The perfect (weight-gain) storm

Ever since I came to you in 2012 to be my unseen cheer-leaders in my quest to lose my menopause weight-gain, I feel honour-bound to tell you what happens, good or … bad and make my confession.

So when my weight remained off a long-time past reaching my goal (in comparison to many ‘quick-fix’ weight-loss programmes) I told you. Well, it was good news, you’d expect me to.shocked-face

But now – today – I’m going to tell you how I put ON 8lbs over December… and Why – and How – I mean – that’s two pounds a week – on!  So how did I achieve this???

Firstly I didn’t do my weights exercises for all of December. I had a good reason for that – in the context of a minor catastrophe – whereby I was carrying a pyrex container of six pints of very hot milk from the microwave to the utility room (to cool it in a sink of cold water – half way stage of making yoghurt) when it started a wave motion and began to splash out of the covered bowl onto the floor – then I slipped on this as I stepped up into the utility room – the pyrex dish flew and smashed and six pints of milk sprayed itself liberally everywhere! The pyrex, as it exploded – which pyrex does when thrown on a tile floor – managed to send a piece up to slice through the flesh of my middle finger, on the top just above the first joint. I’ll draw a veil over the dripping blood and the clearing up – suffice to say – six pints of milk go a long way and broken pyrex is vicious!

Result – however, was that I couldn’t do my weights exercises as gripping anything caused the semi-circular cut of pop open [maybe it needed a stitch or two? I’d used butterfly strips to hold it together as my skin doesn’t likes stitches – usually swelling and going sore and red around them…] but the scar is very neat now – so my way was probably ok after all.christmas-food

So – no exercises = less muscle – so I didn’t even notice a weight gain the the first couple of weeks as fat on, was balanced by muscle lost… and secondly – then it was Christmas – and my total failure to stick to my usual careful watching of those SS (sugar and starch) carbs. Yes – I ate the second mincepie – the slice of cake each evening, the roast potatoes, the chocolates (an open tub of chocolates is the devil in disguise) AND even too much of the healthy foods, of which I cooked plenty

Lastly, I’d also been experimenting with gluten-free recipes through December, trying some out and making-up others, as a preparation for going gluten-lite (more about these another time) but what with having to taste (when you try or make a new recipe) and falling into the ‘Health Halo trap’ (just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean its not fattening) I was already eating more that my usual amount of carbs (even non-wheat grain carbs are still carbs!)

All of which, oddly enough, tends to prove that the weights programme and the sensible low carb eating works … and, as exercises are done at home in less than 15 minutes and as no food is banned (just kept a close eye on) it is sustainable – barring accidents!

Confession over – so what am I doing about it?

January the first, like many people, I was making my New Year resolution – of which I spoke last week – now here’s a bit of the detail:
1, return to my weight exercises,
2, return to watching the SS carbs carefully,
3, to SLOW it all down – to eat with more consciousness – slowing down the consumption, tasting the food more – chewing more. (difficult when the other half is a very fast eater and seems impatient for his pud – AND frustratingly – is one of those people who can eat what they like and stay slim!!)
4, Only eating if I feel hungry. (the first couple of days after a New Year’s Eve and Day over-eating I hardly felt like eating anything – so I ate minimally just for those days {frowned upon by the other-half} until my body started telling me it was ready) And it has begun to work – for as of Monday this week I had lost 3lbs of that gain – and hope the rest follows … I will keep you posted.

Any other confessions out there?

Did you take your eye off the (weight) ball over Christmas?

Do share, confession is good for the soul  😉

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Gut reaction – inflammation

The book I am going to be interpreting is Brain Maker by Dr David Permutter. This is not a substitute for reading his book – but, I hope an insight that will lead to reading more around this subject.

For too long the western diet has been moving towards an industrialised food content. The average diet (and most studies are done in the USA) contains mostly foods grown under industrial farming methods – not just non-organic – but also reliant on the heavy use of pesticides and herbicides, including the large-scale 365 housing of livestock, requiring more use of antibiotics and ‘growth hormones *in USA’, and industrially grown crops to feed them.  A high percentage of the resulting crops and meat are then made into processed foods of various types. This can be of the ready-made product / meal – or the ready to use ingredient variety. In the processing the industrial makers of food products have also used ‘unusual’ methods (like hydrogenation) to change the chemical structure of food-stuffs to make them ‘work’ in industrial setting. They have also sought to make ‘created foods’ popular by exploiting our in-built love of sweet and of salty things.

