Trick or treat – Danger zone ahead!

Seven months after joining Weight Watchers I had reached a weight loss of 60 pounds (4st 4lbs).   I was very pleased because I was doing what I thought I needed to in order to lose weight and it was working.   I was being smart, eating healthy (low point food) for meals so that I could have my unhealthier (high point) treat at the end of the day, usually a sweet dessert or chocolate or both!  Looking back now, I know that I didn’t have a real change of mindset at this point, also I was in danger of becoming complacent because I was just working towards a goal, which was still a long way off.

The summer holidays came and I went off on my first all inclusive package holiday since starting out on my journey. This was a challenge to my efforts and could easily have set me back quite a few pounds of progress, but fortunately it was just a one week holiday and involved lots of walking around to visit the sights.   I was relieved to have only gained 2 pounds when I returned to the scales after that trip.  Over the years holidays have become one of my main learning experiences, you can read more about my thoughts on holidays here.

CC on holiday after 60lbs weight loss - danger zone
7 months after starting my journey – 60 pounds weight loss

Holidays are a rare occurrence but on an everyday basis the places I visit may seem harmless enough but in fact they can pose the most danger to my efforts.  The supermarket shop is always interesting.   I try to write a list, at first this was not so much because I was organised but more because I tend to be forgetful and would come home without a lot of the food I actually needed.

I’ve recognised the supermarket as one of my danger zones.  I’m a sucker for new products, especially sweet ones.  I can often be heard squealing with delight as I go around the aisles discovering new items..”oooo look at this, oooo look at that!”  Now I hear myself too and have a little chuckle about it.  The difference now is that I’m armed with a barcode scanner, which I use to check foods to see how high or low they are in Weight Watchers points before I buy them.  The higher the points value, the less healthy the food usually is.  Most of the time the item isn’t worth it to me and goes back on the shelf.  Instead I take photos of new products so that I can make my own healthier version at home.

Another of my danger zones is my workplace.  A social side effect of the workplace is the constant stream of indulgent food – biscuits, chocolates, birthday cakes, etc., every week there is one thing or another.  Combine this with a high paced, stressful day and I find myself in a weakened state. When I’m tired, it becomes easy to reach for a quick fix.  Knowing this I try to plan ahead, when I know that events are happening, I take in my own snacks – fruit, light snack bar, etc.

Photo of fruit and a light snack bar to avoid danger zones
Be prepared for danger zones with healthier snacks

I’ve started to think of it like this,… ‘if I didn’t bring it, I’m not eating it’.  But being only human, sometimes I still give in and have some.  When that happens I don’t dwell on it because in the grand scheme of things, it’s one fleeting moment.  I’ve learnt not to let it overshadow the good choices I’ve made that day or week and I no longer allow myself to use one poor or unplanned choice as an excuse to slide right back into my unhealthy habits.

Life is full of potential danger zones, getting to know your personal danger zones is not always easy.  The trouble is that you have to go through it to know how dangerous it is. If you’re like me, it can take several times before it clicks that I need to steer clear or arm myself against the danger beforehand.  So the next time you come to a danger zone, the trick is to stay in control of the treats.  Be aware and be prepared!

CC – A healthy life and me on the road

So it’s summer and a lot of people are thinking about heading off on summer holidays to places near and far, or enjoying an increasingly popular ‘staycation’.  Holidays are one of the occasions that people use as a target deadline for getting into shape and weight loss, especially if the holiday involves peeling off the layers of baggy clothes worn throughout most of the year and showing a bit more of our skin and body.

As I prepare to go off on my summer holidays, things are a little different this year.  I’ve been away for the summer before, which usually meant over indulging on local delicacies, fast food, ice cream, alcoholic drinks and lots of lazing around.  My way of thinking was that I’m on holiday so I could let loose and slip back into my old unhealthy habits, forget about weight loss,  it didn’t matter if I put on weight.  In previous years I’ve returned home to find that I had gained 13lbs, on another occasion it was 9lbs.  This additional weight would come off once I’d got back to normal, eating sensibly and exercising, but the weight would take twice as long to come off as it did to go on.  During my last long abroad I found that quickly got tired of the high fat and sugar food I was eating.  I longed for the home cooked dishes I’ve become accustomed to eating, so much so that I wrote a list and meal plan of what I was going to eat when I got home.

This year I have a different mindset.  Something has finally clicked in my head and even though I’m going to be in a different country, I know that I’m still the one who is in control of what I eat and what I do.  What I love and prefer to eat most has finally become the healthy option. Fortunately for me, this is a self catering holiday.  I’m doing my own food shopping and cooking.  The knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the years will help me to make healthier choices.  Things might be a bit different if I was staying at an all-inclusive resort for a couple of weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, life doesn’t revolve around weight loss.  I’m certainly not saying that I’m going to deny myself the pleasure of enjoying my absolute favourites of what the local culture has to offer, but the portion sizes will be controlled.  And once I’ve had it, that will be enough to satisfy me.  Quite often it is the memory of a particular food or drink that makes it so appealing.

Now that I’ve incorporated activity and exercise into my lifestyle, my attitude to just leaving that behind when I step on the plane has also changed.  My Fitbit will be accompanying me on this trip and I’ll be getting out and about to make sure I get those flashing lights and wrist vibrations by hitting my daily Fitbit target.   I’m a tourist at heart, which goes well with subconsciously racking up steps while seeing the sights.

There’s a lovely beach where I’m staying with a long stretch of sandy shoreline.  An idyllic setting to make footprints in the sand and walk to the sound of the waves lapping at the shore. Followed by a cool refreshing swim in the sea.  I’ve found my paradise where I can relax, refresh and revitalise, mind, body and spirit.

CC exercising while on the beach on holiday
My holiday walking track

To be honest, this all sounds really quite amazing to me, I never imagined that my way of thinking would change this much.  It has taken several years for me to reach this place in my life, but now that I am here, it feels right.  Going into a situation with a plan, gives me a sense of control.  Even if things don’t always go according to plan all the time, I can be flexible enough to make adjustments when I need to. Going on holiday has always been a major challenge to my lifestyle change, this year it is one that I fully intend to conquer.

CC – A healthy life and me on the road – the video

This summer I took my healthy lifestyle on holiday with me.  Here are the video highlights to an amazing adventure.