Health Diary Week 47: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

The Human Yo-Yo

Image: OpenClipart-Vectors, Pixabay

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<<<Week 46

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 more positive week compared to Week 46 – admittedly there were a few lows, but all-in-all a better week overall. The insomnia experienced since I was unwell in March hasn’t helped, so I’m trying to resolve this issue. I stumbled across antihistamines[1] as a potential solution to break the cycle. This seemed ideal, as I already use antihistamines, so my plan was to swap to a drowsy inducing one and take it before bed. But further research revealed I need to wean myself off regular antihistamine use[2], because they could damage my health long-term and actually increase histamine release (annoyingly, I can’t find the source where I read about this issue). I may still try the antihistamines short-term though.  

Then someone shared an article about histamine intolerance[3], which took me down a rabbit hole of research, because it’s highly possible this is the root cause of my gluten, dairy and ‘sulphite’ intolerances. I’ve been known for my nose to get through a whole box of tissues in a day or for my stomach to bloat to the extent I look pregnant. Interestingly, according to Dr Peers[4] 80% of people with this condition are women and 80% have hypermobility[5] (which I have). So, I decided to investigate a specific elimination diet[6] of food/drinks containing histamine and those triggering its release (N.B. I’m confident to manage this diet myself because I have relevant nutrition and health qualifications, otherwise I’d consult my GP or a Dietician first). Completely changing how I eat again (the last time was 2013) is a daunting prospect, but I’m up for the challenge and intend to start from Week 53 to give myself plenty of time to undertake adequate research. And of course I’ll be sharing the progress with you all.

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…

Breakfast:

Not such a great week for breakfasts. I’ve fallen back into the habit of the easy-grab oat biscuits – I should make porridge topped with fruit instead – maybe I’ll be more inclined to as we head properly into Autumn. I ate pineapple twice though, so that’s good (unless you’re trying to avoid histamines). And, I had cereal with oat milk once – I’ve recently swapped from almonds to oats as it’s more environmentally friendly, but I prefer the taste of almond milk:

Week 47 Breakfasts

Lunch:

I had a week full of salad lunches – it’s a good thing I love salad. On six days I had My Typical Salad – sadly this will have to be adapted soon to exclude tomatoes and avocados – I’m gutted about that, but hopefully they can be re-introduced eventually. We also had a delicious Shawarma kebab:

Week 47 Lunches

Dinner:

I didn’t realise until my week’s analysis just how much pasta I’d eaten for dinner – I had some form of it five times – I reckon I could happily eat pasta every day, but this isn’t a good idea, as diversity to obtain a range of nutrients is preferable. One of my non-pasta meals was a high fat, but tasty pizza; the other, was my highlight of plant-protein mince filled tacos – yum:

Week 47 Dinners

Snacks:

I didn’t snack loads, except over the weekend, especially during the evenings. The unhealthiest snack (high in sugar, total and saturated fat) were the chocolate ginger tiffin – I’d actually had these in my food cupboard since February and only ate them because they had reached their end date – I shared them with my parents during our morning coffee and bird watching meet-up on the driveway. Also, I had crisps/potato chips a few times, so that would have increased saturated fat intake. I think my chocolate intake was okay – another favourite food to be excluded during my histamine elimination diet – I’ll be okay, right? Right?:

Week 47 Snacks

Alcohol

I drank two bottles of cider when I visited the pub garden for my friend’s birthday. It turns out they weren’t a great idea – I ended up with a headache that lasted the rest of the evening and into the next morning. I’ll be giving up alcohol during my elimination diet – I might be able to re-introduce vodka later on an occasional basis:

Week 47 Alcohol

Exercise

My physical activity was less than I’d thought, totalling five hours, an hour less than last week. I’m pleased I incorporated WiiFit (once, 45 minutes) and exercise biking (twice, 90 minutes), as well as walking (twice, nearly three hours). I hope to report a higher amount of exercise next week, with all the activities listed, perhaps even two sessions of WiiFit:

I’ve got such long legs!

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Okay, so I put on a bit of weight, just 0.6 lb (0.3 kg), but on the up-side, I lost 0.6% body fat, which I’m happy about, as fat loss is a preferable outcome. My weight is yo-yoing somewhat, but as long as the overall trend, as slow as it may be, is in the right direction, I’m happy:

Graph: SI: self-isolation. LD: lockdown. PLD: partial lockdown

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Looking back on the things that made me feel more positive and smile was a particularly helpful activity this week and I’m glad I can share this with you all: 

Going Out-Out (well, sort of):
Tina kindly invited me to join her for some Birthday celebrations. So, I anxiously ventured to the pub for the first time since February. Granted it was on a weekday and during the afternoon, so, it was fairly quiet really, but great for me. It was lovely to socialise for a few hours with Tina, her Aunties and Ben. As the sun set, the Landlady pointed out the glowing orange-tipped trees effect – they almost looked Autumnal:

