Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Day 7 Mind Matters

Another sunny day. Today I read Lynn's Weigh, another inspirational story. It is a long time ahead before I even get a sniff at maintenance levels but I was interested to note that the same level of mindfulness is necessary to maintain as to actually get started on the healthy way of living & eating.

I have read Louise Hay's You can Heal Your Life, and daily affirmation in boosting  my self-esteem and changing my perception of myself from negative derogatory terms to praiseworthy positive terms seems an imperative. So I am going to dwell on the good stuff, and emphasize those aspects of my life and doings. As for the less good, acknowledge it and let it go. Easy to say, not so easy to do - pretty much like changing the way I feel and view and consume food! Baby steps though are good.

When I think back to my consumption five years ago or even 5 months ago, I am totally heartened by the changes I have already wrought in my life. I eat more fruit and vegetables, and like them. I am much more mindful of how much oil and butter I put on my food, and have changed my palate to appreciate creaminess in smaller quantities and in half fat versions. I still have a weakness for cheese, but I slice it thinly for sandwiches, and use it as a topping and a flavouring now rather than the raison d'être of the dish. I am now working on changing my perceptions and feelings of portion sizes and this is coming along well. :) I eat very little chocolate, sugar, sweets, puddings, confectionery, pastries. A lot less bread than I used to as that is one of my trigger foods - I can eat bread slathered with butter until the cows come home!

A consequence of all this mindfulness about food is that I really appreciate finding, buying and cooking my food. And cooking itself is now so easy. As I am doing it only to please myself. I had always been the cook in my significant relationships, and like to cook for an appreciative audience. So learning to cook for just myself has been a small journey which I am now getting proficient in. Measuring helps. As does only buying enough for one. Also I very seldom make pastry, cakes or puddings so that also helps!

An ex boyfriend once sent me this:
''Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day'' - a cynical take on learning! But the general sentiment of doing for oneself, being independent and having free choice instead of being dependent on another's actions is clear. I'm glad to be steering my own boat and learning to fish for myself on this healthful journey. And if I do drink some beer along the way, I shall of course be mindful of it! :D

Food today: again mostly healthy choices, I am so happy about how I view food today. It is a friend, a pleasure, and is no longer a way to disguise my unhappiness with some other aspect of my life.
Breakfast: banana, strawberries, 125ml greek yoghurt, 125ml ss milk, 1/2 tbsp honey in a smoothie, roobios tea
Lunch: sliced pork chop, with 1/2 pkt fresh egg noodles, watercress, spinach stirfried in 1 tbsp olive oil, flavoured with a chopped clove of garlic, & half a red chilli plus a slug of sesame oil, soy sauce, maggi seasoning, kitchap manis; banana
Snack: 100g onion baton, 1 tbsp olive oil, sliced tomatoes
Dinner: As lunch, with extra portion of stirfry veg with edamame beans
Snack: 50g cheerios with 200ml ss milk
Water: 4 pints

Exercise: no extra efforts today. But am feeling good.

No Smoke Here

I'm an ex-smoker. I gave up smoking on my 40th birthday as a present to myself. Today I avoid the clouds of lone fag inhalers at the entrances of buildings and pubs, and hold my breath if I have to rush through the noxious air on my way somewhere else.

The interesting thing about giving up smoking is that concurrently I also lost few stone in weight. That could be down to my doing more things than just sitting at home ordering groceries and cigarettes on the internet :) But the fact I DID do it, DECIDED to, AND DID it is significant to me. How can I apply the how and why of that success to this aim of furthering my healthy living journey. I was going to write weight loss, but it actually seems better in my mind to call this my gaining something rather than losing something. As perhaps ceasing smoking was a decision to:
1) stop creating noxious air for my pet to breathe - I had read a lot about passive smoking effects on nearest and dearest and it wasn't FAIR. They give us all their love and we reward them with illness? Indefensible.
2) to smell nice again - smokers STINK, and the smell CLINGS. My home was a STINKY place to be in. Now it smells of me and ordinary smells instead of rank dank pub atmosphere.
3) to truly appreciate the food I cooked and ate. Food tastes absolutely divine now.
4) to truly appreciate the myriad scents and smells of the world around me. I love perfume. And now a teeny spray covers me with enough scent, where before I would spray vast amounts because I could not smell myself properly. Saving money hurrah! And I do appreciate all the other normal stinky smells - how else could I detect if my cat had brought in a mutilated gift and stowed it somewhere?
5) to breathe better. My lungs are much better now. I still get asthma, but the benefits of not coughing all the time means I can discern between smokers hack and real bronchial distress. My asthma meds are only for reassurance rather than everyday use today.

