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Mrs Lard’s Guide How (NOT) to do LighterLife Route to Management

I started Route to Management one day before Sarah (Cerulean) and, if you like, our first week is A Tale of Two Route to Managements!

We have found ourselves taking the same path, rather differently, but reaching, I think the same conclusions! I highly recommend that you read Sarah’s Route to Management thread http://www.minimins.com/lighter-lif...t-thread-august-12th-november-5th-2007-a.html
and Amanda Jayne’s http://www.minimins.com/lighter-life-forum/8093-ajs-ll-management-journey.html

And I urge you to read this guide to ensure you don’t do what I did! But, as my LLC reminds me, use a lapse or a setback as an opportunity to learn, which is what I am trying to do now. And I want to share what I have learnt so that you can save yourself a whole heap of heartache along the way!

1) Don’t assume you know what you are doing in week 1

My LLC advised me to come to a class BEFORE I started LighterLife Route to Management (stage 3). This was excellent advice, which I followed! I had my first session, which was with a locum (lovely but she didn’t know me) and one other person. The others got weighed, got their packs and escaped! Why wouldn’t you?

I naively said, it’s ok, I know what I am doing. I’ve got the books, I’ve got the CDs, I’ve got a fantastic support network outside of the group (yes, dear online friends, that’s YOU!). It’s basically cottage cheese for one meal a day for two days and then salad for the rest of the week. No problem! I even said, “Now, I’m not being cavalier about this…”

But I was. Yes, I did indeed have the books. I read them on the train when I picked them up from my LLC about one month earlier. Yes, I had the CDs. I even started to listen to them on the Sunday before my first class. But I was doing housework and chores, so was only half paying attention. I think I heard the ‘crisp’ story about five times.

So, what do I advise?

Get prepared. View the first few weeks as a MILITARY OPERATION – it’s all in the detail, it really is.

Prepare yourself mentally. Prepare yourself physically. Prepare yourself emotionally – you are going to be eating again. And even if you haven’t been 100% abstinent, suddenly you are ‘allowed’ to eat. And it’s a VERY different experience. It really is. Legitimate eating is very different to furtive snacking!

2) Timing is Everything

I started Foundation on a Monday night, after my first (and only) pop-in session, which was good because had it been a morning, I probably would have felt that the whole day still lay ahead and how on earth would I manage on four sachets!

I also started Route to Management in an evening but this was NOT good ( I have now had the courage to blog about my first meal). I ate far too late, the meal was a disappointment (I’d had a very bad day) and mentally, I just was not in a place to start.

It resulted in me bingeing about three hours after my ‘meal’ and then I had indigestion that night and all the next day. And with indigestion came the compulsion…to eat more! Crazy but true. I have subsequently worked out why this is; whenever I have felt bad in the past, my first place to find solace is in the fridge or in the cupboard or via the local shop. In my brain, the hotwiring goes “feel bad, must eat”. And that goes for physical pain as well as mental/emotional pain/discomfort.

I think I really started to get this after my first week of Route to Management when I was catching up with Minimins and answered a query from Nixx. It turns out that Nixx had a phenomenal Weight Watchers leader, who clearly took no prisoners but who really understood the compulsion to eat.

When Nixx relayed her comments, in a very funny way, something went off in my mind like a giant firework. And this was the comment:

“She called normal people "civilians", as if we WW were a different species, and I suppose in a lot of ways we are. She said that if a civilian was ill, they didn't eat. If a WW was ill, they'd take to the sofa saying "oh, I'm ill, I couldn't eat a thing...or maybe just a lightly boiled egg... and a couple of slices of toast.... and a milky coffee..."


Suddenly I didn’t feel like a freak because that’s exactly how I have thought, ever since I was a little girl. Nixx’s comment is witty yet it’s really sad at the same time. I remember when I was ill and I couldn’t eat and I thought, God, I must be REALLY ill!!

But the crux of the matter is that even with something like indigestion (caused by bingeing), even though rational thought will tell us otherwise, our inclination, our compulsion, however you want to phrase it, is to eat some more! To make it better. To make it go away.

I have a medical condition that comes round regularly (!) and the pain is SOOO intense, it makes me cry, even with prescription painkillers. And I realise now, as I am writing this, just how much food I used to consume, just to distract myself from the pain in the vague hope it might go away.

So, the purpose of this very long point is to say – just when you thought you had it licked in Foundation and Development, Route to Management will press every button going so be prepared. And start at a good time for you – really think about when that would be.

