Tag Archives: diet

Sirtfood diet: week 1

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It’s been a million years since I posted on this blog, which is basically a repository for random thoughts on marathons, motherhood and marriage (and alliteration 101), but having survived Week 1 of the Sirtfood diet, I wanted to note my thoughts in case I ever come back to it. So:

  • Weight loss: Last Monday 63.8kgs. Today (a week later) 61.4kgs. So 2.6kgs lost (5lbs 11 ozs). Not bad, though not the 7lbs as advertised (and I can’t believe it was all because of a microscopic slice of DS1’s birthday cake yesterday).
  • Trend: Most of it came off unsurprisingly in the first couple of days (3 juices & 1 meal), and for the second half of week 1 (2 juices & 2 meals) I’ve stayed the same at between 61.6 and 61.4. Frankly I’ll be surprised if much happens for the next couple of weeks, not least because:
  • The portion sizes: are enormous! Which is good because when you’re just on one meal a day it has been useful to hold some back and finish it later. (Maybe this was where I went wrong?) Also not helped by the fact that…
  • The recipes: are delicious. Who’d have thought one could have combined kale, rocket, red onion and a few other bits and pieces in so many different ways (though I do seem to have spent hours in the kitchen peering over my laptop (Kindle version of the book, no pictures)). The recipes have definitely been an unexpected bonus, for both DH and me, and we’ll definitely be cooking many of them again.
  • Sleep: another surprise bonus. I didn’t think I normally slept particularly badly but I’ve noticed that I’ve slept really well this week (to the extent that DH heard the children first HA HA), APART from the one night on which I had a tiny glass of red wine. So some of it is probably the absence of alcohol, and also, possibly, the absence of carbs in an evening meal.
  • Green juice: After spending day 1 vigorously squashing blended leaves through a sieve I gave up and spent a fortune on a juicer. This works pretty well (certainly better than a sieve) but I get no where near the amount of juice the Sirtfood authors say I should expect, even if I shove in extra kale. I have small hands so maybe ‘a large handful’ is worth two of mine. Anyway, I have stopped worrying unduly about it as it is totally revolting (particularly with matcha tea), so I juice what I’m told and swallow it as quickly as possible. And then break out the 85% dark chocolate as a chaser (it’s incredible how long one can make two cubes last…)
  • Exercise:  I went for a run for the first couple of days in the morning according to my normal routine, but when I ran on day 3 it was a disaster. I really felt weak and feeble and kept find excuses (mud, shoelaces, tights falling down) to stop and walk. For the second half of the week I had the family sore throat and so didn’t do much exercise at all (again, was that a factor in it not ‘working’ perfectly?) But this morning I felt a bit better and I managed to stagger out, and I imagine that I’ll feel back to normal in that department from now.

Today is the beginning of the final fortnight, which has the joy of involving three meals a day, though I am going to try to apply some common sense and try to be mindful of my fullness, rather than my usual ‘just in case’ approach to eating (ie “At some point in the future I may never see a cake again so I’d better eat as much of this as I can just in case.”)

In general though, the introduction to Sirtfoods has been a success. My waist is certainly slimmer, which is what I was concerned about after Christmas, but most surprising has been discovery of my own willpower and my ability to really NOT EAT all the usual suspects: cakes, chocolate, children’s sweets, puddings. Even yesterday when I had some birthday cake (I had made the blasted thing after all, and it was a good one), to have been able to stop at a small slice, and That Be OK was transformational. The first few days were definitely hard while I was at home working, where usually I’d have been sustained by lattes and biscuits, but with lots of distractions (including the daily visit to the supermarket on the kale run) I managed.

I’ve never been a great fan of diets (though the 5:2 was a success), and don’t care particularly about not losing 7lbs etc, but this has been particularly useful for just kickstarting a trend for healthier eating, and hopefully reversing a weight-change and midriff growth that was slowly but surely heading in the wrong direction. Sure, I could have just eaten better anyway, but for me having a definite day to start a new regime, and a challenge of getting through the first few days has worked. I feel as if I have eaten super-healthily, I feel slimmer generally, and if this diet has done nothing other than recalibrate my sweet tooth (even if only for a while), that in itself has been a colossal achievement.

Roll on this next fortnight!

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The 5:2 intermittent fasting diet: 3 weeks in

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So I am writing this EXTREMELY hungrily and grumpily, on the second fasting day of this week, having had today:

  • 1 choc hobnob at about 11
  • soup + sandwich at lunch
  • 1 choc hobnob at about 4.

I forgot to take my multivitamin pill at lunch, the aim of which is to supplement the hobnobs, but I don’t think that would have made any difference to my mental state this evening. I know that using up about 30% of my calorie intake on chocolate biscuits is not ideal, but, hey, I’ve been in charge of 2 children under 4 (plus a sick DH lolling around the house), and it’s been pouring with rain, and tempers have been strained…

How’s it gone so far? Well on days like today I would chew off my right arm for a nutritious meal, plus chocolate, but I know it’s almost bedtime I and should just be able to stagger through until tomorrow morning as long as I’m horizontal and asleep. In weight-loss terms, it made a bit of a difference at the start, and slowly my average weight is still edging down. My hip/waist size shrunk a bit at the start, though still not enough to get me into the W-dress (which I’ve now bought!! da-daaa!! (another story)), but I’m going to start running and hula-hooping again and see if that makes a difference. Chart inserted..

