Fiddling while dinner burns

I am cooking, as I write, a pork casserole.  The recipe comes from the ‘eat-right’ site, but I have modified it a touch to meet our tastes. Whilst it was in the oven I thought I would play with my website, so it now includes my flikr site and a different header.  I don’t like the black on white text though.  I prefer black on a cream or tinted background.  That is the reason for typing in bold, just to see how it works.

I didn’t go to meeting. I felt horrid today: achy and tetchy, on the verge of tears for some reason (perhaps hormones). I slept badly because my back was hurting. I tend to notice *after* I have sat badly for hours, rather than it giving me notice beforehand. I took a couple of painkillers and later felt a bit better, though my back still aches.

I decided I needed to do something to change how I felt so I coloured my hair.

I am not particularly successful in the colouring – it is always a hit and miss affair. Last time I tried to do it a reddish colour and it came out like dark chocolate – though it was rather nice. Once I tried to do it a nice golden colour and it went orange. This time I tried to do a dark red and it has gone rather purplish, but a little streaky. Of course it will be assumed that I wanted highlights so it will not be too bad. It has hidden the grey which makes my dark blonde seem very mousy and dull, and now it looks vibrant and glossy if a little darker than I expected.

I wish I wasn’t so vain but I have little enough going for me at the moment and I have some un-Quakerly pride in my hair. I am dismayed that at 50 I suddenly seem invisible.

I am pleased to say that the bathroom does NOT look like there has been a massacre in there.

News from the diet front

I have lost three pounds since I registered with ‘eatright’ and four since my first weigh in last Monday.

I have settled into a routine, which seems to work – the key things, I find, are  to eat breakfast and to prepare lunch the night before.

A couple of rhetorical questions:

Firstly, what is the point of bagels?  They are hard and heavy and have a hole in the centre that things fall through, so I don’t understand their recent popularity for sandwiches.

Secondly, how much fruit can a body take?  I seem to be wading my way through mountains of fruit.  I have a pear-shaped body, apparently, but this diet will make me look like an apple or a banana.

Today we diet

I am dieting.  I know that on all measures of obesity I am way over what I should be. So I have joined an on-line healthy eating plan and am now on day four.  The first three days were easy enough but now it starts to bite.

I am fairly knowledgeable about food: I am a pretty reasonable cook and know a calorie when I meet it.   I know what sort of proportion of fat is in most food.  It is not lack of understanding about food that makes me overweight; those who suggest that we fatties just need a bit of education are patronising in the extreme.

Food is not like cigarettes, something that you can just avoid, and so I do tend to think about it for a fair amount of the day.  Yesterday I was congratulating myself on not being obsessed by food and more importantly my new diet and the reason was clear – I was too busy thinking about other things.  Tonight is different.

Boredom or lack of action lead me to consider what I want to eat, and I have to admit that fruit does not figure highly on the list of desirables.

This on-line diet is really interesting.  It has a wide range of food and can be customised easily, substitutions are available, it allows shopping lists to be printed out and there are recipes and a recognition of the need to use convenience foods at times.  All in all it seems very good.

The first days food was an eyeopener as it supplied so much breakfast and so little ‘main meal’!  When it came to it though, the main meal was perfectly adequate and I did not feel hungry.  I enjoyed the sandwich but was a little put off by having to stop every five minutes to  check the allowances for everything as it all had to be weighed.  I felt as if I was going back to the bad old days when I couldn’t cook.

I am finding the discipline of having to have breakfast very useful.  I have discovered that bran-flakes do not need sugar on.  I have also discovered that ‘granola’ weighs much more than it should, but that a small portions served with yogurt (which sounded horrible!) is not only really satisfying but very tasty,  Breakfast is good!

One of the problems I see about this diet is that at the moment I am unclear about how much substitution is allowed and if any ‘carry over’ is allowed.

Another bigger one is the lack of certain staples in my diet shich I don’t see as unhealthy.  I am a lover of seedy bread which, whilst higher in calories, has much to offer.  I had assumed that it would be in the list of substitutions but it did not appear.  So far I have seen no mention of it, which worries me.  I like home -made soup –  which I make with a minimum of fat and liquidise.  I am unsure about whether I can add garlic in menus that so not include it or increase the quantities in those that do.

However   I have a mentor who I can ask these questions.

I suppose my biggest worry is whether I can continue on such a diet for a significant amount of time.  Assuming that I do lose an average of  two pounds each week (and the reality is that I might not) then I am looking at 49 weeks to lose the seven stone which would take me to the target weight.  Looking at it that way, can I seriously commit to not having chocolate at all for that long?  I am aware that I am raising objections, and perhaps that is inevitable.  My unconscious is saying drop this darned diet, but I am not giving in.  I am having second thoughts, perhaps becoming more realistic but am determined to find a way, to learn strategies to enable me to cope with the problems that life will throw at me.

I want to find it easier that it is at the moment though, I feel unsure about what happens on the first big test – when I go shopping and for lunch with my sister.  We do it very rarely, perhaps twice a year and we have invested the day with a special status: it is our day.  I am concerned that ‘special occasions’ will be less of a celebration if I can only have salad.  Am I never allowed a steak?  Are buttered hot rolls with soup no longer allowed?  Is chocolate cake to be a distant memory?  Or do I just have a little and thoroughly enjoy it and then get back to the sensible, healthy option at the next meal?  I imagine if I have already eaten breakfast it will help me eat less that I normally would.

Parsnips

I have been very disappointed with the  parsnips I grew this year.  It took ages to germinate them, though I planted them at the right time according to the packet.  I put in two rows and got nothing at first. Now it is possible that I pulled the damn seedlings out thinking they were weeds, but somehow I doubt it.  I ended up, after about 5 weeks with four plants.

Later I planted another two rows and they fared worse, though to be honest since I hurt my back it it is difficult to see which are weeds and which are parsnips.  I may still have a parsnip hiding, you never know.

I spoke to them.  I loved them and I kept the weeds away from them but somehow, when they came to be harvested yesterday there were not four plants left.  Two came up full and beautiful, creamy thick and uniform.  One came up more like a ball with a string on the end.

My beloved, who is a brilliant cook, pointed out that there was not enough for a full serving, so he made a soup.

Friends, (if I may be so bold) there was never such a parsnippy tasting soup and it was worth every moment of the  care for that delicious soup.