My fat year: Week 3 with Slimming World

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

We still don’t have any new photographs – we really ought to get out more! But here’s another one I’ve already used this year.

My third week with Slimming World has been difficult.

The week started okay, but on Wednesday the poet cooked a SW Mexican chilli. Now, I’m not a huge spicy food lover, but I don’t mind the odd chilli con carne. But when I make it I use haricot or baked beans or, occasionally, kidney beans. This time I accidentally picked up a tin of kidney beans in chilli sauce. The recipe also included lots of chilli, and coriander. It was hot and spicy and I hated the coriander.

As a result, the poet got an extra portion of the chilli, plus he gets two more portions to take to work and heat up in the microwave. But the net result Wednesday evening was that, after only a portion of rice for tea, I was hungry. And so I grazed.

On Thursday, we went shopping, and I was hungry again … and so I grazed again …

On Friday, by teatime, I was starving. I’d had a ham salad earlier and saved my daily “healthy extra” allowance of 2 slices of home-made bread for tea, as we were having steak, chips and mushy peas and I was looking forward to a couple of chip butties … but when the poet came to make the chips, there weren’t any chipping potatoes!

I’d been looking forward to that chip butty all day, and as boiled baby potatoes just aren’t the same as chips, I consoled myself with one of my slices of bread with home-made apple jam on (half a syn for the jam, half a syn for the spread).

And then I grazed some more.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I stepped on the scales on Saturday (to see what damage I’d incurred so far), and I’d LOST another 2lb. How could this happen? The scales were broken, obviously.

The poet checked his weight too and nope, the scales weren’t broken. And the weight was still the same on Sunday morning when I checked – you know, just to make sure the scales were actually broken – but my weight was the same, although I had behaved myself on Saturday. We went out Saturday night and, as I was driving, I had Diet Coke to drink. The poet had lager. It was his band’s “Christmas gig” and it was my turn to drive. And on Sunday morning … he’d gained 2lb, but my weight was still the same.

Yesterday wasn’t great, in the slimming scheme of things. We didn’t have time to make a syn-free pasta salad to take with us, so we each selected from the salad bar at Morrison’s when we got to Birmingham. But I really, really fancied a gingerbread man, and the poet convinced me that if I didn’t have him, then I’d feel cheated. So we bought a gingerbread man, and I worked out the syn value … 14 syns! Oh dear! BUT, if I was going to go bust, then I may as well make the most of it. And I went bust quite spectacularly in the end. Well, by around 7 or 8 syns.

Fearing the worst this morning, I stepped on the scales again … and I’d lost again! This meant I’d lost 3lb in the past week, despite the grazing. I have no idea how that happened, other than the grazing I’ve been doing has been syn-free or low-syn.

And, of course, it means that in only 3 weeks with Slimming World, I’ve lost a very respectable 6½lb. I only have ½lb to hit my first target of half a stone (7lb).

Perhaps I should have “difficult weeks” more often!

My fat year: Week 2 with Slimming World

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

We don’t have any new pictures to share at the moment, so I’m going to use an old one instead. (I know there are pictures on the camera too, but they haven’t been processed yet …)

After my second week with Slimming World, I’ve lost another ½lb. That brings the total so far to 3½lb.

I’m getting confused, though. For example, I thought that fruit was “free”, but it isn’t if it’s tinned or dried. So when I add a tin of strawberries to a sugar-free jelly, it’s exactly the same as having a piece of Swiss roll. If I have just 2 dates, it’s exactly the same as having a bag of skinny popcorn or a square of Green & Black’s Thin milk chocolate – salted caramel. And even if you stew apples with granulated sweetener you have to count them.

This is rubbish, as I really did think that all fruit, unless candied or steeped in sugar, was free.

Saying that, though, I *am* selecting one or two pieces of real fresh fruit for a snack if I’m feeling peckish and that does do the trick a lot of the time.

We had a nice dinner yesterday. It was supposed to be “fennel infused” chicken but we couldn’t get any fennel bulbs so used chestnut mushrooms instead. The whole dish was very aromatic as there were heaps of fresh herbs used. I often don’t like the sharp, bitter taste some herbs can leave on food. But yesterday’s chicken was very nice and we still have the meat for sandwiches.

I’ve spoken to SW about the home-made bread and they’ve said to treat it exactly the same as ordinary bread. I’ve not yet found a good Syn™ calculator, though. At least Weight Watchers tell you how to work out the points in food, and other websites allow you to input the recipe to their site

At Slimming World you have to send them the recipe to work out for you, and when you’re trying to decide what to cook for a nice, slimming pudding, waiting to send a recipe off and then waiting to get the results back doesn’t really work as dinner will have gone cold by then …

And another thing … the recipes at SW are delicious, but there isn’t a facility to just “add” that meal to your day’s food diary. You have to go in and “add your own” and then save it to your favourites. This is fine, but it would be just so much easier to simply add the syn-value to your diary, as I’m sure other diets allow that.

So the grumbles continue, but at least the weight is going in the right direction.