If I had still been a smoker I wouldn't have had the chance to meet or get to know my last partner who was the source of many inspirations and explorations for me in giving myself a bigger life stage.

If I was still a smoker, there would be no hope whatsoever for my getting to learn how to scuba dive. Now my only barrier is getting down to an okay weight before embarking on yet another activity adventure.

If I was still a smoker, I'd be one of those fag inhalers loitering outside buildings - sure it is camaraderie, however it is SO much nicer to be indoors and chatting to all ones friends rather than one type of friend.

I'm so glad I'm a No Smoke Here person.

And if I can be an ex-smoker, I can be an ex-fattie too.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Day 6 Social Derailment

Glorious sunny day today, a teeny nip in the air in the shade. Autumn is definitely blowing in.
I'm feeling pretty good. And it is Bank Holiday Monday, so quiet times in the street chez moi, hurrah!

Foodwise, mostly good choices, except for the social event Kaffee und Küchen round at my friend's - a ladies only teaparty. It also included lots of sparkling wine, elderflower flavoured water, and delicious cake, made by the hostess herself. All things I love. So I had them.

However, not everyone felt the same way and this was interesting how each woman did her own thing with the offers of cake. I noticed that the smaller trimmest ladies only had small portions, and desisted from some of the offerings, the hostess herself who is tall and very thin (natural state) only picked off the bits she liked from her cakes - the rest was given to the birds, and myself and the other woman (slightly overweight), ate all of ours, and sampled the other stuff on offer. Only one very fit woman ate as much as us latter two, and she had well shaped defined arms - turns out her day job was gardening and her hobby was her allotment! So she was quite happily tucking into lots of cake without a qualm.

That's who I want to be. The fit, healthy, ACTIVE individual who can say, "yes please", instead of demurring to a hostess proferring foodstuffs without worrying about appearing greedy, or worrying that it will instantly attach itself to her hips.

And it got me thinking about how much of food eating is down to how we are brought up or used to. My family love to eat. Food is my father's passion. My mother can take it or leave it, but she loves junk food, crisps, sweets, biscuits. The culture I am from is one that if you visit someone's home, you are always offered food and drink to excess, and hostesses are most disappointed if you do not try at least one morsel of Grandma's old recipe X delicacy...I grew up thinking it was good manners to eat, and finish off my plate. And at home there was always abundant food, grazing inbetween meals, snacking when out shopping, when off to take exercise there was always a pitstop to have a drink or a little something. Food was as much a social thing as fuel to live. My father would plan his journeys by various pitstops to sample local dishes of note. Heh. I am chortling to think about it now. But all that was normal to me. And I have grown up to be a good and appreciative guest. And it shows!

So - back to my ideal - fit, healthy, active me who can take or leave any foodstuff. The is an element of psychology to deal with too here before that can be achieved. Perhaps I might try to do the leaving something small on my plate trick so I get comfortable about not having to polish off my plate and making my stomach uncomfortable. Now that goes entirely against the grain for me. I wonder what triggers I will find in this train of thought.

