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I guess this is a call for help, a big fat shout out to anyone who can give me the advice, support or kick up the backside I need to get back on track with my eating.

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know that despite the apparent success I have in achieving my running related goals my eating habits and behaviours are a constant challenge for me. It’s not like I don’t know how to eat well, I just struggle to do it consistently.

A few months ago I made the decision to quit weightwatchers, a programme that had helped me to shift over 3 stone of my baby weight. I wrote a post at the time called Why I am Quitting Weightwatchers explaining why, but I guess it was mainly because I had out grown the system and didn’t believe in it any more. It hadn’t made me a better eater, it hadn’t made me love my body more, it hadn’t helped me get to goal, in fact my weight was yoyoing the same 3lbs for close to 3 months so I decided to pack it in.

At first I felt a sense of freedom and empowerment and I began eating more of the foods I enjoy and not feeling guilt for it. I stopped weighing and pointing and calorie counting and instead listened to my body and are until full and a mixture of foods, steering clear from anything too bad for me.

My weight in case you were wondering stabilised for a good few months and I stopped weighing myself. Everyone around me said how good I was looking and that I had lost so much weight, when in fact I hadn’t, but my shape had changed. I just felt more in control and less stressed and obsessed about food.

However over the last couple of weeks I have noticed that the weight is creeping up again, despite the fact I am more active than ever. I am training 6-8 times a week in various capacities, and also running around doing various bits and bobs for the new business.

But perhaps that is where the problem is. I have no set routine at the moment and I am often eating on the go, and not sitting down for meals. I am grabbing things to give me energy and often reaching for the biscuit tin to satisfy my hunger. I am starting to go through cycles of guilt again, eating for the sake of it and not even enjoying some of the foods I am eating. The other thing is I never feel adequately fuelled for my busy lifestyle or my running.

I know I am not alone in this. So many women I talk to say it is their diet that lets them down.

My days of dieting are over, as are my days of wanting to be slim. I know I will never go on a fad diet again, but I would like to feel like I have my poor eating under control again, I guess I am just not motivated enough to do it alone.

I would love to find a nutritionist to work with, not only for me but for all the women in the same boat as me. I want to find a professional that understands the nutritional needs of overweight but active women, someone who can help us find balance without having to cut things out of our diets completely.

Does such a person exist?

In less than 2 months I will be competing in tough mudder billed as the hardest obstacle race in the world and I feel like if I don’t regain some kind of order with my food intake I will simply not be able to get around the course.

My training is progressing but my body is still about 2 stone heavier than it needs to be, and that is not in terms of BMI but more about WIWTB (where I want to be)

I know you can’t out train a poor diet and that abs are made in the kitchen, but no amount of motivational info graphics are helping right now.

Is there anyone out there that can help?

Anyone at all?

  1. I’ve done all the diet clubs – Weight Watchers first, then Rosemary Conley, and Slimming World most recently. I think the plan on SW is by far the best because it’s not about counting, it’s unlimited fruit, veg, lean meat, pasta, rice, potatoes, so you can basically eat as much as you like provided it’s good stuff. Having said that, I too have given up Slimming World because I too struggle with sugar, especially late in the day. There are times when nothing but chocolate will do! (Although I have found the Options hot chocolate to be really helpful at beating those cravings.)

    I now eat pretty healthily, exercise daily (alternating running and swimming) but I think my body has found its set weight, and is determined to stay there. I’m not quite ready to accept that I’ll always be big, but I am getting to that stage.

  2. July 23, 2014

    I completed tough mudder 2 stones over wiwtb! You can do it! Team mates and the buzz of it will get you through! Good luck and there is a reason tough mudder provide large shirts at the end of the race!!

