Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Feeding my face

Good morning on the first day of this brand spanking new year. I've been up since 7am, how about you? Mind you, I went to bed at nine last night, read for an hour and couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. I'm into another highly entertaining book, more about that later. So, I missed all the fireworks, I'm sure there must have been some, there usually is around here. I watched the fireworks from Australia, hello Australia, and an impressive display it was too. Later, when I put the big computer on I will watch our own firework display in London. But for now, I am back in bed with the little laptop on my knee.

Are you ready for the off? I've been reading all about your plans, your hopes and dreams for the coming year, now it's time to put it all into practice, no more dreaming, the rehearsal is over, this is it. I shall do my best as usual, and I am sure you all will. That's all we can do, our best.

Right, what to talk about first? There are a couple of questions which I will answer in this post. I don't mind if you ask me things, as long as it is not too personal, in which case I will tell you to mind your own business, ha ha.

The questions are about diet, what I eat. Hells Teeth (good name) asks for my recipe for veg curry. That's a difficult one, I don't have a recipe, I make it up as I go along. Not much help I know, but I like to experiment. As long as you have a few basic ingredients you can play around with food and adjust to your liking. So, get some veg, any veg you have, I used packets of prepared veg, ready chopped up. I wouldn't usually buy my veg like this but it was mega cheap, 15p a bag. Start it off boiling in a big pan, not too much water. Then I add turmeric, always turmeric into everything it is good for you, mixed dried herbs, and curry powder. Other things I might add are whole grain mustard, lemon juice, garlic puree, black pepper, veg stock cube, tomato puree, packet sauce mix, tin of beans, frozen peas and sweetcorn, and porridge oats. I add some of these not all of them. I keep tasting as I go along. And that's it basically. Don't get too hung up on proper recipes, if you haven't got some of the ingredients you don't need to rush out and buy them, don't be afraid to use whatever you have.

Next question, and this could drone on into several pages, what do I eat to keep slim, this is from Ruth. She asks if I can detail my meals over a few days. I could but you might find that quite boring. There are a lot of pictures of some of my meals in a link at the top of the page. There is also my food diary, the shopping lists of what I buy. I think the best thing I can do is give you an overall picture of my diet, then if you want more detail I can add that later.

My diet has become more refined as I have got older. I realise now that pigging out on stuff I like the taste of does me no good at all, and by that I mean sweet things that make me feel good. Comfort eating if you like. I went through a phase of chomping through endless chocolate bars, every day in fact. I was busy and didn't have time to get a proper meal, and the sugar kept me going. My weight went up to about 11 stone, my clothes were tight and uncomfortable, but I was pretty fit because I was doing a physically demanding job. Well I thought I was fit, but if I was that weight now I would be totally unfit.

I don't like the word 'diet' at all. If you need to lose weight, don't go on a diet, because the moment you do your mind is constantly focussed on food. Depriving yourself of food that gives you comfort is a sure fire way to make you depressed. It's a vicious circle, you get fed up so you eat, and eat all the wrong things because you want to get back to feeling good. But what happens, feeling good only lasts for ten minutes or so, then you feel like crap again. Thankfully I learnt how to eat properly, and now I eat for the long term.

Of course some of my thin-ness could be down to my genes. I take after my fathers side, he was small and thin though God knows why, he drank like a fish. I can't remember seeing anyone overweight on my fathers side though. My sister took after my mothers side and she always had a struggle to keep her weight down, especially after having two children. But she managed to lose it through sensible eating, and is able to maintain her ideal weight now.

I am going all around the houses here to answer a simple question, but I feel some clarification is needed into sensible eating habits, as it is the key to reaching and maintaining your ideal weight. I am of the mind that you can eat almost anything, in moderation, and it's the moderation bit that people have the biggest problem with, what exactly is moderation? What some people see as normal, other would see as extreme. I eat large amounts of vegetables, because luckily I like them, and it has been proven that they are good for you. People who say they hate vegetables are really depriving themselves of the most essential part of their diet. At this stage I must point out that I am not an expert on nutrition. I don't want a debate on here about the composition of food, the calories, fat content, carbs, protein, mono unsaturates, fibre, polyunsaturates, or what effect deprivation of any of these elements will do to my body. There are still a lot of people out there who believe you need to eat meat, again this has been proven not to be the case, so no debate on veg v carnivore.

