Weighing it up

I’ve started to feel a bit podgy recently. A weigh in at the gym a couple of weeks ago and a now very tight pair of old chinos confirmed that my feelings about being a little bit more portly around the middle were right.

D5BD6DA9-3125-4643-94E6-D9C203476C84.jpegThese lovely Aubin & Wills chinos are 6 years old. Aubin & Wills closed in 2013. A great shame as the clothes were beautiful and the ethos was fab. The store was a pleasure to shop in. A real treat actually. And I loved their Zine. I still own most of the items I bought because as it says on the label they were good quality, well fitting clothes. A little pricey, yes (I think these were about £125), but these trousers have been worn and worn for 6 years now. I reckon the cost per wear must be down to a pound or two.

When you have a capsule wardrobe you need to stay roughly the same size.  The trousers aren’t the only clothes that have started to feel a touch snug. Not good news for the capsule. It’s all redundant if it doesn’t fit. There’s no back up wardrobe; no bigger clothes lurking in the loft any more.

But a diet, well that seems a bit drastic doesn’t it. I’m a healthy weight, my BMI is fine, I wholeheartedly support the Body Positivity movement. And yet as someone who is a size 10/12 I just don’t feel at my best right now. And I don’t want to be in a position of needing to buy bigger clothes.

So I’ve decided to lose some weight. I’m going the traditional route of exercising more and eating less. Last week I read Michael Mosley’s 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet and I’ve downloaded MyFitnessPal. I’m now into my second week of following a diet based loosely on the 8-week blood sugar plan, tracking everything I eat and exercising more. When I weighed myself again this week, I’ve lost a few pounds. I feel so much better, not necessarily about the numbers on the scale but because my clothes are feeling better and more exercise has been a brilliant and timely boost for my all-round well-being.

IMG_0146I’m not diabetic or pre-diabetic… Instead I’ve been using the 8-week sugar blood sugar diet book for low calorie, high protein recipe ideas. The information in the rest of the book about Type 2 diabetes is terrifying! 

Michael Mosley’s plan makes a lot of sense to me – fill up with veggies and protein and  cut the white stuff (processed carbs and sugary foods and drinks). When I looked at what I was eating written down, it was clear that I’m basically a walking carb. Toast for breakfast, mid-morning biscuit with a cuppa, sandwich at lunchtime, pasta or something with rice or potatoes for dinner. And not forgetting the picking at the girls’ teas at 5pm. The 6pm can of Karma Kola. The weekly take-away from the fish and chip shop at the end of our road. It was clear on the first day of calorie tracking that what I consider a normal portion is actually quite a big portion. So now it’s eggs and spinach or avocado for breakfast, salad for lunch and something like a bean burger with sweet potato wedges or fish and steamed vegetables for dinner. Going against the advice in the book, I’m still eating snacks: a handful of nuts, a couple of wholegrain rice cakes or some Brave roasted peas (moorish and healthy – what’s not to love?). And I’m drinking more water. Lots and lots of water.

8DBAAA08-18B9-431C-9D99-EED301190B48.jpegPoached eggs served on avocado for breakfast. This portion is twice as big as it should have been – thanks to The Husband – thankfully the Big One was very happy to eat my spare egg and the Little One the spare avocado. Just one of the many breakfast suggestions from Michael Mosley’s book.

The tracking and weighing seems obsessive and doesn’t sit easily with me. But how else do you monitor what’s going in if you don’t record the data? And isn’t this the case for all areas where we’re trying to improve? Alongside my weight, I’m also disillusioned that our black bin was full on bin day last week. I was hoping with our recent recycling re-education that it would be less. Is there a rubbish tracking app? If not, there should be. I’m going to look into this. I’m sure recording each item thrown into the landfill bin would be an eye-opener. Maybe I’ll give it bash.

From a sustainable perspective, eating a higher protein, lower calorie diet is tricky. I haven’t eaten any meat today, but I’ve started eating fish and meat more regularly after a largely veggie / vegan stint since the New Year. I’m not really eating red meat but sticking to fish and chicken and of course buying organic meat and sustainably caught fish. I’m aware that this isn’t brilliant from an environmental or ethical point of view. I felt huge waves of guilt when reading the magazine Om Nom at the weekend, which promotes a vegan lifestyle.

9AD6069D-2654-4280-B136-5B5251D053D5.jpegPerfect Sunday brunch reading with a coffee.

I’m also uncomfortable talking about “dieting” around the girls. We’ve tried hard to encourage healthy and relaxed eating habits and positive body image attitudes. Being on a diet, weighing out food and eating different meals is obvious to the girls. They have so many questions about everything and pick up on any changes. I don’t feel like I’m setting a brilliant example at the moment. Especially as it’s nearly summer: the traditional time to lose weight. Especially for women.

And the other thing that’s really annoying? The time element. To be frank, I’ve got stacks of books I’d like to read or finish reading and I’d rather be thinking about so many things other than how to lose weight. But there we have it. Sometimes a little housekeeping doesn’t go amiss. Including ourselves. And I do feel better thinner. That’s the simple, perhaps ugly truth.

I’m sure like anything once eating less and exercising more becomes the norm, life will settle down and it won’t seem to be such an intrusion. I’m trying to include loads of veggie and vegan meals in our weekly menu, so that meat doesn’t become the main focus of our diet. To assuage the guilt, I’ve tried to hold on to the fact that many of my days are filled with delicious vegetarian and vegan meals. And as it says in the introduction to the awesome The Meat Free Monday Cookbook

One day a week without meat can make a world of difference.

This makes me feel better. I’m having 3 or 4 days without meat. I’d describe our diet as vegetable led rather than meat based.

And to show the girls a more scientific way of analysing what we’re eating, we looked at sugar. We found out the maximum amount of sugar that’s ok for the Big One (19g for a 4 – 6 year old per day); looked at labels to find out how much sugar is in their favourite foods (ice lollies, yoghurts and sweets); and made a chart to display the information. We weighed out 19g of sugar in a glass bowl and split it into separate glasses to show just how much sugar is in a small bag of sweets or an ice-lolly. It was a really fun and easy way of demonstrating what’s in our food.


A quick and easy science experiment to show the contents of our food.

We talked about the effects of eating too much sugar on our body and how it’s easy to eat more than we should in just a few treats. I was shocked to find out that there’s 12g of sugar in one small bag of Haribo. They’ve been much more grown up about treats since doing the experiment and I hope that this sort of activity will help to encourage a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

On a lighter note, it feels positive to be taking action. More exercise is making me feel much happier and giving me a pressure valve. I’ve finally started yoga after 7 years. My posture has improved and my bones are starting to creak less. My skin is clear from drinking more water and peppermint tea. Education and more information is making the whole family to make better choices. And those tight chinos? Well, they’re starting to do up just a little easier this week. Let’s see just how many years’ service they’ve got in them. Weighing it up, maybe this shift to a lighter life isn’t such a bad thing.

What are your thoughts on weight loss? The Body Positivity movement vs your own body image and self-esteem? How do you discuss being healthy with your children? Are they eating too much sugar? 

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