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If you’re dieting, why are you eating that?

You know the rolled eyes? The one that means, “Thought you were dieting?”

I’ve also been directly asked, “Why are you eating that? I thought you were dieting?” Or, “But that’s high fat.”

See, I’m not depriving myself. I’m not changing my whole eating plan. I am not making wholesale changes.

What I am doing is making one small change – to my snacks.

(And no getting around it by saying I will have the slice of cake for lunch. Cakes and bikkies are not lunch food.)

I still have oven fries occasionally with my steak for dinner. And BBQ sauce, which is high in sugar.

I still have pasta. With grated cheese on top.

I still go out for Indian or Thai.

I still have the occasional toasted white bread with jam for breakfast.

Diets, where you have to follow a menu of foods you wouldn’t normally eat, don’t work. You cannot sustain it. No one can. You won’t eat what you don’t like or don’t normally eat. You come off “The Diet” and put the weight back on.

But a small change, a change to my snacks, a return to 1970s view of treats, has had a big impact on my diet, diet in the broader sense of what we eat daily.

There is scope to make more small changes should I feel the need or feel I am up to it. Portion size, alcohol reduction, more protein, more fish. I might look at those. But for now, I can definitely see the principles of Droptober continuing, even if more “special” foods slipped in while on No no no November.

I don’t feel deprived. If the cake is delish, and it is a special occasion, and I have not had it every day in the past week, I can treat myself.

Now, all this might fly out the window if my cholesterol continues to rise. But as my waist is shrinking and my weight is decreasing, I hope there is a commensurate decrease in my cholesterol.

And while I went nearly totally cold turkey in October Droptober, I allowed myself the occasional treat. A treat in Droptober that had some eyes rolling at work…. A gluten free mango cake. My God it is the most delicious thing you have ever tasted. It is worth whatever its calorie content. I had two small pieces. It is such a rare treat as it has to be especially ordered in with 24 hours notice; this one was because we had an international delegation visiting our workplace. I haven’t asked where I can get it from. I don’t want to be tempted to get it too frequently.

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No to November

I wasn’t as successful at No no no November as I was at Droptober. And with the busyness of work I haven’t been keeping up my exercise, nor have I been reading much. In fact, I can’t believe it is already December as I can’t think what I’ve even done let alone achieved in November.

I did my regular walk yesterday and today. For a little bit I go through some bush, just along the edge of a regional park but still I love the access to the trees, birdsong and creek. And today, how amazing is this? I saw an echidna. He/she was snuffling along the dirt next to the concrete path I walk on. His little snout was swinging across the ground like a metal detector, and when he hit pay dirt, he stuck it in. He didn’t mind at all that I was there. I stopped for a while, watching him, as he made his way to a little rock and wiggled half under it. A bike rode by and he stood still for a moment. It is lovely to have wildlife in the suburbs. (Except the possums who live in my roof. They I can do without.)

My one had a slightly longer snout than this one, but the colouring was the same.

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While I haven’t been regular with my exercise, i have been planking. And I didn’t want to write this earlier in the post, lest I be seen as a braggart. But Jo, I did three lots of 60 second planks. (I don’t know if you realise how much effort it takes not to brag about this earlier?)

My decluttering hasn’t been consistent either. Well, definitely not consistently recorded which makes me even more impressed with Colleen’s efforts over at 364 Less Things. I have been sorting things and donating or disposing in a half arsed sort of way. As usual, Mr Sans has tried to rescue some of my binned items. Not because he ever uses them. One thing was actually broken and rendered useful, beyond repair.On that particular item he conceded but decluttering is not something easily undertaken here in daylight hours by me!

The item on the left went in the bin and out and finally in:

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The salad servers are being donated. They look a lovely design, fitting in together as they do. But when you separate them, one has a big hole, well how else would they if together. So how can you pick up salad that just falls through the hole? Maybe someone who only has lettuce in their salad may like it?

And this nightie is headed for the rag bag. I feel like a resident of a home for delinquent girls in this, it is so baggy. Also it has such big gaps around the arms that when it is cool enough to wear it for its length, it is too cold up top and my back cramps up. When it is cool enough for the top… Yeah, I don’t need to labour the point. Also, I spilt bleach on it so it has ugly marks. While this adds to the costume for a reform home, it does little for my sense of self.

