menopause diet blog

Time for a Change

Day 65 to 79: Holiday Diet Lowdown

Apologies for the lack of posts these last 2 weeks but I have been on holiday!

My goal for my 2 weeks of holiday in France was to keep my weight stable so I could get on with losing my final few pounds of weight when I got back.

All I can say is EASIER SAID THAN DONE!

The reality is that I put 2 and a half pounds back on…. not too bad really! This was mainly due to the temptations of daily fresh french baguettes, local french cheese and delicious home made ice cream. The break in routine, new grocery stores and the difficulty of getting my usual ingredients made it pretty hard to keep to my diet rules… plus eating out at least once per day and the ‘what the hell, I’m on  holiday’ voice in my head was not very conducive to being disciplined!

Still the pounds I had lost pre-holiday did make wearing shorts more pleasurable and some new clothes were happily purchased too!

I did manage to eat my ‘menopause muesli’ each day as I could get oats, soya milk, flaked almonds and berries locally… I took a large packet of mixed seeds with me luckily which I was grateful for.

So back to reality now and 21 days left to my target weight means a target of losing 5 pounds in 21 days – should be possible but I have to admit after the holiday I am not feeling particularly disciplined, so here’s a sobering thought…

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Watch this space!

 

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Day 64: Diets Don’t Work

Last night on TV I watched an interesting documentary called The Men Who Made Us Thin. It was about the diet industry, how and why it started and why diets don’t work (for the majority of us in the long term). It made fascinating viewing.

starvation diet

The diet industry was essentially created in the US in the 1940’s as a result of the actions of one man: the chief statistician of the world’s biggest insurance company, MetLife. He looked at the age of death and the weight of MetLife’s 4 million policy holders and noticed that overweight people died earlier. He then went on to create charts of ideal body weight which were even embraced by the medical profession. Overnight, these charts deemed that about half the American population were overweight and so, a nation’s obsession with dieting was born.

The programme went on to analyse statistics of how many dieters managed to lose weight and crucially how many of those had kept the weight off 5 years later. The success rate, measured on these terms is pitifully small (around 15%) and that is what keeps the diet industry merry-go-round turning. It is one of the few industries, in whose interest it is, that the product effectively fails!

fad diet

So what is the answer? Well, crash diets and faddy diets are definitely not the way forward. Even if weight is lost by these methods, it will almost certainly be put back on once ‘normal’ eating patterns return and many people actually end up weighing more than they did before they started!

healthy eating

The problem with most diets is that they involve a short term change in habits (which may or may not be successful in losing weight) and then most people go back to their old eating habits (which made them put on weight in the first place) and wonder why the weight piles back on. And so the cycle repeats itself.

The consensus is that the only way to lose weight and keep it off is to change your eating habits permanently. Instead of focussing on weight, focus on eating natural healthy food and becoming fitter and weight loss will follow. It’s not rocket science, but eating moderate helpings of healthy food is not always easy in today’s fast paced world of instant ready meals, sugar and fat laden snacks and processed food. Not only are these things readily available but they are constantly promoted and advertised and they can be as addictive as cocaine (see Day 59 post on Sugar).

Each of us needs to develop a new arsenal of healthy and easy meals and recipes that fit into our lifestyle. Ones that rely on fresh vegetables, lean protein and ‘good’ poly & mono unsaturated fats… that are simple to prepare… with readily available ingredients. Without this essential ‘food toolkit’ we cannot hope to stay off the diet bandwagon.

Once I reach my target weight I hope I will continue to eat the same food that I have been eating over the last 64 days. I will be able to relax the rules a little, introduce some carbs again perhaps and treat myself to the occasional dessert but in order to keep the weight off I must say goodbye to my old eating habits.

Day 64: Food Diary

Breakfast: menopause muesli – see breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Smoked salmon salad with ready made 3 bean salad, feta cheese, pine nuts and green leaves

Dinner: Pork & Apple sausage with spring cabbage

Snacks & Drinks: Herbal tea, 5 squares dark chocolate, menopause cake with tahini – see snack recipe page

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Day 63: Eat Raw

While the summer is here its easier to eat as much of your food as possible raw…

raw food diet pyramid

Here’s why you should do it…

  1. Raw foods have more nutrients – vitamins, minerals and enzymes that aren’t destroyed by cooking
  2. Eat as much as you want – see pyramid above – its pretty hard to overdose on raw food
  3. No bloating
  4. Quick and easy to prepare
  5. Less cleaning up!
  6. Healthy regular bowels

Take advantage of the summer season to boost  your raw food intake and save the wonderful stews, soups, bakes and casseroles for the cooler weather.