Food today: chicken 5 pcs, roobios tea
prawns, tomato, watercress, 1 tbsp olive oil in french onion baton (100g)
lots of raspberries, 2-3 pints water
slice of apple & plum cake, slice of sponge filled with jam, cream & raspberries, 2 x 1" squares chocolate brownies, 1 similar piece flapjack dipped in chocolate, 2 glasses fizzy chardonnay, 2 glasses elderflower water, tea with milk
rice noodles, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 pork chop, watercress, spinach, garlic, soy sauce, maggi seasoning, slug of sesame oil. Banana, 1 pint water

Exercise: walk to allotment 10 mins

Other discovery of the day - calories burned per exercise done. most useful. And a calculator that shows that a woman of my weight, height & age performing 1-3 days  exercises/sport these other interesting ideas: (exercise being the 20-30 mins 3x a week recommendation by doctors)
Calories to maintain weight: 2863
to lose 1 lb per week: 2363
to lose 2 lb per week: 1883

If I was to up my exercise to moderate: 3-5 days exercise/sport a week (I imagine this is good heart pumping sessions of at least an hour each time)
Calories to maintain weight: 3227
to lose 1 lb a week: 2727
to lose 2 lb a week: 2227

Interesting number crunching. Plus yet another consideration for balance is this note: For a more balanced approach to a 1 pound per week weight loss, increase your activity. Decrease calorie intake by 250 calories per day and exercising to expend (use up) the other 250 calories. This approach prevents a decrease in your metabolic rate and promotes increased lean muscle mass.

Food for thought.
Guess I am having very interesting dreams tonight!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Day 5

First off. I finally got to grips with calorie counting today. So much easier now than looking it up in a little book. Lazy of me, think of all the calories I could have been burning flipping through those pages and the brain energy I might have used to add to my calorie deficit, damn, maybe using the book will be better - had better get one!

So: calories in today - 2520. Porridge with milk & 1 tsp sugar, onion baton with can tuna mixed with 1 heaped tsp creme fraiche (half fat), a big salad with croutons and 2 tbsp low fat caesar dressing, 6 roast chicken thighs, bruschetta with tomatoes, olive oil, salt & pepper, a Walls Berry Berry ice cream lolly, cocoa with 6 tsp sugar
Water: 3 pints + and am drinking another now.

Energy out: pottered around the garden, did a spot of weeding & planting, walked around a supermarket, a fairly inactive day.

I think if I get some lo cal hot chocolate substitutes that will fix the choccie drink craving & save me nearly 300 calories, & maybe learn to brush olive oil on instead of pouring it on bruschetta. And perhaps take off the skin from the chicken in future.

It was really nice to eat bread though. Bread is one of my overeating triggers - I can eat vast quantities of it with slatherings of butter. I don't like marge at all. So I try not to buy it now, and if I do it is a special treat. When I was recovering from my op, I had lots of time on my hands and wasn't allowed to do much, so I made bread. It was immensely satisfying to knead & shape the dough and yummy to eat if a bit misshapen. :)

All in all an okay sort of day. Baking programme on TV did make me think about doing some myself but luckily am right out of butter...and eggs. Am thinking about making a beetroot chcolate cake though, got some lurking in the fridge. Beetroot, roasted is delicious, or I could make borscht, hmmm.

Cat has been sick a lot today, and been wanting lots of cuddles. I am typing this with a large fur muff laid across my left shoulder...

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Day 4 - Sofa Slouch

I'm having a well earned sofa slouch this evening.

Expedition to the lottie was quite successful. The nettle triffid has been vanquished and consigned to compost heaven. And I only got stung a teeny bit :)

The azada is fantastic. Took me a few blows to get the hang of it, but once I'd sorted that I cleared out a huge clump of couch grass - that was VERY satisfying. Arms a tad sore now from wielding the loppers, it is an open wide and close movement, excellent for the biceps and triceps, pectorals and because I was bending, some effort by my shoulder muscles too. I'm looking forward to clearing out the raised beds now, and getting that nice soil tilth thing going. All the stuff I have read about gardening emphasize the importance of good soil preparation and I guess now is MY moment to do that. Next year I am going to have some fabulous plants!

That reminds me I must start looking again at which raspberries and strawberries I want for next year. I'm a bit gutted that the raspberries I transplanted had such a hard time this year. Next year's sticks though are going to be planted in good manured weed-free soil, and lets see how they do.

On the exercise front, today has been an all round success. Huge grin. Endorphins amuck here! Food front also looking up today. I do believe the sunshine has helped, AND so far tonight that annoying light from the neigbours has remained off - HURRAH.