So on a sliding scale, what do I eat? Probably more than 50% of my diet is vegetables and fruit, may even be up to 75%. I eat vegetables every day, and try and get a combination of green leaf and root. Vegetables go through pretty quickly, the goodness is absorbed into your body and the waste jettisoned at regular intervals. Meat and processed food hangs around much longer and gives a bloated feeling.

What next? I eat wholemeal bread not white, maybe a couple of slices a day, toast or a sandwich. I eat bran flakes or porridge for breakfast. Sometimes with fruit, banana, sultanas, stewed apples, tinned peaches.

I never fry food, always grill it. I never boil veg, always steam it, or make a stew or soup, or raw in a blender. I very rarely make sauces, can't be bothered to mess a pan up and I don't want to smother the taste of the food itself. I never make gravy, even the veggie kind. I never have a pudding after a meal. The meal fills me up, I don't need any more. I sometimes have a pudding, maybe creamed rice, tinned fruit, yogurt, in the middle of the day, for elevenses, or an afternoon snack, if I feel peckish.

I've gone off on a tangient here, what else do I eat? I eat a bit of fish, usually frozen salmon portions if they are on offer. If they are not on offer or reduced, I don't have them. Very ocassionally prawns, but only if reduced. I eat some dairy, cheese is my weakness and I have to be careful not to over indulge. I eat yogurts, but none of the sickly sweet puddings in small plastic pots.

I eat brown rice and wholemeal pasta, cous cous, different types of beans, tinned mainly. I buy the ocassional ready meal, but only if it is reduced or on offer, and keep it as a standby in case I am too busy to cook.

Right down at the bottom of the list is treats, and what one person's definition of a treat is, maybe not the same as another persons. I have treats, I won't deny it, but for me a treat is not to be eaten every day. I have to limit how many treats I buy, because my will power is not very good once I get them home. My will power kicks in at the supermarket, I bypass all the aisles where there are sweets, cakes, biscuits, crisps, and fizzy pop. In my mind these are not food. I've had a few treats over this holiday period, but now it's back to normal. I must say though that there has been some horrible rumblings coming from my stomach over the last few days, I know I should not have had that tub of fresh cream, or that tub of trifle. Nice at the time but they have done me no good at all. Yuk, I feel sick thinking about it. Time to get back to healthy eating, don't want my weight creeping back up again. I'm happy with my eight and a bit stone. I'll start posting a bit more about my eating habits, if anyone is interested. Lunch time. Toodle pip.  

PS. Before I go, thank you so much for your New Year good wishes. I feel chuffed that you choose to read my blog. Thank you for your comments.

36 comments:

  1. Yes, it's so easy to fall into the "grazing" habit when there's no work routine of hours, days and meal-times, the ponds seem to pile on rapidly.
    But it's hard to get shot of them, as you say diets only work for a while, it's a whole new eating regime that's needed.
    I must try and get into some better eating pattern this year.

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    1. I do a little grazing myself, but only if I feel hungry, then I reduce my meal portions to compensate. I like the idea of five small meals rather than three big ones. The bigger the meals the bigger your stomach stretches to get it all in. Then you need to put more food down to fill it up again. Keep trying Cumbrian, when the last biscuit or cake has gone, don't buy any more.

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  2. Happy New Year, and thank you for you good work.

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  3. Second that comment. I always enjoy your posts, and especially enjoyed reading a sensible approach to dieting. Now you just need to come up with a snappy hook and name for your approach: how about, diet for sane people? Happy 2013 to you and please keep providing our daily dose of sanity.

    jesinalbuquerque

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  4. Hi Ilona, You are right on about the eating habits, you put me to shame as I have a terrible sweet tooth, probably due to oestrogen dominance, which makes you crave sugar like no tomorrow, and when I don't have any sugar, I'm like Godzilla. Withdrawal from sugar is a bummer, going to cut down this year and lose some weight, then I can have a new wardrobe of clothes, and by that I mean clothes that I currently can't fit into for having put on weight. Enjoy your New Year's Day, I look forward to hearing about your escapades throughout 2013. I'm enjoying the P and Q here, no traffic on the road, people out, nothing, very quiet indeed. Bliss! Cheers for now, Christy.

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  5. Really enjoyed reading todays posting. Totally agree with you that you don't suddenly want loads of comments banging on about the nutritional value of everything. Your fans will probably have loads of good ideas though to share with the rest of us. Your approach is such common sense and I applaud you for your strong willpower.
    Wendy (Wales)

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    1. Hi Wendy, People can read up on the nutritional value of food in other places, and make their own minds up.

