Monday, 30 January 2012

Ginger Oat Biscuits

Hello everyone, I'm back from my jolly holidays in Tenerife.  I ate and drank far too much and resumed my dieting today, but I couldn't resist a bit of a sweet treat this evening.

I (very loosely) used a biscuit recipe from my bero book as a base for these.


My version of ingredients was:

125g SR flour
125g oats
pinch salt
75g slimmer sweetener
75g flora extra light
skimmed milk
hefty helping of ground ginger

I mixed all the dry ingredients together then melted the marg in the microwave and stirred that in.  It combined with the dry mixture but not enough to make a dough. After adding milk until the mixture was all combined I decided I couldn't be bothered to try and dig out the rolling pin, and a laborious search of the cupboards was fruitless for finding the cutter I wanted to use, so I rolled these into small balls, using a bit of flour to avoid getting the gloop stuck to my hands.


I baked them in the oven at 180 for 20 minutes.  They rose up quite nicely but ended up looking more like rock cakes than biscuits.


They smelt delicious but upon eating were very, very, VERY sweet.  On the plus that meant I only wanted one.  Imagine gingery, sweet scones and you'll get the idea of what these were like.  Not my best baking success but a lovely sweet treat for a Monday night.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Wine of the week- M&S Bellota

We got this wine as part of the Dine for £10 Chinese meal deal at M&S. I read the descriptions of all the wines and this sounded the nicest. The description ended by saying the wine has a honey flavour after taste, years ago M&S did a Chenin Blanc that had a honeyed after taste that was gorgeous, so I was interested to see if this one would be as nice.

Phil had a sip and declared it too thin, I had a bigger sip and the flavours came through, light, fresh wine with a honeyed aftertaste. It worked very well with the food, but IMO wasn't as nice after we'd eaten. An eating wine, not a drinking wine.

If you get the meal deal I'd definitely recommend picking this as the wine to go with it.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Comfort food - Butternut Squash and Chickpea stew


Phil was working on call this week, when he's on call he usually doesn't eat well, so I wanted to make him something warming, filling and packed with vegetables.

Ingredients
1 butternut squash
1 small red onion
1 tin of chickpeas
1 carton of tomatoes
150ml chicken stock
3 rashers of weightwatchers bacon
selection of greens (I picked up a bag of peas, tenderstem broccoli and green beans)
squeeze of garlic purée
few drops of worcestershire sauce
dried rosemary

Method
Chop the onion and the bacon and add those to a large pan with the squeeze of garlic purée, while that's frying gently chop the squash into large chunks.  Add those to the pan and cook for a few minutes.

Add the tomatoes and chicken stock and then pour in the chickpeas.  Sprinkle in some dried rosemary and season with salt and pepper.  Lastly add the greens and worcestireshire sauce and pop the pan lid on.

Let the stew cook for 20-25 minutes until the squash is tender.

Serve with some yummy bread.





Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Diet update

I struggled with Dukan, and I've admitted defeat I'm now just doing the PV days.  (Well with a couple of treats).

Not being able to eat any of what I'd normally eat, like rice and pasta, and having to eat so much meat just wasn't sustainable for me.  The initial weight loss was great, I lost 7Ib's in 8 days and I feel much better for losing that weight, but I just couldn't do any more PP days.

This week's weigh in is Friday morning, I'm expecting to have regained some of that weight due to the initial loss during Attack being mostly water weight.

I feel like I've failed because I haven't seen it through to the letter.

This week I've tried to do PV days, but I have allowed myself a couple of nice treats like a biscuit, or a blueberry muffin.  I know that I'm fat and I shouldn't eat anything like that, but surviving on salad and cottage cheese makes me miserable.

The good things that have come from Dukan are that I'm eating Oatbran porridge and enjoying it.  I'm also eating more protein than before and making better choices about the carbs I have, or avoiding carbs completely.

