Monday, 28 July 2014

A stone is a lot of weight to lose…

We’re supposed not to gain more than a stone over our first adult weight… So, at two stone higher than the weight I was up to the age of 35, I now have a stone to lose…
Having gained two stone in the last talkamongstyourselves years is not that surprising when you look at what Dr Jane Johnston has to say on the subject. On Menopause Matters, she points out that past the age of 40 we typically gain a pound a year if we don’t change our current eating and exercise pattern. Then, once we hit menopause, things get even more depressing – with the body trying to store fat the way it stored puppy fat at puberty.
She gives the very demoralising example that, should we eat 1000 calories prior to menopause, we will burn 700 of them and store 300… But past menopause the process reverses, and we store 700 and burn only 300!
I’m hoping this is just an example and that we are not expected to gain weight on a 1000 calories a day regime, or we’re all b***ered. The question is – how do we lose it?
I am persevering with the 2-Day Diet – but have to confess to already overdoing the cheese, forgetting to trim fat off meat, and failing to weigh anything except myself.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Why am I my own worst diet saboteur?

‘Watch out for sabotaging behaviour’, warn the authors of The 2 Day Diet. 'Loved ones may try to tempt you with forbidden foods…' Yes, Siree! Last night, after a lovely walk in the park, my husband says: ‘I think I’ll buy some wine. Do you want some wine?’
‘No, I don’t!!’ I had so far managed no carbs all day and there were none on the menu for supper, either. This was looking like a no carb day.
So my husband decides he’ll buy beer instead – no temptation to me as I can’t stand it.
But dinner is running late, and, as we potter about the kitchen and he pours his first drink, I am the one to sabotage my own diet.
‘As I’m not drinking tonight, I think I’ll finish off that champagne in the fridge,’ I say.
Yes, at the risk of sounding opulent, there was leftover champagne in our fridge – opened two days earlier to celebrate our youngest daughter’s 18th birthday, but it made her wince and there was a whole glass left. Actually a very large whole glass (still in the bottle, and still fizzy – what are the odds?)…  So I had that, called it a carb, and told myself it was now a carb day – and then, after dinner, watching Breaking Bad, I ate two of Steve’s home-made chocolates leftover from a function he catered last weekend. ‘Only two more carbs’…
Why do we do it? Why do we dieters cheat on ourselves but pretend we’re cheating on the diet and that the diet won’t know about those forbidden treats we sneak passed our lips?
The diet book doesn’t care. The authors don’t care! The only person who’s affected by my decision to drink a glass of wine and eat a couple of chocolates is me…

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The 2-Day Diet

Say what you like about diets – but ultimately they’re the only way to lose weight. Even when someone says they’re just cutting down their portion sizes and eating only healthy foods – that is a diet!
Last year I tried the 5.2 diet, consuming just 500 calories a day on two non-consecutive days, and eating normally the rest of the week. Now – moment of truth – I didn’t actually read the book behind this diet, so when I ate normally, I ate normally for me… No doubt the book would have told me to eat abnormally for me on the non diet days.
I’m pretty sure of this now as I’ve just bought another 5-2 style diet book – this one is The 2 Day Diet, by Dr Michelle Harvie and Prof Tony Howell. The claim on the cover is: ‘Diet two days a week. Eat normally for five.’ But, start reading, and it’s soon apparent you will be committing yourself to yet another 7-day diet – it’s just that 2 of those days are a little bit harder than the rest.
Here’s what you have to do:
On 2 consecutive days (can be non-consecutive if you prefer but the authors think consecutive works best) eat only 1000 calories comprising 0 carbs, 4-12 portions of protein (one portion is 30g of meat, poultry or oily fish OR 45g seafood OR 60g fresh or smoked white fish OR 1 egg OR 1 rasher of bacon or thin slice of ham), 5 portions of veg (there are however restrictions on these – your best bet is leaves: a cereal bowl full of lettuce or watercress counts as one portion), 1 portion of fruit (again there are restrictions – no bananas for example), 5 servings of fat (eg 1 serving is 1tsp mayo or veg spread but the word butter doesn’t seem to feature anywhere in this book).  There are a few other details but that’s about it in a nutshell.
The protein should keep you full and the theory is that we go on feeling hungry until we’ve consumed the amount of protein that we need.
On the 5 ‘eat normally’ days in fact you still only eat 1400 calories, comprising 3-8 portions of protein, and a maximum of 6-9 portions of carbs (the amount you can have depends on your weight and age, and there’s a handy ready reckoner to help you but as an example 1 medium slice of wholemeal bread would count as a portion), 2 portions of fruit, 5 vegetables, and 3-5 portions of fat (again your weight and height determine how much you can eat, and this is also in the ready reckoner).
Oh and I forgot to say that on both restricted and unrestricted days you should have 3 servings of dairy (1 serving = 1 pot low fat yogurt for example) – but no more than 4oz (120g) cheese each week.
 Despite all the counting and weighing – not to mention the various restrictions – it seems to be quite a do-able diet – so I am going to give it a whirl. I am right at the top of my healthy BMI, and as some experts say we should never let ourselves get more than a stone heavier than our lowest adult weight (eg what you weighed at 18) I need to lose a stone…
I quite like the idea that on a restricted day I can in theory have bacon, eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms for breakfast; prawn salad for lunch; and chicken salad for dinner. And that, on my non-restricted days I can have yogurt and berries for breakfast, tuna sandwich for lunch, and chicken and rice for dinner.
Eating just 120g cheese a week will be a challenge, and going butter-free could be impossible…
Let’s see what happens!