Organise Your Weight Loss
I’ve come to realise that I need to organise myself better to help give my weight loss campaign a little kick and wake it up! I’m cutting corners at times and find that when I don’t organise myself and my time more constructively that I am becoming more stressed and overwhelmed and more liable then to veer off plan and choose less healthy options, like grabbing chips or skipping a workout to lie on the couch scratching myself.
Weight loss has been very slow the last few months so I want to regenerate the enthusiasm and drive I had in the first six months of my weight loss campaign and kick start losing this last 4.5 stone once and for all. Moving forward now I know I need to organise myself, to organise my time and organise my environment with more commitment to ensure continued and successful weight loss.
We all can go through stages where we plateau and lose focus but when we choose to organise ourselves more effectively with a focused plan of action we save ourselves time, cut down on overwhelming stress and gift to ourselves a more structured and successful route to sustainable weight loss.
Tips to organise your weight loss campaign.
- Make time for breakfast. If you find you are rushing and under pressure in the morning and just grabbing a coffee and slice of toast, you will be ravenous come mid-morning and liable to reach for something high fat or high sugar to eat. Organise your morning better by setting the alarm to rise even half an hour earlier to give yourself time to prepare and eat a substantial and healthy breakfast. Eating a filling and nutritious breakfast ensures a great start to the day and cuts out reaching for trigger foods later in the morning. Getting up earlier also means you can organise your time better to prepare a healthy filling lunch to bring to work which saves you from the temptation of grabbing a higher calorie lunch when away from home.
- Make time to organise a weekly menu plan, setting out breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for every day. Search out recipes you like and incorporate them into your menu. Then do your grocery shopping according to the meals and snacks you have planned. Following your menu plan takes the stress out of wondering what to make for dinner and sticking to your organised plan is a massive help in losing weight.
- Organise your menu plan to include healthy snacks and meals that you can rustle up quickly, leaving no excuses to be reaching for something off plan or throwing in the towel and ordering in a pizza or takeaway. I discovered this week in Tesco little 70g tubs of low-fat houmous in different flavours that I have with cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks and sliced peppers for a snack less than 200 calories. The only preparation is to chop the vegetables. Quick and easy. When I organise myself to have my favourite salad ingredients of spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, sprouts, seeds, blueberries and grapes in the fridge it only takes a few minutes to whip up a quick salad and top with canned tuna or can cook up a salmon fillet in minutes to add to it. When you organise yourself to have the ingredients you need to hand it is much easier to stick to plan and make healthier choices.
- Organise your kitchen cupboards and fridge, removing unhealthy or junk foods to make way for healthier foods and ingredients from your weekly shopping trip. When unhealthy foods or trigger foods are visible you are more likely to want them and to eat them. Get rid of it. If it is not there you cannot eat it.
- Further organise your kitchen environment to have your weighing scales visible on the counter and a pen and notebook to record ingredients and weights so you have accurate information to update your food diary. Have your measuring spoons and tools and spices etc. you like to use all in the one place and to hand to take any potential stress out of your food preparation. When you are rushing or hungry, being well prepared and organised helps you to stay on track and follow through with healthier choices.
- Organise time for batch-cooking or when making casseroles or Bolognese etc. to make extra to freeze. It can be a life-saver to have homemade frozen dinners to organise into your weekly menu plan and so easy to prepare on an evening you may be stuck for time.
- Have small lunchboxes and sandwich bags to hand so you can throw some fruit and a lunch together to bring with you if you’ve to leave the house and need to eat. This saves me buying high calorie sandwiches or fatty foods when I am out of the house and get caught when hungry.
- As always, organise time to fill in your Why Weight Ireland Food Diary and to fill it in honestly. I always have a notebook and pen by my kitchen weighing scales to note down meal ingredients and their weights which means I can enter correct and honest information to the diary. When I honestly keep my food diary and keep within my allowance, I consistently lose weight. Keeping a food diary keeps you accountable and educates you about your eating habits, helping you to change the unhealthy ones and reinforce the healthier choices you make.
- Set specific times for exercise each week and keep these appointments with yourself like you would any other appointment. Organise yourself that you always have workout gear ready and always know where your runners are. I make sure I have my gear ready for my midweek sessions and my weekend long run takes a bit more organisation. I have learned to organise myself better to be fully prepared for Saturday morning early runs by laying out my gear the night before and ensuring my Garmin and mp3 player are fully charged. I used to sleep over in my sister’s house on a Friday night but now I always come home to my own bed for an early night to ensure I am fully rested and can be up early for a proper breakfast and to show up on time for the club run. The thoughts of going for a run early on a Saturday morning can be toe-curling enough but when I organise myself well I have no excuses which makes it easier to keep turning up every week.