  3. Hello Julie, I have just finished listening to Jessica Ortner’s Tapping For Weight Loss 7 week online course (1 hr a week). It’s NOTHING to do with food, hoorah! I eat for pleasure, nothing is off limits. It does address past experiences of dieting and “failing”, cravings, the pain under the weight, resistance to exercise/movement, our fear of shining, and re-writing our own script from hereon in. She includes 7 weekly 10 min meditations which is the one thing I happily commit to daily. Sometimes lying in bed before I get up! Sooo relaxing. It seems taking a moment to de-stress our nervous system helps to make more conscious choices around what, when and how much we want eat. Exercise-wise I already do one pretty cool “there’s no rush” yoga class a week and walk in nature 3-4 times a week for about 30 mins but for me, it has to be a pleasure otherwise i’m not interested 🙂 So far have lost 10lbs simply by tapping.

    • July 17, 2014

      thanks, a few people have suggested this. I will take a look for sure

  4. July 17, 2014

    I stumbled on your blog today. I am a in-training dietitian who will hopefully one-day work in the public health policy sector. These are the truths I have learned. Quick note: I never mean to sound like a jerk, but sometimes I come off as such, so I apologise in advance.

    1. Food is the other side of the healthy equation. The way you have made exercise a priority, you have to do the same with food. You have to think about and research everything you put into your mouth. Not in the sense of “will it make me thin/fat?”, but rather “will it provide me with good nutrition and not harm me?”. You have to make food a priority. You have to plan meals ahead, spend $$ on groceries and learn to love to cook. Find time. In the same way you found time to exercise.
    2. Food is (not) the enemy. In the past, we’d grow our own food, nowadays, not so much. Now it is presented to us FULL of salt, fat and sugar. Some people consider sugar a poison (myself included). I should rephrase, good whole foods that you prepare yourself are not the enemy. You connect more with the food when you are handling and preparing it. So much of our past collective cultures surround food. Life happens around food. You have to make peace with it (and if you can’t, maybe find out why).
    3. There is a science to eating well. You can’t deny that. Your cells need a mix of macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) for their everyday function. Your cells do not need the excess calories (and rubbish) we put in our mouths.
    Another “science” point. Know your ingredients. You will just automatically move towards whole foods when you begin to read about some of the ingredients in processed foods. Do your research on those.
    4. Addiction. Going back to the salt, sugar and fat. Companies have been getting us addicted to those three ingredients for 50 years. The Cadbury empire was built upon our genetic predisposition to really really enjoy those ingredients. When you take control of your food, it is a way to tell those greedy companies to sod off.
    5.One easy thing that you should consider doing: reducing animal products. Some dietitians like to day “try a meatless day once a week”. I say “try a meat-day once a week”. Meat should be seen as a treat. I am not saying go vegan, just reduce your intake of animal products (including cheese, sorry). My personal rule is “only when out”. I can only eat cheese or red meat when I am out at a restaurant. Plant-based foods are the best. I have run the numbers on a lot of foods and trust me: you can get enough of everything you need (macro and micronutrients) from plants. Plus, so much more ani-cancer,pro-glowing benefits. Also, what about the karma attached to factory-farmed cheap meat? Plus, all the crap that thtey eat/are injected with. Less meat is better for you, for the environment (don’t get me started on rainforests and methane) and for the animal. Win, win, win.
    6. Ok, one more “easy” thing. Don’t drink your calories. Fizzy drinks, fruit juices and alcohol. Watch their consumption. Someone on here suggested a food diary? Don’t foget to include drinks.

    I have rambled, sorry. Hopefully most of it makes sense/not too rambly.

    • July 17, 2014

      Loads of great snippets of advice in there. I am working on all of these…working on them lol xxx

  5. July 17, 2014

    I love cookies too and they’re the first thing I go too when I’m stressed. I love sweets in general. What’s helped me the most is eating for satiety – which usually in involves eating something that is a good and proper meal. This came as a big revalation to me because for a long time I thought I would do myself a big favor by eating just one cookie rather than a proper meal – what a fallacy. After eating a nice hearty sandwich that cookie doesn’t look or taste as good anymore. Also I’ve started eating A LOT more lentils and beans. For some reason, I’m finding that helps reduce my sugar cravings. When I do eat cookies I try to force myself to pair it with something like a glass of milk. Finally, I try to remind myself that after about twenty minutes of sugar euphoria I will turn into an angry low blood sugar beast – sometimes this prompts me to seek out something that is more fiber and protein dense.

