|He did it all himself - results out on Monday!|
Cakes for the cake sale in return for wearing mufti (so not only do you buy the ingredients and make cakes, you then give your darling children money to buy more cakes. Not that I mind really, but let's just think about the logic of that for a moment...)
|Cherry & coconut? or chocolate & blackcurrant?|
Cakes for the Rainbows cake sale and family quiz.
|And no, I didn't bake them all...|
This is all very well, except that I am on a diet. Yup. The time has come, as it inevitably would, to talk about skinny food.
I'm trying really hard to think of skinny food as exciting. You see, I am not a skinny person - never have been, never will be. Generally, though, I am happy (ish) with my size (12-14) and shape (pear). Well, I always was until about 5 years ago when I woke up one morning and realised that I was size 18 pushing a 20 and needed to do something fast. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with being that size if that's the size you are, but for me and my build, it wasn't right.
Of course, I can absolutely attribute the weight gain then to a whole host of factors: 2 pregnancies, spending huge amounts of time in hospital with my poorly Blue and comfort eating like crazy. I sometimes wish I was one of those people who starve when stressed, but no. I did try it, not eating under pressure, but headed back to the Norwegian cinammon bun page in How to be a Domestic Goddess (it's page 322 in my copy - make a note of that) before you could say 'celery stick'. Not only that, but when Blue started to lose weight about 9 months into chemotherapy, looked like some malnourished shadow of the boy he was, and I had to start talking feeding tubes with the doctors treating him, I threw myself wholeheartedly into cooking with cream. And cheese. All full fat. And then, when he didn't fancy it, I threw myself wholeheartedly into eating it. As Billy Connolly once said (and I paraphrase) "I wasn't retaining water, I was retaining chips!" (to be spat out in a strong Glaswegian accent). Not just chips but cheese, and brownies, custard, mash, fishpie all made with double cream in an attempt to get Blue to eat and put on weight. Of course, we managed to avoid feeding tubes, and I will always be thankful for that, as I am for his continued good health, but it didn't do me much good.
And I know it sounds bizarre, but I really had no insight into the fact that I was getting bigger. I just carried on wearing my maternity clothes after Pink was born and never really got out of them. After all, I was either at home or at hospital - I had a small child with a life threatening illness and a new baby. Did it really matter? And then one day, I saw a picture of myself helping Pink on a slide and I had a crashing reality check. I was fat.
I know 'fat' is a sensitive issue, and when I write this, please know that I make no judgements about anyone else here. I am simply saying that for me, I was too big, and I needed to do something about it. I lost 3 stone following a Slimming World type regime (I borrowed a couple of books from a friend). 3 stone. It was a lot that I'd put on.
To be honest (and this may sound a little bonkers)I probably lost a little too much, and after a brief spell as a size 10, I settled back comfortably into a 12. But the last year or so, it's been creeping ever so slowly back up. Not 3 stone up, but definitely a dress size. Fortunately, the realisation came sooner rather than later, so skinny food it is.
It's not just about what I'm eating, though, it's also about resetting my attitude to food, which is what I had to do the last time. I like my food a lot (you migh thave noticed). I am also incapable of leaving food on my plate. I was brought up to eat every last morsel - and I find it impossible to break this. So portion control is important, and self restraint not to take seconds.
So in the midst of all this cake, I am rocking a combination of what I remember about Slimming World (red days and green days, quite good fun. Really. It is) and also, just to bring in a little bit of a frisson, some 5:2 fasting days. I quite like the challenge of this, although I have never before paid any heed whatsoever to the calorie content of food - I tend to look more for fat & sugar content.
I'm probably the last person in the world to try this. I became aware of the 5:2 diet last year - there are lots of people doing it. the premise is that you eat normally for 5 days a week, and then fast - having only 500 calories (600 for men) on the other 2 days. There appears to be lots of good science behind it, and even Hugh F-W is a fan.
My breakfasts have been looking a lot like this:
|Banana, yoghurt, walnuts & honey?|
|or does madam prefer stewed apple, yoghurt and dates?|
and there's been some rather interesting soups going on for lunches.
I must confess to only having done one proper fast day so far - I've been working my way up to it, but it was OK. Banana, 0% fat Greek yoghurt, some chopped walnuts and a teaspoon (sob) of honey, a Thai type soup with peas, broad beans and chilli for lunch, and a mushroom souffle omelette for supper.
|get me with my mushroom souffle omelettes|
I was madly busy that day anyway.
But consider the irony of restraining myself as I baked a cake for Blue to decorate (the amount of notice we had for the competition meant that I had to bake the cake or we wouldn't have had time, but he decorated it all himself.) No bowl licking for me. In fact, I was so restrained that I did what I mocked Jane Asher for doing once - as soon as I had finished scraping the mixture out, I squirted washing up liquid into the bowl and filled it with water.
|All that lovely mixture - unlicked :-(|
The following day was cherry & coconut cupcakes and some chocolate/blackcurrant cupcakes. I managed to resist the cherry & coconut, but cracked totally at the chocolate cake mix. Still - it wasn't a fast day...
And is it working? Well, yes it is. I am losing weight and despite the chocolate cupcake bowl licking frenzy on Thursday (and an accident with a pack of oatcakes and the peanut butter and an unfortunate incident with a bar of Green & Blacks Maya Gold - but over the last couple of weeks - so not so bad), I am doing pretty well. I may even let you have some skinny recipes soon. I haven't had much variety yet so as/if (it's early days!) I get more into this, I'll be on the look out for lots of interesting 5:2 recipes - because I think trying to work out how many calories there are in a mushroom for myself may just prove too much like hard work.