Friday 27 February 2009

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

My b/f recently ordered Sky+ HD... he could 'justify' this because we have a ridiculously large TV, and it's never been 'used to it's full potential'. I rather cynically agreed... MY GOD the pictures are super stupid sharp!

I have to concede that it might have been a good (although not necessarily needed) purchase

anyway, we have 'anytime tv'... the sky box autonomously acquires programmes and films which we can watch anytime we like (hence the rather unambiguous name ;-) ) and one of these was a program called 'Secret Food Diaries'. It was about a lady called Danute Kostzanowska and her struggle with her Bing Eating Disorder (BED), it was really fascinating!

Now, I feel compelled to watch things like this because I really want to get a better understanding of matters like these. Especially BED because, if I'm entirely honest, I've been pig-ignorantly dismissive of people suffering from this. Mainly due to my own eating problems. I've known about BED, especially through the wonderfully supportive 'Eating Disorders' message board at Weight Loss Resources. But, because my own issues meant that I either didn't take the food in, or if I did, I disposed of it as soon as possible... I just thought that people with BED were just greedy scoffers!

That's awful isn't it, now everybody reading this probably hates me, but as I'm being honest about everything else on here I might as well detail what has been a bit of a prejudice... but mainly borne out of ignorance and cynicism, nothing more sinister.

Anyway, this programme was a complete eye-opener. Basically Danute (pronounced 'dann-oo-ta') has had an awful relationship with food for the past 30 years, starting as far back as her early teens (which is classic, I know from my own experience!), she had been an air hostess and basically starved herself to remain at a very thin 7 stone. She then met her son's father, but he left her when her boy was a baby... from that point forward she completely lost confidence and self esteem and cut herself off from family and friends and turned into a binge-eating recluse and weighed more than 13 stone at the time of filming.

Still, doesn't sound like something that would inspire too much sympathy from someone like myself who has been through an awful lot too. However, what became shockingly apparent was the fact that her BED was real, a proper disorder, and had full control over her.

There were certain foods, like chocolate, sweets, cheese, crisps and pasta would 'trigger' a binge, and once she was in the grip of it, she was literally powerless to do anything about it! She called these foods 'danger foods' and refused to keep them in the house. In actual fact all her kitchen cupboards were more or less bare, she had vitamins and a couple of tins of spaghetti as emergency food for her son if she hadn't bought dinner.

Because of not keeping any food in the house, it meant she had to go shopping every day for each meal, which she'd let her son eat on his own as she couldn't bear the thought of eating in front of him.

Once in the supermarket, odd things happened, she was unable to make simple decisions and was sent into a panic once confronted by any choice she had to make, be it as innocuous as deciding between a large pack of grapes or a small one!

she'd buy a few items, then go home... eat these, then go out, buy some more, come home, gorge on what she's bought... then go back out and buy more! She had no control and was in what looked like a state of panic.

after the binge, she was upset and vitriolic, she said that she didn't even taste the food, but just wanted to stuff it down, she just looked devastated.

along came 'eating disorders expert' Mary Wood, who I judged immediately as being overly (and perhaps needlessly) dramatic. However, she was great because she was so passionate about what she said, and he recognised that Danute had a 'real' problem, that she couldn't control or overcome on her own.

For the first time ever Danute was taken seriously! Later in the programme, and as part of her journey to recovery, Danute visits her sister and confesses to her problem. It was shocking how dismissive her sister was, she came out with things like "well, it might feel like a big thing to you, but to me it doesn't seem that way"... helpful eh?! She even tries to give her a huge bar of chocolate to take away with her, refusing to accept that this might be the worst thing you could give someone with BED!

anyway, I could talk about this programme for ages, it was a real eye opener... It was like she was never actually hungry, she never ate because of that, she ate because of an emotional necessity. When Mary left her on her own for a week she basically stopped eating because she was so terrified of anything she ate triggering a binge!

I really liked the slant that Mary took on the matter, how Danute was in fact punishing herself with food... she was just stuffing it down, even though her body didn't want it, she was bullying herself into eating so much and feeling dreadful about it afterwards.

