Archive for January, 2012

One of the irritating things with getting closer to goal is that it’s pretty inevitable that your weight loss slows down. (Unless, I suppose, you go down the starvation route. Not a good idea!) This is because of a couple of different reasons, I reckon. Firstly, your body needs fewer calories because there’s less of it, but you need to be sensible and not reduce, reduce, reduce your calorie intake or you’ll end up on 500 a day and sitting miserably on your bum with grey skin and zero energy. Secondly, and mainly, in my opinion, when you’ve been on a diet for a while it’s terribly easy to congratulate yourself on your loss so far, forget how difficult it was to get into the correct mindset when you first started dieting and allow yourself ‘a few extra treats’ as you’ve been so good/you deserve it/you’re so close it won’t make a difference…

I am determined not to let this happen to me, or at least not for the second lot of reasons. I lost a pound this week and my first thought on the scales was a rather grumpy ‘Oh.’ I’ve had weeks where I’ve lost 2,3 or 4lbs! 1lb is crap! Except really, it’s not. It’s the healthy, slow, sensible way to lose weight that is sustainable long term, not the quick crash followed by binging on Chunky Monkey icecream while congratulating yourself on being so thin. If I only lose a pound a week from now until goal I’ll be happy-I’ll make myself be happy!-because I’ll know that when I stop dieting I’ve got a better chance of remaining healthy. Goal isn’t just a number, after all, it’s a way of life. (That might include the odd, sensibly sized helping of Chunky Monkey.)

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A friend of mine is about to do a sponsored cycle ride around Mozambique to raise money for a priest, Fr Rafael, and his enormous and impoverished parish. Her blog is well worth a read-she’s doing some extraordinary work and Fr Rafael is an amazing man.

Have a look at Rafael in Mozambique and see for yourself. Really impressive stuff.

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Something that I think Americans get very right in restaurants is the publishing of nutritional information on menus. They don’t all do it of course, and on the other side of the coin are the often dangersously gigantic portions, but publishing nutritional info-or even just the calorie content-is a very simple, wonderful idea. I can see the reasons not to of course. Perhaps customers would be less likely to buy the mega burger if they could see that it contains 1500 calories, but even if it was just on a small section of the menu it would make a difference to those of us trying to eat out and watch our weight at the same time.

I can see it coming in over here-albeit slowly. In Strada, for instance, dishes with less than 600 calories are marked, which is helpful, though not as helpful as the accurate figure of course. (Also, it’s a bit scary that the majority of the menu is clearly more than 600 calories-given that 2000 calories is supposedly what the average woman needs daily, you’d think roughly 600 per meal with some left over for drinks and snacks would be normal rather than the ‘low cal’ options?!)

However, there’s an app and website called My Fitness Pal which is brilliant. A friend put me onto it and I have to say, it’s seriously impressive. It doesn’t quite have everything (lots of fibre stats are missing for some reason) but you can look up the vast majority of (chain) restaurant meals, all raw ingredients and most branded ingredients too and get accurate nutritional information which is invaluable if you’re calorie counting or doing WW and need it to work out the ProPoints. The best bit is that it’s free! I don’t know who created it-and presumably does the zillions of updates-but they should be knighted or sainted or something.

Eating out is a dangerous game for a dieter or life long weight watcher. It is far, far easier to stay at home and cook for yourself-and it’s also generally cheaper. But life sometimes-often, even-requires us to eat out and learning to make healthy choices is all part and parcel of the journey. It’s so dull to always opt for salads, and very often they’re so dressing laden that they’re not nearly as healthy as you’d think. Very often the best thing to do is go slightly ‘off menu’-ask for dressing on the side, or swap an ingredient for something healthier, or even ask the waiter what substitutions they’d recommend. I find carbs difficult in restaurants because they’re so often smothered in butter (potatoes in particular) so I often ask for no potatoes/bread and have extra veg instead, then make sure I get some healthy carbs in at home at my next meal. Pasta is tricky because restaurant portions tend to be so generous-asking for smaller portions, again with veg to fill the space on the plate, is quite handy and means you don’t have to exert too much self control by leaving food on the plate.

Though that, I think, is the next lesson I have to learn.

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OK, so normally my inner neat freak is hidden so far inside me that she barely gets a look in around the house, but today she got to come out and have a play with my make up.  I’ve used Muji boxes and normal make up bags for a while now but things were getting a bit mucky and, much to DH’s chagrin, taking over the bedroom.  So Little Miss Organised went to Lakeland and bought some little clippy boxes that are designed for spices or something, and voila…

I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to get everything nicely organised like this!

I’m not sure how WW is going this week.  I’ve kept to the plan pretty strictly – almost unintentionally really, I’ve barely used any weekly points – but I don’t feel like I’m going to have a loss on Tuesday, I don’t know why.  I just feel like I’m hitting a bit of a plateau.  I think also I’m not feeling great today because we had a picnic-finishing-what’s-in-the-fridge lunch and didn’t have any vegetables in the house (! shocking I know) so I had a bit of smoked salmon, a smoked mackerel fillet and some low fat prawn cocktail.  Not exactly a very good meal, though each bit of it was delicious!  No veg and no carbs.  Probably no wonder I feel sluggish.  Ugh.  I have been to the shop since and brought food for a proper meal for supper, you will be glad to know!

