Archive for the ‘photo-diet project’ Category

New Zealand photo dieter

February 28, 2010

Breakfast: Vogel’s cafe style light muesli & lite milk
Lunch: slice of Vogel’s 12 grain bread, olive oil spread, cheese, tomato, mini cucumber, red pepper, grapes
Afternoon snack: chicken noodles
Dinner: spaghetti bolognaise
Supper: fresh pineapple 

Well, I’ve now moved to the other side of the world and have found a house and a kitchen. Our goods arrived by ship and were delivered the day after we moved into the house and I have set about putting my kitchen to rights, deciding what goes in which cupboard. I have a much better kitchen than the one I left behind in England. Well, it could hardly have been worse, really! 

Although I have visited NZ three times before, and fed myself each time, cooking in a proper kitchen in which I am staying put, rather than in a succession of backpackers, is a very different thing. I am discovering many subtle differences. 

Pork pies are not like UK pork pies (but I knew that already – my kiwi brother had raved about English pork pies when he visited many years ago). 

A standard large loaf in the UK is 800g. Here it is 720g. This means that slices are smaller. 

In the UK milk comes as ‘ordinary’ (I can’t for the life of me think what it is called) which is, if I remember correctly, 4% fat; semi skimmed which is 2% fat and which I usually bought; and skimmed which is 1% fat and is tasteless and unpleasant.
Here milk is standard (I think), lite and trim. I keep forgetting which has more fat, lite or trim. I know they have less fat than the UK semi and skimmed. There is also calci-trim. And probably others that I’ve yet to encounter. 

Supermarket meat is a better quality than I expected and they generally have a good selection of fish and seafood. Fruit and veg are generally more expensive than I had expected and have been variable in tastiness (so far). 

I feel that my weight is creeping back up so I have given up the L&P and Tim Tams and am photo-dieting again.
Nearly all the brand names are different so the calorie charts for bought foods that I already had are of no use. I shall have to start over again with a spreadsheet.

Special K day 4

March 12, 2009

If you think there is more food than usual in the ‘daytime’ shot that’s because there is. The plan was for me to go to the gym or swimming pool before work this morning. It didn’t happen that way (but that’s another story). I prepared ahead and packed some Nairn mixed berries oat biscuits to eat on the way there. I think exercising on an empty stomach would be stupid. I ate them almost as soon as I got to work. They were delicious.

Dinner may look unappetising but it was actually very tasty. My SO cooked this evening – although I had chosen and bought the meal. The sad, aneamic looking lump is a Marks & Spencer smoked haddock and bubble & squeak cake and was actually very tasty, with a good chunky texture. The instructions say fry or oven bake. Obviously I’m not going to fry it so in the oven it went. It looked undercooked to me when SO served it up, but it was hot inside so I guessed it was okay. I tasted really good.

I hadn’t planned on having potatoes but he’d bought some for himself so I asked for two small ones. I figure it’s what you put on them that does the harm. That, and wanting to eat way too many!

Oh, and I weighed myself this morning. I know conventional wisdom is that you shouldn’t weigh more often than once a week but I need to know that the regime is working. According to the scales I have lost three pounds since Monday. I doubt it. I don’t even feel one pound lighter. Waistbands certainly not looser yet. Still I’ll keep going for a bit and see what happens.

Special K Day 3 – shouldn’t it start getting easier now?

March 12, 2009

It’s certainly easy to pack my food bag for this diet. The same everyday. Adding an apple t my morning food – eaten on the way to work – has helped get me through the morning. Putting the blueberries and raspberries (taken out of the freezer the night before) on the luchtime cereal makes it more interesting and gives me a ‘sweet boost’.

I can’t go from lunch at 1pm to dinner at about 6.30pm with nothing in between so I’m having a small tin of pineapple rings in the afternoon. My choice of tinned fruit was governed by my having lots of small tins of pineapple in the house as I bought some at Costco. The small tin is enough to give me some extra food without being too much.

Dinner was a Marks & Spencer microwave meal. Not ideal but right now Ineed something that I can just throw in the oven or microwave and be eating very quickly. If I make my own food I will eat too much of it. It was nice enough. There was quite a bit of veg (25%) and the rice okay. The chicken tasted like chicken in all microwave meals – artificial. The sauce left a lingering chemical taste in my mouth later that evening. But I’ve had worse.

SO had been to Costco and bought, as well as a twin pack of Special K, some bananas, apples and a huge box of grapes. I can eat a standard box (400g?) of grapes in one sitting. Fortunately, this box was so big – 1.8kg (I just checked) – that I was able to just weigh out 200g to eat now as my brain, and even my tummy, knew that I could not eat them all at once so didn’t even think about trying to.

