Health Diary Week 14: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Honesty can be Hard!

Image: Terta Filius Saggio, Pixabay

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Hi and welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate, health and nutrition updates…

What’s New

…This is the first week where I’ve had to fight the urge to be misleading about my results – I hate admitting that, but I felt that I should own up. Just to clarify, I didn’t end up lying!

“The best measure of a person’s honesty isn’t their income tax return. It’s the zero adjust on their bathroom scale”. Arthur C. Clarke (adapted by me to be gender neutral).

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

My scales did that thing where they look like they’re going to settle on a lower number (169.8 lb – this was what I was tempted to report) and at the last second it switched to 170.2 lb – gutted, no change – my scales are such a tease! But, at least my fat % reduced slightly:

Week 14 results (not much change)

Alcohol

Now, the expectation was I’d lose weight and/or fat, because I’m doing ‘Dry January[1]: No alcohol = fewer calories = weight-loss. Right? – No! So, what’s going on? Detective time – to help my analysis, I tabulated my consumption and physical activity…

Image: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay

Food and Nutrition

So, what went wrong? 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…

Total and Saturated Fat:

…I’d suspected my issue was chocolate (again) – the stash really is nearly finished! But, my analysis also revealed how much coconut-based cheese I’d eaten. I’d found a chunk left over from Christmas and finished it off in a couple of lunchtime sandwiches. Plus, I had cauliflower and broccoli cheese twice and returned for seconds! Also, more saturated fat – Friday night involved a huge portion of chip shop chips. And, there was a bag of crisps open in the kitchen – I mindlessly grabbed a handful of them several times throughout the week:

Monday & Tuesday dinner: Cauliflower & broccoli cheese with Linda McCartney sausage, oven-cooked potatoes, stuffing, carrots & gravy – it was very tasty!

Unplanned Indulgency:

Tuesday there was unplanned indulgency. After circuits we decided to stop off at Offbeet for coffee – but we succumbed to its breakfast menu. Truth is my hunger would have been satisfied with one of the Shakshuka waffles, but there were two on my plate and they were delicious, so I happily ate them both:

Offbeet Shakshuka waffles – doesn’t that just look amazing?

Mindless Snacking:

Also, on Friday evening I was with friends at our ‘Girls’ night in’ watching 80’s movies – although we mostly picked healthier snacks, I mindlessly worked my way through them. I knew I was eating too much, but I’m embarrassed to admit, I didn’t care at the time:

‘Girls’ night in’ – 80’s movie night snacks: Popcorn, hummus, mixed melon, carrot, cucumber & red pepper sticks, Itsu crispy seaweed thins, vegetable crisps, olives, Leon pea-lentiful dip (yum!) & mango

Meals:

I made hotdogs twice – I hadn’t had a hotdog for about seven years! These hotdogs were high fibre[3], with almost half the recommendation for adults (30g/day[4]) – 6.3g per Heck vegfurter and 8.1g per BFree seeded baguette – definitely having that again! The only concern was the sausage’s high salt content (red traffic-lighted[2]). I enjoyed the Gro porcini ravioli – but ate the whole pack – it was supposed to serve two people – oops! Another tasty ‘go-to’ meal was Mexican rice topped with avocado, tomato and red onion. Both the ravioli and Mexican rice were green or amber traffic lighted:

My easy meals: Top: Hotdog. Bottom left & middle: Spicy Mexican rice with avocado, tomato & red onion. Bottom right: Porcini ravioli.

I had my My Typical Salad a couple of times for lunch – once with the tasty Strong Roots courgette and spinach hash browns. The best dinner (which I had twice) was my Mum’s curry (adapted from my Nana’s recipe): aubergine, pea and potato curry, lentil dhal, rice, poppadum and chutney/pickles – a comforting and nutritional meal, including quality plant-protein and fibre. I know I’m obsessed with fibre! – but it’s so important to our long-term health[4, 5]:

Left: Mum’s curry, rice & lentil dhal. Right: my typical salad with hash browns & sauerkraut

Exercise

I completed around 6½ hours physical activity, which probably helped prevent a weight gain. The breakdown: 2 hours circuit training, 2 hours 40 minutes exercise biking, nearly 2 hours brisk walking – I’d intended to do more walking, but the rain put me off:

Left: My fully co-ordinated circuits outfit (not happy about that belly though!). Right: My Active 10 walks

Advice to Self:

So, advice to ‘self’ for the week ahead:

More appropriate portion sizes – that includes not going back for seconds!

Reduce saturated fat – stay clear of coconut-based cheese this week.

Eat more mindfully – fully focus on what I’m eating – no researching whilst eating!

Less chocolate (eek!).

Tuesday’s morning frost – I thought it was kind of pretty & I’m trying to appreciate Winter beauty, despite it being my least liked season

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.

Week 15>>>
<<<Week 13
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References

1. Alcohol Change UK, Ca. 2019. Dry January [online]. Available from: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january.
2. British Nutrition Foundation, 2018. Helping you eat well: Looking at labels. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/helpingyoueatwell/324-labels.html?start=3.
3. European Commission, Ca. 2019. Nutrition claims [online]. Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/nutrition_claims_en.
4. Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, 2015. SACN Press release: Expert nutritionists recommend halving sugar in diet [online]. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/446188/SACN_Carbohydrates_Press_Release_July_2015.PDF.

