30 March 2009

Fat lass 1 : Bug 0

And, at half time, the scoreboard is looking good for the fat lass. The sneaky little sore throat bug is struggling to survive a massive onslaught of vitamins and fresh air and it looks set to fail in this match. Die, you little beggars, die!

It's been a fairly good weekend. Caught up on some much-needed sleep... although still not enough to my mind, ate healthily and well (with one notable exception, which I'll get to), did some exercise and kept mostly positive. This means that the needle on my scales slid a wee bit further down, to 70kg. So another pound of flubber has been banished... hopefully forever, this time.

But... last week's weight loss would probably have been greater, except for a foodie experiment on my lovely hubby's part which I, of course, sampled with absolute delight. This experiment is a Turkish dessert, sweet and laden with calories (no surprises there then), and it's sinfully delicious.

It's called 'supangle' - go on, look up the recipe, you know you want to. Supangle is sort of a sweet, chocolatey Turkish take on the good old English trifle (OK, without the jelly), which can be seen in every pastanese in Istanbul. It's a cake base (ours was coconut cake) covered in a thick chocolate 'custard' which sets to a creamy, gooey, almost mousse-like consistency. The original recipe is pretty much death by chocolate and cholesterol.

We sensibly made ours with sugar substitute, which helps reduce the damage just a tad, but it still is screaming with calories and has way too much fat from butter, whole milk and a sprinkling of toasted nuts. I'm sure there must be ways to make it healthier still - we'll have to see. Thankfully, we managed to avoid the temptation to serve it, as do the Turks very often, with ice cream or cream as a topping.

With a fridge groaning under the weight of this stuff in mind, today's lunchbox contains just vegetables and fruit - and no deviations, fat lass! I will go for as long and fast a walk as I can in my lunch break (having walked the long way in this morning) and be as active as possible during the day.

27 March 2009

Still fighting

Well, coming towards the end of the week now and it's pretty much been a success story. I've been sensible with food, eaten loads of fruit, exercised a bit more than before and increased the water intake. I'm really pleased that my motivation seems to be returning and I'm not finding it too hard... most of the time.

I'm also very happy that the scales seem to be responding to this treatment and that gives me a bit more of a boost to carry on. And I sure do need a boost at the moment as I'm still very tired and run down.

The tiny cloud on the horizon is that, although the cold sores are beginning to subside... this is only to make room for them to be replaced with a pounding headache and sore throat. I'm hitting the oranges and Vitamin C tablets for all they are worth, in the (vain?) hope that I can avert what appears to be an inevitable cold/virus or whatever.

I'm sitting here with a cup of hot lemongrass and lavender tea, trying to decide whether I can hold off from paracetamol for a while longer. Although isn't likely to be as busy a day as yesterday, there's still a lot going on and I'm very glad it's Friday.

We have a relatively quiet weekend ahead of us so maybe I can kick this bug where it hurts and get back to 'healthy' again soon. It is not going to stop me going for a walk today - the nice fresh.. no scratch that... the icy, freezing blasts of Arctic temperature air may help blow the bug out of my system.

25 March 2009

Salad days

And an update on yesterday's lunch - a reminder for the future. Don't get suckered in by the advertising hype and buy that salad dressing again. Sorry English Provender Co., but I'm afraid I think it is awful. It tasted no more of honey or mustard than I do. All I could identify in flavour terms was sugar. Bleh!

So, today's salad takes a different approach. Lots of mixed leaves (heavily rocket based - yum, yum) with no dressing. Add to that half a pot of chicken breast slices with a tikka flavouring for a shot of protein. Let's see if that hits the spot.

The scales are beginning to reflect this new-found (and hopefully lasting) enthusiasm and I'm heading back down to my 'milestone' weight. I did a lot more walking yesterday, which will have helped, and keeping a very strict eye on the things I stuff in my face is helping me feel more in control again.

I even splashed out on a treat today. Strawberries were half-price in the supermarket so I bought some for nibbling at work over the next few days. They are very nice indeed, and cheaper than chocolate!