My fat year: Week 1 with Slimming World

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

After just one week with Slimming World, I’ve lost an amazing 2¾lb. But the SW site won’t let me input quarter-pounds, so I’ve plumped for a 3lb-loss. This could go one of two ways …

Next week I might not lose anything at all (or – horror! – gain!), and might wish I’d saved that extra ¼lb for then, OR I might lose more than that and STILL wish I’d saved it so the loss looks greater. Either way, it’s a loss, so I’m not complaining otherwise.

The poet has lost 2lb too, and he had not one but TWO Magnum ice lollies at the weekend. Mind you, he did lose quite a lot in the first place (just under 2 stone or 28lb), and he managed to keep all but 1lb off between February and last weekend. And everyone comments about how slim he’s looking.

The meals have been great. It’s mostly me who’s been doing the plan, although he’s been enjoying the meals too, and I even cooked some of it last week as the poet seemed to have torn his shoulder muscle chopping wood for the fire and had his arm in a sling for 2 – 3 evenings.

I think our favourite SW recipe from last week was the bacon & mushroom crustless quiche*. It’s supposed to be a lunch recipe, and syn™-free if you count the cheese in it as one of your “healthy extras”. But we had it with a jacket potato and a salad, and yes, we counted the cheese as our HE. So it was a gorgeous, filling, tasty tea and we didn’t have to count any of it.

What else did I do? Well, I stuck to 3 meals a day and 2 desserts, with just 1 snack of a piece of fruit if I really, really needed it. I counted 250ml semi-skimmed milk as my daily HE dairy allowance (apart from the day we had the quiche, then I counted the cheese as the allowance and had syn-free yogurt on my breakfast cereal); and I counted either 2 servings of bread (or 1 bread roll) or a portion of breakfast cereal as my daily HE fibre allowance.

If I used most of the milk on my cereal, then I’d have black coffee throughout the day and save a cup of tea, with milk, until bedtime. If I counted breakfast cereal as my HE, then I either went without bread or had just 1 slice.

Therefore, the 2 biggest individual contributions this past week have been:

  • limiting bread to just 1 serving per day
  • not eating between meals

And I’ve been allowing myself up to 15 syns per day, and trying to stick to 5 – 10 per day.

Of course, it could all just be fluid that’s gone in this first week, and I certainly don’t expect to lose 3lb (or 2¾lb) every week. But I’m very, VERY happy so far. AND … I’m sticking to it and resisting temptations (aka Magnum ice lollies …).

So far …

* Sorry, you need to be a member of Slimming World to log in and see this recipe …

My Fat Year: Not defeated yet …

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

We’ve both been working hard, watching what we eat, noting what we eat and what time we eat it, and seeing how much weight is still going on, but I’m now at almost the heaviest I’ve ever been and even the poet put on some weight last week.

So at the weekend I finally succumbed and joined Slimming World Online. This really was my last resort before heading off to see a doctor, because not only are they one of the dearest to join, I also think they’re one of the most complicated to follow.

But lots of our friends are either doing well at Slimming World or have done well there – my mother-in-law included, who is a great home cook but still lost 4 stone (56lb) with them.

I’m doing it online because there aren’t any groups within a short enough distance and it’ll be tough getting off the farm when the dark winter nights are really here. It’s also easier to do it with the poet online without us both having to pay to join a real-time group. Plus, I don’t think I’d get him through the door anyway.

Because it’s complicated, I have been trying to read up on it over the weekend and I think it’s basically food-optimising, but agree with what some reviewers and experts say in that it doesn’t teach you portion size. Fortunately, we already have this knowledge.

What has surprised me, however, is that a fruit smoothie, for example, is apparently not as good for you as a glass of fruit juice. I’ve had juice with my breakfast for years, but with all of the recent furore about sugar, we decided to swap the juice for a smoothie. And on the SW diet, which is supposed to encourage you to eat more foods that are more nutritious, a glass of orange juice is 3 syns™ but a smoothie is 6.

The other thing I’ve noticed so far is that, although the SW diet claims to be for people who enjoy cooking from scratch, there are no syn™ values for home-made bread or pasta and all of the recipes and menus use shop-bought bread and, surprisingly, dry pasta.

The poet makes our bread and he makes our pasta, as we prefer to make more of our own food and buy less processed food. And yes, we are gradually leaning towards less sugar and salt (we already cook without adding salt as we add it at the table anyway) and more fibre in our own home cooking.

Apart from this, the plan does look to be quite good. The meals are delicious – we’ve already tried several – and with work and concentration, I think it might click at some point with me and start to come more naturally, as low-fat and reduced-sugar gradually have. (And we do notice the difference now when we buy pre-packaged food, how sweet and salty it can be.)

Saying that, though, I am struggling to believe that a simple smoothie is what’s piled on the pounds since February.

Keep the feedback, experience and advice coming. We do appreciate and digest (sorry!) it all. And wish us luck. This diet has 3 months in which to do it’s thang.

(Today’s picture, by the way, was taken on our most recent walk, Clayton West Village Trail, 2 weeks ago. We didn’t have a day out this weekend just gone, so there may not be a blog this coming Friday.)

