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It’s Droptober again.

The never-ending challenge to be more healthy in a world awash with excess, with junk, with tempting morsels!

I like a challenge that is specific and time-limited. I don’t seem to do so well on the “just eat healthily and do exercise for the rest of your life” mode of being.

Although my Fit it is keeping me motivated, new month, time for a new challenge. OK, the month is just over half way through, but trust me, I’ve been doing this since October 1. (What is it about linking challenges to the calendar? Do you like starting them on a Monday or the first of the month too?)

Anyway last year I made up Droptober: dropping something unhealthy from the diet for a month. I broke the nexus between a cup of tea and having to have several bikkies. And I lost a couple of kilos. And I haven’t felt the need to eat a lot of bikkies since. I used to buy packets and packets every grocery shop. Now I might pop in one or two, but usually walk straight on past the biscuit shelves.

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Droptober time again! I just read through my entries from last year. God, I impressed myself! I was not only more prolific, but I wrote some good shit.(Click on Droptober to the left and have a look, if you like.)

Opps, focus! What am I dropping this time?

1. Limit white bread. Swap toast for porridge Monday to Friday.
2. No biscuits. (OK this one won’t be too hard.)
3. No cakes or similar except for special occasions, such as birthday or dinner out. (This is hard as there’s always a morning tea for something or somebody!)
4. No sausage rolls. (We seem to have these too often for morning teas.)
5. No lollies or chocolates or sweets – except one small treat a day. (Mmmm, we always have chocolate and lollies in the house. A house of lolly and chocolate lovers. They fall out of all manner of hiding holes.)
6. No chips or Twisties or the like (except plain chips when on road trips as they stop me getting car sick.)

So, basically I am dropping the things with bad, processed fats and white flour and the things high in sugar – and in some cases, both!

How would you go on this challenge? Would it make much difference to your eating patterns.

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Half-made May

Half way through the month and half made over?

All I can say is, No!

I stood on the scales, well, just because. But I knew it wouldn’t be pretty.

Yes, I’ve been having a healthy breakfast (porridge) and going for walks.

But the eating front. Well, look at some of yesterday’s consumption.

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Not this many. Four of them, I think. Mindful eating, not.

And these:

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Homemade meringues. So soft and crunchy. Dissolve in your mouth. How many? Lost count.

And two of these:

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The day before I ate half a sausage roll and a small piece of chocolate cake.

Oh, and everyday I’ve eaten too much chocolate. Much too much.

So any guesses which way the scales went?

Made-over May

A week into Makeover May! And am I made over?

Well (and don’t you just know that when someone starts with “well”, you may as well just skip to the rationalisations), sort of.

I have resumed porridge for weekday mornings. So tick on that front.

I haven’t eaten biscuits. Goody, another tick.

No alcohol on Thursday 1st and Tuesday 6th. Look at all those tricks lining up!

Done quite a bit of walking. Can you believe how virtuous I am?

And I have remembered to eat nuts and fruit everyday. Are you getting bored already?

Well, stop asking, “But what about the chocolate?” We don’t talk about that in our family.

OK, I’ve eaten chocolate. Not the big bunny. But a middle-sized egg and a very small-sized egg or two.

And one evening, when enjoying too many glasses of red, I opened some strange snacky things that Mr Sans bought. Not actually nice, but goodly crunchy in a very crunchy-that-goes-with-alcohol manner.

And, hanging my head in shame, I haven’t resumed my oh so boring strengthening exercises. I know they are better for me than just walking, but I enjoy going for my walk. It is never boring – time to relax and think. But I don’t have time to do both.

So there you have it. Not quite made over yet.

Oh, and my weight? The same. But I don’t feel so bloated.

Makeover May

Oh, I’ve been bad.

Compulsive eating, no gutsing would be a better word, chocolate.

Why, oh why did I buy even more Red Tulip Easter chocolate when it was on special? These are some of the ones left over. Some I tell you!

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My tummy is sore. My waist is growing again.

You know I love an alliterative or some other play on the name of the month, so it’s Makeover May.

I will makeover my eating habits.

Again!

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I’ve been successful in cutting my desire, my need, for biscuits.

Now, to cut chocolate. (What will I do with the chocolate, you ask! Save it for Jolly June.)

Up my water consumption again.

And start my core and backside strengthening exercises.

Breakfast will return to porridge on week days with toast a weekend treat. Thank heavens the hot cross buns have gone too.

Snacks will be fruit and nuts. NOT CHOCOLATE!!!

Dinner whatever we normally eat.

Treat, a little piece of chocolate or liquorice after dinner.

No alcohol on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Start weight = 66 kilos.

Waist = 83cm.

I’ve been good the last two days. No chocolate. And no after-dinner sweet yesterday. Opps! four pieces of liquorice on May Day. But only one glass of red wine on Friday. And none on Thursday.

Now it’s colder it is harder to remember to drink water, so I need to return to triggers, ie filling the jug and leaving it on the counter.

I’m off for my walk, even though it is the coldest it has been for ages. 12°C. God, I’m a trooper!

So ends the Year to be Lean

Oh yes, we know my Wardrobe Diet and decluttering has resulted in a leaner wardrobe and clothes residing where they should be, ie not under my bed.

And fewer plastic containers fall on our head when we open that particular kitchen cupboard.

But just had to drop in the gloat, I mean brag, I mean share, my waist has hit the healthy measurement according to the Australian Heart Foundation.

Yay me! My waist is now 80cm.

The Australian Heart Foundation says a waist of over 80cm may indicate a risk factor for heart disease. OK, on its own it is not enough data but I have been trying to get below this since I started. Look way back in October 2012.

Started at 87cm. Sat at 83 for months, then just couldn’t shake 81cm. But my 1970s eating plan seems to have done the trick!

So, my advice: cut the unhealthy snacks!

And happy New Year to all.

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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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An alternate weight loss gauge

As regular reader will know, the scales at my exercise physiologist are not as friendly as the scales in my bathroom. Her scales say I have only lost two kilos in the last eight or so weeks and now weigh 68 kilos. My bathroom scales are more generous and tell me I am 66 kilos.

But I have another gauge.

Behold my skinny shorts.

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Three months ago I couldn’t get into them. Two months ago I could get them on but I couldn’t do them up. Now I can do them up. Just.

They’re a little tight. Well, not-fit-for-public tight. So I am being loose with the truth when I say they are a little tight.

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The fat has to go somewhere. These shorts push it up to a double muffin top.

But they are my gauge for weight loss. I know I have got to gorgeous in weight when I can fit into these. And be willing to be seen in public in them.

What’s your skinny clothes gauge?

Good but bad but good but …

With my feminist sensibilities I shouldn’t even care.

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But I can’t help it. I am contradictory. Although that places me in good company.

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So, it’s good that I’ve lost weight.

But it’s bad that I haven’t lost as much as I thought and it’s bad that it takes so much “giving up” to lose the little weight that I did.

But it’s good I’m being healthier and still losing the fat.

But it’s bad I even care. And it is bad that I care that I haven’t lost much weight.

And it’s good that, considering I went to the exercise physiologist for recurring back pain not for weight loss, that I haven’t had any pain for 5 weeks. (Only a niggling hip for a few days.)

Anyway, enough with the dilemmas.

I am 68 kilos. (But 67 on my home scales?)

Dropping half a kilo a fortnight. So bloody slow!

Still at least I am in the healthy weight range again.

But …

Opps. Enough with the dilemmas!

[Applaud now!]

My exercise physiologist says 67 kilos is doable on my current eating and exercise but any lower will either mean a much bigger change to my eating or stepping up my exercise to something I have no time or inclination to do.

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.