I’ve had a fun six weeks since my last update. Two sun soaked weeks in Barbados before returning two weeks Christmas when the Christmas parties and get togethers were in full swing. Was I a good girl ? Well apart from several bottles of wine and rum drunk over this period I tried to be good on the food front trying to avoid bread, pasta, sugars and potatoes.
Suffice to say it wasn’t easy. . .
Let’s start with the fight to Barbados. It was the first time I have travelled long haul with British Airways. I have previously flown with Virgin, Continental, Singapore and Quantas airlines, to name a few, and I was expecting comfort, good food and service with a smile from BA. Boy, was I wrong. The plane was dirty, small and cramped with little room to walk around, something I like to do on a long flight.
Although the staff regularly brought around water we were offered just two alcoholic drinks and by the time they got to me they had run out of one of the dishes for lunch so bangers and mash it had to be. I opened the tray of food which consisted of a roll and butter, sausages, mash potato and vegetables with cheesecake for dessert. So the only thing I could really eat were the vegetables and I could possibly get away with the sausages. This was a nine hour flight so I ate all the main meal leaving the roll and cheesecake. To be fair the bangers and mash were nicer than I expected. I felt quite virtuous having resisted the cheesecake and roll but not so five hours later when we were getting hungry and enquired whether there would be anything further to eat. Just a cuppa and a mini chocolate bar we were told. "Cutbacks". We were flabbergasted. I succumbed and chose a Soreen Malt loaf bar in the hope that I it was better than chocolate. To exacerbate how we felt about the service the empty cups of water and drink containers were not collected until the end of the flight so we had to sit in our rubbish. Certainly not what I expected from BA.
When we compared our flight with some friends who had flown over to Barbados on Virgin with copious amount of alcohol, two meals and snacks we felt even more disappointed. The flights had cost virtually the same but the only reason we chose BA was because the flight times were better. We had expected the same quality of service. The result of this sad service means I am going to avoid flying with BA in the future.
Ok, enough of a moan about the flight let’s get back to the food and drink.
We get off the plane and are met by our friend and a local tour guide who greets us with the devil’s brew of Rum Punch which he makes himself. He said it was the best on the island and I have to agree, it was delicious, and on the first day I enjoyed it in various establishments but when I took my blood sugar level the next day it had shot up into double figures and that is when I found out how much sugar syrup must go into making the drink. Regrettably I had to avoid it the rest of the holiday. I stuck to drinking wine and rum with diet coke. I limited the number of cocktails I drank, usually a must on holiday, for the same reason, I didn’t know what sugar they contained.
The big thing I found difficult about sticking to the diet was eating out. Being with three other ladies who were also health conscious made it easy to stick to salad, protein and vegetables when we stayed in and cook. When we went out there was always potatoes, bread and the dessert to resist. Luckily fish is a staple food in Barnados and I enjoyed eating Flying fish, Marlin, Sword fish and red snapper accompanied with lots of vegetables. If the dish automatically came with potatoes of any sort I would just ask for more vegetable. What I did find hard to resist, and in fact wanted to try, were the traditional Bajan dishes: fish cakes, macaroni pie, breadfruit, rum cake and the list goes on. I love to try new local dishes so I did. A bit like the Rum Punch, I only checked the carb content on breadfruit AFTER I ate it and again was horrified at how many carbs there were in 100g (27g carbs). Luckily I didn't like it and was happy not to eat it again, unlike the other dishes I tried.
I must have done something right because considering how much we partied I only put on 1lb which I took off pretty much the day I after I returned to Bristol when I went back to my new eating habits in earnest.
Would I go back to Barbados ? Definitely. It was one of the best holidays I have had. The weather was amazing, the food delicious but the thing that really made it special was that the people are super friendly.
Breakfast - Mexican Hash
Dinner - Pumpkin soup, Fish Pie and a slither of Malteser Cheesecake
Steps - 7,103
Total Weight Lost 1st 1lb
Today I continue to sort out my clothes and shoes. I now have another pile of things I am going to try and sell on-line. I've selected some items that were expensive at the time that I have only worn a few times. I used to sell a lot on e-bay in the past and found it can be time-consuming and dis-heartening. You spend time taking photographs, writing descriptions, packing items up and posting them for pennies sometime. It is so far in the past I that I am willing to give it another go. Although if I haven't posted them by next weekend they will be going in the charity pile too.
Tonight it is ladies dining night. About 10 of my female friends who have known each other since before we had children meet up once a month. We take it in turns to cook dinner for everyone. Those who don't want to cook can buy fish and chips or do other things. It is more about getting together. We used to see each other regularly when our children were young, camping trips, holidays and parties but as our children have grown up and individually we have had time to pursue other interests we meet up less so it is a nice way to make sure we keep in touch and they are always such good fun. None of the ladies have seen me since I started the diet and they all say how well I look. One of the other ladies there tonight has cut out sugar since the start of the year and we talk about recipes and she gives me some tips.
