Out of my depth...just a tad!!

I'm Kat, 23 years old and currently battling with not just my weight but my approach to food and exercise in general.

One of my main reasons for the desire to become healthier was due to an unexpected life change. My Dad was recently diagnosed with cancer. It changed everything in my life almost instantly. It's tough to see someone you love suffer in this way, it makes you rethink a lot of your own life choices and your future.

I currently weigh 13st 6lbs. I want to weigh 11st. I'd like to be below 13st by Easter....

I've never done anything about my weight before,I have no idea where to start and no idea how to kick the bad habits I have.

For a start I'm a comfort eater. I eat all my feelings. Especially when I'm anxious or nervous!! With life throwing so many anxious and nervy scenarios at me recently, I need to learn other ways to deal with my nerves and anxiety rather than through a slice of cake!

I also have a MAJOR sweet tooth. I love chocolate, cake, biscuits, sweets. Anything sugary, I love!! I have entered a competition with my boyfriend to give up fizzy drinks (I'm desperate to win!) So hoping this may help me curb the love of sugar slightly... A girl can hope right?!

And last but not least I love a good meal out! I socialise with my friends over dinners out, meet up with my sisters over lunch, my best friends for a coffee and cake(there's a theme occurring here) and go on date nights with my boyfriend to a nice cosy restaurant. I find its the easiest and nicest way to socialise. I'm not a huge drinker, I love the ambience you get in a nice restaurant, the volume is the right level for a proper indepth chat, its relaxed and food always provides a conversation starter. I acknowledge that I eat out a little too much, but what do I replace what I percieve to be a social norm with?! Or alternatively how do I make sure that when I do go out I make the right choices for my new approach(attempt) at life?

I'm not on here because I'm desperate to be thin. This isn't about the aesthetics of losing weight. I want to do so much more than just lose a bit of weight. I want to be a better version of me. I want to run up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath, I want to go into a coffee shop and not feel the need to order a slice of cake. I want to be healthy and not be so afraid of choosing that option.

It too easy to choose the unhealthy option. I don't want the easy option any longer.

6 Replies

  • Hi Kat,

    Firstly welcome to the forum and I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year.

    You are a similar age to me, I've just turned 25, and a lot of what you mentioned I can relate to when I was first starting to tackle my weight in 2011.

    I am sorry to hear the news about your dad. I actually work in a Cancer centre and see on a daily basis how this disease can affect supporting family too. I wish you and your family all the best.

    My weightloss initially was prompted by a sudden unexcpected death in my family also, it does put a lot in perspective. Health is definitely the most valuable thing in my life.

    Your goals are very achievable....YOU CAN DO THIS. I started back weighing over 15stone and lost 4 stone that year. I am back to 12 stone and I want to lose 2 stone too!

    You have hit the nail on the head - its just bad habits and these can be changed. Comfort eating is a hard one but its away to supress those feelings. Maybe exercise could be your channel instead? You may find writing down your feelings help or making sure you talk to someone about them so that they aren't all bottled up (or covered over by cake!)

    Hahaha the sweet tooth thing is exactly like me - I would suggest cutting them out completely and then re-learning to just have one every now and again. Its my biggest down fall, I can see I was addicted now and this may be similar to you. When I was a teenager I drank coke for breakfast, I hate the stuff now!

    Meals out are fine in moderation. Always look at the menus at home and plan what you are ordering. Be careful of what drinks you order to- avoid sugary or alcoholic drinks if pos. Coffee shops are fine but some hot drinks hide hundreds of calories so be very careful again what you chose. You could always try and incorporate exercise as a social thing too....ice skating, swimming, team games, tennis, bike rides etc with your friends and family.

    I know you can do this. Keep us updated on how you do. All the best

  • This is the right place to start. You will get all the support you need right here. Calculate your daily calories for your age/weight and stick to it. I use myfitnesspal an app which calculates your calories. You will see how many empty calories there are in sugary foods. We just don't need them. Stick to the allowance and try to exercise everyday. You don't need a gym. Walking will do it or better still download the NHS beginning running called couch25k. I have a Fitbit but a pedometer will do just fine. If you have a smartphone there are lots of free pedometer apps. One day at a time making small changes. The 12 week plan works for me because it's not a diet it's a lifestyle change so we never go back to the way we were with all those bad eating habits which can make us ill. Good luck

  • Hi KRML - just a quick note to say welcome. You are clearly an intelligent person who has set a realistic goal - just make use of the forum here to help when you are wavering or having a bad day and you'll find people are really keen to help others along the way. We all need it some time.