I'd never thought of it that way and I guess that's what completely differentiates BED from just simple comfort eating. There was absolutely ZERO comfort present when Danute was binging, she looked like a frightened rabbit caught-in-the-headlights, gripped by panic, which resulted in a sort of feeding frenzy... it was really sad to witness and made for uncomfortable viewing!

Mary gave her back the control, by first introducing the old 'washing up liquid on the food trick', which is such a simple yet amazingly effective way of immediately halting in its tracks your desire to snack/pick/scoff what's on a plate. I heard about it from another Mum years ago... you know when your child has finished their meal but left something on their plate... just the odd chicken nugget or chip... just the one won't hurt... well, douse your plate in fairy liquid... that instantly changes what's on it from being the most appetising food present to the most revoltingly unappealing substance ever!

Mary took Danute shopping, to buy four days worth of food, she'd never done this before apparently! She's always been terrified that, by having the food in the house, she'd just eat it all. She got her to plan her shopping, and then ensured she only stuck to what was on the list.

She took her out for dinner and showed her that people weren't looking at her, they weren't concerned with her food choices and that it was okay to eat. Lastly, Danute called her old girlfriends together and went out for a meal with them. She admitted to them what had been going on, it was really emotional.

Talking about issues like these helps so much, it's empowering. The more you talk about it, the less of a scary nasty secret it becomes, and it loses its power and control over you.

She also started eating meals with her son, which was so good and made him really happy too. Previously he admitted he'd peeped through the crack in the door and watched her gorging herself on chocolate, I can only imagine how horrified she felt when she heard that.

It was so important for Danute to introduce some sort of normality around dinner times. I know first hand how lonely it is when you have to eat all your evening meals on your own. When I was a kid, my Mum had a very well paid job as a management consultant with a top company called Touche Ross (now Deloitte), and wasn't around much at all really.

In fact we just never ate together. I'd come home from school, either heat up a tin of something, or defrost a meal my Mother had made for me on the weekend, and eat that by myself on the kitchen bar. My Dad would come in later and make his own dinner and eat that in front of the TV in the front room, my Mum would come back later and cook herself something if she hadn't eaten out.

I remember vividly as a young child staying for holidays at my Auntie Joan's place and having her feel she needed to constantly apologise for my 'dreadful table manners' when eating in company, and making the excuse that my family never ate together at a table... excruciatingly embarrassing!

what strikes me about eating disorders, is actually how much about disorder they are... that's the word, 'dis-order'. Not having a healthy relationship with food, not having any structure to your eating.

What I liked about Mary's methods was that she didn't focus on 'healthy eating' per se, she first addressed the structure of Danute's eating. She started off by making sure she ate 3 square meals a day. It was telling that Danute said after her breakfast "for the first time I feel naturally full, not sick full, just happily full"!

I've started eating breakfast, as soon as I get to work I have something. It really does mean that I don't get to late morning and want elevenses!

It's so important to introduce some sort of structure and normality and to look at food just as it is - fuel! It's the tastiest fuel going, but that's essentially all that it is. Yet so many people have this emotional attachment to it. Yet in Danute's case it was so symbolic, she knew something was missing in her life, felt there was a void there, and was desperately trying to fill it up.

I could go on all night about this but I doubt anyone's read down this far! I do tend to ramble somewhat...

I finally just wanted to say that I find it really concerning that eating disorders, such as BED, are not taken seriously...

anorexia: just eat something!
BED: just stop eating!
Bulimia: just don't do it!

What I'm concerned about is the fact that someone like me, who should be really sympathetic as I spent many years in the grip of serious eating problems, and who might never really 'properly' recover (it's like being an ex-smoker or alcoholic, it never leaves you), can be so ignorantly dismissive of it and not recognise it for what it is - a really truly serious problem - what hope does anyone suffering have with being taken seriously by the rest of the population of 'normal eaters'?!

Wednesday 25 February 2009

"You're an advertiser's dream...!" what my ex boyfriend used to say to me... referring to how I got sucked into clever (or even not-so) marketing.

He was right though, and looks like I'm about to fall victim to myself yet again it would seem!

