ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER DIET

I’m on a diet. I’ve joined the millions of people who stuff their faces with food and alcohol during holiday festivities, feels guilty about the added kilos to the already expanding waistline and then declares that they’re serious about doing something about it. I know, I know, it’s such a clichéd New Year’s resolution.

But hear me out! This time I’m really serious. Yeah okay, roll your eyes people… get it out of the system. You’re probably thinking I’ll cave after a few weeks and regain all the lost weight after a binge-fest because that’s a typical result of fad diets.

This time I have a great incentive. No, it’s not to reduce my risk of familial diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol. No, nothing that salubrious – I’m no saint. My little brother is getting married in April, and I don’t want to look like a heffer standing next to my skinny ass aunts and cousins. I don’t want snide remarks about my weight thrown in my face, which would probably happen with my extended family.

I’ve never been slim, leaning towards the heavier side for a typical Asian woman. Since marriage and having two children, I’ve gained about 15 kgs. Being five feet tall doesn’t help either. I’ve gone from a size 10 to a size 14 over the years and while I hold the weight well, I would feel happier losing a few kilos.

I could just buy a really good tummy tucking, thigh sucking, boob shrinking shapewear spanx to create an illusion of a slimmer silhouette. Add high heels, some make-up and Bob’s your uncle… a Cinderella transformation. But I fear the minute I tuck into my meal, things might go wrong.

There’s also my fear that once I’ve managed to get into some spanx, I might not be able to take it off. What if I needed to pee? Imagine being stuck in the loo and calling someone to find a pair of scissors to extract you? Imagine the mortification of leaving the toilet looking dumpier than when you went in?!

So I have no choice. I have to lose weight. I’m three weeks into this low-carb, low-fat, no-fun diet and I thought I’d share how I’ve fared.


DIET JOURNAL

Week One:
I started the diet a couple of days before New Year’s Day. I wish I hadn’t because instead of drinking and binge-eating on New Year’s, I had to be good. Good feels overrated at this point.

I refuse to medicate for the b$tch of a headache that won’t go away. I’m cranky, tired and need nana naps. It doesn’t help that I’ve cut caffeine from the diet. Why did I do that? Sucker for punishment, that’s me!

I’m hungry ALL the time. I go to bed hungry. I wake up hungry. My tummy rumbles a lot, but I do my best to ignore it.

I’ve switched to almond milk. It’s not too bad. I’m drinking roobois tea. Roi-what? Yeah, I have no idea what kind of hippy tea my husband’s got me drinking, but it’s better than nothing.

Week Two:
It’s finally sunk in. There won’t be anymore McDonald’s, UberEats, KFC, ice-cream or potato chips, just a lot of watching other people eating it.

But the good thing is that I no longer feel tired and headachey. I think my tummy has shrunk. My pants and skirts aren’t feeling so tight around the waist. I’m not so bloated anymore.

I bought a set of scales and surprise… I’ve lost two kilos. Or maybe I’m just dehydrated. Tough call.

Week Three:
I’m so over eggs and salad. I’m starting to crave starches in any form. The smell of bread has me salivating. The sight of potatoes in fried or roasted form makes me want to stuff my face and throw in the towel.

I bought Hot Flamin’ Cheetos and have them in the pantry just taunting me (Not sure why I did that!). I see the scales in the bathroom, and I don’t think I’ve hated anything more in this world but I can’t put it away (Not healthy, I know!).

I’ve had a few cheat meals but have kept my overall calorie intake low (I think). I’ve lost 3.5 kilos. I tried justifying to my husband that it should warrant a Cheetos binge. He didn’t agree.

I’ve got 13 weeks until the wedding and 11.5 kgs left to lose. You reckon I’ll make it? I bloody hope so cos I fully intend to binge the day after the wedding.


FOOD DIARY

Breakfast:
Scrambled eggs with sautéed mushrooms, spinach and cherry tomatoes
Banana
Fried eggs
Greek yoghurt
Sautéed spinach and capsicum with a sausage and fried egg
Half a baked avocado with an egg

Lunch:
Mixed salad with shredded carrot, cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes and chicken
Mixed salad with shredded carrot, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, tuna and a small amount of cheese
Caesar salad with no croutons and minimal dressing
Spinach with shredded carrot, cucumber and a small amount of low-fat feta

Dinner:
Cauliflower rice replaces all rice meals
Sliced zucchini replaces all pasta meals
No root vegetables except for carrots
Low-fat dairy products

Drinks:
Almond milk rooibos tea
Water

Snacks:
Any fruit
Sunflower seeds
Mixed nuts

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PROJECT HEALTHY EATING

People deal with stress in all manner of ways; meditation, nature immersion, exercise, getting support through conversation, spending time with family and friends, writing, KFC. Each to their own and hopefully, in non-destructive ways. My coping mechanism involves keeping busy to prevent my mind from rumination. Left to my own devices, I tend to wallow in self-pity and catastrophic thoughts.

