Monday, 31 August 2009

Bank Holiday Monday

I started the day with a huge bowl of bran today - a mixture of oat bran and wheat bran, cooked in water with a pinch of salt. I beat in a frozen sliced banana, some protein whey, and coconut milk, and sprinkled it with desiccated coconut - it was tasty, but I hardly tasted the coconut

For lunch I had a bowl of home-made soup and a sandwich. That wasn't very filling so I also had some sweet chilli houmous with veggies - pretty colours!
Dinner will be a big stir fry with quorn as I'm all cooked out after making 2 kinds of cookies this afternoon.
First, Grandma's Banana cookies with chocolate chips


Then I finished the 'World Peace cookies' that I mixed up yesterday and chilled over-night. They looked more appealing raw and sliced

And even better baked and ready to eat!

Weight today 10 st 5 lbs exactly (145 lbs)
A summer fruit smoothie and a waitrose mango & passion fruit yoghurt (is it sad that on a good day when I'm shopping I look at the slightly-less-low-fat low-fat yoghurts for a treat??? I also had one of each type of cookie but they had no calories because I was just checking they're OK to feed to other people

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Quiet Sunday

Not much happening today...
I tried to go for a walk earlier but the weather was so unappealing I didn't bother. Then I started eating extra-calorific stuff, and feeling nibbly - so I pushed myself into a 40 min session on the elliptical walker. I'm quite tired now... I hadn't realised how much my condition has deteriorated since I got back from my cruise and turned lazy!
After typing that I sugared my legs - that woke me up a bit!!!
I baked some bran muffins this morning for M, and that put me in the mood to bake some more. This afternoon made the dough for some World Peace Cookies. I'm going to take them, and some banana cookies, to work on Tuesday as a goodbye treat for the test team (even though I'll be working till Friday)
Very unpretty rolls of chocolate chocolate-chip cookie dough
Food today:
Poached eggs on toast
Toasted sandwiches - 1 cheese & spring onion, 1 cheese and tomato in Nimble bread. Should've been home-made soup, but that just didn't appeal to me.
Sausage casserole with mashed turnip & swede and broccoli.
1 slice wholemeal bread spread with peanut butter & topped with sliced banana; bowl of fromage frais with stewed apple (thanks for the suggestion Bearfriend, it was yummy!) and a bowl of all bran with strawberries.
Weight this morning: 10 st 5.4 lbs (145.5 lbs)

Saturday, 29 August 2009

On Hold

We've decided to book the holiday in Cuba (availability permitting) so I'm on hold to talk to Just as I was about to hurl the phone at the wall if I heard "you are at queue position 5" on more time... "you are at queue position 4"!!! This could take a while!
Food today:
All bran with very very over-ripe strawberries
Pasta with red pepper, onion, tomatoes & garlic - 24 cloves of garlic to serve 2 people. Anti-social (and not pretty enough to photograph) but very tasty.
Ostrich steaks with oven chips & salad. The ostrich is from, an excellent mail order site for meats from South Africa, Australia, and elsewhere. Their bison steaks and kobe burgers are to die for!
Amore yoghurt with walnuts & honey - yummy but so so rich! And a bag of mixed dried fruit. I may have a protein smoothie after I get off the phone, if I ever do...
Weight today: 10 st 6.25 lbs (146.25 lbs)

Friday, 28 August 2009


Bit tired today after a later night last night. M was home and we were discussing a possible holiday in November - 2 weeks at a Sandals resort in Cuba with his entire family (parents + brother + brother's girlfriend). It's been raised before and I did feel a bit negative about it, largely because I find being around lots of people quite tiring and stressful if it lasts for days, but after our talk I'm feeling a bit more interested. Its expensive, but I like the over 18 age limit. We spent one day in Cuba on our very first cruise - doing a tour of Havana - and loved it, so a return trip would be nice, although the Sandals is at the other end of the island, on Varadero Beach. We haven't made up our minds, but it is appealing.
We also talked about my birthday next week. M made 2 suggestions for my birthday present; he offered me a choice between a Sony Reader (link) and a treatment package at a local spa. Its really hard to choose because on the one hand the spa treatment package is particularly appealing to help me relax right now, and on the other hand I'm an obsessive reader - and if we do go away again I could carry dozens of books with me for the weight of one smallish paperback. I think the Reader is likely to be my choice now, but I've already hinted at a spa package for Christmas. All that discussing kept me up past my bedtime, and now I've got a serious attack of the yawns! We also watched an episode of the BBC program Coast, which was about Norway, and included Geiranger as well as many places we didn't get to visit.
Food today:
Very very very high fibre porridge for breakfast - a huge bowl of oats + wheat bran with half a scoop of vanilla whey, half a banana and some chia seeds. It wasn't the tastiest, but by the time I'd cooked it (on the hob) I didn't have time to get anything else before work so I made do. It certainly tasted healthy...
Lunch:'Cooked breakfast' - one slice toast, one sausage, rasher of bacon, and fried egg. I decided not to wait till next week to have these given that I want to go back on my diet on Sept 2nd - especially if I might be on holiday in the Caribbean sun in November, I want to be in gooooood bikini shape!!!
I'll try to get round to eating the stir fry I didn't have yesterday
Huge smoothie with summer fruits, garden fruits, goji berries, soya milk, fromage frais and ground (well, bashed really) linseeds. And - oops - a Cadbury's Crunchie... and the houmous and pepper sandwich that was supposed to be my lunch before I decided on the cooked breakfast...
Weight today: 10 st 7.5 lbs (147.5 lbs) No surprises there , I could taste the sodium in my takeaway! I genuinely didn't eat an enormous portion so I'm sure that's what it is...
25 + 26 + 27 = 78 push-ups! by 8am! and 40 triceps dips! no wonder my shoulders and arms ache...

