As somebody who usually tries to interweave exercise into their schedule, the thought of two weeks without ANY exercise (even walking the dog) seemed like a nightmare at first. However, after having some keyhole surgery of the gynecological variety, this two week ban was absolutely what, just a week ago, I was faced with.
My initial reaction was shock and horror – surely I would turn into a blob if a didn’t keep up at least some attempt at exercise? However, the actuality has been far from the truth.
For the first few days I was, understandably, not too aware of eating or exercise; being topped up on a range of pain-killers and the aftermath of a general anesthetic put paid to any anxiety regarding those two concerns.
Once I’d come around enough to know who I was (a slight exaggeration), I began considering the fact that, without movement as an option, the only area I could really focus on was what I was putting in my mouth. This became a revelation because, of course, alongside not being able to move came a necessary absence from work. Without work came a massive reduction in stress and timetable occupation- thus creating the head space for me to:
a) really focus on an eating plan
b) implement it without distractions
One aspect that I felt was important for me was portion control. I’m not a fan of weighing everything out (who is?!) but felt like I needed to be aware of how much food was the right amount, especially if I wanted to lose a little weight. To help me with this, I decided to explore the Weight Watchers points allowance system. I had tried Weight Watchers in the past and found it really helpful. At the time, I became a fully paid up member and attended the weekly meetings. This time, I just wanted the guidelines rather than the support or the products, and found http://www.healthyweightforum.org/eng/calculators/ww-points-plus/ helpful as it allowed me to calculate the points that I would need, as well as giving a reminder of the general principles.
I discovered that I needed 26 points a day if I wanted to lose weight, with an additional 49 which can be taken on any day throughout the week, allowing for indulgence within parameters.
“But how do you know how many points each food has?” I hear you cry. Well, I found the Protracker app on my iphone (for around a £2 one-off payment) which offers a diary that lets you record your consumed foods and reduces your daily and weekly point allowance accordingly. To track the food, you can either input the dietary information manually or, if the product is already stored, scan the barcode of the food that you’re consuming and it includes the information for you. The brilliant thing about this app is that it is linked up to the WW Points system, so sticking to the system is simple!
To start with, it is a bit of a faff to scan or enter the information, but as you continue using it, I found that most of the foods I ate tended to pop up again in my menu at some point, so sourcing their information had already been done. Once a ‘bank’ of foods has been developed, it becomes a much more efficient process.
The end result has been that I have had ‘real food’, not processed, I have had a clear idea about the quantity that I should be eating and I’ve felt a sense of achievement in sticking to my points allowance.
Having the head space to decide on and begin to implement an eating plan has been such a bonus, and, with one week of recovery left, I am just left to consider how I ca gradually introduce exercise into life, whilst maintaining my eating, and going back to work…how hard can it be?