Jasper the Friendly Cat:
Jasper (not my cat) has taken to joining us for our morning driveway coffees. He seems very chilled. I’m kind of torn between my fear of him hunting our bird friends and loving having a cat around (my old girl passed away back in 2017). Thankfully, he hasn’t seemed interested in the birds so far:

Seeing my First Dragonfly of the Year:
I love dragonflies – I don’t know why exactly – maybe it’s just because I think they’re beautiful. So, I was happy to finally spot one flying above the driveway. Unfortunately, its visit was too fleeting to get a photo. But I’m hopeful I’ll be seeing more dragonflies soon and capture a picture:

Image: komkrich Srigoson, Pixabay (I wish I could say I’d taken this great photo)

Hello Friends:
I had lovely online chats with Chud and Bevy (separately). I was delighted to finally catch up with Mark – we met about twenty years ago at work and used to spend a lot of time belly-laughing, whilst being incredibly productive I should add. Naturally, we maintained the friendship after we both left the company. Also, I had a WhatsApp chat with Marjory, my former job-share – thankfully, we used to overlap once a week, otherwise we would never have met – we often lunched together in the park, appreciating nature and chatting about health and the environment:

Left: Marjory & I on WhatsApp this week. Right: Mark & I at my Summer house party (2010)

Nature Close-Up (Continued):
Instead of just marching along during my walks, I’ve tried to take time out to take a closer look at the surrounding nature. Sometimes you spot something you’ve never noticed before, like some strange orangey tiny flower-tubular thingies I spotted amongst a bush. Does anyone know what these are please?:

Left: Orangey tubular flowers from a distance (top) & close-up (bottom). Right: Some other plant from afar (top) and then close-up (bottom).

Mindfulness Meditation and Lovely People:
My highlight has to be the evening catch-up in Karen and Chris’s garden, as I felt completely relaxed. Our lovely hosts previously ran Action for Happiness[7] courses. And it was lovely to meet Julie and Chrissy for the first time – both incredibly inspiring women. Chrissy, a yoga instructor and runner of 52 marathons in 52 weeks, led a Mindfulness[8] meditation session – just what I needed:

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 48
<<<Week 46
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References

1. National Health Service, 2020. Antihistamines [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/conditions/antihistamines/.
2. Olson, E., Mayo Clinic, 2020. Healthy Lifestyle – Adult Health. Is it OK to use over-the-counter antihistamines to treat insomnia? I’d like to avoid prescription sleep aids. [online]. Available from: www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sleep-aids/faq-20058393.
3. Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI), 2019. Symptoms [online]. Available from: www.histaminintoleranz.ch/en/symptoms.html.
4. Dr Tina Peers, Ca. 2020. Symptoms of HIT [online]. Available from: www.drtinapeers.com/symptoms-of-hit.
5. Hypermobility Syndromes Association, 2017. What are hypermobility syndromes? [online]. Available from: www.hypermobility.org/what-are-hypermobility-syndromes.
6. British Dietetic Association Food Allergy Specialist Group, 2018. Sensitivity to Histamine and other Vasoactive Amines [online]. Available from: www.bda.uk.com/uploads/assets/5aa56020-71df-46f2-b47bc5e93317c25b/histamine.pdf.
7. Action for Happiness, 2020. Keep Calm. Stay Wise. Be Kind [online]. Available from: www.actionforhappiness.org/.
8. MIND, 2018. Mindfulness [online]. Available from: www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/mindfulness/about-mindfulness/.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 46: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

A Difficult Week

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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 an emotionally tough week, thankfully not due to anything major, more a combination of little factors. For example, I was sad about missing out on some social events, because of my cautious (some might say overly) approach. So, I just want to take the time here to say, if you’re feeling sad or lonely, please consider reaching out to someone; even a support organisation like the Samaritans[1]; there’s also helpful suggestions via NHS[2]. I reached out to several friends whom I hadn’t been in contact with for a while and I’m feeling more positive again now.

Also, I had my first online meet-up with a group of Nutritionists and Dieticians – we discussed continuing professional development for our accreditations (for me, Association for Nutrition[3]). The meeting was really motivating to get back on track and I’m looking forward to our Journal Club, where we discuss scientific articles to keep updated on the latest research.

