Monday, 29 March 2010

Staying On The Healthy Eating Plan Despite Feeling Rubbish (Or At Least, Not Falling Off Too Much)

Its weekends like the one I’ve just had that make it exceedingly difficult to keep to any sort of healthy eating plan. When you’re full of cold, feeling miserable and trying to stop your body from doing all sorts of unpleasant things to you, the last thing you want to be doing is thinking about your next meal and how it fits in with your nice healthy diet.

In fact the last thing I wanted was food that fit into my nice healthy diet. I’m a chronic comfort eater, always have been, and feeling like death warmed up this weekend made me crave comfort foods. Except this time there was a subtle difference in what I was eating.

Where normally I’d reach for the chocolate and the cream cakes to cheer me up, this weekend I ate homemade savoury comfort foods. Homemade Chinese-style chicken noodle soup, made with homemade chicken stock. Turkey and bacon stew with pearl barley. Vegetable and sausage pizza, made carefully with about half the dough I normally use. And then I had a cheesecake, or rather, shared something that was supposed to be cheesecake with Sam.

FYI, if you have a cheesecake craving, Sainsbury’s packet mix cheesecake probably won’t hit the spot.

Anyway, even though I deviated slightly from my eating plan, I didn’t completely crash my diet car, if you see what I mean. And today, now I’m feeling a bit better (read, can actually breathe through both nostrils for the first time in four days) I picked myself off and got back on my plan, with a Slim Fast milkshake for breakfast.

Just shows that I can do it. The old me would have seen this cold as an excuse to quit, to go back to accepting that I’m fat and being miserable about it. Not the new me. I have a target, a goal that I’m determined to reach. And even if I can’t quite get there, I’m determined to get as close as I can.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Food Week

This week has been a bit of a food week for me. I don’t mean that I’ve overindulged or broken my rules. I mean it in the way that I’ve been looking deeper into what I’m eating, and experiment with fresh and new recipes and ideas.

Monday evening was a turkey kebab on a bed of rice; Tuesday I satisfied my potato craving with a potato rosti (with bacon). Wednesday I made a chicken and mushroom pie, and I have to say it was a rousing success. It was my first attempt at short crust pastry (or any pastry at all) and it wasn’t a complete failure. There was even enough left for Thursday’s dinner as well! Friday was one of my awesome risottos, but Saturday was the pinnacle of my food week. I made a Thai inspired beef noodle salad, which was utterly yummy. I may post some recipes later. There may even be pictures.

In addition to this I was spontaneously taken out for lunch on Thursday. One of my friends had just finished a hospital treatment and wanted to celebrate, so his mum took myself and Sam to Frankie and Benny’s for lunch. In keeping with my food week I tried something I’d never had before; their Californian pizza, which was stuffed with yummy vegetables and goat’s cheese. And I was good and had water with that instead of coffee or fizzy drinks.

This explosion in my interest in food came about because another friend put me on to Tastespotting. Every spare moment I get I’ve been eagerly browsing that site for pictures, delicious recipes and new ideas. The best thing about it is that I’ve been able to sit and look at photos of food for hours on end and not feel tempted to snack. Somehow along the way I’ve managed to break the association between seeing food, wanting it and feeling hungry. Which is good, because it means I can research new tasty things without getting the urge to stuff my face with food.

A few other good things have come out my explorations on Tastespotting. I’ve been spending a lot of time over at this site, which discusses raw veganism. While there is no way I’d ever even consider going vegetarian, let alone any variation of vegan, this site ahs had a lot to offer me. I’ve realised it would be a good idea to incorporate more raw food into my diet, both the wean me away from having three cooked meals a day some days, and to increase my vegetable intake. Both of which are good things. I’ve even been tempted to make some of the vegan recipes, such as this yummy looking cheesecake. Making such treats with vegan recipes certainly makes them a lot healthier, as it would cut out all the unnecessary fat in dairy products.

Although cutting out meat from my diet is just not an option for me, this isn’t the first time I’ve been tempted by vegan recipes. I’ve been very tempted to make my own almond milk for some time now; I’m just waiting for the right time (and the right almonds). While I am open to alternative food lifestyles, and am willing to try out their recipes, there’s just no way I’d be willing to give up animal products or cooked meals. But just incorporating just a few of the ideas discussed over at rawmazing could have a drastic effect on my health, and hence my weight.

One of the other things I like about that site is the writer’s hatred of the word diet. She refuses to use phrases like “I need to lose weight” because they are demeaning. And I have to agree. My overall goal is to lose weight, because there is no doubt that I need to, but I’m going to try to be more positive about it. Instead of telling people I’m on a diet, or I’m trying to fat bust, I’m going to tell them that I’m making new lifestyle choices to improve my overall health. I think I can cope with a doctor telling me that his chart says I’m unhealthy if I know that I’m as healthy as I can get myself.