I can't eat that!!!

I do feel that my eating is getting a bit boring at the moment, but although that makes for some very dull posts it also gives me a bit of a safe feeling as far as the weight management goes - if I haven't had a meal before I don't know how filling it will be, or how likely to set off cravings or binges that might ruin my day. The downside though is that I'm reaching the point where the idea of fromage frais with raspberries is almost physically nauseating... If that meant I just didn't want them it would fine, a calorie cutting boost - but not so much if it means I want just about anything else.... however expensive / fattening / unhealthy generally that anything else might be. I need something not too calorific, containing both protein and fibre as I don't find either satisfying enough on its own. Ideally one sweet option and one savoury option, and despite the convenience element, ideally not highly processed - I started eating the fromage frais and fruit as a reaction against diet flavoured yoghurt pots and all their HFCS / artificial flavourings, so I don't really want to go back to them, or to cereal bars / protein bars.. Oh yes, and no last minute cooking. Egg white omelettes might be possible... obviously houmous with vegetables... a mini turkey / chicken sandwich in one slice of nimble bread perhaps? hmmm. Some options to consider anyway. But they're all savoury, maybe fromage frais with a different fruit would be enough to break the tedium. Stewed apple perhaps?
Food today:
The usual. Getting a bit bored with this, it might be time to try something else
Noodle salad with tuna, peppers and onions and a bed of green salad. This wasn't tedious! It wasn't so good I'd rush to do it again either, but it did make a change. I used buckwheat soba noodles, it will be interesting to see how soon I get hungry again. The tuna was Slimming World tuna in creamy tomato sauce, it might have been better with more asian-inspired flavours. EDIT: less than 2 hours later I had to eat! I wanted chocolate-dipped gingerbread from the canteen, I actually had an Ainsley Harriott cup-a-soup.
Was supposed to be another stir fry (I do like my stir fries, especially when I've been feeling out of control - home-made soups are good then too). But I had confirmation that I wasn't being renewed at work, so to celebrate we had a Chinese takeaway - in my case King Prawns in black bean sauce with plain boiled rice. Unfortunately we ate late as a result so I also had some chocolates beforehand (yummy and expensive cocoa-dusted truffles) and a few chips with it
Fromage frais with peaches - also getting boring, I need some more ideas! 2 slices wholemeal toast (this should have been raspberries & fromage frais but I just couldn't face it... and the toast still fitted into my calories)
10 st 6.4 lbs (146.4 lbs)

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Getting a grip

I realised this morning that I've been home from my holiday for approx. 2 and a half weeks. I'm still not back to proper healthy eating (though its improving - most of the time) and I'm still using that as my excuse. Its time to stop messing around and get my a$$ into gear. I said I would maintain till my birthday, but instead of maintaining I'm yo yo-ing around, within about a 3 lb weight range. It's not as if I'm even enjoying myself all that much - if I were eating delicious, exotic food I'd actually be a lot more willing to accept this temporary gain, but instead I'm eating rubbish - in quantities that make me feel uncomfortable - most of the time, and then feeling guilty and stupid for doing that to myself. Even though yesterday was much better (not perfect - but I'm not shooting for perfection, that's too much pressure) this morning I'm fighting the urge to buy a cooked breakfast from the canteen. It's not even particularly good food, they provide the same things every day - and my body is urging me to go for it as though it were my one last chance. I might well decide to have one next week - as if I do leave it will become less available - but that will be instead of my usual breakfast, not as well as it. SO SHUT UP BODY, NO NO NO, NO!!! AARRGGHH!!! Chocolate mousse! Oh well, starting tomorrow... no, now! The rest of the day can still be salvaged! My exhaustion from the weekend is finally clearing, so I will train tonight. And switching my planned pasta dinner for a veggie stir fry will cut 100 calories out... not so bad after all! I wish I had more self-control, but I guess as long as I can meddle with the rest of the day to compensate (without having to starve myself AND train for hours to do it!) its not worth feeling too bad about. One thing it does do is set a precedent of not sticking to what I said I would do for even one day, which does make me feel like a failure. But then again, before I went on holiday I also said that I would be returning to the plan for eating that allowed me to lose my weight in the first place - no guilt about eating anything that fits into my calories, and not too much guilt about things that don't, since that leads to a cycle of self-hatred and comfort eating. So I won't think, "Boo! I ate chocolate!" Instead I'll think "Yay! I didn't eat a cooked breakfast AND chocolate!"
Food today:
All bran with strawberries, protein smoothie AND NO TOAST / SAUSAGES / BACON / EGGS....
Houmous and pepper sandwich (yum! much love... I could eat this every day, especially if the houmous is Tesco sweet chilli flavour. I must experiment with making my own houmous, with whatever flavourings I fancy), salad topped with bean burger from last night. This was tasty, and more flavourful than I expected cold, but a little bit dry - I'll add some salsa or relish next time. Followed by chocolate mousse. Eh.
Huge vegetable stir fry with rice stick noodles - ended up slightly less huge than intended because I forgot the beansprouts & the bamboo shoots... that'll teach me not to check my food diary plan!
Fromage frais with raspberries and peaches
Weight: 10 st 7.5 lbs (147.5 lbs)
Training plan - 1 hour elliptical walker? The weather doesn't look good for a walk though that's what I'd prefer. EDIT: rained all day pretty much - but I managed the hour's training with the help of my ipod

