Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The secret no bride will ever reveal...

After weeks of falling off it... I've never been so firmly on the diet wagon. I have discovered willpower unbeknown to me before. Willpower could be my middle name. Cakes... don't want them. Biscuits... nope. Burgers and Pies - not interested. Glass of wine... well maybe occasionally. I can hear dieters around the world asking me "what is your secret oh great converted diet cheater?"
So I will tell you... Wedding dresses.
Now before you think - how sweet she's found the perfect dress (there is a reason I'm trying to skinify myself)... I haven't. You couldn't be further from the truth. I did have a trying on session though... And it wasn't like the movies. Because during this session I discovered the one secret brides must have been concealing for years... Or at least some of them.
The horrible truth is that some designers sizes are so small you have to order several up from the size you are. For instance if you're a size 14... you could be talking a size 18 dress - one forum I read a size 14 curvy lady had to order a size 20! I for one am not walking down the aisle in a size 20 dress, even if inside I know it's not one... Hence the fact I'm now dieting harder than ever before. It may mean that I get so skinny my head looks like a lollipop.
This has been quite secret because why would brides openly gloat about the issue? In truth you'd cut the label out the dress, burn it... And never talk about it again.
So now onto my dieting this week. I chose to go for the Atkins diet - I attempted it in the early weeks but manipulated the diet into the one where I made up my own rules based on the social situation I was in, and ended up eating two battered sausages and a McDonalds. So I was determined to stick to it, and with my newfound willpower I did.
I managed to shave three pounds off my total weight this week - I feel thinner, I'm not as hungry... I'm less bloated, and feel like I'm getting somewhere. As you know low carb lifestyles work for me, and I've atkined before and will again. I know there's always a lot of talk about how it impacts your health - cream, butter, and bacon... It's got to be doing some bad. But I also take the approach it's only for a limited time, and if you loose weight that's a positive.
On the negative if you really stick to it side you smell... You wake up with a furry, fuzzy mouth... Without getting to Gillian Mckeith on you all your body is a bit clogged up. You also, for my liking, don't get enough fruit and vegetables - and as opposed to being someone who avoids these things I love them. And you end up eating things like this...

...Because if craving bread this is the option. A flaxseed loaf - made of butter, baking soda, flaxseed and two eggs. All cooked lovingly in the microwave for three minutes. In real life it's disgusting, in diet land it's doable... Especially with cream cheese (full fat) and maybe some bacon. I feel greasy just reliving my week fully on the atkins.
So all these weeks in I've finally managed to stick to a diet - to the point when I was at a "not socially acceptable to diet" event I coped. Having pre-ordered a fish pie and chips months in advance at a work do... I physically scrapped ever bit of potato of the fish.. Abandoned the chips, and had just a few bits of fish and vegetables. That's impressive! I did have wine... But dry wine which is the lowest carbs, and is allowed on weeks other than week one of Atkins so I'm going to let that slide.
So three pounds down... now I just need to loose three dress sizes so that come my wedding I can wear the same dress size I do now. Life sucks.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Diet (In) Laws

There are many things I'm grateful to my parents for. But there are two that stand out... at least this week anyway.

Firstly I was brought up to have a really open mind about food. As a child my favourite food was snails - not from the garden I might add. But escargot in mountains of garlic butter... mmmm just thinking of them is making me salivate now and it's breakfast time. Arguably it was the garlic butter I liked, and the fact you got to use special tools to eat them... but I still have to have escargot if I'm in France and they're on the menu. There isn't really anything I won't eat, and I'll try everything at least once. I'll even try things I already know I don't like, such as oysters, to see if I can convince my mind that they are good. If I could get the oyster down I'm sure it would be... but the natural reaction of my throat is to shrivel up like a prune and say no. But it's an attitude to food that I think is great - although probably partially to blame for my need to diet.

The other thing my parents taught me was manners. Which is why I know sometimes, like this week, it would be just too rude to diet. You may be thinking - here we go another cop out week where I make an excuse for cheating. If you've followed my blog since the start you'll know I had a rubbish week early on with my so called "diet rules" which essentially just meant I could get a way with eating battered sausages in certain social situations. But bare with me and I think this week you may agree I had no choice... because this week the social situation I was confronted with was... staying with the in-laws!

