Wednesday, 27 February 2013

I carried a water melon

I spend a lot of time telling myself to shut up.
I talk A LOT, but what you don’t realise is, that’s me holding back. Me talking a lot, is mostly me talking a bit, but holding most of the words in my head and preventing them coming out. Can you imagine how unbearable I’d be if I let it out?
In North Wales (where I come from) this incessant talking is considered normal. But everywhere else? It doesn't seem to be the thing.
I’ve been thinking about this because I had a training day yesterday, a small intimate group of six. Within minutes of arriving, in that awkward silence before the training begins, I’d (unintentionally) insulted the man sitting next to me and told the group all about my fasting. Something they really didn’t need to know. But I just couldn’t help it.
You see I can’t stand a group of strangers sitting in silence before a meeting starts, all worrying about what they'll say in the dreaded ‘round the table introductions’. I always have to chat, get people talking, find common ground (aka humiliate myself and insult a few people) so by the time we do the intros it's just not that bad.  
Apparently this is a problem. A work-based coach once told me that I needed to stop ‘forcing my personality on people’ and let people ‘come and find me’. Not everyone wants to be your friend, he said.
So I tried it for a week.
I was my normal self in the office but when it came to meetings or group discussions, I sat back quietly, let other people take the lead and desperately, painfully, kept all my words tightly locked in my head (the hardest bloody thing I’ve EVER done).
And what happened? I had a whole week of people asking what was wrong.
Was I ill? Stressed? Everything alright at home? Unhappy? Leaving? Pregnant?
No, I’m just letting you all come and find me. (weirdo)
But he had a point, not everyone likes a chatterbox and they don't all want to join in. So just let people be.
Dirty Dancing classic lines
So occasionally I put these tips into practice and remain silent, but most of the time I forget all about it and speak before engaging brain.
In my excitement and urge to make everyone feel relaxed, I tell inappropriate jokes and dole out excruciating insults.
They don’t look funny in writing, without the perfectly timed delivery and painful tumbleweed silence that follows.
But this t-shirt (bought for me by colleague mumofthreeworld) says it all.

Friday, 22 February 2013

You don't always need to eat cake - fasting

We've been out for the last two hours, in a cold biting wind, watching Prince Charles open the village shop. Like visitors at a zoo, trying to catch a glimpse of an exotic animal. My fingers were frozen but a brisk walk up a steep hill, pushing my sleeping daughter in the buggy, soon warmed me up.

It's 2pm and we're home now. There's a hot cup of coffee steaming next to me. But there's no milk in it and I'm resisting the banana muffins sitting waiting in the tin on the shelf. Today I'm fasting.

It's my second day of fasting in my first week of the lifestyle advocated by Dr Micheal Mosely. And it's probably the first time I've felt weak. My whole body feels cold and what I really need is a cup of strong milky tea accompanied by some kind of cake.

Weirdly, I'm really enjoying it. It makes me feel good, energised, bright. I don't feel like I've given anything up, deprived or even hungry. The empty stomach feeling is actually really nice.

So is fasting another fad diet for those lazy arses who can't be bothered to change to a healthy lifestyle?

It's not just about losing weight, there's a lot of science behind fasting. It's claimed to lengthen life expectancy, can reduce levels of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1, which leads to accelerated ageing), switches on DNA repair genes and reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.

I'm simply controlling what I'm eating to get the maximum health benefits, but only for two out of seven days. On the other days I can eat what I like but that's not happening. I'm questioning everything I eat (now that I know I can go for most of the day without). It's already having an impact on the rest of my diet.

So it turns out I don't always need milk in my coffee and I don't always need cake after a walk. Who knew?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Gallery - Boys

A group of boys, born within a month of each other, bound by their mother’s need for coffee, counselling and company. Products of the NCT ante-natal production line.
Almost 5 years on, the boys are as close as ever. More like brothers than friends, they play, they argue, they fight and they sit in silence together.
And the mums still mainly just chat.
But no matter what I do  and no matter how many I take (I have hundreds) they will never EVER pose for a sensible photograph.

This post is part of The Gallery, view the Sticky Fingers Blog to see more

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Having a day off food - the fast diet

Following on from the skinny jeans post, I am fasting.

Not for religions reasons (although I have given up wine for lent, but not beer or gin). Mainly because my weight is creeping up and I have a wardrobe full of clothes I need to wear.

