I've been thinking more about why I didn't make an effort to lose weight before. I know how I came to put it on - three or four pounds in a year is not that much, but when it goes on for seven or eight years, that's a different matter - but the reasons no longer existed, and yet if anything there was still a small weight gain - the odd pound here and there. I think that it has something to do with the last (and only) time I dieted.
My weight had crept above nine stone, and I had that trip to London, where I lost several pounds in a few days and decided to consolidate that loss. I dieted strictly and managed to lose a pound a week for about three months. By that time, I was around eight stone, which was fine.
But it was a very restricted diet, really. And I don't think I could cope with it any more. And on it I only lost a pound a week, which seemed not that much for how little I ate.
At its most basic, here it is -
Breakfast. 1 or 2 slices of dry toast
Mid-morning. 1 item of fruit
Lunch. A salad sandwich, made of 2 or 3 (depending on breakfast) slices of wholemeal bread and lots of salad. No dressing at all. Just plain lettuce, tomato, cucumber etc. To follow, a small pot of plain yoghurt.
Tea. 2 Rich Tea (or similar) biscuits
Dinner. Mostly vegetables. For example, I might do a stir-fry (minimal oil), with a lot of different vegetables and a piece of steak; half a pound between the five of us. Then I'd pick out the meat for the rest of the family, maybe leaving a sliver for me, and have loads of veg. I'd have plain rice, pasta or potato as well.
I already drank tea without milk and I gave up milk in coffee too. I only drank one or two glasses of wine in a week.
I thought of days as 'losing weight', 'holding steady' or 'gaining weight' and the rule was that the first of these had to outnumber the other two. So that basic diet would be all I had for four days, for another two I might have one more small indulgence - for example, if we had roast chicken, I'd have a slice of breast, a small roast potato and a glass of wine, and that would count as a 'no gain, no loss' day. If I ate out, I had much less control and so it would be bound to be a 'weight gain' day - but I still ate very carefully. A ham sandwich, or a salad with dressing, or anything with a sauce was enough to be counted in that category.
I didn't actually take extra exercise, although I was very active at that time. I had three children, one at the village school - that in itself was a mile's walk every day and I walked a lot more too; or, more likely, ran. I didn't go for a run, but I trotted everywhere. I did a lot of gardening and in those days some pretty energetic housework (I blame blogging for the casual nature of my house cleaning these days).
So that, pathetic as it sounds, is much of the reason that I hadn't dieted. I didn't think I could bear the restrictions I'd have to make on my food. Indeed, I didn't think it would be healthy, at the age I am now, to cut down so much. It was only when the doctor said that losing a pound a week was too much for me and that a pound a month was quite good enough that I thought I'd have a go.
I have a feeling, though, that as time goes by I'll find it harder to lose weight on what I eat now. I hope my appetite diminishes as I become smaller, but I suspect that sooner or later I'll reach a plateau and find it hard to get going again.