If you have been reading my blog for a little while, you will know that last year I had a very rough "health" year. I suffered with frequent migraines (virtually daily), and developed a minor heart condition - my heart was lapsing into Sinus Tachycardia (a steady but very increased heart rate) and Ectopic beats ("extra" beats) regularly. The doctor helped me identify some triggers for my heart troubles, and I have since (mostly) taken caffeine, alcohol and take-away foods out of my diet. This has helped. The other main trigger was physical and emotional stress, and lack of sleep. This problem has been aided by the children being at school this year, and my littlest in care two days each week - I have a much calmer life at the moment! I am taking medication to prevent the migraines, which is working wonderfully.
A side affect of this medication is weight gain. Over the Christmas period, just after starting on it, and then partaking in all the Christmas fare, I managed to gain 5 kilos in just a few short weeks. I was not impressed.
During my first costume fitting for The Music Man last month, we discovered that my skirt was too firm. I told the costume ladies I intended trying to lose the weight I had gained, and they encouraged me to do so as this particular skirt was unalterable. Eeek!! The pressure got me down, and I spoke to my Mum about my dilemma. 9 weeks until Opening Night. 5 kilos to lose. Medication increasing my appetite, and my weight gain, every day. No migraines though - so going off the med was not an option.
This is what she recommended.
She and my stepDad Ray have used the CSIRO lifestyle plan before, very successfully. I started that very day.
The daily portion guide went up on my fridge. Each time I ate, I marked with pencil which group I had eaten from. I cut all sugar and other treats out of my diet. It was hard. I was very hungry for the first few weeks, mostly due to my medication. The diet is actually quiet filling, if you eat all your portions each day. (The diet is fairly low in carbohydrates and quite high in protein but I don't like eating quite that much meat, so I tend not to have as much protein as is suggested - or dairy for that matter. Sometimes I'll have a handful of nuts instead, and fresh eggs are plentiful here so they can replace meat portions too).
I measured and weighed everything and gradually it got easier. It became part of my daily routine. Stuart joined me (though isn't as strict as I am ;)), and I began to feel quite fabulous!
The same week I started the diet, I also started exercising every day. This is an important part of the plan. Even though I've always been an active person, I was not a frequent exerciser per se, so this was so good for me. It has improved my heart health, and I am having very few episodes of SVT and palpitations now. I am getting more toned and my cardiovascular health is so much better.
My Exercise Routine: Basically I take a brisk walk about 4-5 times a week for around 40 minutes. 3 of those walks happen on weekday mornings, so William sits in his pram and we chat while I pound the pavement. I also have a "routine" of exercises I do 6 days a week at home (Sunday I get off :)). You don't need to join a gym to work out!! This includes 2 brackets of 100 situps (I only started with 15 and built up gradually - you can do the same!), squats, raises (going up onto your toes and down again - repeat up to 30 times), push ups, pectoral toning exercises (search the net!), tricep toning exercises, and lifting 3kg weights in various positions - again, start small and build up gradually! I've also just started swimming once a week - just starting small, and I know I'll be able to swim longer each week.
Stuart made a simple chart for us, and each morning before breakfast we do the "weigh in". Trust me, women's weight especially fluctuates throughout the month - don't worry about this. Stick to your plan, and you will keep losing fat and gaining muscle tone!
Despite my awful weight-gaining medication, I have lost 4 kilos so far. We've been going for about 6 weeks now. I couldn't be happier. And even though I look forward to adding some treats back into my life sometime soon, I know this eating plan and certainly the exercise is something I plan to stick to for life now. I just feel so much better.
And, my skirt fits! I had another costume fitting last week, and the costume is sitting much more smoothly.
Whatever your weight, whatever age and stage of life you're in, if you want to improve your health and lifestyle - let me encourage you to do it. Find an eating plan that works for you, write everything down, and stick to it. Be kind to yourself. Make realistic goals. Find time to exercise - even if it's just in little bouts here and there. If you can't walk for 40 minutes, walk for 10. Park a little further from the shopping centre and get a bit of a walk in. Clean your house as fast and as vigorously as you can! You can fit in 5 push ups here, and 20 squats there. Once again, mark it all down. Start small. And be proud of your achievements, big and small!