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This week’s meals

I’ll update this as I go along. I find these random week meal lists give me a useful reminder when inspiration fails.

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

Monday:

Breakfast – #bpc and nuts

Lunch – ratatouille with cheese, sour cream and pine nuts

Supper – gammon, cauliflower cheese, parsnips and peas

 

 

Tuesday:

Breakfast: it didn’t really happen. I had the end of some bacon left over from DD’s breakfast. I had elevenses of coffee with double cream and a piece of dark chocolate.

Lunch: Very late in the day; another piece of leftover bacon

Supper: Better. Mackerel pâté on grilled peppers with salad and a vegetarian sausage

Wednesday:

Breakfast: Omelette with leftover cauliflower cheese and peas

Lunch: The rest of the omelette – I’d eaten only half for breakfast

Supper: One sausage, two cheese strings (that’s a long story), peas, salad and cheese & paprika crackers

Thursday's breakfast

Thursday’s breakfast

From Thursday it’s all gone a bit Pete Tong. I took my daughter to have braces fitted on Thursday and had a perfectly good breakfast (sausage, peppers and cheese), but after the procedure we went out for lunch as a treat. Suffice to say bread and potatoes were involved. I don’t remember supper because by then DD’s pain was starting and I was taken up finding things she could eat without putting any pressure on her teeth – virtually nothing it turned out as she couldn’t bear even the pressure on her lips of taking soup or porridge off a spoon.

On Friday I went shopping for brace-friendly foods and ended up sampling a few (as well as making a lovely carrot and red pepper soup). Suddenly we had soft sausage rolls (hard foods can break the brace brackets), I made soft chocolate biscuits and so on. Anyway, today I’m back on track and am drawing a veil over the last couple of days.

IMG_20150418_185540Saturday:

Breakfast: a piece of bacon left over from DS’ supper on Friday

Lunch: Egg salad

Supper: Sausage, bacon & spinach bake (all vegetarian)

Flying bricks and dropping pennies

The last 12 hours have been deafening as bricks and pennies fly, drop and crash all around me. I’ve long suspected that my inability to stick rigidly to LCHF and achieve my weight loss goal is to do with my state of mind, but I don’t know how I would have described that state.

Last night, Friday, as I emptied the tumble drier instead of sitting in a restaurant with my husband or watching a play or chatting with friends or any of the other things Friday evenings were designed for and once included, I realised that my weekend’s plans (nothing fancy) were reduced in my head to who had to be where, when, and with what. Primarily I was concerned that I had to buy my parents’ Easter eggs on the way to their house for lunch the next day (today) – I couldn’t miss the opportunity, had to hope there would be something nice left and that we would fit it all in to arrive on time. I realised with a blinding flash, as I paired socks and smoothed underpants, that no part of my view of today involved a relaxing Easter lunch with family, enjoying a glass of wine, flicking through the papers after lunch, taking time away from pairing socks and smoothing underpants.

Then I realised, dodging a flying brick and putting a pillow case on the ironing pile – probably do that on Sunday – that I’d viewed my whole week that way. It’s been the first week of the holidays, my son has had swimming lessons every day, I’ve had a few things to sort out, buy, plan etc. Yesterday morning I had coffee with a friend in her kitchen while our sophisticated 12 and 13 yo daughters had coffee themselves in a nearby tea shop (all safe, fine, happy. English village life.). I realised it was the first time all week I’d socialised myself and I could have sat there chatting all day. I had to drag myself away back to the fortress of negativity I’ve built for myself.

This morning all my plans have fallen apart as my husband is ill again. We’d planned to watch a dance troupe in town today, then split up on Easter egg-buying trips, then rendezvous at my parents’ for this Easter lunch. I’d realised also as I folded trousers last night that I wasn’t looking forward to having to make polite conversation for long over lunch (which isn’t fair anyway as my parents are intelligent and well-informed interlocutors) and didn’t want to feel hemmed in when I had so much to do at home (I will have too much to do til the day I die – I hope – there’s not some sudden urgent rush on). All I’m seeing at the moment is the negatives, the planning, the obligations and responsibilities. Every invitation just feels like another pressure piled on me, another expectation of behaving a certain way, dressing a certain way, making a contribution.

I was musing on all this this morning as I lay in the half light wondering if I felt like getting up, when I realised that I’d lost the one part of the day I was looking forward to (watching the dancers, as I practice with them once a week but haven’t yet the confidence to dance out with them). I was wondering how I was going to make Easter Sunday special for the children as we aren’t religious (actually we’re quite determined non-believers!), DH is ill and there isn’t much spare cash atm. Another penny clanged to the ground beside me as I realised that this is what mindfulness is all about. It’s as much what you don’t think about as what you do.

So my theory was: when I got to my parents’ today I’d forget about the spoilt plans, the rushing around and the cloak and dagger efforts to buy Easter eggs now that DH wasn’t there to connive with me, I’d just try to enjoy what the lunch time had to offer. The reality was a bit different. I dropped the children at my parents’ then went back to the supermarket to get eggs for all of them. Mega-busy shop, me worried about money, great stretches of empty shelves as they’d sold out. I could have cried, and I did, actually, once I got back to the car. I cry about once a year, for reference, and that’s usually at a soppy film. I knew I was in danger and as I stood watching my shopping on the belt and realised I’d forgotten to buy all the ingredients my daughter had asked me to buy for something she wanted to make, I had to swallow hard.