The food tonight is scrumptious. The pumpkin soup to start with is amazing and we all ask for the recipe. This was followed by a delicious fish pie and I put half the potato topping to one side. The dessert was an amazing Malteser Cheesecake which I had heard so many good things about so had a tiny slither to taste. I accompanied this with 3 glasses of Prosecco and then walked home. It made me feel less guilty.
Total Weight Lost 1 stone 1 lb
Whoop whoop, New batteries in the scales and I've now lost over the stone. It is definitely a dance around the bathroom moment. I text my son and daughter as they are really supportive and have shown a real interest in how I am doing. I seem to be losing a steady 2-3 lbs a week but strangely I seem to plateau out and then drop the weight all at once. If it is going down then I am not complaining. Another 2lbs and I would have lost 10% of my starting weight.
I go to a friends straight from work as my son want to have friends around. I think the football is on. When I get home I am still excited by my weight loss and open up the boxes that I've put aside with the clothes that were slightly uncomfortable to wear. I usually say if I can't fit into them in six months I will take them to charity but I can never bring myself to part with them and the boxes just become dust collectors. But now it is different. I try them on and they fit, look nice and I'm overly excited. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a clothes-a-holic and I start putting aside some dresses for holiday and those I don't want to take I put in piles to lend to some friends. I even start a pile to take to charity !!
At about 1.30am I disturb my son who thinks the house is being burgled.
Son - "Mum, what are you doing ?"
Me - "Packing for holiday"
Son - "When are you going ?"
Me - "In two weeks"
Son - "GET TO BED MUM!!"
Don't you just hate it when your kids are more sensible then you are ?
a happy Breakfast - Portobello toasts with wilted spinach and chick peas
Lunch - Harissa meatballs with yoghurt dip
Dinner - Asparagus soup
Steps - 6,107
Total Weight Lost - 12lbs
I'm not a happy bunny. I jumped on the scales this morning and they didn't work. For some reason the batteries have gone I don't have any spare ones. Sad face here.
Today's harissa meatballs are one of the more delish dishes on the diet. Tasty, spicy and piquant. A definite entry into my recipe book. I don't miss having pasta, potatoes, bread or rice with my meals. It is bizarre how I used to feel in the past that if I didn't have some form of carbs with my meal I would get hungry when the truth is it is the protein that I eat that keeps me fuller for longer.
Another thing I have noticed on the diet is that food tastes much better. Having cut out the refined sugar I feel my taste buds have been reset. The flavours of vegetable and sweetness of the berries pop when I eat them. I don't enjoy sweet things as much they taste much to sweet to me. I don't feel as hungry as I have done in the past even though I am eating a lot less. Before this I would get hungry every few hours and I now realise that this was my body crying out for its next 'fix' of sugar after coming down from its sugar spike.
Sadly the deadly effects of sugar was identified by Professor John Yudkin in 1972 when he wrote his book ' Pure, white and Deadly' but his findings were ridiculed and his career ruined after this was published. Why ? Because just before this book was published nutritionists had linked heart disease to high fat diet and the food industry had devised low-fat products that were full of sugar and discredited his work. The current climate is a complete u-turn and there is now plenty of evidence to show how bad and addictive sugar is for us.
Breakfast - Blueberries and yoghurt
Lunch - Aparagus Soup
Dinner - Coconut vegetable curry with cauliflower rice
Steps - 7,984
Total Weight Lost 12lbs
This is week 4 and I am falling into a nice routine. I don't stick to the plan rigidly and I have swapped out some of the recipes I don't like with some I do. After trying the cauliflower rice again with the curry I have decided I definitely only like my cauliflower with cheese sauce and NOT pretending to be rice, mash or anything else. In fact, next time I will put it in the vegetable curry rather than process it into pretend rice.
I haven't been a saint and it seems to be more like 5 days following the diet and 2 days more relaxed but I am still feeling and seeing the benefits. I've noticed my body changing, and so have my friends and family. I have been called glowing and people have commented on how good my skin looks.
Many people I speak to assume that as a diabetic I only need to stay away from sugary food and are surprised when I tell them that I need to keep away from high carb foods too. Starchy foods like bread, rice or potatoes are broken down by digestion into surprisingly large amounts of sugar; a small slice of wholemeal bread is equivalent to three spoonful’s of sugar.
