Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chapter 8 - Cake Mathematics

Today is a bitter cold but sunny Sunday. I already went for a long walk,  did the housework, a huge heap of ironing and even baked a cake.  A cake for guests, which unfortunately can´t make it over anymore.  So now we have cake (or now precisely remainders of cake) looming in the kitchen.

After returning from a walk around the block to the postbox I returned to a house smelling like the magical witches house from Hansel and Gretel. My house smells of chocolate chip vanilla cake, making it almost impossible to cut it out of my mind.
In an attempt to get to grips with the cake I decided to get out my icing writing tube and divide the cake into 2 portions. One tiny corner equalling 1/9 of the cake for me and the other 8/9 for DH – or anyone else who cares to drop by today…….

After enjoying my tiny piece of cake with a coffee, I worked out the points, expecting it to be around 6 or so…….but noooooooooo…..this tiny piece of cake had 10 – yes TEN –points. The whole cake has 90 points. That’s around 3 days worth of food.
I need to stay away from the cake. I´m sure I can do it! With a little bit of luck, my workmates might find cake on their desk tomorrow.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chapter 7 - Surviving Sweden

At least once a month we have an obligatory trip to Sweden. Now when I say Sweden – I unfortunately don´t mean the beautiful country but the mega large furniture store where I regularly stock up on candles, vases, cushions and usually eat a big fat portion of Swedish Meatballs and fries -  IKEA.

After spending the morning in Bonn and buying half a market stall of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as stocking up on bagels at Bagel Brothers (before discovering they have 7+ points a piece!), we decided to drop into to IKEA on the way home for a mooch around and have a spot of lunch.

Instead of ordering said meatballs I went for the healthy option of couscous with vegetables and a dollop of sour cream on the side. DH had the meatballs. And Fries. I had to pinch one -  just one wee chip. Nothing to shout home about. My veggie dish was much more colourful and inviting than the greasy yellow sticks of potato on DH´s plate.
I survived the Meatball-trap and the Swedish-chocolate-almond-cake-trap, the hot-dog-trap and today even the candle and serviette traps. Not a cent was spent on unnecessary knick-knacks. Something has obviously come over me……….

Pics show my veggie haul from the market, IKEA lunch, my evening meal of salad, a bagel and freshly pressed fruit juice. Smaklig måltid!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chapter 6 - Zonked after Zumba

Tonight will be one of those rare nights where I´m in bed before midnight. To say I´m tired is an understatement. I´m absolutely shattered. To top it all off I´ve got a headache developing and my feet are exceptionally sore from my new trainers. In a nutshell - I am zonked after zumba. 

Just before six this evening, I met my friend Glo and off we headed to experience the new aerobic-dancing-sensation which has now finally swept over from America. Zumba is a combination of aerobic style moves from dances such as salsa, merengue, flamenco, cha-cha-cha, reggaeton, samba, belly dancing, hip-hop and many more....accompanied by latin music. 

Of course, it all looked so easy when I watched the clips on youtube. But there I stood infront of the mirrors in the dance studio and didn´t like the reflection which greeted me. After ten minutes into the workout Glo and I went from exchanging giggles to glances of desperation. I was tempted to make an exit shouting „I´m a fatty, get me out of here“ but those of you who know me, know that I don´t give in easily – so I kept on going.

Feeling as uncoordinated as the back end of a pantomime horse, on and on I wiggled my hips, often unable to keep to the dance moves and mixing up left and right. The reggaeton music and exotic tunes, which reminded me of Caribbean cocktails and holidays long gone, kept me going and soon the sixty minutes of torture fun were over.
Before I could change my mind, I registered for another 5 sessions. There´s no backing out of this now.

I watched a few infomericals online which showed some mega-brainwashing content of women who lost 20 or 30 kilos just by doing zumba. I didn´t think it was possible. It probably isn´t. Good old QVC and the likes always have a way of making you believe the good in their anti-acne potions / vacum storage systems / milk frothers / hair straighteners and all the other things they sell by playing with your conscience. I have been a victim of brainwash TV. (I even almost presented a series of products on one of these home shopping channels in a previous job, but luckily found a presenter to do it for me....long story .....another day!)
After tonight´s sweating session, I´m still hoping there´s an inch of truth in there. Seeing sweating is believing. I´m off to search the net for a practice-at-home DVD before I fall into bed. Zumbaaaaaaaaaaaaa! 

