Give me my body back

You ever felt this way?

That just as you were finally getting comfortable with your body, menopause has taken it and turned it into an alien thing – something you barely recognise, are no longer in control of and that no longer responds to your old weight loss tricks?

In fact, it’s come up with a few dirty tricks of its own, like losing your waist and sprouting an extra chin.

No fair!

Our bodies have changed the rules without telling us;  so I’m going to see if  I can find out what those new rules are and if my body and I can play nice.

I’ll let you know what my experiments reveal.  Expect to see posts about my progress, my whoops of joy and whines;  recipes;  observations about how different food groups are affecting my weight loss;  interesting new ideas about what’s happening to our bodies, and things we might try to calm the situation;  and hopefully, fingers crossed, ultimately photos of my body and I being best friends again.

 

Nutprococo II

Due to a cupboard shortage yesterday, I had to improvise when making my Nutprococo and what a lucky cupboard shortage that turned out to be.  Nutprococo is my go-to when I’m craving not just sweet but satisfaction too – chocolaty chewy crunchy and not too sweet. Low carb, low GI/GL and it’s paleo too if you substitute the tsp sweetener for honey;  and it’s tailored to fit into an alkaline diet too.  Whether it’s low calorie or not depends on how much you eat.

And that I am sharing my new & improved Nutprococo recipe with you is proof that I love you very very much indeed.

Day 2 – The 12 Hour Window and a Surprise Result

So I heard that really nice GP who has a book out at the moment and so talks alot on the radio talking on the radio yesterday;  and he said there is evidence that when you eat is important.  Apparently it’s been shown that if you keep your eating within a 12 Hour Window – say 8am to 8pm – it gives your body a rest and aids weight loss.

So I’m thinking I could add this to my alkaline diet and see if it makes any difference.

I have this thing I really don’t want to wake up hungry during the night, so I’m not one for having my last meal at 7pm;  more like 9 or 10pm.  The idea of not being able to eat after 8pm if I’m getting peckish panics me because I know I won’t be able to sleep.

So I decided to try missing breakfast and creating a ‘window’ from noon-to-9pm in which to eat.  I know that’s only 9 hours, but I feel I can cope with that.  Although I have to emphasise

I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE, NOT ONCE, NOT EVER, NOT EATEN BREAKFAST

so I really wasn’t sure how this would go.  But I’m a game girl and committed to getting my body back, so I started doing it yesterday.  And you know what?  It was really okay.

I found the morning tolerable so long as I kept well hydrated;  and after noon it felt rather as if I was feasting, because I was eating the same amount in a shorter space of time.  So my meals were more indulgent, and for a binger like me that is very nice indeed.

So I woke up this morning, and eager to see how my experiment was going I weighed myself.

I’d lost 3lbs in a day.

*startled face*

 

The Alkaline Diet Day 1 – So far, so smoothie

So I spent yesterday gathering together all the information I’d need to set myself up for the Alkaline Diet, and remembered – although I haven’t done it before, but I have read it before – that a big problem with it is the lack of consensus over which foods are alkali and which are acid.  For instance, mushrooms are rated by some ‘highly acidic’ and by others ‘mildly alkaline’.  I eat alot of mushrooms, so being human and so self-interested I’ve decided to label them ‘neutral’ so I can keep on eating lots of them.

Elle Macpherson’s passionate advocacy for the Alkaline Diet is what inspired me to try it, and yet even her writings on it are contradictory – she blogs (on Get The Gloss) that the nutritionist who put her onto the Alkaline Diet (Dr Simone Laubscher) tells her enthusiastically to eat walnuts.  Walnuts are acidic.  She says she always has organic butter and eggs in her fridge – but both are highly acidic.  She eats fish every day.  Acidic.  Of course, you’re only supposed to eat 80% acidic, but it does make it all rather confusing.

Incidentally, I’m not doing it because I adore Elle’s body – for the record, I prefer my women to have more womanly proportions.  I’m never quite clear why an example of perfect womanhood has a man’s shoulders, no hips and strangely elongated limbs.  Of course, Elle is perfectly entitled to, and should, love the body she’s in – but I do resent her example being held up to other women for us to aspire and compare ourselves to, always unfavourably.  We don’t look like that because that isn’t actually what women are supposed to look like.  And if that sounds a bit mean to Elle, well I wouldn’t say it about somebody who hadn’t chosen to put their body out there to be admired;  and hadn’t chosen to be fabulously well paid to work in an industry that is all about making women feel crap about being normal.

So the Alkaline Diet is clearly going to be a largely vegetarian diet but I’m good with that.  I’ve always preferred plant foods, which does make me wonder how I managed to Low Carb for a decade or so.  Mind you, I did say I always found it difficult.

I’ve always had a passion for vegetables, and one of the things I love about French food is that they take vegetables seriously and create culinary wonders with them, rather than just seeing them as a slightly damp chore on the side of your plate.  As the wonderful and much-missed Phil McCarthy once memorably said,

in Britain we boil our ‘veg’ to death, and then give it another 20 minutes to be on the safe side.

Curious that the British call it the very unglamorous ‘veg’, as if it was something dull and faintly unpleasant,  like cutting your toenails.  Mind you, I have to admit to feeling a certain disdain for the current use of the word ‘veggies’ – as if vegetables couldn’t be called vegetables anymore but had to be rebranded, to make them attractive to the gullible public who might then actually think they aren’t vegetables at all, but something new and cheerily appealing.  They don’t need rebranding, they just need cooking properly!

