Fat Loss

28 Apr

So, weight loss has always been a big part of why I wanted to quit drinking. It’s simply not possible to drink like I was and shift the pounds. But, as I blogged last week when I hit 100 days, losing weight in early sobriety isn’t a given. In fact, weight gain is a distinct possibility. 

As I shared last week, much to my surprise, I found when stopping drinking that weight loss is REALLY insignificant in the big picture. I’m sober, I have much better self esteem and my life is slowly changing in a million imperceptible and important ways. 

I say all of this, but of course I am about to tell you how I am going about losing weight and how much time and effort is going into it. Why so contradictory?

More than my size being an issue, I definitely feel my eating was out of control during early sobriety in a way that it never has been before. Nothing was restricted. I ate what I needed to stay sober and sane, and some days that meant ALOT of sugar. There were times, to be honest, where I binged with the out of control feeling I had during my bulimic episodes, but without the volume of food or making myself sick, thank goodness. 

Sugar became addictive for me and unlike a former me who would have a tiny taste of chocolate and then stop, when I started, I didn’t want to stop and it was an EFFORT not to crack open a second bar. Sound familiar?

I felt at times that I was just transferring the addiction to alcohol, but didn’t over analyse and just gave myself time. I knew I had to get the diet thing on lock down, but I needed to wait until I was truly ready to do it. To go cold turkey on sugar. 

Well, as I was approaching Day 100, I decided I did feel ready. I enlisted a nutritionist friend to do me a plan designed for slow, safe fat loss. As someone who has had serious issues around restriction in the past, I needed to be 100% sure what I was embarking on was safe. I also train a lot to keep myself sane, so I knew that would buy me some extra calories, without having the constant fatigue and low level hunger that comes with marathon training. 

I’ve just completed my first 7 days on the plan and I feel FANTASTIC. The diet basically consists of shit loads of good food. It’s low carb, with carbs taken mainly after training sessions to make sure the glycogen stores are replenished. I was very very wary of low carb (does anyone else hear that word and think a) NOOOOOOOOOO and b) Atkins! Yuck?!) but its working brilliantly. My energy levels are steady, my hunger levels are negligible and I’m having zero cravings for sugary stuff.

A typical day’s eating on a workout day looks like this:

  • Interval Training session (fasted, upon waking) 
  • Protein Pancakes (made with oats and banana for carbs)
  • Snack
  • Protein based meal with veg (e.g salmon and broccoli, chicken stir fry)
  • Snack
  • Protein based dinner v similar to lunch. 

On a non exercise day, it would be similar, but without the carby breakfast. 

On paper this looks BLOODY BORING but the recipes my nutritionist has given me are fantastic. I’m enjoying feeling more in control of my food intake by making time to cook and eat good food, and it’s forming part of my self care routine. I’m in a position at the moment where work is quiet and I have the opportunity to form good habits, which I’m seizing before I get crazily busy as is going to happen in a few weeks’ time. 

I’ve lost 4lbs in a week just cutting out sugar and following this plan and although I know a lot of it is water its great to see the scales going in the right direction. But here’s the best thing- SOMETHING INSIDE MUST HAVE CHANGED. This is the first time in years I have not used alcohol or food (eating it or denying myself it) to alter my emotional state. This is big stuff. I have spent a whole 7 days feeling my feelings without blocking them out, stuffing them down or starving them. That’s huge. I hadn’t even realised this until I started writing this post. It’s probably one of the biggest leaps in sobriety yet. 

I went to my first wedding sober last week and I did it on my healthy meal plan, prepping for the evening with my protein rich meal rather than taking the edge off an alcohol craving with chocolate. This must be progress right?!

I still feel shitty about sobriety sometimes, in the past 24 hours alone I’ve been really up and down about it. But I suppose what getting a grip on my eating has shown me is that deep within me in a place I can’t quite locate yet, change is afoot. I’m not sure what or where or how, but its happening. If I drink now, I’ll be back at square one and won’t find out where I’m headed in this crazy journey of my relationship with myself.