Food Diary Day 63

Breakfast: menopause muesli – see breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Smoked salmon salad with green leaves, edamame beans, pine nuts, tomatoes, beetroot and snow peas.

smoked salmon salad

 

Dinner: Feta salad with green leaves, three bean salad, beetroot, tomatoes and coleslaw

feta salad

 

Drinks and Snacks: 4 bourbon biscuits, strawberries and raspberries, 2 squares dark chocolate

I had run out of dark chocolate the last few days and I’m sure that has contributed to me raiding the biscuit tin. I do like a sweet finish after a meal and a couple of small squares of plain chocolate, savoured slowly, really do the trick. The one I buy has 5 squares in a row and the whole row is about 100 calories… well worth it for me.

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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

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

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Day 61: More menopause headache theories

Readers of yesterdays post will remember me questioning whether my sugar cravings over the last couple of days triggered a headache or whether underlying hormonal fluctuations caused the headache, with sugar cravings being an associated symptom.

sugar cravings

 

Anyway I was reading back over my last posts and about 35 days ago, on days 24/25, the same thing happened… therefore I am leaning towards the hormonal theory. It will be interesting to see about 35 days from now if the same thing happens. Forearmed is forewarned so I will make sure there are no sweet temptations in the house and look out for depleted willpower!

The headache has now finally gone after the third day, my typical menopausal headache pattern.

Tonight we had chinese takeaway and this was very easy to maintain my diet rules… I just had the stir fried mixed vegetables and added a chopped up marinated chicken breast that I needed to use up.

Food Diary Day 61

Breakfast: menopause muesli – see breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Bavarian Donka bread (rye with poppy seeds and linseeds) with cheese & tomato

Dinner: Chinese stir fried vegetables with marinated chicken breast

chines take out on a diet

 

Snacks and Drinks: herbal tea, no other snacks as I split my lunch in two, 2 slices of Donka at lunch and 2 mid afternoon

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Day 60: Cravings and Headaches – which comes first?

Interesting conundrum because the last 2 days I have had a headache… not the debilitating pre-diet migraines but still, a persistent nagging ache that has lasted 2 days now. Yesterday I ate sugar loaded kids sweets and the headache started but I cant really remember which came first… and I ‘m wondering did the sweets trigger the headache or were there underlying factors (perhaps hormones?) that were responsible for both the headache and accompanying sugar cravings?

Yesterday I thought that the sweets had been the trigger but today I’m not so sure. The headache is still here and 6 biscuits and a handful of chilli doritos have found their way into todays food diary. Its a bit of a chicken and egg situation that I may never get to the bottom of… the only thing I can say for sure is that the headaches have definitely improved on this diet and sugar almost certainly plays a part in them – but which comes first? Only time will tell and staying off the sweets!

Food Diary Day Day 60:

Breakfast: menopause muesli – see breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Sushi – assorted

Dinner: Salmon salad

salmon salad

 

Snacks & Drinks: herbal tea, 3 bourbon biscuits, 3 chocolate caramel biscuits, 3 squares dark chocolate, handful of chilli Doritos

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Day 59: The New Poison: Sugar

Had a bit of a wobble today due to temptations of easily available kids sweets – namely, jelly worms, strawberry bonbons and chocolate honeycomb…

chocolate honeycomb strawberry bonbons jelly snakes

I did not feel good after eating a generous handful of each and got an almost instant headache. No wonder my migraines have disappeared after starting this diet and cutting out all the high sugar rubbish.

sugar poison

Here is an extract from an article in the Telegraph on sugar addiction

“It seems that our desire to load up with sugar regularly may not be the cheeky reward-cum-energy boost we think it is. Increasingly, experts believe we can be truly addicted to sugar. French scientists in Bordeaux reported that in animal trials, rats chose sugar over cocaine (even when they were addicted to cocaine), and speculated that no mammals’ sweet receptors are naturally adapted to the high concentrations of sweet tastes on offer in modern times. They worried, in a paper published in 2007, that the intense stimulation of these receptors by our typical 21st-century sugar-rich diets must generate a supra-normal reward signal in the brain, with the potential to override self-control mechanisms and thus to lead to addiction.