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Health Diary Week 12: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Not Obese – Take 2!

Image: Mediamodifier, Pixabay

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Hi and welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate, health and nutrition updates…

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

… Finally, and phew! – I was starting to get worried and embarrassed that I wasn’t succeeding at this weight loss journey! However, this week I lost the 0.8 lb gained during the Winter festivities plus an additional 1.2 lbs. So, once again, I’m downgraded into the overweight/pre-obese category with a BMI of 29.8[1]. Also, my fat percentage reduced by 0.7%. Hoorah! Of course, there’s still much work to be done to get down to a BMI of 24.9 or less. So, let’s analyse what went right to try to replicate these results next week and keep that momentum going…

Week 12 results – really pleased with this!

Food and Nutrition

Let’s start with what food was on my plate, the healthy and not so healthy choices and identify any tweaks I could make to improve my nutrition…

Breakfast:

… Breakfasts have been mostly fruit. Admittedly, I skipped breakfast three times, though only because I’ve woken up later than usual (I don’t generally advocate missing breakfast):

Papaya with freshly squeezed lime – reminds me of my childhood!

Lunch:

I generally ate lunch early, midday(ish), due to light or missed breakfasts. Lunch was mostly salad-based – I love salad, so I’m happy to eat loads! – I had my My Typical Salad a few times, sandwiches and a Shawarma Kebab. Also, I had a Mediterranean-style scrambled tofu (leftover from dinner) in a pitta bread:

Top left: Quorn slices, Sainsbury’s vegan coleslaw & salad sandwich. Top right: my ‘Typical salad’ with Strong Roots courgette & spinach hash browns (the hash browns weren’t on their website – they were tasty though!). Bottom left: my Shawarma kebab. Bottom right: Quorn slices & salad sandwich.

Dinner:

My dinners were varied, although unusually several convenience meals, including:
M&S Plant Kitchen sweet potato and cashew Sri Lankan curry
– M&S sag aloo, M&S Plant Kitchen onion bhajis & Tilda wholegrain pilau rice
Amy’s Kitchen rice mac & cheeze
Ugo Thrive Pumpkin and sage raviolini
– M&S ‘chick’n’ nuggets, oven chips and baked beans:

This week’s convenience dinners
Nutrition Traffic Light System:

Being me, I was intrigued about how these foods rated on the traffic light system – so, whether their fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt content rated as red (high), amber (medium) or green (low). It’s recommended we restrict red-lighted foods and mainly have a mix of green and amber[2]. Some of my foods were conveniently traffic lighted, whilst for others I had to compare the nutritional information on the back of the packs against the traffic light values[2]. Thankfully, my choices were okay, being a mix of green and amber lights. Another strategy is to be aware of amber lighted foods close to becoming red and trying to restrict these too:

Nutritional traffic light labelling system per 100g[2]. Some foods are labelled on the front of the pack, others you need to check the ‘Nutritional information’ on the back of the pack.

Additionally, I had a couple of freshly prepared dinners. My highlight was a mushroom stroganoff with tagliatelle made with Elmlea plant single cream leftover from Christmas. I was concerned about the cream’s fat content – whilst total fat was acceptable at 15.4% (amber), saturated fat was high (red) at 6.5% per 100 grams. But I’d like it again sometime, so I’ll try a silken tofu (green lighted at 0.5% saturated fat) sauce version instead. Talking of tofu, I had a pack that needed using, so I made a Mediterranean-style scrambled tofu with sundried tomatoes, olives and peppers from the food cupboard, since fresh food supplies were low (it’s always worth having a good store cupboard stock for such situations):

Top: Mushroom stroganoff & tagliatelle (delicious!). Bottom: Med-style scrambled tofu – sundried tomato, bell peppers, olives & Linda McCartney red onion & rosemary sausages (very filling!)

Alcohol and Snacking:

Importantly, I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve not touched a drop of alcohol since my New Year’s Eve binge. I think the alcohol exclusion has attributed to no late-night snacking. Although interestingly on the snack-front, I’ve eaten some chocolate every day – just a few squares here-and-there. Thankfully, this didn’t impact on my results this week, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on, as its high sugar and fat content can soon add up. Other snacks were savoury – hummus with either toasted pitta or Peckish sea salt & vinegar rice crackers:

Image: 13smok, Pixabay

Exercise

My physical activity totalled just over six hours. I did two hours of circuits – I’ve missed the boxing pad station too much, so I’m just using my left-hand, while my right wrist injury recovers. I did over three hours on the exercise bike, whilst reading – it takes my mind off cycling, whilst maintaining a decent pace. The rest of the time involved walking. I can track this more easily now since downloading ‘Active 10’ – a ‘Public Health England’ walking app that includes measuring a brisk pace[3].

Left: Pre-circuits serious readiness. Right: Post-circuits happy-completion face (& somewhat dishevelled look)!