    • July 17, 2014

      Thats a great idea to pair a cookie (or biscuit) with a glass of milk. That would stop me going back for a 2nd or 3rd, or 4th etc

  6. July 11, 2014

    There’s no trick to stop bad eating habits. What you need is a complete lifestyle change. Diets never work and if they do work, you will only have the brief satisfaction of short term results. You need to treat your body like the temple it is. Don’t put junk in, if you don’t want to look like junk. Everyone struggles with bad eating habits, but the only way to overcome it, is to start holding yourself accountable. It’s your responsibility. Some people weren’t blessed with the genes to choose healthy whole fruits and veggies over greasy fast food. We’re all the same. I wouldn’t say I used to be overweight but I was very unhealthy. I made the choice to be active everyday and adopted a vegan diet, which i stick to for Breakfast and lunch. I eat a ton of fruits and vegetables and I feel fantastic. That’s not to say I don’t indulge every now and then. It’s okay if you decide to have a piece of pizza or cake one day. It won’t set you back if you make the complete change. So instead of eating a candy bar, grab a banana or apple! Skip the ice cream and make a Banana “Nice” Cream! Its only frozen bananas, PB and almond milk! I am a very busy woman and I have a very demanding job, however I’ve stopped making excuses and made the change. If you need any motivation, I recommend Sophie Gray’s Way of Gray http://wayofgray.com/ She inspired me to change my life and I could not be happier. And remember…Don’t allow the scale to be a measurement of your self worth.

  7. I’m exactly the same and it’s holding my traing back. I find Patrick holford and fatgirlphd make a lot of sense.

  8. For me it’s being mindful about what I eat. Eating the things I want within reason. Ut sticking to healthy, fresh food not junk. The key is to actually think about the food when you’re eating it, savour it, enjoy it and then stop when you are full. It sounds simple but, with a busy life, it isn’t. It does work though.

  9. July 5, 2014

    Have struggled with my weight all my life so I feel your pain! At my biggest I was 18 1/2 stone and a size 24. I had a health scare due to my weight which landed me in hospital and that was the catalyst to sort myself out. I feel like I’ve got a handle on things now. I lost 7 stone through dukan and running in a little under a year and I’ve kept it off for 2 years now. I eat healthily now but am still careful and these things work for me to keep my weight down:- little or no bread, easy on the carbs, minimal processed foods, minimal sugar including not a lot of fruit, high protein. I make a real effort to plan ahead food for the family and myself for work so I always have lovely food to look forward to and am not grabbing anything. What motivates me weight wise now to keep on the straight and narrow is getting faster at running, it used to be what size clothes I could fit into!

  10. As someone who has decided to quit her (well paid) job to get fitter and healthier full time, I fully understand how you feel. In the last two weeks I have gone from no exercise to doing something every day and I have gained weight – putting on enough to get to that dreaded number (the one we all hope we never get to).

    In a fit of desperation and despair I today signed up to WW only to get a right royal rollacking off the OH for wasting money, giving up and then lectured how I wouldn’t be able to maintain my exercise on a diet as I’d lose energy. You see I join these groups I lose 7lbs and then I stick at the same weight no matter what I do. The funny thing is years ago I lost a lot of weight through stress and despite being the skinniest I’d ever been I still wasn’t considered light. I then got mentally happier and put all the weight back on.

    So I’ve dried my tears, cancelled my 2 hour old subscription to WW and am going to keep on trying, at the end of the day we all know what we should be doing but life is too short to measure, worry, guilt, be afraid of food. Food is a pleasure and should be enjoyed in moderation.

    I’ve completed many muddy obstacle races at a size 16 13st 13lb woman and am currently training to do the Dirty Weekend in April (20 miles 200 obstacles). My times weren’t particularly fast but I completed every single course (once with hypothermia) unlike some of my fitter/skinnier counterparts.

    The best thing we can all do is to keep trying our hardest but ensure that we enjoy our lives at the same time.