24 Responses to “Fat Loss”

  1. Debbie April 28, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    Paleo is so the way to go – protein, veg and fruit at every meal – and of course, your carb breakfast for workout days 🙂 way to go. I’m still afraid to wean myself away from my sugar just yet!! Congrats on feeling awesome.

    • FitFatFood April 29, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

      I remember your posts about diet making you feel on wobbly sober ground and we all know what the most important thing is here. Do what works for you and when it feels right 🙂

  2. afteralcohol April 28, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    I’m really pleased to read this post, because I’ve been wondering about weight loss as well. I don’t have the healthy exercise habits you already did, and I’m working those things in now, but I’m still kind of afraid to impose dietary restrictions in case it sends me fleeing back to the bottle in reaction. So that’s not happening for you? You’re not feeling like being deprived of junky food AND alcohol is just too hard? I guess I’m looking for the go-ahead to tackle the food/weight!

    • FitFatFood April 29, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

      A couple if weeks ago it would have sent me back to the bottle and I experimented a few times with dieting and it gave me cravings. What’s different here is that I’ve got a plan where I’ve switched up my macros to mainly protein and fat so that I’ve only got a very slight calorie deficit and that’s stopping my body panicking and seeking out sugar or alcohol…

      • afteralcohol April 29, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

        Thanks, FFF. I think I might buy myself a nutritionist appointment for my birthday and discuss something similar. Go you!

  3. Dragonfly Wanders April 29, 2014 at 4:04 am #

    Wait, you mean the weight will not drop off when I stop consuming 500+ calories a day in alcohol?! No way! Not fair!

    • FitFatFood April 29, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

      Erk! I know! Bad news eh? I just don’t know how the numbers work on this, but I was ASTOUNDED that weight didn’t fall off. But it hasn’t, and although that’s not ideal, it’s better to be sober than skinny.

      Everyone told me “it will come just time, be patient” and I got v frustrated but I think they’re probably right, as much as it pains me!

  4. thirstystill April 29, 2014 at 4:16 am #

    Belated congrats on your 100 days. You’re a star! I’m glad you’re finding a way to eat that feels sane. I agree with Debbie, eating a paleo like diet (protein/veg/fruit/easy, skip the refined carbs) helps me a lot. I went easier on the sugar for my first few months, too, but I only ever have food cravings when I eat too much of it, and it’s mostly easy not to do that if you’re eating enough protein and other healthy stuff. Good luck with the new diet plan. I’m glad you’re (mostly) feeling great! xo

    • Hana April 29, 2014 at 8:19 am #

      Good for you!!!! I wholeheartedly concur, dietary changes (in my case 80% Paleo) really have been a sober game changer for me. Not only do I love eating this way, but combined with regular intensive training it is the best drink free insurance! It’s very grounding, and cooking-wise creatively stimulating. I started the diet roughly 2 months ago and have lost about 8 lbs. Basically the better I feel, the more I love and cherish myself and my sobriety! I’m proud of you for all the hard work you’re doing, it’s rewarding, challenging and you’re so worth it. – Hana

      • FitFatFood April 29, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

        Thanks Hana! I hope it will continue to be drink free insurance- the goal of my initial 12 week nutrition plan is a nice one for now.

    • FitFatFood April 29, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

      Thank you! It’s not strict paleo because I use protein shakes for pancakes and snacks but I like that flexibility 🙂 all part of the quest to feel better that is sobriety x x

  5. BirdoMcD April 29, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    hey hon, well, well done to you! You being of great strength and resourcefulness and self-care 🙂 Now, i really don’t want to piss on your chips (not that you will be having any at the moment) but just go steady. you have been so sensible so far about putting ‘the diet’ on hold and sorting out the booze first, and I’m glad to see you are approaching this with professional advice. But from personal experience I am keenly aware that dieting and controlling food in all its guises can become an addiction too. As long as you still allow yourself to listen to your body, I am sure you will be fine 🙂 the following link is quite interssting though – http://amihungry.com/enewsletters/arrogance-of-dieting/
    I’m so pleased for you honey, lots of happy vibes coming your way x

