Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Dump the junk.

Hello. There were a few questions on my diet, snacking, and size, yesterday which I will answer here. Thank you to the readers who asked.

Have I always been slim? I was a skinny kid and a skinny teenager which stayed the same well into my late twenties. I did put on some weight after that due to eating crappy snacks while out driving a truck. In the early days I didn't do packups, that was my downfall, I went in shops and bought crisps, pop, biscuits, and chocolates. I wasn't very organized then due to working 12 hour days. One thing I never did was to pull in a cafe and have a truckers breakfast like many of my male counterparts did. I'm sure later many of them would come to regret that. At one point I was approaching 11 stone, which worried me, because my clothes were getting too tight. My skin was horrible too, sallow and spotty. Eventually I saw the light and thought this can't go on, I have to take my own food with me. Thankfully I lost a few pounds. I have never consciously dieted.

My weight dropped a bit too low when they found a large cyst on my right ovary at age 59. I was concerned that I was becoming very skinny. Thankfully after an operation to remove it, I gained a bit of weight to a more healthy level, and I have been able to maintain that.

Do I snack between meals? Most of the time I don't feel the need to because I try to eat only when I'm hungry. I don't snack for the sake of snacking, just because it's there. Snacks to me are a treat, only to be eaten on odd occasions. My meals are substantial enough to keep me going. I know people say watch your portion size if you are trying to lose weight, but I say you can eat as much as you like if it is not 'bad' food. Look how I pile my plate high with vegetables and salad. I do believe all the accompaniments that go with meals bump up the calories. Gravy, sauces, pastry, dumplings, Yorkshire puddings, all not necessary. And if you have to eat meat only go for the leanest, smallest piece you can find. Avoid fatty cheap cuts, avoid sausages, and avoid any processed frozen pies and pasties. In fact I believe all meat is bad for you, but I am not going to get into the veggie v carnivore argument, it's all been said before.

I have to admit to opening the fridge door and having a couple of cream crackers with cheese. I might have a yogurt, or a banana to keep me going. I might have a single slice of seeded bread with a smear of lemon curd. Or I might have half a tin of rice pudding. I quite often bring a meal forward an hour if I am feeling hungry, or delay a meal if I am still slightly full from the last one. Mealtimes are not set in stone here. As regards snacking, there is so much crap out there, it makes shopping a lot easier if you avoid going down those aisles anyway.

Do I consciously watch what I eat? Yes, I do. I am always aware of what I am putting into my mouth. I know in my mind what is good food and what is bad. I don't go out very much socially so I am not drawn into eating with other people. I don't believe you have to have a starter and a pudding with a meal, just the meal is enough for me. And as for a cheese board, that's plain daft. If I am caught out feeling a bit peckish while I am out, I will look for the smallest snack I can find. They have a small nutty bar in B & M for 19p. I don't have a coffee and cake while I'm out, too many calories. I never have takeaways, never go into burger bars and suchlike. I have been known to hurry back home because I need to eat.

Can we have a more detailed recipe for the veg and blue cheese concoction? I usually start off a meal like that in a medium size pan with chopped onion, mushrooms, and spinach. Soften in a spoon of oil. Then I add whatever vegetables I need to use up, chopped small to reduce cooking time. Throw in any spices I have, then add fruit juice and/or water or both, simmer till soft, add cheese before serving. That's about it, I make it up as I go along.

Is there any hope for the rest of us? Certainly is. If you are not under the doctor for any underlying medical problems then there is no reason why carefully monitoring your diet should not bring about an improvement in health. In fact I believe a poor diet often contributes to health problems. It's all down to what you put in your mouth, and of course getting enough exercise.

Thank you for your questions. I'll get off now, my stomach is telling me to eat.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip


  1. Ilona, I remember in a very old post you saying that when you were driving for a job it was 'quick' food for you which is understandable in those circumstances, and that you put on a bit of weight. However, as you said, the tons of fruit, salad and vegetables that you eat are virtually calorie-free, full of vitamins etc and you are doing your skin and digestive system a favour. A while ago I met a dietician and she said, 'weight and health - eat less and move about more if overweight; if liable to pick, keep celery, carrots and cucumber in fridge with low-cal dips; and remember the adage - a moment on the lips an eternity on the hips, so only have chocolate, crisps etc very occasionally'. Sensible. I know some people may struggle with the grocery bill, and I'm not judging anyone, but I always thought when you see the bag of mince in the supermarket freezer for 99p, what on earth are you expecting for that sort of money - I dread what it may contain, so buy a better produce, smaller and less frequently so you are more confident what you are actually feeding your body. Exercise - I can't hike so I am going back to the exercise bike in the new year and have already made my mind up to listen to the radio/music etc whilst pedalling away as it is happily distractive. Amanda

  2. A few years ago I decided to take sugar out of my diet. Not all sugar because you can find sugar in most anything. I cut out all sodas and candy. I cut way back on desserts. Maybe only one a month. I love carbs, and didn't want to mess with them. But the good news is, I lost 15 lbs. It took a year to lose it, but I have kept it off. Reading how you have stayed in such great shape has made me think about being more aware of my carbs. I need to put more veggies in my diet too. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you Ilona!

  3. Good advice Ilona, we do eat meat and most things, but it has to be all about moderation.

  4. Everything in moderation is a good idea. I'm prone to catastrophic eating, i.e. why have one piece of chocolate when I could eat the whole bar! I've carefully cut my eating a lot and have finally reached a healthy weight. They say that being just one pound overweight puts 7lbs of strain on our knee joints. You're right Ilona - you get loads more food calorie wise when it's vegetables on your plate. Whilst I did cut meat out for about a year, I've now started to eat a bit but less frequently.

  5. Thank you so much for this post. You truly are an inspiration to me. At this time of year, the whole world is saying eat your body weight in mince pies, chocolates, etc etc, and I used to join in, but now I know that none of it is necessary or good for me. I am seriously considering attempting the 1,000 mile challenge in 2017. Thank you too for the veg recipe. I keep a blank book where I write down all your meal ideas and refer to it for ideas. I've been doing this for years. Thank you so much!

  6. I think all your walking helps too! A good post at this time of year when we all over indulge!

  7. I am 54 and don't eat meat or fish. Never have done. I have iron tablets due to anaemia (now gone but I still take 3 per day). I have just started to eat eggs due to my erstwhile low iron count but am not good at this. I have semi skinned and skimmed milk, soya milk. The only packaged food I have are boxed cereals as the doctor told me to get one with iron in it - I have this as brekkie but I noticed that soya milk is fatty so I have some soya with water added. I make all my food and don't take puds or biscuits. I am amazed at the stuff people eat. I always eat for my skin too - a small amount of olive oil on salads and some nuts when I can. I have bought this year a blender - for smoothies - always kale and banana with fresh ginger etc. I am always asked how come I'm so slim. I still eat more than you but I think because I am so short I have to expend a lot of energy in getting around. Natalie

  8. Great advice Illona! We became vegan this year, and also stopped eating packaged/processed food, and my weight has been really easy to control. Feel better than I have done in a long time (I do miss cheese though!)

    I love it when you post pics of your dinner, would love to see more.

    Mina @

  9. Hi, when you say you don't snack, are the crackers and cheese, yogourt, banana, slice of bread, rice pudding meals or snacks? Would you call that a meal and miss your next main meal or are they snacks in between meals? A bit confused as you said you don't snack.

    1. Hello. You could call them snacks if you want to. I try not to miss meals, but sometimes I am not always hungry for a full meal, so I'll have something small just to fill the gap. I wait for my stomach to tell me to put food down.


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