How I lost 20 kilos after 50, for good – Part 1

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A pause from cycling May 2009

Now there is something important you need to know if you want to lose a lot of weight. The more weight you have put on, the more quickly you will continue to put it on. Where, in your slimmer days, you could eat overeat for a couple of days and nothing happened, once you are really overweight, you can be sure that the kilos will just pile on. The aim is to get back to the “point of equilibrium” at which little extras from time to time will make no difference and, if they do, you can quickly get back to your normal weight.

I knew I couldn’t just keep putting on weight indefinitely or I’d end up looking like a whale but I was repeatedly told that after 50, it was pointless even trying. I’d got used to having one or two glasses of wine at lunch time (Relationnel comes home every day) and two or three at night (remember, we’re wine buffs!) and lots of red meat, even though I’ve always been a big vegetable eater. Also, I work at home and a little snack is never far away. Even if I don’t stock up on snack foods, there is always something to eat even if it’s just a yoghurt or a piece of bread. When we went away for a long weekends, we would take foie gras with us to accompany our champagne every night then eat a whole côte de boeuf cooked on the open hearth between us with potatoes and crème fraîche and fresh chives.

Sydney July 2009

I was having more and more sleeping problems so I ended up going to see a sleep doctor. She gave me one those sleep analysis machines to take home because she suspected me of having sleep apnea. Well, I did. I was absolutely furious, particularly when I looked up the Internet and saw that there were three remedies – a noisy ventilating machine to make sure you don’t stop breathing (guaranteed to send your partner into another room), a very sexy apparatus to wear in your mouth (now that won’t keep your partner in the bed either) and losing a large amount of weight (more conducive to keeping your partner in the bed). I rang the doctor and told her, rather belligerently, I must admit, that I would rather die from sleep apnea than go on a machine. She told me to make another appointment.

The first thing I did when I arrived was to tell her I’d eliminated the sexy mouth thing as well. That only left the possibility of weight loss. Looking me very skeptically, she said I would need to lose 7 or 8 kilos and to come back when I’d lost 4. Summer was coming up, she said, and it’d be easier. Yeah, just when I was going off to Australia for five weeks. Definitely easier …

August 2009, my most embarrassing photo!

I went home and mulled it over. I found a sleep hypnonsis tape (well, an mp3) on the Internet and thought I’d give it a try since she hadn’t helped me with my sleep problems. After a few weeks, I went back on the website and saw they had a couple of weight loss ones as well. I listened to them for about 6 months just for relaxation, alternating with the sleep ones and without making any attempt to diet. Meanwhile I put on a couple more kilos in Australia just for good measure.

Finally, in November, I felt I was ready to attack the diet and went to see a nutritionist recommended by a friend. I came out in tears. She was this naturally skinny Asian lady who didn’t smile once the whole time I was there. I was supposed to cut out red meat forever (you gotta be joking), eat ham for breakfast (I hate ham) and take all sorts of expensive supplements. She threw up her hands in horror when I said I ate prunes for breakfast. I didn’t go back but decided to apply the diet anyway (except for the ham, the red meat and the supplements) and look for another nutritionist.

Although I can’t prove it of course, I am absolutely convinced that the hypnosis tapes played a very important role in my successful weight loss. I don’t know what was in them because I always fell asleep after about 10 minutes but they obviously worked on my psyche so that one day I was ready to change my eating habits. So check out the internet – there are plenty of tapes up there (I can’t find the site where I got mine and they were in French anyway) and I’ll tell you about my second nutritionist next week!