    • FitFatFood April 29, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

      Thanks so much for this comment- I appreciate the warning. As you might know from the blog, I’ve had serious issues with food in the past so have to be super careful. That said, with what I’ve learnt in sobriety, I think I’m more likely to catch myself getting too carried away this time… I don’t want dieting to be painful either. I just want a happier more energetic life 🙂

      • Birdo April 30, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

        Yep, and I’d say you have well and truly earnt it!
        Maybe you could set yourself more of a ‘reward’ than a marathon (I know this is a matter of personal opinion but even the most die-hard runners would struggle to argue that a marathon is fun) and do something nice for yourself with all the booze money you have saved that also ticks the feeling fab box – like the Corsica GR20 or a yoga retreat or the three peaks?
        Or, if you still want the competitive element, how about the Gherkin Challenge? As in the building, not the evil green weevil.

  6. Sober Second Half April 29, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    You’re doing so awesome! I just watched an interview on MarieTV this morning about “5 Steps to Change Your Life and Make it Stick.” It was all about how changes are made on a cellular level and how pushing through resistance is so critical; resistance is often (always?) the prelude to a major breakthrough — once our cells get used to receiving different hormones. Here’s the link, if you’re interested in watching it: http://www.marieforleo.com/2014/04/change-your-life-todd-herman/

    • FitFatFood April 29, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

      Fascinating! Thanks- will Deffo check out 🙂

  7. primrosep April 29, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    glad to hear you are feeling so vibrant and positive 🙂 I am feeling quite ambivalent and vulnerable about the weight thing myself at the moment….it feels as if I am not ready to make a concerted effort to get rid of the (admittedly not huge amount – 6lbs maybe?) weight I gained in the first month of getting sober. I have stayed stable at the same weight since then so at least its not creeping up indefinitely which I was quite panicky about. for me I think maintaining/gradual self-regulation downwards is the best i can manage at the moment. the drink dragon is still outside the cave and I don’t want to wake him up… your personalised nutrition plan sounds great: what a fantastic way to use your work downtime! xxx

    • FitFatFood April 29, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

      It’s tricky isn’t it. I’m in the right place right now but wasn’t 10 days ago and might not be in 10 days time. I feel more stable now and feeding myself properly withot the sugar load is really helping with that, but hell, if I need sugar I will have it.

      It’s also part of being able to trust myself more to commit to something. I’m taking it one day at a time as I’ve learnt with drinking rather than getting freaked out by a 12 week strict diet plan.

      And of course the joy is that today, after 8 perfect days of nutrition I found a wee chocolate bar in my cupboard and ate it. Unlike sobriety, this won’t leave me having to start again from square 1 and crawl back to feeling vaguely normal. Tomorrow is another eating day & I can make better choices 🙂 food is a daily need and what I eat is a choice whereas alcohol most definitely wasn’t x

      • primrosep April 30, 2014 at 5:33 am #

        loved this FFF, it really helps. thank you so much. xxx

  8. carrieonsober April 29, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    Congrats on first sober wedding – you are chalking up loads of firsts!
    Thrilled to hear about the new food approach and that it’s going well!
    It is a nice reward when the scales delivers positive news…but you know you feel great and that’s all good, sugar is a right fucker that got under my skin for the first 6 months. But as you rightly say, tomorrow is always another day for the right food choices.
    Bring it on 🙂

    • FitFatFood April 30, 2014 at 7:20 am #

      I can’t believe it Carrie- the hold of Cadburys twirls is fading! Just taking it slow and seeing how I get on 🙂

  9. Lucy R May 1, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    Wow, congratulations! 100 days is huge and feeling your feelings is huge! You are an inspiration!

    • FitFatFood May 1, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

      Thank you Lucy! It certainly doesn’t feel like that but it’s definitely a very positive phase for me. Long may it last I say!


  1. sleeping dragons | taking a new path - April 30, 2014

    […] wrote a great post yesterday on the interaction of not drinking and weight loss. before I go into this any more may I […]

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