I have just over two weeks before my mother's birthday and I'd still like to see if I could wear 'that' dress. She hasn't seen me in a frock (or high heels) for donkey's years!

Keep at it fat lass... and you may be able to surprise her.

24 March 2009

Two positive days

A start, at least. I don't feel quite so much like this little fellow, I do feel slightly more positive, even if I'm still very tired.

Yesterday I got back to doing my morning back, knee and PF physio exercises diligently, as opposed to the rather lacksidasical manner I have been using, and then did the same again this morning. I made myself walk a bit faster, even if not further, drank more water and ate with a lot more thought and common sense.

On the food front, it was my much-loved porridge for breakfast (made with half semi-skimmed goat milk and half water - delicious), fresh fruit at break, then a bowl of muesli with skimmed milk and a yoghurt for lunch. Dinner was ready-packed moules marinieres with a big chunk of wholemeal bread. The verdict - not bad, but could probably improve the dinner choice as it was a little salty. Make our own next time. I think my meals overall were not heavy enough on the veggies, and I definitely ate too much bread.

Goaty porridge for breakfast and fruit again for break today. I've made a crunchy salad with mixed leaves, sugar-snap peas, soy beans, sweetcorn and tomatoes for my lunch, using a low calorie honey and mustard dressing for a bit of zing. The plan is to go for a walk at lunchtime too. OK, I'll need a scarf and gloves as the wind is bitter, but the chill should keep me moving at a fair clip.

I must think up some innovative ways to get my fruit and vegetable intake increased a bit more and review the snacks I have available during the day. If anything is going to let me down, they will. So I need to be prepared and stock up on 'good' snacks.

Exercise is another 'must do' and I will have to rethink my schedule to fit some more in. A return to Chi Kung is planned for after Easter and I'd like to get back on the rower (if my knee and back hold out). My dream would be to get back to the gym as I actually did enjoy it. Maybe if the rowing goes to plan...

23 March 2009

Spring flowers and struggles

Oh no, the lovely white snowdrops are just about at an end, but the primroses, daffodils and violets are out and they are wonderful. I really love the flowers in springtime. Their light perfume, lovely delicate petals and beautiful colours against the fresh new greens make my heart feel glad. If only that sense of joy and enthusiasm could spill over into this weight loss business...

Even with a recent batch of good news (like a good outcome to my lovely hubby's operation), I'm struggling to stay focused and be positive at the moment. I'm dog-tired (but not sleeping properly again!), achy, have a face covered in cold sores (grrr!) and am obviously a bit run down. I'm also finding it really hard to concentrate. The road ahead looks bumpy from here and it would be sooooo easy to take a rest, not least from thinking about exercising and what I eat. Easy, but a seriously bad move!

The bad news? The scales now reflect a week or two of minimal exercise and buying assorted 'treats' to try to help my recuperating hubby feel better. Treats like biscuits, Welsh cakes and ice cream... which I, of course, shared without even a minor qualm. Bad fat lass.

The scales did hit 72kg (oh my God!), briefly, but have settled back down to 70.5kg this morning. That's better, but it still tips me over the 11 stone barrier and I'm really not happy about that, having worked so hard to reach my latest milestone.

Yeah, I know. Sometimes we all hit a hurdle (or a succession of them). We may find ourselves settled into the doldrums feeling that however hard we try we are stuck. At times it feels like you 'can't' move on and achieve success. But, allow yourself think that way for too long and, bit by bit, you find that you've quit the battle of the bulge and the pounds can (and will) creep back on. Remember, oh podgy one, you have the tee-shirts!

So, don't go there - get a grip fat lass! Even if you manage just a little bit every day you are still in the fight. OK, things may not be perfect. Progress (if there's any to be seen) may not be all you'd like, but at least you won't have given up. Don't knock the little things you do achieve! It's the journey that's the really important part, not just the destination.

Right now, I feel like I'm fighting just to stay in a holding pattern. Fighting, but not quite winning, I'd say. No progress to measure... er, actually the opposite, but not a complete descent into failure either. I haven't given up and I haven't lost the fight. I may be just a tad battle-scarred and punchy and struggling to keep my footing, but I'm still going to fight on.

