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: 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!