When staying with your future mother and father in law you have to come across as amazing... brilliant... beautiful... a role model for society... or at the very least you don't want to be difficult and demand lettuce when everyone else is eating pie. I'm lucky enough to have brilliant in laws - but boy do they eat! It's like a marathon. From the very start you know you have to pace yourself... as there are days of solid eating ahead of you. There is a constant supply of food, and I swear I've pulled some sort of stomach muscle in the past through the constant use of it. And whilst my other half says I should just refuse the food - I find it hard to turn down the hospitality of people who are trying to be so kind and welcoming.

This weekend though, given that I have to declare my weight gain to the world, I thought I would stand firm, refuse the additional cream and butter and cakes... and every other food type that tastes amazing and is freely available to me.

So I decided my diet of choice would be slimming world. I've done it before and know it well, and know that you can pretty much manipulate most meals to suit (e.g. hide your potatoes somewhere on your plate if you're having a roast dinner, or if your meal is carbohydrate based just limit the meat you eat)

For those aren't familiar with slimming world it's a great diet. I did it the old fashioned way this week - green and red days. They now have an extra easy plan that I plan to try another week further down the line. Green days have limited protein - so you can have all the fruit and vegetables you want, as much pasta, potatoes and rice etc, but limited meat. You also get health extras, which are limited quantities of foods like cheese, bread and cereals. On red days it's reversed - so unlimited meats and fish, and limited carbohydrates. It's great and you genuinely feel healthy doing it. You even have syns for wine and chocolate. It also works... normally...

Because although I went in thinking "I will not cheat", I came out of my weekend with the in-laws thinking "what a fabulous weekend of eating and drinking with family." Slimming world well and truly when out the window.

I couldn't say no to the offers of canapes, the three course meals, the full English breakfasts... the cream teas... I did try, honest I did. I attempted to limit what I was eating, trying to apply the basic rules of slimming world. But at one point one relative (that could tell us was trying to decide whether to have cream with my chocolate cake) told me just to admit there was no hope for any of us this weekend and to have the cream. So I did, and it was good.

Which is why when I came to stand on the scales this morning I feared the worse. I envisaged myself having put on half a stone - which given my weight loss hasn't exactly been mammoth would have taken me right back to the start. And no doubt my feelings of giving up last week would have been back. You may note I'm still here by the way - I'm continuing for now at least. But back to the weigh in... I stepped carefully on the scales, braved looking.. and the weight was up ... but just by two pounds. I can shift that easily with some determination this week.

So my apologies to those of you who are willing me to stick to my diets and not cheat, but as I have explained some times it's just impossible to stick to the diet (in) laws.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Is it time to quit?

I hit a bit of a wall this week - I suddenly realised I'd only made it to week ten of this dieting malarkey, and faced with another forty two I felt like curling up in a ball and weeping. Weeping into my Dukan oat bran pancake.

I wonder now why I ever thought it was a good idea... sure I've lost weight, three pounds this week! So it's not even like I'm failing terribly. It's just the constant changing between diets, the disappointment at finding one you like... Then having to stop, and the fact this week I've not been able to eat fruit. I hate diets where I can't eat fruit. I have started taking a multi vitamin to help though, but it's just not the same.

Those around me are split on the issue. My better half says I should just quit and do a proper diet. That just makes me want to stick at it. Others say that I've started so should finish - and think of how amazing it will feel at the end of the year when I look back. In my head even now I'm thinking great... dieting over Christmas and New Year. Woo hoo.

You're probably starting to think "Whinge, whinge, whinge...moan, moan, moan"... so i will stop. I'm not going to quit... for now. But I'm not completely sold on the idea. I was however quite sold on my diet this week - the Dukan diet.

This is quite an extreme diet at the start - when you attack. I like the idea of attacking my fat. Although given what you can eat on this diet the attacking is really just throwing large quantities of eggs and meat at your belly. I opted for a five day attack phase. That meant for five days all I eat was protein, no fat dairy and one and a half tablespoons of oat bran.