Positive Progress

All-in-all it’s been a good week and I’m making progress again – small steps that slowly accumulate results. So, a reminder to myself – speedy results don’t necessarily mean long-term success – keep doing what you’re doing – you’ll succeed!…

Baby Galapagos giant tortoise, 2008

“Thus plain plodding people, we often shall find, will leave hasty confident people behind”(The hare & the tortoise: Aesop’s Fables, Jefferys Taylor version).

Week 13>>>
<<<Week 11
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References

1. World Health Organization: Regional Office for Europe, 2019. Body mass index – BMI [online]. Available from: www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/nutrition/a-healthy-lifestyle/body-mass-index-bmi.
2. British Nutrition Foundation, 2018. Helping you eat well: Looking at labels [online]. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/helpingyoueatwell/324-labels.html?start=3.
3. Public Health England, Ca. 2019. Active 10: Exercise made easy [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/oneyou/active10/home.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 11: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

That Weird In-Between Time

Image: Gabe Raggio, Pixabay

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<<<Week 10

Hi and welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate, health and nutrition updates and some positive smile-provoking experiences…

What’s New

…It’s been a weird couple of weeks – hard to keep track of the day and time. Consequently, I’ve slipped into late nights and lay-ins. Despite that, I’ve usually managed to get the recommended hours’ sleep[1], except on New Year’s Eve – I didn’t get to bed until about 3 am (after late night snacking), sleep was disrupted and I was up again (eating crisps!) around 8 am.

Cats: the masters of sleep! (This was my beautiful girl)

Alcohol

Okay, so talking about New Year’s Eve – I should mention this was the only time I consumed alcohol this week. But, I’m ashamed to confess it was a big binge (with everyone else) and the next morning I was ‘hugging the toilet’ and felt terrible! And when I could finally keep food down, I was ravenous – I ate a massive bowl of pasta and a whole garlic baguette! (This doesn’t sound at all good so far does it?):

Image: Alexas Fotos, Pixabay

Dry January:

However, I turned this unfortunate booze incident into positive action, as it convinced me to do Dry January[2]. I can proudly report that when I went to a couple of pubs at the weekend, I didn’t drink any alcohol (and didn’t snack when I got home). Unfortunately, the alternative drinks were either loaded with free sugars (juice, sodas) or artificial sweeteners (sodas). And, I feel cheeky just drinking soda water in a pub, although next time I must at least include a couple:

Image: Steve Buissine, 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…

Christmas Left-overs:

Food-wise, it’s been a week of trying to finish the Christmas leftovers – I’ve eaten loads of cashew cheese on crackers in various guises! I was craving broccoli, so decided to have the last piece of Wellington and sprouts with broccoli, cauliflower and carrot cheesy bake using some of the leftover cashew cheese. I had my My Typical Salad with the last of the stuffing and coleslaw. Also, I’ve eaten too much of my fudge and chocolate (presents) – my intention was to work my way slowly through it – instead I’m in danger of forming a habit! Disappointingly, I’ve only eaten fruit once – papaya with freshly squeezed lime – it was delicious and I’m craving more:

The last of the Christmas leftovers (well, nearly).

Dinner: Eating Out:

I had one meal out – it’s ‘Veganuary[3] after all, so loads of extra choices for me! I chose the healthiest looking option on the menu ‘Jerk’ – Caribbean black bean and jerk jackfruit with rice ‘n peas, mango salsa and plantain chips – it was lovely! I couldn’t resist the chocolate brownie and salted caramel ice cream, so the compromise was sharing it with a friend – I’ve had it before, it was just as amazing as I’d remembered it being:

Veganuary’ at the Black Phoenix – yum!

Exercise

Towards the end of the week I did three sessions on the exercise bike, totalling two hours – not as much as usual, but better than ‘nowt’. And, I started back at circuit training – it was tough but, felt good to get back on it – I ached loads the following two days though! I was pleased to include the boxing pad work for the first time in ages. But, sadly, it’s off the cards again, as my wrist gave way when I was simply getting a container out of the fridge (ridiculous!) – #hypermobility challenges[4]:

My happy post-circuits face (those endorphins must’ve been flowing!)

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

So, what were the results of this abnormal week? Well, not too bad really. I was dreading getting on the scales – I was certain the numbers had gone up, but as it was, they pretty much stayed the same. Quite frankly I was relieved!:

My week 11 results (very slight reduction in body fat)

Yep, I’m still classified as obese and progress is slow, but I’m confident I can move forward this year, especially after we get through these gloomy Winter months. I’m actually looking forward to the challenge…

Sky over the Galapagos Islands (my favourite holiday destination), 2008

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.

Week 12>>>
<<<Week 10
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References

1. National Sleep Foundation, 2015. National Sleep Foundation recommends new sleep times [online]. Available from: www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need.
2. Alcohol Change UK, Ca. 2019. Dry January [online]. Available from: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january.
3. Veganuary, 2019. Veganuary [online]. Available from: https://uk.veganuary.com/.
4. Hypermobility Syndromes Association, 2017. What are hypermobility syndromes? [online]. Available from: www.hypermobility.org/what-are-hypermobility-syndromes.

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