Blogging Challenge Week 5 (Yep, two weeks late!)


I am sure that word has your attention. ūüėČ For this week of the blogging challenge Jayne has asked us to think about how our food habits have changed since starting 12wbt.

What were your old food habits like?

What were you like before embarking on this journey to become a healthier version of yourself?

How did you feel?

Before joining 12wbt I know I would have like to have thought my eating habits were healthy. But I was kidding myself. As the Commando said to Graeme in the 2012 The Biggest Loser, “You don’t get to be over 200kgs by eating salad!” ¬†

I have battled with my attitude to food most of my 47 years.  Through the preseasons tasks I have completed over the last three rounds I have come to realise part of the problem is I see it as a control thing. While other aspects of my life are out of control РI can choose to control what I eat, which meant eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

I went on my first diet at the age of twelve. It was 1977.   I clearly remember though, on our first day of high school we were dismissed at lunch time. So we raced home, changed out of our new uniforms and went straight to the local take away shop and bought ourselves a big feed of fish and chips. After weeks of feeling deprived, and feeling empowered by starting high school, we felt we were taking control by having whatever we wanted. We were in control. We could choose. And we chose something unhealthy. And this led us to decide to abandon the diet we were following. Probably in itself not a bad thing with the benefit of hindsight in 2012 Рbut for years I told the story of my first dieting failure at the age of twelve.

From 1997 to 2006 I was a Weight Watchers leader. ¬†Not¬†surprisingly, I thought I knew everything there was to know about weight loss. ¬†But, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing when combined with an unhealthy attitude¬†towards¬† eating. I certainly learnt more about eating clean and having ¬†healthy attitude towards food in my first nine weeks of following the “Crunch Time Cookbook” and then 12wbt principles than I did in nine years of leading.

In the weeks before I joined 12wbt I was having “diet” food from a well known company delivered to my door. ¬†I was eating the 1800 calorie per day program – and – eating extra¬†because¬†I never felt satisfied. That combined with the fact that I was not exercising more than three times a week meant my weight loss from¬†October¬†2010 to August 2011 was 10kgs. Most of the foods I was eating were processed and high in sodium.

And I felt terrible. I had no energy. I was tired all the time.

I was bursting out of a size 26 – and wondering where on earth I was going to find clothes to fit when I needed size 28.

My doctor weighs me monthly.  This time twelve months ago she was still encouraging me to have lap band surgery. I was morbidly obese. All the tests showed no problems, but we both knew there would be a time when I would begin experiencing serious health complications. It felt terrible that my doctor felt there was no hope for me except lap band surgery.

And despite my thinking that eating whatever I liked was being in control of my life – I felt like I had no control over my life.

I often felt uncomfortable because I had eaten way too much at one sitting.  I also had terrible digestive problems with a type of reflux. This was worse whenever I was laying down.

Was there anything you struggled with but have over come?

The first thing was not having starchy carbohydrate based foods every evening. When I first looked through the Crunch Time Cookbook during preseason of Round 3 2011 I closed it again and thought “I could never do that! Is Michelle Bridges serious?” And of course, I did it and continued to do it.
I decided during my first preseason I would give up alcohol for the twelve weeks of the round. Not just because each glass would use valuable calories ¬†and the fact that having alcohol in your system affects what your body chooses to metabolise. I mainly chose to give up alcohol¬†because¬†after a couple of glasses I know I have a¬†tendency¬†to not worry so much about what I am eating. I am now half way through my third round and the only time I have chosen to drink alcohol during a twelve week round was during my Thredbo weekend. (Well you can’t visit an alpine region and not have schnapps!¬†And¬†of course a glass or two of bubbles.)
I tried to give up Coke Zero and Diet Coke and Pepsi Max during my first round in 2011, but my resolve didn’t last long. My reason for drinking it was that if I had a “sugar craving” it would satisfy it. I decided on the 27th December, 2011 I would give up¬†artificially sweetened drinks. ¬†I decided going “cold turkey” was the best option for me. The first few days were tough, especially when I was buying petrol, as it was a habit for me to grab a bottle when I filled the car with petrol. By the new year the “sugar cravings” were gone, and I have since found out that the chemicals within¬†Diet¬†Cola¬†drinks actually¬†contribute¬†to such cravings.
Now chocolate – that is something I am working on. My current strategy is to break off two squares and get Mr G to hide the rest from me.
Hopefully soon I’ll be writing a post about how I can break off two squares and put the rest in the cupboard and not think about it again for a couple of weeks.
I don’t know when, but I know for sure it will happen.

You can run but you can’t hide

During Round 3 2011 I only had one Red Flag day – and that was on the Saturday of week 12. ¬†So I didn’t really have to worry too much about Red Flag days.

