The Queen of Quitting Sugar?

A while ago I wrote about giving up some of my favourite things in search of a healthy lifestyle. Time for an update on quitting sugar.

Other People’s Opinions

When I mention that I am giving up caffeine and alcohol, I get similar reactions from most. People tend to agree that they are good things to give up but feel that cutting back is enough. “I just couldn’t live without coffee / wine” is the general gist of it.

I don’t disagree. It’s just that I am an all or nothing kind of person. As I have said before, my motto in life appears to be ‘if something is worth doing, it’s worth going completely overboard with’. I don’t really do cutting down, I do too much or not at all.

When I mention that I am giving up sugar I get a similar reaction. Again, folk agree that it’s a good thing to cut down but feel that there’s absolutely no reason to give it up completely.

And then I mention that by ‘giving up sugar’ I mean ‘giving up fructose’. I mean giving up refined sugar and also giving up honey and dried fruit. I also mean cutting down on whole fruit (no more than two pieces of fruit a day). At this point I always get the same reaction “but why, they’re completely natural and healthy?”.

This is the exact same reaction as I would have had a couple of months ago.

But that was before I learnt some more about fructose.

It started with watching That Sugar Film. That led me to read Sweet Poison and The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie. For anyone who is interested I would highly recommend these books. They go into the biochemistry involved in sugar, fructose and people. They are very readable and make a complex topic easy to understand. It took David Gillespie whole books to explain this so I’m not going to even attempt to explain it in this post. Suffice to say that the research on the effects of fructose is not just slightly worrying, it’s terrifying.

David Gillespie is a lawyer who taught himself about biochemistry in order to understand his own weight issues. A highly intelligent man but not a doctor.

I decided (rightly or wrongly) that hearing from a doctor was needed.

I am currently ploughing my way through Fat Chance: the Hidden Truth about Sugar, Obesity and Disease by Dr Robert Lustig. It is an incredibly interesting book, but not exactly light reading. Dr Lustig has worked in childhood obesity for fifteen years so I am assuming that he has a good understanding of the human body.

Again, I am not going to even attempt to summarise a book in a sentence.

Again, the research quoted is terrifying.

For now, I find it hard to summarise what I have learned when chatting to other mums in the playground. So I do leave people a little baffled as to why I am quitting sugar. At some point I will need to work out a summary. Once I work this out, I will post it and it might make me seem more sane.

Another Weight Loss Plan?

I have written many times about my mission to lose the baby weight. If you are interested, take a look here, here and here.

I did start out looking at quitting sugar as a way to lose weight. But it’s not about weight any more.

It’s about health.

More specifically, it’s about my long-term health. Sugar consumption has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and a number of cancers. This is genuine, published, peer-assessed medical research.

It’s also about addiction. I have always been very independent and I don’t like feeling controlled.

In fact I love the weight I have reached at the moment. I am a dress size smaller and half a stone lighter than I was before I had children.

But that half stone does have a sneaky habit of creeping back on eventually. It would be nice to leave it behind for good.

Progress Report…

Sunday 29th October was my first day without sugar. In keeping with my ‘worth doing, going overboard’ approach to life, I have just gone ‘cold turkey’ and have had no sugar since.

So, this is the end of week three. Here is my week by week account so far…

WEEK 1 – Quitting sugar is really not that bad. So it’s a bit inconvenient. I’m having to read labels quite a lot and am very disappointed in mayonnaise, but I am really not missing sugar. I am totally loving buttered toast, full-fat greek yoghurt and cheese.

WEEK 2 – I have got this quitting sugar thing sorted. I am not missing sugar. I am feeling pretty good. I am eating less calories but not feeling hungry. I am clearly the queen of quitting sugar.

WEEK 3 – I need chocolate. I need it now. Or cake. Cake would do it. Lots of cake. I need cake and I am going to snap at everyone until I get it. In fact, I am just going to snap at everyone anyway because they are all just irritating.

Suffice to say, week three has been tough going. Apparently I am not the queen of quitting sugar. I don’t know if this is just how it goes for everyone on week three or if it is a hormonal thing or if it is just me. But I do know that it has been tough.

I have got through it so far without hitting the sugar but I am really hoping that week four is not the same.

I have resorted to frantic baking to try and combat how I have been feeling. Yesterday it was banana bread. A friend passed me the recipe from a baby weaning book. I was so desperate that I went to buy bananas just for this (yes, I know what I said about fruit, remember I said I have cut back not given it up). They weren’t really ripe enough for the purpose but they had to do. I also used wholemeal flour and a loaf tin which was a bit too big. It smelt fantastic.