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


It looks like I won't be getting my contract renewed here. I can afford a little time off, and I must admit that I like the idea of being able to train, and run, and go for long walks without squeezing them in around work, particularly as the nights draw in. On the other hand I hate looking for work, especially when there's a recession - I rely on companies having the money and confidence to invest in IT systems, and I don't think there's much of either about. The last time I felt so negative about my chances of finding work was around 2000, when everyone believed the civilised world was about to end and companies were obsessed with Y2K compliance and nothing but.
I'm a slightly weird person as far as work goes. I have little or no work ethic and could happily retire right now - as long as I didn't have to live on benefits. At the same time, being stuck alone at home makes me go a little stir crazy and depressive, so I need human interaction (even though I'm very shy and antisocial), structure, and stimulation. I'd like to think I could handle this next bit of time off better than the last, when I got very depressed and my relationship with M suffered as a consequence. I have a few ideas for this. Obviously staying active physically is one of them - I did do that last time, but in a less structured way. Building a proper exercise program might help provide me with the structure I need. For the human interaction, I'm thinking of maybe volunteering in a charity shop for a few hours a week, and possibly joining an exercise class of some kind - or booking swimming lessons at the local pool. As well as staying on the blogs and being as active as possible in the blogging community of course.

Feeling a little more human today

Not much though, my early night turned into a night of reading blogs in bed - enjoyable but less restful than I planned! I am determined to do better today though.... I can't help feeling I've heard and said that somewhere before!!!
Thanks Roxie & Bearfriend for your comments - it does help to feel you're not alone!!! I feel a lot more hopeful for today, and I think you're the reason why!
Food today:
All bran with strawberries and a smoothie
Rustic wholemeal roll with houmous and grilled veggies
Home-made veggie black bean burger - rut-buster!!! I made them up last night and left them in the fridge overnight to firm up before I bake them today.
With baked potato (small) and salad. I'm really looking forward to trying these, as I've never made bean burgers before EDIT: Not bad at all! I'll make them again - but I'd add more hot sauce next time, 1 tsp for 4 big burgers really isn't enough.
Fromage frais with peaches, houmous with veggies (left over from yesterday - I rejected them in favour of cheesecake yesterday!)
Weight: 10 st 8.4 lbs (148.4 lbs) 3 lbs of carb-induced water retention - go me!!! I knew I wouldn't like what I saw - but so far anyway it honestly doesn't bother me as I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I didn't eat THAT many calories last night!!!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Bad start to the week

I had a post for today but its turned into a bunch of lies so I think I'll trash that one.
Last night I didn't sleep well enough to make up for the lack of sleep on Saturday, so I've been knackered all day. As a result, I've been carb-crazy!!! I don't have anything against carbs, believe me -I love noodles and pasta and I don't think life without bread is even life, let alone a life worth living. But my snacks today, in addition to fromage frais and fruit salad involved a sandwich with bacon and fried egg. My meals included cereal - All bran - strawberries, and fruit in a smoothie. My lunch wasn't bad to start with - salad with feta cheese - until I added a chocolate cheesecake. And dinner was a lot of toast, some with apricot suage free jam, some with sweet chilli houmous, and some with curried cheddar. Plus some oven-baked chips.
And I used up the tail ends of no less than 3 bottles of wine started on Saturday.
I don't feel great now, but my body was screaming for carbs and it wouldn't shut up. And I didn't feel bad about it, and I still don't. That may be down to the wine. I'm now on my laptop in bed to avoid eating even more. Shortly (embarrassingly shortly) I plan to turn off the light and go to sleep. First I'm going to drink some more water (already had a litre since stopping the wine.) Tomorrow I will weight, but hopefully take the numbers with a pinch of salt. Anyone can have a bad day, and no sleep has this effect on me. I've been thinking about trying to make the effort to entertain more often, which hopefully will help me sleep on those nights as I get more used to it and relax about it. If not, I'll work on finding a better recovery plan. Either way, I had a great time and I think everyone else did too, so I'm glad we did it. And glad I'd already decided not to bother about the weight loss until the 2nd of September (the day after my birthday).