The problem with this is that, over the last fifty or so years, food has changed so much that our gut bacteria have changed too. This does not seem a disaster at first – after all, how important can the variety of gut bacteria be? I am sure you have all heard of the ‘good gut bacteria’ that we are encouraged to consume (from tiny bottles laced with sugar) to keep a ‘happy tum’. It is true – we need the ‘good bacteria’ (but preferably not from an industrialised sweetened source) and I will attempt to explain why in simple terms.

A lot of this research Dr Perlmutter is basing his book on has dates between 2010 and 2015 – so much is quite new.

It has been found that it is not just a matter of having the good bacteria in your digestive system – it is about having the right balance of the right bacteria in there to support a healthy gut – even some of the ‘bad’ bacteria are needed in small quantities.

What the bacteria do: The number one thing that the correct bacteria do, when looking at health, is to ensure that our body has a strong defence against the things that should never get into our blood stream. After all, once in our blood stream then, whatever it is, it can travel anywhere in our body.

To understand this you need to know the structure of the thinnest interface between our gut and our blood-stream.  Our ileum (small intestine) is lined with villi – small finger-like projections – making the surface area for the transfer of nutrients into the blood-stream as large as possible, and it is only one cell thick!  The diagram below shows a villus in relation to the blood and lymphatic system.

villus

Now I have seen people argue with this – but they were confusing the ileum (small intestine) with the colon. The villi of the small intestine is the interface. Nutrients from our food get from the ileum into our blood-stream either by diffusing into the absorbtive cell and then out again into the blood stream, or they squeeze through between the cells of the villi.  Normally the junction between these cells is VERY TIGHT. It will only allow some very small molecules to slide between them, molecules our body is made to accept in this way, molecules we need to get into our blood stream and that do no harm while in there. Large molecules like proteins should never get through.

When your gut bacteria are ‘healthy’ (of the right mix and in balance) then this lining of the ileum is protected to a certain degree –  when it is not, then the gut is open to attack on this vital Tight Junction.

So what would attack the tight junctions? With the bacteria defences down our cells are more open to the ‘crowbar effect’. Gluten can do this, and is the most commonly eaten protein that has this effect – components of gluten act as a chemical crowbar forcing open the gap between these cells – allowing large molecules, that have no business being in our blood stream, to slip through – this condition is known as leaky gut.

What would get through and why does it matter? Pathogenic viruses and bacteria that are designed to harm us could now get into our blood-stream – this is an obvious danger – however, now some other large molecules, including proteins, are able to get through – and they can harm us too.

Pathonegenic viruses and bacteria aside – what is the problem here?

The problem is that when larger protein molecules get into the blood stream they begin to cause INFLAMMATION where ever they go as our body’s immune system reacts to their ‘foreign’ presence.

Inflammation is Dr Perlmutter’s BIG concern. In my last but one blog on this subject I said he was a neurologist that ‘jumped ship’. He, as all neurologists, had been taught that the blood/brain barrier prevented any harm coming to the brain by substances carried in the blood. Moreover – that the constituents of the gut had nothing to do with how the brain functioned (after all, the gut – essentially a tube from mouth to anus – was seen as almost ‘outside’ the body anyway)

He / we-the-world, now know different – and he is sure that many of our seemingly brain-centric disorders are, in fact, caused by inflammation of parts of the brain, and that our westernised gut population is causing this to be able to occur.  As he points out, our gut biome is the equivalent to a second brain – containing as many different type of nerve cells as the brain, creating hormones and chemicals that affect not only how our bodies function but also our brain; through our moods, functionality and concentration.

His first take-away message has to be – repopulate your gut with the right bacteria and keep them happy and flourishing by eating the right food for them.

The second take-away message is – avoid gluten. He is not doing this on a ‘fad’ idea – but on the science that shows it is one of the main ways that this ‘tight junction’ is opened up – which  then allows some of the other things that our western diet has brought on to cause more damage.

Does this make sense to you?

Do you have a gut feeling that this is correct?

Do share – you know I love to talk about it…

 

 

Find me on Facebook and Twitter @Ann Foweraker

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I’ve got the bug …

I always have had … the ‘need to know’ bug.

