Friday 10 April 2015

Lisa Gets Leaner

Hey, guys!

Here begins the first of the blogs about weight loss as an ex-anorexic with chronic fatigue. It makes weight loss super scary and extra hard, but I seem to found a way of doing it! So, here is my first goal, and how I've managed to turn it into a feasible, achievable thing!

One the left below is my-terrible-at-posing-self in a size 20 dress from Primark. As with all dresses of theirs in this size, it fits my bust and belly. On the right is a size 18 from the same shop. As you can see, while it may be fine around my waist, the bust and belly areas are a little too tight to get away with, and there is a huge amount of sideboob/bra not visible in the photo. My first goal is the get my boobs and gut into the size 18 comfortably!

The way I have found works for me (and will NOT take over my life this time!!) is calorie counting. With the help of the a few things:

~ Diet Aids ~

The first is the application MyFitnessPal which sets a realistic daily calorie goal generated from one's weight, height, average daily exercise and how much you want to lose. It's very easy to add calories and track them.

I find this helps me keep to measuring out my portions and servings correctly - 30g of cereal is nothing!, and keep my meals sort of level. What makes this super handy is its huge database of foods which you can also add to yourself. While I find it easier to just work out and add calories manually, if you are likely to eat something again, you can search for the food or scan its barcode to easily add its nutritional value and calories to your daily entry.

As you can see, my recent foods in the Snacks is full of healthy choices! If anyone has a definitive answer to whether those Frys bars are vegan or not, please let me know. I crave chocolate so bad sometimes, I just hoped for the best.

One of my favourite things - which I'm sure you will learn about me as this blog continues, is visual evidence of achievement. A good graph is a grand way to represent progress of weight loss and MyFitnessPal provides this. Which makes me happy.

(Excuse the volume thingy, if you have a Samsung Galaxy Ace 3, I am sure you know just how difficult it is to get a screenshot.)

But my favourite thing about this the information it gives you after completing a daily entry:

Even if I go over my goal enough to warrant projected weight gain, it doesn't make me feel like crap about it like that sassy little shit, the Wii Fit Board (will be discussed shortly), and it blows my mind that this information could be my future.

Another application I have found helps is My Diet Coach. The Pro version, which I have now paid for also offers a calorie counting feature too, but I prefer MyFitnessPal for this. What I do use it for though is setting daily goals to keep my diet on track - you can customise these completely.

As you can see, achieving these goals gains you points, which help you level-up and earn fashion items for your strange little avatar thing. I think she is supposed to provide you with inspiration or something.

Therefore, weight loss is now a game. I like games. I can do it successfully now!

This ones visual weight tracker is not for me, but here it is anyway in case it is for you:

 What are these strange units of measurement called kilograms? I though grams were for baking.

Now. The Wii Fit Board. If you have Wii Fit Plus, I am sure you are familiar with the character they have created out of the balance board/scales. It's really rather annoying and likes to toy with your emotions. If you gain weight, it makes you think long and hard about why you did and makes you feel SUPER guilty, only to then tell you how it's completely normal to gain 2lbs a day through normal body processes! What an ass! All that aside though, I do like Wii Fit. It's how I weigh myself. And check my balance for some reason. I find how fat my Wii is hilarious, and the general experience much more fun than standing on some scales. Don't worry, I really am not a strong believer in BMI.

It also has this!

YAAAY! A nice graph AND nice words, sometimes.

Before I began working part time I used this game to do some light exercise daily, but I do enough physical work at the pub these days. I'm sure as my energy levels improve I shall hit up the games and yoga again though. For now it is just my scales. Scales I enjoy.

~ Keeping anorexia at bay ~

A few days into my new diet I did slip into a few hours of scrolling through pictures of skinny people on Tumblr and purging my food. Turns out what helped me was talking to a friend about it rather than keeping it a secret. This friend is losing weight with me too, which helps me feel less alone, less disgusting and like a normal person doing a normal thing that I shouldn't be ashamed about. In line with this is being open about my weight loss, posting updates on social media and talking to my friends about it is so relieving. It's like a safety net. Everyone is really supportive and that makes me feel loved and safe.

I hate to admit it but having ME/CFS does play a role in this. If I cut my calorie intake too drastically I completely break down and compromise my job. Which is very sobering for me.

When I find myself listening to the anorexic thoughts in my head rather than letting them float by, I manage it by talking to somebody about it or writing it down and practicing some cognitive behavioural therapy techniques I have learnt through years of therapy. I'm sure there are great rescources online out there for help with this but what I do is to write down all my anxieties and find out the real issue causing the worry. I remind myself of why I am losing weight and why I am doing it the way I am rather than starving myself. I look for evidence of the thing i am most scared of and evidence contradicting it. The contradictory evidence always trumps the anxiety's "proof" and after a deep breath i find I listen to it and eventually calm down. Does that make any sense? I hope so.

Talk to people. Seek help if you need it.

~ Weight loss and Chronic Fatigue ~

As I mentioned before, I cannot cut my calorie intake very drastically without relapsing, so I keep my goals realistic and relatively small. I also eat little and often, small meals every 3-5 hours and keep mainly to whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruit the best I can with a 80% / 20% rule on healthy food / naughty food so I stay sane.

I found a booklet from Freedom From ME really helped me which a kind friend of mine sent me. It includes lots of tips on how your diet can help you manage your symptoms, and has lots of recipes which are easy to cook lots of and have over the next few days, or keep in the freezer. I find if I have energy to cook on my days off I cook in bulk so i can eat well for the next week without having to cook each time.

If I find myself suffering more than usual I allow myself a little extra food and don't beat myself up about it. I find being sensible is the key.

I realise that currently my fatigue is mild-moderate. If yours are more severe you may find success with The Fast Diet which involves eating normally for five days a week and fasting for the other two. I have heard many people with ME/CFS sing its praises so it may be worth a try if you are wanting to shed some pounds.

Overall I find I am losing weight with hardly any effort at all. Just not overeating and avoiding takeaways. I hope this provides some useful information on how it is possible (for me, at least) if this is something you want to achieve, too.

If you have any tips for losing weight with ME/CFS and/or a history of disordered eating I'd love to hear them. Maybe we can help people!

Thanks for reading,

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