Food and Nutrition

Okay, 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 nutritional benefit…

Breakfast:

I ate breakfast every day this week. I’m pleased to report I consumed fruit three times. I had some garlic mushrooms with toast at the start of the week. Twice I had peanut butter and raspberry jam on toast. Then there was my one slightly weird start to the day of leftover cauliflower soup (Week 45) – it needed using and it was too good to go to waste. I have to say, this soup was filling, and I didn’t eat again until lunch, so it actually worked out pretty well:

Week 46 Breakfasts

Lunch:

There was some form of salad every day, except Sunday when I had leftover ‘Nana’s spaghetti’, veganised and gluten-free of course. I think Nana invented this meal when trying to make ends-meet: spaghetti, cabbage, bacon (replaced by THIS Isn’t Bacon) and egg (replaced by scrambled tofu) in a tomato sauce – although we’d run out of tofu for this portion. I also had My Typical Salad three times, a Shawarma kebab and a pitta with ‘ham’ slices and crammed full with salad:

Week 46 Lunches

Dinner:

Dinners included leftover risotto with a teaspoon of mayo twice, once with a burger and corn on the cob (both somewhat charred from last week’s barbecue). I also enjoyed leftover vegetable curry, dhal and rice. Then there was ‘Nana’s spaghetti’, once with the scrambled tofu – I love this meal. Once we had a sausage sandwich with a cheese slice – the cheese wasn’t really necessary – I added it as the pack was open. On Sunday, we tried out the new M&S Plant Kitchen burger and we decided we’d buy it again, especially if having a barbecue, as it should hold together well. Nutritionally[4], the burger was in the acceptable range for total fat, saturated fat and salt, low in sugars and a source of fibre[5]. The burger was accompanied by my spice coated oven-cooked potatoes and side salad (further details in the table):

Week 46 Dinners

Snacks:

My snacking activity seems acceptable. There was a little chocolate, some crisp-like snacks (rice crackers, popped lotus seeds, seaweed puffs, potato chips) and a pitta bread with hummus. The snack highest in total fat, saturated fat and sugars was the salted caramel chocolate cheesecake – I do not regret it at all, as other indulgences were pretty minimal:

Week 46 Snacks

Alcohol

I didn’t have any alcohol this week following my ridiculous binge last Saturday. I suspect last week’s booze session didn’t help my mental wellbeing[6], so I intend to be more mindful about that in future. Plus, I think the excess alcohol may have caused my body to become inflamed[7] as I experienced some chest and joint discomfort throughout the week – it’s improved now.

Exercise

My physical activity was 35 minutes less than last week, but a bit more varied. As well as the usual walks, I did two WiiFit exercise sessions (76 minutes) and 30 minutes on the exercise bike. I’ll admit I only used the bike on Sunday, because I remembered promising I’d do it in last week’s post. It was a tough half hour, so I need to do more to build myself up again – there, I’ve said it, so I’ll feel I need to do it now:

Week 46 Exercise

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I’m flabbergasted! I lost 5 lb (2.3 kg) weight in a week – I don’t think I’ve ever done that before, except for the time I did a fast, but that doesn’t count as I didn’t eat anything. So, I lost all the weight gained last week, plus a little extra. Also, my fat results moved in the right direction, dropping 1.3% fat since Week 45. I think it could be related to my emotional state (I tend to eat less when I feel a bit down) and having an alcohol-free week (it really does seem to make a difference):

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

I was pleasantly surprised there were plenty of smile-provoking experiences this week. I’m really glad I introduced this section during Lockdown, because it makes me appreciate the positive occurrences, as small and easily missed, some of them can be.

Catching up with Friends in Real-Life:
My highlight has to be meeting up with Tina and her daughter Eloise. It was just what I needed – a girly catch up, sitting in the garden, enjoying the sunshine:

Eloise and Tina, Brighton Pride (2019)

Nana’s Spaghetti and Dad Ate Scrambled Tofu:
Nana’ spaghetti brings back happy memories of the family (Aunts, Uncles and cousins) squished around a little table at my grandparents’ house. I’m so happy that we’ve developed a plant-based, gluten-free version. Most surprisingly, my Dad ate my scrambled tofu and went back for seconds. Pre-lockdown Dad was anti-tofu, so we’d kept it separate, but he reluctantly added it to his spaghetti and was clearly okay with it – result! Hmmm, except, I have to share it now, so fewer leftovers for me:

Passive Aggressive WiiFit Strikes Again:
I was pleased with myself for using Wii Fit twice this week. On my second visit, I was amused there was a return of the passive aggression (last time was Week 42), because I’d missed a day. And even before the weigh-in, I was reminded to go easy on the snacks. Cheeky WiiFit!:

More Tiny Beauty:
I love the camera on my new(ish) phone – I can capture intricate details of nature close-up. So, I’ve taken advantage of this. Here’s some from afar and then close-up pics:

It’s All in the Eyes:
I took a selfie whilst sat in the park during a walking break. Later, when reviewing my photos, I zoomed in to get a closer look at my mis-behaving eyebrows, when I noticed how clearly myself, phone and the scene were reflected in my eyes:

Mysterious Cats on Road Signs:
During one of my walks, I noticed cats on road signs – how cute, I thought! I was curious about whether this was a new local council thing or something else. My brief internet search found this was also occurring in Kent (about 100 miles away from here) and was a mystery to them. Kent Online hypothesised the stickers were due to either: cat lover(s) spreading the love, superstitious luck, highlighting frequent cat crossings or perhaps marking the loss of a beloved cat companion (I hope not) – who knows?:

Top: The cats I spotted on road signs. Bottom: Kent Online news report article

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Thank you for reading and feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next Wednesday for another catch up. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about what made you smile recently.

