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Dropping weight in Droptober

Date
Droptober is just 'round the corner - but will it inspire us to think differently about our bodies?

Droptober is just 'round the corner - but will it inspire us to think differently about our bodies?

What with FebFast, Dry July and Ocsober we now have three months of the year when we can commit to not drinking for a month for the sake of good causes – and our livers. Now, along comes Droptober, which is about spending a month trying out new eating and exercise habits with the aim of losing two kilos for charity – and our waistlines.

Do these months have any value for improving our health? I think these dry months are a great way to rethink how much we drink. They're not about giving up alcohol for good - although they can help normalise not drinking – instead they remind us that a break from alcohol doesn't necessarily take something away, but can give something back, like a clearer head, better skin and more money.

As for Droptober, now in its second year, the idea is that maybe some of the changes people make will stick around for good.

They have for Sara Howard, a 40 year old copywriter with two children whose new habits peeled off five kilos over a month – and this is the important bit – the weight has stayed off 12 months later.

“I liked the idea that Droptober was about dropping just two kilos – I thought 'I could do that',” says Howard, whose new habits began with downloading a food diary incorporating a kilojoule counter on to her phone.

“Once I could see what I was eating - and how many kilojoules there were in things like three full cream lattes- it became easier to make smarter choices, “ she says. “They weren't big changes – I switched to low fat milk, I ate an apple instead of a muffin. If I was making lasagne for the family I ate a smaller portion but with more salad. After two weeks I had a new way of eating.”

A food diary app also worked for 36-year-old Lindsey Hoad who after losing almost six kilos in Droptober 2011 went on to lose another 17 kilos which have also stayed off. The diary helped her monitor what she ate and kept her accountable, says Hoad who works in marketing and financial services.

Backing up Howard and Hoad's experience is research that keeping a daily record of what you eat and drink can help keep you on the right track. The most recent is a study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in the US that found that over a 12 month period women who kept food journals lost more weight than those who didn't.

What else works?

Taking lunch to work – either leftovers from dinner or a salad, made a big difference Howard's eating habits.

“It means I'm not nipping out for a BLT or buying chicken and chips and it saved me a fortune,” she says.

Hoad also kept junk food out of the house and only bought healthy food. “I also check restaurant menus before I go – and if it looks hard to find the right food, I'll ask friends if we can go somewhere else. It's also about prioritising time to exercise," she says. Everyone finds an hour to go on Facebook or watch TV. You can always fit in a 30 minute run.

“This is the first time in six years that I've been able to maintain my weight and the hardest thing is getting started. You keep putting it off. You say to yourself 'I'll have this pizza and then I'll do something about it tomorrow'. The whole premise of Droptober is about getting started and changing habits that set you up for success — and the fact that you're raising money is an extra commitment factor.”

Losing two kilos for Droptober will raise funds for children's charities Variety and the Kids for Life Foundation.

There's good advice to get you there from experts like Droptober's organiser, personal trainer Mike Jarosky, and nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan on www.droptober.com.au

Paula Goodyer blogs at smh.com.au/chewonthis

20 comments so far

  • I don’t agree with diets and especially ones that note how much and how quickly the weight comes off. I guess that’s one reason why many people are over weight, in the first place. It’s that they are “now” people. I’m feeling low, NOW…I want to pick up my feelings NOW… Therefore I eat, NOW. Similarly when I want to lose those kilos…I want to do it NOW.

    On the other hand, I really support a food diary. IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE YOU CAN’T MANAGE. This is a REAL method for managing your calorie count and not some esoteric BS diet.

    Being the nerd I am, I once weighed or estimated everything that went into my mouth (broken biscuits, all drinks (except water) and flybys the fridge count!). I then went to a website like http://www.calorieking.com.au/ to search the database for the calorie content in the food. It’s amazing just to see where your calories come from and where, without too much pain, you can eliminate or substitute.

    I would definitely recommend it.

    Commenter
    Get Real
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    September 13, 2012, 10:29AM
    • So should be start NOW?

      Commenter
      KG's
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 11:29PM
  • Get Real, anyone who has not exercised for some time will find that they can rapidly lose the initial weight, it's getting used to dieting and excercise in the long term where people fall over.

    If you are eating (becasue you are live you need to) then effectively you have a diet. I hate fow the word gets only interpreted to mean fad diets.

    I also am now well within my healthy weight range but this is maintained by exercise and watching what I eat.

    Peiple need to learn how to cook healthy and stick with exercise.

    Your body is for life, not just Christmas!

    Commenter
    David
    Date and time
    September 26, 2012, 11:13AM
    • MyFitnessPal (iPhone APP) is fantastic for counting calories. I have lost three kilo's from just altering a few things and upping my training. Also, I have been cooking from this website for the past year and just LOVE Teresa's recipes - www.healthychef.com.au. Beautiful, healthy recipes for people who love to cook like me! :-)

      Commenter
      Jen
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 11:36AM
      • but the real problem not addressed is why did you put them on in the first place ?
        Or more importantly why didn't you act before getting fat?

        Commenter
        KG's
        Date and time
        September 26, 2012, 11:32PM
      • @KG -
        There are plenty of reasons as to why one puts on weight, and not all of them are related to the ingestion of 16 Big Macs and couch surfing each day. Ever had a baby KG? , Ever had to recover from surgery or a broken bone?, Ever had a thyroid problem?, the list could go on and on. People aren't always educated on healthy diet and exercise from childhood, these things need to be learned & i think food and exercise journals & some of the apps available now are a great way to help people make smarter choices regardless of how they found themselves needing to make a few changes. Shame their isn't an app that could help people be a little less superior in their blog comments eh KG.

        Commenter
        Cantweallbejustlikeyou
        Date and time
        September 29, 2012, 10:25AM
    • Forgive me for venting but these monthly fads make me want to puke. Besides "Droptober" being a stupid name, it's a bloody stupid idea. If you want to give money to charity, give freely because it's a good thing to do. If, by chance, you decide to stop buying your daily can of Coke and give that money saved to charity, then good. But getting other people to sponsor you to lose weight (because you're too stupid or lazy to do it for your own benefit at any other time of the year) and give *their* money to charity while you get to feel better about yourself for losing 2 measly kilos and your "hero page" shows that you raised x amount of dollars while doing it.... it's crazy! Linking up charitable acts and self-benefit like this is morally twisted and undignified. End vent.

      Commenter
      Kate
      Location
      Erko
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 11:40AM
      • Indeed, Kate!

        Commenter
        Oh Come On
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        September 26, 2012, 1:01PM
      • Lol.. your vent made me laugh, but only because I have the same vent every time I get requests to donate to people running the city to surf or abseiling down the amp building! I'm all for giving to charity, and I do, but you should do it because you want to make a difference not because you get something out of it (aside from the warm fuzzy glow of helping others!).

        To be devils advocate though I suppose the requests are a way of promoting the charities.. still, I'd rather do my own research and donate to those using the money most efficiently and effectively!

        Commenter
        TJ
        Date and time
        September 26, 2012, 1:03PM
      • Agree 100%. Following Droptober, get ready for the emails asking to sponsor someone for Movember, after sponsoring someone for Steptember. This suggests that about half the year is covered by these things. Very frustrating.

        Commenter
        Public Joe
        Date and time
        September 26, 2012, 2:13PM

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