I can’t hide the fact that I am slightly overweight, not massively so but I am about a stone (14lbs) heavier than I should be for my height. There are lots of things to blame for this:
- Comfort eating – I am a massive comfort eater. I have been since I was a child, I can remember sneaking into the kitchen and eating bags of crisps and chocolate bars when I was feeling lonely or sad. I still do this now, I eat as I think it will cheer me up to have some good food. Except that good food is usually the type that piles on weight – ice cream, chocolate, cake, cookies, doughnuts, crisps, chips etc.
- Binge eating – I also often find myself being unable to stop eating when I’ve started. I won’t just eat one bag of crisps but I’ll eat all 6 in the packet. This seems to be an impulse thing that I can’t control that easily especially if I have food in the house.
- Lack of motivation to cook – means I often end up cooking quick unhealthy things or worse still ordering in take away.
- Low self esteem – sometimes I find myself thinking I don’t deserve to be healthy and so I’ll eat junk.
- Lack of motivation to exercise – there have been days when literally the only movement I have done is to go to the bathroom if I really have to. The thought of doing more exercise just isn’t there.
- Medication – I take olanzapine which is a psychiatric drug notorious for weight gain. It gives you the hunger pangs so badly as it interferes with blood sugar and general blood chemistry.
I have been doing a lot of reading about diet and one thing that keeps coming up is the benefit of adopting a more Mediterranean style diet. Wholegrains, oily fish, legumes, vegetables, fruit, olive oils, some dairy, nuts and occasional meat. This is the sort of food I love to eat anyway so I am hoping if I see a plan as something enjoyable I’m more likely to stick to it.
However, as the list above shows, I have issues other than just choosing a diet plan to follow. Therefore, I need to come up with some solutions and action plans for my issues.
- Comfort eating – plan 3 meals a day and plan 2 snacks a day and only eat at these times. If I find myself wanting to eat at other times then have activities to do instead – painting, writing, cleaning, go for a walk.
- Binge eating – again stick to the 3 meals a day but also stop buying the junk food. If it isn’t in the house then I can’t eat it.
- Motivation to cook – choose recipes that are quick and take little prep but also remind myself that I actually do enjoy cooking.
- Low self-esteem – this is a harder one to just overcome but I am hoping through writing, connecting with people and reminding myself daily about the good things in life this will start to improve.
- Exercise – set a simple goal of at least walking round the block each day. Try to get up and move around the house at least every hour so I’m not just sat around.
- Medication – I can’t change the drug at the moment but I can try to be more aware of what is real hunger and what is just the drug working. Stick to the 3 meals a day and have healthy snacks for in between meals.