Observations so far:

  • Mondays and Thursdays seem the best fast days; I couldn’t do anything with just 1 day’s break in between.
  • On non-fast days I’m finding myself a bit disappointed with the quality of food I’m shoving down. There’s a bit of a crisp craving that goes on, and then I think hoorah I can eat my weight in chocolate, and then I just feel a bit oily and have a Benecol. I’m going to try to ensure I eat some quality savoury stuff, and my meals are interesting.
  • I cannot see myself sticking to a 600 calorie limit, as inputted on my iPhone, twice a week for the rest of my life… I would like to be free to finish the children’s jambalaya at 5.30pm, if I’m hungry, and they don’t want it. But I can see that days when maybe breakfast is late, or dinner’s skipped, would be fine, without any raging cataclysm occurring.
  • It is HARD to fast when you’re at home, cooking and feeding children, and everyone’s getting cross. DH has a much easier time in the office, he says, as long as he keeps himself busy over lunch. This blog post was interrupted by a phonecall on a work matter, and suddenly my spirit improved (shows how bad today was, when talking about data analytics is a cheer-up), and 50mins had gone by without me uttering any sarcastic comments to DH or skulking around the kitchen picking up crumbs with my finger tip (“it’s so microscopic it can’t possibly have any calories”.)

So there we go. On to the next 3 weeks. Just hope my DNA is doing some good bloomin’ regeneration work.

Oh, another plus point – not eating in the evening does free up an enormous amount of time, and saves on washing up. Extraordinary!

On starting intermittent fasting: Day 1

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Now that the half-marathon is done and dusted (did I mention that I was amazing?), it’s time to turn my attention to physiological challenges.

Since The Day of The Engagement (which happened to be the day of the First Run) in March this year, I’ve been running almost every other day, as well as trying to stick to 1800 calories/day (as assiduously logged through the myfitnesspal iPhone app). I’ve lost about 8kgs (a stone and a bit), helped by the odd stomach trouble and tonsillitis, but for the last month or so have been pottering reasonably happily around the 62-63 kgs level. The target, though, is 60kgs – the weight I was in my uncharacteristic Year of Fitness – a blip in my life when I walked and ran a lot, and met DH. Oh how drole his comments are that he took me on ‘under false pretences‘ as he pats the belly that has borne two of his babies.

Nevertheless, I will admit that there’s still quite a lot of cushioning around my lithe athletic core.

I hate dieting, and I didn’t count calorie counting as a diet, as I still rammed down lots of chocolate and HobNobs. My key changes were having puddings in a ramekin dish instead of a dessert bowl (it’s quite amazing how much sticky toffee you can cram in a little dish if you try), and weighing  out my cereal to the recommended 30g of Bran Flakes every morning (it turned out my default helping was about 60g, plus banana..)

However, it was slightly alarming to watch Michael Mosley in the BBC Horizon programme a couple of months ago, Eat, Fast and Live Longer discuss the impact that your weight and eating style has on your propensity to suffer from the primary diseases of middle-old age: cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc. OK, this wasn’t a great surprise – but I definitely wasn’t aware of the potential impact that fasting could have on your brain cells, in that sporadic bouts of hunger reportedly trigger new neurons to grow. Basically, sample mice on intermittent fasting were developing Alzheimers a lot later than those on a constant fast food diet (poor mice).

We have come to parenthood late in life and I would really prefer not to be a doddery old burden in years to come.

So here we go: two days of ‘fasting’ a week (ie a diet of 500-600 calories), and eat what you like on the normal days. This morning I had my blood pressure, blood glucose levels and cholesterol checked at the local pharmacies (Sainsburys of all places is offering free cholesterol checks at the mo); all were within the normal range so that was fine, and the pharmacists were happy with the plan. I’ve also measured my abdominal fat (nice) – basically my waist/hip ratio is bigger than it should be – so that’ll be the key thing I hope will improve, as that is a risk for future health.

And this is what I ate:

Breakfast: nothing (this did not sit well with me; I’m a breakfast like a king kind of person)

Lunch of pasta, a massive courgette from the garden, ham, a measley teaspoon of pesto, a sprinkle of parmesan, and LOADS of black pepper. 350 cals. After eating nothing all morning, this got me a bit overexcited and I then succumbed to two cubes of Dairy Milk (total 50cals). That was an error.

Afternoon tea. It would have been foolhardy to have eschewed all tea-time treats altogether (especially as I had a big report to write, and needed some cheering up). 100 cals.

Dinner. 100 cals.

Apart from forgetting to pick up DS1 from nursery, and then forgetting which DS I had to collect from DS2’s nursery, the day has gone reasonably well. The key is keeping yourself busy. It was definitely easier to manage not eating when out and about with the boys this morning, rather than a long afternoon in front of the computer. And what extra blogging hours have been freed up this evening without the chore of having to feed oneself? !

Huzzah!

And roll on breakfast…