Saturday, August 10, 2013

Planning for September

I'm nervous about starting my course in September. I have a lot of work to do on getting my German grammar up to the required standard all the time, haven't been in a classroom environment for a very, very long time and am particularly nervous about having to do joint writing again. Sounds silly, I know, but I was never very good at it and dropped it as soon as I was allowed in school (which means in the second year of secondary school, except for German). As certain words are capitalised in German it's difficult with block capitals to tell if I've capitalised a word or not. I wanted to start practicing and so, when I sat down the other day to do a half-an-hour of grammar exercises, I decided to go ahead and try it in joint writing. To say that my writing has not improved since my schooldays would be an understatement. I could remember most of it but it looked like a seven-year-old had been writing (with apologies to seven-year-olds everywhere for the insult).

Apart from the academic side, however, I am nervous that being out and about so much will start to interfere with my planning with regard to food, preparing meals, general housework and basically just trying to keep things a little bit 'normal' at home. Something I already struggle with anyway. I'm hoping that having more to do will work out in making me more efficient at getting things done as that can sometimes happen. The cliche is that if you need something done, you should ask a busy woman to do it and cliches don't become so without any basis in truth. Nevertheless, if I want to continue with my very slow but at least somewhat consistent weightloss, it seems like a good idea to get some kind of plan in place to help to minimise the impact of being on the go more than has been normal the last few years. So I have to work on meal planning for months at a time I think.

I have also just finished reading The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting - Lost Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer - the official 5:2 diet. I first heard about 5:2 dieting when Sue from our new life in the country mentioned it. I was a bit mystified as to what it was but since then have seen more and more reference to it popping up all over the place. I got the book just to see what the scientific basis was and although the science and the research, as they state repeatedly in the book, is still in its very early days, what studies have been done (mostly on mice and rats, human studies are only just starting now, for the most part) the anecdotal evidence in favour of this method of eating is largely, if not entirely, positive. And reading through the details of the plan, well, quite a lot of it is what I've already been doing. Starting my weightloss with a two-day detox of eating soup and so on. While I'm not generally a fan of 'depriving' myself, that being a good way to almost guarantee overeating, I have been mulling it over and am going to partially incorporate the intermittent fasting plan into my life and see how it goes. Again, what I have come up with for me is based on the things I have been sometimes doing anyway over the last few months and so, I'm not introducing a whole new way of eating so much as being more consistent about some thing I have previously done incidentally.

The Fast Diet (fast as in abstinence but a nice play on words, too, don't you think?) basically involves eating normally (but not excessively, obviously) on five days of the week and fasting, i.e. limiting your calorie intake to 500 calories (600 for men) on the other two days of the week. How exactly you do that is up to you. The book was written by a man and a woman - he eats a breakfast, skips lunch and eats a light dinner in the evening. She eats a breakfast, has an apple or similar snack as a lunch and then eats a lighter dinner in the evening. They both do separate fasting days, although some people like to do the two days together. Most people also seem to prefer to have their fasting days during the week. I don't think either of those methods will work for me so here's how I envisage making it work for me:

Monday: normal eating
Tuesday: normal eating
Wednesday: half-fast day - eat breakfast and light lunch then fast
Thursday: half-fast day - no breakfast (fasting since lunch day before), normal lunch and sandwiches or similar in evening (this will be day I have classes in the evening)
Friday: normal eating
Saturday: fast day - no breakfast, late lunch and just a snack in the evening
Sunday: normal eating
I will alternate the Saturdays and Sundays so that on the weeks I'm in the garden, I have a good breakfast before I go.

I quite often skip breakfast on a weekend morning (I'm a big fan of brunch on the weekend) and often don't get up early enough to eat breakfast at home during the week - if I follow that with a very busy morning in work I don't struggle with getting to about half-ten or eleven before hunger pangs start assailing me. So it makes sense to use that to my advantage. I also, particularly during the kind of hot weather we've been having, often don't feel hungry in the evening at all. On the other hand, the thoughts of missing lunch and having to work through a whole afternoon are enough to set me dreaming of pizza and many bars of chocolate from the vending machine.