Now from the first day after Round 3 finished to Boxing Day – there were many Red Flags for me. ¬†But I have to admit I was a little slack and didn’t worry too much about them. ¬†I tried to make good choices when I could – but for those two and a bit weeks I really loosened the reigns. ¬†I don’t believe in regrets, but I know for sure I won’t make those kind of choices in December 2012. ¬†No regrets, just learning and moving on.

So yesterday was my first Red Flag day of 2012. Once a year Mr G and I take the kids to Jamberoo Recreation Park.  For our family it means eating out all day Рyes even breakfast.  So I decided to track all my calories and do my best to keep it close to 1200 calories.

Breakfast – wait for it – McDonald’s – eeeeek! ¬†We’re on the road early and we live more than 20 minutes from the nearest McDonald’s – so its a special treat for the kids. ¬†Now, I know I could have eaten breakfast at home or taken in an apple – but I made the choice to join my family for the treat. ¬†I was hoping to have the porridge and a skim¬†cappuccino. ¬†But the¬†porridge¬†is no longer on the menu. ¬†Second choice was the yoghurt – sold out – yikes! ¬†Considered the hotcakes – especially as there is now the “healthy option” with the hotcakes – berries and yoghurt. ¬†Can’t remember the exact kjs – but not much better than the regular hotcakes with butter and syrup for 662 calories. ¬†Settled on an Egg and Bacon McMuffin for 297 calories with a skim cappuccino for 71 calories.

Next stop is the petrol station. ¬†Old habits die hard. ¬†While paying for the petrol I pick up a packet of what we call “jelly lollies”. ¬†Now in the past I would have bought two or three packs – but I just settled for one pack of Snakes. ¬†Further along the journey I open the pack to share with the family. ¬†Instead of just shovelling one in my mouth, I decide to check the calories first. ¬†EEEEK! ¬†Bit of a shock, after all they are fat free! ¬†Decide to indulge in two – and only two – during the journey to Jamberoo. ¬†Total calories – 50!

Lunch is next. ¬†We discovered a food outlet at Jamberoo which is a well kept secret. ¬†It’s called “The Loft”. ¬†They have a few salads and wraps on offer as well as the usual suspects. ¬†They also have beer and wine. ¬†I had decided to make it a treat meal and indulge in a nice cold beer. ¬†Haven’t enjoyed a beer since August last year. ¬†I chose to have a Caesar Salad with chicken. ¬†So beer = 105 calories and salad probably = 370 calories.

However, the big mistake I will never make again was choosing a Tonic Water. ¬†I was thirsty, but didn’t want to guzzle my beer to quench my thirst. ¬†So I decided to get a bottle of water to do the quenching first. ¬†There was no Sparkling Mineral Water (my favourite treat) and no Soda Water. ¬†But I spotted the Tonic Water. ¬†I knew it wasn’t calorie free – but how bad can it be right? ¬†75 calories bad – that’s how bad. ¬†I love the taste of it, and thought because its not overtly sweet it must be low in calories. ¬†Seriously – its not that far off the Light Beer I had! ¬†Won’t¬†be doing that again.

The day so far: Breakfast 368 + Snack 51 + Lunch 550.

Afternoon tea time came and I have to admit I was tempted by the icecreams the others were having and the “healthy”¬†gigantic¬†Honey & Oat cookie. ¬†Pleased¬†to say I resisted and just had another regular size skim cappuccino. ¬†71 calories.

On the way home Mr G and kids just had to have a Frozen Coke from McDonalds.  Not in the least tempted by that.  But normally I would have a Coke Zero.  But I am committed to no more of that for me.  So I happily settled for a green tea and bottle of water Рnot Tonic  Water!  2 calories.

It was getting late Рand no one felt like preparing dinner when we got home Рso the decision was made to eat out.  I voted (and my vote carries a lot of weight) for The Coffee Club Рsince the kjs are on the menu I could make the best choice possible.

I was tempted to go for the Grilled Salmon and Vegies – one look at the kjs for that changed my mind. ¬†Its surprising how the foods we associate with being healthy choices can sometimes be so high in calories. ¬†I opted instead for the Greek Salad with Smoked Salmon – 284 calories. ¬†I did indulge though – remember I didn’t know about the Tonic Water surprise yet – Mr G ordered garlic bread and I had one piece. ¬†110 calories.

So, the entire day added up to 1,436 calories.  236 calories over what I really should have.

But here’s the good news for future Red Flag Days. ¬†Take off the Tonic Water and¬†Garlic¬†Bread and I’m only 51 calories over. ¬†Substitute a Sparkling Mineral Water for the Snakes and I’m exactly 1200 calories! ¬†I would not have been hard to forgo those three items. ¬†And then I would have eaten out for an entire day, feeling satisfied and indulged and not gone hungry and still stayed within my calorie quota.

