Health Diary Week 29: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Embarrassed!

Image: Сергей Корчанов, Pixabay.

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Hi everyone. I was dreading writing this week’s blog…

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Why? Because I gained yet more weight and body fat. I’d expected to have lost at least a 1lb (0.5 kg), because I was more physically active. As it was, I gained 0.8 lb and 0.3% fat!

Week 29 Results – Noooo!

I’m embarrassed! – I have qualifications in both ‘Nutrition and Behaviour’ and ‘Health Sciences’[About], and yet I’m currently failing. I eat what I should be eating, but then I add the extras – adding high fat and free sugars[1] or going back for 2nds. Controlling my behaviour, as a comfort-eater, is an ongoing challenge. I’m not making excuses, instead I need to figure out how, for the most-part, to maintain health-promoting behaviour to enable moving forward in the right direction.

Image: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay.

Food and Nutrition

So, let’s have a look at what food was on my plate, the healthy and not so healthy choices and identify any tweaks I could make to improve my nutrition…

What Went Wrong?

Okay, I’ll start with what went wrong… Well, there’s several factors I’ve identified by analysing my diary:

1) Recent increase in processed (white) bread instead of choosing higher fibre wholegrain options. I can still have white bread, but it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. And then there’s my love of Abel and Cole raspberry jam – I haven’t had it for years, but we bought a jar after re-instating our veg box delivery. Jam is high in free sugars[1], so again, this should be an occasional indulgence, rather than a new daily breakfast habit.

Processed (white) breads and that high sugar jam!

2) Those ‘cakey bakey’ temptations! I had a Choco coffee drizzle slice leftover from last week’s delivery – I ate it over 2 sittings. This would have probably been okay, had I not also eaten carrot cake muffins – we had carrots that needed using, so Mum made muffins. Now, I can’t blame Mum for making the muffins, because she gave us the option of soup, but my Dad and I voted for muffins – bad decision!

The ‘cakey bakey’ indulgences! Coffee slice and carrot cake muffins.

3) Too much mayo (Vegenaise) – this stuff is 67% fat! Again, moderation is key here, as this fat was from rapeseed oil, a health-promoting source of essential omega 3 fat[2], but it’s calorie-dense nonetheless – fat provides 9 calories per gram compared to carbohydrates or protein at 4 calories per gram[3]. I usually have a small mayo dollop with my lunchtime salads, but over the week I’ve also had a large dollop with my burger and mixed it into a pasta salad and leftover risotto – all delicious – maybe I could get away with just adding less next time?

The mayo additions! Clockwise: Veg risotto. Pasta salad with spinach, sweetcorn, tomato, olives & red onion. Typical salad also with homemade coleslaw (more mayo!). Veg burger with the trimmings.

4) Alcohol-based socials and the crisps/chip aftermath! This week I had 2 cans of cider at an online family gathering. The next afternoon I enjoyed a small Prosecco in the garden and in the evening, many vodkas mixed with sodas at the ‘pub-ish’ Houseparty. Empty calories![4] To top it off, alcohol-induced loss of willpower resulted in high fat crisp consumption. Too many calories all round!

My ‘ice’ bucket of vodka, soda cans & spirit measurer.

5) I’ve been struggling with reduced and disturbed sleep since early March, when concerns about the virus became very ‘real’ to me. Sleep is important for maintaining overall health – deprivation reduces ability to fight infection (suppressed immune system), increases weight gain (hunger hormones affected), risk of type 2 diabetes (impaired glucose metabolism) and heart disease (increased heart rate)[5]. I’m still trying to figure out how best to deal with this particular issue.  

Image: Wokandapix, Pixabay.

What Went Well?

It wasn’t all bad. So, let’s look at what I did well…  

1) My snacking greatly reduced compared to last week and I made some healthier choices, including fruit, rice crackers with hummus and crispy seaweed thins.

Healthier snacks. Clockwise: Nectarine. Pineapple – except that we cooked it in rum to soften the fruit as it was disappointingly hard. Rice crackers & hummus. Seaweed thins.

2) All, except one of my lunches were my My Typical Salad, contributing nicely to my 5-a-day[6]; the other, a veg burger (pictured above) included some salad.

Some of my yummy salad lunches.

3) Dinners were mainly homemade, including Mexican bean chilli with brown rice, vegetable risotto, sausages with loads of vegetables, pasta salad (pictured above) and tagliatelle with griddled veg.