>>>Week 47
<<<Week 45
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References

1. Samaritans, 2020. Contact a Samaritan [online]. Available from: www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/.
2. National Health Service, 2019. Feeling lonely [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/feeling-lonely/.
3. Association for Nutrition, 2020. Welcome to the Association for Nutrition [online]. Available from: www.associationfornutrition.org/.
4. British Nutrition Foundation, 2018. Helping you eat well: Looking at labels. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/helpingyoueatwell/324-labels.html?start=3.
5. European Commission, Ca. 2019. Nutrition claims [online]. Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/nutrition_claims_en.
6. Drinkaware, 2020. Alcohol and mental health [online]. Available from: www.drinkaware.co.uk/facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/mental-health/alcohol-and-mental-health.
7. McMahan, R. H., Afshar, M., Amedee, A. M., Bishehsari, F., Carr, R. M., Coleman, L. G., Herrnreiter, C. J., Lewis, S. L., Mandrekar, P., McCullough, R. Morris, N. L., Vasiliou, V., Wang, H. J., Yeligar, S. M., Choudhry, M. A. and Kovacs, E. J. 2020. Summary of the 2019 alcohol and immunology research interest group (AIRIG) meeting: Alcohol-mediated mechanisms of multiple organ injury.  Alcohol [online], 46 (2), 147-153. Alcohol [online], 87, 89-95. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alcohol.2020.04.008.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 45: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

The Family Reunion

Family day out, Brighton & Hove (2015)

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<<<Week 44

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

What’s New

Firstly, apologies for the late post – I was super tired after a busy weekend requiring extra thoughtfulness about acting safely (on top of my usual trying not to be clumsy) and I had loads of extra photos to sort through, culminating in a day’s delay.

The Bank Holiday weekend was busy, because excitingly we met up with my sister and her boyfriend in real-life – we last saw Emma and Carl at Christmas. It felt weird having to carefully plan meeting up with family: I walked with Em and Carl to-and-from the train station – Mum met us at the station with the car and they put their luggage in the boot. They set up camp in our garden and were allocated the downstairs cloakroom via a specific route. We socialised outside, sitting opposite ends of the table and served food plated-up (we’re usually a help-yourself kind of family) or provided separate serving dishes and utensils. And it felt strange not being able to hug, but we’ll take what we can get at the moment. It was still a lovely weekend:

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…

Breakfast:

I skipped breakfast three times this week, grabbed those easy go-to biscuits once, sampled one of Mum’s peanut butter cookies and had cereal. Sunday breakfast was excessive – I had a massive hangover (I’m ashamed to admit I was sick – twice), so I grabbed crisps/potato chips trying to settle the nausea. Later I nibbled at some fruit and when I felt less delicate, I enjoyed guacamole on toast topped with ‘bacon’, tomato and red onion. Oh, and then I sampled Mum’s rhubarb jam on a slice of toast too – very tasty, but unnecessary:

Week 45 Breakfasts
I only ate one of those cookies

Lunch:

We had My Typical Salad four times, either with hash browns, falafel or Indian bites. Another day I had a salad filled pitta bread with ‘ham’ slices. Highlights were Mum’s cauliflower and almond soup (my favourite soup ever) and creamy curried gnocchi at Offbeet to utilise the ‘eat out to help out’ half price offer:

Week 45 Lunches

Dinner:

Mmm, a delicious variety of dinners – I don’t think I could pick a highlight. I had leftover veg spaghetti with garlic bread (Week 44), mince tacos, Mexican rice, chia nuggets with chips/fries and baked beans, veg risotto, veg curry, dhal and rice and our first (and probably only) barbecue of the year (burger, chipolata sausages and veg skewer) – yum!:

Week 45 Dinners

Snacks:

I snacked a fair amount. I had a hangover appetite on Sunday, resulting in loads of extra consumption. At least some options were healthy – griddled Padron peppers (I got my first ever chilli-hot one!) and asparagus. The ‘bacon’ sandwich earlier in the week was excessive – I could easily have halved it and still felt satisfied. My least healthy choice has to be the salted caramel cheesecake (although it tasted so good) – but high in coconut-based[1] saturated fat[2]. The other indulgence was a barbecued rum sozzled banana with cream (yet more fat):

