Week 38 WI

Soooooo sloooooooowww.... I feel like I'm losing weight in slow motion.

Results so far:
Loss this week: -0.3 kg / -0.7 lbs
Total loss: -13.8 kg / -30.4 lbs

Okay, I'm feeling quite crap about how slowly this is going, so I'm going to force myself to look at the bright side:
* I've lost over 30 lbs! 13% of my body weight is gone :)
* I'm 1/3 of the way there!
* I'm eating more healthily, taking in about 1/3 of the calories I used to and feeling so much healthier and more energetic.
* I've cut waaay down on alcohol, crisps, sweets and biscuits.
* I almost never have cravings anymore, and haven't had a full-blown binge in several months. I make better choices and when I don't I manage to stop the downward spiral before it gets out of control.
* I'm slowly picking up sports and feeling good about it.
* My body doesn't hurt anymore when I get up in the morning, my knees hurt a lot less, my back is improving, and I'm sure there are other improvements I can't see.
* I've gone down 3 clothes sizes, I can actually buy clothes from regular stores again.
* When I go somewhere, I don't feel *huge* anymore, just a bit overweight (okay, my BMI still reads obese, small detail).
* I've probably added a few years to my life and am on my way to being a healthy weight to have babies and other such things ;-)

Okay, so I guess a slow loss isn't too bad. As long as it's going down and staying down and I'm learning a whole new healthy way of living, it's all good :-)

Sigh (Inner peace and the lack thereof)

I am at home alone tonight and trying to relax, but I obviously haven't quite mastered that art yet.

I'm surfing, half watching tv, after calling my mum and my sister and I'm fighting the incredibly powerful urge to get up and eat the fridge empty. Right now I'm contemplating reading a book or getting on the exercise bike or both at the same time.

And I feel anything but relaxed. I am so intent on "doing" something that I am constantly in a state of frenzy that only actually stops when I fall asleep. For some reason I believe food will help me calm down.

Maybe it would be helpful to write down everything that's going through my mind right now to justify eating: I want to feel comforted. If I eat I will feel calmer and be able to relax. Food will fill me and bring me to a safe, soft place. I deserve a treat because I've worked all day. The taste of chocolate will make me happy. I deserve to be happy. Eating chocolate now would be like giving myself a present. Not eating anything is refusing myself a pleasure and it won't make any difference. It's not like I'm going to lose weight this week anyway. I never lose much, even when I deprive myself all week. I'm going to stay this weight for the rest of my life, I'll never get to goal. I feel comfortable the way I am now, safe and protected. If I eat something now, I can just stay on the couch and get fat and never have to get up and I can spend the rest of my life feeling comfortable and drowsy. I can relax. If I eat I can ignore the fact it's really time for bed and the day is over and I don't feel I've achieved anything. After a day at the office I feel useless and I don't see the point of what I'm doing. I want my life to be meaningful and fulfilling and by eating chocolate I can prolong the day, then maybe I'll feel fulfilled. Eating chocolate will give me the inspiration to do something amazing instead of just getting ready for bed. If I go to bed now I'll have missed out on the opportunity to eat, I'll go to bed feeling empty. I won't feel comforted....

I urgently need to take up meditation (or medication?). I'm glad my yoga classes are starting again in a couple of weeks, that could be my salvation.

Week 37 WI

And I didn't budge an ounce.

I guess I have absolutely no leeway on this diet. I didn't do much exercise last week (badminton and some walking) and I used up all my points (but didn't go over), and nothing, nada, ziltch.

After last week's disappointing loss (loads of exercise and didn't use all my points), I'm beginning to think I'm really not meant to lose weight, at least not at any encouraging pace.

So I am mentally preparing myself to increase the effort I put into this. Saturday I am going to start a "Start to Run" programme with a friend. I am slightly apprehensive, to say the least...

No alcohol last week (2 weeks in a row!), but last night I had a couple of glasses of wine, so I haven't completely given up booze ;)

Oh well, back to being a good little weight watcher today so hopefully it'll be a good week and I'll get a decent loss this time next week :)

Week 36 WI

I don't know what came over me last week, but I was on fire!
I didn't have a single craving and as a consequence didn't eat anything outside of mealtimes, had 3 healthy meals a day and was actually under points almost every day!
I played badminton, cycled and walked, earning 16 bonus points.
I actually saved a total of 28 points last week!!