Healthy plant-based dinners: Clockwise: Mexican bean chilli bowl with brown rice, nachos, avocado, salsa & iceberg lettuce. Veg sausages, potatoes, steamed broccoli & carrots, stir-fry cabbage, courgette & onion. Veg risotto (spinach, courgette, peas & tomato). Veg tagliatelle in green pesto & silken tofu sauce, topped with cashews with griddled butternut squash, pepper, asparagus, courgette & aubergine.

4) My physical activity increased to 335 minutes (over 5 ½ hours), compared to 260 minutes last week. As well as using the exercise bike, it included 50 minutes jogging on the trampette – that’s 20 minutes more jogging than last week – progress. And, those amusing 5 minute Mr Motivator workouts.

Trampette jogging in the garden.

5) I decided to practice some mindfulness meditation[7] in the garden for the first time since lockdown – I was fortunate to be offered a 10 week mindfulness training course back when I was a University Disability Adviser – I loved it! I’ve discovered that mindfulness sat on the trampette is very comfortable and pleasant with the sun’s rays and a light breeze on my face.

Me sat cross-legged on my trampette – in my new favourite meditation spot.

How can I improve?

So, what’s my plan for improving next week?
– More fruit for breakfast.
– Minimal raspberry jam.
– Reduce the cakey snacks.
– Reduce alcohol and crisp/chip intake.
– Do that weekly walk! I didn’t do it this week despite good intentions.

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Right, I think it’s time now for another instalment of ‘What Made Watson Smile’ this week…

May Flower Moon:
The beautiful May Flower moon. I couldn’t get a decent photo, but I promise you it was impressive. The moon’s brightness woke me at 2am and I spent ages staring at it. I even located the binoculars and stood out in the garden to get a better view.

Image: TheOtherKev, Pixabay

Studying:
Completing Week 3 of the FutureLearn Superfoods: Myths & Truths. One more week to complete the course.

Noticing the weekly changes to the garden rockery as Spring progresses:

More photos from the rockery – a lone dandelion:

And some more! Beautiful pink flowers:

Weekend Online Houseparty Anomalies:
We had a small family gathering games night – there’s two of my uncle on the screen – he isn’t a twin! (left pic). Chud’s upside-down TV – I caught him sneakily watching TV during our ‘pub’ meet – weirdly his TV looked upside down when he showed me what he was watching! (middle pic). Sideways Mark during our ‘pub’ meet – he ended up round the right way (right pic).

MyNutriWeb Lectures:
Registering for MyNutriWeb free online CPD lectures: Immunity series about nutrition & immunity. I love learning – such a nerd!

Surviving the Trampette:
The trampette (and I) survived the spring breakage incident – I’ll replace the trampette if/when another spring goes – it seems okay at the moment – wish me luck!

Week 30>>>
<<<Week 28
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I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next Wednesday for another catch up.

References

1. Action on Sugar, Ca. 2020. Sugar and health [online]. Available from: www.actiononsugar.org/sugar-and-health/.
2. Heart UK, Ca. 2020. Omega 3 fats [online].  Available from: www.heartuk.org.uk/low-cholesterol-foods/omega-3-fats.
3. British Dietetics Association, 2018. Food Fact Sheet: Fats [online]. Available from: www.bda.uk.com/resource/fat.html.
4. Drinkaware, 2019. Units and calories in alcoholic drinks [online]. Available from: www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/alcoholic-drinks-units/.
5. National Health Service, 2018. Why lack of sleep is bad for your health [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/.
6. National Health Service (NHS), 2018. Eat Well: Why 5 A Day? [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/why-5-a-day/.
7. Mindful, 2020. Getting Started with Mindfulness [online]. Available from: www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/.

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12 thoughts on “Health Diary Week 29: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

  1. All the exercise you’re doing is building muscles, and muscles weigh more than fat, so that’s good progress, you should not be embarrassed. Your progress just cannot be measured through weighing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Don’t be embarrassed Katey – we’re all slipping!
    If you were too much of a perfectionist we’d all give up! You’re doing well and looking great! x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much Elizabeth. Hopefully I’m getting back on track now – we’ll see in next week’s results! Lovely to hear from you. Hope you’re doing okay x

      Like

  3. This sounds just like my recent bad habits. We are in the middle of a pandemic though so no reason to be embarrassed – comfort eating is so common in times like these (times like these?! Pah!). You’re doing amazing just for acknowledging what you need to change. X

    Liked by 2 people

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