Oat bran. I was suspicious of this foul sounding supplement too. The truth though is it was the highlight of my day. On Pancake Day... when faced with just a chicken breast for tea it made my day to have what you could say at least looked like a pancake - see...  

 It didn't taste like one, but you can't have everything. Oat bran though can be made into muffins... porridge... all sorts of tasty treats so you can fool your body into thinking the dukan diet is all right. Because as I said in reality it is quite extreme. You can't really stick at it and have a normal family meal at night. Well you can... but just to give you an example one night we had roast. All the works... Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, gravy. I had three slices of Roast Beef and nothing else. It sucked.

Like I said initially though it does work and the weight comes off. After the attack phase you move into the cruise phase where you can re-introduce vegetables into your diet. They taste amazing after five days of going cold turkey (or cold chicken, cold roast beef, or maybe tuna fish.... any make an alright lunch on Dukan attack). Once in the cruise phase you're advised to alternated one day meat, one day meat and vegetables - given i only had two days and physically missed vegetables I did two days meat and vegetables. (And wine and a handful of cornflakes ones day... shhh don't tell anyone)

I'm sure if you had time to get into it the evening meals would be a bit more appealing. Certainly more appealing than some of the low carb side effects you get... my tongue is a really odd colour. But i'd recommend Dukan to anyone. I just wish I could stick at it for a bit longer....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hey.. you win some, you lose some. Or in my case you lose none.

When you're dieting for a long time you're always going to experience highs and lows... good days and bad days... ups and down. The up this week was I found a diet I love. The down? I didn't actually lose any weight.

But that's not to say I wouldn't have... if I'd managed to stick to it. As a wise man once said every path has its puddles. This week my path had an unavoidable flood in the form of a long weekend away that it was impossible to diet on. Most dieting books or magazines will tell you that it's never impossible - trust me... It was.

So I had four amazing days of dieting, followed by three days of eating amazingly... which although meant I didn't manage to shift any of my lard, the plus side was I didn't add to it. So on to the actual diet.

This week I opted for the Hay Diet. Initially I was drawn in and intrigued by the prospect of eating like a farm animal for a week - after all you rarely see a fat horse. But can humans actually eat hay? As always the Internet was quick to provide the answer to my searching question - surprisingly apparently yes you can. The Internet was also quick to tell me there was no need for me to do this. The Hay Diet was only called that because Doctor Hay invented it. Less exciting...

Essentially the Hay Diet is food combining. But it's a fab diet - and I wish I could stick at it for another week to see how much weight I'd had if it hadn't been for my three day fat binge. It takes a little getting used to but essentially you can only eat certain foods together. In group A you have proteins, dairy and fruit like berries... Group B consists nuts and fats... and Group C is your carbs and fruit like bananas. You can mix group A and B, group C and B... but never A and C. Vegetables pretty much go with everything and should make up the main part of any meal, and you should try and eat fruit alone. Like I said... it takes a bit of getting used to. Oh and one important bit you can drink wine with group A, and beer with group C. Beer on a diet?? I know - I couldn't believe it either!

So my days normally started out with fruit for breakfast, a jacket potato with a little butter and a big salad for lunch, and some sort of meat or fish and vegetables for lunch. Sometimes a chicken salad for lunch, and pasta and tomato sauce for tea. All very yum... So why couldn't I stick to it completely?

Well the place I stayed for the weekend was just very limited and I was celebrating and didn't want to only eat mushroom risotto. All they offered at lunch was sandwiches - under food combining I could have had a lettuce sandwich... or thinking of it now I could have had a banana one. And for breakfast... well thinking of it now I could have just had scrambled eggs and bacon instead of the full works.

So maybe in hindsight I could have stuck to it - it's just another classic case of me being rubbish! But I did have a fun weekend... and as another wise man once said "enjoy life. This isn't a dress rehearsal"... And so I will... just maybe I'll enjoy it a little bit less this week!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A sticky situation

The conflict between good and evil - it's something that's been part of the human condition for thousands of years. Whether it's religion or just individual conflicts that you're trying to resolve it's there. You can be talking about major world issues or trivial ones, but the principles are the same.