Another positive is I haven't had a drink, yet, for the whole of January.  It hasn't felt like a chore this time either, it was a struggle last year.  I'm going out for a friend's birthday on Friday and I really don't want to spend much, or to drink.  Although I'll be very pushed not to have a cocktail if we go to a particular bar!

How are you doing with your new years diet?  Have you stuck to it?

Monday, 16 January 2012

Cardamom Black, Harrogate


After I didn't get to try the food at the grand opening evening at Cardamom Black I was invited back by the owners for a complimentary meal.  I couldn't turn down such a generous offer, so on Thursday last week Phil and I headed over to Harrogate for some top notch food.

We were greeted warmly, coats taken and shown to our seats for the meal.  Coincidentally they were the same seats we had at the opening.

We opted for pickles and popadoms to start.


The mango chutney was delicious.   The best one I've had.

To start I chose one of the specials, Nidderdale Lamb Chops.  They were described in the press release I was sent and I'd wanted to try it since then.



I wasn't disappointed.  The meat was tender, with a subtle spiced flavour which didn't overpower the meat.  I'd been expecting something very spicy that would stop me tasting the lamb, so I was very pleased.

Phil went for the Monkfish for his starter, which he thoroughly enjoyed too.  The fish was fresh, moist and packed with flavour.


To drink we'd picked diet cokes, as we're both on a booze ban (well I am until my holidays!) so we decided to get some lassi to liven things up drinkwise.  We couldn't resist the Passionfruit and Mango one, we definitely made the right choice with it - amazing.


For main I had a Seafood Medley, which I think was Balti, with my staple Cheese Naan, and Phil had Wazaki Chicken (I hope I've spelt this correctly) with lime and coriander rice.










The mains were as good as the starters. The fish, prawns, squid and scallops in my dish were cooked perfectly, no rubber in sight.  The curry was hot, but not so hot I couldn't eat it, which is what I'd always imagined a balti would be.  Phil's chicken was tender and juicy, and he enjoyed the rice.

We were absolutely stuffed after our starter and main but were convinced to try and cram in some pudding.


Who could resist sharing these?  An Assiette of Desserts, the raspberry mousse cake was my favourite, with the ginger and lemon cheesecake coming a close second.

I really enjoyed the food, and the service was impeccable.  Of course it would be, I'm sure you're saying, but we made a point of watching how other customers were treated - the waiting staff were every bit as attentive to them as they were to us.

My pictures aren't amazing - apologies for that - but I can't bring myself to ponce about with a flash when people are trying to enjoy their meals.  Here's a couple of poor shots of the fantasticly sparkly interior of Cardamom Black - I just couldn't do the place justice with my little iphone camera.



As part of the evening we were told some more about the background of Cardamom Black, of the hard work that's gone into the restaurant and aspirations of things to come.  I had planned to ask what was going on with the website, I've seen a few disgruntled tweets about it not being fully operations.  Well there's method in the madness for that - an 8 week initial opening period, for all the little problems to be ironed out, for staff to be trained up and for everything to get ship shape.  You'll see a lot more from Cardamom Black in the next couple of months I'm sure, with a big campaign to get the word out there.

So - would I recommend it to anyone who reads my blog?

Yes.


Will I be going again?

A very definite Yes.


Thank you again to the hospitality of the owners of Cardamom Black for inviting me back to the restaurant and making us feel like royalty for the night.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Spicy Turkey Mince


Today is another PP day for me, and day 2 of Cruise Phase.  I meandered aimlessly round the supermarket earlier, not really sure what I wanted to eat, but eventually picked up turkey mince and extra light soft cheese with onions and chives. I grabbed some shallots and decided to make a plain mince dish, like mince and tatties (sans tatties).

I started cooking but then was drawn to the spice rack and couldn't resist adding things in.

Ingredients
Turkey mince
2 beef oxo cubes
250ml boiling water
1/4 tsp marmite
2 shallots finely chopped
garlic
few splashes of Worcestershire sauce
chilli flakes
paprika
dried coriander

Original ingredients, before spice attack

Method
Peel and chop the shallots finely, add these with a squeeze of garlic puree and the dried chilli to a pan oiled with a spray of frylight.  Let the onions cook and then add the mince.