On the maximuslce 'maxiwomen' website, they have a new promotion where you buy 2 bottles of their 'Thermobol' fat burning pill, and a box of Promax Diet Bars and you get a free maximuscle bag, worth a staggering £14.99! ha!

anyone who knows me, also knows that I don't need any more bags, ever ever ever!

however, I'll probably buy this anyway as I'm keen to try out the Thermobol pills and I could do with a new rucksack for the gym... even though I know I don't need one!

although my current one doesn't have pockets... and the strings are annoying... and it doesn't have maximuscle on it...

oh dear

save me from myself!!

Tuesday 24 February 2009

No time, no time!

I'm not sure if it's something in my nature, but I do have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew!

I've not done any serious training for weeks, and I'm starting to get withdrawal symptoms!

There are excuses reasons though:
  • I have a zillion and one things at work I need to complete by the end of February (i.e. this week - gulp!), we have a new big boss and the concept of deadlines has been introduced... it's a scary thing to go from such a laissez-faire place to one that operates like an actual real-life office!

  • I was ill for nearly two weeks, this and hurting the back of my calf have put paid to my Flora London Marathon aspirations :'-( (I had planned to do my first marathon before I was 30 but this looks unlikely... fortunately I got a place via the ballot so can defer it til next year when I should be slimmer, fitter and stronger! ;-) )

  • I have recently discovered that I have parts in two plays! one of which is in Pride & Prejudice, I'm going to play Charlotte Lucas, which I'm very very chuffed about as it's the part I auditioned for :-D I think she'll be a great part to play as I think she's probably the character that develops the most throughout the play... she starts as a shy girl, 'on the shelf' as it were at the oh-so old-age of 27(!), but then capitalises on her opportunity to escape poverty by marrying a somewhat nauseating specimen of a man, and then proceeds to find ways in which to keep him occupied so that she can enjoy her new, more comfortable, life!
  • the first play will be performed in the last week of April, and P&P will be in July, so from this point until then I will be learning lines and rehearsing!

  • I am studying with the Open University (OU) for a degree in Computing with Business as they are both areas that interest me greatly. I sort of bypassed the whole 'leave school, go to sixth form, go to uni' thing by leaving school at 15 and then having a child at 16 (seems I've spent a lot of my life defying convention!) not that it has prevented me from getting a good job, but then I am a pretty determined and ambitious individual!
  • However, I'm only in the very first part of my degree journey, and it's bloody tough! Finding the time to just study, let alone complete the coursework is very tricky indeed and so many of my assignments are completed in the 11th hour, oh dear! I'll get the hang of it one day!!

So there you go, excuses for lack of activity on the training front. However, in my defense, I have cycled to and from work over the last 3 days, and will probably do so all week if I can.

I was greatly looking forward to getting back to the gym tomorrow, but have just realised that I have a training day out of the office tomorrow, followed by a play rehearsal in the evening...

no time, no time!!

Saturday 21 February 2009

First Pics - and second Measuring Up post

Okay, so this is scary.

I bought my bikini, it's a size 10, I really like it but it's blatantly too small for me, ha!

I thought I'd get a colour other than black, one of my new year's resolutions for 2009 (other than the obvious shaping-up!) has been to wear more bright and daring clothes... resulting in my trawling through various retro clothing shops and wearing 80's style lurex tops to work, haha... my poor colleagues!!

Anyway, I've taken my first load of pics. I'm trying to console myself with the fact that they'll make absolutely awesome 'Before' pictures, as they're bloody awful! It's funny how you have a pre-conceived idea about what you look like, enough so that when you look in the mirror it's your mind's image that's often reflected back, not your true one... this of course leads to people thinking they're thinner than they are... or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, believing themselves to be overweight when they're really quite the opposite! I'm sure that a lot of us have suffered from some sort of Body Dysmorphia or another from time to time. But in any case, the camera doesn't lie (unfortunately) so here we go, here's me now:

as you can see, I'm not hugely overweight, but I do have a lot of weight that I could do with losing and my muscle tone is practically non-existent!! :-(

I don't think I've ever had back-fat before, so this is something new, and not welcome in the slightest! The double-chin action is not appreciated either.

