for the first time on this journey - I've nailed this fitness lark and gave myself some leeway. Okay, I gave myself a lot of leeway that particular weekend, my willpower was put to the test - red wine be thy name - and I failed miserably.
While I know only too well that any weight loss programme is a huge undertaking filled with highs and lows, I also know the key to staying on track is not letting the setback knock you completely. Besides, this time feels different. This time I'm actually doing it for the right reasons - for my physical and mental health. So time to put on the big-girl pants (which actually aren't as big anymore) and get back on course.
First I had to come clean to the coach.
After I posted my full disclosure re 'winegate' to the online fitness group, it wasn't long before I received a disappointed audio from my coach Daniel. Now it's not that you can't drink on this programme, but your results will be slower and mine had really slowed down. I wasn't putting in the effort I should be at that stage of the programme, and I knew it.
I felt so ashamed, it was like letting down your parents, but completely different because your parents have to love you - or at the very least like you, regardless of your behaviour - but not so your coach. My personality type dictates that perfection is always high on my list, so being relegated to bottom of the class is not something I enjoy. I had made the leader board each month since I began with Elate - third or fourth most weeks - but now I was so far down the line my number was in double digits. Time to rise to the top again, methinks.
BACK TO WORK
Thankfully one weekend of madness does not derail me that easily. It's all a learning process, so I learn and move on. I returned to work - following spinal surgery and after recovering from a broken wrist - a much slimmer and trimmer version of myself than I was when I first started my journey, 14 weeks earlier. Delighted with the positive comments from my colleagues and with a standing desk at the ready for me and my post-op back, I felt motivated to keep on track.
Research suggests that people who spend more time prepping meals at home tend to eat healthier foods. So making my own lunches and snacks in advance for the week proved to be quite easy. As the chef I get to control what ingredients are used and how big my portions need to be.
However, unlike at home, you won't always be able to control your environment. There are temptations and thankfully our work treats are on a table at the back of the office, necessitating a 'walk of shame' to get to them. At the time of writing, I've walked nowhere near.
Lunch out has also proved not the insurmountable task I thought it would be. Making better choices has become second nature and simply ditching the extras like chips and bread does the trick and having a healthy portion of vegetables with my chosen dish has thus far kept me happy and full.
Dinner prep is also critical for my success now that I'm back at work. While planning meals may take a little extra effort at the beginning of the week, it means I know exactly what I'm having for dinner. Planning a weekly menu increases mindfulness about what you're eating. And besides, my commute is one-and-a-half to two hours each way, so I don't have the time or energy at the end of a long day to start from scratch; this takes the hassle out of the week.
As red wine seems to be my source of temptation come Friday, it has to be left off the planning list. Vegetable, on the other hand, are now my BFF and remain my favourite source of sides with fish, lean meat or chicken. Steak is normally reserved for an occasional Sunday night blowout.
You see, contrary to diet myths, you don't need to starve to lose weight. In fact, I haven't been hungry on this regime at all - that's the main reason I'm sticking to it. In fact, some days I'm too full to eat a big dinner and have learned that I don't have to clear the plate but simply keep the leftovers for lunch - who knew?
I'm also knuckling down with the group challenges, which are usually every 10 days or so. They are like a mini group programme within your own personalised programme. They help to keep you going so you don't plateau, which I now understand as I find getting to my size 12 proving much harder than I did getting to my size 14.
Two weeks after my return to work I had a trip to Spain to see my good friend Becky. Now, this was always going to be a big test. I love Spanish bread, pastries and, of course, Spanish red wine. But I think my aforementioned disappointed audio from Daniel was reminder enough for me not to derail my success. So I stayed on plan with the food once again, but I did enjoy a couple of drinks, no red wine but the odd glass or two of cava.
Plus, I had told the Elate team that I was taking a few much-needed days off to relax (see previous articles for spinal surgery, broken wrist debacle). So during this time I would be offline, no logging food. But you know what, after weeks of logging and measuring food, I know what I can and can't eat and I'm much better at judging measurements - so I was delighted when I returned home and had managed to maintain my stats.
So where am I? Well, I'm not a size 12 but I'm inching towards it. I've managed to lose another 4lbs and 5 inches since I came back from Spain two weeks ago and am slowly making inroads to my next goal. While I know only too well that it's unhealthy to obsess over how much and how fast you're losing weight, setting some benchmarks can be helpful.
This is another reason why I like the Elate programme, it concentrates more on measurements and fitting into a goal item - it could be a pair of skinny jeans, a favourite top or another garment that you are hoping to fit into once you lose the inches and pounds. I will actually have to go to buy a size 12 as my next goal item as that number doesn't exist in the wardrobe, it hasn't since my late 20s.
So size 12 I'm coming for you… slowly, but I'm coming.
⬤ Stats: I have lost 2 stone 9lbs (16.5kg) and 51 inches (130cm) over 16 weeks in total
⬤ Since the last update two weeks ago, another 5 inches and 5lbs are gone
⬤ A few days in Spain and I made confident food choices
⬤ My skin looks amazing, my hair even feels healthier
⬤ The psoriasis patches I had on both my ankles have disappeared. I'm not sure if it's related to the food and the amount of veg I now eat, but hey, I'll take it
⬤ I'm ready to start some tailored exercises on the programme, as my back and wrist are a lot stronger.
Before you start any diet, it's always advisable to get checked out by your GP
Health & Living