When the minced is browned add one of the oxo cubes, crumble over and mix in.  Boil some water and dissolve the other oxo cube in 200ml of water.  Add the marmite to the stock and stir to mix in.

Leave to cook for as long as possible so the turkey is tender, I added an extra 50ml of water after some had evaporated.

I added some paprika when serving, awarded myself a dollop of the extra light soft cheese and garnished with the coriander.


Cruise - Day 2 - PP day
  • Breakfast - 1 small ginger oatbran biscuit (my porridge exploded...)
  • Lunch - Tikka turkey pieces mixed with quark, one slice of gherkin and 3 pickled onions
  • Snacks - 2 slices of turkey
  • Tea - Spicy Turkey Mince
  • Drinks - 1L water, 3xcups of tea, 1 pint diet coke, 1 options hot chocolate.  More water to drink before bed.


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Prawn and Mushroom curry

Today is my first PV (Protein + Veg) day on Dukan, and I've celebrated with this delicious curry.

Ingredients

Prawns
2 large mushrooms
1 red onion
1tsp garam masala
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground ginger
2tsp dried chilli's
garlic
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp fat free natural yoghurt








Method
Spray frying pan with frylight then chop the onion while that warms, add that to the pan with the garlic (we have some ready minced although I probably shouldn't have used it because of the oil).  Leave that to cook, stirring occasionally.  If it starts to stick to your pan at all add a small amount of water.

Add the spices, if I'm making a curry up on the hoof I just add the ones I like so the above are just a random selection of ones I like.  Let the spices combine and then add the mushrooms.  Leave that to cook for a couple of minutes then add your prawns.  They won't take long so possibly another three minutes and the pan is ready to come off the heat.

I asked on twitter today how I'd stop my yoghurt from splitting in a curry, loads of people replied back and told me to take it off the heat, leave it to cool a little and just add the yoghurt when ready to serve.  Excellent advice - it worked a treat for me!


When the pan had cooled off a little I added in 2 tbsp of fat free yoghurt, gave it a good stir to combine and then served with some dried coriander (we're out of fresh).


It was delicious, a wee bit spicy but just what I fancied.



So my first day of Cruise has gone well.

  • Breakfast 1 hardboiled egg
  • Lunch salad leaves, peppers, cottage cheese, prawns and another hardboiled egg
  • Snacks 3 slices of turkey, one pickled onion, 1 ginger oatbran biscuit
  • Tea as above, prawn curry
  • Drinks 4xcups of tea, 2xpints of diet coke, 1.5L water, 1xfanta zero, 1xoptions hot chocolate


If I leave the mushrooms out of the curry and just use half an onion I can have it on PP days too.  I think it's going to be a staple for the next few weeks!

I'm resisting the urge to weigh here, and will wait until Friday morning. I have everything crossed for a loss!


My ginger oatbran biscuits weren't quite the triumph they looked.... it turns out dissolving 2 sweetener cube thingys doesn't equate to 2tbsp of sweetener.  Granulated stuff on the shopping list....

Monday, 9 January 2012

Dukan day 6

Today is my last day of attack phase, tomorrow I'll have my first PV day.  As I weighed myself on Phil's scales, and are a little...ahem...blocked up at the moment I won't bother weighing until Friday morning.

I missed breakfast this morning but have had my three meals with a little bit of supper earlier.

  • Lunch: chicken pieces and quark
  • Snacks: 1 pickled onion, 4 crab sticks
  • Tea: 1 chicken breast wrapped in three turkey rashers with some fresh thyme between the turkey and the chicken, prawns, cottage cheese, 4 slices of gherkin, 1 pickled onion.  My turkey rashers were rather well done, it seems they don't taste as good crispy as bacon does.
  • Drinks:  4xcups of tea, skimmed milk, 1.5L water, 1.5 pints of diet coke, 1 bottle of sugar free fanta, 1xoptions hot chocolate
  • Supper: 1.5 tbsp oatbran mixed into fat free yoghurt





I think I've done 20 minutes walking, but it was over two sessions - I'm not sure if that matters?

