My fat year: 2lb gone!

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In Eskdale. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

So we’re one week in from the diet “re-boot”, and I’m delighted to announce that I’ve lost 2lb. This is despite having loads of lovely home-baking around the house.

We’ve had several different kinds of loaf, all cooked from scratch and in the oven, rather than in the bread machine. The latest batch doesn’t have any sugar at all.

The average loaf of bread from the supermarket apparently contains around 6 teaspoons of sugar. Most of those baked by the poet only contain 1 teaspoon of sugar, some contain even less.

I struggle to match home-made bread in the various food diaries that are online, so I don’t bother counting calories as most of the rest our food is cooked ourselves anyway.

Instead, we try to stick to “no snacking” or “no food after 9pm” or “low/no sugar” . And now that we’re pretty much back to normal and settled into the new house, we should be able to manage a weekly walk again.

One of my old standards is the “fairy cake”, called the “bun” here in South Yorkshire. I use a basic recipe, but add various different flavourings or ingredients – 50g cherries, or dried fruit, or chocolate chips; vanilla essence and glacé icing; chocolate powder instead of some of the flour; etc.

I’ve always reduced the sugar content from 125g to 100g, as they’re far too sweet with fruit in as well. But now that has been reduced further, to 75g – and they’re still sweet enough.

We’ve started buying products that contain less sugar, both naturally and added. And we’re cooking more things from the low fat, calorie-counted and Weight Watchers recipe books. It’s our mission to prove that we can eat well and still lose weight.

The poet has definitely plateaued, but he’s only 2lb shy of losing 2 stone (28lb). Many of his t-shirts are hanging off him, and all of his shorts are too big and baggy. So he’ll be getting a nice shopping expedition soon. I’m not sure if he’s waiting for me to be able to join him or if he just wants to make sure he’s stable. Or maybe it’s a bit of both.

Either way, we’re not doing too bad.

How is your diet going, if you’re on one?

My fat year: Ditching the sugar

Not my “magic” jeggings, but a good pair all the same. Brilliant for walking in, and fit in wellies too. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The year started fairly well with us both losing weight quite quickly. The poet lost a lot more than me in a lot less time – he’s lost almost 2 stone (28lb), and it’s staying off, although he’s plateauing at the moment. I lost around half a stone (6 – 7lb) and was delighted when I dropped down into the next stone-zone.

But then the year went a bit pear-shaped and sensible, regular eating went almost totally out of the window.

Three of our 4 parents ended up in 3 different hospitals at the same time, in 3 different towns, 2 of which were 100 miles away. The poet started to look for a new job, and that also meant that we needed to find somewhere else to live. So we had new job + house-hunting and subsequent moving thrown into the mix.

Everything settled down, with the final dregs about 3 weeks ago, and the parents are all well and healthy and back home. However, things in boxes still means we’re not sorted yet, even if life is sorted.

On Saturday we were going out, and lots of our clothes are still packed. I struggled to find something to wear, and the jeans that I did put on resulted in a massive belly overhang! So those came off and I put some magic jeggings on instead (leggings/jeans) that hold everything in.

This morning I weighed myself and was disgusted to see I’ve put a further pound on this week, on top of the 3½lb I’d already gradually put on again. I’m still lighter than I was when I started, but straight away I want to lose 4½lb to get down to a level stone again.

This morning I took all new measurements. Then I found a 30-minute Hatha yoga video on YouTube for beginners and did that before I did anything else.

I don’t want a fad diet as I don’t believe they work. Only the 5:2 diet has been successful for me, but I think it’s easier to do when you’re on your own or if the person/people you live with are doing it with you.

What I do want to do is reduce the amount of sugar I eat. I have a very sweet tooth, but I’m horrified when I see how much sugar a cheese sandwich or a pint of milk have in them. If I want sweet, then I want to get it from sweets or cakes, not savoury foods. I want it to be blatant, hit-you-in-the-face sugar, not hidden away in something that has no right to have sugar in it.

I’ve rejoined Weight Loss Resources and may pay for their continued membership. It’s not expensive, and they have a nutrition calculator to give me a rough idea of how much sugar (and other things) I’m eating.

Diet sites are all well and good, and if they work, great. But I get annoyed when they’re constantly thrusting their own products down your throats, and many of the diet plans they run aren’t very flexible. I don’t want a diet plan, and it’s difficult to work out calories, etc, when you make a lot of food yourself from scratch – I really don’t have time to input ALL of the ingredients. So I’ll use WLR for guidance, but it won’t break the bank while I do so.

I’ve been researching the low/reduced sugar and sugar-free diets and diet books that are available too, but they just seem to replace one sugar with another. And because they’re American or Australian, there are ingredients I’ve never even heard of, let alone ingredients we’ll have to make a special trip to a health store for.

BUT … I am reducing the sugar and the fat I put in things I cook myself. And compared to how much sugar is in a shop-bought loaf of bread, for example, the poet only adds 1tsp of sugar to his recipe for TWO loaves, and he may start reducing that. We’re not really cutting out fats either, just the ones that are bad for you. This means we still have cream and butter. It’s the sugar we both want to cut down on.

Wish us luck, then. And do let me know if you’re doing your own diet and how you’re getting along.

