Dukan did…

Today’s post is a big one. Big in the realisations it contains. It started off as a post on my first week on the Dukan Diet and turned into a complex examination of my relationship with food and the reasons we eat. It’s lead to some really deep thinking, on my behalf anyway, so I’d love to hear what you think.


Jennifer Aniston

I planned to start the Dukan for 2 reasons. The first, and I won’t pretend it wasn’t the main one, was my forthcoming holiday and the threat of being pool side in America, land of the botoxed brow, filled cheek and cosmetically enhanced (other) cheek. I don’t normally feel uncomfortable in a bikini, but being in mine next to others in theirs around a hotel pool seemed suddenly daunting. Secondly, although a previous fan of Weight Watchers, I have come to the realisation that trying to eat in moderation, or healthily, just seemed beyond my will power these days. I have always had a sweet tooth, but where I usually don’t have anything in the house that could be eaten in moments of temptation, first Christmas, then Easter brought piles and piles of chocolate into the house which I steadily consumed nibble by nibble mouthful. I had to face the fact that just one block of chocolate was never enough, and I ended up grazing. I needed a diet that was going to cut through the crap, that clearly defined what I could and couldn’t eat, and I needed results fast. So Dukan it was then. I won’t cover the ins and outs of the diet itself, you can read more here in the Daily Mail’s article and the ones that follow, but I started on what is the initial ‘attack’ phase, which consists of pure protein and 0% fat dairy products only.

I honestly debated sharing this. On the one hand, I (rather optimistically) thought that if I turned up on these very pages significantly smaller, I was going to have to come clean and why not share something that I thought would benefit you guys? The other part of me was horrified at the thought that people reading may take away the wrong message, that I would encourage women to feel the way I did, that slim-ish isn’t quite enough. I hold my hands up now and say that I would never recommend this as a doctor, but like you all, I’m only human.

So here goes…

Day 1 – Starting weight unknown, but three days earlier I was 10st 3lbs.
Breakfast: 2 eggs, scrambled, with smoked salmon.
Lunch: Smoked mackerel fillet with a dollop of cottage cheese.
Dinner: Surf and turf! Steak with a prawn skewer.
Water: 1.5L
Exercise: The prescribed 20 minute walk (part of the diet plan).

Day one, and I am already wondering what all the fuss is about. I was at work and didn’t have any more difficulty concentrating than I would during any other Friday(!) and the only unusual effect I had was a niggling headache. When I thought about it, not only was I forgoing carbs, but any form of sugar plus my usual caffeine intake, so it’s no wonder there’s some real effects to be felt.


Unknown source

Day 2 – Weight 9st 13lbs
Breakfast: Two eggs scrambled, and smoked salmon
Late lunch: Smoked mackerel fillet and cottage cheese followed by 0% yogurt with oat bran mixed in.
Dinner: (out with friends) seared scallops in sweet chilli sauce, sea bass on tomatopurée and wilted spinach, with dauphinoise potatoes (which I ate a few mouthfuls of) and then the big cave, warm chocolate brownie with pistachio ice cream.
Exercise: My usual Saturday morning BMF class.

Today we were already booked for dinner with friends and but when I decided to try the Dukan, there was always an excuse not to. Instead I decided to extend the recommended 2 days of the ‘attack’ phase for my weight to three days and just consider Saturday night a write off. I chose high protein dishes at dinner, tried to avoid the carbs and chose wine instead of sugar packed cocktails. I was too embarrassed to tell the people we were out with what I was doing which lead to me eating the dauphinoise in an effort to reduce its conspicuous presence on my plate and go on to have desert. Fortunately, I managed to get rid of the ever-present headache just before we went out for dinner.

I also got my hands on some Oat Bran. This is a non-negotiable part of the diet which is included for its (medically proven) ability to increase satiety and to cling onto fats and transport them through the bowel to be excreted. I wasn’t going to turn down something that resembled carbs although there was no cereal-like sweetness to satisfy my craving for sugar.

Day 3 – Weight 10st
Breakfast: Oat bran mixed with 0% yogurt.
Lunch: A tin of tuna (in brine) drained with some smoked salmon and cottage cheese
Dinner: 2 Chicken Fillets

After getting weighed this morning, I wasn’t too disheartened to see the increase on the scales. I have always retained water the morning after drinking so expected something and I’m now waiting with bated breath to see if I can rectify it with another protein packed day.
As of yet, I haven’t been to the toilet, (to, you know…) so I took a laxative and carried on glugging the water.

As day 3 went on I felt more and more depressed. It was the bank holiday Sunday. Everyone was out having a good time. Normally, I’d be dragging Pete out for cake, or lunch, or both and I started to realised how ingrained my happiness is in food.To me, food means socialising, friends, chatter and laughter. In an effort to take my mind off things, we went to the cinema and literally everywhere I turned, it seemed there were adverts for treat bags of chocolate and Ben and Jerrys. The final straw was sitting down next to a man tucking into an ice cream sundae. I felt truly miserable and all day the headache was there taunting me.