It was not fantastic. I basically baked a banana brick. A tasteless banana brick. If I ever need to build an outhouse for my cargo bike, I will build it from this banana bread. I bravely soldiered on and ate half of it, but then accepted defeat and chucked it in the compost.

Today I abandoned the baby weaning recipes and tried another David Gillespie book, The No Sugar Recipe Book. The book uses dextrose as a sugar replacement. Dextrose is slightly sweet but not as sweet as sugar and it does not contain any fructose.

I made macadamia brownies with dextrose. The recipe says this serves 8-10. Clearly David Gillespie is well past week three of sugar withdrawal. Due to the way I have felt this week, I have decided to do whatever it takes to get through this until it goes away. Tonight it took half a chocolate brownie. To be clear, I don’t mean half a slice of chocolate brownie, I mean half of the whole chocolate brownie. This week, that recipe serves 2.

It wasn’t exactly chocolate brownie as we know it, but it was really good. My husband (who is definitely of the opinion that I am going overboard again) even approved of it. He possibly even preferred it to ‘normal’ chocolate brownie as he doesn’t like things too sweet. He’s more of a savoury snacks kind of man.

Having eaten all that brownie, I am now feeling somewhat uncomfortable. But I do also feel a lot more relaxed.

I Am Still Quitting Sugar

A long long time ago I was a smoker. It started as a 15 year old rebellion thing and turned into a habit. After many on / off years, I finally quit smoking around fifteen years ago. I had forgotten how withdrawal felt…until this week. Withdrawing from nicotine felt scarily similar to how I have been feeling this week. That irritable sort of twitchy, unsatisfied feeling. That strangely deflated realisation that you can’t have what it is you are missing. That you can’t have it ever again.

Realising the similarities has unnerved me.

Nobody would dispute that nicotine is highly addictive. Many people would dispute that sugar (or at least fructose) is highly addictive.

So why do I feel how I felt fifteen years ago?

Like I said, I don’t like feeling controlled. So tomorrow begins week four and I think I might start referring to it as withdrawing from sugar rather than quitting sugar.

Now, where’s the rest of that brownie…

Everything in Moderation?

I have always had an interest in healthy eating and I consider myself to have a pretty good diet. I have spent a fair bit of the past three years losing the ‘baby weight’ and I think I have a good understanding of how to eat well and lose weight.

However, I have been rethinking a lot of what I thought I knew.

Here are some of my favourite things:

  • My family
  • My bikes
  • My health (and that of my family)
  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Chocolate

These are not necessarily in priority order since this order could be subject to change moment to moment. To be honest, there was a time when my youngest was suffering with undiagnosed silent reflux and only ever slept for 45 minutes between 2 hour screaming sessions when coffee was possibly right at the top of that list.

I love coffee. I love coffee strong and black, or strong in a latte. But always strong. I’m talking about the kind of coffee you can stand a spoon up in. The kind that makes the unaccustomed wince and add 12 sugars.

I love red wine too. The more full-bodied the better. My weekend social life is fairly standard for a parent of young children and involves a couple of glasses of wine and netflix.

I also love chocolate. Actually, not just chocolate but pretty much anything sweet. I am the kind of person who does not just eat one biscuit but who eats the whole packet, in mere minutes. My husband knows to hide biscuits if he wants to count on one with his cup of tea the day after they are opened.

A couple of months ago my brother and his family stayed with us. Sadly, we don’t see all that much of them as they don’t live in the UK. Unsure of their beverage of preference, I stocked up on wine and beer. The preference was for beer so there was a good amount of wine left in the house after they left.

My will power when it comes to the things I love is sometimes in short supply. While I didn’t have wine for breakfast, I probably had a glass or two a night pretty much every night for a couple of weeks. Just to use it up you understand.

My coffee habit remained pretty static at two or three cups in the morning and another two or three (or maybe four) during the day.

Then one evening, I got a stomach ache. A really bad stomach ache. A doubled up in bed kind of stomach ache. Being over 40, I immediately diagnosed myself with a stomach ulcer, a range of cancers and other catastrophic illnesses. Grandad was called for emergency babysitting (thank you grandad!) and off we went to the out of hours doctor at 10pm.

Turns out it wasn’t catastrophic, it was gastritis.

Basically, my steady consumption of wine and very strong coffee had really irritated the lining of my stomach.