But this time – following my ‘need to know’ I came up with more than I expected. brain

Lets start with dementia. As you may know from other blogs, my lovely, extremely intelligent mother is suffering from Dementia.

Now this is like saying a forest is made of trees; there are different types of dementia – and the most well known (to the general public – as the ‘face’ of dementia) is Alzheimers. Too often the term Dementia is substituted for the term Alzheimers … causing confusion. For example the headline ‘Breakthrough in treatment of Dementia’ turned out to be a drug which, if caught very early, slows down Alzheimers. It wouldn’t do anything for vascular dementia which is caused by a narrowing and blocking of the small blood vessels in the brain – causing the brain cells they served to die from lack of oxygen – like lots of mini-strokes.

Well, this isn’t a blog about dementia – but it is an explanation of why and how I got interested in reading about how we can support our brain – to help keep it as healthy as possible because, and I do not need to tell anyone who has had a family member suffer from any form of dementia, losing your brain function looks like a living hell – and if I can do anything to stop myself from following that path I want to know about it.

Now, when I support anything like this I need to temper it with ‘that which makes sense to me’ – that is, the me that has always been a bit of scientist, the me that likes to question, the me that has, at base, my own sense of ‘common-sense’ – call it a GUT FEELING about things – if you like.

bacteriaSo when I read an article which cited a book by a neurologist who had ‘jumped  ship’ and was saying that what happens in your gut was very important for your brain health – I was interested. I read a bit more – learnt a bit more  – then bought his book ‘Brain Maker – the power of gut microbes to heal and protect your brain – for life’

I read the book slowly, checking out the references to the scientific papers cited throughout. It made sense. It chimed with many of my own observations over the years. It linked into other ‘new’ science I have been reading about lately – epigenetics. Moreover, though Dr Perlmutter is an American, much of what he recommended as treatment, I had heard of already in the UK* which, oddly enough, was where he’d had to send some of his patients for a treatment (more of this in a later blog) AND he wasn’t trying to sell me anything (apart from the book lol) – in fact his book finished up with old-fashioned recipes for foods to make at home that would help your gut to help your brain! (*some even on TV’s Trust me I’m a Doctor)

So why am I blogging about this? I could merely say – go out and buy this book – I think it is good. Yes, I could – yes, you could. However it is packaged in a strange blend of ‘common-touch’ language and ‘detailed scientific’ language. He wants to tell us everything in each section, so if I was concerned about one aspect or another it was easy to get bogged down in the other aspects touched upon.

I’ve been going through the book and doing something I NEVER do – marking a BOOK! (horror) with different coloured highlighters for the different disorders that he deals with that are affected by the operation of the gut biome. So I’m going to try to blog half-a-dozen or so times about this – each focussing on a different aspect. Then, if you are interested – go and get his book to fully understand and get his recipes – if you want. However, remember – I am not a scientist (as such) or a doctor – in this case, I hope, just to be a faithful interpreter.

These are the sections I intend to separate my blogs out into, though not necessarily in that order.

What the ‘good’ gut bacteria do for us and Inflammation
Alzheimers
Auto-Immune conditions
Diabetes / Obesity
Depression / Anxiety disorders / ADHD
Autism

 Do any of these interest you more than others?

Any experiences you would like to share – I’d love to hear

Ann

Find me on Facebook & Twitter @AnnFoweraker

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Finding joy in Mindful eating

Mindfulness – yes, you have probably heard this term bandied around in many contexts I am sure – and it does sound a little bit airy-fairy, doesn’t it?

However, mindful eating is some thing that can lead to joy of a sort. How’s that? I hear you ask. DSCF5093cropped

Well, I have advocated eating this way for a while – however not necessarily using that precise word. From my weight-loss notes (under the drop-down from About Ann) when I was on my year of blogged weight-loss we have “have to remember is to give each piece of food it’s due consideration. If we eat knowingly, concentrating on the eating, our bodies are more likely to tell us we are not hungry – as we have already eaten – than when we eat while doing something else – watching TV, or playing on the computer or reading.”  In other words – mindfully – eating mindfully.

And mindfulness comes into play also when I am ‘feeling hungry’. It is so easy to wander where there is food and have a snack, telling yourself that a few nuts are fine, as they are, but not on the third trip in an afternoon!