Anyway, I have a confession to make....

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned.  Today when clearing up after tea I was scooping leftover mash out of the pan, without thinking I shoved the spoon with the remnants of mash into my mouth.  I had a brief thought about spitting it out, but it seemed such a terrible waste of mashed potato to do such a thing...

To repent this sin I will eat 4 crabsticks tomorrow.

(After having a few I've come to realise that crabsticks are vile, I'm desperately trying to use up the pack I bought).


I am planning to have a go at the oatbran cookies tomorrow night, I never got round to making them.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Dukan day 5

My energy levels have come back up, somewhat, although I'm finding I'm shattered come the evening, then I go to bed and can't turn my head off.  I lie and think, and think, and think.

Today has been quite productive and we were up and out bargain hunting first thing.  I ended up having brunch just after 12pm, having missed breakfast again - must do better tomorrow!

Brunch:  3 rashers of weightwatchers rindless bacon, 2 eggs - fried but placed on kitchen roll to absorb any excess oil.


Snacks: 1 gherkin, 3 slices of turkey

Tea: Sirloin steak, 2 free range chicken thighs, 1 chopped gherkin, dollop of quark

Drinks: 2xpint mugs of tea, 2xglasses of diet coke, 2xglasses of water, 1xlatte,skimmed milk with 2 small biscotti... I know I shouldn't have had them. But I did.

After I posted yesterday evening I had a snack.


Low fat yoghurt with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a teaspoon of green and blacks cocoa powder.  As it tasted quite bitter I'm wondering if the sugar content in G&B isn't all that high?

I'm about as fed up as can be of meat now, I have another day of pure protein tomorrow and then when I start Veg+Protein in Cruise Phase on Tuesday I'll be trying to have fish for the rest of the week.

I'm truly looking forward to vegetables.

Temptation was out to get me in all ways today.  We grabbed a coffee in M&S, there staring me in the face were cakes lots of cakes, and scones, and biscuits and sandwiches........  I wanted a piece of cake so bad. When Phil brought my coffee over I saw the two biscotti on the saucer and couldn't resist them.  I know I shouldn't have had them, but I did.

We had a wander round the new summer clothes section, I bought a swimming costume, a work top and a pair of linen trousers.  I instantly felt better for treating myself to some new bits.

I was thinking on the way home about the way I treat myself, when I was younger I'd "treat" myself to clothes, shoes, bags and make up.  As I got older, and the credit dried up, I changed my treating myself to grabbing a bottle of wine on the way home, a chocolate bar, takeaways...  And so the weight crept on.  I enjoy cooking, yet I'm incapable of cooking normal sized portions, I always cook for at least four.  I bake to relax and improve my skills.  Then I eat the baking.  I adore eating out, trying new places, new cuisines.  It's also a treat.

So my question, how will I treat myself without getting fat or going broke??

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Dukan day 4

People didn't lie, day 4 has been much easier. Especially because I hopped on the scales and saw 4ib weightloss!

Today I've been a bit poor for food, I stopped in bed till silly o clock this afternoon, reading and excel working.

Brunch: Worcestershire sauce scrambled eggs & cinnamon oatbran galette (slightly charred...) with a dollop of quark.

Snacks: 4 slices of turkey

Tea: large minted turkey steak, 1 gherkin, 1 dollop of quark

Drinks: 3 x pint of tea w/skimmed milk, 4 glasses diet coke. I need to drink plain water for the evening.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Dukan Day 3

Day 3 is hard.  So very hard.  Today I've had no energy, I haven't managed a solitary 20 minute walk, but as I've walked from my desk to the toilets a million times for a million wees then I've decided that can count.

I aim to do better on the exercising tomorrow.  Today has been the worst of the three days, I've come very close to packing it in and eating something carbalicious for tea.  I made Phil chicken and pasta with a creamy tomato sauce, I couldn't test the pasta to see if it was cooked, or try the sauce!