What would I do differently?

Go back to what worked for you in the first few weeks of Foundation. What did you do? I cleared my diary (apart from a workshop) as much as I could. Which day of the week did you start Foundation? Was that a good day to start? It’s all about giving yourself the very best opportunities to succeed.

3) Make Time for Route to Management

Not only when you start but how you start is important. The thing is, after three months of Foundation and however many weeks or months of Development, you can do the packs without much thought.

Yes, you’re still having the ongoing ‘battles/arguments/internal dialogues’ around food BUT you know the rules. Four packs, four litres and nothing else. Any eating you’ve done during that time is OUT of abstinence and it’s unlikely to be a salad that you have lovingly prepared for yourself! Chances are it will be something eaten out of panic, on the hoof, in secret, in defiance, in an angry moment – anything, probably, other than genuine physical hunger.

BUT in Route to Management you can start to eat. And with that eating comes…preparation. It takes time. It takes effort so you need to ensure you have made time for Week 1. I definitely did not and was resentful of having to think about more stuff ‘to do’, to buy, etc etc.

I wasn’t 100% abstinent in Foundation and Development but I didn’t need to go shopping for food! And in Route to Management, you do. For you!

So my advice is don’t do what I did, which was not make time for Route to Management!

4) Follow the Rules

Remember the heady days of Foundation when you did the programme perfectly? (Apologies, I know some of you have done Development perfectly, too!) Why was it so fantastic? Because you lost weight by following the programme.

Route to Management is no different; just as I said, at the end of Development, it’s SO important not to cheat, it’s the same for Route to Management.

So, if you think you are going to be in situations where you feel you can’t control your urges to go off limits, cancel your plans. Or devise a strategy whereby you have a get out clause if it gets too much. Some people thrive on being so strict and good; others, like me, find it hard and beat ourselves up when we fail. If all or nothing thinking is your way of operating, abstinence is fantastic. Route to Management will be more testing.

5) Write Down Everything (which will help you watch what you are eating) – if you do nothing else, DO THIS!

WARNING this bit contains food so look away if you are not eating

Food Amnesia

I spent the first few days of Route to Management NOT writing anything down; looking back, I think that was deliberate. I felt I had blown Management within the first six hours so I had already got into self-destructive cycle that took me several days to come out of.

I was in denial about what I was eating. Some of it was legitimate Week 1 food, some of it definitely wasn’t. I managed to chow my way through a lot of dairy that week – cottage cheese (ok in small doses, not in the family packs that I was eating!), quark (strictly a week two food but I hadn’t bothered to read the Week 1 guide properly). I found I liked quark and ate the whole tub in five minutes straight. I ate a whole Mozzarella, which is definitely NOT a Week 1 food! I ate yoghurt – fat-free Greek, fruit yoghurt corner things, M&S fruit yoghurt – all of these were bought for my husband but since he wasn’t at home, I ate them for him.

I ate chicken out of a bought salad pack and threw the salad away (which was good since it had butternut squash in it) but I also bought a chicken wrap, determined only to eat the chicken but I managed to have an ongoing battle on my journey home and ended up eating the chicken, then a bit of the wrap. That particular battle went on for at least four hours! I should never have bought it in the first place but my travel anxiety (when can I eat) kicked in since I would have no access to foodpacks for 8 hours.

Part of the challenge of the first week, I believe, is how little food you really need to feel full. A lifetime of eating bigger portions will mean your brain will tell you that you ‘need’ more. But you don’t. The other important message is that it may take your body much, much longer to send out the full signals. The general consensus is 20 minutes but my body really doesn’t register food for ages. This presents a tricky dilemma; even if you follow the rules, you may find your stomach protesting a few hours later so it’s something to be prepared for. Just don’t treat your indigestion with more food!

Bizarrely, the one thing I didn’t eat during my first few days of Route to Management was sugar. That was very strange since I had become obsessed, during Development, with frappuccinos and skinny muffins. That changed when I went to the cinema and had a whole bag of popcorn. Note to self: need a cinema strategy.

6) Triggers

There is no doubt that Foundation and Development help you to identify your major triggers. If you have done lots of Thought Records, you may see a distinct pattern developing.

I have found, however, that since jumping ship from Development to Route to Management that I am hyper aware of a whole load more triggers. For example, I have noticed the weather is a massive trigger but I really wasn’t aware of how much until last week. I was coming out of class, it was pouring with rain and I just wanted to eat – even though it had been a fantastic session. It was surprising how that urge came out of nowhere.

