Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Weekly Blog #4

So last week was bad.  I went into this week with new rules:
(1) Fix the kitchen scales and weigh EVERYTHING - I have no concept of portion sizes at all and  I need to be more strict.
(2) On bad days (i.e. days where I'm eating out), try to choose carefully.  Accept that I can't have three courses.  Accept that I can't order the thing that's deep fried, but equally don't force myself to eat a salad with no dressing either.  Compromise is key - choose the middle-of-the-road thing so it's not terribly bad but also not totally depressing.
(3) Given that there are going to be bad days, make sure that I over-compensate on good days.  Don't consume all my points (this is not recommended by Weight Watchers BUT I DON'T CARE).
(4) Don't have a bad day on a Monday, the day before I weigh in.
Food-stuffs this week:
Smoked paprika squid with lemony couscous and broccoli.  The whole plate of food was 12 points which is pretty low and it was fairly tasty.  I should have pimped up the couscous a bit more, perhaps.
On Wednesday night I went out for champagne at Bob Bob Ricard (love that place) and dinner at Roti Chai. It never occurs to me to eat Indian food unless someone makes me...I'm so glad that I was made to go to Roti Chai because it was amazing - absolutely the best meal I've had in ages.  The chilli paneer was incredible and there was delicious lamb curry, chicken curry, spicy chicken wings, crispy chicken thingies, dhal and roti followed by pistachio kulfi, all for £25 including wine.  Amazing.  @miss_jordi took the top photo - I was too busy eating.

Thursday I had a friend over for dinner which meant that the dolsot stone bowls were put to use...BIBIMBAP!  I really love bibimbap but I also really love the fact that it seems enormously impressive when it really isn't.  @JanieStamford made this lovely photo collage and, after eating it, is pining after a pair of bowls for herself. 
I made burgers and chips on Friday night - I was gently hungover and super hungry.  The chips have only 2 teaspoons of oil on them, the minced beef was lean and the cheese is reduced fat.  Really satisfying although still pretty pointy. 

On Saturday, I went to the John Salt.  I failed totally on point (2) above as I didn't take care over what I ordered at all.  Hey ho, we only live once.  Star of the show for me was the green chilli poussin, as it was for @ginandcrumpets who went very quiet and trance-like while she was eating it:

I was mildly hungover again on Sunday so I made bibimbap again, this time with chicken, extra vegetables and a smaller portion of rice.  I think I'm obsessed.

I tried to claw it all back on Monday with Jamie's butternut squash/prosciutto salad, of which I took the most out of focus photo ever:

And, astonishingly, it worked!  I lost 1.2 lbs this week.  Not a brilliant weight loss, but I would have been happy if I had only stayed the same.
That said, where I really went wrong this week was by drinking on three nights.  Clearly alcohol makes you fat in itself, but it also affects what I'll eat at the time because I'm tipsy and care less about the fact that I'm dieting plus it also screws with the following day  because it makes me want to comfort eat in excess.  I've really cut back on how often I drink - my basic rule now is that I never, ever drink at home alone, largely because it screws up my sleep and that makes me get very sad.  Consequently, my body isn't really used to drinking much any more. 
This week I'm out quite a bit.  Cinema on Wednesday where I MUST NOT DRINK WINE, dinner with friends on Thursday and then my mum is coming down for the weekend so we're out to dinner on Saturday too.  I'm trying not to let the fact that my weight loss has slowed down stress me out too much.  I have to remember that I'm in this for the long haul and that it doesn't really matter how long it takes to lose it.  I just have to lose it.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Weekly Blog #3

This hasn't been a good week for so many reasons.  It started on Pancake Day when I had my pancake party.  We had buckwheat pancakes with pulled pork and pink pickled onions or cheese & ham followed by normal pancakes with nutella, lemon & sugar or rhubarb & ice-cream.  And lots and lots of booze.  Fizzy booze...flat booze...you name it, we had it.  I forgot to take any pictures.
The following night I was too tired (aka hungover) to do proper cooking so I made pitta pizzas.  I think I ate a lot of these when I lost all my weight a few years ago.  They're ridiculously easy and satisfy a craving for stodge.  I spread the pitta breads with a mixture of tomato puree and harissa and topped with sauteed mushrooms, sliced mini pepperamis (don't judge me) and grated reduced fat cheddar cheese.  These work out at 7 points each which is pretty pleasing.

My least favourite day of the year (other than my birthday) happened this week - Valentine's Day.  I KNOW that it's crap and commercialised and total nonsense, but it does hammer home the fact that I have nobody to be scathing about it with.  It's a bad day for me anyway but coupled with the fact that I had virtually no food in my flat, I went into a bit of a meltdown and worked myself into a major grump.  How I didn't resort to getting myself a big fat takeaway, I don't know, but I didn't.  Instead I made pasta with prosciutto and creme fraiche (the creme fraiche was a hangover from Pancake Day).  This was a pretty generous portion and cost me about 17 points which is quite a lot for dinner, but I had enough to cover it and it was delicious.  I got some of my 5-a-day through pudding - blueberries and bananas. 

