21 Pounds / Starting all Over

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So. Here we are again.

Another Monday awash with good intentions and unrealistic optimism for the week ahead. My posts of a year ago tell me that I was 12st 7lb (average) back then – and rather less delighted about it than I should have been. I’m much less delighted now as my hulking mass of 14 stone stares guiltily at the screen in front, and I can feel every pound of my gain spilling uncomfortably out of my clothes. I’ve had to go up a jeans size, and even at that – things are more snug than they ought to be. This is the first time since 2009 I have experienced any sustained weight gain, and I’m not fucking happy about it. But who’s to blame? Nobody but me. Yet again, piles of reasons but no excuse. I just don’t have that fanatical discipline, the desire to whip up new dishes, the effortless determination that I had when I started Slimming World. The longing to be thin and toned is still there, but I seem to be sub-consciously avoiding any and all steps to logically achieving this. The ‘bad’ foods addiction is well and truly gripping me, and I can’t seem to break the spell.

 

It’s all so dramatic this, isn’t it? Any rational person would just shut the fuck up and get on with it. Not saying I’m totally irrational, but my behaviour at the minute in terms of nutrition is anything but sensible. The change? Life has changed totally. From 2008 until March of this year, I spent my days working in a job that I didn’t particularly enjoy, that didn’t engage me, and afforded me time to concentrate on food and on exercise. Now, I have my own business – a fucking food business. Probably not the smartest move for a fat bastard, but the only move I ever wanted to make in terms of a career. It’s great though, and I’m enjoying it, but it’s like a heroin addict setting up a needle store. It is literally wall to wall temptation. Scones, cakes, traybakes, chocolate, ice cream…..and that’s just the sweet stuff. I also stock an impressive butchers sausage, best eaten with bbq sauce and melted cheese. Proper bread. Floury baps. The works. A 21 pound gain probably isn’t that bad all things considered, but still. For all the naughty deliciousness, I also have healthy alternatives. All my soups are syn-free, as is my stew. I have free flowing baked potatoes and salad! Do I want to eat them? Do I fuck! Do I want to be a tubby bastard though? No.

Another big change is the amount of free time I have now. I don’t really have a great deal. Typically, I am working a six day week which means around 70 hours a week, usually more. Then again, if I was more disciplined and organised, I would probably be working less. Eitherway, after a 12 hour day, the last thing I feel like doing is getting changed and going for a run. Plus, after almost a year off from running long distances, I’m scared to try. It’ll feel like starting all over, but that’s because I would be! Having said that, pain is temporary, and at least now I know what to expect. I need to feel the fear and do it anyway. Lolz at that. It’s not like I haven’t been trying to get my shit together – I have. I’m back into the old ‘start Monday’ mindset. To be fair, I think I deserve my indulgences. I’m not a drinker, or a big smoker, and I don’t do drugs – food is my way of rewarding myself for work done, for celebrating, for consoling, for comfort. I just have to re-realise and re-accept that I can’t be trusted to limit my indulgences.

 

So after all that, what’s happening? Well, it’s Monday, and I have ‘started again’ again. It’s roughly nine weeks til my birthday, and I’d very much like to be 12st 7lb again for then. I need to lose 21 pounds in those nine weeks – an average of just over 2lb per week. It’s not just about numbers though, and simple arithmetic is only simple on paper. Challenge 2: Run a half-marathon on Boxing Day. Why Boxing Day? Why not. It would be too much to run it on my birthday, and I can’t be coping with unrealistic targets at the minute! So I’m choosing to run the day after the biggest carb-loading day/week of the year – it actually makes sense! I downloaded a Half Marathon app and I’m going to follow it up until the event date. Hopefully I stick to my word instead of throwing it at my arse along with everything else. Sad face.

 

Anyway, hope you’re all keeping well, sorry I am a shitty blogger these days – there’s loads of comments I have to moderate etc, but I’m such a lazy hoor. Sorry again! Give us a wee comment sure, who knows, I might even answer!

 

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Sometimes Black Isn’t Always Slimming

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I genuinely thought that the photo of me in the blue t shirt from 2007 was me at my fattest. How wrong was I? I found this……..delight whilst hoking through an old USB stick earlier today.

