My (new) fat year: weeks 3 & 4 = ¾lb loss (5¾lb)

In truth, I lost ¼lb last week, and ½lb this week, but I skipped last week’s weekly update as I was busy working (again!). Regardless, though, I still have a 5¾lb weight-loss, which is pretty good going.

I say pretty good going, because I really am not starving myself at all. Yes, I’m eating foods that go well with a hiatus hernia and I’m not eating after 8pm if I can help it, but I’m also having three square meals a day including puddings and treats.

So how am I doing it? Well, I don’t know. Other than the not eating (much) between meals, choosing fresher ingredients and less processed food, and – at the moment – keeping track of calories.

I say “at the moment” because I really don’t want to be a slave to calorie-counting and weighing everything. I personally believe that this is what has got a lot of us yo-yo dieters into the never-ending cycle. I think we need to address why we overeat as much as what we overeat. And I also think we need to re-educate ourselves about portion sizes and portion control.

So, for now, the calorie-counting and weighing is only showing me good foods (for me) and portion sizes. And it’s showing me what I can safely eat and drink throughout the day without worrying about weight-gain.

For example, I know that if I allow myself ½ pint (250ml) of semi-skimmed milk per day (packed with calcium), that will give me a bowl of breakfast cereal plus three hot drinks. If I have an extra hot drink a day, then so long as it comes within my total calorie allowance, it’s fine.

We’ve recently treated ourselves to a coffee machine (it was on very good offer), and it makes gorgeous hot chocolate. I know that this cup of hot chocolate (a full mug) gives me 120 calories plus what sugar I put in. so I don’t deny myself that either, and I don’t have to “make do” with thin and tasteless reduced calorie versions.

That sugar was 1 teaspoon at first. But as I’ve cut down to 1½ teaspoons of sugar in my coffee and tea, I thought I’d try less sugar in my hot chocolate. And it’s still a treat. And while the hiatus hernia doesn’t like chocolate much, it doesn’t seem to mind a hot chocolate drink.

One of our favourite puddings is really quite a simple one, and one I think I nicked from Rosemary Conley many, many years ago:

1 meringue nest
2 tbsp low fat vanilla yoghurt
75g fresh berries
= 125 calories (or thereabouts)

The meringue nest satisfies that sugar craving, and can also be eaten alone as a biscuit for 53 calories. The vanilla yoghurt should be natural yoghurt, I believe, and would make the calories even less. But we like the vanilla yoghurt.

A more luxurious pudding is my trifle. But using tinned fruit in juice (drained of juice) in sugar-free jelly (jello), rather than trifle sponges or Swiss roll in regular jelly, and making the custard and the topping with semi-skimmed milk and no added sugar topping, keeps each portion (one-sixth) to around 285 calories. Skimmed milk would fetch it down even further, but I find skimmed milk burns in the pan when making custard, and it doesn’t make a great topping.

And then there’s my fruit crumble – using oats in the crumble, thereby using less flour, and low fat vanilla yoghurt instead of custard or cream. Again, it should be natural yoghurt to bring it down further, but we like the vanilla. (This one was nicked from the NHS website.)

We also buy block ice-cream and sandwich a slice between two ice-cream wafers. Each ice-cream wafer is only 4 calories. That means I can trough a stack of ten for only 40 calories and still feel as though I’ve pigged-out.

Even sweets can be bought in 60g kiddy-sized packs, or I weigh out 60g from a bigger packet, and these range from around 130 calories to around 160 calories. And if you have mini jelly babies instead of full-sized ones, or dolly mixtures, or mini marshmallows, you get a lot more for your 60g. And popcorn is ace too. Even Butterkist toffee popcorn is only 85 calories for a snack-pack bag, and wholegrain popcorn is around 56 calories.

Oh, and we’ve swapped the fizzy pop now for cordial (squash, dilute), which also means we’re drinking more water.  Fizzy pop is a real treat for the poet now. For me, it’s a nuisance to the hiatus hernia. So I avoid it if I can anyway.

So there is plenty I can do to kid myself I’m not missing out. Maybe next week I’ll have got the weight-loss down to 6lb, and maybe soon it will be a whole half a stone! (7lb.) If I were really keen, I’d cut out the treats altogether … but then that would feel like a diet.

Have a great weekend!