Week 45 Snacks

Alcohol

Too much alcohol – waayyyy too much! On Friday, I drank three spiced rums with cola when chatting to a friend online. But Saturday night was ridiculous – I guess I got overly excited about Em and Carl visiting. I drank a whole bottle of red wine without really noticing (that’s over 600 calories according to Drinkaware[3]), plus a double salted caramel vodka liqueur and (I think) a double spiced rum. I’m not proud of myself – excess alcohol is damaging to health[4], as well as being highly calorific:

Week 45 Alcohol
Left: Saturday night’s Drinkaware calculation. Right: That red wine

Exercise

I’m pleased I more than doubled my activity compared to last week – 405 minutes versus 167 minutes. Mostly, I walked: 380 minutes (6.3 hours), with 244 minutes (4 hours) brisk. I squeezed in a 25 minutes Wii Fit aerobics session of Step, Rhythm Boxing and Hula Hoop. Next week I hope to report more Wii Fit and some exercise biking, as well as walking:

Week 45 Exercise
Left: Carl & Em admiring an Oak tree. Right: My week’s Active 10 walks

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I was expecting a weight and fat increase when I stepped on the scales Monday morning, but not 4 lb (1.8 kg) extra weight – I don’t think I’ve gained that much in one week before! So, I’m temporarily back to being classified as obese with a BMI[5] of 30.1 – Noooo! Clearly all those additional calories, particularly the alcohol negatively affected my results. Naturally, I couldn’t resist a sneaky extra weigh-in again on Tuesday morning – as I suspected and with great relief, I’d already lost 2 lb, taking me back to overweight status, but still dangerously close to obese. Clearly, I need to avoid creeping back to my starting point. But despite these results, as I said before, I’m feeling healthier than I did back in November when I first decided to take control:

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Okay, definitely time to move on to some smile-provoking experiences, after all mental wellbeing is incredibly important to overall health status. Hmmm, where to start? – there were so many…

Imaginary Katey:
My friends’ son pretended he was playing with me – melt my heart why don’t you:

I almost look like I could be imaginary in this pic of me sat outside in the dark

Socialising in real-life:
Obviously, a biggie was seeing my sister and her boyfriend. The bonus was having a catch-up with my sister’s friend as well:

Candlelit Alfresco Dining:
Don’t you just love a candlelit alfresco dining experience? Well, I do. It was rather chilly in the evenings though – I was a bit envious of Em & Carl’s onesies and Mum was toasty in her poncho, so I wrapped myself up in a big cosy blanket:

The Umbrella Incident:
We put the umbrella up so that we could see each other with less obstruction, but then the wind came and the umbrella started launching itself towards the kitchen window. Thankfully, we caught it before the situation became disastrous and Mum secured the sides with string to aid visibility – proper Nana-ism – my Nana was known for quick-fixes with masking tape or string:

Impressive storm clouds:
I’ve spent a fair amount of time gazing up at the sky recently and noticing the cloud impressiveness, especially when a storm’s brewing:

Top: watching the clouds roll in before the heavy rainstorm. Bottom left: Offbeet lunch in Pyramid Field. Right: Moon peaking through dark dusk clouds.

Silly Pigeon:
This particular pigeon makes us all chuckle – just lolloping around. Give Mr (or Mrs) Pigeon their due – the first to brave the new daffodil bird feeder – we’d been trying to lure birds with the fat ball. Later, we were concerned when we saw him lying in the heavy downpour with an odd wing angle, until he switched sides and we realised he was just bathing and seemingly thoroughly enjoying himself:

Clockwise: Decisions, decisions – should I sample that new daffodil food thing? Yes, mmm, yum yum. I’m the ‘King of the Castle’. Shower-time. Water bowl incident – whoops.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Thank you for reading and feel free to follow my bite-size journey updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next Wednesday for another catch up. In the meantime, I’d love you to share what made you smile recently in the comments section.

>>>Week 46
<<<Week 44
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References

1. British Nutrition Foundation, 2020. BNF answers some common questions on coconut oil [online]. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/attachments/article/998/BNF%20FAQs%20Coconut%20Oil%202020.pdf.
2. NHS Eatwell, 2020. Fat: the facts [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/different-fats-nutrition/.
3. Drinkaware, 2019. Unit & Calorie Calculator [online]. Available from: www.drinkaware.co.uk/understand-your-drinking/unit-calculator.
4. Drinkaware, 2020. Health effects of alcohol [online]. Available from: www.drinkaware.co.uk/facts/health-effects-of-alcohol.
5. NHS Live Well, 2018. Healthy weight: BMI healthy weight calculator [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator/.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 44 : Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Spotting Joyful Moments

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<<<Week 43

Hello again; how quickly time passes! I’m back for another instalment of what’s on my plate: health and nutrition updates and some positive smile-provoking experiences…

What’s New

I’d like to start by saying a big thank you to Pooja from Lifesfinewhine for her blogging advice. I’ve been taking note and making changes to my writing style and layout. I’ve still got loads to learn, but I’m getting there (I think). I hope you all approve.