Mindfulness eating starts with asking questions. Am I really hungry? Well, mostly the answer is no – peckish maybe, but not hungry. Peckish isn’t a reason to eat.

What is driving this peckishness? Thirst? Number one reason for that feeling – have a Non-Carb-loaded drink – ideally water. Tiredness? Take a power nap, or do some exercise – yes, that does help some kinds of tired. Boredom? Find something else to do – or do some exercise to wake up the brain.

WP_20160110_13_15_54_ProIf it is a meal-time, or you missed your last one, and you are truly hungry, first drink a glass of water then take the time to prepare something delicious, make it colourful and healthy with a number of different colour vegetables to accompany your main protein – but keep the carbohydrate loading low.

Sit down at a table – cast aside books, tablets, phones, TV – and concentrate on the food – flavours, textures, colours, aroma. Wait for five minutes before deciding it you need anything else other than a cup of tea or coffee. If you do – keep the carb-loading low with your choice – and concentrate on the food again – use a smaller spoon maybe, savour the aroma and the flavour.

Enjoy your food more – that is where the joy comes into this very everyday activity. Maybe not ‘thrilling’ but an enjoyable experience rather than just a re-fuelling.

Enough about eating – it is making me peckish!

Is mindfulness a part of your daily life?

What do you try to do mindfully?

Do share – you know I love to hear what you think.

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Eat, Drink, & be Merry ‘cos tomorrow we DIET

The papers are full of it!

The magazines heaving! (I’ll say that again – the Magazines are Heaving with it!)

“Now you are fat and blown-up like a barrage balloon having eaten all that STUFF we suggested to you in glossy, gorgeous, gourmet piles BEFORE Christmas … we suggest you might want to … DIET!”

Even the TV is in on the act with adverts for Gyms and Slimming World or WeightWatchers somehow timed to be shown in January.diet 1

Well, if you’ve been with this blog from early on – at least from Jan 2012 – you will know I do not believe in ‘diets’. A diet is ‘what you eat’ – not a weight-loss regimen per se.

And you will have followed my trek down two and a half stones over that year. How?  By sensible {nothing banned, nothing glorified, moderate portions, low (not no) carb} food consumption PLUS a set of exercises designed to combat the muscles-loss caused by menopause.

You see, I hadn’t realised that the Menopause cuts back on the very thing that burns-up energy – muscles. So, even eating sensibly (as above) the weight had still crept on … and on … and on! You can find this epic tale all in the blogs under ‘losing weight’ in the Topics menu and on the drop-down menu under About Ann if you missed it and want to know more.

Today is Saturday – so this is the light-hearted laugh of the week blog. Yes, it is. And I’m here to tell you that the weights exercises really work! Oh yes they do … because December just gone I carried out a month-long controlled experiment undertaken with no thought to personal consequences … ok, I stopped doing them for the month – for various excuses reasons – but mainly inconvenience – my usual exercising space (spare room where I also write) was occupied.  I didn’t go mad on the food either … but the result – 7lbs ON! 😮 *shocked face*

So here I am, along with the papers, the magazines and the adverts, telling myself to lose weight 🙂 now that is funny.

They say do not start these things on January the first – after all ‘there’s still a lot of ‘bad’ food around’. Well, you’ll also know that on my ‘nothing banned’ sort of eating this doesn’t matter – what matters is how / when I eat it. After all, if I deny myself something altogether I’m certain to get a craving for it!magnets [At least I don’t crave magnets 😉 ]

My best option is to give it away to someone who doesn’t put weight on easily (my OH for instance) – but if I really like it – I eat it sparingly – over time – as part of the overall foods I eat in a week – not extra to it.

So January the first it was back to my (previously) usual routine {less than 15 mins a day – at home – exercises} … and having had the first weigh-in at the end of a week, I can be happy in that 2lb has already left 🙂

Do you find it ironic the way that first they encourage us to eat like there is no tomorrow – then tomorrow they tell us to slim … for the summer holiday that is coming?

Did you miss out your usual exercise over the festive season?

Do share – you know you want to 🙂 and I love to hear from you!