Chapter 5 - Impatience

Tuesday was weighing day. Eager to get on the scales, I jumped straight out of bed and almost ran to the bathroom. The anticipation began, accompanied by a virtual drumroll in my head, waiting for the results of the last seven days. After the awaited Beep-Beep-Beep the scales showed me my fat percentage (ouch!) and my loss of 600g. Sure, I was a little bit disappointed, but according to WW a pound a week is perfect. A perfect result I suppose, seeing as I was out for meals with work twice last week, followed by a girly weekend drinking wine, champagne and eating pizza whilst DH was away in Munich.  I sinned for a day not counting points properly, but returned to my diet-diary the next day.

My disappointment at the mini-loss confirmed the fact that I am terribly impatient. I like things to go my way, when and how I want them.  But, I guess I’ll have to get used to the ups-and-downs of the diet journey and become a little bit more relaxed and patient. My body isn’t a machine. I didn’t put the weight on in a month or two, but over a period of five years, so I can’t expect to change it back like a scene from Harry Potter by waving my carrot sticks and shouting “Wingardium lipidosa! “

The magical thing about the minus 600g was it brought me to a total weight loss of 4kg.   

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chapter 4 - Breaking the habits

In the past two weeks I´ve been analysing what exactly I´ve been doing wrong with my diet. A few very obvious reasons spring instantly to mind:

1.    My love of chocolate and inability to resist eating a whole bar at once
2.   Eating when stressed (I can be chilled out, but  do get STRESSED a lot)
3.   Not drinking enough (non-alcoholic beverages)
4.    Drinking too much (alcoholic beverages)
5.   Not eating enough fruit and vegetables
6.   Comfort eating…… soul-sandwiches, moody-macchiatos, pissed-off peanuts, calm-down-cakes, weepy-wines, bad-day-biscuits, grumpy-gummybears……etc…
7.   Consuming big sized portions and always clearing my plate and not stopping when I feel full.
8.   Eating too late at night, accompanied by eating a big lunch and dinner in evening
9.   Eating a repetitive and unbalanced diet 
10.  Not eating breakfast

These are just ten things which took me two minutes to write down. There are various other reasons. I´m sure my list would reach fifty if I sat down and analysed some more. 
I reckon if I try to change these ten food traps I will make good progress.  Number ten is my worst downfall. Not eating breakfast.  But, I am happy to announce that for the past twenty days I have actually joined the breakfast club and started to eat this traditional first meal of the day.

It never really bothered me not eating breakfast before. The theory says breakfast is  genuinely the most important meal of the day. It gets your body working and into gear.  I can´t imagine my car getting me to the office if it had no petrol inside.  Sure, I have enough whale blubber to survive on and always thought I don´t need any  power-porridge to kick-start my engine, but theory says, if I don´t do this, then my body won´t function properly. It gets no food, panics, and then stores the food it gets later on in the day.

So, exactly how did my body manage twenty days ago? Skipping breakfast, I would usually first eat lunch around 12:30 – drinking a milky coffee or two in the morning at work. If I was feeling hungry sometimes I grabbed a banana or a sandwich – but I could probably count these incidents on one hand.  Weekends are a different story. Having a slice or two of toast with lashings of Nutella together with DH is about the most I can manage. I feel quite sick and tired in the mornings. If I stay over in a hotel, strangely enough - I eat breakfast. Proof that I can do it.

Another reason for skipping brekky is my laziness. I´d rather lie in bed for an extra 15 minutes than mess around in the kitchen. All my school friends will remember this…..waiting on me to get my butt into gear and walk to school; probably eating a chocolate bar on the way.
It´s also a myth that British always eat bacon and fried eggs for breakfast. That’s not why I look the way I do. Perhaps that would have done me more good (well Dr. Atkins probably thinks so).
The past twenty days found me getting up a few minutes earlier, preparing stuff and forcing myself to eat early in the morning. (well….if you call 8:30 / 9:00 early that is). My breakfasts have consisted of some of the following: muesli with yogurt, toast with honey, black bread and low-fat cheese, weetabix, porridge, fruit and yogurt, rasin roll and bananas.  I feel much more alive in the mornings and yawn less. Proof that it really does make a difference.

Today was a special breakfast day. Two special friends stayed over so we had a girly  breakfast in our pyjamas with breads, eggs, ham and cheeses, yogurt, freshly squeezed orange juice…..and a long chat. The perfect kind of breakfast.  