Nothing that some good old gaviscon couldn’t fix.

But for me it was a real wake up call.

So much for my view of myself as having a healthy diet with a few treats thrown in. A few treats do not send you to the out of hours doctor unable to walk because of a stomach ache.

It was enough of a wake up call that I have had no coffee and exactly 5 glasses of wine (and no other form of alcohol) since.

Stopping drinking alcohol was pretty straightforward. I discovered that tonic water on its own was actually just as pleasant as gin and tonic. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I haven’t actually given up alcohol because I have simply got out of the habit of drinking it. This weekend I did have a glass of wine and I really enjoyed it. But now I find that one glass is enough. In the past one glass just made me want another.

Coffee was a different matter. For a long time I have had occasional headaches with a dull pain behind my eyes. Kind of like being poked in the eyes. For two weeks after I stopped drinking coffee (and any other form of caffeine), I had these headaches constantly and I felt dreadful. Then suddenly the headaches went. What’s more, I have not had a ‘poked in the eye’ type headache since. I have not touched caffeine since and have no intention of going back to it.

Stopping alcohol was simply a matter of changing habits. Stopping caffeine felt like withdrawal. It really unnerves me to realise that I was addicted to something which was causing me health problems (headaches) while all the time believing I had a healthy lifestyle.

At least I still had my chocolate. A healthy diet and lifestyle with a few treats.

But then I watched ‘That Sugar Film‘. Following that I read Sweet Poison by David Gillespie. Following that I decided to give up sugar.

It has been a week since I took that decision. Here are my thoughts so far:

  • I am enjoying foods which previously I would have avoided as unhealthy such as buttered toast, cheese and biscuits and full fat greek yoghurt.
  • I am not particularly missing sugar for now.
  • I am realising just how many products contain sugar (seriously, salt and black pepper crisps – I was looking forward to them!).
  • I am not consuming as many calories and yet I am not feeling hungry.

Watch this space for an update on how this one goes…

So, ‘everything in moderation’ may well work for some, but I am not a moderation kind of person. As I have said before, my motto in life appears to be ‘if something is worth doing, it’s worth going completely overboard with’. So, I am not cutting down on caffeine, I am cutting it out. I am not cutting down on sugar, I am cutting it out.

For now I think I’ll stick with moderation when it comes to wine though.

 

Keeping up Appearances

Cycling and appearance has been making the news at the moment.

Chris Hoy declared in his new GQ style article that:

‘professional cycling gear generally looks awful on pretty much anyone heavier than eight stone and with more than five per cent body aerodynamic fat’

He has since apologised and said that the article was ‘tongue in cheek’.

For me though, the damage is kind of done. I don’t think I’ll be buying a Hoy bike any time soon.

After all, I might break it – I’m well over 8 stone.

What he said may not seem like that big a deal. I don’t think that Sir Chris really thinks that what he said is that big a deal. The thing is, it is that big a deal when it is said by someone like Chris Hoy. A man who is looked up to and admired by thousands of cyclists.

When I ride the cargo bike to get to places and ferry my kids about, I wear ‘normal’ clothes. Generally jeans because I frankly lack imagination when it comes to my wardrobe. I choose to dress like this because I am going about my normal daily business and the bike is just how I get there.

When I ride my road bike for pure enjoyment, I wear lycra. I choose to dress like this because it is so much more comfortable than jeans. I don’t actually care that much what it looks like. I care about whether I am warm enough. I care about not having my clothing flapping about in the breeze since this would slow me down. I may not be all that fast on the bike, but I would like to be as fast as I can be. Fast is fun. Quite frankly, I care about whether or not my arse is sore after a couple of hours on a bike saddle.

I have been cycling for years. I know why I do it (because I love it and it makes me feel like me). I don’t really care what other people think of my hobby or my clothing.

But that’s not the case for everyone.

Right now, more and more people are getting on bikes and this is fantastic. It is fantastic for individual people’s health. It is fantastic for easing congestion and pollution on our roads. It is fantastic for setting an example to our children.

Right now, more and more women are getting on bikes. Even more fantastic because women are under-represented in cycling at the moment.

Lots of these women will be concerned about what they look like. And lots of these women will have heard about Chris Hoy’s comments. And the vast majority of them will be over eight stone in weight. Where does this leave them? Are people sniggering at them when they walk into cafes like Sir Chris suggests?

Right now, there is a major problem with girls leaving all forms of sport and activity as they become teenagers. They leave sport and activity because they are worried about what they look like. They then fail to develop the habit of physical activity. A habit which would keep them healthy for life.