To this end I’ve been trying to increase the amount of exercise I’m doing. Wednesday evening I spontaneously started doing exercise, of my own free will, because I felt like it. I’ve managed to come up with a short 5 minute exercise routine that I can do at any time during the day. The routine (so far) consists of 10 push ups, 10 sit ups, 10 star jumps, 10 bendy down and touch my toes things, and 10 reps on my ‘weights’. Hopefully once I managed to get a decent sports bra I’ll be able to incorporate some skipping into this routine as well.

I’ve also been considering going to the gym once a week. I’ve looked around and have managed to find a gym that is fairly affordable, which I plan to check out in the next few weeks. I think that even an hour in the gym every week would have a dramatic impact on my health. And I absolutely adore the rowing machines, which is great cardio work out. If I can find exercises I enjoy, then it becomes less of a chore and I’m more likely to it. It’s just that most of the exercise people have tried to get me to do my whole life I’ve hated. I’m hoping to change that for good.

Back to the food, I’ve also been looking at creating more variety in the carbohydrates than I eat, in addition to cutting back on them. I’ve started eating more potatoes (as you may have guessed form my comments about craving them) and I’ve all but given up pasta. In it’s place I have bought some couscous, pearl barley and cracked bulgur wheat. I’m looking forward to trying out the latter two in recipes, since I’ve never cooked them before. I’m hoping to get one with the barley in particular, as it is ridiculously cheap, which will keep my bank balance happy as well as my waist.

I’ve also been taking measures to reduce the amount of oil I use when I’m cooking. Instead of just pouring an indeterminate amount into the pan I’m using, I’ve a acquired a silicon basting brush. This means I can coat the pan lightly and not use too much oil. When I finish the oil I currently have I plan to get one of those 1 calorie per spray things. But for now the basting brush works just fine, and things taste the same as they always did. It’s just I can stop worrying about adding unnecessary calories to my meals.

There is a small amount of bad news though. I did break my ‘no alcohol in the month of March’ rule. I blame it entirely on t being St Patrick’s day and ending up in a pub where they sell all my favourite alcohols. The resolution seems to have had some effect though I had a single bottle of Kopparberg and felt slightly nauseous. I’m hoping that this manages to curb my drinking without putting me off entirely. It would be a shame to have to go teetotal.

Well, I think that’s about it for now. The Easter holidays are looming, which hopefully will mean I have more time to post. I still owe you guys that BMI essay, and I have a few other blog ideas up my sleeve. Easter will bring its own challenges though, as I will be spending three weeks at home with a greatly reduced control over my food. My mother is mostly to blame for my addiction to large portions of carbs, but she’s aware of my rules and resolutions. We should be able to sort something out, which will probably involve me cooking. Not that I’m complaining, of course.

Full rawmazing rant about weight loss can be found here.

Further thoughts on raw food diets and weight loss can be found here.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

An Even Quicker Update

Hot off the Press!

While eating lunch just moments ago, I well and truly realised something. I eat far too quickly. I guess I always have eaten quickly, but it really struck me today. My tomatoes on toast (which were very delicious by the way) were gone in a few scant minutes, and I'm left feeling like I've never eaten at all.

I'm thinking that this problem of eating quickly, combined with the not feeling full properly has contributed a lot to my overeating in the past. Hopefully recognising the problem will be half the battle and will help me stop.

For now I'm going to fill myself up on tea and water, because I'm not eating anything else until dinner time.

Monday, 15 March 2010

A Fairly Quick Update

Wow, haven’t updated this blog in a while. That’s mostly been because its mad deadline season at uni. I’m not going to apologise; this is my blog and I’ve been busy. This does mean that the BMI essay I’ve been getting excited about is on the back burner for now. Maybe I’ll write it over the Easter holiday. Here is, however, a quick update.

