Autumn's here now and I'm 11 weeks into recording my food intake. Most weeks it has been a dismal record of how much MORE calories I am eating than the norm of 1800-2000 for an average middle-aged female, but I've kept on recording the stats, yay for me :)
Every morsel that went in my mouth got weighed, measured and logged. Keeping track of everything highlighted how in the months I didn't do this before, all those meals I ate were definitely even higher in calories from the unmeasured olive oil, butter, pasta, potatoes, not to mention the 'good' snack foods I used as treats: hand-cooked crisps and dry roasted cashewnuts, gourmet ice-cream by the bowlful - eek!
That was the bad. Now for the good.
Doing the food diary has helped me. I can see now how making informed choices can gain me the result I want. In my best week I had a day when my total calories were less than 1500 but my tummy was full, and my tastebuds were satisfied! It has also shown me how my depression is connected to what and how much I eat.
The week I felt best, I was eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, eggs, lean meat and fish, pulses, soya milk, soya beans, quorn products, lower fat cheese & dairy and minimum high fat cheese, minimum milk and milk products, minimum breads, grains and bakery products. My daily calorie average for that week was 2150.
When I felt worst, I was scoffing packets of biscuits, buttercream laden cake, huge platefuls of pasta, pizza, sugary puddings and desserts, hunks of cheese, whole loaves of bread, croissants, toast with lashings of butter, on top of my 'healthy' meals. My daily calorie average was just under 3500.
:D documented personal scientific proof!
Fruit+veg at every meal might be an idea, and to keep the starchy grain carbs down. My best good mood & well-feeling body meals were those that featured plenty of lean protein, and a large amount of veg. I found I do miss bread & baked stuff, so I am having them but in precise calorie documented amounts. Wholemeal rolls, which are delicious and filling with a tablespoon of mayo, sliced ham and salad. A pitta stuffed with veggies or accompanying a home made crushed chickpea hommos meets all my comfort food expectations and that food eye gets satisfied too.
The last 11 weeks have been a struggle. Some days I would wake up and doing anything was a real effort. Luckily, the routine of measuring foodstuffs has been helpful, as has keeping the diary. Week 10 was my most successful and most healthy week. Week 11 has gone a bit to pot, but week 12 is coming up, and as my fridge is full of fab veg, juicy fruit and soya milk getting back on the good vibe will be easy.
My brother is supposed to come visit today. I haven't seen him since the end of April when I had day surgery for spiking my hand trying to deseed an avocado. He's a vegetarian at the moment because it helps his psoriasis, and provides me an excuse to be creative in the kitchen! I really enjoy cooking, and love it when there is someone else to cater for.
I've been tossing around veggie ideas in my head and since the supermarket didn't send any cheddar, so instead of quorn chilli its going to be veggie fajitas tonight, yummy onions, mushrooms, peppers and courgettes with some Old El Paso packet seasoning with sour cream & chives, a ton of lettuce and some home made tomato & onion salsa. I might make some home made bread for my brother to take home. I've found making bread by hand is immensely therapeutic, especially accompanied by the radio!
I've discovered in my food diarying adventures that a little of what I really want makes me feel happier than lots of half fat or lo-cal substitutes. Sour cream is lower in calories than creme fraiche, and so much better tasting than zero calorie Slimming World recommended fromage frais. I get those mini chocolate coated ices on a stick, so a sweet treat is only 135 calories and I'm not filling the bowl with scoops and scoops of ice-cream. I don't buy as much cheese now, and when I do have it, I weigh it, so I know how many calories I'm having. I still get to eat cheese and biscuits - I get the low fat crackers now, and pass on the butter. This week I have some ricotta, so I think ricotta & spinach cannelloni slathered in home made calorie measured tomato sauce and a little parmesan might feature in one of this week's meals.
A friend pointed me towards the Hairy Bikers latest TV series - The Hairy Dieters. Those guys make me laugh, and I really enjoyed seeing how well they did. Inspiration too for healthy food that is full of taste & flavour. Yum. Really great too seeing them whizzing around on their bicycles instead of their motorbikes! Might get their cookbook and help them notch up their sales against EL James's Fifty Shades novel...
This week, I can see my ankle bones! I guess it is because of last week's good eating plus maybe I've lost a bit of weight, because it does seem a bit easier to get around and my knees are feeling good. I've also started doing a few handweight exercises, and sit ups & leg lifts lying on my bed. I'm trekking up and down the stairs, and boogie-ing in the kitchen to the radio. Getting down to the ground to exercise is a definite no-no still. I'm looking forward to the day I get to bend down again with straight legs without getting my guts in a painful squirm. And even better when I can paint my toes again :) Perhaps this weekend I will feel well enough and brave enough to get outside for a little walk. Part of how my depression manifests is the extreme reluctance to get out in the world beyond my front garden. Got to get over that, or my car battery will die again, hmpf.
My lovely friend came to stay a couple of weeks ago, and cleared my jungle of all the overtaking weed triffids. He pruned back all the roses and tied up all my raspberries, and best of all, cleared out a tonne of decrepit gardening stuff cluttering up the place. Eureka! I have a garden again! That really helped me feel better too, as I can go outside into the sunshine and feel good. This morning I had a raspberry right off the cane. Aren't they enormous!
This is an autumn fruiting variety, either Joan J or Autumn Treasure. Each fruit is about an inch long, massive, and really tasty. Hope more canes grow next year. I was too late to get the two plums off the plum tree, the birds had 'em, but I've got my eye on that lone apple gracing the apple tree. This year the wet weather has really played havoc with fruit trees, making insect pollination difficult and ruining blossom. Perhaps I will plant the plum into the ground once its leaves fall off and see if that will help it fruit better next year, and save the container for my ericaceous loving magnolia. The soil here is clay, which means my hydrangeas will always be pink!
I'm still not registering on my scales, so I guess I have a way to go yet. Here's to week 12 being a repeat of week 10, with food and exercise choices that benefit both my body and my head :)