It’s time to kick my belly fat in the guts!
It’s time for me to tackle one of my demons. The weight I carry around my middle has been an issue for me for a long time. But now that I have a wee grand-daughter and an increasing number of health issues, I think I’ve found a plan that will let me face this challenge head on!
So, I’ve joined an on-line program for the Blood Sugar Diet. This program is based on proven science and I’ll be following it on-line over the next 12 weeks.
If, like me, you’re fed up with the spare tyre you’re carrying, or you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, then I hope you’ll find this useful. If you read my blog post you’ll learn about my fears and my preparation, and I’ll share the three exercises I’ve used to get me through. (Plus you can download my free Day in My Life worksheet.)
How I got to be like this
I’ve always carried a little extra weight, and always had a little paunch even before the birth of my daughter. But it’s been since my early 40s that it’s been getting worse. I now realise that this visceral fat could be the source of an increasing myriad of health issues affecting me.
Firstly I was diagnosed with high blood pressure; this was followed by terrible periods as I went through perimenopause. This has since been followed with treatment for a thyroid deficiency. Then, 18 months ago, I gave up all dairy products due to an increasing dairy intolerance and lately it’s the onset of arthritis that’s getting me down (not forgetting the 3 years of depression and anxiety – I bet that’s linked as well!).
Each time I turn up at my GP, she acts as though I shouldn’t be surprised to be diagnosed with a new condition; that it’s just a fact of life. I’m only 58 and I’m worried about my health. I’m tired of taking pills, I’m tired of being tired, and I’m tired of not being in control.
I’m also tired of not being able to buy trousers that fit. I’ve taken to replacing the waistband with a band of stretch ribbing. Comfortable but not exactly flattering. They might as well be ‘preggie pants’!
I now know this extra belly fat is affecting my quality of life and longevity. When my wee grand-daughter grows up I want to be fit enough to take her away on travel adventures; go scuba diving together and live out of a back-pack. At this rate she’ll be the one carrying me! 🙁
I know I’m not alone with these worries!
I know there’s lots of us who want to feel healthy and to fit into our jeans better. I know I’m not the only one who feels like a failure because I’m not fit and fabulous like some of our media icons. I’m sure we all wish we could be Helen Mirren who, at age 72, has got a wonderfully healthy lifestyle, strong opinions and great pizazz. I want to be like her when I grow up.
This is a complicated topic.
We all know what we should do to stay healthy. If it was as easy as just doing what we know is good for us, we would have done it already. Yes?
I’m not going to offer you some supposedly great advice today. Instead I would like to tell you about the blood sugar diet, and about my preparation and my fears!
The blood sugar diet is for anyone who:
- Is concerned about their blood sugar
- Already has raised blood sugar and wants to reverse it
- Needs to improve or reverse diabetes
- Wants to lose weight and stay healthy (That’s me!)
You can find out a lot more about the 12-week blood sugar diet programme here. If, like me, you have ever seen the BBC documentaries by Dr Michael Mosley you may already be familiar with his work on the 5:2 fasting diet, high intensity interval training (HIIT), and now his blood sugar diet. I trust in this programme because he seems to know what he’s doing. He relies on good research, and he’s cured himself of diabetes. That’s good enough for me.
In simple terms the blood sugar diet is based on:
The low calorie programme is designed to maximise weight loss quickly and to bring down and correct blood sugar levels as a result. This approach goes against the common myth that losing weight fast is bad for us, when in fact the research shows that losing weight fast is a great way to stay motivated and keep on the program. Any diet can result in subsequent weight gain, but the adoption of the Mediterranean style diet after you’ve completed this program encourages participants to maintain a healthy eating pattern over the long term and help keep the weight off.
So why do I feel so nervous?
Two things are bothering me.
First, the adjustment to a low calorie diet which is going to make me feel hungry no matter how many vegetables I eat. It will take all my willpower to stick to the plan. But, on the positive side, I love cooking and testing new recipes. I know I will have a sense of achievement from creating meals that are both healthy and tasty.
The second equally challenging issue is – giving up alcohol. I’ve been giving this a great deal of thought over the last 10 days as I prepare to start the diet. On reflection, I’ve traced my reliance on 2-to-3 glasses of wine every evening to the first time in my life when I was feeling really stressed. Looking back, it’s very likely that I was suffering from depression but didn’t know it.
I can see now how I’ve used alcohol over the years to mask the sadness and anxiety. A quick alcohol hit after 5 pm lifts my mood, but adds to my health issues. Giving up alcohol is not just about giving up my daily fix and creating new habits, it’s about acknowledging the past. It’s about turning around 30 years of reliance so that I can enjoy the next 30 years.
From my research I now understand that while I’m not prediabetic, I might as well be. My belly fat is the hard-earned outcome from many years of stress which causes the same issues, for example, Insulin Resistance which lays down fat.
As I do my daily meditation I have allowed myself to reflect on the past, as well as to visualise my new, healthy body and me new feelings of being energised and happy. It’s not all there yet so I’ve added three other exercises to help me visualise my future.
Three visualisation tools that work for me
1. Tim Ferriss – Fear Setting
This is like goal setting except that this is about facing risks and acknowledging our fears – not getting stressed about them.
I’ve used this approach to shine a light on my fears in doing the blood sugar diet. I discovered things that would have never occurred to me. But mostly it reminded me to be gentle on myself; to show myself the compassion that I normally offer others. Here’s Tim talking about how he uses ‘fear setting’.
2. Journal a future Day in Your Life
Here’s another use for this exercise that I’m sharing with you in this post. I’ve talked before about my Day in My Life exercise where I journal a day in the future. And I’ve described how you can use this exercise to envision your ideal future so that your decision making processes are innately linked to how you want to be and feel. It takes the pain out of decision-making because you will find yourself making the right decisions without the stress, or without even knowing.
This time, I’ve used this approach to capture the details of my new healthier life, and also, importantly, to describe the emotions and feelings that will come when I complete the blood sugar diet 12-week plan and achieve my goals.
Today I’ve used this very specifically and I’ve focused on a point only 12 weeks in the future. Just doing the exercise; writing down my aspirations, has made me realise how powerful this change will be. (You can download the worksheet here).
3. My Vision Board
Last time I was successful at losing weight (several years ago now), I had a photo of another one of my favourite stars pinned to my wall; her body but with my head!
Like Dame Helen Mirren, Bette Midler not only has pizzaz, intelligence and strength but has struggled with her weight.
This time I’ve created a digital vision board (below) for my PC desktop and printed out copies for my home office, my bathroom and on the fridge that captures both the emotions and tangible results. Wish me luck!
I’m really serious about this! Losing this weight is a health issue. The bonus will be feeling better about how I look and being able to fit those favourite jeans that are in the back of my wardrobe.
I’d love to hear from you.
Please leave a comment about your challenges – and successes – with dealing with the midlife belly fat, or anything else.
You can also leave your comments on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheloveslifeover50 which is where I’ll be leaving the occasional updates about the blood sugar diet. Please join me for the ride!