Friday, 1 June 2018

An uphill struggle

It's surprisingly hard to change one's dietary habits. We're used to eating certain foods in certain quantities at certain times and altering that in any way can be an uphill struggle.

I'm fairly thin, but I can put on the pounds very easily. If I didn't keep a constant watch on my weight I could put on a stone or so quite quickly. But adjusting my diet to lose a few pounds is not that easy.

It seems simple enough to eat smaller portions or avoid fattening foods or skip a meal, but the reality is less simple. I might aim at a small portion but if there's more on offer it's too tempting. I love chocolate and ice cream and I'm not giving them up in a hurry. I'm attuned to three meals a day and giving one up is usually beyond me.

If you're used to having tiny portions, or not eating chocolate, or not having a midday meal, then you can just carry on. But if you're firmly in the grip of bad habits, breaking them can be tough.

Social events are treacherous, as there are always piles of unhealthy food - cakes, pastries, muffins, chocolates. It's only polite to nibble a few of them. Refusing everything on offer just prompts awkward questions.

I have at least broken the pack of biscuits habit. I used to eat an entire pack of biscuits at one go. Two or three weren't enough, I just had to keep eating until the pack was finished. Now I have one biscuit and that's it.

For most things, I have plenty of will power. But when it comes to serious dietary changes, will power deserts me. I need a ruthless Aunt Lydia to keep me in line.

*Aunt Lydia: the enforcer in The Handmaid's Tale

Thanks for all your kind thoughts about my mum. She died at 5.15 am this morning (Sunday)


  1. It's easier to stay thin that get thin, that's for sure. We prepare most foods from scratch, especially vegetables. No "processed" food at all. What's happened is complete dislike of all the additives in food. I cannot tolerate the aftertaste of all the chemicals used to preserve foods. It's turned out to be a good thing.
    Light and love to your mother. I think good hands are helping her.

  2. So sorry to her about your mother's decline, Nick. I hope she is not suffering.

    I'm used to small meals and lots of exercise. I hope that helps me through menopause when you never know what hormones will do.

  3. Joanne: I know what you mean after the after-taste of chemicals. Some foods leave a very odd taste in my mouth. We try to eat unprocessed food wherever possible.

    Bijoux: Thanks. She's on very strong painkilling medication which seems to be keeping pain to a minimum.

    I have a small breakfast and small lunch but I tend to eat very large evening meals. A habit I find hard to break!

  4. I hate to hear of your mother being so ill and in pain.
    that's the worst part. the pain. and the hospital a necessary but frightening place.
    and however old or young they are … it's' still "Mum!"
    and I would imagine with a father like yours she was at least as much as able a comfort for you.
    bless you Nick. xo

  5. My heart goes out to your mother, and to you and Jennie too.

  6. Tammy: It seems she had either a cardiac arrest or a stroke. So although she's hanging on for the time being, she'll go downhill eventually. Yes, she was certainly very different from my monster of a father.

    Jean: Thanks. We're in a bit of a limbo at the moment, waiting for the end. She's lasted much longer than the doctors expected.

  7. I am so sorry to hear of your mother's sudden decline. It must have come as quite a shock to you.

    As to food, we work on the big breakfast, smaller lunch and even smaller supper system...unless we go out to see friends or have them over in the evening at which point all bets are off.

  8. Sorry your Mum having difficult time and how this affects you and family. As for managing what you eat, sounds like you’re part way there, having identified the problem. Now, all you have to do is not eat what you know you shouldn’t! That’s all! Oh, is that the real problem?Good luck!

  9. Joared: Thanks. Mum's putting up quite a fight but the doctors say there's no chance she'll survive.

    Ah yes, just don't eat what I shouldn't be eating! That's the tricky part.

  10. When I stopped smoking, it coincided with some other health issues and I put on a great deal of weight by eating more than I was before I quit smoking. Since my other health issues prevent vigorous exercise, I have had to resort to dieting to get my weight down and over the last ten weeks I have lost 7 Kgs by sticking to a 6/18 regime. I have a mug of tea at about 6 am, normal breakfast at 8 am and normal lunch at 1 pm. I have another mug of tea at 4.30 pm and nothing else till next morning. In the initial stages it was difficult not to have anything in the evenings and nights but I have got used to it now and don't feel hunger at all in the evenings. I am adviced by my GP that I am making good progress and will lose some more weight before I reach the optimum.

  11. Ramana: Not eating anything in the evening seems to be an effective way of losing weight. Ian Paisley had the same routine apparently. But I don't think I could go the whole evening without eating. I have a big meal at about 6 pm and then usually a snack some time in the evening.

  12. If I go more than about three hours without eating I get lightheaded and shaky. And irritable. So I just focus on trying to eat mostly healthy foods, with some treats thrown in.

  13. Agent: Me too. I need frequent snacks to keep me going.