Why Slimming Clubs are GENIUS!

Why Slimming Clubs are GENIUS!

 

I didn’t join a slimming club until I was 31 years old.

 

(Well unless you count the time in my 20s when I joined with a friend, ate only cottage cheese for a week, lost 7lbs, was too embarrassed to stay for the talk because I was awarded ‘slimmer of the week’, and scuttled off giggling to buy some chips.)

 

Anyway I bit the bullet in my early 30s and joined again.

 

At the time I was at rock bottom regarding how I felt about my body and my size.

I was determined once and for all to do whatever it took to rid myself of my fat, and the shame, embarrassment and self hatred that came with it.

 

That first meeting though!

 

Oh my, it was excrutiating!  I was horrified at  being weighed by a stranger!   Mortified does not even cover how I felt at the number actually being written down!

After the weigh in, I thought I’d be able to slope off like I had that time in my 20s.  But the leader this time was much firmer and made me sit down for the ‘talk’!  All credit to her!  In doing so she got me in the habit of staying for the weekly meeting.

 

And what a revelation to discover that I  liked it!  I liked staying for the meeting talk!

For the first time in my life, I got to listen  to other people talk about how they struggled with food, and with how they felt about their bodies.

For the first time  ever I realised that I wasn’t the only one to feel intensely ashamed of my body.  I wasn’t the only one for whom the ‘eat less, move more’ philosophy seemed so much more difficult than it sounded.

 

The community element of slimming clubs is GENIUS!

 

I was hooked!

 

And this time round I ‘successfully’ lost weight.  (Don’t get too excited- my story is no different to anyone else’s.  Keeping the weight off proved to be it’s own challenge!  The ‘genius’ doesn’t extend quite that far.)

 

Now not only did I think I’d found the ‘answer’ to my weight loss prayers, but I LOVED the meeting environment too.

I’d found my kindred spirits!

Just like me, the other members too felt shame.  They too ate in secret.  They too binged.  They too lived in fear of other people judging them for their size.  They too cried when they looked in the mirror. They too pretended that it wasn’t them who had eaten their child’s Easter egg!!

 

I basked in the praise!

 

In the early days when I was ‘successful’, I felt like the star of the show.  I can honestly say I’ve never had so many compliments.

Everyone in the slimming club meeting was in awe of my transformation, my willpower, my commitment!  The praise, the compliments and attention made me feel great.  The shiny stickers I received for every 7lbs I lost, were addictive!

Honestly, it felt like the most amazing achievement of my life.

 

NO one praised me that much when I got my degree or my promotion or even after giving birth.

 

However once I started to struggle with maintaining the weight loss, the compliments dried up.  BUT I still had my community of fellow Weight Watchers.  And as I say I LOVED being part of that community!

 

We ‘got’ each other.

 

We encouraged each other when we ‘failed’ to stick to the plan.

We encouraged each other whether we lost weight that week or gained!

We talked openly about our relationship with food.

We could be honest about our emotional eating habits, and about our low self- esteem.

And often we were able to laugh at the ridiculousness of how we thought and how we behaved.

 

And this is the bit that slimming clubs have got absolutely right (BTW  I do know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea!)
BUT for the many women who rejoin slimming clubs time after time, the group support and sense of community make it feel like a safe, encouraging and nurturing  place to be.

 

I myself felt so ‘at home’ that 7 years after joining, I managed to almost get to ‘goal’ again, just so I could become a slimming club leader myself.

 

I worked in this role for 13 years!!  Mostly because I loved the meetings and loved talking with the members.

 

The truth is I continued to subscribe to something that had stopped working for me many years previously because:

 

a)  It had worked for me once and

b)  I LOVED being part of the community.

 

Of course I know now, that for me and for most other slimming club members maintaining the weight loss is pretty much impossible.  And it’s not just slimming clubs that fail to deliver long term weight loss.  All diets fail. Our bodies’ weight regulation system in the end is the winner. It ensures that we regain weight lost to take us back to within the range of our set point weights.

 

But yet in spite of this lack of long term weight loss success, many members rejoin slimming clubs multiple times.

Is it partly that they feel safe in an environment where others understand them?  Where they don’t feel quite so alone? I believe so.

For me for many years the benefits of the community, outweighed the humiliation of being a slimming club leader who was unable to maintain her own weight loss.

