Many of you have been following my Not A Diet feature, which has included various yummy recipes and things I’ve tried since being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The doctor told me to lose weight, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do. But I’m remaining body positive, and focusing on health, rather than looks.
I’m sure this story will sound familiar to many people. I have tried everything. Gluten free, dairy free, low sugar, restrictive, no snacking, upping fruit intake. And so on and so forth. I wanted to focus on making small, sustainable changes, rather than starving myself. I had an eating disorder as a teenager, and I have no wish to repeat the experience. But it’s been hard.
Calorie counting is a big nope for me. I become obsessed, tracking the numbers, making lists. So I’m not doing that. None of my recipes tend to have information about calories, because a) see above, and b) I make almost everything from scratch, so I have no idea how many calories are in things. I focus on logic when preparing meals, but I’m also interested in “diet myths”. And there seem to be a great many.
Did you know that whole milk can be better for you than semi-skimmed or skimmed? That sweeteners can be worse for you than sugar? That many diet foods (think Slimming World branded snacks) are full of crap? We’re fed all this information about what’s healthy and what isn’t, and some of it just isn’t true for some people and, honestly, some of it is plain rubbish.
Luckily for me, I have Colette and her wisdom at my fingertips. Exasperated, I reached out to her, and she kindly offered to take a look at my food diary. I kept one for a week, and sent it over to her. She came back with some interesting points, and surprised me multiple times. On Wednesday, I had chocolate fudge cake and single cream for dessert! I thought that would get me a ticking off. But instead, she noted that it was my “first sweet treat of the week”, then focused on my carb intake, and gave me a few pointers. (She even suggested I switch back to full-fat milk!)
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia earlier in the year, and have since discovered that it can affect your weight. Yay. Many people with Fibromyalgia gain weight. I first gained a significant amount of weight when I had the contraceptive implant, around 10 years ago, and through the subsequent hormone problems, but Fibromyalgia also makes it difficult to lose weight. Your body is essentially fighting itself, so it thinks it needs to store all the energy you put into it. Since exercise can be hard due to the aches and pain caused by Fibromyalgia, the energy from the food you eat is just sitting there. And on top of everything else, the medication you take can also cause weight gain, such as antidepressants.
tl;dr – Fibromyalgia sucks. Colette understands this (even if the doctors don’t!), and doesn’t tut at me, or assume I’ve been gorging myself on 25 bags of crisps every day because I haven’t lost any weight. (I fluctuate between a few lbs, which isn’t really worth mentioning.)
Since talking to Colette, I’ve tried to up my protein intake and lower my white carbs. Less bread, pasta, rice, and more meat and vegetables. I’m looking at my meals and seeing just how much is made up of carbs, and what aspects I can change. I’m also sticking with the healthier snacks – an apple instead of a chocolate bar, popcorn instead of crisps, etc. But weekends remain free. I eat whatever the hell I want – which doesn’t turn out to be that much or that unhealthy, but what matters is the freedom. If I want that cake, I’ll eat that damn cake.
The only problem is, my new Not A Diet left me a bit stuck for lunches. Since I work in an office with limited (read: none) kitchen equipment, what could I make that would a) keep in a container all morning, and b) fill me up sufficiently? Well, on Monday, I had leftover roast beef with cucumber and a few slices of cheese. On Tuesday, I had peanut butter overnight oats (recipe coming soon!). On Wednesday, I had leftover spicy chicken and peppers. Rather than filling up on pitta bread and crackers and bread, I’m now stuffing my face with yummy meat, crunchy vegetables and smooth overnight oats. I actually feel more full, and I definitely don’t feel like I’m restricting myself (gotta have that chocolate fudge cake!).
Colette is currently running a 28 Day Challenge. Through it, you’re likely to drop a dress size, and you’ll definitely get constant support, from both Colette and the Facebook group. The average weight loss is between 4lb and 15lb in just 28 short days, and, with Colette, you know she’s not feeding you rubbish (literally and metaphorically). She knows her stuff. She sends out weekly “cheat sheets”, covering subjects such as gut health, stress, sleep and how to boost your metabolism, and provides daily physical challenges. And if you do have a chronic illness, she’ll tailor her approach to help you.
As a body positive, feminist blogger, I wouldn’t get behind a gimmick, a typical “drop a dress size in a week!”, restrictive diet that makes you feel like crap. If you’re in the Hertfordshire area and want to get in touch with Colette, you can find her social media links below. She’s currently taking applications for November’s Challenge, so get in touch if you’re interested!
Colette was featured on The Bandwagon as January’s inspiring woman. Read more here!