Today I've eaten:

  • Breakfast: Oatbran porridge (1.5tbsp oatbran with 200ml skimmed milk, nuked in microwave till thick)
  • Snack: Boiled egg
  • Lunch: pack of sweet chilli chicken pieces, dollop of quark, 2 chopped gherkins
  • Snack: 3 crabsticks
  • Tea: 2 grilled free range chicken thighs, 1 boiled egg, dollop of cottage cheese, garlic prawns, 3 gherkins
  • Drinks: tea with skimmed milk x3, 75cl bottle of water, 1x herbal tea, 1.5 glasses of diet coke (more water to be drunk before bed)



Tomorrow I'll be making these:  http://mydukandiet.com/recipes/oat-bran-cookies.html and I'll be having a go at the famous oatbran pancake!


Thursday, 5 January 2012

Dukan Diet - Day 2

I was a bit too smug yesterday about finding this diet easy so far.  Today was hard.  I think day 2 is hard for everyone though.

As I'm at my laptop this evening I'll tell you a bit more about Dukan.

In a nutshell it's a crazy protein diet made up by a mad french dude called Dr Dukan.  It's done over four stages.  Attack, Cruise, Consolidation and Stabilsation.

During the Attack phase of the diet you only eat protein.  I went on the Dukan website and that told me I should do it for six days.  I'm doing it for five, and if I can stretch to it then I'll do it for seven.  This Attack shakes up your body and starts the reduction of water weight.  You HAVE to drink over 1.5 Litres of water a day, to keep your kidneys flushing the water through, and the other non-negotiable is 20 minutes of walking per day.

Foods you can eat during this stage are:

  • Lean beef, veal, rabbit
  • 1.5 tbsp of oatbran per day
  • Chicken and Turkey - no skin
  • Liver
  • Fish - no sauces, not canned in oil
  • shellfish
  • 2 eggs per day
  • dairy under 5% fat - eg cottage cheese, quark, fromage frais
  • herbs
  • spices
  • vinegars
  • lemon juice
  • garlic
  • skimmed milk
  • tea, coffee and 0 calorie soft drinks
The next phase is Cruise on this you alternate protein days with protein + specific vegetables.  You do this until you get down to your target weight.  Exercise is increased to 30 minutes per day at this stage. If weight stops decreasing then the walk is increased to 60 mins per day.

Vegetables you can add to the allowed foods are:
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • cucumber
  • celery
  • leek
  • onion
  • aubergine
  • courgette
  • peppers
  • tomatoes
  • mushrooms
  • french beans
  • cabbage
  • salad leaves
  • radishes
  • 2 tbsp of oatbran per day
When you have reached target weight the next step along the way is Consolidation. At this section of the journey you continue with the foods as above for five days for each pound you've lost to get to your target weight, but are allowed to add:
  • 2 slices wholegrain bread per day
  • 40g cheese per day
  • 1 portion of fruit per day
  • 2 portions of starchy products per week (not potatoes or white rice)
  • 2 celebration meals a week, when ANYTHING can be eaten
One day of pure protein must be adhered to each week and 25 minutes of walking per day.

When you've come through to the end of Consolidation the final stage is Stabilsation. This stage lasts the rest of your life.  The main rules that need to be complied with are still keeping to one day of pure protein per week, keeping up with good habits that have been formed during the process, exercising and eating three tbsp of oatbran per day.   For the rest of the time you can eat a normal diet.

That, in a nutshell, is Dukan.

So, today - the book tells me the first few days are the worst.  Dr Dukan's patronising chapters don't explain the sheer agony of going to the supermarket though.  I could have done with some kind of magic to make all the foods I can't eat (95% of the supermarket) disappear and just leave the meat and low fat dairy.

I've had headache today and feel generally tired and miserable.  I haven't weighed myself, although the book recommends to do every day.  I know that if I haven't lost anything my resolve will disintegrate and I'll eat something carbalicious. 