One of the things I have noticed on this diet is that I eat much less fruit than I used to do. I would have 4-5 pieces of fruit a day and wouldn't think twice about eating a punnet of grapes. I was thinking I was being good but it probably did nothing to help with my diabetes. Nowadays I stick to a few berries with breakfast and get my 5-a-day through lots of veggies. Another thing I love about the diet is being able to eat full fat natural yoghurt. It tastes so much more rich than the 0% fat ones I used to eat before and very satisfying.
Breakfast - Portabello toast with goat's cheese and chive
Dinner- Salmon Salad
Steps - 10,600
Total weight lost 12lbs
This week I haven't lost anything. I am not disappointed. Going out with the kids for halloween and my friend staying the weekend has meant I have been more relaxed about the diet. The positives are
- I haven't gained any weight and that I feel I have learnt some new habits. I definitely have cut back on my alcohol and know I can still enjoy a night out with only two glasses of wine. It is still a mental leap for me to think about giving it up completely but I know if push came to shove and it was a choice of alcohol or stopping metformin I would give it up. At the moment I hope I can reach my goal without having to totally give up wine.
- The second positive is that my stomach has shrunk and my portion sizes have reduced and I don't miss having the potato and bread dishes when I go out for a meal and I am happy with just meat and veg.
- The third positive is that a lot of people are reading my blog and it is inspiring them to do something too. It also helps to keep me focused knowing that people are rooting for me.
Apart from the weight loss I have lost 4 inches off my waist and 1.5 inches off my hips.
So this week is time to get focused and get back on track.
Breakfast - Scrambled eggs
Lunch - Apple and stilton salad starter, chicken milanese with spinach main
Steps - 3,093
Total weight lost 12lbs
We leave Weston earlyish as our lunch reservation for the Ivy is at 13.30 and I have received an email saying that they would only hold the table for 15 minutes so we need to get ready and there on time.
As this is a 'special' occasion I have decided to be a bit more relaxed about my diet today, although to be fair all week has been a little off track. We arrive at the restaurant a little early and order cocktails while we wait for our table. I love cocktails but trying to find one with no sugar syrup or fruit juice is quite difficult. Fruit juice is not recommended if you have diabetes as a juice is full of sugar and causes a sugar spike. If you eat fruit then the fibre in the whole fruit helps to regulate the sugar level in the blood making it less harmful for a diabetic.
I opt for a Cosmopolitan which has a dash of cranberry in it. All the cocktails taste amazing. The atmosphere in the restaurant is relaxed, although it is busy and the waiters are friendly and attentive. I choose my starter and main staying clear of lots of potatoes, pasta and bread. I have a glass of red with my meal. I don't finish all my chicken as I've got used to smaller portions and after eating half I am full. There was a time I would have forced myself to finish it. As a child my Mum would not let us leave food on our plates telling us to think of the 'starving children in the world'. For a long time into my adulthood I would eat everything to the point that I would feel really uncomfortable. Not these days. I stop when I am full.
The dessert menus come around and they sound so tempting when I read the descriptions Mini chocolate truffles with a mini caramel centre, Creme brulee with a sugar crust, Melting chocolate bombe with a vanilla ice cream and honeycomb centre with hot salted caramel sauce all things that would have set my mouth dribbling in the past. But now all I am thinking is how much sugar is in that ? I forego a dessert and have an armagnac instead which I know has no carbs. One of my friends orders the chocolate bombe and it looks and smells amazing and when it melts under the hot salted caramel sauce part of me is envious but not enough to order my own, another friend changes her mind about the cheese and biscuits she has ordered and goes for the bombe.
We chat and laugh and catch up with the gossip and as evening draws in a few have to leave. The rest of the crew wander over to Wellbournes, the restaurant mentioned to us by the girl on the train. When we enter we see the girl and she introduces us to her boyfriend and we get him to choose a bottle of white wine for us. We decide on a Soave wine which he describes as having pear tones and a great wine to drink without food. We are not disappointed. I restrict myself to one glass and we talk to him about the restaurant, food and wine. We ask to see a menu and notice that it is quite unusual and he talks about the creation of the dishes and is so passionate about the food that we order two desserts for us to share. This time I am not thinking how much sugar is there in it because these are ones that I can enjoy - Solliès figs, mascarpone, sage & fresh honeycomb. This was a light refreshing dessert with just a smattering of fresh honeycomb and definitely moreish. The second dish we tried was a savoury dessert created as an alternative to a cheese board - Black pudding tart, Devon blue & turnip tops. This was also quite light and lovely. The guys who have opened this restaurant used to work in Michelin Star restaurants and I feel they are adding another dimension to the restaurant choices in Bristol. We will definitely be back after Christmas.
So I've had a lovely weekend. I have indulged a bit on the wine but in comparison to the 1-2 bottles I would have drank in the past on the night out it has been very controlled and food wise I have managed to stay away from the pasta, potato, bread and sweet desserts. I don't feel I've missed out. I do feel that I am on the path to something sustainable that I can do the rest of my life.