These girls are massively concerned about what they look like. And lots of these girls will have heard about Chris Hoy’s comments too.

Eight stone is not a healthy weight for many people. I’m sure that Chris Hoy didn’t intend to suggest that eight stone is a healthy weight to aim for. But the thing is, he is Chris Hoy. He is an icon that people look up to. I can make flippant comments all I want because very few people care about my opinion. If you are Chris Hoy and many many people care about your opinion, you need to be a bit more careful what you say.

In his defense, I think the article is so poorly written and confused that it’s hard to know what Sir Chris’s meaning really was.

Not that much of a defense though.

So cyclists, wear what you like. Be comfortable. Be whatever weight and shape makes you healthy and comfortable.

And be careful who you look up to.

And wear an aerodynamic helmet if you want to. Even if you’re not at the Olympics.

Me. Not at the Olympics.

 

Winning the Weight Loss Challenge

I’ve posted a couple of times this year about weight loss and me. About losing weight after pregnancy and about the culinary challenges I now find myself facing.

Time for an update and the update is positive.

Since New Year, I have lost just over a stone. Even better, I find myself fitting into clothes a size smaller. This is the first time I have been a size 12 in many, many years.

Yay for me. I feel great and I feel positive about maintaining my new weight.

The remarkable thing is that I’ve not really found it that tough to lose the weight this time. I’ve not been hungry and I’ve not gone without my red wine and chocolate at the weekend.

So I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing.

I discovered the myfitnesspal app when I first started losing the ‘baby weight’. I think it’s a fantastic tool. But, like any tool, how well it works depends on how well you use it. I have used it well and I have used it badly. More about that in a future post.

Here is why I think I might just of got it right this time:

  • Accurately measuring calories out:

I got a new Garmin (I am a bit of a Garmin gadget addict). My lovely husband bought me a Garmin Vivoactive HR for my birthday. I have tried all sorts of heart rate monitors over the years. All of these used chest straps to measure heart rate. All of them have ended up flung across rooms in disgust. I came to the conclusion that I am simply not the right build for chest straps.

My new Garmin is a watch which measures heart rate at the wrist. I have found it to be reliable and accurate. It uses the heart rate measurements to calculate calories burned, so the calorie count is pretty accurate. The Garmin Connect app talks to the myfitnesspal app so the calories I burn are added onto my daily allowance. It also counts steps so I don’t have to tell myfitnesspal how active I am (since this varies every day anyway).

  • Thinking about the quality of everything I eat

I have had my daily calorie ‘allowance’ set at around 1500. This is fairly low, but because I am on the bike pretty much every day for transport or fun, I generally have another 500 calories added to this to make up for calories burned. I have found that this level is perfectly achievable without feeling hungry as long as I think about the quality of everything I eat. For me this has meant lots of fruit and veg, and lots of malt loaf. I look for what I can eat which will make me feel the most full, for the least calories.

Sadly, if I consume 685 calories with a slice of tiffin and a medium latte from Costa (I love tiffin and latte from Costa) that is a huge dent in my allowance and it doesn’t really keep hunger at bay for long. That said, a small skinny latte from Costa comes in at 70 calories and, because milk is largely protein, this is actually not a bad high quality, low calorie snack.

  • Eating enough and eating often

Eating enough and timing when I eat has been a tricky one for me. I now never go out without snacks (for me, as well as the children). I would no more leave the house without bananas and malt loaf bars, than I would leave without a packet of wipes (Once you have had children, it is almost impossible to contemplate not having wipes on hand at all times, even once the children are out of nappies). I have realised that, if I actually let myself feel more than slightly hungry, I overeat.

Mid-morning and evening are the important times for me. We have breakfast pretty early, then the nursery and playgroup run is on the cargo bike. By the time I have done that, I always eat something. I often don’t feel hungry, but if I don’t eat something around 100 calories, I will find myself eating closer to 500 calories later.

I now try to keep meals under 500 calories, but I kind of count snacks as a meal – especially evening snacks. I eat with my children at around 5pm and I go to bed around 10pm. That leaves a huge stretch of time without eating if I don’t have enough calories to eat in the evening. So, I make sure I have enough calories to eat something in the evening. This is usually the calories I have burned through cycling, especially if I have been on the bike in the evening.