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It’s not great is it? I can’t believe the sheer bulk of me. The breadth, the width, the spherical quality of me in general. It was 2008 and I was in New York for the first time, and I was fairly happy because I had been to Slimming World and lost a stone.

Yes. I was a stone heavier than in this photo.

With all my obsessing about what I look like now, it’s easy to forget what I looked like then; and how different things are. I should be grateful, and quit yapping! But look what happens when I ignore stuff, and pretend there isn’t a problem. If my current obsession keeps me from looking like I’m about to sink Ellis Island, then maybe that’s a good thing!

It’s all about balance.

When I’m feeling fat these days, I still retreat to black tops and jeans, which is a good idea. Black is slimming, but when you’re over twenty one stone, nothing is. Harsh, I know.

The journey to twelve stone continues.

Back to Basics. Again.

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By the power of the Internet, I am returning to the joyful land of Slimming World as of tomorrow! I will miss the allure of WeightWatchers, but I won’t miss indulging the part of me that enjoyed eating ready meals and processed crap. I will be throwing myself into the Extra Easy plan with the same vigour I did when I started it properly in May 2009, and hopefully the results will be every bit as impressive – relatively speaking of course. I have made myself a pot of leek and potato soup to kick start my week properly, so no excuses for falling at the first hurdle tomorrow!

I have a serious amount of things swirling around my head at the minute, so I’m going to put the blog on ice for a bit to free up some head space. I will post again when I hit 12st 4lb – Christ knows when that will be. I weighed in yesterday at 12st 9lb, but have been eating Chinese food and drinking vodka since then. I dread to think what weight I am at the minute.

Anyway. See you all at 12st 4lb.

Keep in touch

McCooey

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Horrifying. Truly horrifying.

To WeightWatch or not to WeightWatch?

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So here I am on a sunny Saturday in McCooeyville, smacking my lips and congratulating myself on the wonderful breakfast of stewed apples and porridge I just had. This stewed apple thing is going to be the death of me – I literally cannot get enough of them. I imagine this is how the Women’s Institute get their kicks; aside from doing lines of icing sugar, obviously.

I digress.

Today was weigh in day, and it would appear I have gained a half a pound. A whole 227g. Now I never enjoy seeing the numbers going up, but I find myself giving fewer fucks than usual – why? Because I have enjoyed my eating this week! I have been eating SHITE. Processed, convenient, but ultimately permitted, shite. Tortilla wraps, ready meals, instant mash snackpot things, porridge that you just chuck hot water into – you see the trend. I have been eating my usual fruit, apples aside, and making myself vegetable soup; so I’m not a total tramp. Weightwatchers really is about smaller portions of all foods, fresh or otherwise, and that doesn’t normally sit well with me but I am coping remarkably well. I had planned to go back to the old familiar Slimming World as of tomorrow, as I miss the glorious cooked breakfasts, pasta, and baked potatoes; but I will find it hard to say goodbye to the sexy convenience of the mash pots, the porridge, and most of all – the free stewed apples.

The fact I’ve eaten and enjoyed all this crap, yet only gained a small amount, is quite remarkable. I think the gain is chiefly down to me being hungover last Sunday and eating everything in sight! Maybe if I hadn’t, I would be sitting with a small loss today. Who knows?

Do I go for another week of WeightWatchers, bringing me up to an even four weeks before trotting back to Slimming World? Or do I just go now?

Your thoughts please!

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I just like this picture. It has nothing to do with weightloss, and everything to do with my brain.

Slimming With The Enemy

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So! I’ve been threatening to do this for ages, but after yet another weekend of not being able to keep my grubby fat paws off all things synful, I decided to join WeightWatchers on Monday. Yes. WeightWatchers. I dallied with this idea back in June, but took one look at the points system and wanted to throw the laptop out the window. Counting EVERYTHING felt so foreign and scary to me, after the luxury of Slimming World’s all-you-can-eat ethos. So what’s changed?

I’m finding food to be hard work at the minute. Maybe it’s the excesses of Christmas still lingering with me, but putting down the pies is proving difficult. I haven’t seen 12st 5lb since the 22nd of December, and instead am floating anywhere between 12st 10lb and 13st 2lb. Not exactly where I want to be. I think I’m getting lazy too. I’m finding it hard to get motivated to cook the yummy dishes I used to, just because it is time consuming and it creates a lot of dishes! I feel a bit guilty saying this, because Slimming World has been so good to me and I recommend it so highly; but I’ve always said that it isn’t for the faint hearted, and you need to either have a keen interest in cooking, or be prepared to develop one. I’ve been falling off the wagon too regularly, and I’m getting disheartened with the whole thing. So there was no better time to try something completely new.

