menopause diet blog

Time for a Change

Day 80: Rethink your treats

Well almost back on track… a rather tempting rogue pack of jaffa cakes but ok apart from that…

I read a lovely article recently about the celebrity chef Mary Berry. She said something that resonated with me as I had been thinking about how I was going to get back on track with my diet after the treats I had been eating on holiday. I decided that I had to rethink what a ‘treat’ was for me. Here’s what she said:

“You can have an interesting and varied diet, but you don’t need a huge portion and you certainly don’t need a second helping, especially as you get older. Rather than deny myself anything, I prefer to have tiny portions of beautiful food…”

Food Diary Day 80:

Breakfast: Menopause muesli – see breakfast recipe page

Lunch: poached salmon, tomatoes, ready made edamame bean salad, radishes, olives

Dinner: Mixed bean salad, wholegrain rice, half a tin of sardines, tomatoes

sardine bean salad

Snacks and Drinks: half a glass of wine, 8 jaffa cakes, cherries

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Day 62: Waste not, Eat too much

Like many others of my generation I was bought up on the phrase ‘waste not, want not’. I think this is generally a good concept, except when on a diet! This evening I was really hungry as we had been out and were late getting home for the evening meal. As a result, to coin another phrase, ‘my eyes were bigger than my stomach’.  Not to mention the two chocolate caramel biscuits that I gulped down as soon as we got through the door. They really need to go in the bin as they have caught me out the last three days now!

eyes bigger than stomach

Anyway, for dinner,  I fried up the remainder of last night’s chinese stir fried vegetables and baked a slice of salmon in the oven. I thought this wouldn’t be enough so I added half a pouch of Merchant Gourmet’s cooked lentils. By the time it was on my plate I knew there was too much (lesson: should have removed some immediately and put in fridge for tomorrow), but I ate it because I didn’t want to waste it, even though a) I wasn’t particularly enjoying it and b) I was full up half way through. At least it was healthy food but still feel rather bloated.

So, just for a few weeks don’t feel bad about putting the biscuits in the bin to get them out of temptations way and don’t feel compelled to finish your plate just because it’s there (even better, don’t put so much on there in the first place!)

Food Diary Day 62

Breakfast: menopause muesli

Lunch: Rye bread, smoked salmon, beetroot, tomato

Dinner: Salmon, lentils, stir fried vegetables


Snacks & Drinks: herbal tea, menopause cake – see snack recipe page, 2 chocolate caramel biscuits

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Day 49: Help! My Stomach’s Shrinking

diet guilt cartoon

My weight loss has hit a bit of a plateau after a nice 4lbs loss in the last 2 weeks.

Today was interesting as I had a larger than usual lunch with 2 slices of fresh rye bread – my first bread in weeks, plus a salad of smoked fish, spouted peas, avocado & green salad. Certainly not a huge meal by any standards but I felt really full and bloated after it! So full in fact that by dinner time I still wasn’t hungry and just had a bowl of cherries!

Now before I started on this diet, that would not have been a big lunch and I would definitely have had dinner. I have read that your body adjusts to fewer calories and that is what mine seems to have done, so I’m wondering how I am going to maintain weight loss without eating like a bird!

Any tips greatly appreciated!

Food Diary Day 49

Breakfast: Menopause Smoothie – see breakfast recipe page

Lunch: 2 slices rye bread, smoked fish, spouted peas and beans, avocado, beetroot, green salad

Dinner: A bowl of cherries

Snacks & Drinks: herbal tea, 2 biscuits, 3 squares chocolate

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Day 18: Eat your vegetables first!

In my Day 9 post on Portion Control I wrote about filling your plate half full with vegetable and one quarter full with each of carbs and protein.  I am still struggling to do this as it is so ingrained in me to think of the meat and carbs as the ‘main’ part of the meal and the veg as the ‘side’. Plus I am still inclined to load my plate too full as I have this deep seated need to ‘make sure there is enough to eat’ on the plate.

The Japanese have an ancient proverb hara hachi bunme which means: “Stop eating when you are 80% full.” Something else that seems very hard for me to do, especially if there is still food on the plate, because it might (horror of horrors) go to waste!

Eating your vegetables first means that the veggie’s fibre becomes bigger with water in your stomach, making you feel full more quickly. This helps you eat less. Plus, raw vegetables, have a digestive enzyme, which aides in the digestion of proteins, which is a good reason to eat the protein after the veggies.

portion plate

Food Diary Day 18

Breakfast: half a grapefruit, banana

Late morning: Porridge with berries and milled linseed

Dinner: Chicken, Squash & sweet potato soup – variation on chicken soup recipe in Lunch Recipe Page – mini wholemeal pitta bread and hummus

Snacks & Drinks: Herbal tea, slice of menopause cake (see snack recipe page) with tahini, 3 squares dark chocolate

Although it looks like I missed a meal here, the porridge was like an early lunch. I had the menopause cake mid afternoon and it tided me over till dinner.