Breakfast - Blueberries and yoghurt
Dinner - Teriyaki chiken salad
Steps - 10,290
Total weight lost 12lbs
I get up early today to make a chicken salad for the three of us going to Salsa on the Pier. I marinade the chicken in a Teriyaki sauce and add ginger, soy sauce and chilli powder for a little kick. I make a salad with red and white cabbage mixed with spring onions, red wine vinegar and fresh lime juice. I usually use red onions but I am conscious that we are going salsa dancing so don't want us to have bad onion breathes. After adding them I'm not convinced spring onions are any better but hey ho, they are in there. I put this salad on a layer of spinach and add a spoonful each of hummus and puy lentils before adding the cooked chicken. I've told the girls if they want any additional carbs like crisps, bread or pasta they will need to bring there own. I also take some blueberries in yogurt for myself.
I get picked up and rush out of the house after giving my daughter a big goodbye hug as she is returning to uni today. We are staying in Weston tonight so I pick up the food and my suitcase. Halfway there I realise I have forgotten my shoes. I had them in a separate bag so it would be easy to get them out for the wokshops . Do we turn back or go on. I know the girls are keen to do Angus's Pachanga class so I say to go on and I google to see whether there are any dance shops in Weston but I am secretly hoping that someone would be at the Pier selling shoes.
When we get there I am told there are no shoe sellers today and I leave the girls to the Pachanga and set off to find the dance shop. When I get there I am perturbed because the shop window is full of children's ballet gear. A panicky thought flashes in my head. What if there are no salsa shoes ? I go in and to my relief they have some shoes on show. Not a lot of choice but I manage to find a pair I like and also pick up a pair of jazz shoes just in case they start pinching.
I make it back to do the rest of the afternoon workshops, which were amazing. I take Susan Montero's ladies styling class. Her ladies styling video was the first one I ever bought and I am impressed with her teaching style and body movement. Her way of explaining how to do a body roll was the easiest I have ever encountered.
I eat my salad quite late and whilst one of my friends enjoys fish and chips on the way back to the hotel I manage to resist. I do have a glass of wine whilst getting ready for the evening party and another once I get there but on the whole I am quite pleased with the way I have managed my food and drink today.
Breakfast - Blueberries, yoghurt and almonds
Lunch - Chicken salad
Dinner - Salt and pepper squid with aioli
Steps - 9,262
Total Weight Lost 12 lbs
This weekend is going to be a challenge for me to stay on track. My friend Anne from work is coming to stay the weekend. We are going to Salsa on the Pier on Saturday and to the Ivy with a few other friends on Sunday so it is going to be hard for me to stick to the diet but I am going to try to follow the principles as much as I can.
The earliest train we can get back is the 7.30pm as that is when the peak time fares from Paddington so we go to Zizzi's after work for some food. I don't feel too hungry. It is surprising how use I am to smaller portions now. I choose a starter dish of salt and pepper squid with and aioli dip and I also indulge in a rum and coke. I've worked out spirits have lower carbs than one, although sometimes only wine will do.
After our meal we manage to secure seats on the train which was lucky as the train was packed with people standing in the aisles. Then disaster strikes and the train lets off a warning signal. When we get to Didcot Parkway we are told that the train is going no further. We all pile out onto the platform on a cold winter's evening, feeling a tad a exasperated. We are herded onto the next train and as many as is able are shovelled into the aisles but there are still people left on the platform. Always, when adversity strikes, people lose their barriers and help and chat with each other. Ann and I get chatting to a girl who has made a cake for her boyfriend. He is a Sommelier and has just moved to Bristol to open a restaurant in Bristol called Wellbounes which is by the Ivy in the Mall and we say that we will pop in after our lunch on Sunday to check it out.
We get home at 10pm and I console myself with a cheeky glass of wine, this was a time only wine would do!!
Breakfast - Bacon, eggs, sausages and mushrooms
Lunch - Crumpet and peanut butter
Dinner - Tuna salad
Steps - 12,597
Total weight lost 12lbs
I leave the Doctor's surgery elated. The nurse says I am a star. I have received the results from my blood test on Monday and my HBA1c levels have dropped to 44 which is now in the Prediabetes level. I am aiming for a normal level which is between 22 and 38. My levels have fallen by 10 already in the 3.5 weeks I have been on the diet, and anyone who has been following me knows that I have had bad days, but it is working. The best news is that I can come off gliclazide !! One tablet down already and another pound loss.
I will have another test in 4 months and at the same time my cholesterol will be checked. Fingers crossed that I can keep this up and achieve the results I want. Yes, it has taken more than crossed fingers to get here and some discipline but today's results put me on cloud nine.