But now I have to start thinking about food for the weekend, and for Friday when we go to aqua aerobics straight from work and traditionally go the Chinese chip shop on the way home. I had toyed with the idea of making somekind of chicken and vegetable dish in the slow cooker, so it would be ready as soon as we got in on Friday. I’d asked the SO to get some carrots, and some mushrooms for the prawn stir-fry I’m planning for Saturday but he didn’t find any.

Limiting my food intake when I have to carry it away from the house is one thing; restricting my food intake when I’m at home with a full freezer, fridge and cupboards is a whole different story. I popped into M&S Food at lunchtime (there is one a couple of minutes walk from my office) and bought some spinach and three ‘Count On Us’ (ie diet version) beef lasagnes. Why three? they were three for £5 makeing the third one cost not a lot (I don’t remember the exact price of buying just one). I decided that we can have them when we get home from water aerobics on Friday. I’ll have to wait 40 minutes though (30 mins cooking plus time for the oven to heat up). I guess I could try setting the oven to come on so they are cooked when we get home. Then I realised that doing a 45 minute aqua aerobics class on about 400 calories is just not going to work. Should I have a meal at lunchtime and cereal after the class, I wondered? I decided that something hot to pop in the microwave at lunchtime was a must, and that I would still have a hot meal (the beef lasagne and spinach) after the class. I can still keep within the calorie limit. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Special K day 2

March 11, 2009

I remembered some fruit today (well last night, when I took the raspberries out of the freezer and the pineapple (not shown) out of the cupboard). I also put the cereal in a much smaller contain and it seemed to be more filling – it must be true that our eyes inform our tummies about how much food they think we are getting.

I was dismayed (probably too strong a word) to discover boxes of cakes in the office kitchen this morning, must be someone’s birthday. But I ignored them. They are not for me, I am dieting.

I had to get the bus to work as SO had an osteopath appointment at about 9ish. I knew that I woul dneed to eat before I got to work so put an apple in my bag. I then had the first lot of cereal once I got there.

I try to take my lunch break between 1pm and 2pm. That way the afternoon is shorter and home time seems to come more quickly. However, I was very busy today and barely had tome to stop. I too twenty minutes at 1.40 and had athe second lot of cereal with the berries that I have forgotten earlier.

During the afteroon I was quite hungry, but not as much as yesterday (well I had eaten more today – an apple and 60g of raspberries more) and kept drinking water.

This didn’t stop me from feeling hungry by home time (though not as badly as yesterday) and I had a can of four pineapple rings (which I forgot to photograph) just before I left the office for the 25 minute walk to SO’s office.

Dinner was more runner beans (I do like them) with a Marks & Spencer COU (Count On Us) sweet & sour chicken with vegetable rice microwave meal. I’d love to cook something instead but know that I will add too much oil or make too big a portion if I do. I’m sticking to prepared food for a couple of days and am looking forward to a home-cooked prawn stir-fry on Saturday.

Tuesday evenings is the pub quiz at our local and we go with our next door neighbour. I was going to have orange juice and diet lemondade but wondered ‘is there more calories in orange juice than lager?” So I had lager, but two halves instead of two pints.

When I got home SO asked me to cut him a piece of cake (left over from last week’s party). It smelled good but I resisted and had a tin of peach slices in juice instead.

Nutritional data:
Calories (kcal) 1351
Protein (g) 51.9
Carbohydrate (g) 222.6
Fat (g) 11.0
Fibre (g) 19.8
Fruit & Veg 10.5

I know it’s a marketing ploy, but maybe it’ll work for me ..

March 11, 2009

Dieting by eating (mostly) healthily for most of the time but eating too much and having ‘non-diet days’ far too often means that I have lost weight but very slowly. I need a quick fix.

I told my SO “I guess I’ll have to buy some Slimfast.”
“Or Special K” he said.

Well I don’t like milky drinks so cereal has to be better than slimfast.
The idea is that you have ‘a bowl of cereal for breakfast and another for either lunch or dinner with ‘a balanced meal’ for the remaining meal. I decided that I would have to add some fruit to that.

On Sunday I was in London visiting a friend and knew that I would not feel like, nor have much time to cook when I got back as it would be quite late. So, while waiting for my train at Euston I went into M&S and bought something for dinner (a delicious seafood curry and some parmienter potatoes with shallot butter). I also bought some fish cakes and a couple of calorie counted meals.