One mission is accomplished. Now it´s onto the other nine! (or was it really fortynine?) 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chapter 3: Photographic Evidence

"Before" photos from 2005

"After" photos from 2010 ( + 40 Kg)

What the hell went wrong?

Of course it wasn´t an easy move finding the guts to add these photos on here. Those of you who know me well, know that my face is usually at the other side of my digicam or phone, taking pics of others, nonsense, arty farty things like beaches, kitsch collections or scenes of city life.
I have deleted many a photo of myself in the past year and these are a few which survived the elimination process.  A so called "best of" the "worst" side of me. Soon to be the old me.
An explanation of what went wrong can be seen on 7 of the 10 photos. Pardon the pun - but the proof really is in the pudding. Wine, ice cream, beer, cake, waffle, more wine, bread......... not a piece of fruit in sight. Ouch! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chapter 2 - Forbidden beginnings

Fourteen days and fourteen nights have gone, along with the first 3.4 kilos or 7.5 pounds. Wow, that’s even half a stone.  I like to think of it in packs of butter - all seven and a half of them - waiting for toast and crumpets. Somehow, I already feel alive again. Now don´t panic! I didn´t feel dead beforehand. Is it actually  possible to feel dead whilst still being alive?  I guess only when suffering from grief, depression or being lovesick. I´ve experienced all three, I´m sure. But feeling fat and frumpy is a different feeling altogether.  I´m putting my energy and vitality down to a total vitamin shock from all the fruit and veg I´ve been eating, accompanied by lots of water. H2O. Something I previously used solely for hygiene purposes like showering and having a bath. Now I´m bloody drinking the stuff. At least two litres a day. This isn´t enough, but it´s a start. Maybe the bottle really does what it says on the lable and wakes up your vitality.

Most people say the worst part of a diet is the beginning. You go from eating burger and chips, takeaways, a whole bar of chocolate and numerous naughty foods one day to a salad leaf , an apple and a slice of crispbread the next.  Or you forget the food altogether and opt for the gooey slim-shakes, cabbage soup until you almost explode with wind, or eat meat and eggs until you almost  „moooooo“ or walk like a chicken. I don´t believe in these faddy diets. No pills, potions or powders are welcome in my fat body. The South Beach diet sounds glam, Atkins always reminds me of Mr Bean and the other hundreds of diets out there contradict each other – when one diet says eat lots of carbs, the other says you should eat everything but carbs...... somehow the list is endless. I tried a few. A pure meat and fish week once got me into a bridesmaids dress. My sister would never have forgiven me otherwise. Never again. I had too many slim-shakes that I lost a passion for the „real“ McMilkshakes as a result. Maybe that was the only positive thing that came out of the many yo-yo diets I tried in the past.

What I don´t like about diets is the theory of forbidden food. Basically someone telling you that you can´t eat something makes it even more desirable. It´s like being in a restaurant and the waiter tells you not to touch the hot plate. What do you do? Well, all I can say is that I have often burnt my fingers in a restaurant. I always have to test the boundaries and rules. It´s the way I am. I simply don´t like the words „no“ or  „you can´t“.  Tell me I can´t eat chocolate again and I´ll turn into a very unhappy woman. Okay, maybe the whole bar is really out of question, but a little chocolate now and again is acceptable. Maybe I really do like Obama and his „yes we can“  after all.

Weightwatchers is apparently not a diet. It´s a change of diet. Probably best compared to IKEA and their comparison of Living and Living unböring. Accepted, a lot has to be changed in my diet - but the best thing I like about weightwatchers is that you can eat EVERYTHING. It is the „yes you can“ diet. Nothing is forbidden, banned, or frowned upon. I have the freedom to choose what I eat and what suits my lifestyle best. I only have to watch the points values of the foods I eat and those in my daily points allowance. As a consequence I´ll hopefully watch my weight go down some more.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chapter 1 - Ready for Take off !

In the beginning there was chocolate, a passion for food and all things that tasted good. It didn´t seem to bother me that I was getting fatter..... I was happy with life and with my body, except for the odd wardrobe drama. Even as I child - I was never thin - not even as a teenager. I was always a big lass. Never the biggest in the class but always much fatter than my mates. I never really thought it bothered me. 