Sunday, 23 August 2009

The big barbecue

Is finally over! It went very well in the end, though some people were taken suddenly ill in the night as a result of the mountain of wine and beer bottles that were emptied!
A very small sample of the empties and leftovers...

We spent all afternoon and half of the evening sitting in the garden (no photos because I don't believe in posting photos of unwitting family members and they still don't know about this blog). We were very lucky with the weather - it wasn't sunny - nor was it baking hot though, which is good - but we only had one shower, very light, lasting maybe 10 minutes in total. Not bad for a barbecue planned back in May for an August weekend in Wales! We had 3 barbecues set up, which heated up at different rates (all charcoal) so the food arrived a bit at a time for several hours.
The kitchen...
There were burgers, sausages, pork chops, lamb shish kebabs and barbecue chicken skewers (2 different kinds of barbecue sauce)

Because of the delay in cooking the burgers and sausages disappeared before the camera could even switch on ;-). The chicken skewers arrived last, and no-one wanted more meat by then, but the men of the family managed to eat them for supper so they didn't go to waste.

This was accompanied by a mixed green salad (thanks MIL!), coleslaw, and some lovely rolls (thanks Mum!) and followed by several dessert options - lemon meringue pie and tarte au citron courtesy of my father's wife, summer pudding made by me, and a fruit salad for my picky brother provided by Nature's Best in a pot!

People collapsed into bed late or fell asleep on sofas and chairs, and no-one got up very early this morning (apart from me - my body seems incapable of sleeping past 4 am these days.) I had loads of goodies for breakfast including a loaf of raisin bread and one of peanut-butter-raisin bread baked by myself last weekend, but everyone picked very plain options - seeded bagels and wholemeal muffins so they ended up with doggy bags of baked goodies!!! I've almost finished all the desserts off today - I slept so little that I craved sugar all morning, even after making myself feel ill in the beginning. Still, I didn't expect anything good of this weekend diet-wise, so I'll try to hoist myself heavily back on the wagon tomorrow morning. At the moment I never want to eat again, but I know how long that's going to last...

Hot stone massage, facial, reflexology

On the last sea day there was a special spa package lasting an hour - 20 mins each hot stone massage, mini facial and reflexolgy session for $99. I decided to try it because I've always wanted the hot stone massage. It turned out to good value too as I think it ran over for about 30 mins. The hot stone massage was intense, not always as pleasant as I'd hoped as I had a very stubborn knot in my shoulder that she couldn't get out - however hard she pressed with the stone...!!! I felt like she was trying to drill right through me by leaning all her weight on this small smooth stone - and for a dainty pretty little woman, it seemed like a lot of weight!! (maybe she sneaked some 15 stone wrestler in to help her press lol) When she moved on from there it was much more fun, and I actually nodded off briefly. She then moved onto the reflexology. M had this years ago on a trip we took to a health farm, and he found it very painful. Mine wasn't that bad, but there were times it felt far more therapeutic than pampering. By the time she finished though, my feet felt amazing! And finally the facial... lots of warm, nice smelling gop of varying kinds, and the occasional use of hot towels, left my skin feeling really soft and fresh. My skin is very sensitive, so bits of it were tingly, but it was really good. Then she tried to sell me 100s of products but I resisted most of them, settling for a tube of tingly menthol-y 'instant relief rub' for my tense shoulders and a horribly over-priced box of bath salts, also for relaxation. But I like baths, and I like trying new bath salts, so I don't grudge the $176 for 10 sachets.... much. The only question is how tense will I have to feel before I don't feel like I'm wasting $17 by actually using one of them - I haven't yet!!! (I had a bath with half a sachet last week and was surprised to find they smell very menthol-y - I didn't expect that somehow, even though the cream smells like menthol too.) I'd find the spa experience much more relaxing without the anticipation of the hard sell I must admit. She recommended I get weekly massages back home... so I like her after all! I've no intention of going every week, but I might go monthly or every other month, as I've always enjoyed massages (even when I felt fat and disgusting - how strange is that?)

So few sachets for so much money...