I've eaten:

Breakfast - 1 hardboiled egg

Lunch      - cottage cheese, turkey pieces, crabsticks

Snacks    - crabsticks

Tea         - two 95% meat beefburgers, dollop of quark, garlic prawns, gherkins, 1 boiled egg  (gherkins are allowed as an accompaniment, but not if you eat so many they could be misinterpreted for a vegetable portion).

Drinks     - 2 x tea with skimmed milk, 1 black coffee, 2 little bottles of diet coke, 1 glass of coke, 75cl bottle of water.  If I've read the book correctly then the pop and tea/coffee count in my water intake.


I think I may have gone wild with the gherkins, Dr Dukan wouldn't be impressed

My mouth is dry, I have headache and I'm miserable.  The only things keeping me remotely happy are Phil and these:


We bought some of this Oat Bran stuff at the supermarket, it looks like superfine porridge oats.  Supposedly you can make a pancake out of it.  I'll be giving that a try tomorrow evening I think!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Dukan diet day 1

I'll write more about the ins and outs of Dukan when I'm at my laptop.

Today I started Dukan, although woke up with nothing suitable for breakfast so ended up having brunch when I got back from the supermarket.

Brunch - crabsticks, turkey pieces, cottage cheese.

Tea - haddock fillet, garlic prawns, cottage cheese.

Snacks - turkey pieces, crab sticks

Drinks - (to now) pint of tea, skimmed milk x 3, glasses of water - 4, 1 x coffee, skimmed milk

I'll be having a bowl of fromage frais for supper later, and if I feel hungry some more crab sticks.

I feel ok so far, I've been gazing wistfully at a box of biscuits all afternoon but have resisted...

Tomorrow I'm having a boiled egg and some 0% fat yoghurt for breakfast and cottage cheese and turkey pieces for lunch, with crab sticks for snacks. For tea I'm having 2 burgers and another boiled egg, and some gherkins to eat as a garnish (typical French diet).

I'll be a bit more adventurous with the recipes over the weekend!

Comfort food - slow cooker beef and tomato stew

I adore comfort food, especially done in the slow cooker.

Ingredients
stewing beef
2 potatoes
2 sticks of celery
1/2 onion 
3 carrots
carton of chopped tomatoes
150ml beef stock
2 tbsp plain flour
splash of white wine

Method
Put slow cooker onto high to warm up.  

Brown the meat in a frying pan then add 2 tbsp of plain flour, allow it to absorb the juices and stick to the meat then remove from the pan and add onion and celery with a splash of white wine then the carrots and chopped potatoes.  

Add the tomatoes to the pan, season and then transfer to the slow cooker.  Add the meat and then pour in the beef stock.  

Turn the slow cooker down to Low and leave to cook for as long as possible.





Tuesday, 3 January 2012

York Cocoa House

Phil and I took a walk around York yesterday to celebrate the Bank Holiday.  I'd been especially looking forward to going to York to go to York Cocoa House.


Opened in November 2011, York Cocoa House is located on Blake Street, just round the corner from where the Park and Ride buses drop off and pick up.  The shop sells chocolates and also has a lovely little cafe selling a wide range of hot chocolates, teas, coffees and some delicious looking cakey treats.

We walked in to a warm welcome from Sophie, had a browse of the shop and then settled in the cafe for a hot chocolate each.

I opted for a ginger hot chocolate and Phil an orange one.



The hot chocolates were delicious, lovely and warm and comforting.  Just what we needed after being on a cold bus.

The shop is filled with lots of chocolatey treats, from truffles to chocolate numbers.  Knowing I'm starting a diet tomorrow I didn't purchase any chocolate, but it took a lot of will power to walk out without any!



York Cocoa House also offer a range of courses, parties and workshops from the shop which I'm sure will be popular.

It was definitely worth a stop for me, and I wish Sophie and York Cocoa House lots of success - I'll be visiting again next time I'm over in York.