    Good luck with Tough Mudder, I’m positive you’ll get through it and don’t worry about times etc. most of the time these races are about camaraderie, helping each other and just plain old fun 🙂

  11. July 4, 2014

    You are not alone in this area, I too have had challenges with my eating habits for various reasons, one of them being I don’t enjoy cooking. I’ve worked with a dietician, naturopath and been a weight watchers meet before. I know how to eat healthy. But what I really wanted was to not feel like it’s a chore, to feel resistance every time I had to make a food choice. So my strategy involves a couple of things:

    – Monday to Friday I eat pretty basic means, steamed fish, steak or chicken with veggies or greens. Flavour impact is pretty low
    – the weekend is where I make 2 dishes that require a bit more time to plan and prepare but the flavour impact is so high. I like savoury dishes. These dishes get mixed in thought the week so I don’t get bored with the same flavours
    – I took some cooking classes to help me get passed my limiting belief that I’m a crappy cook or it takes to long. Really helped me build up my confidence
    – the biggest tactic was i I took an EFT course (emotional freedom tapping) to learn the technique and clear away my resistance of why I was always sabotaging myself. I loved the course. Again it’s not that I didn’t know how to eat well, it was the underlining reason of why. http://www.thetappingsolution.com

    Good luck on the Tough Mudder. can’t wait to see the pics.

    • I like the idea of eating a pretty standard diet during the week, makes a lot of sense. I think I need more than luck for Tough Mudder, a whole new body perhaps…but thanks and I will update pictures!!

  12. I was in a similar position a few weeks ago. I found an amzing book on Amazon… Clean and Lean Diet by James Duigan ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/Clean-Lean-Diet-Bestselling-Achieving/dp/0857831704/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404476100&sr=8-1&keywords=james+duigan ) I havent started the diet yet, but reading his theories i have found that i am making better food choices and educating myself on ‘clean, lean’ eating. I feel amazing, motivated and empowered.
    Good luck hun, let me know how it goes x

  13. I felt in a very similar position quite recently and have decided to do a Whole 30, which I am really enjoying. I took the decision to eat better and more healthily, rather than eating to slim and hopefully the slimming will be a by product of fueling better.

    Perhaps keep a food diary just to see where and what you’re eating at the moment, and then see what you can swap out for healthier options? I know it is only a short term strategy, but it might help fill the gap between now and finding a nutritionist. I’d also check out whether you’re eating enough if you’re training so much.

  14. July 4, 2014

    http://www.fatnutritionist.com/ — someone who understands that health comes in every size!

    I think you may not have to cut things out of your diet completely, but being intentional about what you eat (whether that means not grabbing on the go, or weighing/measuring things) might still be important for you. I have also quit WW, but if I want to maintain my weight it’s important for me to be intentional about what I eat. I do still track it (although I slip out of that sometimes!), but I make sure that I’m eating a good balance of macronutrients to fuel my running, I have a wicked sweet tooth, so tracking helps me balance the junk food indulgences with my good-for-you foods.

  15. What do you want ?
    How much do you want it ? Make a list

  16. July 4, 2014

    I too ditched ww as I didn’t want to “point” for the rest of my life and felt like it wasn’t attacking my bad eating habits. I have done lots of reading on “diets” recently and have decided that the real evil is sugar. 2 weeks into dramatically reducing my sugar intake I am 4lbs lighter and feeling SO much better (have lost over 4stone over last 2yrs). Sugar is so addictive and one biscuit leads to another and another. Have a read about it and see what you think. I have found it much easier than I thought and know that it is the right think to do. Sarah wilson’s “I quit sugar” book is amazing. Good luck!

    • I guess sugar is my problem, I eat a decent breakfast and can normally make it until lunch, but then in the mid afternoon it all goes wrong and I need to get my sugar fix. I will have a look for Sarah Wilsons book, thanks

  17. July 4, 2014

    I’ve been reading your blog for a wee while now and I think if you read mine, you’d see we have similar struggles. I’m currently struggling mentally too and the eating part is a huge part of it all. I’m slowly getting back into the running again and all the feelings of awesomeness that fuelled my 2013 journey are returning with it. However….. I never EVER weighed myself but the most important thing that I never EVER did was I never used negative language when it came to my food.