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  7. Happy New Year, Ilona! I too love a veg. curry tho my DH doesn't and gently complains about the smell! The sun was shining down here today for a change so we had a stroll around town as we felt the need to get out. I bought myself "Grandmas Best Recipes" which was much reduced ( I can't resist books and it is so prettily presented and I am a granny too!)I don't like "cheffy" recipes and this is more down to earth. I usually work from a recipe and I never remember them. Good for you being able to make it up as you go. Many thanks for all your blogs, Best wishes, Anne (South West)

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    1. Those cheffy programmes really get on my wick, can't see the point of them personally. Basic down to earth cooking is my preference.

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  8. NIH and Happy New Year to you. I really need to lose weight and cut my food bills down, so cutting out puddings seems to be the obvious thing to do. I suppose it gets easier? Do you ever feel peckish in the evenings after dinner and if so what do you eat then?

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    1. Hi Jackie Lee. Yes cut out the puddings, you don't need them. Think of food as being a fuel to keep your body alive. Like a car engine you need the best petrol and the best oil for a smooth performance. Eat crap and your body will get clogged up and will not perform as well. Sugar is an addiction, you will get withdrawal symptoms, try the distraction method, do something else to take your mind off the cravings. It will get easier. It's a case of re educating, defining what you need rather than what you want.

      I have a sweet tooth which is slowly diminishing as I continue to cut down. I still have a little treat now and then. If I feel peckish in the evening I sometimes have half a tin of rice pudding, a slice of bread and honey, or a small bowl of bran flakes. These are part of my normal diet anyway. Mostly though I have my main dinner between 5 and 7pm, and I remain full till bed time, and don't need anything else.

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    2. Thanks for that Ilona I will try and be good!

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  9. Happy New Year, Ilona and kitties!

    Yum! Your "diet" sounds much more varied than mine, perhaps because I'm farther from a source of fresh vegetables and must rely a lot on canned goods for much of the year.

    I'm like you about the willpower; the battle is fought at the grocery store. Once something makes it into my cupboard, all treat-rationing goes out the window. I don't know why it's usually very easy to make the right choices at the grocery store, but fortunately, it is!

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  10. Sounds lovely. I am going to be eating a lot more healthily again now that Christmas is out of the way! I've been eating so much rubbish!!

    Lots of yummy vegetables is the way to go!

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  11. I wish I had your resolute consistency in eating healthily. I`ve piled on the pounds I had previously lost and I`m back to square one. But, tomorrow is the deffinate end of the Christmas and New Year indulgence, and I`m glad to go back to a more sensible way of eating.
    It`s my first day back at work tomorrow, so i`ve made a take away tub full of some cous-cous mixed with some boiled lentils and some veg. That`s going to be my working lunch, followed by loads of fresh fruit. Hope to sustain this new way of eating for some time to get back on track. I`m also going to be using the bicycle to get to and from work again, so hope to slowly increase my exercise as well.
    I don`t actually believe that you can lose weight just by means of a good eating habit. Unless combined with plenty of exercise my pounds just don`t shift. A small goal to work towards again.

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    1. Good luck with that Sarina, your food always looks very healthy. You might be one of those people who are naturally a bit heavier, like my sister was. It took her years to get to her correct weight for her height. I have seen you and I don't think you are particularly over weight, as long as you are fit and healthy that's the main thing. All you need to do is be disciplined and cut the crap.

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  12. Your diet seems fine - no real junk - and common sense balance - decent amount of calories - plenty of protein and vitamins and minerals. It is really frugal to cook as you do - I am going to grow a few more herbs this year and also some hot peppers - a couple of plants give so many peppers and they freeze wonderfully, great in soups and to add a bit of heat to food.

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  13. Great post Ilona and some great comments too. Thanks for giving an insight into what you eat, it was very interesting.
    I would say that your diet is very similar to mine except i dont eat fish. However, i haven't exercised the control that you have regarding sweets & treats etc.
    Therefore, as i know that its very important to keep ones weight down, i am going to follow your example and cut right back on 'rubbish' and I am going to eat more veg (already eat quite a lot but cant eat too much veg!)
    Thanks again Ilona and happy new year!
    Ruth x

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    1. No Ruth, you cannot have too much veg, pile it high, and learn to enjoy the taste of it without lashings of sauce or gravy.

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  14. Yes Ilona, it's fairly simple, you eat more than you use up and you will put weight on. Keep portion sizes down, apart from veggies, is my philosophy.

    I am afraid I do eat a small dessert sometimes but don't overdo it.