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Day 15: Miso Soup Attempt No.2

Today was weighing day. This week it was a measly half a pound, but still a loss nevertheless! I am feeling heaps healthier that when I started, plus what they say about a healthy diet showing in your skin is true.

After my attempt at homemade miso soup yesterday I had an idea for a quick and easy lunch, but this time using a ready made sachet of Clearspring Organic Miso Soup, rice noodles and leftover stir fried vegetables form last night’s meal.

clearsrpring organic miso soup

So I cooked the noodles, refried the vegetables and added hot water (not boiling as it destroys the miso enzymes) to the sachet in large bowl. Then I added the noodles and vegetables to the soup and it was delicious!

miso soup with noodles and leftover vegetables

So here’s my Food Diary for Day 15:

Breakfast: Menopause Meusli

Lunch: Miso Soup with rice noodles and left over stir fry vegetables – see above

Dinner: Haddock with tomato sauce and olives, asparagus, green beans, courgettes (zucchini), peppers and boiled potatoes (see dinner recipe page), 3 profiteroles (oops)

fish with tomato sauce

Snacks & Drinks: Herbal tea, glass of wine (oops), slice of menopause cake with tahini, fresh cherries, 3 squares dark chocolate

I am still struggling with portion sizes, i.e. giving myself too much… I didn’t eat the potatoes with my supper as the bit of fish was quite big and the amount of veg fills you up – which is testament to the logic of filling your plate half full with vegetables! Plus I was very hungry by supper. I think I should probably make sure I eat more for lunch as I’m trying to be ‘good’ which lasts till about 4pm, then I get too hungry and eat too much for supper and get tempted by things, like profiteroles and a glass of wine!

Plus I was, to be honest, a bit peeved about only losing half a pound this week, despite being, what I thought, was pretty restrained and it obviously wasn’t good enough and I’m a bit worried I don’t have it in me to see this through!

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Day 9 Portion Control

Even if you are eating healthily and cutting out sugary snacks between meals, it is still possible to eat more calories than you consume and therefore fail to lose (or even continue to put on) weight. At the end of the day, whatever fancy diet you are following, you only lose weight if you eat less calories than you are burning up.

Now I’m not into calorie counting, although there was a time when I counted calories and pretty much knew the calorific value of every common food item (and it does work) but it was a long time ago and, frankly, I can’t be bothered to go that route this time. I believe that eating healthy, low GI foods and controlling both your portion size and composition will do the trick.

One useful tool to help you is the portion control plate. You can actually buy a plate like this to use but it is not necessasy. Just visualising it at home will do the trick too, although, as my friend pointed out “Ah, but it doesn’t know how high you pile the food up!” We laughed over the idea of a Jenga tower of french fries occupying the ‘starch’ quarter of the plate.

portion control plate

So here are my tips for keeping portion size under control and speeding up weight loss:

  1. Use a moderate sized plate and allocate half for vegetables, a quarter for starch/carbs and a quarter for protein.
  2. Learn what a portion of protein and carbs looks like – a serving of protein is about the size of a deck of cards or a mobile phone and a serving of starch/carbs is about the size of a tennis ball or your clenched fist. What is the serving size for vegetables? THERE IS NO LIMIT!!! Eat as much vegetables as you like!
  3. Traditionally we think of meat as the main part of the meal with the carbs and veg as ‘sides’. Turn it on its head, and instead, think of the vegetables as the main part of the meal with the carbs and protein as ‘sides’.
  4. Try to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day by not leaving it too long between meals and eating healthy snacks, if needed. Getting too hungry at meal times will inevitably lead to poor portion control.
  5. Eat slowly and focus on your food, chewing each mouthful slowly and savouring it. Don’t eat while multi-tasking as this easily leads to overeating.
  6. Remember your eyes are usually bigger than your stomach. Put less on your plate than you think you will need and you will be surprised how little is needed to feel satisfied.
  7. Since the 1930s scientists have known that lab animals fed on a highly nutritious but restricted calorie diet live longer. One old man of 115 who died recently advised ‘only eat until you are 80% full’. Remember too, that as you age, you need less calories.

Food Diary – Day 9:

Breakfast: Menopause Meusli – see Breakfast Recipe page

Lunch: Chicken Soup and bread (no butter or spread) – see Lunch Recipe page

chicken & sweet potato soup

Dinner: I wasn’t very hungry and I did have a huge bowl of soup earlier so I just had a slice of Menopause Cake spread with tahini

Drinks and Snacks: Herbal tea, 3 squares dark chocolate

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