    I just wanted to say that you are not alone and that you can do this! Most of us would relate to one of things you have said, but I'd also add you are young and how great it is that you are getting a grip on this NOW so that you can really enjoy your younger years with a high energy level and less of you to lug round!

    On a practical level, I've recently shifted a stone. About a stone to go - currently I'm 11st 8lb. I started off using my fitness pal on my phone for calorie counting purposes - still use mfp for daily weighing (which suits me but is not for everyone) but I've steadily ditched the calorie counting as I'm trying really hard to get back to the younger me who just thought "I only need a soup for lunch" or "I'm not really hungry so no cake for me thanks" or "I ate too much yesterday, better cut down today". Doing this seems to be working - for me - but be ready to make and adapt your own "rules of healthy eating". You'll find lots of ideas on this forum - some will really connect with you, others you will know would be a disaster for you personally - so pick and choose.

    Your socialising comments I really relate to - I try to ...

    Cut down in advance of the social do - ie very low calorie breakfast and lunch - and then eat some fruit before arriving at the evening do so that I am not starving! Then just choose wisely. Look at what your thin friends are eating... look at the way they claim to be full the brim after their main courses and skip straight to the coffee, or the way they just pinch a spoonful of their other half's pudding and say how delicious it is, or the way they really fancy a three course meal, but ask the waiter if it's OK to have two starters and no main course (it usually is fine by the way).

    It's boring, but "eat less and move more" is the mantra round here.

    Other thoughts ...

    Do consider joining the Monday weigh-in squad on this forum - they are lovely and motivating. Look out for Lowcal's post on Monday - it's an enormous thread so difficult to miss!

    Do chip into the forums, ask questions and encourage others - it's nice for them and will help you too.

    Do consider joining Lizzy's Around the World challenge to get you exercising a bit more.

    Well done and good luck on your journey - look forward to hearing your Easter post - I have a feeling that you might be nicely down the 12 somethings by then!

  • Hi Kat,

    Well done for starting that assessment of your life. It can seem simply overwhelming at first when you look at what you need to change, particularly when some of the worst offenders are actually your support system, like comfort eating.

    Stephb's suggestions of writing stuff down and talking to people are very good ones. I would certainly advocate the exercise option, too. If it is possible (depends on what your timetable is that day, of course) when I feel the munchies coming on I go for a walk - just 10 minutes can be sufficient distraction to get you past that need; the fresh air, the extra stimulation to your brain (sights, sounds, smells, need to avoid people/puddles/traffic), the rhythmic moving of your legs, feet and arms as you pound the pavement and just pushing your blood round faster all boost your body and make you feel better. If evening nibbling is a problem, maybe take up knitting or crocheting - if your hands are full then you can't pick up that snack. It's not for everyone, but maybe taking up an exercise class in the evening - zumba, bellydancing, aerobics, tone & tighten, or going swimming. Certainly when I lived alone I would come home after a day at work, have an early tea and then head out to a class. I have recently completed the Couch to 5K intro to running and run over 30 mins for 3 times a week - I highly recommend this programme if you fancy giving running a go.

    Eating out is the most social exercise. My husband and I do this far far too often. Unfortunately, all our friends are as round as we are, and we all love food. I have found it useful to check up on menus online in advance - particularly useful Wagamammas, Nandos, Harvester and many others have really good calorie counted menus, so I can choose the least costly meal I fancy and "save" some calories from the day/s before. If you are going to coffee shops, maybe skip the lattes and go for Americano coffee with milk or if lattes are the way to go, ensure that they are made with low fat milk. Use sweeteners instead of sugar, and if you need to have a snack, Starbucks and Costa certainly have lists of calories on-line. Maybe choose a biscotti (154cals) versus toasted panetone (369cals). Perhaps choosing the coffee shop with least nice cakes is the way to go. Costa have pretty wonderful cakes - Starbucks are very disappointing, so they are the path of least temptation! Alternatively, as part of making the change, why not choose something savoury, helping you break the sugar habit.

    I find that if I can steer clear of sugar for about 3-4 days I lose most of my craving for it. Obviously this is reactivated the moment I put some in my mouth! Once the major craving is gone, I simply have to stop my tendency to sabotage myself - "oh, you're over the craving now, so one little bag of Minstrels won't hurt..." I am staring at our Christmas cake as I type - and getting ready to go for a run to stop my sabotage cycle starting again!

