Firstly, let me say that there is nothing wrong with being fat, thin or in-between, as long as you are healthy. I don't want to be a fat-hater, or make any of those horrible magazine-cover-thin-is-perfect stereotypes any more pervasive. Nor am I a health/fitness junkie. But over the Christmas season, I over-indulged and put on a bit of weight, and I felt uncomfortable. Not body-image uncomfortable (although to be honest there was a bit of that too), literally uncomfortable. Less healthy, less energy, and some of my clothes didn't fit any more. I'd gotten into some lazy habits - too much take-away and sugar, and drinking alcohol - if not too much, then too frequently.

So Healthy January was declared. It involved joining the gym, eating better (more veggies, wholegrains and protein, less starchy carbs) and no booze at all. Now January is over, I thought I'd share my findings.

  1. Despite all the ads on TV for DVDs and meal programs and magic devices, the secret to weight loss is this: eat less crap food. Exercise regularly. Drink less alcohol.
  2. Exercise: I'd been doing it wrong. My friend Jellyfish shared this piece of wisdom: When doing cardio, you should never be so out of breath that you couldn't have a conversation. Feel your body working, work up a sweat, but don't overdo it. It doesn't have to be unpleasant to be working.
  3. I still hate exercising. I haven't had one of those "I love it!" revelations. It's BORING.
  4. But I feel fantastic. I sleep better, I have more energy, I'm more focussed, and I lost 4 kilos in a month.
  5. Audio books help. I'm currently listening to Bill Bryson's At Home, which is fascinating.
  6. Eating less doesn't mean only eating lettuce leaves. We have Healthy Parma, for example, which is a grilled chicken breast with Napolitana sauce and melted (low fat) cheese. Curries. Chilli Con Carne. Lots of BBQ.
  7. And we still have cake at a birthday party and other treats. We just appreciate them more.
  8. The discovery that I'm a bit lactose intolerant has aided the whole Feeling Better thing.
  9. Sparkling water and apple juice in a champagne glass is not a bad substitute for champagne.
  10. I'm also doing Body Balance classes (a mix of Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates) which is awesome for the wellbeing - as well as being a surprisingly full-on workout.

We're trying to take incorporate some of Healthy January into daily life - eating better (although not dieting because I dislike the idea), drinking less, and continuing at the gym. Hopefully we can stick it out so it becomes a habit!