  • There has been some more noticeable progress with the weight loss. I can now fasten buttons on my lab coat that I couldn’t before.
  • I started taking multivitamins, at the behest of a friend’s mother, and I can honestly say I feel much better. It’s obvious that with my diet as limited as it was I wasn’t getting enough essential nutrients.
  • I bought some slim fast shakes, and they’re not bad. I don’t normally like milkshakes, so I was surprised by how nice these were. I’m not following the plan or anything; they’re mostly to add some variety to breakfast and to fill in for lunch when I don’t know what to have.
  • I’m considering getting some fibre supplements to take. With the change in the amount of carbohydrates in my diet (from stupidly large amounts to just under normal) it’s become obvious that fibre is slightly lacking in my diet.
  • One thing I’ve started to notice is that I don’t seem to feel the full sensation properly. I’ve had really quite hearty meals that I’ve felt ravenous afterwards, even though I know I can’t possibly hungry. This might help to explain the overeating I’ve been very guilty of, and hopefully will allow me to avoid it in the future. If my iron will can’t combat it, I’m tempted to go to a doctor to get some appetite suppressing drugs.
  • The whole exercise thing is going pretty well too. I’ve not really been doing much in the way of cardio workout, but I’ve been doing lots of walking. You wouldn’t believe how much exercise gets done when I’m running round the lab four afternoons a week. In addition to this walks around the local area are starting to happen more. Which is good because there are also lots of pretty places round here.
  • I'm managed to stick to the alcohol promise I made myself, so far. Despite having a bit too much to drink at a party on Saturday, I didn't buy any of it myself. And I tried my best to balance the calories for the day so I wasn't too over my limits.
I'm also starting to feel quite a lot more positive about myself. This was helped immensely by the shedload of compliments I received at the party on Saturday, from someone I only met that night. So far, it seems like I'm well on my way o a healthier, happier me.

Interesting things I have found out tonight:

How to make ice cream out of bananas.

How to make an omelette without a frying pan.

And also a really awesome new recipe for potatoes that I can’t find the link for.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Coping With Bad News, and Making It Good

I did a bit of a naughty on Saturday. Well, I was out at a party eating and drinking to my heart’s content, but that’s not what I meant. While at said party I sneakily borrowed my friends scales (sorry Pinaz!) to get a ball park estimate of how much I weigh. Turns out I’m about 2 stone heavier than I thought I was, which was a bit of a blow to be perfectly honest.

All in all though, I feel I dealt with it very well. I didn’t let it ruin the party for me, and it didn’t get me down as much as news like this usually does. In fact, it strengthened my resolve to get to the size and shape I want to be, on my terms. According to the BMI scale, this 2 stone increase in weight means that I now classify as morbidly obese rather than just obsess. People who know me will probably agree that there is no way I look morbidly obese (remind me to write my essay on how rubbish the BMI scale is in the near future). And I’m not. The scale is wrong, but it’s what doctors use when deciding how healthy a person is.

My new long term goal is now this; if I go to a doctor after I’m at my ideal size and am told I could do with losing a bit of weight, I want to be in a position to ask the doctor where I lose this weight from. If my build is all muscle and bone, there is no way I should be able to be classed as obese, but that is a debate for another time.

This is accompanied by some good news though. I now have a pair of jeans that are almost too big for me. While this is jump-up-and-down-squealing good news, as it shows my plan is working, it also makes me a little sad. It means that fairly soon I’ll have to get rid of them and buy a new pair. I keep reading that a person losing weight is more likely to keep the weight off if they throw out all their oversize clothes. Less temptation to fall of the wagon and end up back in them I guess. While this does have its drawbacks in the form of spending money, it’s all in a good cause. And in theory I’m spending less money on food so should have more funds available for clothes that fit.

In other news, Sam and I finally managed to do the first of our planned weekly walks on Sunday. We walked to a local retail park to find the Toys’R’Us. We walked, and we found it. We were out about two hours in total. It was good fun, very bracing, and above all great exercise. I think I definitely got my 10,000 steps in for Sunday. We just need to find enough places to walk around to be able to do it every week,

For March I’ve decided to give up two things. The first is coffee; although I have gone down to skimmed milk and sweetener, I’ve still decided to give up coffee. On occasion I do still have sugar in it, which adds unnecessary calories. Also if I switch to herbal and flavoured teas, I eliminate the milk entirely as opposed to just most of the calories in milk. It also curbs my caffeine intake, which is good because there’s caffeine in my fat metaboliser pills, and talking additional caffeine can mess things up as far as they’re concerned. Caffeine can also cause problems with blood sugar, which has a knock on effect for the body’s ability to metabolise fat. I’m hoping that by really cutting back on my caffeine intake I’ll be able to maximise my fat loss.

The other thing I’m giving up is alcohol. Well, more or less. I’m going teetotal in the sense that I’m not buying any alcohol this month, whether I’m at the pub or at home. The reason I’m not going 100% teetotal is because I have a few beers in already, but that’s what I’ve got to last the month. Part of the reason I’m doing it is to see what kind of impact it has on my wallet, but I’m hoping it will also have a fairly drastic impact on my waistline too. I don’t think I’ll be able to give up alcohol for good, I like it too much for that. But hopefully a month of minimal alcohol drinking will pave the way for a compromise.