 

 

If you’d like to be part of my NEW supportive community, which will help you leave diet culture behind, and if you’d like to learn to accept your body just as it is then please click the link to join my FREE private facebook group- Time To Heart Your body and Live Your Life

 

And let me know about your own experience of slimming clubs in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Where are all the LARGER gym bunnies hiding?

Where are all the LARGER gym bunnies hiding?

 

I recently joined my small council run local gym.  It’s a really nice, new space, very reasonably priced and includes a variety of classes as well as the gym room.

I thought I’d break myself in gently by going along to the Legs, Bums and Tums class.

Break myself in gently?? Not quite!

It seems that LBT classes nowadays are more like mini bootcamps! (Or maybe I wasn’t quite as fit as I thought!)  I ended up working muscles that I’d forgotten were even there!

For a full 3 days after the class I struggled to walk down the stairs normally!  I had to brace myself to gracelessly lurch onto the loo seat each time I wanted to pee!  And I was heard making obscene noises every time I turned over in bed at night!!  Oh yes, multiple muscles were truly awakened!

 

 

Anyway……..

 

It’s time for me to make my serious point.  Here it comes:

 

Even though I’m not the largest lady on the planet at a (stretchy) size 16, I might be the largest lady to attend my gym.

 

Whilst there were lots of different ages in the LBT class, there was a definite lack of larger gym bunnies to keep me company.

 

 

And I haven’t seen anyone of my size or larger in the gym room either.

This makes me feel a bit sad.

 

Not because I feel out of place (I’ve done a lot of work on my own body confidence in the last couple of years), but because I’m worried that the larger ladies in the world are potentially missing out.

 

 

I know the gym is not for everyone………

 

but I do think it offers a good opportunity to move your body and get some feel good endorphins, without having to worry about what the weather is doing.

I’ve been going to gyms for about 20 years now, so I guess I have got used to them.  But I do remember a time when I felt extremely resistant to the idea of them, or of doing any exercise other than walking.

 

I thought gyms were scary and full of slim, glamorous women in lycra and full make up.

 

And in those days, I was deeply ashamed about the size of my body and my lack of fitness.  It wasn’t just gyms I was scared of, I hated the thought of swimming (changing rooms- enough said!!), running was definitely a no-no, and personal trainers were for people more deserving than me!

 

I worried that whatever exercise I tried, I’d show myself up by going bright red and sweating.  That I wouldn’t be able to do it.  I worried about what to wear. (In the end my baggy t-shirt and leggings seem to work just fine!)

 

I wanted to become more active, but I felt too embarrassed and too fat.

 

I wonder if lots of larger ladies feel the same and that’s why there aren’t any in my gym?  (I have certainly had some of my clients tell me they feel too embarrassed to join a class, go swimming or do any kind of organised exercise- so I know it’s not just me.)

 

And that is IMO such a shame!

 

 

So for those who are letting lack of body confidence hold them back from being more active, here are some messages I want to share:

 

  • Life’s too short NOT to treat your body to a bit of movement and some extra endorphins!
  • Most gym members are just ordinary people, who are probably focused on how their own bodies are looking and feeling. They’re probably not thinking about you at all!
  • Anyway, isn’t it time to stop caring about what others think? If they are judging you, that says more about them than you.
  • Research shows that exercise improves body confidence, because you’ll be focused on what your body can DO rather than what it looks like.
  • Your body deserves to be allowed to do what it was designed to do- MOVE!

 

And if gyms are really not for you, there are lots of other ways of moving your body.  Just find something that feels like fun.  There’s nothing wrong at all with a nice walk!

Or if you’ve always fancied it, you could even invest in a personal trainer to support you in building your confidence. You’re worth it and so that amazing body of yours! 😊

For more hints and tips on how to become more accepting of you body, whilst wriggling free from diet culture sign up for my fortnightly newletter >>HERE.  I’d love to keep in touch.

 

 

A letter from your fat wife.

A letter from your fat wife.

 

 

Dear Husband of mine,

Thank you so much for loving me for the last 34 years.

It can’t have been easy to be married to a fat woman.

 

By the time we met at age 20, I was already lacking in body confidence.

I first understood that I was fat when I was 7 years old. It was from that point onwards that I became body conscious and started to compare myself to others.

 

I’m not sure that I ever told you about my anorexic behaviours?  They persisted on and off, from my fourteenth year to when I was 18.  And you definitely don’t know that I dabbled with bulimia for a year whilst I was at university.

I don’t even think that you knew how self conscious I was, eating in front of people.  I felt comfortable eating in front of you though!