I hope that a fairly quiet, reflective weekend will have set me straight and from this week I'll be able to summon the energy to battle hard to achieve more love per square inch.

08 March 2009

Sheer relief!

Thank goodness! My darling lovely hubby's op went smoothly on Friday and he is recovering well. He 'may' be allowed to come home later today, depending on whether they remove the last of the various bells and whistles he's been hooked up to. If that goes to plan he'll be mobile again... albeit rather on the sore side! Recovery is going to be a slow journey though, and I must be ready for him to get quite frustrated when the inevitable setbacks happen.

It's been odd but, very much more than expected, I've found it really difficult to deal with this whole episode. All logic and sense seems to have fled out of the window and I haven't been a strong support for him at all. I'm prepared to admit that I've been terrified and really can't bear to see my big strong bear in pain. He, on the other hand, has been positive, calm, patient and such a tower of strength that he has me in awe, all over again.

It's been an unusual few days from a food standpoint too. If I'd thought about it I'd have expected to deal with the stress in my time-honoured fashion and want to stuff myself with bad things. But that didn't happen.

On Friday I ate a small amount, more from necessity than desire, to keep my family reassured that I was taking care of me too. To be honest, I wasn't interested - even though I'd prepared and roasted a chicken and Mediterranean vegetables, two things I normally enjoy.

I wasn't all that bothered yesterday either. Surprising since I baked a batch of Welsh cakes (sugar free) to take in for lovely hubby. Normally, one sniff and I'd be wanting to gorge on these delicious little treats. Not this time. I ate one and that was quite enough. Amazing! I did do the dutiful and ate 'properly' (sort of) during the day but the only time I actually felt enthusiastic was when I was sitting next to my darling and a yoghurt seemed like heaven.

Not the weight loss strategy I'd recommend, but the scales reflect this unintentional abstinence with a drop in avoirdupois, so I've hit another milestone. I'm now officially 'ten stone something'. One step closer to being 'normal', which allows me to give my darling just a wee bit more love per square inch.

That's something about which, under more everyday circumstances, I should be dancing with joy. Somehow it doesn't seem much of a big deal right now. I just want my man home... and well... and happy.

05 March 2009

Frustration, happiness and more high-octane emotion

Yesterday was a funny sort of day. Yes, I know I'm stressed at the moment but the morning's events took the biscuit. Obviously my patience is getting shorter and my temper burns hotter. Just hope I can keep my trap shut for a few more days and that my face doesn't broadcast my feelings.

So, what got my goat so completely? It was a matter of my questioning how someone in a position of some responsibility/authority (who from their qualifications is supposed to be pretty bright) can be so utterly, irritatingly stoopid!

Sure, I know that not everyone can be an expert in everything and I know that computers and software packages, though essential, are not everyone's cup of chai latte. But the basics matter and, by the time you get to this level, surely you ought to have a grasp of them. When your 'important' work relies on the data you produce, how can you a) not know where you have saved your own files, b) not know what you called them and c) not have a clue when you created the files? Makes recovering your vital data just a teensy bit of a challenge!

What's worse, how can you also just assume that the mythical 'someone else' will be delighted to dig you out of the hole you merrily excavated for yourself (actually two 'someones' in this case, as I got hauled in to this SNAFU too), and then blame that 'someone' when it becomes clear that this is an impossible task?

Then, just when I thought that this really was one of 'those' days and it couldn't possibly get worse, I got a little surprise that set me smiling and lit up my day with joy.

I set off for a growly stomp at lunchtime as I was not a happy camper. It was beautifully sunny, but chilly, and I hadn't gone too far the sight of two tiny fresh green leaves breaking out of their bud on a nearby tree cheered me up. Spring is not a million miles away, it seems... even if Cornish roads are blocked by snow again!

While I was out, I popped into a charity shop and picked up a lovely bargain. Always nice to have something 'new' and pretty to wear, especially when it doesn't cost much at all. Even better when you consider that my bargain (trousers) are a size 12. And by buying them I've helped support ongoing cancer research.