Given that I’m currently experiencing stress at peak levels, I needed some “projects” to me busy. When I received an email from Henry’s childcare stating that parents could to do small jobs in lieu of the contribution levy, I put my name forth. The wrapping of Christmas presents was my first choice, but that was snatched up within two minutes of the email being sent. So the next best option was the sewing of sheets for the children’s bedding. This seemed easy enough, how hard could mending a few sheets be?

Little did I know when I accepted the job that I would be making the sheets from scratch! One of the parents had come up with a brilliant plan to use queen sized sheets, cut up into parts to make the children’s bedding. From one queen sized sheet, three sheets with a cover could be made. I was given enough materials to make eighteen sheets. To have the levy refunded, the parent only needed to volunteer two hours of their time.

Three parts of a queen sized sheet. Most sides needed double fold hemming.

I am no seamstress. I’m an amateur at best! It took me roughly an hour to make one sheet and cover! Being the person that I am, I couldn’t return the unfinished sheets and so I’m making all eighteen. It helps Henry’s childcare, the children have new bedding for the upcoming year and it keeps me busy. A win for everyone. Hopefully, the stitching lasts one cycle in the wash!

Lots of inside out, outside in stitching and hemming.
Final product.

In addition to this, I decided an overhaul of the family meals was in order. I banned all take-away, eating out and processed meats. I changed everything to low-fat (except for the kids), high fibre white bread to wholemeal and white rice to brown. I reduced the red meat intake to once weekly, added more fibre, fruit and vegetables to the meals, and cut out all junk snacks. Extreme? Probably, but I don’t do things by halves and this keeps me preoccupied.

I think the family have accepted some of the changes rather well, despite the reactions and comments that I have received so far. Initially, I was dealing with this:

Henry (3 y.o.), gagging with each mouthful of veggies.
“I’m not eating that! No way!”
“This makes me want to vomit!”
“Where’s the meat?”
“No vegetables. Yuck!”

Mandy (7 y.o.), eating only after negotiating TV deals.
“This is disgusting!”
“Do I have to eat it all?”
“How many more spoonfuls?”
“If I eat this, can I watch TV?”

Gary (hubby), eating only after I gave him my death glares.
“This is so bland!”
“I’ve lost two kilos!”
“We can’t go from high calorie meals to this!”
“This isn’t a race. It’s a marathon!”
“Make smaller changes and make it stick!”

Now, I claim victory with these wins:
1. The kids think All Bran cereal tastes like chips (poor sods).
2. The kids haven’t noticed the change to wholemeal bread.
3. The lack of available snacks has meant everyone is reaching for fruit, seaweed, nuts and Greek yoghurt instead.
4. The kids are picking at the salads whereas before they wouldn’t touch it.
5. Everyone loves the homemade air-fried potato fries.

In light of the success thus far, I was thinking of branching out and trying new things. Like organic produce and introducing different mushrooms and tofu. Maybe even trial kale?

Could this push us into the realm of too fast too soon? I do wonder if I can keep up this diet or whether my body will just chuck a fit and force my mouth to feast on all those forbidden foods.

Maybe this time, I won’t have to come clean about my secret stash of Cheesels and Aero Mints or explain why they’re hidden in my underwear tub. Only time will tell.

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LUNCH

Anyone on a budget would know that a surefire way of saving some coin is by packing your work lunch. People will tell you it’s healthier and there is the added bonus of reducing food wastage by eating leftovers. Plus health nuts will tell you that buying a salad drenched in salad dressing will give you a bunch of unwanted calories.

So being the good mum that I try to be, I pack myself an adult sized version of the kid’s school lunches.

A piece of fruit, some low-fat yoghurt, a ham salad sandwich, a handful of crackers and water. Done. Perfectly acceptable nutritious meal.

After all, being a parent means being a role model and you should practice what you preach right?

So as I stop into the bakery nearby work and grab myself a full cream mocha and an egg and bacon roll, I justify it to myself that it’s a necessary evil. I was too busy with the morning rush to have a proper breakfast. And we all know that having breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What’s ten dollars to the budget?

Lunch rolls around and I realise that I left my healthy lunch at home. Was my subconscious mind trying to sabotage my healthy eating? Probably.

I line up with the masses and order myself some overly priced rice paper rolls. If I have to buy lunch then I might as well treat myself. I’ve jumped into a pool of denial and it looks like I’m staying. What’s another fifteen dollars? We’ve blown the budget and the healthy diet anyway. I eat my oh-so yummy meal and push that twinge of guilt deep deep down.

The afternoon flunk creeps up on me and I need a chocolate. The very same chocolate I tell my daughter she shouldn’t have because there’s too much sugar and sugar is the damn devil!

I deliberate for all of about a minute on the pros and cons of unwanted calories. Oh heck! Who am I kidding? I’m eating that damn chocolate.

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