Breakfast: porridge 1/3 cup oats, 1.5 fl oz milk, roobios tea
Lunch: 4 rashers bacon, 1 courgette, chopped & fried in 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 3 oz rice (uncooked weight) roobios tea (I passed on the lolly after all - had a nap instead)
Dinner: 1 courgette, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 oz (uncooked weight) lentils, 2 oz mince beef bolognaise sauce & 100g wholemeal spaghetti plus 2 oz grated cheddar. 7 dried apricots, small box of california raisins, roobios tea
Water: Almost 3 pint glasses so far. Its 10pm now, will probably have another one before bedtime.

Feeling upbeat today.

Day 4 - wahey


I'm feeling good! Have been for my little walk - 20 mins down to the park & back, and was nice and puffed out and hot when I got back. And it is a GLORIOUS day. Had breakfast & lunch in my lovely garden, so peaceful and tranquil despite the traffic noise, quite amazing. And have painted the potatoes sign for my allotment - am not letting anyone take that quarter away from me! All four posts now drying in the sun. :)


Lolly time, then it is a pootle over to the lottie to try out the new azada & bang in those new posts. Might take the lopper and see if I can hack down that nettle triffid...it has looooooong handles, well away from those stinging leaves.

Day 4 - Early Morning Thoughts

It's almost half past eight, not precisely early, but it is Saturday. Bank Holiday this weekend, which means a mass of people at all the big outlets getting their Bank Holiday shopping offers. Me, I am going to mosey on over to the allotment and try out this new tool I've got.

It's called an azada, and is like a mattock - a long handle and the knife/blade is a wide piece of sharp steel shaped a bit like a spade but is set at a little more than 90º backwards. So it is L shaped. Instead of using body weight and my foot to push it into the soil, I lift it about shoulder height and swing it down, allowing the weight of the head do the work for me. I have been assured this is much easier on the back than using the spade, so I hope so, because today is the moment of truth. I got it a couple of days ago, but as it has been bucketing down which normally turns this soil into a thick quagmire I desisted. But last night was clear, and this morning is supposed to be clear, so a little later I'm off to see what miracles can be achieved with this.

The last time I was at the 'lottie, my friend was with me, digging out my potato patch, bless him. We planted 4 kg of Charlotte and Bambino as late second crop. These have been touted as Christmas spuds, so I'm hoping.

I've had the 'lottie for about 2 years. The first year I planted strawberries & raspberries, and rhubarb, and a few potatoes then let it all go to seed. I had a weed infested patch. And at the time all my energy was being invested into something else so neglect was the result.

Then in September last year I gave up half of the half, so I now have a quarter plot. And I had big plans. Friend had come down (he's very handy with tools) and fitted me up 4 raised beds, and I popped in some beans & moved my raspberries and strawberries. Sadly they didn't take to well to the transplantation so I'm going to have to get some more this winter. This year, darn it, I had an operation right at the start of the planting season and was unable to do anything for months. Depression, back strain and the feelings of being overwhelmed also led to the 'lottie being neglected this year, but this month, we have had progress. :) Potatoes at least. And cleared beds, with some new soil in them - I have a few bags of compost & manure to dig into them, and some weed suppressing fabric over the top until I am ready to plant.

I have been here before - all enthusiasm and shiny happy plans, and it all descended into a big fat damp squib. :( But armed with my new motto - Do or Not Do, there is no Try - I have new hope, plus a funky new azada to try out. :)

I am hoping the swing action I will be using will translate itself to understanding my muscles better too. I have been on a short course to learn how to play golf this summer, that has been fun, but with the drawback of severe back pain. I am sure this is all entirely because my stomach muscles were cut during my op, and the extra weight gain since has all settled in my tummy, creating an even bigger strain on my back. So losing weight, and especially losing it on my middle is the biggie! Gardening is going to help massively, as is swimming and walking, and doing sit ups and crunches. And I'm hoping those endorphins from the exercise and all the extra fresh air & different places I will be going to as a result will stave off my depression this time.

Time for lacing on my trainers and hopping off for a twenty minute walk. I have decided to just do 20 mins 3x a week to start, and to go for swimming 3x a week as well. Small steps, small goals, incremental adjustments, get my head and body used to it and then increase it gradually. I think my idea of exercise every day was a bit too much - I seem to have this hotwire gut reaction to any kind of imposition, even if it is me who is doing it! Daft huh. Go figure.