Diet started today. I took to work two separate 30g portions of Special K and a contianer with 250ml of semi-skimmed milk (125ml for each portion). I didn’t take anything else and forgot to take any fruit. 30g of Special K is not as filling as 30g of muesli and no where near as filling as 30g of porridge. Or maybe my scales were wrong and I had much less than 30g? I doubt it. Anyway, as usual when I’m in an office, I drank lots of water during the day – about two litres. I also had my usual two cups of tea (semi-skimmed milk, two sweeteners) – one when I woke up and one when I got home from work.

By ten to five I was ravenous. On the 25 minute walk from my office to my SO’s office I was cold and I was hungry. Whenever I said (whined) to myself ‘I’m hungry’ I changed it to ‘I’m getting slimmer’, then realised that all I was doing was conditioning myself to equating ‘getting slimmer’ with ‘hungry’.

In the car on the way home I reached for a cereal bar (we keep a box of them in the car as my SO often forgets to eat before/after the gym or is too busy to eat at work). Ironically, it was a Special K bar. I savoured every mouthful.

Dinner didn’t take too long to cook (I’d planned it that way). About 25 minutes, in fact. I had some of the parmentier potatoes left in the oven from yesterday (the package said ‘serves 4’ but those four must have had small appetites) and I left them in while I cooked the Orkney crab cakes. I cooked myself some runner beans to go with this (yes I know they are out of season but I can’t feel guilty about everything) and did peas for SO.

It was delicious and almost enough to keep my tummy happy and not too full before going for a one hour pilates class.

However, once home, I was soon looking in the fridge again. There were two M&S ‘Count On Us’ lemon mousses which had a ‘die by’ date of a couple of days ago. At 80 calories per pot I figured I could have one, and pressed the other on SO so I didn’t eat both.

While getting tomorrow’s food ready, and putting a tin of pineapple into my bag, I decided I could have a tin of pineapple now. After all, 250g of beans is not ‘five a day’.

Total nutrition for the day:
Calories (kcal) 985
Protein (g) 43.4
Carbohydrate (g) 138.8
Fat (g) 29.3
Fibre (g) 14.2
Fruit & Veg 5.5
Water (litres) 2.0

A Full Week of Photo-Dieting

January 9, 2009

Well I’ve restarted the photo-dieting for 2009. I didn’t bother over Christmas because I gave myself permission to snack and nibble.

The photo above shows my best day this week. All healthy, all weighed and counted. But recording what I eat on the bad and the not-so-good days is important too. The rest of the week looked like this:

Friday 2nd Jan:
Friday 2 Jan 09
Saturday 3rd Jan:
Saturday, 3rd Jan
Sunday 4th Jan
Sunday, 4th Jan
Tuesday 6th Jan
Tuesday, 6th January
Wednesday 7th Jan
Wednesday, 7th January
Thursday 8th Jan
Thursday, 8th January
Clicking on any of the photos will take you to the original on my flickr stream which tells you a bit more about them.

Tomorrow should be okay-ish. On Saturday we are going out for lunch and on Sunday we are off to Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt for a week so the food should be interesting!

I’ve exercised quite a bit this week.
On Monday I swam 25 lengths.
On Tuesday I did my first ever pilates class.
On Thursday I did my first relaxercise class. I had hoped to do my second pilates class as well but the instructor was delayed.
On Friday I will be back at ‘splashy’ (aqua aerobics) and hope to swim before the class.

Next week I’ll be swimming – in the sea and a pool, I hope – and will use the hotel gym.

2009 Photo-Diet Project

January 2, 2009

Well it’s just a few weeks till my birthday. I’m not going to be anywhere near my target weight for my 50th, but I am fitter and a bit slimmer (about two dress sizes).

I have a couple of new members of my Photo-Diet Project Group (now renamed 2009 Photo-Diet Project – feel free to come and join us) on flickr so I really had to get back to photo-dieting. There is still holiday food in the house to be eaten. I have drinks that need to be used before I emigrate. But, there is no reason not to get back on track.

Well, there is one reason. In a week’s time I’m off to Sharm-el-Sheikh for a week so I won’t be in charge of what’s on offer at mealtimes. I will be incharge of what I put on my plate and in my mouth though. I will be exercising – will be snorkelling and have a new (UK size 14) swimming costume bought today.

Today’s food:
Breakfast: muesli (berries & cherries) and semi-skimmed milk

Lunch: (at the shops) wholemeal sandwich: duck in hoisin sauce, cucumber, celery, tomato (I had 3/4 of this)

Afternoon snack: 2 satsumas, 3 maltesers, a bit of Galaxy, a choc liqueur

Dinner: fish in butter sauce, boiled potatoes, petit pois

Evening drink: Limoncello

I also had about five cups of tea with sweetener and ss milk.