It’s how I knew you were ‘the one’.  (So many other reasons too of course!)

 

I wonder if you understood why I behaved the way I did?

….why I was jealous if you even glanced at another female. Terribly jealous.

I know at times I was irrational, temperamental, moody and yes spiteful too.  I was prone to shouting and crying.  I wasn’t always easy to live with.

I wonder if you realised that I behaved in this way because I was afraid?

I was afraid you’d realise that there were better girls than me out there.  And that you wouldn’t want me anymore.

 

But you married me anyway.

 

I wanted to be a size 12 on our wedding day. You told me I looked beautiful in my size 16.

And after we were married I no longer worried that you’d leave me.  I felt secure.

 

But my lack of body confidence still caused issues.

You wanted to have holidays abroad.  I didn’t.

I made excuses about money and the children being too young.  But truthfully,  I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where I knew I’d be comparing myself to other women in swim suits. I didn’t want to be reminded that I wasn’t good enough. I was ashamed.

 

Over the years I’ve made excuses not to socialise.  I’ve avoided reunions for the same reasons.  And in the process you have ended up missing out too.

 

 

Becoming slimmer caused it’s own issues.

As you know I lost some weight when we were in our early 30s. But I feel sorry now that during the ‘weight loss years’, I wouldn’t allow us to go to an Indian restaurant because of the calories.  You mentioned going so many times, and I always said ‘When I’m back at goal again, we’ll go!’.

Well that never happened, so we never went.

We didn’t have takeaways ever either.  Often I ate differently to the rest of the family.

I became a bit obsessed I think. (‘You think?’ I hear you ask!)

 

I remember you once saying to me ‘Don’t worry about it so much!  Just live a little!  We don’t know how long we have left on this earth!’

And you were so right.  The weight gradually came back on anyway, as it does for most of us who lose weight.

It seems the deprivation wasn’t worth it.

 

We’re in our 50s now

And finally I have started to see things your way.  I have left diet culture behind me and I am learning to embrace my body just as it is. My days of restriction, food and otherwise are over.

It’s taken me SO many years to get to this point of self acceptance. I now know that my body is love-worthy.  It’s beautiful in it’s own way. It allows me to do everything I want to do.

And let’s not forget the magnificent work it did in growing our 3 wonderful children.

 

It’s time for us to start to really enjoy life.

 

I’m sorry it took me so long darling.

A few years ago I might have thanked you for loving me inspite of my fatness.  But now I realise what you knew all along- that me and my body were always worthy of love, no matter our size.

 

 

If you have let how you feel about your body hold you back from living life to the full, take the first step in improving your body confidence by signing up to my free video series,>> 3 EASY STEPS TO BOOSTING YOUR BODY CONFIDENCE<<  

and join my free Facebook group- Time to heart Your Body and Live Your life

 

GUEST BLOG POST- by Emily Barclay of Embracing Fitness

GUEST BLOG POST- by Emily Barclay of Embracing Fitness
Let me introduce you to Emily Barclay writer of the blog below.
After years of inactivity and feeling sluggish, Emily got herself a dog and found that moving more made her feel better. She is now a qualified personal trainer, but rather than lurk in a gym wearing lycra, she supports women to get more active in a way that suits them.
I love the emphasis Emily puts on making exercise FUN!  I’m sure you’ll enjoy her blog 🙂

 

Exercise equipment you never knew you had in your home!

 

To get the qualifications I need to have to be able to help people get more active, I had to pass my Gym Instructor course. I am a gym member, I hardly ever go, every now and then I quite enjoy it (only if Homes Under the Hammer is on, if I’m totally honest) but really my life is just fine without ever stepping into the gym. And I’m a personal trainer. So if I feel like this why would any of my clients feel differently?

I know exactly what it feels like to be the person in the gym class who has no idea what the instructor is expecting of you, who can’t make their body move left the instant they hear the word (anyone else need a few seconds for it to land which way is actually left? Just me?!); I know how soul destroying it feels to be out of breath walking on the treadmill when Mrs Superfit is sprinting a marathon next to you, immaculate make up still in place.

 

Nah, no need for the gym at all if they are not your thing!

 

OK, so surely I’m therefore going to say you need lots of expensive equipment in your house then? Nope. None of it. You have everything you need already. Let’s do an inventory:

Weights – yep, you’ve got tins of food, bottles of water, bottles of wine, a dog, a cat, a child. All good weights to use. Oh, and let’s not forget body weight – there are SO many exercises you can do without needing any extra weights at all.