The not so great news is that I didn’t get the job I interviewed for. But I’m okay about it. I asked for feedback and was pleased (relieved) it was positive “We thought you interviewed really well… you provided some really strong answers to our questions. It was a hard decision…”. Overall, I see it as a good practise run – after all, this was my first proper job interview in years – previously I’d been working as a university Disability Adviser for about 15 years.

Food and Nutrition

So, let’s check out 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:

I skipped breakfast four times this week – I just didn’t fancy eating first thing in the morning on those occasions. Strawberries were my healthiest option; I resorted to those easy-grab biscuits twice and once a slice of peanut butter and jam on toast. I really do need to up my fruit intake again:

Week 44 Breakfasts

Lunch:

I had a batch of steamed potatoes that needed using, so I oven cooked them in a spice coating of onion, garlic, smoked paprika, cumin and chilli oil, with some chickpea flour to add crispiness – I have to say, they were rather tasty, but then, I do love potatoes. The next couple of days were convenience meals – a miso chilli noodle pot and a pitta filled with cheese, coleslaw and salad. We had My typical salad the remainder of the week, as my folks were back. I’m happy enough with these food choices:

Week 44 Lunches

Dinner:

I do love pasta, as evidenced by my four pasta-based dinners this week: I split pumpkin raviolini over two days with a jar of bolognese sauce. Another day I opted for my lazy pasta – fusilli, sundried tomato, peppers, sweetcorn and onion, with a drizzle of chilli and extra virgin olive oil. And then there was a simple, but delicious brown-rice spaghetti with tomato, mushrooms, olives and pepper with homemade garlic bread. Other meals: leftover Mexican chilli on cheesy nachos with tomato and mushrooms – yum. A slightly disappointing burger and low-fat oven chips – we suspect the burger recipe has changed. Mum made a delicious cheesy veg bake to use up carrots, broccoli and courgettes, which we had with sausages, roasted potatoes and more carrots. I admit, I went back for seconds; actually, also with the spaghetti meal – I shouldn’t be doing that:

Week 44 Dinners

Snacks:

I’m not entirely sure how much I snacked during the first part of the week; I suspect not much. And I barely ate between meals the latter end. I’m surprised with myself and pleased. I hope I can continue to keep snacking to a minimum without feeling hungry – we’ll see. Sweet snacks were chocolate (a bar and a bit), whilst savoury included a filled pitta bread of cheese, coleslaw and salad (big snack!), crisps and Balti mix:

Week 44 Snacks

Alcohol

I had an alcohol-free week. I really didn’t fancy any after my excesses last week.

Exercise

Hmmm, what can I say? I’ve not had a particularly active week. The only exercise I achieved was through walking, nearing three hours total. I definitely intend to be more energetic next week:

Week 44 Exercise

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I wasn’t really sure what to expect this week results-wise. As it was, I had another week of no weight change (166.2 lb / 75.4 kg) and minimal body fat loss (from 40.2% to 40.1 %). I think the reduced snacking probably balanced out the lack of physical activity, resulting in just maintaining:

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

It was tough narrowing down which positive experiences to include this week. So, here’s my favourites…

Mummy Bird’s Demands:
Mummy Bird (our Blackbird friend) makes me smile every time I see her. When it started to rain, we rushed inside to the living room with our morning coffee. We heard her loud chirping through the open window. So, I investigated and found her below the window looking up at me – she then jumped off the wall and ran towards the front door in anticipation (top row). Dad obediently went out and fed her (we’re well trained). But maybe she’s getting a bit chubby now? (Bottom row: Week 35 (left) versus now (right)):

Apologies for the poor top pictures – the photos were taken through the window in a hurry

Guard Cat:
Jasper, our guard cat (well, my neighbour’s cat), has taken to sitting under the bird feeder – thankfully he’s not particularly interested in the birds – we think he’s searching for other creatures. It brightens my day when he visits, especially when he shirks his duties and just rolls around on the driveway being cute (last pic from Week 35):

Tiny Beautiful Nature:
When I was sat watching Jasper on his guard duty, I noticed a tiny flower by his side (you can just about see it in the above picture too). I had to have a closer look and observed the pretty intricacy despite its tiny size:

