(By the way, anything underlined is a link to a previous blog post with more information on the topic referred to)
You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I started a StealthHealth trial with 3 real life ‘volunteers’ (i.e. friends I’ve roped in) or ‘stealthies’ as we've come to call ourselves. Well we’ve got off to a mixed start I think it’s fair to say! Trying to break old habits and introduce new ones is not easy at the best of times and my volunteers are all super busy midlife mums. Lasting change doesn’t happen overnight but I’m hoping that over the course of the month we can make real progress. Here’s what we’ve learned so far …
Jane is a proper foodie and as such her fridge is full of tempting delights (rather than the week-old bowl of spag bol or the half eaten yogurt that you usually find in mine!). She is a very busy working mum and super-sociable, so keeping the booze under control can be tough. Breakfasts are often a grab-and-go affair and exercise is squeezed in as and when. So, what Jane’s working on at the moment is managing temptation at home, sticking to the moderation guidelines for booze, having a proper balanced breakfast every day (Breakfast is Best) and putting more structure around her exercise by planning in 3-4 sessions a week.
Andrea has 3 kids under ten and her hands are definitely full. This leaves little time for her to prioritise her own eating so there’s a lack of consistency, some days are pretty healthy and others a bit of a car crash. Alcohol also features quite large due to a busy social calendar and it’s preventing her from achieving her health and weight loss goals. Snacking is an issue, again due to her busy lifestyle, so she often has to grab food on the run. Andrea’s areas of focus are similar to Jane - having a decent, balanced breakfast to get the day off to a good start and working on reducing her alcohol intake. I have also suggested that she does weekly meal plans focusing on Nutri Foods and to stock the house with healthy snacks.
Kate overall is pretty healthy but her issue is over-eating and snacking. This can happen when you work from home (I relate!) with the ever-present temptation of a fridge forage. Evening meals are quite lavish affairs and they eat family-style (with all the food in bowls on the table) so it’s easy to eat too much. So, for Kate the emphasis is on Eating with Awareness to control the snacking and Volume Control at mealtimes – I have suggested they try eating buffet-style with the bowls on a counter away from the table so she is less likely to keep topping up her plate.
It has been really interesting looking at my volunteers’ differing circumstances and pinpointing those areas that are making it tricky for them achieve their health and weight loss goals. My main takeaway so far has been that if you want to make real change you have to be committed to the process and prioritise what you eat for as long as it takes for the new habits to take root. Planning is absolutely vital, weekly meal plans, thinking about breakfast the night before, making sure you have healthy snacks to hand are all key to success.
And my last piece of advice is to keep going! It’s so easy to be derailed by a ‘bad day’ or even a ‘bad week’ but just draw a line under it and carry on. We all have weeks where everything seems to go to pot but don't just give up and dive headfirst into a pile of doughnuts. Just pause, regroup, refocus and continue. A long-game mindset is critical to achieving any kind of improvement to your health and particularly for weight loss, so remember when the going gets tough the tough get stealthy.
Please spread the StealthHealth love and recommend my blog to friends if you are finding it helpful.