    So I never said “I can’t have… ” never said “I’m not allowed… ” instead I said things like “I don’t want…..” or “I’ve already got…. In for my dinner” etc. The way I looked as it was, if I really really wanted it, like a takeaway or crisps or chocolate or wine or whatever ~ well,I just had it. I knew how much effort it took to see the improvements in my appearance I knew how tough a journey it had been and I knew how long and how much hard work each bite would take me to work back off again, so invariably I chose not to have it. And there’s the key phrase…. “I CHOSE NOT TO HAVE IT” I’m a big girl, both in the literal and the figurative sense. I get to make, and live with, these choices.

    Good luck, don’t give up. You’ve come too far!

  18. July 4, 2014

    Hello 🙂
    I’ve spent the last 18years dieting & always achieved what I set out to do…& before the blink if an eye I’m back to putting all the weight on & more. Such a disappointment.

    However this year something changed! I swore at my heaviest i was going to lose this weight & keep it off for good! So February came & I started. Never ran before in my life, but started too.
    It killed me & I’ll never forget running for a 30second stint on C25k & practically was in tears!
    To date, I’ve now lost over 2 stone & ran my first 10k yesterday.

    I hate the word diet & feel that this only sets you up to fail, who or what gives the right to tell you that you can’t have something!

    So now I eat healthily all week & have my treats of a weekend – equally I run to be able to eat.

    Maybe your body has got used to your regime & all you need to do is shake it up a bit & kick your body back into shock of “wow she’s changed again!”

    I can’t give up my food & refuse too. I’ve always said I live to eat & not the other way round 🙂

    Be proud of what you’ve achieved rather than what you can’t & you will succeed. X

  19. July 4, 2014

    Hi! I’m a Health Coach. Part of my job description is to help people find ways of eating that work with their individual bodies and lifestyles. I also focus on body image, self care, and self love. You can check out more, including my own experiences, on my blog tianadodson.wordpress.com. Maybe we can have a chat and maybe I can help. 🙂

  20. July 4, 2014

    If you love chips, as in your pic, get an actifry and use fry light, if you were doing Slimming World, which we are not 🙂 .. They would be free. . They are amazing

  21. July 4, 2014

    Ha ha bit of a typo above of course we are not fat2fatbitch. Well I hope not :-). http://www.fat2fitbitch.com

  22. I hope you cam find someone to help you. I know what it’s like to have bad food-related choices stunt your life (and training), and it’s not great feeling like you are sabotaging yourself (which is how I often feel). Good luck.

  23. Hi you thoughts echo mine and Caroline’s from http://www.fat2fatbitch.com. We have both lost 5 stone each and probably have the same amount to go. We have been doing Slimming world for last 6 months and have decided to quick after not shifting any weight in weeks. Thoroughly soul destroying getting on those scales each week when we have trained so hard and put so much in to it. We have come to the conclusion that these sort of diets do not work for athletes 🙂 like us. We have noticed that although the scales have not shifted (or we have put on) something is going on in our bodies. Our clothes no longer fit. They are dropping off us and people are complementing us on how slim we look (I’ve recently put on 9lb) how can that be. I’m not sure a nutritionist like this exist. If they did I’d like to talk to them. I am doing some research and putting together my own plan. I am experiencing some success with soya and linseed bread. I am also looking in to self dialog and self hypnotism as options. My downfall is red wine. Look forward to meting you soon on your workshop

    • July 4, 2014

      I know exactly how you feel I follow the slimming world eating plan because I feel better eating healthier BUT I am 5lbs heavier than I was at Christmas BUT I can now run 10K I run 3 or 4 times a week and again I am a dress size down. Someone said to me that athletes have a higher BMI because of the density of muscle but who knows. I would love a chat to a sports nutrition expert to get advice.

  24. July 4, 2014

    I’m reading Anita Bean’s Slim Secrets. I haven’t put it into practice yet but it gives good advice on fueling your body for exercise.

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