    I am sorry to hear of your father's illness. It's funny how there is information all around us telling us the right things to do, but until it becomes up close and personal we always manage to put off these things till "tomorrow". I was diagnosed with diabetes at 38 and managed to reverse the diagnosis, and remain diet-controlled for many years. Now at 50 I have just been put on Metformin due to having a few months of depression after an operation and failing to eat right and exercise. Doing the Couch to 5K got me back on track by giving me a goal to aim for, and the running/walking certainly allows me "head-space" - time to think, or time to not think, just focussing on breathing.

    I would say that aiming to eliminate processed/refined sugar from your diet is a very worthy aim and a good start - after years of demonising the fat in our diet, it seems that sugar is the real danger; it is not just the diabetes issue - there is also the tooth damage, made worse by the acids in fizzy drinks.

    Losing weight will help you feel better physically and mentally and will lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Well done for starting on the pathfway to healthy living. You won't regret it, and everyone here is pulling for you, ready with help and encouragement when you need it. Have a wonderful 2016 and keep us informed with how you're doing.

  • Re your friends/sister...how about suggesting a different way of meeting up...take it in turns to have a cup of tea, or cook for each other, at each other's house maybe? You can be more in control of the calorie content of food if you are doing the cooking. If you needed to, you could prepare your own meal to take with you and warm up in the oven/microwave etc. So you could still eat together and chat, maybe have a few candles and a low background music for a bit of ambiance. Also for coffee/tea mornings....a cup of tea and an alpen light cereal bar should come in at under 100 cals, provided you don't add sugar to the tea. It would probably help you in your quest to lose a bit of weight. As an added bonus you would probably save some money on eating/drinking out too! If you all still wanted to go out, maybe you could do the rota of coffee mornings/meals etc for a month and just go "out" once a month, maybe make it a payday thing or something.

    One positive you have already is that you don't drink much alcohol, lots of empty calories in that. If you are trying to break sugar habits, could you try to ease yourself into it. Ok, fizzy drinks aren't great for you, but could you get the diet, sugar free versions initially and then try to wean yourself off those?

    I don't know if this will be helpful or not, but I was a comfort eater...am hopefully breaking that habit now. I've used low cal ice lollies and tic tacs, sugar free jelly, and alpen light jaffa bars to help me in the evenings, which is my vulnerable time. You can buy ice lolly molds and freeze low calorie sugar free squash to give your mouth something to do. Tic tacs are 1-2 cals each, I would take 4 from the pack and get a cup of tea, then suck the tic tacs at intervals with the cuppa. I'm currently on "strawberry fields" of an evening which are quite nice and fruity. Again, keeps the mouth busy and gives some flavour too. Sugar free jellies are the biz too, I get mine from tesco and they have lime, orange, strawberry, blackcurrant. You can do a whole packet of jelly for 36 cals if you really want to and there's no sugar in it!

    I'll shush now because I tend to waffle on a lot (if you stick around here you might notice that it happens on a regular basis lol).

    Best of luck with your journey, keep reading, posting and commenting, it will help you stay on track. :-)

  • Hi Kat & welcome 😄

    I'm going to have to be brief as need to get ready for work! Really sorry to hear about your Dad, it's hard to deal with for everyone I know as I lost my Dad to a very aggressive form of cancer 10 years ago. It was so hard trying to be strong for him when all I wanted to do was curl up on his lap and cry.

    Have you looked at the NHS 12 week plan yet? It's a great way to get you go using on what you are eating and is a great guide with everything there to get you going. I started it last week and it's really got me thinking about what I'd like to put in my mouth Vs what I should be putting in my mouth 😉

    I recently had a kidney & pancreas transplant and have gone a bit crazy with eating the sweet things that I'd not been allowed to eat during 27 years of diabetes! 10kg weight gain in a year!! At only 5ft 3in that's a lot to gain!! I also felt like I'd kinda lost my way with missing regular meals and snacking too much also!! hence why I'm following the 12 week plan.

    I also completed the NHS Choices Couch to 5K (C25K) recently. It could be a good idea if you have the time? Time for you, doing something for you and perhaps taking your mind off everything else even if only for 20-30 mins. You need to try take some time for yourself to help refocus and keep you strong and positive for Dad.


    Vicks xx

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