Yesterday's best bits?

I got a message from my neice to say she has an interview for a job she wants really badly. I so hope it works out for her. She's so happy to even have got this far, and that happiness is infectious.

Better still, my Mum saw the surgeon and he was in her words "a very kind man who explained things properly and took the time to listen". Maybe it wasn't such a bad day after all.

And the positive news for today is that the waiting and uncertainty is over. Lovely hubby goes in for his op tomorrow so I can stop fretting about 'what if' and start worrying about the practicalities.

03 March 2009

Munchies and worries

But not necessarily in that order.

It wasn't quite lunchtime and I'd demolished my banana and blueberries. I'd finished off my lunchbox tomatoes, carrot batons, physallis and grapes and was making great inroads into the celery sticks and sugar-snap peas. Healthy as my lunchbox is, it's too darned easy to eat 'on the fly'.

Hmmm, that munching didn't leave me a helluva lot for lunch, except for an orange, as I can't eat my low-fat Philly cheese without something to put it on. Straight out of the tub - I don't think so. Aha, hang on a second, a cunning plan. Scratch the Philly, just eat that chicken breast bought for tomorrow's salad, and worry about tomorrow... er, tomorrow.

In addition to starving of the hunger I've also been thirsty as all hell... all day! So far that's meant three cups of tea and three bottles (500ml) of water. Ooops, too late. Make that four bottles, as just thinking about it made me feel thirsty again. And, a nice cup of ginger and hibiscus herbal tea sounded like a plan for added punch to my (diminishing) lunch. Yep. It was.

Well, I guess it's flushing out my system, although I have no clear idea what's brought this on with such a vengeance. Could it be too much salt yesterday? Well no, I don't really think so.

Low rations? Don't be silly. I had a good sturdy helping of venison and root veg casserole last night, with probably rather more oven chips than was wise. I ate my porridge for breakfast like a good fat lass too.

Really! This is just too much - I should not 'still' feel peckish.

So is this all because I'm worrying? Er, probably. The good news from my sister last night (she had a clear mammogram result, thank heavens) should have offset the worries a bit, but I don't think logic is coming into play here. There's high-octane emotional stuff on the loose.

Still, at least I know exactly 'what's' on my mind for once. These are not the usual, rather nebulous, four-in-the-morning worries, but something much more concrete.

I'm fretting about my Mum and her health problems. That's as in a) what the heck's going on with her blood pressure and seemingly endless weight loss? (she is so tiny now!), b) how can someone built like a baby bird get a pressure sore for Gawd's sake?, c) is this 'lump' the doctor found serious?, d) will she be OK?, and e) does she need more of a care plan than she's got in place? Hopefully there'll be more news on some of those things tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm also doing the daughter-away-from-home bit, feeling hugely guilty that I can't be there to help her more.

And top of the list, of course, I'm in absolute knots and kinks as to whether lovely hubby will go in for his op on Friday as planned, or if it will be cancelled because of this bloody norovirus outbreak. Contrary soul that I am, I can't decide whether an enforced 'stay of execution' is a good idea or whether the change of plan at short notice would just add to the stress!

Add to this the 'not logical, does not compute' type worries about the likelihood of problems on the operating table, hospital acquired infections, what happens if..., what if..., what if..., etc. Looks like I'm not handling things all that well right now.

One saving grace is being able to pour all this 'stuff' out here. I don't give a tinker's damn if no-one ever reads it. It seems to help me. As to the eating. Well, I'll try my best to restrain myself. If that's not practical, I'll limit it to healthy stuff as much as possible, face the dietician with my head held high (on Monday) and deal with any consequences later.

02 March 2009

No weight loss, no surprise

Well, the scales are still sitting at 70kg this morning. Actually, that's a hearty 'thank goodness', and not even a little bit surprising after a weekend of pampering and luxury. On the whole, last week wasn't a bad week, but I guess I could have tried harder on the food front, and I definitely could have made time for (and done!) more exercise.

