Jodi shares some of the unexpected benefits of the Midlife Method.
As we head into March, and with perhaps the weirdest winter ever hopefully behind us, I thought it would be a good time to check in again with Jodi. If you remember, Jodi was my Midlife Method 'guinea pig' who started the four-week plan from the book back in January. Not an easy undertaking during the short, dark days of UK lockdown 3.0! But, being the trooper she is, and motivated to lose those pandemic pounds, she threw herself into the programme and we followed her avidly here on the blog.
At the end of the four weeks she had dropped an impressive 8 pounds (just over 3.5kg for our metric friends), all the more remarkable when you consider that she is only 5ft 0" tall. BUT, as much as I am absolutely delighted that Jodi has dropped that initial weight, my main aim with the book is to foster long-term change and to ensure that any lost pounds stay lost. So let's hear from Jodi, one month on ...
Since losing an initial 8lbs in January thanks to the four-week plan I am now well into the 'maintenance' phase. I continued with 3 Light Days a week after the initial four weeks were over, until I hit my happy weight of 7 st 13, which is pretty much a stone lighter than when I set out. I am still doing one or two Light Days a week but otherwise I'm eating normally, but it's a 'new normal' if that makes sense. [Fantastic Jodi, your progress could not have been better and is exactly how I planned the Midlife Method to work so thanks for validating the book!! By the way, I much prefer this kind of 'new normal' to the covid kind!! - Sam]
The two best habits that I have kept, and are now second nature, are weekly meal planning and volume control. Sam talks about motivation in the book, and my motivation for meal planning is less about healthy eating (though this is a very good upside), and more about minimising stress and resentment in my life. We sit as a family and plan the weekly meals together on a Saturday night after supper. That way, everyone knows which days they are cooking and what they plan to cook. This leaves me Sunday to pop to the shops to get any ingredients we are out of for Monday, or amend the online shopping order. Honestly - it has transformed the levels of harmony in our household as there used to be so much bickering about cooking, and the endless need to come up with ideas on what to have for dinner was a real bug-bear for me. [You are not alone there Jodi! - Sam]
Now I feel like we share the load between us, and each of us really doesn't mind the cooking that we do. In fact, I might even say that we all enjoy it. Favorites are the Spinach and Chickpea Curry (p206), the Simple Chicken Chasseur (p222), which is our Sunday dinner favourite (how can it be soooo delicious?) and the Sriracha Chicken with Lemon Traybake (p213). Everyone has become much more adventurous about what they will eat too. So an unexpected win there all round. [Brilliant! Jodi has two older teenage sons and how fantastic is it that they share out the cooking?! I was VERY keen when writing the book that the recipes would work for the whole family because I really don't like the idea of Mum sat at the table picking at a measly salad while the family tuck into something else. Good food and eating habits are something we all need to learn and if the Midlife Method has helped with family harmony then that's another great upside! - Sam]
Portion control had got way out of hand, so it's small wonder I had reached an uncomfortable weight. I was eating way more than was needed to satisfy my hunger. I don't just mean on those days where you can't keep your face out of the biscuit tin. I mean the everyday things like eating way too much yogurt in one serving. Even healthy foods can bust your calorie budget. So I tend to start with smaller portions now, and if I'm genuinely still hungry, I'll just have seconds. Everyday things I do now are: just three soup-spoon dollops of natural yogurt a portion (about 100 ml), I'll have half the amount of pasta on my plate and pile up the rest with a delicious salad and add the Spicy Seeds Topper (p122, I may have a borderline addiction to this!), I buy medium eggs instead of large, I'll have one slice of toast rather than two, with two boiled eggs. Plus I often don't bother with butter, as it doesn't really add that much flavour. But if I fancy butter, I have butter - just not spread so thickly that it leaves teeth marks! You get the idea. [Volume Control, as I call it in the book, is one of the main tools for weight management. We typically overeat by sheer force of habit - as you say Jodi, taking more food than we really need to feel satisfied, slathering on the butter when a scraping will do, having that extra slice of toast. You really can retrain your body to be satiated with less food. - Sam]
I am still exercising, as that was always part of my life anyway. And I find using my FitBit to track daily exercise is motivating. I was tracking daily calorie intake, but I feel like I've got a fairly good grip on what the calorie content is for most foods I eat regularly. I think this is what you meant by getting to a point where you're not really having to think about food in that way. It's more about making tasty, healthy choices. [I call this 'Calorie Awareness' in the book. Once you have a handle on eating the right kinds of foods in the right quantities there's no need to be overly concerned with calories. In the initial stages of the four-week plan it is important to be focused on calories in order to understand the difference between Light Days and Regular Days to achieve the calorie deficit needed for weight loss, but after a while this becomes second nature. - Sam]
And a final thought. It's really nice to be able to sit comfortably in my jeans again, and even dust off quite a few favourite items of clothing that I haven't been able to wear for quite some time. Long may the healthy eating and healthy living last.
Well, I think we can call that an unqualified success! Thanks for sharing Jodi, I feel pretty confident that you now have the awareness and understanding around food and midlife health to keep that pesky extra stone off for good. HURRAH!