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Some things are better put off until tomorrow

DSCF7557This blog was the one I meant to write last week … but it didn’t get written as home events took over.. that blog started with watching the first of the new series of  ‘Trust me, I’m a Doctor’ on BBC 2  (not to be confused with Trust me, I’m THE Dr’ as in Dr Who)

This is the second series and I quite enjoy these programmes as I nearly always learn something I didn’t know – and as I try to keep up-to-date with things on the nutritional front I do spend a lot of my time saying to the TV, ‘yes, about time too’, as popular nutrition catches up with what has been going on in science for quite a while.  The programme is headed-up by Michael Mosley (of the ‘5/2 fast diet’) drawn from his previous programmes and ‘fast exercise’ – ditto)

I say I enjoy them.. I do, that is, apart from its ‘bitty’ approach where the team investigate about 4 different lines of scientific health issues at the same time (meaning that we start with one idea – move on to the next and the next .. and then pop back to see how the first is going along , than catch up with the second etc. etc.) At least they do not do the exhaustive re-cap each time… but it is annoying when it really doesn’t have to be. I want to say that I am sure we can cope with quarter of an hour on one health issue at a time… followed by the other three … and I’m sure that if we are watching this type of pr0gramme we will wait through the one that may not be immediately relevant to our own situation to learn something on the way.  (OK .. rant over)

Now you may know, if you’ve been following this blog for a long time, that I managed to lose quite a bit of weight by doing weights exercises, designed by one of my sons, for less than fifteen minutes a day, while continuing to eat in a low carb (not no carb) way(as I had done for years before menopause caused weight-gain)  If I eat pasta, bread,rice or potatoes I eat a limited amount – and I always go for the ‘brown’ wholegrain versions as this gives better nutrition, more fibre and uses more energy to digest.

The nutritional scientist on ‘Trust Me…’ carried out a small on screen test of just 10 people. She knew what she was expecting with the first two trials in her experiment – but she’d also thrown in a third variation she’d not tested before.

Eat pasta and very soon you’ll have an insulin spike in your blood. Now this is natural as pasta is a carbohydrate and that is only a simple digestive step away from being a sugar… and to deal with sugar your body pumps out insulin. Fine so far… only problem is that this spike is followed by a dip in that the insulin is running around your body looking for the sugar to deal with (even after its finished with the stuff you ate). This makes you feel hungry again; gives you the ‘munchies’. It is far better for you if you can keep you insulin stable and low, not such a spike, less of a dip. Keeping your insulin levels steady is key to managing your weight and your long-term health.

The experiment: #1, eat hot freshly cooked pasta – wait –  measure insulin in blood. #2 eat cooked and then cooled pasta – wait – measure insulin in blood #3 eat cooked, cooled and kept until the next day and reheated pasta – wait – measure insulin in blood.

Results: #1 – high insulin spike #2 lower insulin level (but who wants to eat cold pasta anyway?) #3 EVEN lower insulin levels! – and that surprised even the tester. When Michael pointed out that 10 people were not much of a statistical sample, she agreed, but then added … but it was ALL 10 of them!

For the scientific details of the how and why, watch the programme  – on iPlayer for 2 more weeks here: Trust me I’m a Doctor s2 – 1:

or for those of you abroad or reading this blog later-on – on youtube here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r9WfXtDOHA

Only problem is – when I do pasta it is usually because I am running out of time and need a fast carb to complete a meal!

However, maybe, I’ll get my act together early enough to cook, cool and reheat my pasta, as, you see … some things ARE better put off until tomorrow 🙂   

What’s your take on Pasta? Would you eat re-heated pasta if it was better for you?

What is your favourite pasta based meal?

Look forward to hearing from you

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Who’d be a YoYo?

Apparently, millions of us!

The Men Who Made Us Thin  is the latest BBC documentary by Jacques Peretti – who did The Men Who Made Us Fat series. (Watch on YOUTUBE at the named link)

photo via creative commons by rjp zimpenfish
photo via creative commons by rjp zimpenfish

My brief summary, however, would go something like this:

The university of Minnesota’s research showed that the amount lost by dieting and kept off over 2 – 5 years averages 1kg (2.2lbs) with one to two-thirds actually putting more back on. This appalling failure-rate shocked even the researchers!

Peretti shows that the ‘average healthy weights’ were originally set in the 1940s by an insurance analyst  – not a medical one, and that this gave no lee-way for age or build – and ‘made’ lots of average weight people into ‘overweight’ – thus driving a route towards the emerging diet industry.

A GOOD TIP – avoid any diet that claims huge losses in a short time! It is a recipe for disaster and yoyo dieting – and is a sure sign of a fad diet.