It's also shocking how bad my posture is, and I'm pretty sure I could pass for 5 months pregnant!!

Weekly Measurements

Date: 21/02/2009
Weight: 11st 4.25lbs
BMI: 24.3
Upper arm: 13"
Below Bust: 30"
Stomach: 30"
Hips: 37.5"
Butt: 43.5"
Upper thigh: 25.5"
Lower thigh: 17.5"
Upper calf: 15"

Weekly Difference

Weight: + 0.5lbs
BMI: + 0.3
Upper arm: 0"
Below Bust: - 0.5"
Stomach: - 0.5"
Hips: + 0.5"
Butt: - 0.5"
Upper thigh: + 0.5"
Lower thigh: 0"
Upper calf: 0"

Overall Difference

Weight: + 0.5lbs
BMI: + 0.3
Upper arm: 0"
Below Bust: - 0.5"
Stomach: - 0.5"
Hips: + 0.5"
Butt: - 0.5"
Upper thigh: + 0.5"
Lower thigh: 0"
Upper calf: 0"


As you can see I'm half a pound up from last week, not terribly surprising though as I've not been able to do any exercise these past few weeks apart from ride into work twice, so I'm not going to get too upset by that. The week before last I was 11st 6lbs so there is an overall loss :-)

Over my body I've lost 1.5", but gained an inch, so only half an inch loss to report. Still, not bad for someone who has been more or less a couch potato for the past two weeks!

I won't be able to train properly until after I've handed my next assignment in on Tuesday so probably won't be a huge difference to report next week either, but we shall see!!

Friday 20 February 2009

Workout Wallets

Weight Loss Resources, the rather fabulous site I've mentioned before, that I've used for the past 5 years or so to help me avoid the usual food nutritional value guestimation pitfalls, has a pretty damn good sister site called Diet and Fitness Resources.

Their prices are pretty good and, aside from the usual bog standard stuff like fitness equipment, diet and cook books etc... they also sell food diaries, and, more importantly for me, Workout Wallets!

These things are fantastic, seriously! I've been using them for ages and they're a great point of reference for seeing how well you're progressing.

Definitely more suited for people who like to weight train as there's a big section devoted to strength workouts, where you can enter your weight and number of repetitions. You get 13 double sided cards, strong enough to write on without needing to lean on anything really, and they're all in a handy A5 wallet (like the name dictates ;-) ) which you can put your pens and gym card, mobile etc in... I've seen loads of people at my gym casting interested/envious looks at them haha, they really look the part!

Wolé Adesemoye - the boy done good ;-)

When I was much younger, (i.e. late teens) I used to train at a gym in Chelsea as my son went to nursery nearby and it gave me a break. I did get down to quite worrying 8st 8lbs at one point... I do have a tendency to overdo things if I'm not careful!

Anyway, one of the gym trainers was Wolé Adesemoye, lovely guy, a real man-mountain but total gentle giant :-)

I stopped going to the gym when I realised I had to get my act together and get some qualifications under my belt.

I saw him a couple of years ago in Fulham and learned that he'd joined the fire brigade, but haven't kept in contact since unfortunately.

Anyway, about a month or so ago I was watching the new series of Last Man Standing, which I watched the first time around, (great series, found it impossible to dislike any of the contenders, they'd done a fantastic job at selecting them), and who should I see on the screen but Wolé! Apparently he won, which is just awesome!

Then I discover that he's endorsing the Maximuscle product range, which is great, but I must admit to being slightly cynical because I know that he's always looked that good, lol! I doubt that the products, as high in quality as they are, can really take too much credit for his fab physique ;-)

And now, he's started his own Personal Training business!

I'm so pleased for him, I know it's his first love and was surprised when he gave up the gym, but then I'm pretty sure the pay at Chelsea Sports Centre was far from sustainable, everyone knows that gym staff get paid a pretty shit wage.

Now, with his new high profile, he'll be able to command a far better salary. What a bright future he has ahead of him and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!

Well done Wolé!


Holes! Big bloody holes!!!