So I learned that by making careful choices on Red Flag Days I can enjoy eating with others, stay healthy and stay on track.

When I got home РI logged onto and entered everything I ate and drank.  This was actually the impossible task I had set for myself for the day from the 30+ Crew 8 Week Challenge.  In the past on other diets if I had a Red Flag Day I would just pretend it never happened, bury my head in the sand, run and try to hide.

But the truth is you can run and hide. ¬†You are what you eat. ¬†And if you are honest with yourself about what you are choosing you are going to be further ahead than if you pretend the “bad days” don’t count.

So how can you benefit from my experience yesterday?  Be aware that you can eat out all day for 1200 calories or 4800 calories or more.  Its your choice.  And be aware that most of your Red Flag Days will probably only involve one meal.

I’m not so worried about Red¬†Flag¬†Days anymore. Luckily, as my next one is one Friday. ¬†But, I’ll be dealing with that one a little bit differently after my experience yesterday.

And I won’t be drinking Tonic Water. ¬†I will be remembering that by saying no to somethings, I’ll be saying YES to something far more important to me.

When is your next Red Flag Day?











Breakdown and Breakthrough …………….

This is a reprint from my forum post tonight – in response to the preseason task released today.

Be aware there were tears as I was writing it.

And then when my hubby came home РI watched the video again with him and cried again, earlier in the video this time and for longer.  We then talked it through РI basically talked him through what is written below.  And we are going to do it together.

Here’s my post:

I just watched the video twice.

First time I told myself ‚Äď I don‚Äôt need to throw that stuff out ‚Äď I don‚Äôt buy it for me I buy it for hubby and kids. Then 10 yr old daughter saw what Mish was doing and said ‚ÄúYou‚Äôre not going to do¬†that¬†are you?‚ÄĚ My feeble reply at that point ‚Äď ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know.‚ÄĚ

Then I listened to what Michelle was saying about my responsibility as a parent and I cried. Both my kids are active and at healthy weights and eat (most¬†¬†) of their vegies ‚Äď 13yr old son is at Martial Arts class now. But what does the future hold for them if I don‚Äôt do my job¬†NOW¬†?

I knew what I was going to do.

Then I watched again and realised that when my family eat the treats I buy for them I often have just a taste or just one.  How many calories there I asked myself?

I didn‚Äôt get to be 165kgs by eating clean 120% of the time ‚Äď that‚Äôs for sure.

I‚Äôm demanding change ‚Äď and that bin is coming in the kitchen.

Vegetables are not unlimited, repeat vegetables are not unlimited!

A real light bulb moment happened while I was preparing my lunch today.¬† I was making the Salad Niscoise from the crunchtime cookbook for my lunch today.¬† I was making a single serving for myself, and my first impulse was to just grab a handful of beans.¬† But I thought to myself – follow Mish’s recipe. I put that handful of beans on the scales and was horrified to see it was more than 4 times what I was meant to be having!!!

I slowly put one bean at a time on the scales – there were to be only 5 beans in the salad, not a handful!

I was shocked.¬† I spent 9 years as a Weight Watchers leader, starting just when the Points Program was introduced in Australia, and vegetables were allocated 0 points – which most members took to mean eat vegies until you burst.¬† I certainly didn’t discourage this thinking – in fact I recall actively encouraging it!

What have I learnt today?  A calorie is a calorie is a calorie.  No more piling as many vegies on the plate for me.

What have you learnt today?

A dinner plate with no carbs?

Because I was too impatient to wait for preseason to start I dusted off my copy of the Crunchtime cookbook on the weekend. ¬†(I had bought it when it was first published hoping somehow that simply having it on my shelf would see some of The Biggest Loser contestants’ success rub off on me.)

To my horror I discovered that most evening meals had no carbs! ¬†How could I face my evening meal with no potato or pasta or couscous or rice – you get the picture I’m sure.

Well – last night I bit the bullet – no carbs in those – and didn’t put any rice on my plates. ¬†When my lovely 10 year old daughter went for her second scoop of rice, she offered to get some for me. ¬†No thanks, I said somewhat feebly. ¬†But – I survived!

And tonight I actually peeled and chopped the potatoes for my family to eat, while not planning on dishing any up for myself. ¬†And I’ve survived yet again. ¬†I was happy with the meatloaf and salad and mushrooms on my plate.

Loving the Crunchtime cookbook already, tomorrow night’s dinner is cooling down on the stove as I type – Ratatouille. ¬†I’ll enjoy that tomorrow night, as the rest of the family indulges in chippy night.