Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Happy hop!

Hopped onto the bathroom scales this morning, and bless its little cotton socks, the little darlin' blinked out 24st 1 lb! I do hope this is a truthful figure. Will find out for sure next week. In the meantime I'm going to use this to keep me motivated on enjoying low-fat dairy and keeping my fats intake low low low.

Yesterday I went out to lunch and ordered an antipasto platter. It arrived on a plank of wood! All meat except for a bundle of rocket (arugula as Barefoot Contessa calls it) with some very light dressing on it. The meats were a couple of slices of Parma ham, thin salami & a blob of mackerel pate with a palm size piece of crunchy flatbread, plus a couple of olives, garlic cloves, pickled onions & a little pickled hot pepper, the kind that's usually sold stuffed with cheese in Greek delis, but this one was empty - all very yummy. I also had a Peroni beer, not quite all of the 330 ml bottle, and I think the coffee came with full-fat milk, but hey, it was just one meal, and I had a lovely time catching up with girlfriends I hadn't seen in quite a while. :)

Today's lunch is definitely within the Slimming World guidelines. I had a baked potato, not too large, about 250g/9 oz. Opened & seasoned with salt & pepper, then topped with about 85g/3 oz king prawns, 3 heaped tablespoons cottage cheese and a handful of chopped watercress with a few very ripe cherry tomatoes. It was tasty & filing, and honestly? I didn't miss the butter, grated cheddar or full fat creme fraiche I might normally have slathered it in. And my tummy is full. FULL. That's the signal I am getting from it right now. And to think that when I was preparing it I thought shall I have the second baked potato as well. It would have been far too much.

I do believe the key here to me is to make sure the plate is filled with lots of low cal foods. That way I can have more, my eye is appeased, and if I eat it slowly enough, my stomach has time to send me its 'I'm full' signal. Yesterday's dinner was just this. A bowl of veg soup, followed by half a 3 egg, spinach, mushroom & ham frittata plus a heap of sliced radishes, red pepper & cherry tomatoes with a blob of red pepper reduced fat hommos. A banana. And I also got to have chocolate - a couple of treat size cadbury's caramel. Plus because the frittata is 'free' on SW original days, I got to eat the second half too. No hunger pangs for me!

And I've been shopping for the low cal fromage frais. There's a tub of it in my fridge. On the one hand my head is saying well done for making this healthy choice, but the spoilt teenager inside is saying, urgh, yukky - I want my tasty fat imbued creme fraiche! Looks like the battle of the tastebuds will need convincing this week! Well, I think there is hope - I found the 0% fat Total Greek Yoghurt really nice last week. I had it in my mashed potatoes, with fruit, and on its own with a dab of honey. Yum.

It is so important I re-educate my tastebuds and my eating habit inclinations. I've come another few steps from where I was in my eating habits that were piling on the pounds, hurray :) And now I know I can go out and socialize and still feel that I am treating my body well. Next time I post a weight, I want it to say 23st something!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A little less creaky!

It's been three weeks since I started being more watchful about what I was putting in my mouth. Keeping the food diary has been really helpful. I did have a rather nosh-tastic day yesterday, but I figure, well, today is another day, and today I have eaten well, and kept more or less to Slimming World principles, so I'm very happy.

Another positive thing I noticed is that my knees feel much less creaky. I feel much less like I'm about to explode out of my skin too. Yay! And now my poor bathroom scales are attempting to figure out my weight instead of going instantly to 'ERR' !! Heh. I'm so looking forward to the day it tells me it can read how heavy I really am.

My doc is on holiday this week (school half term) so I'm not seeing him till the end of the month. Hopefully by then I will finally have a handle on this eating better & wiser, and have figured out some of the whys of my emotional eating. I am also considering joining a Slimming World Group - there is one near me. In the meantime I am studying all my old SW magazines and getting myself accustomed to the thinking.

I'm still loathe to go their recommended fat-free dairy products route - ff fromage frais & quark are really yukky tasting. So for now I'm teaching my palate to prefer half fat creme fraiche instead, and using much much less oil & butter in my cooking. I'm seeing this as retraining my taste-buds and laying a foundation for my future healthy eating self for the rest of my life. Perhaps later on I will find ff fromage frais delicious...!

One drawback to all this veg, quorn & fibre is windy tummy. Eeek! Must find a solution to that.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Autumn Good Habits

Since the beginning of this month, I've been tracking my food again. I've also been keeping snacking in between meals down. The quantities of fat consumed has also been noted, and I am very pleased to say that I now scrape butter on my toast & sandwiches rather than slather it on! The same for vegetable oils that I use to cook my food - I use just a splash, rather than cover the bottom of the pan with it.

It has also helped that I now keep frozen veg to hand, and whenever I buy meat, it is bagged into single portions into the freezer, so I only ever take out enough for one or two meals at the most. This strategy is paying off - and I am getting used to only eating one pork chop, one chicken breast etc. I try and keep my doctor's advice in my head when I am allotting my portions - meat/protein to be around the size of my palm, carbohydrates to a handful, vegetables to a double handful, fat around a tablespoon. In practice however perhaps I am still being a tad overgenerous with the carbs, but at least the fat content of my meals is way down. 8 oz potato, 100g pasta, cup of cooked beans/lentils/rice should be my standard. I think getting the battery changed in the electric kitchen scales sorted will certainly help!

