Anyone who follows this blog will know I have pretty much always had a problem with my weight. Even in skinnier times, my brain has always had a problem with the way I looked.
I have tried weird and wonderful diets, all manner of supplements and pills, caffeine, shakes, you name it. I did in fact once try a "diet" whereby one drank hot water with sugar dissolved in it and (euch) spoonfuls of olive oil in an attempt to "reset" one's metabolic rate and therefore become skinny without any effort (this worked for me, largely because once you've downed that much olive oil, you can't bear the thought of food).
I can stick to any "diet" for a week or so. I can give up drinking coffee and Coke and eating chocolate and cake. I can even cook vegetables and lean protein. What I can't do, is make it last longer than about a week. Usually around day 6 or 7, I will start to think "I've done really well; it wouldn't hurt to just have one teeny tiny can of Coke..." and then all hell breaks loose as I have "one teeny tiny" everything I've avoided eating for the last week. I'm not even sure you could count this as "yo yo dieting" since I rarely lost any weight in that first week before I went back to my old ways.
I used to exercise lots, which kept my weight at a reasonable level. Not so, since I had S; my weight has slowly crept up, so that I'm now at the heaviest I have ever been. And fed up.
When I heard about Thinking Slimmer then, I was intrigued. The front page of the website has the usual before and after photos, and lots of smiling people in nice dresses, talking about how much weight they've lost... but there's no outlandish claim of losing 100 pounds in a month. Thinking Slimmer is not only approved by the NHS; it's also an official partner of Change4Life.
Thinking Slimmer sent me a "Slim Pod" to try out.. a Slim Pod is a 6-minute MP3 that you listen to at bed time. It doesn't matter if you fall asleep, or don't concentrate on what the voice is saying; in fact, it's better if you do because the voice is speaking to your subconscious. Before you start, you have a guide book to read with some bits to fill out. You set out what you want to achieve from the program before you start, with the idea that you set that intent in your mind, and the Slim Pod helps you to work towards those goals.
I also signed up for the Helping Hands 12-week online mentoring programme. Once a week a lady called Jackie sends me a Google Form to fill out, asking me a set of standard questions - not weight and measurements, but asking me how I feel about things, whether I've noticed anything different. Jackie will then reply to my answers with personal responses - she is a real person, not one of those awful automatic emailers. So she says "isn't it great that you're feeling so good on this" or "sorry to hear you've had a bit of a blip; could it be hormonal? I find that happens with me..."
I've been doing this for four weeks now... I say "doing this" - really, all I've done is listen to my Slim Pod every night as I go to sleep. There has been no effort involved on my part at all.
So how am I getting on?
I have this thing about chocolate. If I pass the last shop on my way home, and haven't bought any chocolate, I get a bit panicky. Is there any chocolate at home? Is there some cake or something I can have instead of chocolate? Can I sneak back out to the shop later, or should I turn around now?
A few days into using the Slim Pod, I realised I was just walking home from the shops like a normal person. There was no chocolate in the house. I wasn't sitting here in the evenings, wishing I'd been to the shop and bought some chocolate. I wasn't eating chocolate.
Don't get me wrong; I still enjoy chocolate, and I still eat it; but I don't obsess over it for hours at a time. I don't panic if there's none in the house, and it's not the first thing I think about as soon as S is in bed in the evenings.
I can't tell you if I've lost any weight. I weighed myself before I started on this, but I don't want to weigh myself yet, in case I've not lost any weight and it makes me feel disappointed. Right now, my clothes do feel a little more loose, and someone did tell me yesterday that I looked like I had lost weight.
I have a pedometer that I used to sometimes carry around with me, if I had a pocket and thought I might be doing some walking that day, perhaps, maybe, if I could be bothered. I often lost the thing for weeks at a time, and couldn't be bothered a lot of the time. When I started this program, I decided that I wanted to take a minimum of 10,000 steps each day. I unearthed the pedometer, and put it in my pocket. It has been there almost every day since. Without really thinking about it, without thinking "oh, I need to do more steps today" I have somehow managed to hit my target most days.
My diet is still a bit dodgy: I often skip breakfast; I drink too much Coke; I eat a lot of rubbish. But I eat less rubbish than I was before. Sometimes I look up in the evening and think, not just "oh, I've not spent my entire evening eating" but also "oh, I've eaten three square meals today!" Things are slowly improving.
What I absolutely love about this, is that although there is no dramatic inch-loss and no magic cure, I am making no discernible effort. I am not employing my (distinctly lacking) willpower or denying myself anything I want. I'm just genuinely finding that a lot of the time, I really fancy a piece of fruit or some vegetables. Or that I don't fancy anything to eat at all!
Note: I was provided with a Slim Pod and access to Helping Hands for free, in exchange for blogging about my experience. This was not dependent on my writing a favourable review though, and all words and opinions are my own.