I was away for the weekend at my sister's.  She cooked this delicious sausage hot pot thing on Friday night - it doesn't look particularly pretty (sorry T) but was tasty and rammed full of vegetables - carrots, cabbage and potatoes.  I'll definitely be getting the recipe from her.
After that it all went a bit wrong.  On Saturday we went to a rare-breeds farm where they make delicious soups, homemade bread and cakes.  I started off OK with a bowl of soup (although there was a really good bread roll which I smothered in butter) but I truly fell of the wagon when I had scones on the way out.  They were DELICIOUS but scones, butter, jam and cream are simply not diet-friendly.  Here is one done The Wrong Way Round - the jam should clearly go under the cream.
For dinner, T cooked from Thomasina Miers' cookbooks.  We had mushroom and sweetcorn quesadillas, black bean tostadas with feta and roasted salsa and chipotle chicken tostadas with avocado and pink pickled onions.  They were utterly delicious and I ate far more than I needed to.
Sunday was exceptionally naughty.  Toast for breakfast.  Fish and chips at the seaside.  A token nod to vegetables via the medium of mushy peas.  Crumpets and wine for dinner.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  And last night, I came home to a freezing cold flat with empty cupboards and ordered a takeaway.  I may not have finished it all and I ordered more sensibly that I would have pre-diet, but it's still BAD.  My justification was that I knew that I'd have put on weight this week so what harm would it do? 

And the damage?  I have put back on everything that I lost last week - 3 pounds of fat for a few days of taking no care over what I ate.  I barely counted my points at all this week and it makes such a difference - it's easy to turn a blind eye to the bit of butter you use or the extra slice of bread when you're not logging it all in the weight watchers app.  I also feel like crap - I haven't eaten nearly as many fruit and vegetables and have eaten far, far too much bread and toast and have drunk alcohol far more than I have become accustomed to.  I feel sluggish, unhealthy and FAT.  And miserable.  And I know that this week is going to be difficult to navigate as I'm out for dinner tomorrow and Saturday.  It's sad that eating out has ceased to be a treat and has become such a source of anxiety for me. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Weekly Blog #2

After the success of last week, I went into this week with the knowledge that I have a mere 4 1/2 stones to lose to get to my goal weight.  EASY.  This week has been rather easier as I haven't had much in the way of social plans - no meals out and having a friend over for lunch on Saturday meant that I could feed her food that worked for me (Jamie's butternut squash, prosciutto and pecorino salad again...except I forgot that pregnant people can't eat prosciutto.  Whoops.)
This is what I've been eating this week:
A noodle soup made from the delicious stock from last week's roast chicken.  I managed to get the stock tasting like BoneDaddies' tonkotsu stock (a feat in itself, given that it comes from an entirely different animal) and promptly ruined it by adding WAY too much chilli.  I love chilli, but I managed to blow my head off .

The noodle soup was pretty low in points and I needed to save as many as possible to test drive my new crepe maker which I bought for my Pancake Day party next Tuesday.  Pancakes, it transpires, are not too bad on the old diet, so long as you don't use a lot of oil.  Happiness. 
I found some orzo in a jar on my shelves - I'd totally forgotten that I'd bought it.  I had it cold for lunch with some sugar snap peas, leftover chicken and a sauce made from a little bit of pesto and some light philadelphia - scuzzy as hell, but I like it.  In fact, I like it so much I had it 3 times this week, the other two times the sugar snaps were replaced by mushrooms which was actually far nicer.  Perfect stodgy comfort food.
Dim sum at home - I got these from Ocado.  Not nearly as good as the real thing, I grant you, but pretty tasty nonetheless and insanely low in points.  All these dumplings came to 9 points.

Thursday night was the low point of my week.  I'd taken a steak out of the freezer in the morning which was still rock-solid when I got home.  I was in a bit of a crappy mood anyway (it's been a bad week for me, mood-wise) and my instinct was to throw in the towel and get a takeaway until I remembered that I had to spend a minimum of £10 to get them to deliver.  There was just no way that I could order a relatively healthy takeaway for £10, I'd have had to order extra food that I didn't need...so I gave myself a good talking to and made boiled eggs.  They patently were not steak.  However, it meant that I got to have the steak the following night after my first crochet lesson.  I didn't get home until 9.30, hence the slightly strange but quick accompaniment of orzo with chilli, garlic and olive oil.  It was DELICIOUS.

Another roast on Sunday and a new discovery - white pepper!  It's DISGUSTING.  I discovered that it both smells and tastes of farmyards after I'd liberally applied it to my mashed potato (I'd run out of black peppercorns) which rendered it fairly inedible, so I saved a good few points there. 

My final meal of the week was a far tastier noodle soup than the one that had started the week.  I didn't add any chilli or coriander and I chucked a couple of eggs in instead which were the best bits.