Amusing Shadows and Bendy Birds:
Mum and I went out for a walk and found a pond currently popular with the ducks – we spent quite some time watching them – they have such bendy necks! When I was taking photos, I noticed our shadows looked amusingly oddly-shaped – we had our raincoats tied around our waists – I’m on the right:

Ghostly Friends:
I’ve missed seeing Bevy in person and I’m super excited she’s back – hopefully we can see each other in real-life soon. However, she appears to have become somewhat ghostly since we last met – she’s that eerie figure in the bottom of the screen. And Harry, Bevy’s boyfriend, lurking in another room, seems to be bodiless. Perhaps I should be concerned about meeting up with these people:

Homemade Gifts (for Me):
My highlight was the birthday presents my Aunt sent back with my parents. My Birthday was back in February and my Aunt had offered to post them, but I said I was happy to wait. Receiving presents is always a delight, but even more so when they’re created especially for me. My talented Aunt sent over a whole package of beautifully handmade crystal-based gifts. So, I took my time enjoying opening and appreciating each treasure:

The intentionally prolonged present opening process
My presents on display. The suncatchers still look beautiful without bright sunshine

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Thank you for reading and feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next Wednesday for another catch up.

>>>Week 45
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Health Diary Week 15: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Gorgeous Gojis!

How my Mum sees me in fruit-face format! (My new profile pic)

<<<Week 14
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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

…I’ve approached this week differently compared to previous ones, because I’m weighing myself every day for four weeks. I’m not keen on daily weighing, but I’m doing a self-experiment following a debate that I need to settle with a friend (more details after the experiment is completed).

Image: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

So, after last week’s behaviour, I felt I should ‘up my game’ – it paid off. I’ll admit it was helped by daily weight tracking, because I adapted my behaviour accordingly (that’s not what my experiment is about). For the third time since I started, I’m out of the obese category and at my lowest weight so far. In total, I’ve lost just over half a stone (3.3 kg) and my fat has reduced by 3% – yippee! I know it’s slow progress, but as I’ve said before, I’m in for the long haul – no quick fixes – it must be sustainable:

Week 15 results – now that’s more like it!

Food and Nutrition

What did I do right? I decided to compare my behaviour to last week’s. Naturally, I got my nerd on again – I produced a comparison table, highlighting the potential pitfalls (saturated fat or sugars) – you’ll notice there’s more pink highlights in Week 14 compared to this week:

Week 14 versus week 15 behaviour. Pink highlight: potential pitfalls (hmmm, there’s quite a few!).

Breakfast and Lunch:

This week I stuck with fruit in the morning – I love fruit. Likewise, I had a lot of salad-based lunches, including My Typical Salad; whereas, in Week 14 I had less salad and fruit:

Salad-based lunches: Top: Wholemeal pitta with Quorn ‘chicken’ slices, coleslaw, red onion, celery, tomato, cucumber & mixed baby salad leaves. Left: Plant Pioneer burger in wholemeal pitta with salad. Right: My ‘typical salad’ with added sauerkraut & coleslaw (cabbage overload? – nah!).

Dinner:

My dinners contained less saturated fat compared to last week – none of that coconut-based cheese or fried foods. And this week I didn’t eat out at all – I chose not to when we went for post-circuits coffee (go me!). I had chips once, same as last week, but instead of deep-fried, they were oven baked – much healthier! Mostly I had pasta or rice-based meals with vegetables or salad. My favourite meals were tofu, veg and rice noodles stir fry and the Shawarma and salad wraps:

Some of my dinners: Clockwise: My lazy pasta with Ponti Zero sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts & bell peppers, extra virgin olive oil & hot chilli sauce. M&S meal deal: Marinated tofu, vegetables & rice noodles. Vivera plant Shawarma (with bell peppers & carrot) & mixed salad (baby gem, red onion, tomato & avocado in mayo) in a wrap. Sainsburys Mexican rice, Capsicana refried beans, avocado, tomato & red onion.

Snacks:

There was a massive snacking difference between the two weeks. I mainly returned to Raw Chocolate Co goji berries to satisfy cravings instead of the now depleted Christmas chocolate stash. Although, the gojis are red traffic-lighted[1] for fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt, only a few of them are needed to satiate the chocolate craving. Also, I must have consumed a load of calories last week at the ‘Girls’ night in’ with my snack binge!

Christmas chocolate (& booze) stash versus chocolate now (sensibly portioned).

