The Grand Slam Diet
The Australian Open
After going through a very rough time with my health and depression the last 2 years. The New Year is here and I am feeling a bit better. So, it was for my Grand Slam Diet. Many of us turn to various products in search of comfort, for various reasons. For me it’s cakes, sweets, biscuits, ice cream and so on because of my depression. With so much weight gain over the years, I never considered sugar addiction. Every time I felt down or had a bad day, I would turn to sweets or bake a cake, packets of biscuits would be gone in 60 seconds. So, I decided to do some research and look into possible causes for my long term health. I now had a plan, some motivation and a name, the Grand Slam Diet.
I was of course aware I had depression, which was the main cause of comfort eating. Just feeling bad about yourself makes you grab the nearest pack of 4 Mars bars. My only saving grace is that Mars Bars are not as big as they used to be when I was a healthy weight. Yes I was thin once honest, I resembled Dale Winton apparently as I was constantly told. Dale Winton actually was one of my early celebrity impressions. But instead of looking and sound like Dale, I needed to stop doing a supermarket sweep for biscuits. One of my others passions in life, apart from sugar and eating too much, was tennis. A game I have watched for over 45 years, and been lucky enough to witness some of the best players ever over the years. What I also missed was playing tennis as I was always very competitive. But I could hardly move, let alone run around a tennis court to hit a backhand cross court. I missed playing and I missed competing at the British Transplant Games. Where I had won many medals in the tennis, albeit too many silvers! I had a Kidney transplant in December 1995, which will be 25 years old this year if all goes well. The photo on the left was taken in 2015, where I was also very heavy. The weight steadily increased over the last 5 years.
So I came up with a plan, a New Year comes along and so does a new year for tennis. The season starts in January and the first slam as I am sure you know is the Australian Open. Then Roland Garros, the French Open in May. Then of course strawberry season comes along and so does Wimbledon. The first 3 grand slams of the year, the 4th of course is the Us Open. Wimbledon this year starts on Monday 29th June which, is also my target date for weight loss. I usually go to the qualifiers a week before Wimbledon, where I was lucky enough to see the new sensation Coco Gauff last year. I was actually there to watch Sabine Lisicki, as well as some British players. But I over heard some people talk about Cori Gauff, otherwise known as Coco. Who was playing on the same court that day. I am sure everyone knows the rest, playing Venus as well in the first round proper at Wimbledon. I had a pretty decent seat last year as well on number 1 court.
I worked out that I need at least 6 months to lose around 2 pounds a week with current mobility issues. It would be nice to be 14 stone 7 again, as I was for much of my early adult life. But settling for 15 at my age of 52 and tall, 15 stone is fine by me. Besides I kind of figured if I get down to a decent weight around June. My mobility might improve again and then I can play tennis again, that is my goal. Then no longer will I be carrying around such weight and I can keep it off with exercise. During my little research online looking for books, I came across Pure, White and Deadly by John Rudkin. After just a few pages I was hooked, as it all made sense to me. I began to question what sugar was doing to me and my body, as well as my mental health. After blaming much of my aches and pains on my transplant medication & arthritis. Was sugar, that white sweet stuff that has a hold on many of us causing arthritis as well? Too early to say regards arthritis & medication, but an interesting read for sure.
I knew dealing with sugar addiction was going to be tough. Every year I baked a Christmas cake, that was very rich and sweet. Like many of us, I gorged over Christmas on all kinds of goodies. After the feast was finally over, my last piece of Christmas cake was consumed on 30th Dec. It was timed to be gone for the New Year, as Christmas was once again tough for me and my mental health. I was determined not to feel like this ever again. When I first got in the scales I was stunned my weight had reached 18 stone 7 pounds. No wonder then I was struggling with mobility, as well as having lots of pain. I still had sugar in the house, but I didn’t want to make the same mistake I made so often before. Which was to go cold turkey and just give up, then end up binge eating a short while later. I knew because I have consumed so much sugar over many years, I needed to be sensible. I would need to wean myself off slowly and keep an eye on my blood results. So, I allowed myself a small amount of refined sugar with my porridge in the mornings. Any other sugars would come from fruit in it’s natural form. As well as added sugars in sauces for example, which I was not too concerned with for now.