So I cycled into work today and yesterday. It's been a while since I got on my bike

I don't know if it's because of the recent mad snowy weather we've had, perhaps causing drains/pipes to freeze and then burst, but the roads are absolutely buggered! Between Oval and Victoria there are so many 'tears' in the seams of the road, umpteen holes, a lot of which have water seeping out of them... it's not fun!

Cycling in London isn't the most enjoyable of pursuits anyway really, well, that's not to say I don't enjoy it at all, I really enjoy having my own transport (can't drive, never needed to, Londoner all my life, been no point!), and saving on the travel fare (journey to work is only 4 miles, I definitely begrudge paying TFL to travel on their cramped, stuffy, overpriced sweatboxes, aka tubes), but the motorists are pretty nuts to say the least. I thank the heavens every day that I don't have to travel through the West End, but that's not to say that some of the motorists I encounter don't think that they still are haphazardly hurtling through 3/4/5??lanes of traffic on Haymarket.

Pedestrians irritate me when they do daft things like step out suddenly in the road without looking, cars make me nervous when they suddenly swerve in front of you, or a parked car's driver opens their door without looking to see who's coming along... but trucks, lorries and 18m bendy buses terrify the hell out of me!!

The colleague of a friend of mine was killed the other day, as she was cycling in London. She got dragged under a truck. Can you imagine anything more horrifyingly painful? My heart goes out to her family, I just hope that it was mercifully quick....

Aside from fire and drowning, being pulled under a truck and crushed to death is my worst fear. I think it ranks as #1 as it's the most likely of the three to happen! Very scary :-(

Thursday 19 February 2009

(Yesterday's) Food, Thoughts & Training

I was off work to study and had a good day yesterday with regards to my food discipline (wish my study ethic was the same!). I think I find it harder at work because, let's face it, sitting in front of a PC all day is hardly the most riveting of pursuits... even if you actually do enjoy your job, like I do. I get restless and look for things to snack on...

anyway, yesterday:

well, actually I slept in til quite late yesterday, probably due to the stupid amount of wine I knocked back the night before, and therefore missed breakfast. I'm not normally that naughty and have made sure that I've eaten breakfast for about 4 months now... quite literally breaking the habit of a lifetime! Talk about a bad one to have! I can't eat straight away first thing though, I have to wake up a little first...

This was going to be a milkshake but there was some of that yummy rice and salmon that b/f cooked the night before so I thought I'd finish that off, rather tasty it was too :-)

I got rather hungry around 5pm, I usually do around 4/5pm, probably afternoon 'dip', so had some carrots and celery... I don't usually go for quite that much in the way of rabbit food but mother hubbard's cupboard was bare! I tend to avoid eating naughty treats by simply not buying them. This benefits my son as well as me as if there is anything remotely snack like in the house he'll eat the lot... multi-packs of crisps an all!

b/f and I went to the movies last night. Our local cinema is pretty damn sweet, not only can you take your alcoholic drinks in with you to the movie, they have a rather decent café restaurant place that does gorgeous pizzas, nice.

we shared pitta and olives and I had a parma ham and rocket pizza, not laden with cheese and definitely not deep pan. not the healthiest of options but I had been rather good so didn't feel too guilty about it :-) we also shared some popcorn and I had a pint of becks 4%, avoided the vino and opted for a Chai Latte... I'm sure it had more calories but it was more about being able to wake up in the morning and function that I was concerned about!

Well, there was none of that! I did walk for half an hour to and from the cinema, but that was hardly taxing!

Very pleased at my restraint. I'm not going to beat myself up about having a pizza and popcorn, I don't do it every day and, quite frankly, I've not embarked on this to make myself miserable! If something is too difficult it's unlikely to be something you can maintain for any length of time!

The movie was fantastic btw, we went to see Slumdog Millionaire, it did what it said on the tin, it was a real feel-good movie, but not in the conventional slushy mushy cliché sense. Indeed, there were parts of it that made me feel far from good! Brutal but hilarious at times, and very very poignant. A beautifully made film, I'll definitely be watching that again!

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Sorry, but you're perfectly normal!