Findings by Dr Hirsch, as long ago as fifty years, showed that ‘diets’, especially calorie restrictive diets, don’t work in the long term – a  fact has been totally ignored. So much so that the fact that ANY diet will work in the short term, meaning that people will lose weight – put it back on .. then return to the diet ‘solution’ again, is a business model that works.

Weight Watchers own figures say that 2 years after reaching goal weight only 20% are still there and after 5 years only 16%. I have a ‘blog friend’ who has lost weight this way and kept it off! So I suspect she took the sensible eating to heart and had enough will-power to be her own support group. I have other friends who have lost a LOT of weight with this, put it back on, lost a lot with it, put it back on … yoyoing.

The former Finance director of Weight Watchers admitted that the business model of a weight loss system that WORKED would be a failure – that Weight Watchers (and by implication all the other supported weight loss programmes) is one whereby people lose weight.. go on to regain over time … come back to lose etc (on the basis of ‘well, I lost weight with it before’)

The fact that almost all the major ‘diet’ companies are now owned and run by FOOD manufacturers speak volumes – for them it is win: win. They win when you eat, they win when you ‘diet’ using their systems and their specialist foods. It’s almost hilarious!

Peretti also looks at the Atkins diet.  I read all about this one.. and used it – modifying it a bit as I really did not think that his early weeks of NO vegetables was a good idea -ever. It worked, mainly because it was high protein and lower-carb than the conventional way of eating. However, it was not very sustainable, it meant eating in a totally different way to those around you. It was difficult and pricey to do for a whole family. The Dukan diet is very similar.

Much as nowadays, I really like the look of the Paleo diet … lots of aspects make sense. I can see how well this would work for single people, but for families.. hmm? Life doesn’t quite work like that.

What I do know – about both of these diets, is that the emphasis on LOWER CARBS is right, and the emphasis on avoiding insulin spikes is right. What seems to be missing is sustainability for everyday family life and everyday family shopping.

Here’s my plug – the book I am working on gives guidelines to help you eat a lower amount of carbohydrates and better fats and proteins to keep you feeling full and satisfied, without being prescriptive. It is designed by a busy family woman for real life, making it ultimately more sustainable and it doesn’t ban any one food completely. It is using these guidelines as an everyday, easy to follow, way of eating that can suit everyone in the family, that means this way of eating can be followed easily for life, whereas a ‘diet’ just can’t.

This works alongside the less-than-15-mins-a-day workout, which you do at home, to build lean muscle. Something about this combination seems to reset your body-weight distribution and loss patterns to those of your younger self.

What are your experiences of ‘diets’, good, bad or indifferent?

Have you ever found one that is easily sustainable in the long term?

Do share, you know I love to hear from you.

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Weight for it…

Ok, apologies for the title  🙂

It is my contention that to know if a weight loss programme really works you need to wait a while after the target weight has been gained … to see if it is sustainable. If the weight goes back on .. it isn’t. This blog post is a bit of the proof of the pudding – or proof of ‘not the pudding’. It has been a long time since I blogged anything about Fat Woman Thinning. In fact if you had joined this blog in the past six months you may not even know anything about it.

Fat Woman Thining, or FWT as it became known, was my day by day, then week by week, documented attempt to lose weight post menopause.

You see I had been eating sensibly and exercising moderately for years to maintain a reasonable weight. I am not saying it was ideal, far from it, I was on average a stone over MY ideal*. (This being at the top end of the normal range for my height and weight at 9st 7lb*)

Then came the menopause. Did I take my eye off the ball? Probably. But when your body starts playing tricks on you like serious hot flushes (flashes if you are American) you don’t watch other stuff so carefully. I gained weight. I wasn’t eating more, I wasn’t exercising less – but I gained weight. Looking back it was about 7lbs a year. Doesn’t sound much like that does it – but it only takes a few years and all of a sudden instead of being a comfortable one stone over ideal I was now two and half over – and feeling it. Feeling it in my knees. Feeling it in my breathing. To say nothing of the clothes that didn’t fit anymore.

January 2011 I vowed to lose this weight. I began to monitor my eating closely – sticking to the regime that I knew in the past had always worked for me. You see I knew a bit about nutrition, not only had I taught it but I had learnt the hard way back in 1974 through to 1976. (yes – that is a long time ago) the facts about what makes you fat. Facts that had seemed to be forgotten by even our own government (who had taken up the USA model of nutrition).

