Monday, 6 January 2014

I'm half the man I used to be!

The hardest thing about losing weight was deciding to do it, not deciding that I should (which was obvious), but deciding that it was going to actually happen. I was cautious to start with, I saw the nurse at my local GP practice regularly and took advice from the Leeds Weight Management service around nutrition and confirmation that the approach I was taking was sensible and safe for me. "Eat less, exercise more" seems obvious but there's a lot of rubbish written in online forums around maintaining as large a calorie deficit as I was so having a service in the city where I was able to talk to experts and have my mind put at rest was great.

The first thing I learned about food was that I had no idea what a portion size was. Even if I was eating healthy food I was eating enough for several people, I weighed and logged everything for months and when I realised how high in calories some foods are I started researching substitutes. I worked out how to do a cooked breakfast for under 400 calories, I used mashed carrot and swede instead of mashed potato, anything that would keep me below the calorie target. The second thing was how much flavour counts, if you're eating a calorie restricted diet then bland food is a killer so I made sure every mouthful was a pleasant experience.

Exercise was the hardest part to start though, getting out of breath walking round the supermarket meant I was starting from an absolutely abysmal level of fitness. I started with walking slowly on the flat on a treadmill three times a week but made sure every workout was harder than the last. It might only have been very slightly but those little tiny increments added up and in the second half of the year I'd started jogging, something that I couldn't have done in January if my life depended on it.

All of it came down to the initial decision though, actually making the decision that losing weight was not a goal but rather something that was simply going to happen gave me the right mindset to pull it off. It wasn't a matter of focusing on "if", just "how".

Blog post written by Gareth Davies, Weight Management Service user.

For help and advice about losing weight safely, contact our weight management team on 0113 843 2396.

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