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Final Day at Sea

I never made it to the gym on the last sea day. I did plan to, but first I had trouble getting out of bed, then I had my breakfast and while that was still settling went to the spa to book myself in for a sea day package (about which, more later). I expected to have to wait for the package till the afternoon at least, but she said she could fit me in straight away (at 8 am) and it would take an hour. I didn't leave till 10, and there was a lecture on soon after that I wanted to go to, then it was lunchtime, then there was another lecture and some glass blowing... so I declared the day another rest day. The lectures were excellent again, and so was the glass-blowing. I also used the day as an excuse to have 'just one last...' everything I'd really enjoyed on board ship. One last gelato from the gelateria (small charge, very good gelato). One last coffee from the speciality coffee shop (expresso topped with whipped cream, crushed granola and caramel syrup). One last pizza and fries lunch... one last pink coconut cocktail.... a trip to the gym would have saved me loads of calories as well as burning some, but you only have one 'Last day' of the holiday...!!! Alright, one last day of each holiday...In the evening it was back to the martini bar for one last martini, that turned into two. I had a banana split martini first and then a raspberry lemonade martini.
The banana split was my favourite overall, I tried it on the first night and then had to go back for another on the last night!My main course for dinner that evening was one of the best (in the regular restaurant) of the whole cruise - AND I PHOTOGRAPHED IT!!!

Vietnamese vegetable curry, not too spicy (though I like spice!) but incredibly flavourful and delicious. I had ahi tuna carpaccio flavoured with five spice powder to start, and roast butternut squash soup as well. Yum! Dessert was kahlua torte - beautiful but not as tasty as I expected


Arriving as the sun rose

The harbour, seen from the ship
The welcome party

The last port on our holiday was Oslo. We've been there before on a Baltics & Scandanavia trip a couple of years ago. When I first started looking into the shore excursions there was another hike listed for Oslo - into the forest for a change - but when I tried to book it that tour wasn't listed for our holiday. The rest were just city tours, and we'd done one on our last visit, so we didn't bother booking anything.
Instead we just walked into the town from the ship and explored a bit ourselves, and I didn't even bother taking photographs because I just wasn't inspired.
We walked through the shopping area and up to the Royal Palace (not open to the public) then came back through the attached Park. The Palace was very grand - as palaces usually are - but looked strangely unfinished - even plonked - because the area in front was just a huge patch of gravel in poor condition (perhaps cleared for tarmac to be replaced?) and the park was only planted with lawns and trees, so that was a bit disappointing, hence the lack of photographic inspiration. The most interesting thing for me was that I wore my Vibram 5 fingers to walk into town. The advertising says you can wear these for walking, hiking, climbing and running. I'd already decided they weren't supportive enough for hiking; now that I've got a bruised big toe from stubbing my toe a few times walking through Oslo (so I'm clumsy, is that my fault???) I don't think I'll be trying them for running - or any walking except perhaps around a supermarket. Still the coolest shoes ever though, they are excellent for use on the elliptical walker and not bad on the stationary bike, and they did (eventually) make me pay more attention to where I was walking so perhaps that's a good thing...
Don't remember dinner at all, not good! Except that I think I had some kind of fruit dish to start and dessert was baked alaska for the traditional 'haven't the crew been wonderful' thank you extravaganza (I don't like baked alaska much, and they don't offer a choice...)


Weight today (Friday): 10st 6.5 lbs (146.5lbs) Another half pound down! But I think that may be slight dehydration due to the 2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc I had last night to calm down after my little tantrum. I mean, how childish was that really??? My trousers are tight, boo hoo - lets deal with that by eating a few hundred unnecessary calories and make them even tighter! (they fit better today btw, I think they are now relaxing after the wash). I will try not to be so pathetically babyish again - for a while anyway. My weight today is pretty irrelevant anyway, as tomorrow will undo any good work I've done. But if I'm going to (temporarily) gain 4 lbs over night, I'd rather do it from a starting point of 146 than 148, so I'll take it.
Food today:
The usual for breakfast
A huge sandwich of wholemeal bread spread with laughing cow light, stuffed with grilled red pepper, aubergine, red onion and courgette (sprayed lightly with olive oil). I meant to include mushrooms but forgot to grill them. EDIT: OMG yummy!!! so simple yet so good... just one let down - I only had rubbishy wholemeal packaged bread, in my favourite buckwheat or spelt bread it would have been OUT OF THIS WORLD. Also, I'd like to try grilling it in my health grill next time, if I'm eating it at home rather than work. But there will be a next time, oh yes there will! Even the aubergine was lovely and I'm not usually a fan... It would also go well in a wrap, and if I had the cals, would be scrumptious with the spicy Mexican bean pate I had yesterday, I think. I'd like to try it with some juicy Portabello mushroom another time as well, or maybe some feta or goats cheese. Next time, a photo!!!
Home-made bean and vegetable soup. Tomorrow I'll be eating so much meat I wanted a veggie day today, and a light one at that. I'll probably pair it with a salad of lamb's lettuce and various other salad veggies if I can think of a half way appealing combo, and try to squeeze in some feta cheese for the protein as well.
At the moment all I have is 2 apples. I meant to pair each of them with a mini babybel light, but forgot to pack the cheeses. Added protein by buying a low fat yoghurt (with honey) from the canteen
I've done either 65 or 70 push-ups this morning - I was counting, but after 2 sets of 25 I did another set that was definitely shorter and forgot how many I'd done as soon as I stood up. My chest isn't hurting as much today (on Wednesday just pushing the Dyson around was mildly painful, so I'm glad about that)