This sounds like such a cop-out, but I was actually genuinely concerned about there might be something other than excessive quantities of good red wine and large food portions, that might have contributed to my putting on 2 stone in the space of a single year!

So I took myself off to my lovely GP last week and she ran blood tests for just about everything! I had both my liver and kidney functions looked at, as well as the (obvious) thyroid activity levels...

well, I spoke to her today and my tests have come back fine.

So I'm in a bit of a paradox now, as while this is obviously exactly what I should want to hear, I suppose it does mean that I really do actually have to take full responsibility for the fact that I have done this to myself, and cannot attribute it to influences beyond my control, grr

ahh well, of course I'm happy that I don't have an underactive thyroid which would require medical treatment for life, or indeed anything more sinister, but now I have nothing and nobody to blame, except for myself!!


(Yesterday's) Food, Thoughts & Training

I'm going to attempt to keep a daily food and fitness diary... what will inevitably happen is that I'll forget or run out of time during the day so it'll be a belated update, lol

I'll also write down my thoughts too as how I feel about what I eat and how I look is the main reason I'm actually doing this!

So, for yesterday...


Strawberry slim-fast shake... yes I know I'm anti the evil milky sugar fest that is slim-fast, but I do have a few tins I need to use up! As I don't eat breakfast til quite late in the morning, there isn't too long to wait until my more filling and satisfying maximuscle shake

I met an old friend for coffee at lunch, it was fab, haven't seen her for about 18 years!! thankfully I'd nipped into Holland and Barrett beforehand so had a Promax Meal bar ready to hand, else I *definitely* would have succumbed to the panini temptation! This isn't the same as the Promax Diet Meal Bar which I would have bought had they stocked it... curious to see if there's any difference in taste/efficacy as they're around the same mark on the calorie and fat front... hmmm I'm a big cynic when it comes to gimmicky goods and tend to be wary of 'clever labelling'!!

my lovely boyfriend cooked us rice with salmon and stir-fried veg, very tasty and low in fat

I did however undo most of my good work yesterday by drinking almost a whole bottle of red wine to myself, ho hum...


This is unfortunately going to take a back-seat until after my uni assignment is handed in next week. Added to that, I've got been well at all and am just getting over my residual chesty cough.

that said, I have booked myself into a rather absurdly early spin class tomorrow morning, so let's see how that goes!


most annoyed at the amount of vino I polished off, it was rather lovely though and doesn't happen very often. my boyfriend and I have tried to almost eradicate mid-week drinking, and have done rather well (until now!)

very pleased though at my show of will-power at the coffee shop, the paninis and muffins did look rather good!!

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Slimfast Vs Maximuscle Promax Diet

Probably the main reason I've decided to switch from slim-fast to maximuscle promax diet is because of the protein content of maximuscle shakes. Protein is essential for building new muscles and also rebuilding existing muscles which you inevitably 'damage' when training, after all, weight training is essentially all about breaking down and regrouping muscles.

I was quite horrified to discover how much of the carbohydrate content of slim-fast shakes is made up of sugars!! That's an awful lot of quick-release energy, I don't want spikes in my hunger and energy levels. By contrast, Maximuscle Promax Diet shakes, are almost identical on the calorie front, but their protein content is super high and, of the carbohydrates quoted, there is a much smaller ratio of sugars to carbs... here's how both drinks measure up:

Maximuscle Promax Diet (Chocolate Flavour)

Per 100g dry product
Calories 358
Protein 63g
Carbohydrate 16.7g
Sugars 8.3g
Fat 5.8g
Saturates 3g
Fibre 3.3g
Sodium 0.6g

Per 60g Serving made up with 350mls water
Calories 215
Protein 37.8g
Carbohydrate 10g
Sugars 5g
Fat 3.5g
Saturates 1.8g
Fibre 2g
Sodium 0.36g

Slim-fast (Strawberry Flavour)

Per 100g dry product
Calories 353
Protein 13.5g
Carbohydrate 60.1g
Sugars 47.5g
Fat 6.6g
Saturates 0.8g
Fibre 11.1g
Sodium 0.3g