Day 4 – Weight 9st 13lbs

Last night I lay in bed thinking about the Dukan, my diet. I was completely listless at the thought of another day without any enjoyment in the form of food. Bank Holiday Monday and no nice lunch out or dinner out, no baking, no time spent with friends doing either of those things. I began to think about caving, giving up. I had pinpointed my problem, I was desperate for sugar. Perhaps like some people say, it takes days of abstinence to quit the habit but every time Pete had asked me what I wanted yesterday the answer had been to eat cake or ice cream!

I started to think about my upcoming holiday and the effect suddenly going back to carbs would have on my body, or weight. Unfortunately, the bikini part of my holiday is coming at the end of a 7 days stretch of travelling (and eating more than likely,) none of it in clothes that will remind me to watch what I eat. I worried about undoing the progress I had made already by the time I got to bikini o’clock. I started to think about going back to ‘normal’ food and felt wracked with guilt, a failure and even more depressed. The strongest feeling however was that never had I felt more miserable, for such an insignificant reason. Was being a few pounds heavier that I would like worth feeling like this?

The diet had made me feel all these things and I decided to stop. I don’t consider it quitting, or failing, it was the right decision. It wasn’t sustainable, healthy or right for me.


Neon sign

It has made me think long and hard about my relationship with food though. I doubt I’ll ever extricate my personal happiness from the social pleasures of eating. What I’ve come to realise is that I need to address the internal monologue of ‘you’ve worked hard today, you deserve that glass of wine/piece of chocolate/dessert.‘ or ‘what a rubbish day, let’s have pizza‘. I need to stop putting food in my mouth when I’m not thinking about it or savouring it and I need to start thinking about what my body needs as opposed to what my mind tells me it needs or deserves. I need to take the time to shop properly and make healthy choices, to make sure I have appropriate snacks and I probably need to cut the sugar down. But for now anyway, I’m going to stop focusing on my weight and I’m going to focus on my health instead. Things I’m taking away from my attempt at the Dukan will be the daily 20-30 minute walks – something I always found boosted my efforts at Weight Watchers, and trying to have a drink of water first when I feel hungry, not immediately reaching for a snack. Of course, I hope these small changes will make a small difference and help me lose a couple of pounds pre-holiday but what is most important to me is being happy, not losing a few pounds or the number staring at me when I step on the scales.

The feelings of self doubt I had over the last few days were horrible to experience and hard to share too, I even felt ashamed to admit that I wanted to even try a diet, that I wasn’t strong enough to rise above the pressure I put on myself to be the perfect size. (I hasten to add that the definition of perfect was entirely self imposed… why as women are we so hard on ourselves?) However I’m sure there isn’t a woman reading who can’t identify with the feelings I’ve described at some point in this post. I wrote about it all because I don’t ever want people to look at my what to wear posts and feel inadequate, or think there is some super-humanly confident person staring back at them. I wrote it because I know there are women who through self confidence issues or mental illness would never be able to step back and choose happiness over weight loss rather than equating weight loss with happiness and I wish I could change that.

As ever, please let me know if this post has made you think, if you have had a similar experience, or if I’ve struck a chord today. It’s an emotive subject and I look forward to hearing your opinions…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Weigh In

Last week’s post about feeling comfortable in your own skin and the fact that I am definitely not happy in mine, rang true for quite a few of you. As promised, here’s the update. Each week that I update you I’ll be sharing a little tip or insight into things that work for me when it comes to shedding a few unwanted pounds and hopefully get you all sharing more tips and tricks.

So, I’m sitting here writing this and I am starving. That kind of hungry you get when you’re dieting because the outrageous gluttony of your ‘must-leave-behind eating habits’ has stretched your stomach beyond reasonable proportions and it’s begging for a massive bowl of mashed potato, or gnocci, or fresh bread. Sorry, you came here for help, not temptation so I’ll wind up the carb chat. (I should also point out that although that was evidence of a serious carb craving right there, I don’t routinuely ditch carbs as a diet trick, because although, sure, it makes you lose weight fast, as soon as you start eating white foods again, those pounds go right back on.) And that kind of feast or famine dieting is exactly how you ruin your metabolism. So don’t do it kids!

I got weighed this morning (cue party poppers) 2lbs off and I’m feeling pleased with myself.


Image Credit: Constant Motivation

So what have I been doing? Well, it’s mainly been about food and breaking my habits of a lifetime. I’m a big snacker and I also boredom eat. I graze the fridge as soon as I get through the front door each the evening and more often than not I put food in my mouth without thinking about it. So I’ve made a real effort to stop that. Did you know, by the way, that real change in behaviour takes 30 days, or so they say? After 30 days past habits can be erased and your new healthy change becomes your habit, making everything easier, so you’ve only got x more days to struggle through!

