My fat year: Ditching the sugar

00000296
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: First 2lb gone

IMG_4255
At Worsbrough Mill on Sunday (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

It took a couple of weeks, but this week I finally made my first loss – and it was 2lb. Actually, in truth, it was 3lb, as last week, mid-week, I went up by a pound before dropping down to my start weight again. But technically, as we’re only supposed to weigh ourselves once a week, it’s a 2lb weight-loss logged this week.

The poet hasn’t weighed himself yet this week, but when he went off to work this morning – looking quite smart as he’s representing the company elsewhere today – I noticed that he was already looking trimmer and slimmer.

Last week I made the decision to do a 5:2 diet, but I’ve been fairly good on “feast” days, and probably much better behaved than on “starvation” days. It is hard, though.

I’m making it through the day very well. But by an evening, when we’re sitting in front of the telly, I just want to graze. It’s not just sitting in front of the telly, though. It’s also sitting editing. I always have to be grazing if I’m editing, and as I’ve had a particularly large hard-copy edit this week, well … I think you can imagine.

Because of my blood sugar, I tend to graze on a starvation day too and, again, I’ve been doing very well during the day, starting with a single Weetabix for breakfast, with milk from my 200ml daily allowance and a spoonful of artificial sweetener rather than sugar. I also have 150ml fruit juice with every breakfast.

Mid-morning I’ve had 15 grapes, and for dinner (lunch) I’ve had half a can of soup and a < 60-calorie yoghurt. Mid-afternoon I’ve had another piece of fruit – either a small banana or 2 satsumas. But for tea I’m having what the poet’s having, but minus any bread or high-fat anything. For pudding I’ve had either the satsumas or the banana, whichever I didn’t have earlier. And for an evening snack I’ve been having 4 salted caramel chocolate fingers (you can only have 3 chocolate fingers for less than 100 calories, but the salted caramels come in at 4 for 94 calories!).

And I’ve drunk black coffee all day, and a grand total of 2 white teas (using the remaining milk from my allowance – can’t stand black tea).

On ordinary days I’ve had 30g of Rice Krispies, Cheerios or Cornflakes for breakfast, or 40g of Sultana Bran, Fruit n Fibre or Bitesize Shredded Wheat, or 45g of muesli, or 2 Weetabix, along with milk from a 300ml-allowance and 1tsp artificial sweetener. The fruit snacks are pretty much the same, but dinner (lunch) is a sandwich plus the yoghurt, tea is more hearty, and I get an extra non-fruit snack too.

Exercise at the moment is just our weekly walk, which is why I’m also using that to build up fitness and stamina. Sunday’s walk felt much easier than the previous week’s walk, though. so hopefully that’s going the right way at least.

On Monday we watched the first episode of How to Lose Weight Well, on Channel 4, which featured the 5:2 diet this week. And it didn’t put me off. (I think you can still watch the episode online.)

We’re still using up leftovers from Christmas at the moment. All of the mince pies finally went. We’re just coming to the end of the Christmas cake. There is still about a third of a tin of Quality Street to go, and we still have full-fat cheeseboard cheese.

I expect the coming week to be better as there are healthier options on the shopping list – I’m really not one for throwing out food unless it’s gone off. Too many years of being thrifty, I think.

This morning I chased my free signed copy of The 3-2-1 Diet by Rosemary Conley. They assured me it would be with me soon as it takes 14 – 21 days. I wish it would hurry up as I’d like to read, absorb and digest it, see how she does things differently to all the others.

How are you doing this week?

My fat year: And so it begins

IMG_4193a
Mute swan hissing at dog. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Today’s picture is purely for decorative purposes as the only “my fat year” pics we have at the moment are our “before” pictures – and you ain’t seeing none of them yet. (Dialect intentional for those pedants out there … 🙂 )

So, having both slimmed down sufficiently for us to feel comfortable on our honeymoon, we both also managed to put it all back on by Christmas. Well, actually, I’m still 5lb lighter than when we started and the poet’s also a few pounds lighter. But we’re not as slim as we were back in May.

I’ve tried lots of diets and the only ones that have been really successful have been those where I’ve only exercised regularly (Rosemary Conley DVDs and classes based on her DVDs) and the 5:2 diet (Kate Harrison’s version). All the poet has to do is eat less.

Over the Christmas break, one of the things I did was start to research the various diets that are currently going around, and – to be honest – I wasn’t impressed. I’ve tried fad diets. They don’t work – for me. They don’t even work temporarily. The only thing that works is cutting back my calories over a week, rather than per day, and exercise.

During my research I was quite surprised to see that the Rosemary Conley brand had suffered some significant financial setbacks. But I also discovered that she’s found alternative financial backing (I presume) and relaunched her website, at least, some time in the past year. And then I saw that she has adapted the 5:2 diet to suit her own beliefs.

Online annual membership to Rosemary Conley seems to be one of the cheaper ones at the moment, plus there was a £10 discount *and* a free copy of her book The 3:2:1 Diet. You can also pay monthly or quarterly, but working it out, £60 for the year (plus a book) is a lot better value than £13 per month.