The important thing is to keep moving, keep hydrated and be mindful of what I'm putting in my mouth. That will do for now.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Day 3

Another day bites the dust. Or food overbites.

I am freaking out quietly I think. I manage to do most of the day okay, then it comes round to about 7pm and I find myself in the kitchen studying the cupboards, the fridge, the freezer. My subconscious has a stronger grip on me than the desire to become healthy :( I'm slightly frantic as I slice open the bacon package & fry up 6 slices, and eat them standing up, while in the oven has gone a pepperoni pizza & a pack of ready rolled pastry with 3 sliced bramley apples and slatherings of sugar. I remember at the time thinking WHAT? But still being unable to stop myself.

Result: uncomfortably full again. At least I didn't eat all the apple pastry thing. Am dumping the rest into the recycling so am not tempted.

My cupboards are looking emptier and emptier. Perhaps that is the subconscious wish? Dunno.

Food today
Breakfast: weetabix, milk, roobios tea
Lunch: 3 oz rice (uncooked weight), 2 oz puy lentils (uncooked weight) 2 tablespoons Linghams Ginger Garlic Chilli sauce, 1 tablespoon Sainsbury's low-fat French Dressing. roobios tea
Snack: Roobios tea, sugar-free jelly 1/3 pint
Dinner: leftover potato salad (fullfat mayo), a spoonful of bulghur wheat salad and two Quorn Southern style burgers. More roobios tea
Stuff face meal: 6 rashers bacon fried (no added fat), 1 Dr Oetker's Pizza Ristorante Supreme pepperoni ham cheese pizza ( probably a million cals, I didn't look), and 2/3 of a apple pie made from a package of ready rolled pastry & 3 apples and vast amounts of sugar.

I also forgot to take my medication for my hypertension. Hmm. There is a big old stinker going on in my body. Mind, conscious, and subconscious are having a big old battle.

I do want to be healthy. I do want to be fit. I do want to be active. I did a spot of hoeing in the garden today and planted a lavender bush. Hurrah! Have composed reasonable letter to annoying neighbour which I will pop through her door tomorrow. Maybe that's why I didn't want to go out today, I would have had to bring myself to a confrontation and I was weaseling away from it. And I am pissed off about the light nuisance situation, and yep that was what I was thinking about when I went off into that stuff my face thing. AHA.

Stuffing down my emotions. I'm going to do some tapping on that, and apply some CBT to that thought process and see if that particular trigger is nullified. There's probably a miliion more too, but as Gary Craig says, got to fell that forest, one tree at a time :)

Yay for positives: I did good for 3 meals - was mindful of what I ate, and actually even for the binge meal, that was me tracking it too, I know what I ate.

Maybe there is a maggot in my brain egging me into emptying the food cupboard, fridge and freezer. Actually not a bad idea, so long as I do it S-L-O-W-L-Y.

Exercise today: hoeing 5 mins, plus walked up and down stairs 3x this morning.

Read more blogs this evening, as well as watched Wire in the Blood. Found a couple of things to investigate further when I'm on my healthful journey - the c-5K running plan, and the Tippy Toe Plan. Found out about BMR and how to calculate optimum calorie intake for exercise deficits to lose weight. :) I'm getting to know a whole world of stuff here.

And now am getting in a pint of water thanks to some good advice I read. Heh. It's 3 am here, damn I am getting into a dysfunctional sleep pattern again. Z time!

Thursday, 26 August 2010


My neighbour installed a new back security light earlier this year. We have terraced houses with a long narrow corridor between us, so her light shines directly into my kitchen all night. I did go round and object the first week she had it, and she turned it off. Now, however, the damned thing has gone back on. It has been on for the last 3 nights and I am beginning to feel as if I am living in a prison camp with search lights every time I walk to the back of the house. Plus, when I went outside to analyse the whole light emitting area, she already has a light right at the back of her property which illuminates her garden AND mine, darn it.