I got through lunch and walked into town afterwards with my mother – two shops later at least I had eggs for the children and 2/3 of DD’s ingredients. A swift dash into the supermarket on the way home sorted out the rest. I feel calmer now, but knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have to change how I think or go mad with a permanently clenched jaw. Today I have eaten midget gems and ginger biscuits and I don’t even care. Self-denial on top of everything else is a step too far.

Setting goals

So far in my life I’ve set myself three goals, and I’ve achieved two of them. The sort of goals I’m talking about are things only I could achieve – ie no-one else could do it for me or give me a leg-up – and they took hard work and dedication.

The first was to get into university, not something I’d always intended to do. Once I’d decided I wanted to go, I did my A levels in a year and got into my first choice. The rest of my career until I’d hit the next goal was facilitated by being a graduate, so I surely reaped the rewards of achieving that goal.

The second, after six years of employment, was to work for myself. I achieved that too and with odd episodes here and there where it’s suited me to do a bit of work for other people, I’ve been my own boss ever since. We don’t live in the lap of luxury, times can be hard and stressful, but I wouldn’t swap it for being at someone’s else’s office five days a week, 48 weeks of the year. That’s another wholly beneficial change, despite the stresses.

The third goal – you know what’s coming. Since before I had my son – I got pregnant with him about seven years ago – I’ve been wanting to lose weight. At first just a bit – half a stone maybe – but now I want to lose 2 stone, which will take me back to where I was when I wanted to lose half a stone!

This will take dedication and determination and I know I’ll be feeling the benefits for the rest of my life, but it’s by far the hardest. Each of the other goals took a few months or a year; this has been eight years and counting. I’ve never been skinny (always about 10st as an adult but I’m tall and curvy so it’s always been okay – I showed off my flat tummy but hid my flabby thighs) but I still remember the day I saw a photo of me on the trampoline with my daughter and saw I was getting a bit chunky. It goes without saying I’d be thrilled to be that weight now.

At 44 I’m right in the zone of finding it hard to lose weight. I keep surrounding myself with inspiration though and just keep plugging away at it. What else can I do?

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Appetite

I’ve been flailing around for a few years now trying to lose baby weight. Like so many other people I’ve embraced new habits then gradually gone back to my old ways, lost a bit of weight (over half a stone) and put it back on. One day I’m determined to lose weight, the next I just can’t be bothered to put in the effort. End result? I’m back where I started and demoralised.

In my heart I want to eat an LCHF diet as I wholly believe in its health benefits. I do stray as I love a biscuit as much as the next person and I want to join in with family events, try my children’s cooking etc – I really want to avoid becoming the food grinch. I have my cycle to contend with too. I can’t explain the significance of the huge variety in my cycle from one month to the next (this is a development over the last two years, prior to that my system ran like clockwork) but it can plunge me quite low at times and then I really don’t give a damn.

What I’ve wanted more than anything else over the last few years – yes, even more than weight loss – is to understand what makes me tick when it comes to food and to dismantle any unhealthy associations, though I don’t consider myself to be someone who has a problematic relationship with food. I’ve discovered that I like alcohol more than I imagined and that when I get grumpy I really want treat foods. Not so unusual really.

Lately I’ve eaten various things that I shoudn’t. I can’t swear it’s connected but I’ve noticed also that my appetite has run away with me. I could eat all my meals three times over and eat shedloads of snacks in-between. I don’t do this, but I could. I’ve been contenting myself with a sneaky bowl of cereal between meals, one of the biscuits DH made…not really terrible overeating, but something I’ve been drawn to do and unable to resist. Again i can’t swear to a connection but my system is very ‘up’ – I have hives, generally increased itchiness (I have eczema, usually under control with the help of some quite heavy drugs) and my joints are swelling too: I struggled to take off my engagement ring this morning, and when I opened a tin of mackerel for lunch I couldn’t get my index finger through the ring pull.

I had a moment of inspiration last night – is my appetite running out of control because I’ve been snacking on carbs, particularly sugar? I know full well that carbs interfere with appetite controls, but I’ve never noticed it so starkly before. Really that’s all the incentive I need to cut out the carbs. I’m scared that if I keep eating like this 12 stone will become 13 before I know it, and that’s the last thing I want.

Is this going to be the final piece of the jigsaw that helps me stick to LCHF and get my eating under control? The irony is that my meals are brilliant – veg-heavy, good fats, some protein, they’re model LCHF meals. It’s what happens in-between that lets me down. If I have at last found the antidote to wanting to eat too much I’ll be very happy – and slimmer, if my perimenopausal middle-aged system will allow me to drop a few lbs.

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Cauliflower rice

Cauliflower rice

Cauliflower rice

I made this for the first time tonight. I always have cauliflower in the freezer, but cauliflower rice needs fresh cauliflower, which I happened to have to hand. I followed The Travelling Chopsticks‘ method, which comes down to trimming the cauliflower, breaking into florets, blitzing in a food mixer til the fragments are rice-sized, then cooking briefly in oil. I chose to cook longer and cooler, and added bouillon powder. It was absolutely delicious – DH was in raptures about it.

Today the cauliflower rice accompanied fish & aubergine curry for DD and me, and veggie sausage and aubergine curry for DH. My son spat it out and had apple and cheese instead. What can you do?

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