I signed up to WeightWatchers online yesterday, and am tentatively making my way around ProPoints and the daily tracker. It’s a big change, as you have to keep an eye on your portion sizes, and you can eat an awful lot of stuff that would be taboo on SW. I also find it weird how things stack up against each other points wise – example – 1 x Heinz Beans Snap Pot is four ProPoints, yet 1 x Creme Egg is five. For a chocoholic, that would be a pure no-brainer! I’m not quite sure that it encourages healthy decision making. Anyway, I’m trying not to overthink things and am just putting my faith in the plan. I weighed in yesterday at 12st fucking 13lb, so I am going to try and dodge the scales til next Monday. I will keep you updated.

I’ve always slabbered on about how the secret to losing weight is finding the plan that suits you best. That was Slimmimg World for me, but I’m a very different person than I was almost four years ago, so maybe my go-to plan has changed. Have I outgrown Slimming World? Or does the thought of ‘allowed’ sweeties just tempt me more at the minute? I’d say the latter is more likely.

Anyone else swing both ways in terms of Slimming? Are you #bi-slimming? Tell me how you do it!

Laters!

McCooey

P.S. Patsy Kensit losing a stone in four months is the most uninspiring weightloss success story I’ve ever heard.

Slimming World Newbie’s Shopping List

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So you’ve joined Slimming World. Well done for taking the biggest step! Now you know you’ve got the balls to try and lose weight, the hard work begins! The most important thing you can do to help you have a great first week is READ THE BOOKS. Read them properly, you’ve paid for them, and they contain all the information you need to start dropping weight. After my first weigh in, I read them whilst scoffing my last supper of a Chinese. It was epic. But before I went and got my takeaway, I went shopping for a few essentials to get me through the next morning as a hopeful Slimming World newbie. The next day came The Big Shop. I knew what I was going to be eating, and I knew what I needed. Off I went.

If you think that Slimming World could work for you, then you must already be familiar with home cooking on some level, or have accepted the inevitability of having to become more familiar with it than you normally would be! You don’t need to be a Nigella or a Heston, but the more you experiment the less likely you are to get fed up with the plan. So here’s a rough list of the things you will need to get your kitchen into gear:

BASICS

Stock cubes – chicken, beef, and vegetable (for soups, stews and sauces)
Chopped tomatoes – own brand is fine (for curries, pastas and chilli)
Potatoes – free, and fantastic. Bake them, boil them, chip them. It’s all good.
Chilli powder – own brand is fine, mild or hot is up to you, I use both!
Garlic – fresh is best, jars of purée can have syns. Even if you think you don’t like garlic, you more than likely consume it all the time without realising it. You need it for flavour.
Light soy sauce – for stir frying
Fry Light – the most important thing!
Eggs – learn to love eggs. Great for bulking up a breakfast or for making a kick-ass omelette. Eggs are free on all plans, providing they are cooked without adding butter or oil.

MEATS

All lean meat is free on Extra Easy, including bacon. Trim all fat and skin prior to cooking. If you’re buying mince, always choose extra lean. Cheaper cuts of beef/steak are still good, you just need to cook them a little longer and keep them moist. Supermarket meat isn’t all bad, but if you can find yourself a good butcher it’s usually worth it!

FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

Only buy the things you know you like. There’s no point spending lots of money on things you’ve never tried, or know you hate, in the hope that you’ll learn to love them. Chances are you won’t, and they’ll get thrown away. If you are seriously anti-veg, don’t worry about it, as you can still do very well at this plan! You could always try a blended veg soup – a great way of getting veg into your diet without realising it! Fruit is a big winner as it can satisfy a sweety craving, especially when teamed up with Mullerlight. If you are a lover of all things vegetably, happy days! Fill your boots! The more superfree foods you eat, the speedier the losses will be. Don’t forget though that sweetcorn and parsnips are not superfree, they are merely free – but a lot better than chips.