I think Route to Management can give you the time to see where your triggers are and how you can deal with them, particularly once you are out of abstinence.

In a way, the triggers are tougher to deal with because you are eating again but, here’s the key thing to remember, you are only eating certain foods at certain times. No more, no less. That’s something I definitely did not adhere to in Week 1.

7) LighterLife Route to Management Materials

When you start Route to Management, you are given three blue books

The Lighter Life Route to Management Workbook (bible) (as Cerulean pointed out to me, it’s got a compass on the front for a reason, which I did not realise! Here’s what she wrote:

The book's graphic is a compass. Look for your true north and set your goal.

The LighterLife Route to Management Week by Week Guides and Recipes

The LighterLife Route to Management Journal (this looks fantastic but if you don’t want to advertise the fact that you are on the programme, buy yourself a new notebook – small enough to carry everywhere)

It focuses on food and mood (a great way, I think, to identify triggers), activity levels (now is the time to step up the exercise) and achievements (it’s important to note your achievements).

The LighterLife CDs – set of six.

My LLC advised me to download them to my iPod, which I have done. Now I need to start listening to them. Frequently!

8) Do your homework

I still have not completed any homework or tasks set for Week 1 and I am in my second week. These tools are here for a reason so it’s important to follow them. I was very good about my Foundation homework so I must go back to my habit of doing my homework on the train to and from class! Practice makes perfect!

9) Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Of course, there is! I have painted a bleak picture – just from my own experience, which does not detract from the fact that LighterLife DOES work, even in Route to Management. After all this gloomy talk, can I feel positive? Absolutely.

Why is LighterLife Route to Management so fantastic? Because if you ‘failed’ the week, ie didn’t manage in the way YOU feel happy with, you can just do it all over again! And that is exactly what I am doing now!

And, Route to Management Lesson One - it's not WHAT you eat but why, where and how!

So, as Oprah says, “When you know better, you do better” and I hope this helps some of you!

PS There’s a lot more on my blog, with advice from others so take a peek. I also recommend Sarah’s blog (http://vagueglorious.wordpress.com/) to see how she has coped during Week 1, particularly with the yummy recipes.

So, that's all, Folks! (For now, anyway.)
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Wow, this is amazing, thank you so much for this, I am currently in FGoundation at the moment, our 100 days are due to finish soon, but as I've got 3 stone to go, I'll be moving into Development, I was starting to reall worry about what was going to happen when I moved onto Management, I thought I would be found, head down in about 10 plates of food! I think my management meetings may well be on a mid week evening, my Foundation meeting at the moment is 5.30 on a Monday which is great, but after next week we are merging with another group and it will be Wednesdays at 8.00 - and all my group are panicking! Don't think we're dealing with change very well!!!:rolleyes:

Well done, and once again, many thanks, I'm off to visit your blogs now! xx

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU I will be going into Route to management in a couple of weeks and this is such a great help, did I say THANK YOU:thankyou::hug99:
Mrs L

A wonderful, honest and enlightening post. I got my Blue Bible this week. Opened it and thought 'ooh no, way too much to take in' and havent opened it since!
I need to be a model student. I will be a model student!!
Thanks so much for posting this
That is so spot on Mrs L.

I redid week 1 as I felt I had failed. I am now restarting in week 3 from Saturday after messing about around week 7 for a while. I have gained weight while on holiday and need to get this off as I will not be happy until I do.

This time round I am going to stick to the plan and not mess about or waiver as I dont intend to be redoing the weeks again.

Thanks everyone for the feedback; if it helps, it was WORTH doing!

Greenockgal - join the Developers thread - we're such a great bunch over there (I love it so much I can't leave!!) and have a look at Mrs Lard's Guide to Development. I think it may help you.

Lotty - thank YOU. And keep going! Your weight losses are fantastic!

Good luck, Jo. Just think, oooh Week 3, I liked it so much I did it twice!!

Let's keep in touch.

TG - don't even go there! Yet!

Big kiss to you all.

Mrs L xx


Why Be Normal?
S: 192lb C: 192lb G: 138lb BMI: 33 Loss: 0lb(0%)

Thank you so much. My Foundation group is approaching our date of completion -- and there are at least three of us that will move into Management. There is another woman who decided that she would do a month of Developers (as she still wanted to lose more than a stone) -- but she also has been very anxious about Management and eating again. I will send her the link to this wonderful information -- and I certainly will use it myself.

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