Okay, what's this all about Pandora?
As most regular readers will be aware, I've been waging a pitch battle with my weight for the last 30 years, without much success - actually, I'll rephrase that, I've had some successes and failures, but I've never got this totally in check. Over the last few years, I've caught the exercise bug and I've managed to keep 20 kilograms off my frame (Yes, I was 20 kgs heavier than I am now - and it was awful), so I should look at this as a real achievement.
Weight and fitness is such a personal issue. I've lost friends over it - one inparticular who thought he was being helpful, but instead he came across as cruel, hurtful and completely misguided. Anybody doing this has to find their own way througn the minefield of diet and exercise plans, timings and the like. It's hard work. It's boring - but it can be done.
The time has come to tackle this head on again.
I'm also lucky because I've been spurned on by the successes of some friends who've had long term weight battles. One, in Adelaide, who I keep bumping into in Melbourne, who is looking amazing after shedding 40 kg, and another, in London, who's almost there now. I've known these guys since university - if they can do it - so can I.
The other blessings I count is my wonderful support network - my gym buddies, my trainer, Pinochet, and the girls from the Biggest Loser Club. It's so good to have people around who know what you're going through. People you can talk to about this stuff - so you don't have to bore the pants off your friends and those who don't have to or want to know about this stuff. (Sorry blogosphere - I do try to keep the weight loss stuff to a minimum)
For me, the biggest thing is accountability. How do I keep myself accountable? How to I reward myself for what I'm doing? How do I keep track of what I've done?
This is where the star calendar comes into place.
It's a simple thing really - sourced from the childhood bedwetting therapy. Wake up with a dry bed, get a star. Okay, the last time I wet the bed I was about four years old. But the reward remains. It's a great way to see how you're tracking along. And getting a star makes you feel good. Really good, strangely.
So, for me, if I stick to my calories each day and get at least an hour's exercise, I get a star.
There are a few pitfalls with this. Firstly what defines an hour of exercise? I don't have to kill myself in the gym every day to get the star. Mixing it up with exercise if vital. So along with the session with the trainer, the pump and spin classes, two gentle half hour walks will suffice twice a week - and once a week I get a day off - bodies need rest.
Secondly, calories are a moveable target. My current target is 1600 calories a day. Because life is life, there are going to be days where you go over a bit - some days you'll go under. I'm sticking my the plus or minus 200 calories to get the star - the closer I can stick to the target, the better. It's all about being consistent.
Lastly, there are going to be days where things go pearshaped. One of my greatest problems is I tend to be a bit all or nothing - and I have to change my thinking about this. Fall off the horse - get right back on next meal. None of this, "Oh, I've had a bad day, I'll just keep on being bad and start again." It's one of those bits of stupid thinking that really does me no favours.
Any other bits of wisdom for myself? Well, there's absolutely no takeaway to be had - Subway isn't takeaway as long as it's the healthy versions of it. I'm still allowed to pinch a chip off Glen Waverley's plate when we meet for lunch. Alcohol in strict moderation. And I'm not touching chocolate or biscuits. I'll scoff the lot, so why put them in front of me? I don't buy them and they're not around the house.
As for my vice, ice cream - I factor this into the daily calories a few times a week. This stops the cravings.
It may seem strict and hard, but I'm managing really well.
This all started on the 29th of December, as I said I was going to do. This was the day after I got back from the Christmas break in Adelaide. It was the day I'd planned to start back on this properly, the day set in my head as the day to start - the day when all temptation would be gone and I could do this without any distractions.
Well here is is. January's Star calendar (with the three days overhang from December) 31.5 Stars out of 34.
Not too shabby an effort.
I'm thrilled with myself. The two days missed were New Year's eve were a barbeque was had where I had far too much dessert and beer. The 17th of January I went round to a friend's place - she cooked a lovely risotto, but I couldn't count the calories. I wasn't too far over, but I couldn't give myself a star in good conscience.
The half a star on the 22nd was given as the girls went over to Pinochet's for dinner. The meal was heathly, but again, it couldn't be counted - but a two and a half hour walk in the afternoon had to be counted - hence, half the star.
I'm also five weeks take away and junk food free.
Oh, my reward for all this hard work. Another bead for my Pandora bracelet. No rewarding with food.
No point rewarding with clothes either - I've lost 4 kgs this month - if things keep going well I may have to replace my wardrobe. But let's not put the cart in front of the horse. This is a one day at a time scenario. Like giving up smoking or drinking - it has to be done day by day. It's the only way it can be done.
Wish me luck.