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: And so it begins

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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.

Busy weekend

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Stile near Scholes (PIcture: Diane Parkin)

We had another very busy weekend, which included a walk in the end. But as I’ve been quite busy this morning too, I’ve not been able to upload the pictures. So here’s one I made earlier from a walk I did on my own but which we’ll be doing together as soon as we can.

The weekend was such a blur, in fact, I’m struggling to remember what we did … we didn’t do anything Friday evening because we knew we’d have a busy day Saturday and I’d already been driven half mad by incompetent bureaucrats.

Saturday we were up early and off to Birmingham because it was my mom’s birthday. We managed to sort a few jobs out for my dad while we were there and he even got to have five minutes when he took the dog for a walk to the letterbox … or the dog took him.

On the way home we got to the gig buddy’s shop by bang on 4pm so she could do another dress fitting. The good news is, the inch-and-a-half she had to take in the week before she had to let out again, because I’d already lost some weight since last time. And I’m under strict instructions not to lose any more … erm …

On Sunday, I had lost some more weight, and I’d lost some more inches. So somebody is going to be displeased with me when she comes for a “final” fitting tomorrow evening. 😀

Sunday morning we went over to PC World in Barnsley to get a new notebook to take on holiday with us. And we found one we liked that’s actually a tablet/switch, which is perfect for portability. There won’t be any crap on there, just stuff we both would like to access, if we can, while we’re away. We also bought a new memory stick for backups and a spare memory card for the camera, as we won’t be able to edit or store the pictures we take.

Unfortunately, the one we liked was out of stock, so we went over to PC World at Doncaster, and they had a much better one, that was slightly cheaper too. So we bought that and a small bag.

We wanted to go and see son #1 in his new house, but we were already late and we needed him to guide us in. So we went from Doncaster to the poet’s parents and offered to take them over as well. Unfortunately, we couldn’t raise son #2 on the phone for directions or the address, and we needed to be away. So we’re going to have to visit another time. He sounded very disappointed when we finally made contact again, but we don’t mind making another trip over there when we can.

It was already 2:30pm and we wanted to do a 4¼-mile walk, to maintain the fitness we’re gradually building up. But I lost track of the road signs when we reached a particularly busy village and we ended up at the start of our walk at 4pm. That was too late to do the full walk, so we cut the last half-a-mile off, and we got home at about 8pm.

We do have lots of pictures again, but I’ve been busy this morning tidying up files and pictures on the desktop computer so I can do a proper backup of critical data.

I’m busy this afternoon too, as I have to go into town to hand-deliver the poet’s proxy-vote application for the general election. After discovering the council had “lost” both of our postal application forms (very strange that, losing both of them …), I’d fired off a bit of a scathing complaint … and they miraculously “found” my postal vote application … but only realised half-way through the phone conversation that they should have miraculously found another one as well.

So, while I’m in tarn (as the locals call it), I’m doing that, paying some cheques into banks (hurrah!), and doing some more holiday shopping.

There are likely to be 5 blogs this week, then – including today’s, the weekend’s walk, this week’s diary of a scaredy cat, plans for the next 2 weeks, and a publication blog on Friday (if it auto-publishes okay). So I’ll leave this one here. 🙂