My Running Update
Running Session One – This evening’s session on the track is straight forward enough but challenging all the same. We’ve to run three repeats of 6 minutes each and run it “comfortably hard”, with a 2 minute break between each repeat. I am burning up in my hoody so really need to sort myself out a decent running top that hides my belly but doesn’t stick to it but is not a tent either! I do have some race t-shirts but when I run they stick to the outline of my overhanging stomach which jiggles all over the place and it’s so not pretty (I’ve tested them in front of the mirror at home, jogging up and down on the spot and I’m so not bringing that to the track!) Again it’s a challenge to gauge the correct pace to actually run “comfortably hard” but pull back enough to be able to endure the full 6 minutes and still have enough in the tank for the following two repeats as well. I’m happy with my increasing pace of 12:30/mi, 12:19/mi and 11:38/mi.
Running Session Two – It’s a gorgeous sunny evening for a run. I’m up for any type of session now except the Gears Session which is the toughest I find. I wince when Gary informs us that we are in fact running the Gears Session tonight. This is going to be pure torture but I’m just going to have to suck it up and acknowledge the benefits and rewards sessions like this bring. We’ve to run in 4 different gears for one minute each for a total of 8 minutes, have a couple minutes break and then back on to the track for another 8 minutes of the same. We’ve to run in gear sequence 1, 3, 2, 4 where Gear 1 = walk, Gear 3 = run comfortably hard, Gear 2 = run easy, Gear 4 = run hard. This session is barbarously hard, requiring much focus and grit to keep going and not just stomp off back to the car in a frustrated strop. I relish the walking parts to recover my breath. Again I am burning up in my big hoody. Our new assistant trainer, Sham, joins me for the last couple of minutes of the first eight minutes and I start to panic at trying to talk and breathe at the same time but I manage it and stay running, when all I want to do is be sick. I cover 0.68 miles at a pace of 11:59/mi. During my second eight minutes I feel much faster and I wasn’t talking at all so am surprised to see I was actually slower, covering 0.60 miles with a pace of 13:24/mi. I am absolutely banjaxed but thrilled with myself for turning up and getting it done.
Running Session Three – I fear this 11km/7 mile run ahead of me this morning. I went to bed early last night to get as much rest as possible and am up early to have a good breakfast and to talk myself into how this run is such a great idea! I fret a little as the girls I normally run with are either not there or running a different route today, Lauren promising me she’ll run out of Costa when she’s finished to cheer me on when I’m passing by. I decide not to rush the run today, to enjoy it and try find an “easy” pace to settle into, to pull back from a race pace and just concentrate on getting the miles in my legs. A lot of the run is out in the countryside so I’m hoping I don’t come across any barking dogs or I’ll be up in a tree before I can take another breath. It takes nearly two miles I’d say to find a comfortably challenging pace that both my legs and lungs can handle. I take a deep breath when I reach the road I’ve been dreading the most, the Link Road between the Dublin Road and Hacketstown Road as it is a long dragging incline for about a mile. I’m surprised to reach the end of it without having needed to stop or phone my sister to come pick me up. The downhill after this is sheer bliss. After another mile or so I reach Walls Forge and feel the worst is over but as I turn up on to the path I feel a twinge in my right knee. It disappears but it feels like this Runner’s Knee will always plague me. When I reach Lidl I laugh to myself as I murmur “ONLY 2 miles to go now!” and a fellow runner who started the 7 miles with me earlier is passing me by on the drive home, waving and beeping. With over a mile to go and passing Costa I know I will make it, feeling chuffed to be nearly there but also glad that it’s nearly over. I had totally forgotten Lauren’s promise earlier and out she bursts from Costa, roaring at me to “KEEP GOING!” and “YOU’RE DOING GREAT!” I start laughing and give her the thumbs up but am secretly very jealous that she is finished and lashing into a recovery hot chocolate and that I’m not! When I eventually reach the finish point I check my Garmin and see I have about another 0.25 mile to cover to reach the 7 miles so I stay going for a little longer to reach the magic number. I cover the 7 miles/11.27km in 1 hour 34 minutes, running non-stop and I feel Olympic.
My Weight Loss Update
I’ve lost 1lb this week bringing my total weight loss to 5 stone 2lbs. I seem to be able to stay on plan very well for the first 5 or so days, it’s the final two days before weigh-in that I decide “to live a little” and allow myself more nibbles than are necessary. I’ll stay moving forwards anyway. I have another 4 stone 5lbs to lose and it won’t shift by itself!
Warm Chickpeas with Spinach, Lemon & Harissa
This recipe is from Tesco magazine and is very simple and quick to pull together. To follow are ingredients for 2 servings, with 166 calories per serving. Enjoy!
- Olive Oil Spray
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed and chopped
- 1 tsp harissa paste
- 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 100ml vegetable stock
- 100g raw spinach
- zest of 1 lemon
- Cook the crushed garlic in a few sprays of olive oil over a medium heat for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
- Stir in the harissa paste.
- Add the chickpeas and vegetable stock and give it a good mix.
- Leave to simmer for 4-5 minutes, stir in the spinach and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Stir through most of the lemon zest.
- Plate up and top with remaining lemon zest.
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