For the normal eating days, I will continue trying to eat as well as I can, as I have been doing the last while, i.e. no eating between meals, a planned snack at four o'clock to keep me going in the afternoon. I need to reintroduce the aperitif, as I discovered again a few weeks ago that eating just lunch and an apple at four o'clock does leave me plenty hungry by the time I get home, which increases the chances of not wanting to cook a proper meal and instead grab something that I can eat right now (bread if I have it, full big packets of crisps a distinct possibility!). Having a supply of aperitif type snacks on hand will help me to have something to nibble on while cooking/preparing food. And yes, sometimes that will mean crisps, but actually preparing myself an aperitif will mean mindfully eating just a few in a bowl rather than scoffing the entire packet.

So, I need to stock up on the following:

  • Olives (I like the plain green ones in brine)
  • Crisps (there is a crisp product here called Chipster and I've been really enjoying them the last few days. They're just that bit salty enough that eating a lot of them wouldn't interest me too much. I have space in my case and will buy a few boxes to bring home.)
  • Popcorn
  • Crackers
  • Fruit and nut mix
  • Any other suggestions? I really wish I liked raw vegetable sticks but I really, really don't like raw vegetables.
I weighed myself at the beginning of April. Although I didn't start watching what I eat in earnest immediately after weighing myself in April, I'm counting that as my starting weight. Which means that since the second week of April I have lost just over 5kg, or 11lbs. Spread over the seventeen weeks, that's just over half a pound a week or about quarter of a kilo. Not a huge weightloss but one I am very happy with, especially given that I did have a couple of weeks of going off track. Now I just need to do the same again about ten times over and I'll be golden. LOL


Fiona said...

5kg is fantastic! Nearly a stone - plus I think that's the point where it really STAYS OFF and you keep going! (Sad to say, I'm going up and down like a yo-you here.)

I so relate to worrying about the study, the fears about getting out of kilter with home organisation and meals etc. Blogging helps keep me on track with the meal planning.

I have no solution for the pesky, often unfounded worries; it plagues me too. Once the first class is done that will hopefully be a big hurdle down? And you've mentioned before how the love of the language takes over - hopefully once you are into the nuts and bolts, the enjoyment of the study will take over? I missed my French class today and feel like a piker, but we had babysitting duties that took over :(

Moonwaves said...

It feels like I should be able to notice the weightloss already but I don't really. Hopefully just another few pounds should make a difference anyway. I'm really hoping that once I actually start studying and get into a routine, it'll all go well.

dND said...

I'm on, and like, the 5:2 diet too. Weight loss has slowed to an average of 200g per week but, and this is the important bit, if I miss a week on the diet my weight doesn't bounce straight back up.

I fast from evening meal to evening meal, as if I plan in snacks then I will just continue eating. That's not to say that if I'm really hungry I won't have a tomato or two. I do Monday's and Wednesday's on the diet as they are usually the days I won't be going out. My weight loss is currently stuck at around 4kg but at least its not going up as I have 20+kg that I still really should lose.

One good thing about doing the full day fast Moonwaves is that it helps shrink the stomach and I really find that I eat a bit less on the days after the fast, so a sort of double whammy :-)

The important thing in my opinion is to not beat yourself up about what you haven't achieved but concentrate on what you are achieving. I look at my weight loss and it is slow but on the whole it is a gradual loss each week without having to give up any food group or my enjoyment of food on the 5 days and if the being hungry for a couple of days of the week has a health benefit too well, what more can I say :-D

So, wishing you good luck - it took me 2 goes at starting it, I first tried the 2 consecutive days and that was a disaster, but now it's becoming a reasonably natural thing to do and that's something a can't say about any other diet I've tried!

Good luck with the routine too, I keep aiming for one but life just keeps getting in the way. x

Moonwaves said...

Well, I did okay on Wednesday/Thursday. Got up later than planned so everything happened an hour later than expected and I didn't eat lunch until nearly two. I did go to have bruschetta at the restaurant I'd planned and ... it just wasn't very nice. Even though I was properly hungry by the time I got there, they'd changed the way the do it somehow, the tomatoes weren't particularly good and it was, for once, easy to leave something on my plate. What appeals to me about the 5:2 plan is the flexibility, there's no doubt about that.