Thursday, 20 August 2009


Weight this morning: 10 st 7lbs (147 lbs) - at least that's a half pound step in the right direction! Still not very impressed though...
Food today:
All bran with blackberries; garden fruit smoothie (no spinach today, and heavier on the plums - and it was even more delicious than yesterday!)
Sandwiches today - very rare for me! I usually feel that sandwiches aren't filling enough because of the calorie density of the bread. Today I have two - one very low cal, Nimble bread with a laughing wedge and some cucumber, the other more substantial, filled with a Mexican bean pate from Waitrose - hopefully its spicy. We'll see how filling they are...
Sausage casserole with sweet potato, peas, frozen soya beans and cauliflower
Apple, fromage frais with strawberries and peaches, cottage cheese salad - pineapple cottage cheese mixed with bell peppers and spring onion, snack pack of jaffa cakes - the sandwiches weren't very filling
EDIT: put my jeans on after work and struggled to get into them. Even though I'd just washed and dried them so I know they just need stretching again I moronically went off and ate a 100 g bag of honey roasted cashews and some dried fruit mix. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

2nd day at sea

Still banging on about the holiday - just a few more days to go!
This one is a short one - a day at sea travelling from Geiranger to Oslo.
I trained in the gym first thing, then mostly stayed indoors recuperating from all the hiking. We went to two lectures, saw a movie, watched some more glass blowing....
Ate gelato and drank beer and cocktails...
I had a crepe for lunch, stuffed with beef, chillies and nice things, followed by a rather modern trifle, and I don't remember a damn thing about dinner - how bad is that? I didn't take any photographs at all this day, I guess a combination of a view of nothing but sea and not very brilliant weather didn't inspire me after all the beautiful scenery earlier. A nice relaxing day though!

I want a tattoo.

I used to hate tattoos, especially on women - all the cliches about how tacky and common they were, I guess. Don't hate me if you've stumbled across this and you have a tattoo - because I have, after all, changed my mind and seen the light! So, now I want one. Just one, not huge, something like this in the small of my back. Something monochrome, curvaceous, and sinuous, organic even - that speaks to me. This one appeals to me because it represents a slightly morbid view of life I have. Its the plan for a Celtic labyrinth. To me, this represents the fact that life is a bit like a maze - one entrance point, one exit, and however many wrong turns you make in your life, however many times you may feel that you're going round in circles, retracing your steps, or simply lost, you always end up in the same place... This specific design is not set in stone, but that's the inspiration for me. As I seem to be getting heavier rather than lighter at the moment, and I'm thinking about using this as a non-food reward for getting back to target (and staying there for at least ummm 1 month. Without binging.) I guess I have time to decide on the perfect example.

My PC is dying.

Slowly, apparently of heat exhaustion. Every so often, on a hot day, when the PC has been on for a while (usually with lots of web pages open) it just turns itself off without warning - and a dull thud. It happened a few times before we went away, then it calmed down - perhaps because the weather reverted to the cool damp norm for a Welsh summer. Last night it happened again for the first time in about a month. Because I'm a bad (and reluctant) IT person I hadn't backed it up for weeks. So I panicked and prepared myself for the loss of all my holiday photos and other essentials.
Luckily it booted up just fine this morning and I was able to back everything important up onto a DVD at 4 am. It is definitely warning me what is to come, so I now need to choose a new one in readiness. Unfortunately, even though I work in IT I am about as technical as a pad and pencil, so I have no clue what to look for - usually I inherit cast off PCs from M, and he specs them up himself. As he's a gamer and I'm not, this gives me a ridiculously over-spec'd PC with super-fast graphics cards and things that I never use. I use the Internet, Excel, Word and Notepad. And that's it. But when I do these things I want them to be done really fast. And I need lots of space for photos that I never look at apart from when I'm uploading onto this blog or when they pop up as part of the slideshow that is my screensaver. In a case that's small enough to fit in the ridiculously small foot well of my desk, without me bashing my knee off it 6 times a day, or possibly in the shape of a laptop. I don't like laptops much, but the idea of not bashing my knee so often is very appealing. Anyway, should I suddenly disappear for a few days, (without previously bragging about an upcoming holiday) know that its probably because my PC has finally had as much as it can take, and I'm sitting somewhere writing posts on PAPER with a PENCIL while I wait for the mills of Dell (or whoever) to grind me out a new PC.

Not so Maintaining today...