Because I’m a bit of a gadget freak, I like to *see* my progress on charts and in colour. And, other than me not finding any nutrition charts, which I also like to see, this site seemed to be the best fit for me.

So I signed up, measured myself (and the poet), set up my profile, and logged my food/calorie intake for one week. On average I’m consuming around 2,000 calories on an exercise day (or walk day) and around 1,500 – 1,600 calories generally. My recommended amount is 1,449.

After the first week, the poet lost 3lb. I lost 0lb.

So yesterday evening I decided to go for the 3:2:1 diet, whereby you have 3 “light” days in the first week (I call them “starvation” days, everyone else calls them “fast” days), 2 light days for the duration of the diet, and 1 light day for maintenance purposes. But I’ll go straight in to 2 starvation days, I think.

The other differences are to try to maintain the less-than-5%-fat “rule” on ordinary days (“feast” days), and instead of 500 – 600 calories on light days, you get 800 calories (it may be more for men, I’ve not looked yet).  And she has 3 types of menu to choose from: comfort eating; feast eaters; and grazers. (I’m usually a grazer on starvation days for blood-sugar regulation.)

I’d like to lose 2½ stone (35lb). The poet wants to lose “a couple of stone” (28lb).

If you’d like to join us, let us know how you’re getting on in the comments section below. Otherwise, wish us luck!

Product tests
Oh yes, I almost forgot … We’ll also be testing various products over the course of the year. If you’d like us to review your product, let us know via the contact form.

Idle week

IMG_1918
Farm outbuilding, Rievaulx. There was a grumpy dog in that kennel to the side of the steps. We didn’t see her, but we heard her. Perhaps she had pups. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’ve had a bit of a lazy week this week, I don’t seem to have had very much get-up-and-go. This is the problem when I don’t have rush jobs with tight deadlines. The work languishes in a neglected pile and I work on it whenever I feel like it. And this week, I haven’t much felt like it.

All is well, though.

We both started a diet on Monday and the poet has already lost almost half a stone (7lb). The holiday clothes we bought him last week are already feeling a bit more comfortable. His stomach is flat again in the mornings. 🙂

My weight was staying static, despite keeping a strict eye on what I was eating and not eating cake (apart from puddings already in) or chocolate or anything between meals other than fruit. Yesterday, when my weight went up a pound, I decided to revert back to my old tried and tested  5:2 diet. When I did this before, I lost 20lb in a month, and kept it off until contentment set in. Then, over a period of about 18 months, it all crept back on … well, not all of it. I was still 4lb short of my heaviest weight ever when I started the 5:2 diet, but I didn’t want it to hit (or pass) that all-time-high again.

Now then, I don’t usually weigh myself every day when dieting, and hardly ever when I’m not. But I need to do it when I start a diet just to see if it’s having any effect, so that I can adjust if it isn’t and wallow if it is. This week, aside from the calorie-counting, I’d also done 2 fitness DVDs and been for a walk. But my weight went up instead of down.

Saying that, the trousers I put on for my short walk on Wednesday didn’t need me to lie down on the bed to fasten them, like that had only at the weekend. So I did measure my waist and found I’d lost an inch. But the weight had gone the wrong way, and so I had a starvation (fasting) day yesterday.

And this morning, I finally witnessed my first loss – only 1¾lb, but a loss nonetheless. So, I’m sticking to this instead of the calorie-counting, although with the poet also trying to lose weight we’re already eating healthily on my feast days. And I’ll weight myself, and measure myself, once a week again.

When I do 5:2, I don’t fast for hours on end. I graze. This is because I get a bit hypoglyceamic, but I get that way anyway without fasting having anything to do with it. And if I get hungry, I eat. I just eat carefully. Others can fast on water alone, or they can go from breakfast to supper without eating anything. But I graze. And it works.

Also this week the poet has been to buy his wedding suit. We were supposed to be going tonight, but he found himself in a shop that sells suits and he chose one. So now we have this evening spare. Tomorrow morning we go for my dress fitting, on the way to Birmingham. We’re also having the ties made in the same fabric as the dress. I’m going to ask for a fabric swatch so I can look at shoes, probably Sunday.

And he’s finally fished the lake at the end of our lane this week. He had a nice evening fish and caught about ten, saying it’s harder when the fishing is natural rather than stocked. Now, as a non-angler I, personally, would get more from fishing natural waters as it would be more of a challenge to me. But he’s a match-angler and isn’t used to working so hard. BUT, he fished, and he caught fish, and he bought new line so he can fish it again. So that’s all good too.

We have less than a fortnight before breaking up on 30 April. I still have the big book to edit and another smaller one. I’d like to get both of those done before the holiday so that I start with a fresh slate when we return.

Tomorrow we have the dress fitting and the trip to Birmingham, and maybe a gig tomorrow evening. We have nothing booked for Sunday, so that could be shopping or walking or doing something in the house.

Have a great weekend.