Per 36.5g Serving made up with 250ml skimmed milk
Calories 217
Protein 13.8g
Carbohydrate 34.3g
Sugars 29.8g
Fat 2.6g
Saturates 0.4g
Fibre 4.1g
Sodium 0.25
So, pros and cons for both:

Slim-Fast Pros
  • Very cheap, at £5.49 in Boots, and 12 servings per tin, it works out at about 46p a shake! Actually, Boots is running a 3 for 2 offer, so if you buy 3 tins of milkshake powder you actually end up paying 31p for each milkshake (minus the cost of the milk of course)
  • Availability - you can buy the powder at even the smaller pharmacies
  • There is a decent selection of products, and various flavours to choose from.
  • The Slim-Fast site has useful tools and online diaries (although these don't seem to be updated very frequently!!
  • is apparently a low GI food
  • has a generous assortment of vitamins and minerals thrown in (which is just as well as the powder would appear to be made of skimmed milk, sugar and food dye!)
  • you can buy it ready made (albeit at a vastly higher price per unit than the powder's equivalent), which is useful if you've got no milk, or a shaker, to hand.

Slim-Fast Cons

  • Tastes 'powdery' which is no surprise of course as it is, but one does not like to be reminded of that fact
  • Requires milk. Awkward if you've run out.
  • Doesn't fill you up for very long
  • Very high in sugar, it's the second largest ingredient after Skimmed Milk (which is amusing as that's what you use to make it up...)
  • Sweet milkshakes can get sickly after a while and make you crave savoury things, like pasties, pork pies, steak, chips, fresh bread etc... ahhh
  • it does appear to be consisted almost entirely of milk powder, sugar and colourant, which makes me nervous as to its nutritional merit.

Maximuscle Promax Diet Pros

  • Maybe I'm a sucker for advertising, but I do take notice when 'serious athletes' and athletic bodies endorse a product
  • You don't need water, which actually doesn't sound like much but, ensuring you have milk around at work or home just for your milkshakes (you need 500mls a day for slimfast) can be a bit of a pain in the arse. Also, the fact that despite the powder not being made milk powder, and not needing any further addition of fresh milk, is testament to the quality of the powder mix.
  • unlike slim-fast, only half of the carb content comes from sugar.
  • mixes really well, and tastes great.
  • contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is used in various dieting supplements. I'm not sure of just how effective it is, but I'm willing to find out
  • There are Promax Diet Meal Bars which you can use in place of the milkshakes, I had one today as I went for a coffee with a friend and wanted to avoid the temptation to order a cheesy panini!
  • the shakes are actually really filling! and not just because of the large volume of water you're drinking!

Maximuscle Promax Diet Cons

  • The powder is quite expensive, and this can definitely be off-putting for some. But I am less put-off by this than I could be as I know it's a quality product. At £22.99 for a mini tub, and 10 servings of 60g per tub, it's not hard to see just how much more expensive it is than slim-fast! However, I spend nearly double that on lunch most days so I figure I'm saving money in the long run. The diet bars are cheaper, I bought one for £2 from Holland and Barrett today.
  • they don't (appear to) sell any ready made formulas, which is a little annoying, but then as I mentioned earlier you can use their rather tasty diet bars.

I can't actually think of any other cons, I might do later and add them to this, but that'll do for now :-)

Measuring up

I haven't taken any pictures yet, my intention is to find a bikini I like, in a size 10, and then photograph myself in it regularly over the next few months... to (hopefully) document my weightloss and shaping up.

I have to concede, grudgingly, that I *will* have to do sit-ups, cardio work will help to shift the fat but you can only tone so much with it. I might opt for the pilates approach as that is a most useful way of improving muscle tone as it concentrates on your core strength.

I should do pilates anyway, every athlete should, having a strong core as paramount in supporting all the sections of your body used when exercising. Pilates is super easy to do, you just need to be bothered to in the first place, the benefits far outweigh any effort you might need to put in.