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And so leaves another item from my wardrobe, not to be replaced. I love that all my clothes fit into my designated storage. Don’t think I haven’t thought about buying clothes. But my thoughts of purchases are much more restrained than last year. Not from a point of deprivation, but I don’t want for many things. More on this later.

Another self?

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OK, maybe thinking about your future self isn’t working?

You still want to eat those biscuits with your cup of tea. And as you’re an adult and you want the bikkies, you will eat those bikkies. Godddamit. Why not? You deserve it! Hard day at work an’ all.

(Even though you’ve had a gazillion biscuits in your life and these are nothing out of the ordinary, But, hey, that’s besides the point.)

So, think about someone important to you. Your child. Your parent. Your partner.

What would your advice or direction be to them?

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“Darling, you’ve had enough junk today. Wait for dinner. Don’t eat that. You’ll spoil dinner.”

“Muuuum. Why don’t you just stop eating that shit and then you mightn’t need to take all that medication with those side effects you complain about.” (OK, maybe it’s just in my family we use such abrupt language between mother and daughter.)

“Man. Why are you eating that? I need you healthy enough to work for at least another 10 years so we can pay off the mortgage.”

So give the same advice to yourself!!!

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My future self

Here’s a thought to maybe help you resist that piece of cake or that Mars bar:

Think about your future self!

Right now you want gratification, you want to satisfy that craving. Or you forget that you are eating healthily and, out of habit, you reach for that chocolate bar.

But how will your future self view your consumption of that gooey chocolate bar?

Will your five-minute-from-now self feel guilty that you ate it?

Will your one-week-from-now self regret the message on the scales?

Will your one-year-from-now self fear what the doctor revels about the cholesterol and blood glucose tests?

For your future self, say no to the sugar and bad fat!

This thinking has helped me resist the left-over chocolates from Halloween. Happy to report I haven’t eaten one of these.

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Happy to report the packet is empty but not from my efforts.

Unhappy to report that my sons have left the empty packet in the pantry for the house elves to drop in the bin.

No no no November

Droptober is morphing into No no no November.

I know, I can’t believe my wit and verbal prowess either.

The aim is to turn my not eating fatty, sugary snacks into a habit. So I will continue to say no to eating junk foods as a regular thing. Sweet and fatty non-nutritious food-stuffs will be an occasional treat. (OK, with occasional satisfying of cravings.)

I toyed with the idea if saying no to alcohol, beyond the no drinking on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but decided I really didn’t want to. So I said no to saying no.

I will say no to being a lazy sloth and will make sure I maintain my exercise routine – one hour of Pilates, set exercises twice a week, and four walks a week.

Why is it easier to gain weight than it is to lose it?

And why is it so hard to regain a basic level of fitness but so easy and quick to lose it once you stop?

Those two unfair factoids are another reason I don’t want to stop my new regime; couldn’t bear going back to square one again.

But I am, as always, saying no to dieting. Diets that require you to buy, eat and prepare food you wouldn’t normally eat don’t work. You can last on a restrictive or different diet for a short while but you will go straight back to your normal eating patterns. Phewee to diets, I say. Can’t remember where I found this diagram, but it is so true.

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I am continuing saying no to clutter. I know I haven’t posted lately on clutter and my journey to get ride of it but I have been making headway. So much so that my kids call me the Queen of Decluttering and my husband, oh, hang on, this bit needs a new paragraph on its own…

My husband who has angrily and repeatedly rebuffed any attempt to thin his wardrobe, today actually said that he needed to get rid of some shirts that he no longer wears! Shocked? I know I was. He never actually made the next step of removing any shirts but the mere change in his thought patterns is cause for celebration. Of course, I didn’t react too much. Don’t want to startle the natives nor make him think he hadn’t come to the realisation on his own. Seems osmosis does work.

But here’s a bit of unwanted decluttering. It was a dark and stormy night. A loud crash was heard. Investigation found this on the floor.

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OK, it wasn’t a dark and stormy night, it was Halloween. But no one had walked past the table, there was no wind, no animals. Frightened? I was. And then the smoke detector beeped. No smoke, no fire. Spooooky.