My fat year: First week back in the saddle

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This cat didn’t take her eyes off the dog on Saturday. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

So we had the first week back on the diet saddle and it hasn’t gone brilliantly. It’s okay, I’ve lost weight, but only a quarter of a pound since last Monday’s weigh-in. This is a disappointment as mid-week I’d lost a whole pound, which was 2lb altogether. But it is bouncing up and down still.

There was one day when the scales fluctuated upwards by 1.5lb, so the poet checked too and he’d also put on 1.5lb. The next day his was back down again. He thinks perhaps the scales aren’t very reliable.

Last week I donned my black walking trousers for the first time in ages. This weekend, they went on again and they fit a lot better than they did last week. In fact, the belt wasn’t superfluous this time.

I know we’re not supposed to weigh ourselves every day, but as I’m considering a blood test, I am checking every day or at least every other day for the time being. The poet has decided to check just once a week.

He had put weight on too, and by the end of the week he’d lost 5lb and was back down to almost his plateau.

This weekend’s walk was a mile shorter than last weekend’s, but it was slightly more challenging. I also managed a couple of hills, and I hate hills.

No walk next weekend as we’re off to the Christmas market in Leeds. (Yes, I can say the C word now as Bonfire Night has gone.) Then we’re in Birmingham and Doncaster too.

My fat year: It’s been a while …

emley-mapmywalkYes, it’s been a while. We’ve been so busy since the spring, with quite a lot going on over the summer. But now, hopefully, we’re settling down again … I feel as though I say this every few months!

Anyway, I have been keeping an eye on my weight and it’s not been good. Back in February, I dropped down into the next stone-zone. But since then it seems I’ve managed to pile on a pound a month on average – that’s 9lb since February – and I’m not happy at all.

We have been cutting our added-sugar intake and the poet has managed to more or less maintain his own 2-stone weight-loss. But I’m just not doing it.

So yesterday we finally managed the first of our weekend walks again – we’ve not had any for AGES. It was supposed to be just a short 1-miler. And I chose a 3-mile circular around Emley that had 2 (TWO!) “short cuts”.

You can see from the map where we went the wrong way. And no, it’s not the roughly square shape to the top right, that was the first third of the walk, returning back along the first short cut. The mistake is in the bottom right-hand corner of that roughly square shape. It’s about a quarter of an inch on the map, but it certainly isn’t 2 miles-worth. But somehow, we still managed to do just over 3 miles, so I’ll be checking these map routes in future.

There will be more on this walk later in the week when the photographs have been processed, but this is just us getting back into our keeping-fit regime.

Today we start to eat planned meals, probably from Slimming World and similar organisations. We’re not joining a slimming club. The poet doesn’t really need to for a start, he’s just supporting me. But there aren’t really any close by that are held at convenient times, and I think some of the online slimming clubs are a bit pricey. But today we start to eat planned meals, hopefully rotating meal plans on a monthly basis. And yesterday we started to walk again.

My first target is the first half-stone or 7lb. My next target will be the next stone-zone again. Then we’ll set new targets from there.

This morning when I got up with the poet to send him off to work, I hadn’t lost a bean. When I got up again an hour-and-a-half later, I’d lost a pound. I’m taking that for my first week!

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

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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.

My fat year: Fruity!

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At Tetney Lock (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I didn’t have time again to post many posts last week, on any of the blogs. So here is the “my fat year” post for last week and for this.

The poet has lost 11lb so far this year – he’d lost another one too, but it snuck back on again – while I’ve lost 6lb. Last week this was closer to a 4lb loss, so there’s 2 off just this week.

We’ve had company, though, since Friday, and it’s difficult to stick to a healthy eating routine when you’re entertaining. He went back home yesterday, though, so we’re starting again today.

One big change in our diet has been the addition of fruit instead of cakes, biscuits, crisps and chocolate. And we’re starting to run out of ideas. The poet takes 3 pieces of fruit to work with him each morning, whereas I have a glass of juice with my breakfast and then 2 more portions during the day.

Bananas, apples, pears and oranges are all easy to take to work or leave on the desk or take on a walk or a day out with us. Grapes and other berries have to be counted and contained, so they’re not so easy, and melons have to be cut and wrapped or contained. Other exotic or tropical fruits also need more preparation.

The other big change is the reduction in processed foods. On Friday night, as we’d been collecting our guest, we had fish and chips for tea – and we blummin enjoyed it too. But on Saturday we had toad in the hole (with added/hidden veggies – my dad didn’t realise we were feeding him mushrooms!), on Sunday we had a roast chicken with Yorkshire puddings, on Monday we had cottage pie, and on Tuesday we had fish – all cooked from scratch by the poet.

On Saturday I made a 6-portion fruit trifle, and on Tuesday I made a low fat/low sugar 4-portion apple crumble.

But yesterday, another busy day, we succumbed to cheese & shroom or ham & cheese toasted sandwiches for tea. And we shared the last portion of the apple crumble between us. Very nice.

This evening the poet has band practice and I’ll be doing the weekly shop. So it might be another quick tea tonight. Apart from that, though, we’re back on the wagon – and still losing weight anyway. 🙂