A lot of my personal sucess rate with dieting is down to planning. This week instead of leaving the shopping to Pete I made sure I had healthy lunches (Delias Root veg fat free soup) to take to work, fruit to snack on (pink lady apples and juicy seasonal clementines) and planned our evening dinners. Here’s an idea of what I ate:

  • Monday: Tom Yum Soup (look out for the recipe later this week)
  • Tuesday: Baked cod with a potato and celeriac rosti on swede and carot mash – using up the veg left from the soup
  • Wednesday: Gnocci with puttanesca sauce (both from Morrisons) and parmesan shavings. Although not a classical ‘diet dish’ it’s fine as long as you watch the portions.
  • Thursday: Salmon Steak with stirfried savoy cabbage (mounds of it) and leeks.
  • Friday: Treat night – Turkey breast fajhitas (Just an old el paso kit and I limited myself to 2, with loads of peppers and onions.)

I’ll admit, I didn’t really want to diet, but after a couple of days of trying to be good but with mountains of food around the house post-christmas, I was still grazing. My solution to that is to keep a food diary and so instead of returning to Weight Watchers, I decided to give My Fitness Pal (on my iPhone) a go. Lots of you have recommended it and I actually had downloaded it a while back on my phone but not had the motivation to really use it. It’s free which was perfect as my bone of contention with WW was that I really didn’t want to pay for something I knew how to do, I just needed to do it. That said, if you’ve never had to diet before and need pointers on where to start, WW can’t be faulted and I’d definitely recommend it.

So far, so good. Ive used the app most days. It lets you list all you’ve eaten, tells you how much you should eat to lose the weight you want and adds in health information too, like if you’re going too far and underweight. Nearly all foods are there with the calories and if you do any exercise you record that too and get to eat more. Bonus! There’s also a little progress graph and you can diet with friends. By the way, if you want to look me up it’s RebeccaFF 🙂

I’d love to hear how you have all been getting on this week. Have you been dieting or focusing on exercise, or have you tried My Fitness Pal? What is your secret to diet success?

Of course I’ve also been upping my game when it comes to exercise but I’ll save that for next week 🙂

Love,
Rebecca
xo

In your own skin…

I am struggling right now. With what you might ask? Fashion. Writing about it, I am just about managing, but wearing it? Buying it? It’s just not happening.

I kid you not when I say I bought no new outfit for Christmas – something I have done for as long as I can remember and strange as it may sound, really put a dampener on my Christmas. I’m seriously struggling with New Year as I write this and considering hiding in a bin bag until the whole thing is over, and I’ve lost some weight. I’ve said it, I am just too heavy right now.

I always umm and ahh over writing posts like this. I’m more than aware of the influence print and film media have over their viewers and blogging is no exception. I’ll come right out and say it, I am not over weight medically, or unhealthy. The bottom line? I just don’t fit into my clothes and it’s pi$*ing me off.


Pinterest

Let’s get the details out here first. I’m 5ft 6 inches and right now, butt naked on the bathroom scales first thing in the morning, I’m tipping 10 stone 2lbs. Again, please don’t think this is a judgemental post, I’m fully aware there are plenty of you reading who are happy at heavier weight than this – whatever works for you is what I say. I certainly don’t look at women walking around at a size 12, 14, 16 and think, look at the size of her. All women can look good, even at the curvier end of the spectrum, as long as you’re fit and healthy.

I’m not one of those women who stands in front of the mirror prodding myself and bemoaning a muffin top or making myself miserable… I just don’t wear stuff that makes me feel like that. In fact, I realised the other day that I haven’t worn a single pair of jeans for over 2 months which is quite something given that they are my usual hang-about-the-house-or-anywhere-else-for-that-matter clothes. My current pairs are too tight. Uncomfortably tight. Not just a muffin top, but uncomfortable to sit down in tight. And because I am convinced this is the wrong size for me to be and I will eventually sort it out, I have refused to buy some.

The only other place it bothers me? The changing room. This might all sound like ridiculous ranting because I’ve never heard anyone say this before, but half a stone makes a massive difference to me buying clothes. Let me explain. The Ted Baker NYE jumpsuit I posted for Friday Frock a while back? A size 2 was too small, just too small. A bit tight around the top of the thighs/groin/bum and the zip did up but was un-breathably tight at the waist. Size 3, baggy and too big. I have a real ‘thing’ about clothes fitting properly and hate seeing people in tops that gape or trousers straining across the front. But that’s the situation I’m in right now. I love shopping and I love clothes, trying new looks, experimenting and looking good, but I’m frozen between sizes and it’s making me really fed up.