My real breakthrough this week was coming to the realisation that the stress and anxiety of thinking about what the hell I could buy to eat if I didn't take my own lunch into work actually outweighs the hassle factor of making lunch the night before.  It's entirely possible to make lunch in 10 minutes flat, including cooking noodles or pasta (so long as you choose the right shape e.g. orzo or soup pasta or giant couscous), chopping vegetables up into tiny, crunchy and appealing pieces AND making a sauce of sorts. It's true.  I did it in 8 minutes on Thursday night and that included washing up as I went along.  Step over Nigella, I am the true domestic goddess.

Anyway, I lost just shy of 3lbs this week which means I've lost a grand total of 11.2lbs in 5 weeks.  I'm pretty pleased with that.  I just wish my clothes would start feeling a bit looser and my face would get a bit thinner.  HURRY UP.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Weekly Blog #1

I decided, in the depths of my misery last week (I'd put on 3lbs), that if I am to have any chance of losing weight, I need to be accountable to someone or something.  Yes, I know that I should be doing this for myself - and I am - but it turns out that I'm very good at cheating on myself.  I've become very good at turning a blind eye to my bad behaviour and it just leads to greater destruction.  I need to 'fess up when I've done something bad so that I register the fact that I am ultimately the only one that can make me better.
Going forward, I'll be doing a round-up every Tuesday, my weigh in day, of the preceding week - a summary of the things that I ate, what I did well and should be repeated and what I didn't do so well at. 
Week 1 (29 January to 4 February)
This week I have eaten bibimbap (twice!  Once with champagne with @ShedLikesFood who kindly brought with her some fabulous Ginger Pig fillet steak, and again the following day, just because it was so damn tasty.)  At 17 points it's not the lowest point thing that I could eat but it's BIG (which always makes me happy), spicy, tasty, sizzlingly hot, filling and takes ages to eat.  Brilliant stuff.

Next up was Jamie Oliver's butternut squash, prosciutto and pecorino salad which I make with significantly less fat and cheese than he does.  This salad is a freaking lifesaver.  I'd wanted to go under my points on a number of days this week following the 3lb increase last week and because I was going out for dinner for Shed's birthday on Friday...this is certainly one way to do it.  The entire salad, which includes a whole packet of prosciutto and a large butternut squash, only counts as 11 points, and 4 of those are from olive oil.  Butternut squash is FREE.  Nil points.  I reiterate: LIFESAVER.

While I was roasting my squash, I made a peanut noodle salad (recipe below) for Friday's lunch.  I was pretty excited about it and pretty sad the following day when I left it at home by mistake.  So sad that I stropped out completely and just didn't bother eating at all.  I had it for lunch on Saturday instead and it was still really good, although I strongly recommend taking it out of the fridge a good couple of hours before you want to eat it to bring it up to room temperature.  Freezing cold noodles aren't especially lovely.
I ate dim sum, duck and salt & pepper squid for Shed's birthday.  Although a bit naughty, I had so many points left after not eating lunch that I think it was OK.  I also managed not to drink very much either which is both unusual and welcome.

I keep forgetting how great fish is on Weight Watchers because it's so low in points.  I've really gone off fish over the last year or so and there are now several fishes that I find actively unpleasant: cooked salmon and trout, plaice, mussels and I'm starting to dislike oysters too.   I do still like cod loin though so I made this cod parcel which is ridiculously quick and easy to make and has the added benefit of generating virtually no washing up.  This photo is of it in its raw state as the cooked version was a mess.

Sunday I roasted a chicken, mainly because I need the leftovers for lunchy salady things.  It nearly killed me, but I managed to remove the skin and throw it in the bin without eating it. 

The bones were used to make an incredible chicken stock which would have been made into Monday night's ramen-esque chicken noodle soup, but I went out for dinner with a friend instead (Silk Road in Camberwell - phenomenal) so I'm having them tonight.

And that was last week.  Not too bad - a couple of lows, namely Friday night's meal out and Saturday evening when I was SO HUNGRY (fish isn't filling) that I ate 3 bowls of crunchy nut cornflakes (I wanted to eat quavers and crumpets with nutella - CN cornflakes were my compromise as they're not actually very high in points) but generally, I think it was a decent week.  I was a bit worried that eating out on Monday night would affect my weigh in, but I've managed to lose 2 pounds this week, so I'm happy. 
Peanut butter noodle salad (serves 1)
1 nest of medium egg noodles, cooked and rinsed in cold water
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into small, thin batons
About 5cm hunk of cucumber, cut into small thin batons
4 radishes, chopped into 8ths
6 sugar snap peas, sliced
75-100g protein - I used some fillet steak that was leftover from the bibimbap
Some sliced red chilli
Handful of chopped coriander
Sesame seeds to serve
For the sauce:
15g of peanut butter
2 teaspoons of dark soy sauce
Dash of sesame oil
Juice of 1/2 of a lime
Combine the sauce ingredients, adding a bit of water if it seems too thick.  Combine with the dry ingredients and smugly chuck it into a tupperware box, sprinkling over a few sesame seeds.