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When I was at boarding school I used to charge my friends 10p or so and give them manicures with, admittedly, varying results. Once, in Year 11, I convinced my best friend to let me ‘style’ her and make her over-I can’t remember if we were going to a party or whether we were just bored on a Saturday afternoon, but the result remains immortalised in a photograph in my living room, a photo she cringes at every time she sees it! I love it though-she looks gorgeous (in a rather overly-made up way!) and it reminds me of when we were just starting to play with make up properly, seeing how it could temporarily change faces and, I think, moods.

Ever since then I’ve always harboured dreams of being a make up artist-it’s been ‘If I weren’t a xxx I’d be a make up artist’ at pretty much every stage of my life. Now that I’m on maternity leave I’ve realised that I don’t have any more excuses. I can do a course, see whether I like it, see whether I’m any good at it, and I’m not committed in anyway-plus of course I have my job to go back to in September. The problem is that courses are very expensive, upwards of £1000 for a week at a reputable place, but I found one in Manchester that’s done intensively over 3 days and is accordingly cheaper. (Not cheap though!)

I’m going at the end of the month and I am absolutely beside myself with excitement. The focus is on freelancing so I guess a long term plan-if I’m good at it that is-would be do it during the holidays for next academic year and then possibly, the year after that, see if it’s viable to go full time. To be honest the idea of being my own boss scares the living daylights out of me (tax returns?! No idea how they work!) but it would be an amazing adventure. And I really, really love make up, and people, and making people feel good about themselves-that’s a big part of my current job-so why not combine them?

Check out the website-I think it looks marvellous.

Make up Manchester

She also does a bridal course so if I enjoy this one as much as I think I will I might go on that too…

And finally, in the spirit of make up being a little boost for the soul, look at how beautiful my new nailvarnish is:

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It’s Chanel’s Black Pearl and rather pretty I think.

(Also, newly painted nails are a great get-out-of-nappy-changes strategy…not that I’m advocating leaving your child in a dirty nappy of course, just palming the job off on someone without newly painted nails, such as your husband…heh heh!)

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So this morning I went to my weigh in and found that I’d lost 7.5lbs since my last weigh in, which was 3 weeks ago.  I also did my measurements again and found that I’ve lost 20cm from my waist since I started on November 1st.  I’ve reached the WW milestone of 25lbs off, and my own of 2 stone off.

2 stone 1/2lb actually.

Since November 1st I’ve managed to stick to my points and still had the occasional take away, a few boozy nights and more than one mince pie.  I’ve also re-learned how to cook in some ways, and come to really enjoy doing it.  I’ve dropped a dress size and am well on my way to the next one.  I’m back in 34” bras.  My stomach is not flat but it’s a hell of a lot flatter than it was after DD was born.  My face is thinner and I have rediscovered my cheekbones.

DH told me that I could be a poster woman for WW, except that I’m too classy and beautiful.

I almost burst into tears on the scales, and I’ve felt pretty damn jubilant all day.  I could almost hear my mother telling me to contain myself!

Here’s to the 1st 9.5lbs that’s between me and my goal weight.  May it swiftly wave goodbye…

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I read recently that the whole concept of giving up alcohol for January as a detox for the liver is a waste of time, as a) most people don’t last a month and b) the benefits are minimal.  Apparently you’re better off having at least 3 alcohol-free days per week, and only drinking in moderation on the days you do drink.  Now to my mind that’s perfectly sensible, but there’s no way I drink on 4 days of an average week anyway, so telling myself not to drink for 3 days a week is too easy!  But then perhaps I’m coming at it from a slightly different angle anyway.

For the past few years I’ve had alcohol-free (or nearly alcohol-free) Januaries as I’ve felt that the Christmas and New Year period is so full of booze that my body needs a rest.  It’s not like I spend the whole of December binging on wine, but between the work drinks, Christmas parties, champagne, brandy butter (oh brandy butter!) and occasional whiskey it’s very easy to consume far, far more than I’d normally drink.  The first year I did it I was shocked because I lost half a stone in weight – and I wasn’t on a diet!  That was purely alcohol weight…pretty frightening really.

So I’m not ‘detoxing’ (and certainly not in the juicing sense) but I will be going mostly alcohol free this month.  We don’t go out very often nowadays but as we don’t really drink at home it just means having soft drinks when we do go out to meet friends.  I didn’t drink while pregnant apart from a couple of glasses of champagne at a friend’s wedding so I’ve barely touched alcohol in 2010 to be honest; I’m hoping that it won’t be too difficult as a result and that it will also have a positive effect on my weight loss.  After all, as lovely as the occasional glass of wine is, it is really just empty calories!

I haven’t been to weigh in since 20th December due to all the driving around the country and I also haven’t been nearly as active as normal – I’ve done far less walking for a start, but I’m hoping that because I’ve been good and not gone over my points (despite a fair bit of indulging) I’ll still have lost a few pounds by the time I get to my meeting next Tuesday.  If I can have lost 7lbs in the three weeks I’ll be very happy as that will take me to 11st 10lbs, which is exactly 2 stone less than my starting weight.

So hopefully by February I’ll be well past 2 stone down and can indulge in a celebratory glass of red or two!

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