But, I digress. You see, aside from other treats we had over the weekend (drinking Thwaites 'Wainwright' beer being the most naughty of these), on Saturday we had a posh meal at the Riverside restaurant. A three course posh meal, booked as a special treat in preparation for the not so good things this week has in store for us. It was absolutely wonderful, and a serious luxury. Never mind thinking about the fat content or calorific damage (which was almost certainly massive), just concentrate on the delicious flavours, beautiful presentation, relaxing atmosphere and so forth.

So what did we have to eat? It all started with an amuse-bouche of a dainty salmon tartlet in the most heavenly, pale biscuit-coloured pastry. Topped with a tiny sprig of purple Greek basil, the little tartlets looked stunning and, gone in just a few nibbles, tasted pretty spectacular. There were home-made olive rolls (still warm from the oven) and a few slices of delicious butter waiting on our table for us too.

I'd decided to have a glass of house white wine, and chose the Etchart Privado Torrontes-Chardonnay for no better reason than it sounded nice. No wine buff me, I'm afraid. It was described as 'grapey and aromatic' and as having an 'exotic lychee and spicy character'. That may be right, I'm in no position to judge, but it was delicious and I'd have it again in a shot!

To start, lovely hubby chose the roasted English onion soup (good but not fantastic, apparently) while I decided on seared scallops with blood orange and black pudding. A very good choice indeed. The three scallops were deliciously browned (in butter!), but not overcooked so were still silky-textured and delicious, and the black pud was just amazing.

For our main course, hubby went for the Salmon Fillet with celeriac dauphinoise, steamed sprouting broccoli and Chilford Hall wine sauce. Wow! The presentation was fantastic, with a long slender turned carrot delicately balanced on the celariac and the salmon perched at an angle on the broccoli. A feast for the eyes and, judging by the look of his face, a feast for the tastebuds. We shared a selection of vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, sugar-snap peas and baby sweetcorn) and hubby had some new potatoes... er, drenched in butter so I avoided them. All in all, the veggies were lovely.

I'd settled on the Roast Fillet of Pork 'Saltimbocca' on creamed savoy cabbage, with smoked fondant potato and bramley apple two ways. Oh boy. Thought I'd died and gone to heaven. The cabbage was fantastic (and just about a 'heart attack on a plate' in it's own right, with the cream used just in this alone) and the smoked potato was just gorgeous. But the prize definitely goes to the pork. Meltingly succulent, flavoured with sage and wrapped in proscuttio, it was just fabulous. The 'two ways' was quite interesting too. The first way was a standard apple sauce which was very nice. But the second way was as a little frozen globe of sorbet! Almost sherbet-like in flavour it was. Oh goodness, that was stunning.

Then for the puddings, and I almost went completely off the rails for a stickily tempting treacle tart with clotted cream. Thankfully, I saw a little sense and chose the Sparkling Rosé and Strawberry Jelly with shortbread instead. Still pretty naughty, but not quite as bad! Hubby decided on the cheese and biscuits and was a very, very happy bunny as the cheeses were fantastic, he said.

A coffee and liqueur (actually a dark golden delicious Calvados for me) finished the meal off nicely, and we were amazed when it came with four delightful, and dreafully sinful, chocolate truffles. Heavy hitting creamy ganache-filled, these were amazing! I chose the strawberry and white chocolate one (sweetly fantastic it was too), and ate half a hazelnut one. Hubby had the dark chocolate and coffee ones and the rest of my nut one as it was so good I had to share. We were both very impressed.

We groaned our way out of the restaurant and went for a walk around the city to try to recover a little (me in heels too - poor feet!) before we went home. I've not had such a splendid feast for a very long time and am amazed that all that cream and butter didn't result in serious indigestion. But no, it just left me utterly sated, totally relaxed and ripe for a great night's sleep.

I think it'll be quite some time before we do anything like this again. It was a brilliant evening and the food was soooo good. But, if we do it too often I'll end up fatter than before I began and drag poor hubby right along there with me. And the bank manager really won't like me a lot either.

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