Losing weight and cms at last (two pounds off)

September 16, 2008

As I’m not going out to work at the moment, I’ve decided to devote as much of my ‘spare time’ (what spare time?) as I can to exercising to get the weight off. Yesterday I was at the gym before 7.30am. Yes, you read that correctly – before 7.30am! Why so early? My SO was going to the gym before work and offered me a lift.

I’ve caught up with an old friend who is now in Australia.  She used to be a very, very big girl. She is now stunning and slim.  When I asked her how she did it she said “walking”.  So I did 30 minutes on the treadmill; an hour of other exercises; finished with another 30 minutes on the treadmill. After a shower and a rest with a book, I did the 11am aqua aerobics class. The timetable says that the class should be taken by Julie-Ann who is someone I don’t know. However, Emma, who I do know (I’ve done her 8pm Wednesday class a few times), took the class and the other ladies seemed not to be expecting a ‘Julie-Ann’ having had various different instructors over the weeks. I’m not usually a fan of Emma’s classes as I feel they lack imagination but it seems she is better with daytime classes than evenings.

So my exercise was:

  • 30 minutes on the treadmill, starting at 5kph then reducing to 4.7kph as I gradually took the gradient up to 3.5% (where I stayed for three minutes) and back down again.
  • Hand bike for 5 minutes.
  • Cross trainer (effort level two) for six minutes, then one minute rest then another six minutes.
  • Rowing machine for 750 metres which I did in 5 minutes and 41 seconds
  • The fixed weights where you pull your arms together (no idea what it is called) 15kg x 12 times (with a rest between six and seven).
  • Ball work – on my knees, forearms on the ball, pull it towards me x 12
  • On my back, lift pelvis and hold for count of 12, rest for count of six – 12 times.
  • Treadmill for 30 minutes. Stayed at 5kph for 25 minutes taking it up in increments to a 3% gradient and doing the last ten minutes slower and slower as a cool down.
  • 45 minute aqua aerobics class.
  • Walked to SOs office for a lift home

My meal shave been much smaller as well. I was surprised not to be hungry after all that exercise. I had a banana before I started (too early for breakfast) and a Special K bar. After Rik took me home I had a small lunch. Here is today’s food:

Monday, 15th September

Academics Prove I am Right: Photo-dieting helps you lose weight

September 5, 2008

A friend sent me a link to an article in the online version of The Daily Mail newspaper. The article was headed ‘The Flash Diet: taking photos of meals helps slimmers lose weight’.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison asked 43 people to record what they ate in both words and photographs. They found that

‘photo diaries were a far more effective and accurate record of daily calories and a far more powerful disincentive to overeat.’

I, and the others who have been doing this for some time, know this to be true. However, I have to disagree with the assertion that seeing the photos of how much they ate gave dieters ‘a guilt trip’ about how much they ate. It isn’t clear whether that came from the research or from the reporter. As it is the Daily Mail, I suspect the latter. Guilt trips are not a healthy attitude to eating or dieting and weightloss. Guilt trips are not what photodieting is about.

I think of it, as the subtitle of my blog says, as ‘food re-education through a lens’ with the emphasis on re-education. About what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat.

Still it’s nice to know that university academics agree with me, even if their sample size was less than half that of the members of the flickr Photo-diet Project group.

Why does dinner sometimes ‘just not work’?

September 5, 2008

I’m still chasing that 88cm or smaller waist measurement so still cutting out potatoes. I have a butternut squash that I need to use so Idecided to cube it and roast it in my small oven with the sausages and mushrooms I was planning to cook for dinner.

I’d been to the market this afternoon and bought some sweetcorn so I boiled that. (why do I get the urge now to start listing foods that ‘I went to the market and I bought’ starting from A through to Z?)

The squash was in the oven for about an hour in total. It was still hard. The sweetcorn was boiled for about 40 minutes. Not soft enough.

While we ate the sausages and broccoli the sweetcorn got a turn in the oven. That was better. I gave up on the butternut squash.

It should have been a simple meal but it was a disaster. Does anyone else have days like that, when simple stuff just doesn’t work out?

Food details for the day:
Breakfast: muesli & blueberries

Banana to eat before the gym

Lunch for after the gym: chicken, tomatoes.
I also had a couple of tiny ‘taster’ bits of cheese from a stall.

Dinner: one and a half Cumberland sausages, butternut squash, sweetcorn, broccoli, mushrooms

Dessert: pear