Some days, I find it hard to get my head around eating enough in the evening. It is hard to see that you have 800 calories left because it has been an active day and not to think that that is an achievement, especially if I’m not actually feeling all that hungry. I have done this in the past and have found that the next day, or even the day after, I go on a bit of an eating rampage. Bring on the Costa tiffin and unlimited home baking! So now, if I have 800 calories left at the end of the day, I use those calories before I go to bed.

  • Minor changes in family meals

I recently watched the ‘Hairy Dieters’ programmes and thought they had lots of good ideas for cutting calories without sacrificing enjoyment. I bought the cook book too and have found it really helpful. It has some good, simple, tasty recipes which have been acceptable to everyone in my family (Husband: larger portions, 4 year old: happy to eat most things, 2 year old: put bread with it).

I have taken the hairy biker idea of little swaps and used that with other meals too. So, if I make pasta and pasta sauce, for me I swap the pasta for baked sweet potato (5 minutes in the microwave so not a separate meal to my mind) – just as filling, half the calories. My family loves chilli and quesadillas – I make the chilli with quorn mince, use the food processor to add in loads of peppers in disguise, and I have baked potato instead of quesadillas. Lunches have been the same minor changes – one slice of toast with extra baked beans or scrambled egg is more filling for less calories.

  • Chilling out about going over my daily ‘allowance’

I no longer panic when I go over my daily allowance. I regularly do go over it and I am still losing weight. My reasoning it that I have my allowance set fairly low and that leaves a nice ‘margin of error’. According to the NHS, a woman should consume around 2000 calories a day to maintain her weight. So, even if I go over by 500 calories every day for a week, it’s really no disaster. I probably won’t lose any weight that week, but I probably won’t gain any either, and that is fine.

I am not en elite athlete and I never will be. It is not vital that I keep my weight low, it never will be. I just want it a little bit lower. I always go over my allowance on Fridays and Saturdays. Wine and chocolate. It is worth appreciating just how easy it is to consume a couple of thousand calories through wine and chocolate. This allows me to be moderate in my indulgences and to be aware of them, without giving them up entirely. If I have kept more or less within the limits I have set throughout the week, although I go over at the weekends, my average daily calorie consumption for the week is still under 2000 calories so I should still lose weight.

So, these little revelations have meant that for now I have found a ‘diet’ that I can keep to and not feel deprived. I also feel that I am not demonstrating an obsession with dieting to my children. I am perhaps demonstrating an obsession with healthy eating and moderation to my children. To me that is ok. I want to bring my children up to be active and to eat healthily, not to diet. I find that if I stay active and eat healthily (not Costa tiffin, or at least not too often), then I don’t need to diet.

 

Culinary Challenges

I’m watching ‘How to Lose Weight Well’ while I type.

I have no experience using any of the ‘fad diet’ approaches to losing weight. I don’t think I ever will, for a simple reason:

For an active person I am really quite lazy. Lots of these diets seem like a lot of work. I am just too lazy to work out proportions of protein to carbohydrate or any such nonsense.

Years ago (actually on honeymoon – how romantic) I read Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. His approach makes a lot of sense and is really very simple. This is the essence of it, as I interpreted it (rightly or wrongly):

  • Calories – if you eat more than you use, you will gain weight; if you eat less than you use, you will lose weight.
  • Quality – high quality foods tend to be lower in calories and tend to make you feel fuller. Think fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, little or no processing.

I have always aimed for a healthy diet, which to me means plenty of just such high quality foods.

Sadly, some of the things I really love aren’t really all that high quality. I love red wine. I love chocolate. I love cheese. I love lattes and cake. All entirely acceptable in moderation.

I’m not great at moderation. ‘If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth going completely overboard with’ might as well be my motto. This is possibly one reason why  could really do with losing a bit of weight.

As a mum and cook to a family of four it is not as simple as just deciding to change my diet. I face a number of culinary challenges:

  • I enjoy cooking. But I don’t enjoy it enough to cook more than one evening meal a day – everyone eats the same in my house.
  • I don’t really want to cook an evening meal every day. I like big meals which can be re-heated for a second night.
  • I don’t have a huge amount of spare time so cooking time needs to be planned for.
  • Cooking cannot be too involved. If I can’t pause midway through cooking something to change a nappy / sort out an argument / wipe a bottom / locate an essential toy without the meal being spoiled then it isn’t going to work.
  • I want my children to eat a balanced diet. I also want them to to develop a healthy attitude to food.
  • It really winds me up when I spend time cooking meals which nobody then wants to eat.
  • I love to bake, and love to eat what I bake.