The Natural Skinnies and Us
How I lost 20 kilos after 50 – for good: Part 2
How I lost 20 kilos after 50 – for good: Part 3
How I lost 20 kilos after 50 – for good: Part 4
How I lost 20 kilos after 50 – for good: Part 5
How I lost 20 kilos after 50 – for good: Part 6
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16 thoughts on “How I lost 20 kilos after 50, for good – Part 1”

  1. I’m curious about these hypnosis tapes. This post really hits a sensitive spot with me. Here’s my story: I come from a family of natural skinnies. In fact I was a natural skinny myself as a kid. I remember all my friends hating me because I could eat whatever I wanted and not put anything on. Then again, little did they know that at home I didn’t have treats. Dessert was fruit and we were never allowed candy except on Halloween and at my Grandma’s and even then it was rationed. Cake was for birthdays. When I got older and moved away from home, I indulged in all the forbidden fruit (which in my case was candy, not fruit!). I started packing on the weight when I was about 16. It never got too bad because I was also very active. Then I came to France, saw all the skinnies here and decided to lose weight. From then on, I’ve been a yo-yo. Up and down, up and down. I’m sure my skin has lost all its elasticity. I put on 23 kg (hiding my head in shame here) during my first pregnancy and it took me eons to lose the weight. I found out that I do not lose weight at all while breastfeeding. When my son was two, I decided to join Weight Watchers and the gym. It was such a struggle. But, the more I exercised, the less I ate. I got down to a good weight, then a bit less than a good weight. My husband started telling me that I needed to eat more because my bones were starting to show. I still thought I was chubby. There’s either something wrong with the mirrors I look in, or something wrong with my body image. I maintained my new weight for a while and then we decided to try for a second. I stopped going to the gym as much because when you spend 5 hours a week at the gym and work full time plus have a 3-yr old who does not sleep through the night, you have no time for what is required to get pregnant! I put on a few kilos but probably started off the pregnancy at a healthier weight. I was so nauseous during the 1st trimester I didn’t put on any weight but because then put on about 13kg until the last month which turned out to be 1.5 months when I put on a bunch more. I blame it on being pregnant for 9.5 months! I again lost zero weight while breastfeeding and was too tired to even try anyway. About 9 months ago I tried Dukan. It worked but not for long. I suspect I have a thyroid problem now because in all honesty I’ve been eating quite well, though not really on a diet, and I keep putting on weight. I was diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism but you aren’t supposed to have symptoms with it. I’m waiting impatiently for a new blood test to be done. I also know I need to stop finding myself excuses and exercise more and eat better. Good job on your weight loss. I know how hard it is and that it’s something you have to constantly work at. It’s a real inspiration and so great that you are managing to keep it off which is what I struggle most with!

    1. Strange how food can govern our lives at different times of our existence. Obviously our eating habits are connected with our mothers who are the ones that nourished us from the very beginning. And it’s strange too how different children react differently. I think that kids need to be able to have food treats without anything being “forbidden”. I put on a lot of weight during my first pregnancy too, with the idea that since I had a big tummy anyway, it wouldn’t show if I put on more weight! I think the beauty of Doctor Séjean’s diet is that nothing’s forbidden. When you do have an extra, you should relish it completely! The trouble with doing a lot of exercise is that you use the exercise to be able to eat more and not to keep fit. In my next post, I’ll go into the actual diet in more detail, but body image is very important as you say. That is why I believe the hypnosis tapes were so effective. I must confess too that I have used hypnosis successfully in other areas of my life.

      The main thing you seem to need to do is to get rid of the guilt. For the elasticity of your skin, Doctor Séjean recommends an excellent product that is reimbursed by social security here, would you believe. Dexeryl by Pierre Fabre. I’ve found it effective in any case.

      I have to say that I honestly no longer feel I have to struggle to keep my weight off. I use Doctor Séjean’s “day after” method and find it works really well. If you’ve had some extras for one or two days (mostly weekends for me), you go on a “200 grams of protein” day in which you make sure you have 200 g of protein at each meal accompanied by cooked vegetables and no carbs or fruit juice. You can still have a piece of fruit at the end of the meal. No wine either on that day. I usually do that once a week and it’s sufficient to keep my weight down without it being a strain. It’s the kilos creeping on that have always defeated me in the past.

      Good luck!

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