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In my last blogs I’ve discussed the importance of movement – movement as medicine, functional movement and Integrated Movement Routines (IMRs). If our physical freedom is a high priority, we also have to pay attention to good nutrition.

Let me confess: food is not my forte. Meal plans and cooking are way, way down my daily list of priorities. Even now, after many years of being extremely mindful of what I eat, I see food as fuel rather than a daily pleasure. Bland and boring suits me just fine. The kitchen is not a place that brings me pleasurable memories, and I have very little confidence, nor the inclination, to prepare a meal for guests – but if someone is cooking something delicious, I’m your gal!

My relationship with food and my weight has always been trying, plus I have a very, very sweet tooth. During my pregnancy I gained nearly 50 pounds (22 kg) and for more than a decade, never managed to get anywhere close to where I was before. No-one could understand how I didn’t lose weight as I mostly ate very well, consumed very little processed food and didn’t drink much alcohol. In fact, I often skipped lunch because I was simply too busy to eat. I was generally uncomfortable, often bloated, and carrying far too much weight. I had tried so many diets and exercise plans to find a solution that when nothing worked, I simply gave up.

A family holiday twelve years ago was the catalyst for a total change of approach to my weight and nutrition.  One of my older sisters had lost a lot of weight – she looked fantastic – spritely and energized. Determined to get on track, (my sister looked younger and we’re 7 years apart!) I embarked on the same very strict and rigid eating plan under medical supervision for 4 months and lost 40 pounds (18kg)! Through the process, I learned so many valuable lessons:

  • Making nutritious, balanced meals wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be – it simply needed some thought and planning
  • I needed far less food than I normally ate at any single meal, could still feel satisfied and actually, far more energized
  • It didn’t take long before I had no need for any additional sugar, but kept a measured approach to treats
  • Mindfulness, healthy choices, discipline and balance are key

What’s worked for me?

The best part is that I have maintained my weight for the past 12 years sticking to some very simple principles;

  • I drink 2 litres of water every day, summer, winter, without fail
  • I eat 3 meals a day with roughly 5 hours between each and I never skip breakfast
  • I am very disciplined Monday to Friday, but since I don’t like deprivation, have a little dark chocolate every night
  • I control my carb intake
  • I have a treat or two on Saturday and Sunday
  • I have made friends with my scale – I don’t weigh every day – but rather than being the enemy, it’s a tool that helps me stay on track
  • I throw caution to the wind on holiday or at celebrations, but then get straight back to my Monday to Friday regime to shift any extra pounds immediately

Obviously, this isn’t for everyone, but it’s what works for me. And while there might be different strokes for different folks, there certainly are some fundamentals we can all follow.

We are what we eat.

“The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison”  – Dr Ann Wigmore

These are some easy steps to take to take control and make healthy changes:

As mentioned, deprivation is really not my thing. There’s nothing better than a chilled glass of bubbly, pastries, a slice of warm bread with a generous layer of butter or a long, lazy, joyful lunch with friends at a table laden with deliciousness. My daughter likes to say, “you do you”, so pick your indulgence and revel in it!

But only on weekends and holidays!

Yours in great health,

Liz Grantham