I was now ready to begin and that started with breakfast. This used to consist of porridge oats, golden syrup and 3 slices of toast and marmalade. Far too many calories for someone as sedentary as I was. I still loved porridge oats as that was a good start to the day and kept me going. Gone was the sugar laden marmalade, on top of butter, on top of bread. Gone was the 3 slices of bread and butter also under the marmalade. Instead my bowl was now packed with nothing more than 100% porridge oats and 200ml of full fat milk. I then added half a teaspoon a refined sugar and ginger for flavour. I wanted to also take a break from fruit juices and replace the glass with milk, another 200ml. I had read a lot about fat and how it helps aid weight loss. I realised it actually helps you to feel full also and so far is working well. I started using My Fitness Pal to use as a calorie guide, as I was now cooking from scratch. I wanted to make sure I was getting the right amount of nutrition, to take away any craving for sugar.
As mentioned above the Christmas cake had all gone end of last year, as well as the snacks. Then unfortunately I had my first fail coming back from the hospital on the 7th. As I was running late I made the mistake of shopping when hungry, after missing lunch. I spotted mince pies at 20p a box and then ended up buying 4 boxes. Looking back I didn’t even know why I did it, was it hunger, or was it the addiction? I realised it was the latter and the link to wanting to make myself feel better. I even shared the pictures of my mince pies on social media, but later deleted them as I was so embarrassed. I was anxious about my blood results, worried that my kidney is starting to fail. I was annoyed because a day earlier I weighed in at 18 stone 3. What I learnt from this and had discovered reading part of the sugar book. There was link there and why I turned to sugar and sweet things. So that fuzzy looked photo on the left, was the same weight on the 13th also. A whole week wasted because my old default was to pick up sweet things when anxious or feeling low. I was however relieved that I had not put more weight back on. The reason for this was that I had already cut back on portion sizes. So, re motivated by some good blood results that meant the kidney was ok for now. I realised my mistake and decided I needed to learn from it. I was now aware of the link between my moods and grabbing something sweet.
The following days after the mince pies I had a big come down from sugar, hardly surprising really. Headaches constantly, feeling very washed out and feeling pretty awful. But in many ways the mince pies actually helped me. They made me realise I had to make sure I had fruit with me, as well as water. Be aware of why I did it and not let it happen again. I did an online shop and bought lots of chicken, cans of Tuna, vegetables and fruit. I knew if I replaced the sugary items and processed foods with high nutritional foods. I would have a chance to finally beat this sugar addiction.
I used to have a snack or piece of fruit around 11am which was again a habit. Because my breakfast was packed with nutrition, I now didn’t feel hungry at all. Instead of the 700-800 plus calories I had previously. It was now a much more sensible 456. My plan was to eat no more than 1500 calories a day whilst not moving much. So, I tried to keep all meals under 500 calories and no more puddings. Lunch was now around the 550 calorie mark, with a Tuna lettuce sandwich, as well as fruit. Normally with a banana, apple and pear which were all reasonably priced, which helped with budget.
Because of being off work for so long, budget was an issue too. Maybe that is why when we have little money, we tend to buy the cheap items, the biscuits for example. What I have found, if you get the nutrition right and give the body what it needs. You should not feel hungry all the time, something I now understand far better. I usually have a coffee with an orange mid afternoon to keep me going until 6pm. Then evening meal would be a chicken breast, vegetables and no more than 240 grams of potatoes on an average day. I will go through my diet in more detail at a later date. Hopefully this may help others who have suffered the same sugar addiction as I have. Maybe we can all motivate and help each other, that would be good.
So for now as I write this, the Australian Open has begun. My Grand Slam Diet has started to serve, with much less sugar. I know this is only the beginning and I have along way to go until Wimbledon. But as the sugar addiction controlled me for so many years. Now I am controlling my sugar addiction and finally doing something about it. I am focused on making myself better, dealing with my anxiety and depression. I needed a purpose again, I need to feel good again and this for me is just the beginning. The first 7 pounds has flown by, like a Roger Federer forehand. By Wimbledon this year, the long walk to the qualifiers from the train station won’t be such a struggle. I will be in a much better place, it’s just a matter of sticking with my Grand Slam Diet. Spring is on it’s way, more light, more tennis and more vitamin D so it’s all good. I will keep my blog more updated in future, having neglected it for some time. I have also recently started another You Tube channel after deleting my old one at the height of my depression. Have a great day and thanks for reading.