This summer I have spent mostly feeling sorry for myself, and rather down. And that has translated in minimal activity, and comfort eating of carbohydrates. Bread has been an especial downfall. The result? I have not only gained pounds over what my scales can record, but I am also finding it hard to walk anywhere without experiencing severe back pain after a few minutes. Standing upright for more than 10 minutes has the same effect, so washing up is now conducted in batches! My knees are finding it hard to carry my bulk around, and getting up from my low sofa is now quite an effort. I feel breathless after performing only minor activity, eg walking up the stairs, and having a shower, necessitates a few minutes sit down. I have been taking hypertension medication now for 3 years.

I know these are all red flags to my ill health. I have only myself to blame for allowing this state of affairs to continue. I know the key is to be a little more active, every day. To build in this exercise gradually until I am again able to walk a mile or two and enjoy it. To watch the portion sizes and the fat/processed food intake so I lose some weight, and keep the salt/sugar ingestion low to help my circulation, heart and kidney function. To see all this in small, achievable steps.

Here are my current goals
A loss of half a stone, a 30 minute walk everyday, 20 laps in the pool twice a week, feeling full enough during a proper portioned meal that I leave a few bites on the plate!

Knowledge and information is always good. Even better is when it is implemented! I keep watching Supersize Superskinny programs on TV to reinforce to myself that other people have been in my predicament, and it is possible to change.

I am still having down days, when hiding on the sofa with a book is the only thing I want to do, but they are getting less. I am hopeful. I am hopeful that I can establish a routine again, and get my life back in a happy swing of proper scheduled work hours, good eating habits, good activity habits, enjoyable pleasures scheduled in my week's timetable.

One recent change this month. I have been drinking coffee again. I wonder if having big amounts of caffeine has been helping my brain chemistry. Other things I've noticed - I find that after ingesting large amounts of processed carbohydrates like bread products, rice, mashed potatoes, I feel very very sleepy. I can conclude then that maybe eating those foods is best left for the evening. I feel most alert when I have eaten something like chicken or pork with heaps of broccoli, green beans, peas, cauliflower, courgette, tomatoes, asparagus, salad. Perhaps a low carb lifestyle for a week to test this out.

Last week I made a great soup. I'd cooked some butter beans (excellent food - soak 250g dried beans overnight and boil for 35 minutes, makes tonnes!). First I sweated off one chopped white onion until translucent in a splash of olive oil. Then I threw in the fridge veg remains - half a carrot, a quarter red pepper, one baking potato, all cubed. A pint or so of boiling water, a chicken stock cube (proper jellied stock of course is an aspiration, but I don't have freezer space), a pinch of Cornish seasalt, fresh ground black pepper, some dried herbs, left to simmer for 10 minutes. Two big florets of frozen cauliflower, then simmer again for 5 minutes. Finally I stirred in a tablespoon of tomato ketchup, a few drops worcester sauce and lemon juice, a cup of cooked butter beans, and half a cup of frozen peas, brought to boil for 2 minutes. I broke up the cauliflower into smaller florets before serving. It was delicious, hearty, satisfying, and best of all, full of great healthy stuff - all of it good for me. I made 3 good portions out of that pan of soup.

Porridge is back on the menu. As are omelets. I'm going to try and keep to foodstuffs that are as un-messed with as possible. So fruit & veg - frozen or fresh. Meat and fish without additional salts, preservatives etc (bacon, sausage, ham, sliced & pre-cooked meat as a rare treat) - portioned and frozen until needed. I'm still going to have tinned sardines and mackerel in oil, as these are oily fish, and I do need some fishy fats in my diet. What I do when I eat these is mash them on toast without butter. Yummy with a few drops of lemon juice and a sliced tomato. Tinned tuna - I'm now eating half a tin instead of a whole one, and making sandwich filling with a tablespoon of half-fat creme fraiche. Mayonnaise is very fatty, and actually gives me indigestion! I'm building in treats - individual ice lollies, fruit yoghurts, individual chocolate bars, so if I want a sweet treat, I can have it. And as each item is self contained, I'm not tempting myself to eat a whole block of chocolate, or a whole tub of ice cream. Strategy! I'm also cooking myself puddings, but as single puds in ramekins, so it is pre-portioned. So far this has been successful.

I do feel much better this week than last week. Snacking in between has mostly been confined to helping myself to another big coffee (milk, no sugar) and a piece of fruit. I've had peaches, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, oranges this week. A couple of ramekin sized apple crumbles (lots of apple, less crumble + a dab of half-fat creme fraiche = delicious + a happy me! I did have 100g of chorizo, a 800g loaf of white bread, 3 croissants, 180g nut chocolate & a large Twix this week. But in the overall weekly menu compared to what my bread/sweets/processed consumption has been over the summer this is brilliant. I'm happy.

Keep this up for a month, and I will have a new set of good eating habits to stand me in good stead for my goal of getting half a stone off. And a smaller tummy = less strain on my back and knees = happier to walk about more me. More activity = creating happy endorphins = happier mindset = more willing to keep going. Good consequences all round.

There are still a few Cox's apples on my garden tree. I like how picture-book red they are! The weather is now definitely turning chillier. Leaves are dropping. Perhaps this week I might go for a small walk at Harcourt Aboretum to enjoy nature's autumn show.

I haven't been out in the garden for a few days. Last time I did, I slipped and fell on the path and it brought back unpleasant recollections of my last bad fall a few years ago when I damaged ankle and knee ligaments and was effectively crippled for nearly a year. Luckily, this time the only damage was to my self-esteem! I felt just like my cat does when she does a boo-boo, got myself back together and then told myself what a silly I was! But it did bring home to me that getting fatter does compromise my agility and ability to avoid mishaps like this. Another good reason to keep to my good foods healthy portions no snacking routine.