After going to university I fell into the "cooking for yourself" trap and didn´t have my Mam taking care of what was going on the plate. I ate what I wanted and in a way that would probably make dieticians fall unconscious at the sound of it.  A staple diet of cinammon toast, beans on toast, bacon sandwiches, pizza, sausage and bean casserole, cauliflower cheese, kitkats, sandwiches and crispy pancakes. Not to forget the numerous pints of beers, cider, spirits, strange coloured booze (Blastaways :-) ) followed by the obligatory kebab or burger at the end of a night out. Believe me - there were a hell of a lot of nights out. 

Into my twenties, my diet continued in a similar pattern. As I said "Auf Wiedersehen" to England I encountered a whole new world of glorious food in Germany. Now, before I name a few German foods which were to me like "Love at first sight" I would like to confirm that absolutely everyone I know who has been to visit me in Germany always says " I would be the size of a house if I lived here". 
Yes  - I guess I am the living proof of this statement.  
My first loves were of course the cakes, not just the real and original black forest gateau (forget the ridiculous versions from Mums gone to Iceland), real cheesecake (not like the British ones with digestives and packet mix) the beer, the wine, the abundance of bread types (okay a relatively healthy one there...but still), sausages, Pretzels,chips with mayonnaise, crisps which only came in XXL bags, waffles, spaghettieis and other delicious huge ice creams in the perfect ice cream parlours. The Germans seemed to live on a diet of meat and potatoes. The portions are big. The Germans love their food. Just like me. It really was a match made in heaven. 

After falling in love with my (now) husband (who from now I will now refer to as DH  - darling husband)  I decided to stay in Germany and settle down. My weight kept growing but I didn´t care - I was happy. Cooking huge meals together and going out for out for meals several times each week was a normal part of our relationship and socialising with friends. 
We decided after a good 6 or so years that we´d like to marry and this made something in my head click. I didn´t want to be the big fat meringue rolling down the ailse. I didn´t want anybody staring at me for the wrong reasons. I knew there was no way I could sneak in behind someone on the photos. Years down the road, I didn´t want to have to look back at photos and cringe at the fatty in the white dress. I wanted to change. I wanted to be the beautiful bride (ok, well I knew I couldn´t do much about the face hihi). So I took action and one Monday evening, off I went onto a weightwatchers meeting, expecting a circle of big fat grannies and a load of brainwashing.

I lost around 15 kilos, put a few back on before the wedding in August 2005 but luckily because my dress would have been too big. After the slap up all inclusive honeymoon and happy days afterwards I kind of lost touch with counting weightwatchers points and didnt have that goal to focus on anymore. I was content.

A good year after my wedding had gone by I had been very ill, with burn out and cervical spine problems which automatically resulted in me lying around a lot and putting on weight. Again I tried weightwatchers and was always going up and down in weight and never really stuck to it. I no longer had a real,  reachable white dress goal. Somehow being healthy, happy and back in the world was more important to me than being thin. 

Another four years down the road here I am, weighing my all time high. 40 Kilos more than my 2005 weight. +50 Kilos to what I should be according to the books.In fact, so high I am ashamed to look at the scales and could bash myself silly for letting it get out of hand. Looking back, I agree it was not a good idea to ignore the bathroom scales for the last 8 months where my weight has rocketed. I plead guilty. It´s nobodys fault but my own and it´s now up to me to change it. I can´t slip into the typical British mode of blaming the Germans for everything. It´s not their fault that the food here is so yummy.
I made a promise to myself at Christmas that I would say Auf Wiedersehen to fat in 2011. So here I am. Ready for the journey. Equipped with motivation, low self esteem, a laptop, a pair of bathroom scales, weightwatchers online, fat and thin photos of myself, a wardrobe full of 4 different clothes sizes (most of which are too small), a fridge full of healthy stuff, a new juicer, a bunch of great friends with similar problems, and this - my blog where I will share my ups and downs on the way to the land of slim.

Ready for the journey? Please fasten your seatbelt ! (which reminds me of a recent flight where my "it´s high time to do something" moment was triggered by the painfully "small" seatbelt. I was determined the bloody thing WILL fasten - and I would NOT humiliate myself and DH by asking the oh-so-thin cabin crew for a seatbelt extension. Indeed, my first thought of "blimey, they haven´t half cut back on costs and are now making smaller seatbelts" was followed with a "crikey, It never used to be a problem. I could always fasten my seatbelt without a struggle" thought and then came the moment of truth in my head.I was brought back down to earth before we had even left the ground. 
If this moment didn´t help me - then whatever will? 

Ok, Seatbelts fastened? - let´s go!  Auf Wiedersehen Fat!