KITCHEN CUPBOARD STUFF

Dried pasta – any shape or size
Rice – NOT the microwave stuff! The dry stuff that you have to cook fresh. Basmati and Thai are all good, and are a great ‘takeaway replacement’.
Quickie hot snacks – Pasta n Sauce, Pasta Pot Shots, Noodle Pot Shots, Mug Shots, Batchlors Savoury Rice (be wary of these though, most varieties are free but some have a small amount of syns. Check this before you go buying, or bring your smartphone shopping too – you can Google syn values as you shop!)
Beans – on toast, on potatoes, with breakfast – beans are a Slimming Worlders best friend

DAIRY

Mullerlights – all varieties are free except the Greek, cheesecake, and layers versions
Milk – go for whole, you get less to use than if you choose semi-skimmed or skimmed.
Cheese – grated is good as it goes further. Ditch the mild stuff! The stronger a cheese is, the less you’ll need to use. Laughing Cow Light triangles are fab as you don’t need to weigh.

BREADS/CEREALS

Nimble Granary/Wholegrain – great for toast or for sandwiches, this bread keeps well and is satisfying. The white version is no longer allowed as it has less fibre.
Ryvita – a great fibre booster and handy for lunch, but if you’re used to bread I would give this a miss for a while until you get used to smaller portions of bread

Cereals – this is where you’ll need your book! 30g of cereal is a very tiny amount, especially if (like me) you have a big appetite and are used to giant bowls. You are also a wee bit limited to the more fibre rich varieties. No Coco Pops! But if you’re happy to stick with the prescribed amounts, bulk the bowl out with some fresh berries and banana, so the portion doesn’t seem so paltry.

Cereal bars – Alpen Lights are the way to go, as they have a decent variety and you can have two of them! Great as a nippy breakfast, or as a traybake replacement when you’re having coffee. They can seem expensive when put beside other brands, but they are definitely worth it. They’re also a lot cheaper than a bar of chocolate!

DRINKS

Most ‘diet’ drinks are free, but make sure and check the nutritional info anyway, as some products that appear healthy and diet friendly really aren’t! Coffee and teas, without added sugar, are free. Make sure and drink lots your first week, as this will help to flush all the nasties out of you!

SYNS……

If you are the type of person who can cope with naughty things in the house, then good for you. There are loads of low-syn treats you can keep in your cupboards, but I personally couldn’t cope. Not at first anyway. If you have a sweet tooth, it’s probably best not to keep that kind of stuff in the house at first – never underestimate how addictive chocolate is! However, you should still have a treat everyday. Use your syns! But perhaps just buy what you want each day, and consume it there and then. Great low/med syn treats include:

Cadbury Buttons – 8.5
Cadbury Curly Wurly – 6
Milky Way Crispy Rolls – 6.5
Quavers (25g bag) – 6.5
Snack a Jacks Salt&Vinegar (26g bag) – 5.5
Fun Size Twix – 5
Fun Size Maltesers – 5.5
Costa Coffee Iced Peach Tea (medio) – 4.5
Galaxy Ripple – 8.5
Kit Kat (2 finger) – 5.5
Walkers Baked Stars – 4.5
Jaffa Cakes (each) – 2.5

See? Loads of stuff, all well under the 10 syn threshold. If you have a lot of weight to lose, it’s possible that you can have up to 15 syns a day to begin with; your consultant will give you advice on this.

If you have all this stuff as part of your first shop, there’s no reason why you won’t lose weight, as long as you follow the rules of the plan of course. Have a wee think of what you’d like to eat over your first week, and make a note of it if you can. Writing stuff out seems very childish in ways, like you’re doing a study plan or something, but it helps you make sense of things in your head! It also means you’re less likely to go off track. The main rule is: EAT EAT EAT. Don’t go hungry at any stage. This is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change! Fill up on free and superfree foods. Make sure you eat one serving of bread or cereal, and make sure you have a portion of dairy as well. Then, if you fancy it, treat yourself to some syns as a reward for having a great day of being a fully fledged Slimming Worlder! Yes, your initial shop may seem expensive, but your herbs and spices etc will last a while. Your first shop is an investment. After that, it will become second nature, and you’ll begin to enjoy forraging for the best deals on your favourite free foods! Not to mention the hunt for the elusive £1 Alpen Light Bar offer………It comes maybe once or twice a year. Make use of it when it does!

