Thursday, 17 January 2013

Granola and an epiphany

So it’s 2013 and it’s safe to say that the year didn’t start with a big bang. I spent New Year’s Eve alone watching truly atrocious telly and eating a thoroughly screwed up “celebration” meal that made me feel pretty sick.

The following week fared rather better. I was actively glad to be back at work, if only because it meant that I wasn’t in the MouseHouse™ for extended periods of time. I even filled up the entire weekend (friends will know that this is Very Unusual as Fran Doesn’t Do Sundays) with a trip to Medlar on Saturday and dim sum at Dragon Castle on Sunday.

And on Monday? That’s right folks, I re-started Weight Watchers.

Now, I lost 3 stone in 4 months on Weight Watchers several years ago, so I know that I can actually do this diet if I set my mind to it. The problem being that I haven’t managed to set my mind to it even once in the last 4 years. And therein lies the rub…I have to confess that even whilst sticking to the diet to the letter last week, if I was really honest about it, I fully expected to fail again, just as I’ve failed on everything else I’ve tried over the last few years. Looking a year ahead into the future, I still saw myself as an unhappy plus-size porker.

And then I had my epiphany. I’m trying not to go out much at the moment – my finances can’t take it and it’s far easier to eat sensibly if I’m at home in the evening – so I was sitting on my sofa, bored out of my tiny mind and trying to distract myself from thinking every little sound was another mouse and I decided to explore the Weight Watchers app.

The main function of the app is to track what I eat every day but one of the other features is called “Success Stories” and shows a number of people wearing godawful clothes who have lost substantial amounts of weight. Person 1: lost 3st 2lbs. PFFT – easy*. Person 2: lost 2st. WHATEVER. Hang on…Person 3: lost 5st 5lbs which is not dissimilar to what I hope to lose and they did it in 10 months. 10 months…that’s half a stone a month…just over 1.5lbs a week. That’s good, steady weight loss.

I suddenly realised that If I lost half a stone a month, which is totally achievable (and is the rate of loss that my doctor wants me to aim for), I could theoretically be thin by the end of 2013. Like the big girl's blouse that I am, I burst into tears in a good way. For the first time in years, I have realised that I can actually do this if I am determined. By the end of this year, I can (will!) be in nice clothes that come from normal shops. I won’t feel disgusting and fret that my sizeable arse is going to knock things off tables as I squeeze past.

And so to my latest discovery that is helping me reduce that sizeable arse: granola! I have always liked the idea of granola but there is one fundamental problem with it: dried fruit. So I’ve made my own, adapted from the recipe my sister wrote in her last Weight Watchers cookbook. And by adapted, I mean that I read 3 teaspoons of honey as 3 tablespoons…whoops. I've ditched the dried fruit to even it out. It's all good.

Granola (approx. 9 servings at 4 points per serving)


300g porridge oats
25g sunflower seeds
25g pumpkin seeds
25g flaked almonds
3 tablespoons clear honey (or 2 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tbsp of golden syrup is delicious)

Heat the honey/syrup in a small saucepan until it is very thin and runny.

Mix all the dry ingredients together and pour in the honey/syrup in a slow trickle, mixing all the time so that all the oats are coated and the mixture clumps together a bit. It won’t really clump a lot as this is still quite a small amount of honey for a lot of oats, but go with it.

Line a baking tray with some of that non-stick baking parchment stuff and spread the mixture onto it evenly.

Pop the tray into the oven which has been preheated to 170c (fan) and cook for 6 minutes.

After 6 minutes, the oats on top and at the edges will have gone brown so mix it all up and cook for another 6 minutes when it should be done.

Let it cool and it will then be nice and crunchy and a little bit sweet.

Serve 40g of the granola with 75g of low or zero fat greek yoghurt (1 point) and some fruit – blueberries or bananas are good.

I’ve eaten this every day and I’m not getting tired of it at all and it keeps me full for hours. I never normally eat breakfast but I find myself looking forward to this. Even better is that it's dirt cheap to make and stays crunchy for at least 10 days in a Tupperware container.

*I know it's not easy. Shhhhh.