I might look into a class at my local gym, it's always easier to get motivated when you have to physically *take* yourself somewhere to work out, when at home, the lure of the sofa is far too great... :-)

Anyway, here's how I measured up on Valentine's Day:

Weekly Measurements

Date: 14/02/2009
Weight: 11st 3.75lbs
BMI: 24 (it had crept up to 24.6... 25 is overweight which is what kick-started me into sorting my weight and shape out)
Upper arm: 13"
Below Bust: 30.5"
Stomach: 30.5"
Hips: 37"
Butt: 44"
Upper thigh: 25"
Lower thigh: 17.5"
Upper calf: 15"

I should have started this blog last week actually, as I was 11st 6lbs, but I started using the Maximuscle Promax Diet milkshakes, as well as slimfast milkshakes (which I need to use up as they're revoltingly sweet!) and have dropped a couple of pounds already :-)

I'll elaborate more on the slimfast vs promax in my next post...

Monday 16 February 2009

First Post

Well, an imaginative title as any I suppose!


I guess I should start by telling you a little about myself. Well, it will just be that, a little...

I live and work in London, am aged between 26 and 35, have a good job, great family and friends and am pretty active - I run, cycle, swim (when it's a little warmer!), climb, trek and, most importantly, love weight training.

However, despite my relatively active lifestyle, over the last couple of years I've gone from a slim size 8-10 at around the 9 stone mark, to an uncomfortable squeezed-into-jeans-and-only-those-with-lycra 12-14... well, 14 plus if I'm honest. This is pretty heartbreaking, not to mention damn annoying for someone with such an extensive collection of (too small) clothing as myself!! I do recognise however that I've totally done this to myself, I've watched the weight creep on at a steady pace, and not done anything noteworthy to halt its advance.

I probably fall into the same category as a large percentage of the population of women who find it very difficult to lose weight without resorting to something drastic, like crash dieting, daft eating plans that promise speedy results etc... my problem is that I'm a victim of my environment and lifestyle (oh poor me)... I expect everything to be delivered now, right now, right this minute... immediately! and that extends to my (somewhat warped) ideas of how long it should take to lose weight... i.e. not long at all!

Of course, I know that that's not going to happen unless I get a big tube to suck all the fat out of me, so I guess I've got to work at it.

Previously, if a slimming method didn't deliver results within a week I'd give up, and then just continue to gradually increase in weight and size. The hilarious thing is that if I'd just persevered with whatever method I was using, I'd have lost *all* the weight by now.

So, I'm going to adopt a method and stick to it, and this will be tied in with a goal other than the obvious losing-weight and looking great (like it!) outcome I'm hoping to achieve.

I want to enter the Maximuscle Woman Body of 2009, and win it too! I realise that this might be more challenging for me than a lot of other women as mother nature pretty much overlooked my chest department and instead decided to liberally apply all fatty tissue to my butt and thighs, oh yes, I am the typical pear.

I am aware that last year's winner (who looks absolutely fantastic now, have seen her before and after pics on the tube and she's done amazingly well!) has the typical pin-up look (e.g. tan, blonde hair and big boobs), and quite a lot less muscle tone than some of the other Body hopefuls, but I'm willing to dispense with my cynicism and give this a bloody good try! After all, I shape up pretty well if I put my mind to it, I find that I can put muscle on pretty easily (*far* more easily than I burn fat, grr), and I'm not bad looking to boot ;-)

The Products

I'm going to be using various Maximuscle products, not because I want to be a walking advert for the brand (as this won't help my pocket unfortunately!), but because I'm a bit of a nutrition geek. I've done a fair bit of research on the slimming tools available to me and I think that the nutritional quality of the Maximuscle range is far superior to that of others I've found. Plus, as I intend to be training pretty damn hard between now and September, I need a protein and vitamin rich product which will sustain me physically and support muscle generation as well as recovery.

I was rather alarmed to discover just how much of Slim Fast's carbohydrate volume was made up of sugars!

I will also be using the Weight Loss Resources website as it has an absolutely amazingly comprehensive database of foods. The online food and exercise diary is superb and enables you to really analyse every food item you consume. You can customize your target ratio of protein, fat and carbs, and see how well you're doing in attaining that target.

Anyway, that's enough background on me and the tools I will be using to hopefully reach my goal. I will be posting regular updates and pictures detailing how well (or not!) I am doing.