And what, with the rising cost of food and particularly meat, I’m not sure who will be able to afford to eat meat soon, but I won’t be among them. Could be we may all have to make much better friends with vegetables soon.

Anyway, from the many conflicting Acid/Alkali charts, I’ve compiled one that makes sense to me;  I’ve had a Tesco shop delivered this morning busting at the seams with nut butters, kale and almond milk;  and I am SO BORED WITH BEING FAT that I guess I’m good to go.

Wish me luck!

Elle Macpherson made me do it

So here’s a thing. A few weeks ago I read Elle talking about how TAD changed her life. It stuck in my head because Elle is 53 and so am I, so if it works on her menopausal body maybe it will on mine.

I know people rubbish the science … and yet still it has anecdotal support.

So I’m thinking maybe I should suspend my rotational diet and try the Alkaline Diet for a month. Then I can let you all know what it’s like and how effective it is.

Whadya all think???

First Week, Flu & Bingeing

So my first week is done and despite my catastrophic plunge off the wagon I’ve lost 2lbs.  That’s not great for a first week, when there’s the water and post-binge weight to be lost, but it’s still better than nothing.

I’m not feeling very articulate as I seem to have come down with flu, or some other lurgy that means I’ve spent the last few days bedridden and bingeing on fruit smoothies.

That’s my New Year’s Resolution.  If you’re gonna binge, binge healthy.

You have to be your own pet scientist

So there’s paleo, there’s high fat, there’s low fat, very low low calorie, there’s Dukan, there’s Raw Vegan … they all promise fat loss – but they can’t all be right.

So who is?

I think they’re all a bit right and quite alot wrong.  There’s some truth in them all – which is why when perfectly applied they will all result in weight loss:  just very rarely will anyone be able to sustain it;  and if you did for years, you’d probably develop at least one serious deficiency.

Incidentally, have you noticed recently how every new diet has proclaimed ‘This isn’t a diet – it’s a lifestyle change’?  Sorry, but what is a diet but a lifestyle change involving food?

As to the ones who claim you’ll never be hungry or feel deprived if you follow the mealplans they’ve worked out for you – I have occasionally totted up the calorie counts of their daily plans, and found some to be under 1000 calories.  No hunger or deprivation? Yeah, right.

So you will be hungry and you will feel deprived – but as the Perfect Person, your diet guru, said you wouldn’t be, you’ll blame yourself for it.  You must be at fault.  Something must be wrong with you or you must be doing it wrong.  It can’t be the diet, sorry, lifestyle change.

My mother’s family is riddled with Type 2 Diabetes – it killed her father at 58, and her at 64.  My mother was treated in the era when diabetics were told to eat a low fat, high carb diet:  advice that would now make a diabetic practitioner grow pale and fall over.  It killed her.

So your GP is doing his best – he’s giving you the advice he’s been given.  But he hasn’t had time to go and research it himself.  She’s already overworked to the point of exhaustion.  She’d love to read the studies herself, but how and when?  So they just have to hope the information they’re passing on is right – but it has so often proved not to be.

GPs fed Thalidomide to pregnant mothers in the 1960s for morning sickness.

I am not, for the record, anti-science, far from it.  I would not choose to live in a world without the extraordinary scientific advances that have, for example, made it a rarity, rather than commonplace, for a parent to lose a child.  If you remember the swine flu epidemic a decade or so ago – my youngest was hit with it and believe me it was not the ‘bad cold’ some had (possibly to quell the mounting panic) dismissed it as.  I have never seen any of my children so sick and it was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me.  Although he did not in the end require hospital treatment, I realised how phenomenally lucky I was to live in an era of technical advancement where emergency help would have been available to save his life should he have needed it.

We’re all doing the best we can – but GPs, doctors, scientists are human and will get it wrong sometimes.

So what should you do?

Well, you could spend years reading every scientific paper on nutrition for the last two decades – only you’d probably be dead before you finished and in a position to distil everything you’d read into a workable nutritional programme.

Come to that, unless you’re a scientist, how would you tell which experiments were well designed and run and which were ropey as hell?

You could try just looking out for the ‘take home’ of these studies reported in the media – but as my eldest son, who has a Masters Degree in Drug Design & Discovery, says – much to his fury – the way the mainstream media, and some self-proclaimed health and nutrition gurus, misrepresent scientific studies has become dangerously irresponsible.

So you cannot and will not be able to figure it out for yourself.  So don’t try.

And happily, maybe you don’t even have to.

Here’s a little experiment.  Google photos of the British aristocracy a hundred years ago.  Now these people could afford the most indulgent foods and as much of them as they wanted.  So scout those photos for the fat people.

Find any?  Isn’t that curious.  And yet, they didn’t have the benefit of the last hundred years of scientific study or diet gurus to guide them.  So what were they doing that kept them relatively slim?

Use your mind to cut through the rubbish and think.  What makes the most sense to you?  And then try that out, under certain conditions and your own scrutiny, on  your body.  What happens to the way you feel, your muscle tone and your weight if you eliminate fat from your diet?  Or if you increase protein?  Cut back on carbs?  You are your own best scientist and laboratory.  Only you can really know how food affects you.

See if you can get back to a time where you had a simpler and better relationship with food, and replicate as best you can what you did then, before it all got so messed up.

Personally I think we all know a few things, and possibly the only things we need to know – that we should eat a moderate amount of as wide a variety of foods as possible.

We are after all omnivores, and that is precisely what we were designed to do.