CV equipment – think treadmill, stationary bike, cross trainer – no need – you can do star jumps, running or marching on the spot, go for a brisk walk outdoors, run up and down the stairs. All gets your heart rate up, and without the mind numbing watching the numbers never move quickly enough.

Core – for getting that “corset” that trims your waist, protects your back, strengthens your tummy muscles, all you need is enough space to lie down, ideally on a carpet or rug – it’s not much fun on a cold tiled floor.

And one last thing – a means of timing yourself. Your phone should have a timer on it. I don’t even ask my clients to count! Nope, just do the exercise you’re doing until your phone beeps.

I am, of course, not suggesting anyone avoids asking for a treadmill or exercise bike for Christmas. Just, you could buy a cheaper clothes horse, and use the equipment you already have around the house….

For more information about my no-gym approach to getting more active, have a look at embracingfitness.co.uk – I’d love to have a Skype chat with you to see if I can help 😊

 

Desperately seeking ‘THE ONE’!

Desperately seeking ‘THE ONE’!

 

Desperately seeking ‘THE ONE’

 

Have you ever desperately been in search of ‘the one’?

The magic bullet that will make weight loss easy?  Your ‘soul mate’ diet if you like?

I still get odd times where I wish ‘the one’ existed (even though I know it doesn’t!) – I think many of us do!

Hard not to when we are constantly bombarded with seductive ads for weight loss, and so many different and ‘new’ plans all claiming to finally be THE one!

 

Some of us misguidedly believe that we have found the one- the diet plan (or slimming company)  that worked for us once (perhaps twice), many years ago!

We believe if we could just stick to it, it would bring us happiness again just as it did the first time.  We believe that there must be some imperfection in us, that prevents us from being successful with it- after all it worked before!

This is exactly what happened to me!  I thought I’d found my holy grail, the answer to my prayers.  And at the time it was.

 

Unfortunately that time was 20 years ago!

 

The truth is that I kept clinging to the ‘slimming club solution’, even when it was no longer working.

I blamed myself for not being able to ‘stick to it’, for having no willpower.  

It felt scary to admit that what had worked for me once, wasn’t working it’s magic any more.

 

According to Linda Bacon in her book Health At Every Size, the reason that restriction diets aimed at weight loss stop working, is that each time we try to diet it becomes more difficult.  Our bodies and our brains become resistant.

Our bodies adapt to what they perceive as starvation, by lowering our metabolisms and at the same time upping our hunger cues.

 

It’s not us who are the problem, but the concept of dieting that creates the problem. 

There are many studies and statistics that prove this to be the case. (Read the book if you want to find out more- it’s really interesting, and gives a perspective that the diet industry is loathe to share with us!)

 

Just recently I had 2 conversations with 2 different clients, which really brought home to me how searching for ‘the one’ can keep us stuck where finding a happier relationship with both our bodies and with food is concerned.

The first client talked about continuing in her search of ‘trying to find something that would work for her’.  The second was in a panic desperate to lose weight quickly in time for a Christmas do.

 

In both cases I observed that in their search, they were looking for an external magic bullet………..and here’s the thing.  In my opinion, there isn’t one!

There is no diet, no eating plan, no weight loss company out there that has been proven to bring long term success!  It is well documented that the HUGE majority of people who manage to lose weight put it all back on again within 5 years (if not sooner!).
(If you don’t believe me, google ‘Statistics that show how diets fail’ and also reference your own personal experience and the experience of people you know.)

 

I believe our best hope is to make health our goal (not weight loss).

And then to look inwards. To ask ourselves what behaviour changes we are willing to make for the long term. And then to make the time to create new healthy habits- and to recognise that this isn’t all about food. (By the way, if you do want a different approach to eating ‘well’, then eating intuitively could be a solution)

It’s also about moving our bodies more, managing stress, drinking alcohol only in moderation and of course smoking and drugs are not part of a healthy lifestyle either.

 

Yeah sure, all diets work in the short term……….but if they worked long term how come there has been no improvement regarding the so called ‘obesity epidemic’?  How come so many of us are still desperately seeking ‘the one?’
Something to ponder, eh?
If you feel ready to get some support to help you finally leave diet culture behind, please ask to join my free Facebook group- Time to Heart<3 Your Body and Live Your Life <<<<click here and ask to join.

 

 

 

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