Alcohol

Oh, and alcohol-wise – I successfully completed ‘Dry January’ and I haven’t had any booze as yet. I aim to massively reduce consumption to promote my long-term health[2, 3]:

My ‘Try Dry’ (Alcohol Change UK) January progress

Exercise

I completed nearly two hours more physical activity (via exercise biking) compared to last week – I rarely watch TV, but the 6 Nations Rugby started, so I’m watching it whilst cycling instead of just sitting. I had a couple of good walks, incorporating a visit to friends for a cuppa. And, in circuits one of the ladies poked me in the belly and said ‘Oooo you’re losing it there!’ and at the other session, another suggested I ditch the scales as my shape was clearly changing even if my weight wasn’t shifting – this was encouraging:

Exercise ready. Left to right: The circuits outfit that warranted the belly poke! France versus England on the exercise bike (a disappointing match!). Over-estimating how cold it was outside for a walk!

A Positive Week

It’s been a positive week and I’m ‘proper pleased’ with myself. I hope you’re able to join me next week for my measurements review and an update photo of the blue dress from Week 0: The Starting Point.

Just a photo of a quirky bird decoration I bought this week, because it made me chuckle.

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. Have a great week all…

Week 16>>>
<<<Week 14
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References

1. British Nutrition Foundation, 2018. Helping you eat well: Looking at labels. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/helpingyoueatwell/324-labels.html?start=3.
2. Drinkaware, 2019. Health facts of alcohol [online]. Available from: www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/.
3. Department of Health England, Llywodraeth Cymru Welsh Government, Department of Health Northern Ireland and Scottish Government, 2016. UK Chief Medical Officers’ Low Risk Drinking Guidelines 2016 [online]. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/545937/UK_CMOs__report.pdf.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 4: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Improvement (Kind of)

Image: Kevstream from Pixabay

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<<<Week 3

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

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…

Snacks:

This was a better week – I was less hungry, so I snacked less and more sensibly. I went back to my fav chocolate snack – raw chocolate goji berries – a thin coating of strong dark chocolate that quickly satisfies the craving. I portion them into a little dish so that I don’t get tempted to eat too many. I also enjoyed hummus with a wholegrain pitta bread or rice crackers:

How I portion my fav choc snack (raw choc goji berries)

Breakfast:

I had fruit salad for breakfast over three days. The other days I ate cereal, toast or veggie sausage sandwich (brunch). I skipped breakfast once, just because I wasn’t hungry. I’m trying to be more mindful about when I’m actually hungry (e.g. not mistaking it for when I’m bored or stressed)[1, 2]:

Image: John Hain from Pixabay

Lunch:

For lunch, I had My Typical Salad four times, egg-free Spanish omelette with a sausage and salad, and a pub roast dinner. At the pub I caved-in to the chocolate brownie with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream, although I compromised by sharing it with a friend – it tasted sooooo good – no regrets:

Nutritious, delicious Spanish omelette (egg substituted with fibrous gram/chickpea/garbanzo flour)

Dinner:

Dinners were varied including:
– Raviolini and green-lentil pasta with olives, sundried tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil
– Spanish omelette with veggie sausage and oven-chips
– Mexican-spiced rice with beans, avocado and tomato
– Chia protein nuggets, baked beans and oven-chips
– Mixed bean chilli, avocado, tomato and brown rice:

Pumpkin & sage raviolini & green-lentil fusilli with olives, sundried tomatoes & extra virgin olive oil

Alcohol

There was also an evening at the pub with those usual vodkas.

Exercise

My exercise included two circuit training and four exercise bike sessions. I’m trying to be more physically active to burn extra calories and reduce health risks like Type 2 Diabetes – the weekly adult recommendation is 2 ½ hours moderate or 1 ¼ hours vigorous activity[3]. I calculated 5 ½ hours activity this week! – this surprised me, as it didn’t feel like it, probably because I was distracted watching TV on the bike:

Image: Karabulakastan from Pixabay

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Earlier in the week I’d noticed my waist and thighs seemed a bit smaller – still waiting for my belly to be less wobbly though! The great news is I lost 1.6 lb (hoorah!) – it was a massive relief to finally see the numbers reduce. Unfortunately, there was no change to my fat percentage, but it still felt positive seeing some progress:

My week 4 results compared to last week and my starting point

Positive Results

It’s been a massive relief to move in the right direction again and hopefully this is the start of seeing more positive results.

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 5>>>
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References

1. NHS Derbyshire Community Health Services, 2013. Mindful eating [online]. Available from: www.dchs.nhs.uk/assets/public/dchs/llb/tools/tools_1-11/3_DCHS_A5_4pp_Mindful_Eating.pdf.
2. International Food Information Council, 2019. Search results for mindful eating [online]. Available from: https://foodinsight.org/?s=mindful+eating.
3. Chief Medical Officer, 2018. Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer, 2018: Health 2040 – Better Health Within Reach: Chapter 8 Changing behaviour for a healthier population [online]. Available from: www.gov.uk/government/publications/chief-medical-officer-annual-report-2018-better-health-within-reach.

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