I don't want to see her pipework lit out in glorious relief when I look out my kitchen window. Nor do I see why I should have to buy a blind just because she wants to have a light outside. There are ways, and lights she could have gotten that do not impinge on my comfort. A big plant to shade the blasted thing. A lightshade to direct the light area away from my property. I do believe she is causing light pollution. I have lived here for over 15 years and have never been in dispute with any of my neighbours. Even the holy roller church behind me are okay, if a little noisy sometimes. I'm a live and let live kind of person. But some things I do feel strongly about and this is one of them.

I like having darkness at the back of my property. I like the idea of my garden being dark, so should I wish in the evenings to put little lights out, it will look romantic. I don't want harsh security lighting destroying my pleasure in my property. I don't have an issue with the light that shines into her garden although I'd prefer it not to be there. It is ugly. I DO have an issue with the one that shines into my kitchen. I've written her a letter and am going to drop it in her letterbox in the morning.

So much for early night, am spending some hours tonight reading Persuasion: The Art of Influencing People by James Borg - I have a feeling I am going to need it. Ughhh.

Day 2

Okay. No exercise today.

I have kept a record of what I have eaten, and my general feelings today. Did a load of work today though, so that's good. Back on the earning money lark, much better than mooning about ex-boyfriend or reading romantic fantasy. :) Seeing the positives.

Food then - started well, good intentions, feeling good, even though did wake up rather later than I had intended because spent until 4 am reading other bloggers back posts!

Breakfast: 2 weetabix, 5 fl oz semi-skimmed milk, 1 tsp sugar plus roobios tea with 1.5 fl oz ss milk.
Lunch: 100g wholemeal spaghetti, 125g beef mince bolognese sauce made with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tomato, slug of madeira, mushrooms, oregano, mixed herbs, salt & pepper. Lots of grated parmesan - probably 1 oz.
Roobios tea + 1.5 fl oz ss milk
Snack: 2 slices oats & seeds toast plus 3 heaped tsps honey, more roobios tea with milk
Dinner: same as lunch

This is when I fall off the bandwagon - I go eat instead of going swimming or going for a walk. Inner saboteur strikes, and I have spent most of the day with the telly on watching lots of TV which is something I don't normally do. Hmpf. Something to think about here, the why of why I do this saboteur thing.

So - I now eat 2 slices (the end bits of the loaf) plus some rather nice goats milk chevre cheese left over from family barbie a couple of weekends back - a quarter of the block, probably about 3 oz. Later on, I feel the need for something sweet - so it is a large mug of hot milk 8 fl oz flavoured with 2 tsp cocoa powder & 6 tsp sugar. And to cap it all although I DO NOT FEEL HUNGRY I fix myself a Dr Oetker's Pizza Mozzarella. At nearly 900 cals that is a huge addition to my daily intake. No wonder I am not losing any weight even though I had been going swimming!

Ding. Pop. I do believe the lightbulb has lit in my brain!

Something has triggered off this little rebellion of mine. And it is short-sighted. A bit of head work required. Make use of that CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and EFT (emotional freedom therapy) I learned how to use this last 12 months.

Early to bed tonight - it is almost midnight, tummy a little uncomfortable - ho hum. Tomorrow start right, get that swimming done first thing, & walk too, and maybe the virtuous feeling will encourage me to keep my food intake on the more normal level.

:) Never say die.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


My life is like the locked garden in The Secret Garden. Overgrown, neglected, left to run to seed, choked by weeds.

Recently a friend came and helped me realise part of long cherished dreams in my real back garden, and the improvement to my quality of life has been quite miraculous. Just by the addition of a path & seating area, and elimination of choking brambles and ivy.

So, I thought paying attention to my physical self might be a good start elsewhere in my life. And for the past couple of days I've been reading weight-loss blog - A Deliberate Life, a very inspirational story. She quotes Yoda from Star Wars - "Do, or Not Do. There is no Try." as her inspiration. Hence my start today to exercise every day for a month. And being mindful of what I am putting in my mouth for the next 30 days.

And I feel good despite a sore back!

Exercise: 1 mile walk; 32 laps in 25m swimming pool (that's half a mile!)