You might want to make tea, this is a long one.
I'm working on a nail polish post for you - swatches of all the polish I got for Christmas (and before it, and after it, oops) so that's coming up as soon as I get them all together. In the meantime, I want to tell you about #ThinThursday, which is a twitter group (of sorts) that lots of tweeters and bloggers have decided to get involved in following an idea from Sarah. You can blog or tweet about your progress, or you can just read and know that if you're on a weightloss journey, you're not alone. Because it really is a journey.
As with all journeys, it's not straightforward. Mine certainly hasn't been. For want of a better explanation, I bloody love food. Food is my best friend. Put me in a room with a book and a fridge and I'd quite happily stay there until I ran out of one or the other. Honestly. I remember watching the documentary that former Steps member Claire Richards did, and hearing her say "The problem with me is, I have no limit. If I like the taste of something, I can genuinely eat it until I feel sick". That's exactly how I am.
I'm not going to go back too far into a whole "when I was younger" saga, but sufficed to say, my relationship with food has been on & off more than Ross and Rachel. I've had to do a lot of mental work to get to a place where I can admit, I actually have little to no self-control when it comes to certain foods. I know now that the only way around this is to stop buying the multipacks. I can't have the 6-packs of crisps, or the crackers, or the boxes of biscuits, or the big sharing bags of Doritos (share?!? I often ate two bags in a sitting) in the house. Can you imagine what happened in our house this past Christmas? Sharon went to town, that's what happened. I put on a stone. A stone, in just over three weeks. A stone that I'd busted my arse to lose.
That stone wasn't alone - it was company for the other two that I'd previously shifted and welcomed back with crisp-laden arms. Last year, apart from getting married, was a hell of a year for us as family. It was an absolute emotional rollercoaster and the whole family was just physically and mentally wrecked by the end of it. I put my own health completely to one side and just packed away as much as I could so that I'd feel better. Did I feel better? No, of course I didn't. I felt sick and guilty and much more than that - ashamed.
I felt so, so ashamed of myself. I kept thinking of all the people who had given me compliments when I had lost "the weight". It almost makes me not want to bump into anyone, to be honest, because no matter what their lips are saying, all I can hear in their heads is "My God, she was doing well, look at her now, she put it all back on, she's fat again, jesus...". I know that's completely my own self-confidence issues (never had any regardless of how big or small I was) but it's hard to shift. It's hard when you're trying to listen to someone and all you can think is "if I knew they were coming, I wouldn't have worn this top. This top clings more than that other black top. If I cross my arms, maybe they won't cop I've put on weight again. If I lift my head up, maybe my chin won't look as big...". Am I obsessed with my weight? Yes. I am. There's no point pretending otherwise, because if I'm not planning a meal, I'm sitting eating one, and planning the next one.
Because of my self-control issues (which I'm working on), I found that the only plan that worked for me was Weightwatchers. I need the structure, the limits. I know that it works, but it only works when I do it properly and I stop fooling myself. I'm not going to bang on about ProPoints or whatnot because that's not what #ThinThursday is about - it's about finding a plan that works for you, and we're all different. For me, I need to fool my eyes into thinking I'm eating a truckload of food. That's why, sometimes, when I take pictures of my meals people tend to think (as the husband does) that I'm eating an almighty volume of food - but I'm not. I bulk out with vegetables or salad, or rye bread and vegetable soups. If I had a tiny little meal my stomach would genuinely be roaring at the end of it (it's happened more than once). Do what works for you!
Now, on to something a bit less miserable - healthy food choices on a budget. I am a bit of a list freak and refuse to go grocery shopping unless I've got a shopping list, which I do every Thursday evening. I use the Tesco website to check all the special offers & prices then I go to Aldi & get whatever I need from there. I don't buy any Weightwatchers branded food anymore because I think that end of it is all a money-making gimmick and you can make nicer dinners yourself (I'm all about the dinners). I decided to show you some of the offers that are around this week so that we can all kickstart this journey with a bang - a very inexpensive bang. A fun snap bang, let's say.
Apologies to any UK people reading this (apologies to ANYONE reading this, I'd say your eyes are crossed at this stage) but these are just a few of the offers I'm aware of in the Irish branches at the minute.
- Low Low Grated Cheese Range - Usually €3.29 each, now 2 for €4.
- Actimel (any flavour) 12 bottles - Half Price, now €2.49
- Nestle Fibre One Cereal - Was €3.39, now €2.00
- Quorn Mince 500g - Half Price, now €2.00
- Belvita Muesli Biscuits - Half Price, now €1.83
- Happy Cow Light Cheese Triangles 24 pack (2 for 1pp, WW fans) - €1.79
- Harvest Morn Benefit Flakes (Very, very similar to Special K) - €1.89
- Savour Bakes Rye Crispbread (similar to Ryvita, 3 for 4pp) - €0.89
- Mushrooms 250g, Kiwi 6pack, Cabbage, Salad Potatoes 1kg - €0.59 each.
- Lemons 4pack, Carrot & Parsnip tray 500g - €0.59 each.
- Dairylea Dunkers Jumbo Tubes 4 pack - €1.49 each.
- Family pack of fresh Salmon Fillets - €4.99.
- Fresh Whole Chicken 1.3kg - €3.00
- Any 2 for €3 on Baby Corn, Shredded Cabbage, Stew Mix, Chopped Carrots (full range in store).
- Any 3 for €2 on Apples, Bananas, Oranges, Mushrooms, Peppers, Onions, Carrots & Parsnips.
- Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise 400g - €2.00
- Birds Eye Omega 3 Fish Fingers 10 pack - €2.00
- Unsmoked Back Bacon Joint 700g - €3.00
- Fresh Cod Fillets 2 pack - €2.99
- Low Low Chunky Cheese Triangles 8 pack - €1.00
- Muller Light 6 pack - Buy one get one free - €3.98
- Fresh Pork Loin Medallions - €3.29 per pack or 2 for €4.00
- Fresh Turkey Breast Steaks 400g - €3.89
- Light Tomato Ketchup - €0.79
Phew. If you're still with me, your medal is on the way.
The biggest tip I can give to anyone doing their weekly shop when they're trying to stick to any kind of plan is, well, to plan. Don't go in there with a vague idea of what you want, because you'll come out with god knows what. I proved this point recently when I went into Tesco the morning after a (very rare) night out at Christmas - I went in for dog food and "something nice", here's what I came out with....
I was going to write a list of other ladies (and gentlespoons, all welcome) participating but as I was doing it I decided... well, not to. Some people may want to participate but not blog, others want to tweet, others want to blog, and I didn't want to leave anyone at all out, so I left everyone out. If that makes sense.
If you want to join in then have a click on #ThinThursday and join in whatever way you want to. @girlfriday_bb kicked the blog posts off today with a great one over HERE, and @Princesswatsher did another great post HERE. If you decide to do one, I'd love to read it, so please do link. Otherwise, I'll catch you on twitter.
Have a great week, we're all in this together! (and if I could get the godforsaken High School Musical song of the same name out of my brain, I'd be delira).