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    1. Hi Campfire, I sometimes eat a small desert, rice pudding or tinned fruit or yogurt, a couple of hours after my meal. No harm in that.

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  15. What a great post to start the New Year with. Like many I've had too much food and treats over the Christmas period:(

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  16. Hi Ilona, I visit here often but first time commenting.

    As you don't eat meat and eat fish only occasionally do you do anything about supplementing vitamins especially B12?

    I'm vegetarian and don't have any meat or fish at all but when I had my food intake assessed by a nutritional expert recently (been having a few problems and thought might be deficient in something) I was told I need to take a good vitamin/mineral supplement, a B complex plus extra B12.

    I do have nutritional yeast and eggs but only a couple of times a week which is apparently not enough for the B12.

    Any thoughts on that? I was told that it can be years before our bodies show the deficiency and I'm hoping that I'm not storing up problems for the future.

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    1. Hi Evelyn. I don't take any additional supplements. The B12 deficiency has been mentioned before and I have not read up about storing up problems for myself, so I have no knowledge of that. I used to take supplements, vit c, fish oil, multi vitamins, but decided to stop, and just add more variation to my diet.

      I'm not sure when the future is supposed to start, I do my best for what I think is right for me now. I am 63, will my body start going downhill in five, ten, or fifteen years from now, I don't know.

      I forgot to mention eggs in my post, I do eat six eggs a week, usually scrambled, I love scrambled eggs.

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  17. Well done, Ilona, on yet another excellent post. In 2011, no-one knew what to get me for my birthday so they gave me money. I invested the money in a Wii, with the wii-fit doings. I cancelled my swimming subscription (£25 a month, the Wii cost £90) so have already made a substantial saving. I bought a couple of those Dance game things, the grandchildren love them (you should see them doing the Mash - the Monster Mash!) and it keeps a record of where I am up to with weight loss/gain and my 'body age'. Now, my real age is 57, but my 'body age' is 48! Wowsers! And, I have kept my weight down, I'm nearly under the 25 BMI to not be obese anymore, combine this with I've been taken off one of my Diabetes drugs this year and all is heading in the right direction. I do take a multi vitamin every day and I do try to eat healthily/within budget and from stocks and stores.

    Got a bit upset today as on New Years Day, Mr O likes to take me out for tea at a lovely nearby Chinese Restaurant, I rang to check what time it opened and.... it's shut for two days. Fortunately, I had the makings of a damn fine Chinese in the freezer, so all was not lost.

    Have a good one, you'all!

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    1. That's a good story Janet, I fancy a WII myself, they look good fun. A brilliant way to keep fit.

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  18. Thanks, I will let you know how my veg curry turns out. Jonothan. P.S. Hells Teeth was something I used to say when I was asked (told) to do something I did not have time to do when I was in the Army. I did not realise that I said it that much until somebody told me lol :-)

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  19. Great post. I have a weight problem but am going to try to beat it this year. Your food looks very healthy don't think you will have any problems with deficiencies. Or constipation!

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  20. You are so right in the best way to lose weight is not to diet! One needs to concentrate on eating healthy and in moderation.

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  21. I admire your common sense approach to everything. I used to follow a healthier diet than I do now. For some reason, I crave more sweets than I used to. Every time I eat a cookie (bisquit), I know I shouldn't - yet I still do it! Lost alot of will power recently. I have to get back on track and stop all the sweets or cut back at least. I also don't get enough exercise in this cold weather. No walking for me in the extreme cold. This is not good. Do you exercise if you don't get out to get your walk on bad weather days? Just curious. If so, what do you do for exercise if you don't walk? I find it difficult to find a way to get enough exercise in during the winter months. It gets really cold here in NJ (USA) and I hate going out in that weather. Any advice will be appreciated.

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    1. Hi KG. I probably don't get enough exercise during the winter, as you say, due to the bad weather. I still walk a bit because it is easy to wrap up and do short brisk walks to work up a sweat. I do however make more use of my cross trainer parked in my living room, hop on and hop off for short bursts in between other jobs. In fact anything to get me up off my backside is good. I don't stay sat for long and move about the house a lot, I'm up and down the stairs all day.

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  22. Thanks for the advice. Ah, I forgot you had a cross trainer. I think I saw it in one of your posts. That's great that you have one of those and can use it in between walking on days when it's nasty outside. I don't really have room for one of those but am going to try using a yoga dvd I bought awhile ago and forgot about. I used to watch it and do the yoga exercises. Maybe that might be a start to getting back into exercising again. Thanks again for replying.

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