For me this week it was definitely a trivial matter. But when I found myself in a situation it made me think of those cartoons when you are younger. Except instead of having an animated angel on one side and a devil on the other, I had a chicken wing on one shoulder telling me to do the right thing... and a sticky toffee pudding telling me to eat it.

The thing is this at the start of this week one of my nearest and dearest told me I had to really try and not cheat this week. Just to prove to every one I could do it - that it was bad that this blog was just becoming a catalogue of failure. He later told me I was disgusting for sticking my finger in the butter dish whilst we were out at dinner. It was low carb, I was not cheating... he should have been proud. I acknowledge now this was not only disgusting, but also rude. I apologise.

On the other side I had another one of my nearest and dearest telling me to cheat and have sticky toffee pudding. I see now perhaps this was a tactic that I've deployed before. As a dieter if you're going to cheat... try and take someone down with you. It makes you feel far less guilty. So given twenty minutes later we were both tucking into a sticky toffee pudding if that was her plan it had certainly worked!  Note to self - I must try and avoid restaurants that serve sticky toffee pudding; nothing good can come of that desert.

The reason the chicken wing depicted the good in this situation was yet again I was low-carbing this week. Well I wasn't actually. In an effort to re-sell an old idea someone, somewhere decided to invent the new high protein diet. Can you see what they did there? I came across the book in my bookshelf having got it free with a magazine at some point.

Essentially the principles are the same as the low carb diets such as Atkins and Dukan - cut out the stodge. But there are differences to this diet. The free foods (meat, fish etc) are all the same. But... and it's a good but... your allowed one piece of bread a day, and you can eat as many vegetables as you like. A small difference but one that makes this diet pretty easy to stick to. I actually felt quite healthy though and the sticky situation mentioned before was the only time I cheated.

I do wonder whether it scuppers the science of a normal low carb diet though - where you are meant to go into something called ketosis where you get a furry tongue, smell a bit and importantly burn fat not calories. I know these symptoms weren't as severe this week, and maybe that's why I didn't see the dramatic weight loss you can on some of the other diets.

Just one pound down this week - but that bring me just shy of half a stone since I started this dieting adventure. Not amazing, but healthy levels of weight loss I'd say. Plus given I've got maybe another stone, or a stone and a half, to lose I need to pace myself to last the full fifty-two weeks without looking too thin! I have a round head, if I get too skinny I get all disproportionate... kind of like one of those bobbing statues you put on the parcel shelf of a car. And anyway think of the tortoise and the hare...slowly, slowly catchy monkey... I'll get there in the end.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why do I always end up on the diet naughty step?

As the weeks move on, and I tick diets of my list, it is slowly becoming evident that I'm a pretty terrible dieter. I probably don't need to tell you that... if you've been following my blog it's pretty clear. I now know why I'm one of those girls that's constantly dieting but never thin.

The weight is moving in the right direction - albeit rather slowly. But to be fair that in itself is pretty amazing considering how bad I am. Today for instance I stood on the scales... nervously... not wanting to look... trying to balance from side to side to make sure the weight went down. It had today - one pound less. Phew!

But I was far from perfect this week - and I think I found the answer why in an unusual place... whilst wathcing Supernanny.  You see the thing is a lot of the same principles for avoiding a tantrum in your kids can be applied to dieting. You need discipline, you need to be identify the warning signs of a possible future strop (or in my case the possible future eating of cream cakes). Apparently giving a child choices is good - I think from the small sample of diets I've already done I known when I don't have a choice my dieting goes downhill pretty quicky. But at the same time you need boundaries - I need rules, I need a list of what I can and can't eat.

You also need to not over use the words "No", "Don't" and "Stop". Maybe in my case I would be better if i did use those words - or even just try them once... but the theory is explaining why you shouldn't do something works better.

When you think of all those things, and apply them to the diet I chose this week you can see why I struggled. I opted for the Special Kay diet - you may remember it from years ago. They now have a different version that doesn't involve relpacing two thirds of your meals with cereal. But I went for the old fashioned one - the one that promised you'd drop a jean size in a week, and be able to wear that red swimsuit in the adverts.