I added extra aerobic exercise to this extra careful eating, however, by April of 2011 I had only succeeded in losing 2 lbs! Something was wrong. I began to look at information about menopause and gaining weight. At that time just about all the sites said something to the effect ‘You will gain weight after menopause.’ And ‘to counteract this a cut in calorie intake is required’ To be honest, I gave up. I didn’t splurge, or stop exercising, I just went on as normal.

By Christmas of 2011 I had reached 12 stone – at 5ft 3 this was NOT GOOD. I was moaning to my sons about the ‘unfairness’ of a natural condition where you will just ‘put on weight’ even though you are doing the same exercise and eating the same. One of my sons, #3, bless him, is into weights and muscle-building and is a SERIOUS scientist.

Within a few minutes (because he knew what he was looking for) he showed me evidence that said ‘women lose on average 1 lb of muscle per year following menopause’ OK. So what? That’s losing not gaining.

What I didn’t understand then was the metabolic use of energy by muscle is such that the loss of 1lb of body muscle meant 35 – 50 fewer calories being burnt by your body every day. That number of calories not burnt everyday would equate to 5 – 7 lbs of weight gain per year! This was exactly what was happening to me.

So, cut calories? NO! This BAD advice would only put you onto a vicious cycle. Cut calories and the first thing you lose is …. Muscle. Lose more muscle – gain more weight! What I needed to do was GAIN MUSCLE. Now I put on large muscles too easily. Ten years ago I joined a gym and used it on a regular basis. I ended up with huge biceps and calf-muscles. I did not want that happening again. But, NO, those, it seems, were the wrong type of muscles. What I needed was tight lean muscles – they would burn energy best. This sounded better.

Here’s where #2 son came into it. A series of long ‘motivational’ talks ensued. We were trying to get to the base line – what exercise I could commit to on an everyday basis for the rest of my life! After all – the symptoms of menopause were not going to go away.

The result was that #3 son then worked out a system for me that incorporated my requirements:

1, Took me LESS THAN 15 minutes a day 

2, I could do AT HOME

3, Required very LITTLE EQUIPMENT in the first instance (and at the most a pair of dumbbells with various weights a and a couple of big weight plates)

4, WASN’T too BORING

5, WAS FLEXIBLE (so I could do it at any time of the day)

I combined this with my Sensible and Sustainable lowish-carb way of eating that is easy to combine with feeding a family and that I had followed for years, but now finely tuned using new nutritional data, and started the whole thing and my FWT blog on January 1st 2012.

12months from that, December 31st 2012, I had lost 2 stone 7.5 lbs.

side view Jan1 2012
side view Jan1 2012
Side view Dec 1 2012
Side view Dec 1 2012

 

I continue with the weights programme everyday and eat within with the same eating guidelines (this is not ‘a diet’) to stay as I am now. I have a whole lot of science now that backs up this way of losing weight and keeping it off after menopause. PLUS… the weight that had wrapped itself around my abdomen has gone. That ‘central ‘apple’ shape of fat that is considered the worst type of fat for your body to store, is not longer there. I’m a size 14 (UK) again now – not a thin wraith by any means, but happily more healthy.

The proof of the pudding – Today I weighed in at just 2 lbs over that Dec 2012 weight (Last week it was spot on – a little variation happens – I just make sure it doesn’t go up two weeks in a row)

How many people do you know who have lost weight (especially on a weird diet or a ‘group monitored scheme’) then put it all back on six months later?

One day we hope to put this all together in a book form. It’s not a fast miracle cure, it’s steady, sustainable and it takes everyday commitment – but it works and it suits me, a very busy woman who cooks for a family and likes to eat a wide variety of food.

 

Have you encountered the ‘menopause’ effect on your weight?

How have you dealt with it?

What features do you look for in a weight management plan?

Do share – you know I love to hear from you.