Monday, 2 January 2012

2012 - the year of the diet

Source - google images


I wanted to lose weight in 2011, and started the year off quite well, losing 18Ibs, although 14Ibs of those were extra pounds I gained over Christmas 2010.  By the end of 2012 9Ibs have crept back on after I stopped watching what I was eating and stopped going to the gym when I moved jobs.

I need to lose weight because the extra weight I'm carrying is starting to affect my health.  I get out of breath walking up stairs/hills etc and for a 29 year old that just isn't good enough.

I'd like to turn 30 being a healthier, happier and lighter person.  I've got the happy part pretty much sewn up, things are very good for me, I have a new job and a wonderful new partner.  But I'm not healthy and I'm certainly very heavy.

I'm a size 16, although my jeans are feeling very tight at the moment, and I weighed in yesterday at 12st9Ibs.  I was measured at 155cm a few weeks ago (I thought I was 152cm - I must've grown).  The heaviest I've been is 13st8Ibs (last January) and the lightest was 7st2Ibs when I was 17/18.

My BMI is 33.42, which puts me in the Obese category.  The height/weight chart tells me I should be between 7st and 9st4Ibs.   When I was 7st2Ibs I was a size 6, or age 11-12 children's clothes, I have no desire to drop over 5st to get to that weight.  At 20 I was around the 10st mark and a size 10/12.  I'd like to be between 9st7 and 10st which according to the NHS would still make me overweight.  I don't really care what they say, more that I feel better.

So how am I going to shift this massive bulk?  Well I'm going to try three options over 6 months.

The first, and most drastic diet I'm going to try is the Dukan Diet.  I'm aiming to try that for just under three weeks, to complete an Attack phase of 6 days and then move to Cruise for the rest of the time, which is one day of pure protein then one day of protein+allowed vegetables.

I'm under no illusions that I'll be able to stick to this diet, but I'm interested to see if it will work on me.  I'll be doing that from Wednesday 4th Jan until I go to Tenerife on 22nd Jan.  If I find the diet works for me, and I can sustain cutting out potatoes, bread, cheese, pasta and everything else I find nice then I'll go back on Dukan and restart the Attack phase and start again.

Although I'm determined to give the Dukan diet a decent go, if it isn't working out for me and I hate it then when I return from holiday I'll be moving to the Steve Miller approach to dieting - Eat less and Move more.  I absolutely love the Fat Families programme and his advice, and have his book at home.  This is the diet I'm most looking forward to - because it isn't really a diet, it's eating what I want of healthy food and carbs, but smaller portions and doing a hell of a lot more exercise.

If I find that I'm not able to motivate myself enough by doing that diet throughout February then in March I will start Slimming World.  This is the diet I'm least looking forward to.  I have no desire to go to a meeting, to pay someone to weigh me, and then sit and have to talk through everything I'm doing that week and have someone else tell me what I should and shouldn't be eating. Having done Weight Watchers in the past I know I hate this kind of dieting, that it takes all the joy out of food for me.  But Slimming World gets results.  Lots of people I follow on Twitter love Slimming World, and one of my friends has lost a lot of weight with them and loves going to the meetings and giving out advice and swapping recipes.  The thought of going to a meeting makes me feel sick though.  But if nothing else is working then short of a gastric band this is my last resort.

So, my diet plan will be:

4th-22nd Jan -  Dukan Diet
23rd - 29th Jan - holiday, no dieting
30th Jan - 29th Feb - re-start Dukan and continue with that - Or
30th Jan - 29th Feb - Eat Less and Move More
1st Mar - 30th June - continue with Eat Less and Move More - Or
1st Mar - 30th June - Slimming World

Have you tried any of the above approaches to dieting?


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Welcoming in 2012

Happy New Year!

2011 was a great year, I ate and cooked some great food - and some not so great too...  But 2012 is going to be an even greater year.  I'll be 30 this year and have some fabulous plans for my 30th year.

Here's a few pics of my highlights of 2011.


Jaume Plensa exhibition at YSP.

Amsterdam

Tenerife

Chelsea Flower Show