There are also the individual requirements of the various members of my family:

Me

Likes: Most things, fish, chilli, anything in pastry, Christmas cake, chocolate

Dislikes: lamb, raw tomatoes

Special requirements: wants to lose some weight, doesn’t like to eat too much meat

Husband

Likes: stir fry, chilli sauce, curries, chicken, Nandos, biscuits

Dislikes: fish,

Special requirements: meals which can be reheated without spoiling when he gets in from work.

4 Year Old

Likes: a remarkable range of foods for his age

Dislikes: ‘crunchy bits’ (real or imaginary)

Special requirements: No different foods to be mixed together (pasta, broccoli and chicken = good; broccoli and chicken pasta bake = bad) or touching on the plate.

2 Year Old

Likes: milk, pasta, milk, boiled eggs (all traces of yolk removed), milk, cheese on toast, milk, pizza, milk, sausages, milk, ketchup (ideally with nothing else on the plate), milk, milk, milk

Dislikes: everything else. Absolutely everything else

Special requirements: vary from day to day.

Suffice to say that much of my waking time revolves around food. Thinking about food, planning food, shopping for food, making food, sweeping up food.

However, this is a challenge I am determined to rise to. Not least because husband and I are channeling our competitive selves in the hope of losing weight. We have a chart on the wall and weekly weigh-ins planned. And neither of us likes to lose.

 

Weighty problems

New Year seems like an appropriate time to talk about weight loss.

Weight can be a touchy subject so I had maybe better add a disclaimer. I am writing about my personal experiences with weight gain and loss. I am writing about it because I think about it. I include numbers because I think about the numbers. I think people should decide their own healthy and happy weight.

Disclaimer over.

I’ve never been small. I’ve been a size 14 most of my adult life and I’ve always been fairly content with my size. I’ve always been pretty heavy for my 5ft 5 too, around 11st 7lb. I’ve often thought I could do with losing a few pounds, but I’ve never really dieted as such.

Then I had children.

My first pregnancy I regarded as a license to drink chocolate milk. It was brilliant. Whatever I fancied I could label a craving. Everybody knows pregnancy cravings must be respected. If I’m honest, I don’t think I ever really craved anything when I was pregnant. I just allowed myself to be greedy.

Unsurprisingly, post pregnancy, I found myself shopping for size 16 clothes and weighing in at 14st.

I was no longer content with my size.

The trouble was that there was no way to lose the weight just by exercise. I had a new baby and was trying to breast feed. I couldn’t find the time to exercise.

So exercise took on a new meaning. I walked. I walked and I walked. I walked in the sunshine, I walked in the rain and I walked in the snow. The great thing about small babies is that they love to sleep and they love to look at stuff. Baby Danny loved his buggy.

I did a bit of running too and started going to the gym a couple of times a week.

I also discovered the My Fitness Pal app. I counted calories and I tracked steps and gradually I lost weight. Danny turned one and I was down two stone.

Hurrah for me.

Then came pregnancy number two. I lost the baby very early and to be honest, my weight was the least of my concerns.

Pregnancy number three had the very happy outcome of baby Ellen. This time I was more careful. I did not drink my own weight in chocolate milk. I accepted that I would gain weight, but I wouldn’t go wild this time.

Ellen was born and I was 14st 8lb.

I felt like I had been cheated out of 9 months of chocolate milk.

Back to my fitness pal. Back to the pedometer.

It was harder to walk everywhere this time as I had a 2 year old as well as a newborn. 2 year olds don’t like to walk for miles, or to sit in buggies for any length of time.

I got into running, I entered a marathon. I did too much too soon and never got to the start line of the marathon.

Ellen turned one and I was still 13 stone.

When I got the cargo bike and started using it five days a week getting Danny to nursery, I finally started to lose the weight. Six months of using the bike for transport and I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Hurrah for me.

But here’s the thing. My weight no longer just hovers around 11st 7lb. Instead, it likes to creep its way up to 12 stone. Maybe this is due to having children. Maybe it’s due to reaching my 40s. Maybe it doesn’t matter why.

I don’t want to be skinny but there are some weight related things I do want:

  • I want to go back to being content with my body.
  • I want to set an example to my children of healthy eating and healthy weight.
  • I want to race time trials this year and be as fast as I was before I had children.
  • I want to cook one evening meal which everyone eats.
  • I want to be able to drink wine and eat cake occasionally.

So my challenge for the start of 2017 is to find a way to balance all these wants.

Right now, I’m going to give this some serious thought. While enjoying a slice of Christmas cake.