So if you feel like you are craving a chocolatey treat, that craving is more than just a figure of speech. You may be one of the world’s most common dependants: a sugar addict.”

In fact a group of experts called the ‘No Sugar’ movement warns that our sweet habit is completely out of control. They say that sugar, whether added to food by you or the manufacturer, is the greatest threat to human health, bar none.

Food Dairy Day 59:

Breakfast: menopause muesli – see breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Prawn salad with hummus, green leaves, beetroot, tomato, roasted peppers and pine nuts

prawn salad

Dinner: Ramen Pot noodle – yes carbs, but it was quick and tasty and still healthy – miso and soy for the menopause symptoms

ramen pot noodles

 

Drinks and Snacks: herbal tea, above mentioned sweets, 2 biscuits, 1 square dark chocolate

 

 

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Day 58: Want More Energy?

tired all the time

A couple of months back my mum commented that she didn’t remember being so tired all the time at my age. She thought I should go and get myself checked out at the doctors. I never went but I do remember  feeling tired all the time.  Now, since I have been eating healthily and specifically eating less high sugar foods I have so much more energy…. plus my frame of mind is generally more positive too. It just goes to show how important the type of fuel you give your body is, in order to function effectively in today’s fast paced world.

Foods that sap energy are high sugar processed food (biscuits, sweets, cakes etc), fizzy drinks and even energy drinks (which give you a quick spike of energy but then leave you in a slump), fatty foods (that your body has to work hard to digest), alcohol and skipping meals!

Food Diary Day 58:

Breakfast: menopause muesli – see breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Smoked salmon, broccoli and asparagus, steamed ans drizzled with tamari soy sauce

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Dinner: smoked trout with ready made mixed bean salad and beetroot

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Snacks and Drinks: herbal tea, 6 squares dark chocolate, 1 bourbon biscuit, halva

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Day 57: Mistaking thirst for hunger

When you are next tempted to reach for a snack, check that its food your body is really after and not a drink. Sophisticated though our bodies are, it is surprisingly easy to mistake thirst for hunger. Sometimes all our body wants is a glass of water but instead we give it more food, leading to overeating and dehydration.

Its important on this diet to try not to ‘waste’ calories by drinking them. Sticking to herbal tea and water means that you are limiting your calorie intake to food only – and therefore you are more likely to use them wisely. Calories in drinks such as juice come from sugars which cause a spike in insulin – switching our body fat gauge to ‘store’ instead of ‘burn’ fat. For more on this see Day 33 post on Low carbs vs Low Fat diets.

It may be tempting to drink zero calorie, artificially sweetened drinks instead, however not only are these full of chemicals and high in acid, there is also some evidence that eating/drinking sweet tasting things still leads to insulin release (and therefore fat storage) even if they are calorie free.

Food Diary Day 57:

Breakfast: Menopause muesli – see breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Felafel & hummus salad with roasted peppers, tomatoes and green leaves

felafel salad

Dinner: Peppered smoke fish and stir fried vegetables (steamed broccoli, roasted courgette & pepperdew peppers) topped with sesame seeds and a few almonds

peppered fish salad

Drinks & Snacks: herbal tea, 2 mini pittas and hummus, 5 squares dark chocolate, 2 squares milk chocolate, 4 tortilla chips, 2 toffees – was tempted by a few things in the house today as I left it a bit too long between meals

 

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Day 56: This Diet in a Nutshell

how to lose w eight healthily

 

I like this sentiment as this is essentially what the diet I have been following is all about. No calorie counting or weighing. No looking up values for food or calculating. The key elements can be summarised in just 3 points:

  1. No bread, rice, pasta or potatoes
  2. Minimum 50% of plate = vegetables, the rest ‘good’ mono or polyunsaturated fats and protein
  3. No processed junk, fizzy drinks, sweets, cakes, biscuits etc

For a fuller explanation of the diet rules see my post on Day 39 – Goal Setting and New Diet Rules

Food Diary Day 56:

Breakfast: Menopause Meusli – see breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Ready made edamame bean salad, watercress and salmon terrine

Dinner: Beetroot, broad bean, feta cheese & watercress salad

Snacks & Drinks: herbal tea, 4 squares dark chocolate, halva (a delicious and very sweet treat made from sesame seeds)

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