 

 

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Happy New Year and a Gift for YOU

Happy New Year ! – my opening salvo for 2013 is a glance back over the past year in pictures ( all the newspapers and TV programmes do this – so why not here – and I bet these are different – no Jubilee or Olympics here ( except Doglympics :))

So here are a few of Your Favourites and a few of Mine

Side view Jan 1 2012

I didn’t feel brave enough to even post the ‘before’ picture until well into 2012 – but it’s an apt start to my reminiscences of 2012 as this is the biggest thing in the year for me – to find a round-up of how I got there, losing 34lbs on the way click here:

Side view Dec 1 2012

In April Bonny, my Dog, made a you-tube Doglympics Video for me which 344 people have liked and I share again now as it’s fun!  🙂 [if you can’t see this video on the emailed version click on the title and it will take you to the blog proper where it is available]

I liked my slug study from 2012 ( though if you don’t like slugs you may not) – the ‘great year for slugs’ was headlined on the national news just before Christmas – but I got there first 😉 Intrigued? Read more here 

And 2012 was also the year of the lichen – loving all the wet. more here:

Then there was my favourite kitchen gadget of 2012 – still used nearly everyday – and how many gadgets can you say that about? more here:  where you can see a video of it working!

Finally, a surprisingly popular blog which finished by asking what this little bottle was – have a look here to find out if you, too, are curious!

 

 

 

So, there we are – a few of my favourites and a few of yours from 2012.  Have I missed your personal favourite – do tell me in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

So it is time to Wish YOU All the Very best for 2013 – may it be peaceful, prosperous and happy for everyone!

And a reminder – that you still have until January 6th to claim your Christmas gift from me – thank you for following and commenting on my posts – Details Below!

 YOUR GIFT –  FROM ME

I hope you all had a great Christmas – and now things have calmed down a bit here I have decided to give all my readers a present – your choice of one of my e-novels – from me – to you – free 🙂  

It doesn’t matter what kind of e-reader you have or whether you have one at all – you can still request one of my novels and it will be sent to your email address. If you have an e-reader ask for the right type of file for you (mobi for kindles – epub for most other e-readers – or pdf)  if you haven’t an e-reader just ask for a pdf version and you can read it on your computer!

Just go to my other website  annmade.co.uk (BEFORE the 6th Jan 2013) and click into CONTACT ANN – there carefully enter your email address  and request the BOOK TITLE  and the FILE VERSION (MOBI / EPUB /PDF) you would like  – one e-novel free per person as a gift !  [before the twelfth day]

Your choices 🙂

The first time it happened it felt like stumbling across another avenue to an ancient monument, but this one pulled at more than just his head, there was a tightness in his chest, the lights twinkled and flashed inside his mind, the intensity giving Perran a firework of a headache. Following the line – years later in the early nineties – leads him into Liz Hawkey’s ordered life, and together they discover the source of the line.

A story of family, love and loss, Divining the Line brings the ordinary and the extraordinary together into everyday life.

Click here to read the first three Chapters

 

Living in London suddenly becomes too uncomfortable for the attractive Jo Smart and her sixteen year-old son, Alex, after he is beaten up, so when they are offered the chance to take an immediate holiday in a peaceful Cornish town they jump at it. But not all is as peaceful as it seems as they become involved in a murder enquiry, drug raid and abduction.

DI Rick Whittington has also escaped from London and the reminders of the death of his wife and child, and through his investigations finds himself meeting Jo and being drawn into the events surrounding her.

This is a love story set in the early 1990s which combines the historic Cornish love of the sea and smuggling with hard faced twentieth century crime and detection. The perfect blend for a woman’s crime novel.

Click here to read the first three Chapters

 

Faith Warren, married mother of two, is a secretary in a newspaper office. It wasn’t what she’d hoped for, but her dreams of university and becoming an author were lost long ago. Telling stories to entertain her lifelong friend on their journey to work and back is all that is left, until she tells The Story.

The real trouble began with the minor characters, just unfortunate co-incidences, but when do you stop calling them co-incidences and begin to wonder what the hell is going on – and how it can be stopped

Click here to read the first three Chapters

Don’t forget to ask for your Christmas pressie of an Ann Foweraker Novel before the twelfth day – January 6th! 

And I’d love to see your review of your choice of my novels too! Please send them to me here on my blog, for inclusion on my website, or post them on my pages on Amazon 😉 (just search for Ann Foweraker in Amazon Books) or do both! 🙂 Thanks, and Happy Christmas!

 

 

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Happy Christmas!

Hi, just a quick blog post to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and to thank you for being with me on my weight loss journey through 2012.

Here’s to a wonderful 2013 for every one!

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