Pinterest

Looking back, I’ve lost weight in the past, most notably during a stint on Weight Watchers mid way through uni, when I realised that I still had 3 years to go and couldn’t keep eating like a dirty student or I’d exit uni looking like a house. Back then, I went from 10st 4 (my heaviest ever) to 9st 3. And I felt great, even though I was a little obsessed with counting my points! I kept it off for a while then gradually crept up to hover around 9st 7, which for me, is my ‘happy weight’. I can eat pretty much what I want as long as I’m exercising and fit all my clothes. I’m a happy bunny. Before my wedding I lost weight again, stress-induced, falling from 9st 12 a few months after we got engaged (the heaviest I can be and still fit my clothes, just,) to about 9 stone on my wedding day.

I kept that off too, you see I used to have one of those metabolisms that makes people really jealous. Or so I hear people say, because in actual fact, I was just really active. I went to the gym 3-4 times a week but more than that, I was watching what I ate and I never. sat. down. Until then, my day job was something that meant I was always on my feet, walking between departments, even running sometimes. Come 2010 and I found myself changing jobs to one that meant I barely sat down and then, along came blogging. RMW was so busy, so quickly, that I spent every minute that I wasn’t at work (sat on my bum,) in front of the computer screen. You guessed it. Sat on my bum. And now I’ve been this weight, or thereabouts for the best part of 2 years.


Dope Stuff

If this all seems a bit over the top, although this is a lifestyle blog, Florence Finds is also a fashion blog. Achievable fashion, but fashion all the same. I love clothes and I want to wear them in a way that makes me feel good about myself instead of feeling miserable about it. There’s nothing wrong with that. I really dislike when women (and we all know someone like this) don’t live their lives because they fear putting on a pound or two, won’t have a glass of wine because of the calories or share a slice of cake at a coffee stop on a girlie day out. But I can’t keep using my dislike of that kind of behaviour to pretend ‘living my life’ is an excuse for feeling like this.

And why haven’t I done anything about it? Several reasons. Until Florence Finds and me spending more time on clothes, I really didn’t give it much thought, I don’t obsess over it. And 7 lbs? It’s such a small amount it’s hardly worth losing, right? I’ll just watch what I eat? Wrong. I love my food and I have a really thing about self denial… life is short, I think you should enjoy it while you can. In the moment, cake is always going to win out over feeling virtuous. But I’ve started to realise that the cake gives me 5 minutes satisfaction then when I can’t fit into the clothes I want, half an hour of frustration over why I haven’t done something about it.

So I’m going to. And to make me, I’m going to keep you all updated. January is about fresh starts, new beginnings, good intentions and I needed to get the party season out of the way first, but from here on in I’m going to be tackling my spare half stone.

I’m guessing there are more than a few of you reading who will be thinking the same thing, so if you would like to join in and get a bit of group motivation then please drop me a comment to keep me going and I will tell you how I go about it in regular posts throughout January.

Lots of goodbye spare pounds love,
Rebecca,
xo

January Food… Healthy Red Thai Curry.

Good afternoon readers! In my healthy recipes for January I had to include a recipe I blogged prior to the launch of Florence Finds, but is too good not to give a proper airing to… I love spicy food and think it really satisfies you, despite this being on the thinner side as far as sauces go, it’s packed with flavour and warmth. Give it a go, you won’t be sorry!

It’s an impossibility isn’t it? Healthy Thai red curry?

Well, actually no! I’ve been revisiting some old Weight Watchers recipes I used to use – this one has actually been a dish that I never dropped from my day to day repertoire and it is super tasty. Even better there’s a full on version or a cheat’s version for what turns into a very quick dinner – just what you need when you’ve just got home from work or the gym.

Healthy Thai Red Curry

Ingredients for the curry paste: (this can be substituted with 2 tablespoons of ready made red Thai curry paste for lazier cooking.)
1/2 a red onion
1 deseeded red chilli
1 small stick of lemongrass
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 a lime
1 inch of root ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon of Thai fish sauce.

Ingredients for the curry:
4 dried lime leaves
150g baby corn, halved
150g sugar snap peas
350g skinless chicken breast
6 spring onions
200ml reduced fat coconut milk
200ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon light brown soft sugar
110g cherry tomatoes, halved
Chopped fresh coriander, to serve.

How to make it…
1. Place the curry paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until finely chopped.
2. Stir fry the chicken in a pre-heated wok or frying pan for 3 minutes and then add the paste for a further minute whilst stirring.
3. Add the stock, coconut milk, sugar, vegetables and lime leaves and simmer for 3 minutes.
4. Next add the halved tomatoes and simmer for 2 more minutes.

Serve with basmati rice and the chopped coriander as a garnish. (Remove any lime leaves as you find them!)

Let me know if you’re going to try it!

Love,
Rebecca.
Xo

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