I started the week thinking I was rewarding myself. Living a relatively carb free world for weeks I'd been craving cereal so badly... but it turns out you really can have too much of a good thing. And anyway perhaps I didn't deserve a reward - there were certainly no gold stars on my dieting behaviour chart to date.

On the whole days one to five went smoothly; I just had my bowl for breakfast and my bowl for lunch. (and the ocassional handful here and there as a snack - that technically wasn't allowed). I tried to introduce choice though to stop me cheating... Special Kay Red Berries... Special Kay Blue Berries... Special Kay Sustain. The problem was the evening meal. I didn't have the boundaries I needed. If you tell me to have a healthy meal that isn't enough. I need to be told "don't eat pasta"... "you must not eat carbs after six" etc. Otherwise my creative mind can make pretty much everything healthy. One night I had sticky toffee pudding - a balanced diet has a bit of everything. Another night I had a naan bread with my curry - I haven't had one of those for ages... but a balanced diet has a bit of everything. So really like a child the boundaries weren't set and I pushed them, and displayed the lack of self discipline I really need to tackle.

So this week I'm going to try and find a diet that does have rules and regulations...but also choice. I'm not going to say "No don't eat that burger"... I will say "eating that burger will make you big and fat". I will have a reward chart with golden stars and everything, and maybe even certificates. One website I was just reading suggested making up a song to beckon your child to the dinner table. I sense this could get annoying for those around me... But perhaps if I follow these rules... perhaps if I apply them in addition to the next diet I do... i might, maybe, just about avoid ending up on the naughty step this week. Maybe...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

RIP Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne was a fitness guru from the 1950s, and he was quite a man. Partly this was because he was able to work an all in one bright blue Lycra number well into his nineties. But in addition to this if it weren't for him we wouldn't have jumping jacks - I kid you not... Well actually we'd have them but they'd probably be called a side-straddle hop. Not quite as catchy I think you'll agree.

But where as he was responsible for no doubt thousands of people's weight loss - he was actually in my younger years partly responsible for why my once svelte body grew a lumpy layer of lard. It was back in my university years that I first discovered him. I was watching infomercials - one of my favorite TV hobbies. At that stage Jack LaLanne was famous for his juicer. Honestly it was amazing... you could even juice the pips and everything. I wanted one.... I needed one... I couldn't afford one. So instead I sat for hours watching the amazing commercial drinking beer and eating student fare such as kebabs and currys. See I told you he was to blame - it was all him, not my doing at all.

I never got his juicer - I did however once buy a set of knives, including one that could cut through coke cans and frozen spinach. Frozen spinach!!! Sorry, I digress...

Anyway on hearing the sad news that Jack LaLanne recently passed away I decided to dedicate my weeks dieting to him. I didn't opt for his juice diet, but one from his early days. Essentially it goes a little like this...

Breakfast: An egg and or meat, toast with honey and fruit.
Lunch: A raw vegetable salad and meat or cottage cheese.
Dinner: Meat or fish, vegetables... then a bowl of fruit, yogurt and honey.

And I learnt this week I can largely stick to this diet for once reason - the toast. If you know you have toast coming you are less tempted by the other sinful snacks (less tempted not completely un-tempted... but onto my inevitable cheating in a bit)... toast is the secret. It's like all your dieting needs combined in one. It gives you texture... sweetness... toast... carbs. Start the day with a piece of toast and a thin body you will boast. Spread the word.

He also advocated having a glass of wine if you felt like one - I did many nights this week. And he recommended exercising daily - i didn't many days this week. He also had a daily facial exercise you had to do. It is amazing. I would recommend looking it up on you tube and doing it. I don't know if it actually makes a difference but will make you smile.

Now onto the cheating... I was actually pretty good this week. All I had was....

5 Pringles
2 small new potatoes
2 Poppadoms
One chocolate pudding (valentines day ... probably can't be classed as good non cheating. was super tasty though)

For me though when it comes to cheating that's not bad! And neither was my weight loss... two pounds down this week. So thank you Jack LaLanne for providing me with a diet that I liked and enjoyed enough to cheat less. I won't be donning the blue Lycra body suit quite yet though.