Weight today: 10 st 7.5 lbs = not maintaining - BOO!!!
but I KNOW that is not justified by my eating lately so I KNOW it will come off as soon as it appeared (well, that bit is more of a hope....) so I'm trying not to panic too much. Or dive head-first into a lake of chocolate peanut butter.
I did 40 push-ups yesterday - and 45 this morning! I don't do any resistance work at the moment (no, not even my kettlebells!) and I want to - well, at least I think I should - I figure this is a start! At least I can feel the ache in my upper arms and chest muscles that don't get worked by my other training. Although doing them at work, dressed in a business suit, on the floor behind my desk may be an unusual way to incorporate new exercise ;-) (if anyone asks, I'm looking for a pen that rolled under a desk!!!) I'm slightly freakish where push-ups are concerned, even when I haven't done them for months (like yesterday) I can knock off 20 or so in one set without collapsing and dying - and I don't do the girly kind resting on my knees either (never tried the hardcore ones either mind you - no clapping / one hand / one leg / elevated feet or whatever). I can hold a plank for over a minute without any practice as well! But don't hate me, I'm too lazy to have the kind of muscles these feats imply. But maybe that's about to change, if I can just get into the habit this time...
A pretty sun-rise this morning didn't really help my mood

Food today:
All bran and strawberries. Smoothie made with 'garden fruit frozen mix' - strawberries, rhubarb, plums, blackberries and blackcurrants. Very delicious, not too sweet even though I used vanilla whey in it, which is stuffed full of artificial sweeteners.
Big salad with frozen edamame, chick peas, feta cheese and hard boiled egg for protein
Home-made soup - black bean and veg. With a hot salad of roasted vegetables tossed with mild curry paste.

Fromage frais with peaches, hummus with veggies. Red pesto houmous - too oily for me so I didn't finish it :-(

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Maintained today - yay me!
I infinitely prefer to lose weight over maintaining (I know, who doesn't?) especially when my weight is a little higher than I prefer it to be. But I believe this attitude makes it harder for me to maintain when I have reached my target weight, as I feel de-motivated. So having decided to aim to maintain just for this month, I think I will have to be a one-woman cheerleading team for myself when I do maintain. Even though next month (after my birthday on the 1st) I plan to try to trim back another 4-6 pounds or so. Who knows though - by then I may have decided I like this weight (BMI 23.something, so its a healthy weight for me). I doubt it, as my favourite 'skinny' trousers for work are just a little bit too snug in certain areas at the moment, they fit better at least 2 lbs lighter.
Food today:
The usual
Another salad with falafels, but this time I added some feta cheese as well - and I managed to remember to bring some bread & laughing cow to go with it so hopefully that will stop me rushing off after cheesecake at lunchtime. Yum! The falafels were even nicer today, I will be buying them again before long! And there was no onion of any kind today - my sinuses are still traumatised from yesterday's red onion!!!
Teriyaki tofu (already marinating in the fridge!) with a handful of prawns, a stir fry veggie pack, and buckwheat noodles if I behave until then.

Fromage frais with tinned peaches. I've replaced the raspberries & fromage frais with sweet chilli houmous & veggies - carrots, mixed bell peppers, sugar-snap peas and celery. Its a huge portion of veggies so that should be filling! EDIT: Why do I find a huge portion of veg filling (at the time) but not satisfying (for very long)? Somehow I can't help feeling they lack something - something like peanut butter, or cake! The problem might be that there wasn't enough of the houmous - I'm so hooked on this stuff, its wonderful - and I ran out half way through the veggies!

Monday, 17 August 2009

I just read the book 'Julie & Julia'. I hadn't heard of it or the blog until bloggers I read started talking about the movie, and at the weekend I found it in the library. Really enjoyed it! I started trying to think of a cook book I could follow in the same way, but I don't really have a single culinary hero of that kind so nothing (so far) really grabbed me. I know it sounds like I have no imagination when I say that, but I want to get back into rut-busting cooking next week and picking a single special cookbook would certainly help with that. Perhaps picking a different ethnicity of food would be the way to go - although then there's the hassle of trying to get hold of exotic ingredients. Maybe I should order a new cookbook (any excuse!!!). First though I should go through the ones I have, since I have several I've never cooked from and quite a few I've probably forgotten buying. It would be nice to give myself a mission to healthify the recipes too - ideally without getting obsessive about it! Hmm, now that sounds like something I could get behind - not to try to turn every recipe diet-friendly (as I really am soooo bored with dieting), just to give myself a little personal investment in the end results of the cooking. I will go through my stash of cookbooks soon I think...

Who ate my weekend?