That’s all for now! Best of luck on your first week!

McCooey

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Being Good: Week Three / Why The Shelbourne’s German Biscuits are Best.

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Phew! After my little lapse during the week, where I ate my weight in saturated fat and sugar, I recovered admirably to lose 1.5 pounds this week. I am now 12st 5.5 pounds, less than half a stone away from my Christmas Miracle target weight.

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See? I tell thee no lies! Needless to say, I am kicking my heels up a little this evening in terms of food; but from tomorrow on, I am giving it my all on the Original/Red plan. Hopefully I can get as near the mark as possible, but to be honest, I’d be happy enough if I was 12st 4lb on Christmas Eve Eve – the exact same as last year. Time will tell! The weeks are slipping by at an alarming rate, with the prospect of 2013 looming large. This time last year I had the m******* to aim for/shit myself about, and this year I don’t, as such. Perhaps I need to set myself some sort of challenge again…..meh! That can wait til New Years Eve! Until then, I am content to immerse myself in yummy things, which brings me to the second part of my blog post this evening:

Why The Shelbourne’s German Biscuits are Best

For those of you who don’t know what a German Biscuit is, what the hell is wrong with you?? They are the most exquisite of all baked goods. This whole losing weight thing has summoned a certain renaissance in my taste buds, whereby I much prefer the likes of biscuits and buns as opposed to the chocolate orgy I used to have on a daily basis in the days of Fat. Put a Dairy Milk and a scone side by side, that scone is getting destroyed. Anyway, as the post weigh-in feedfest became the highlight of my week, so began the quest for the best German Biscuit of all…….

The essential components of the biscuit:

Two biscuits, not quite shortcake, not quite shortbread. Somewhere in between.
Jam. This forms the filling in the biscuity sandwich.
Soft white icing on top of the upper biscuit.
A glacé cherry on top. This is sometimes substituted with a sweetie.

Sounds fairly simple, right? WRONG. Most German Biscuits (also known as Empire Biscuits) are an abomination. The biscuits can be undercooked, soggy, soft, too buttery, or too well cooked/burnt. The icing can sometimes be rock hard, causing severe roof of mouth trauma; or it can be soft to the point of running off the sides. Ugh. Another icing problem is when the icing is confined to one crummy blob on top. No no no! Cover the WHOLE biscuit please. As for the cherry on top, I can take it or leave it. Most times, I throw the decorative bit on top away, as it doesn’t enhance the overall product. However, I really hate those midget gem type, sugary jelly things that sometimes appear. They are usually rock hard and inedible, plus immature people may construe them as looking like nipples. Hee hee hee.

Finally. The jam. The jam is the most important part of the biscuit. Unfortunately, this is where most purveyors let themselves down a bagful. They simply don’t use enough, which is just disrespectful and stingey. Too much, and the sandwich will slip and slide around the place, too little and you end up with a mouthful of stodgy sweetness. You should be able to see the jam when you look at the side profile of the biscuit itself, otherwise, don’t bother. I can safely say that I have tried every German Biscuit available in the Newry / South Armagh area, and very few of them even make the grade. It’s actually quite sad that where some bakeries have excellent products as a whole, they get lazy when it comes to their traybakes and biscuits. I may be fat, but please don’t insult me with a substandard biscuit.

I hate to admit it, but The Shelbourne Bakery’s German Biscuits stand head and shoulders above the rest. The veritable giant of Newry bakeries/patisseries, this place doesn’t need any promotion from a balloon like me – it was trading from before I was born, and I’d reckon it’ll be trading long after I depart. But credit where credit’s due! Their German Biscuits are consistently delicious, with all the said components working together in gastronomic harmony. Honourable mention must also go to the Sunray Bakery on Hill Street, but they excel moreso with their pineapple/strawberry creams.

Are you a German Biscuit devotee? Have you found your perfect biscuit? Or are you still searching? Have you had a regrettable experience with one? Please share your story with me, as I am eager to hear your tale. Maybe you are a German Biscuit virgin? In which case – go hunting! Risk it for a biscuit! And let me know how you get on! Until then, here’s a photo of this evenings treat. I can feel the 1.5 pounds making their way back to my love handles, but I don’t care. In the words of JFK, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ – and proud of it.

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