Day out: Alrewas – 26 June 2016

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Dad: “That’s the founder, there.” Diane: “Who? The one in the skirt or the one in the frock?” Dad: (fits of giggles) “The one in the frock!” (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Every year my dad is invited to the veterans’ memorial day at the National Memorial Aboretum at Alrewas.

The last Saturday in June is usually the armed services memorial day, and the veterans’ memorial day is usually the last Sunday in the month.

For the past 2 years, the poet has accompanied him. But this year, for the first time, I was able to go too.

We had VIP seats only in the second row, and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham was, quite aptly, seated right in front of us.

We arrived ahead of time and bought sandwiches and cakes to eat at our seats, and we took a doggy bag home for Dad too as he couldn’t eat all of his in one sitting – they were very big portions.

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“Veterans’ Sweetheart” Sarah Dennis. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

For half an hour we were then entertained by “veterans’ sweetheart” Sarah Dennis, who sang for the crowd and had everyone joining in with familiar songs.

Then the standard bearers, representatives of the armed forces and the guard of honour took their positions for the service.

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Standard bearers. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The service didn’t take too long, it was just the right length, and was intermingled with speeches, readings and hymns.

The last post was sounded, followed by a standing observation of silence., then everyone joined in with a few choruses of Land of Hope and Glory, once again led by Sarah Dennis.

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Following the wreath-laying. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We didn’t stay around for the march-past, as it wasn’t happening for a while after the service finished and we needed to get back for the dog.

Also, Dad was a bit tired and didn’t feel up to joining in.

Despite the threat from the sky of a storm, the weather stayed dry and mild for us.

After taking Dad home, we headed back ourselves after having a nice day out.

The best laid plans …

He hung some pictures …

… do sometimes work!

There was nothing planned for this weekend, so because we’ve been so busy recently, we decided we’d batten down the hatches and not do anything outside of the home for the whole weekend.

On Friday, the poet came home from work but left the gate open as we were having a takeaway/delivery for tea. (Friday is takeout night.)

Once our tea was delivered, the gate was closed and we didn’t open it again until the poet went to work this morning. We didn’t do a lot else Friday night, other than chill and watch telly. Oh, but the poet did make a start on the garden pond …

On Saturday, he ventured into the garden and continued to empty the old pond. It had been neglected for a long time and he needed to see (a) what was in it, and (b) what the lining was like.

… I tidied my writing/text books …

While he did that, I did some baking. I made a Swiss Roll, with no fat and reduced-sugar jam, and a dozen sultana buns, with reduced sugar.

He picked me some rhubarb from the garden, so I made a rhubarb crumble too, but that did have sugar in as we weren’t sure how tart the rhubarb was. (It was quite tart.)

When he’d had enough in the garden – dodging heavy showers and wading in up to his knees – the poet came in and whipped up a couple of brown loaves – in the oven, not in the bread machine. (He’s getting very good at the “real” bread.)

There wasn’t a lot on telly we wanted to watch, so I suggested he have a look at 24. He’d never seen it and I quite fancied watching it again, and it was available on Sky’s box sets, series 1 – 9.

… he picked us some rhubarb from the garden …

On Sunday, we started to tackle the boxes … emptying 7 in total. One box hasn’t survived, but we folded the others down in case we need them again.

It was nice to see all of our stuff again, but we unpacked more of the later-packed ones as those contained more of the stuff we actually use. But it meant another load of stuff went into the bins. At least we emptied one car as well, though.

Then we busied ourselves putting things away. The poet hung some pictures and a mirror. I tidied my writing books and the other books I use for reference. I think there are some in another box, but we’ll be needing another bookcase for all of the novels. We put crocks and ornaments in places we thought might be nice or useful.

And we had both dinner and tea outside, in the garden. The hot sunshine was filtered by the leaves of the trees, so we didn’t need to put the parasol up.

Finally, we finished with another few episodes of 24. And for the first time in AGES, we felt as though we’d had a proper weekend.

… and we dug out the farm animals crockery.

Settling in

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Windswept in Whitehaven

The world finally stopped spinning for us this week and we were able to step off, have a moment, smell the roses. Both of us were hit almost immediately with … something, but it didn’t last long. We’ve had quite an idle week, though, considering how busy we’ve been recently.

The poet painted a garden bench and cut the grass. I managed to empty one very small bag and take another upstairs. Oh, and we did some shopping. And that’s it.

Aside from work, of course. We both had a nice short week and today is a nice short day. But this weekend is the first one in an age that we haven’t got to do anything. We don’t have to be anywhere, see anyone, do anything. And, boy, are we going to enjoy it.

Today I had planned on posting pictures from last Sunday’s day out to Alrewas. But they’re not on the portable hard drive, although I know they’ve been done. As any other events we attended were all as far back as May, you’re getting a bit of a waffle-post instead. 🙂

I’ve delivered a book this week, and will invoice for that later today. I’ve transferred an old novel over onto Scrivener. I’ve started to build a new novel on Scrivener. I’ve transferred more of CATCH THE RAINBOW onto Scrivener. And just this second I received an email with the latest requirements from fave short story market, so I’ll have a look at that then read a few copies of the magazine to see what they’re using at the moment.

Over the weekend we’re emptying more boxes and no doubt weeding out yet more clutter.

What are you up to this weekend?