That would be me.... I didn't go crazy binge-monstery but I did nibble all weekend long, including (over 3 days) the entire 500 ml tub of B&J's cherry garcia yoghurt. Finished myself off yesterday with half a melon (Piel de Capo or something - that sounds a bit mafia-y to me so that might be wrong!) and by bedtime I felt like my stomach looked as though I'd just tied the half melon onto my stomach, skin and all, huge bulge - I think though, that was just my paranoia working. I was bloated though!
I'm going to keep looking for my self control but I think the problem is that although I do want (very much) to lose this holiday weight I'm so DAMN BORED of thinking about dieting and feeling guilty when I eat something other than a vegetable that I can't get motivated. Especially as I have a major pig-out - AKA family barbecue - on Saturday so I already feel like this week's a blow-out for me. Why does dieting demand such overwhelming self-obsessive-ness? Even I'm fed up with my endless complaining, so its a good job no-one else knows about this blog! I'm tempted to say that I'll aim to maintain this month, and see if I regain my motivation. After all, I'm in the healthy weight / BMI range, my slim clothes still fit, and that means wanting to lose the last few pounds is more about vanity than necessity. I think that's a good plan! And as part of that plan, I'm going to institute a rut-busting WEEK next week! (Not this week, as cooking takes too long that way and I have loads of house cleaning to fit in this week getting ready for the barbecue). But next week there will be no dinners that I've cooked before, and if I can manage it, a few new lunches as well. (I will probably not change breakfast completely though, as I don't have masses of time in the mornings)
Food today:
All bran with strawberries.
Big salad with some Cauldron falafels, peppers, red onion etc. HOLY HELL I thought it was a sweet, mild red onion - I feel like it attacked my sinuses with an apple corer!!! Next time I'll soak it in cold water for 30 minutes first. Really liked the falafels though, I'm looking forward to finishing the pack tomorrow. I also had a cheesecake from the canteen. It looked weird - like a normal cheesecake that had had honey poured on top - so I bought it out of curiosity. It was actually very nice, shame really as I ate it all...
Mild turkey chilli made with a jar sauce, brown rice and another salad
Fromage frais with raspberries and peaches, a summer fruit-spinach protein smoothie, and I've got an emergency apple just in case.
Weight this morning: 10 st 6.25 lbs (146.5 lbs)

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Geiranger and waterfalls

Geiranger is considered to be the most beautiful fjord of all, and the place where Norwegians go on holiday. It was a grey morning as we arrived, and it took hours to reach the harbour as we sailed slowly down into the fjord. The scenery was amazing again, though the dull weather slightly took the edge off. (photos) We stood on deck for quite a while after I finished in the gym listening to a tannoy announcement talking about the fjord and the area. The best part was a group of 7 waterfalls on one side, and one on the other - the 7 sisters and the Suitor. In local legend, the Suitor fell in love with the youngest sister, but due to tradition he couldn't marry her until her elder sisters were married. They didn't, so he's still waiting, staring across the fjord at his love and her sisters... the waterfalls were fairly light at this time of year, apparently they flow much more heavily earlier in the wet season, so it was a little difficult to make out all 7. The suitor was more impressive!
The Suitor

The hike we did in Geiranger was AMAZING. It really was absolutely beautiful - everywhere you looked was like a postcard - only a million times more impressive.
I think we walked about 6 miles again in total, split between 2 hikes. The first was up to a waterfall - and I do mean UP!!! It was so steep they lend you sticks to help with the journey, and a few people gave up at various points along the ascent. It wasn't too much for me, but the heat made it much harder (the grey skies cleared by about 9am and it was very hot and sunny!) and I wasn't much looking forward to the return journey as the ground was fairly slippery and unstable underfoot. I have a 'thing' about walking down steep inclines - I can see exactly where I would roll if I fell, and that makes me a bit uneasy!!!
We made it to the top - M, myself, and FIL (despite the fact that he'd pulled a muscle in his leg running that morning). The waterfall was impressive and we finished by climbing down a VERY steep incline to go behind it (didn't risk photographs as my camera isn't waterproof and I was worried about spray - I fail again!!!)

The person disappearing down the side is climbing down behind the waterfall

Eventually we started back. The walk was nowhere near as bad as I had feared (isn't that always the way?) and I managed not to slip, slide, or hurtle to an early grave. At the bottom we had another lovely Norwegian waffle with some not very good coffee, then set off on a much smaller hike (but no less steep) through a goat farm (another one!) With an unexpected additional inhabitant:

We ended up at an outlook point that gave an amazing view of the ship in the fjord below. The tour guide claimed it was only a 10 minute hike, but strangely it seemed quite a bit longer - more like 25 minutes each way!
Back on the ship, we needed lunch - a waffle with cream and jam, however fattening, was not enough to fuel that kind of walk (and in my case, about 2.5 miles running in the morning as well - though I'd had a large breakfast as well). Because of the time we got back from the trip the only casual dining options were the Grill and the Pizzeria so we settled for Pizza with the remnants of salad from a buffet salad bar that hadn't been cleared yet, and fries - and onion rings - from the grill.
In the evening we had martinis for a change - then dinner in the flagship cover charge restaurant, the amazing Murano Restaurant. To be honest I would have preferred something lighter because we'd had several very substantial dinners in a row, but the cruise wasn't long enough to let us spread them out properly, and it was still incredible.
I had crab bisque to start:
Filet mignon with creamed spinach and red cabbage

and I couldn't face dessert! M had both cheese and a selection of mini desserts (they claim they're for sharing, but he didn't think they would be big enough). Beautiful though!

By that evening our legs were beginning to ache from all the hiking.... but I still had strength to admire the beautiful sunset!