I am fasting two days per week and eating completely normally for the other five. It's a diet that isn't a diet. A way for people like me to lose weight. Someone who hates the idea of calorie counting, but often gets so immersed in what I'm doing that I can easily go without food for the whole working day.

You have probably read the publicity, seen Dr Michael Mosley's Horizon programme last year, or know someone who's tried this. What swung it for me is that I know GP s who are doing it for health reasons. It's not just about getting thinner.

Yesterday was my first day. You don't completely starve, you are allowed 500 calories as a woman (600 for a man). I'm going for the 12 hour fast, split my allowance between the morning and the night with nothing in between.

  • 7.30am - small amount of porridge made with water : 150 calories.
  • Usual coffees (without milk), water and mint teas all day as and when I liked
  • 7.30pm – bowl of soup worth only 240 calories.

That's it.

So how did I feel? Completely fine. Coffee kills any hunger pains so I didn't even notice in the day. After the school run I fed the four year old but had to carry on working so didn't think about snack, I didn't feel hungry, just empty. But a really gentle emptiness that made me feel lighter, brighter and just that bit thinner.

The toughest time was about 6pm cooking dinner for the adults and kids asking for snacks. But then it's the bedtime rush and it's all forgotten.

My sister and mum are also doing it, they both reported having a brilliant night's sleep after fasting and their main symptoms were a late night headache, but other than that they too found it easy. Unlike a normal diet you know it's not forever, you know that tomorrow everything is normal again.

And today I'm off to Nom Nom Cupcakery :)

So that's me done until Friday. A completely normal life for the rest of the week, with as much beer, gin or cake as I care to eat. Perfect. I'll keep you posted.

Find out more here. (it's not for everyone, so check first)

Monday, 11 February 2013

Skinny jeans sinner

“Those trousers aren't designed for real women. They were only made in your size for a laugh. You were never supposed to actually buy them! Skinny jeans were designed for special women who live on special diets of only special lettuce. If you can remember the last time you ate a burger then for Christ's sake take them off….”  The Regular Guy, In the Powder Room

I hate skinny jeans and jeggings.
I hate them because they really don’t suit me.
But I just can’t resist the draw of the elasticated waistband, the stretch fabric that feels so great no matter how tough the terrain (or big the lunch portions).
I resisted for a loooooonnng time. I know have too much arse and thigh for skinny jeans, but I gave in when I was pregnant with number 2. I could wear them with giant maternity tops and get away with it. They stretched so brilliantly around my water-retentioned legs. (see picture)
Then I got hooked. I realised I could wear old dresses that had been hidden away for being too short (as I got older and my knees got fatter). Put them with jeggings and it’s a whole new outfit.
I can wear them with flats, with heels, with boots and with wellies. They’re warmer than tights and smarter than tracksuits.
I can eat as many cupcakes in a day as I like and they just STRETCH so I don’t even feel it. (If necessary I just change to a bigger top.)
I love them but I hate them and I just keep buying more. I'm addicted to skinny jeans and they're doing nothing for my figure.
As the Regular Guy once said:
“Your arse looks fantastic love, but are you sure those skinny jeans suit your fat ankles?"

Skinny jeans + 41 weeks pregnant = not a good look

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Great marinade for steak - plus chilli onion rings

Staying in with kids means that most weekends one of us will cook something different.
The OH always heads for Levi Roots or African cookbooks. Last night he found a simple, but bloody lovely, steak marinade. So good I thought I’d post it.
This is based on 2 people, so just adjust to what you need.
2 x steaks of your choice (we had sirloin, the recipe suggests rump)
For the marinade:
1 tbsp. medium curry powder
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
Mix together and marinade the steaks for 1 hour. Take them out and cook to your taste. Keep the marinade to use as a dip for your onion rings. (heat on high it for 1 minute in a pan or microwave before serving)
Chilli onion rings
We just added chilli powder, ground cumin, finely chopped fresh green chilli to a thick batter. (batter made with plain flour, water, salt)
One large white onion made enough for 2 adults, with leftovers for the kids.
Slice the onion into rings, dip into the batter and fry in hot oil (deep fat fryer or deep frying pan) 'til golden brown.

Recipe adjusted from one in Tastes of Africa