Totally chuffed at myself for doing so well, though I am slightly disappointed that the scales only show a 0.6 kg / 1.3 lbs loss. But I know I must be happy with that and need to realise I'm in this for the long haul, so as long as I get there in the end it doesn't matter how long it takes.

Oh, and I didn't have any alcohol. Despite eating out twice :)

My updated results are:
Loss this week: - 0.6 kg / - 1.3 lbs
Total loss so far: - 13.5 kg / - 29.8 lbs

I am actually "this" close to the 1/3 way mark, almost 30 lbs gone, 60 to go.

Having said that, I started working again full-time yesterday for a 6-week contract, and today was quite stressful, so I had a bowl of cereals after dinner that I wasn't hungry for. I hope I can keep it under control, and will try my best to, but I'm a bit worried nevertheless.

Week 35 WI

I don't know about the biggest loser, but how about the slowest loser? Grrr... Only a measly 0.2 kg / 0.4 lbs off this week despite my best efforts. I really expected to lose more as I had an amazing week: on points - despite eating out 5 times, no snacking, very little alcohol (2 mojito, half a glass of wine and a glass of ouzo), lots of walking, exercise bike and badminton. Apparently my extra kilos have decided they aren't going to give up without a fight. O yay!

Updated results are:
This week's loss: - 0.2 kg / - 0.4 lbs
Total loss so far: -12.9 kg / - 28.4 lbs

If there is any justice in this world, I will have a massive loss next week :p
In the meantime, I'm glad I seem to have found my mojo and haven't had to fight any cravings lately - I put that down to almost completely eliminating refined carbs.

On another note, I have a meeting today with an agency about a job - 5 weeks from the end of August working on some of their projects. I really, really hope it goes well and I get it. Then I can stop worrying about money for a few more months :)

Hope everyone has a fab week. Look forward to reading all your updates!

Panic attack

I'm getting myself worked up into what could easily turn into a full-blown panic attack, and I need to do something about it. For now, I'll let some steam off here, and if that doesn't work, I'll have to attack the mojito's.

I don't know why all of a sudden the workless / work-free situation is feeling unbearable, but I have suddenly gone from feeling wonderful about it to being overwhelmed by a feeling of impending doom.

3 months ago, I started working with a woman, S, on a project for a mutual client. She was really enthusiastic at the prospect of us working together and wanted me to be part of her project to start up her own communication agency. We talked about it a few times, she wanted me to be her partner in the business, but could I meet with the two silent partners who were financing it all to discuss it with them? So I met with them and talked and decided I wasn't ready to give them the long-term commitment they expected, and my address book wasn't interesting enough for the prospection role they envisioned. So we decided I would work with S on a project basis, as a freelance, while she was expanding her business.

Now this was all fine by me, but the thing is, she's been stringing me along with vague promises of work for the past 2 months now, and I still haven't gotten a single job out of her. First she was going to hand some projects over to me during her holidays; then she left on holiday and there wasn't really anything for me to follow up, but she'd be in touch when she got back; then she dropped me a mail to say she was back but busy and would contact me the week after to discuss a new project; then she was sick and it would have to wait another week. And yesterday she emailed to say she would only know in two weeks' time if she'd secured the contract for the project she wants me to work on.

In the meantime, I haven't been actively seeking other work as a project manager, partly because it's the holidays and there's not a lot happening, but partly also because I've been keeping myself free for the work she's been dangling in front of me. And it's starting to dawn on me that it really isn't in my own best interest to approach it that way.
Meanwhile, S is persuaded we're not only going to work together, but I'll actually work exclusively for her as far as project management is concerned. She's been really enthusiastic about our collaboration, and I believe she is sincere, but she is really only looking out for herself - and I can't blame her. However, I need to start looking out for me... and that means looking for work elsewhere. And if I find something and can't work for her, then so be it. The problem is I just hate being the heartless, tough, businesswoman, and I'm stuck in trying-to-please mode again.

And then there's the other half of my freelance business: translation work. And there I've been quite actively prospecting new clients, answering ads, creating profiles on translation sites and responding to tenders... So far, so good, except I've come to the conclusion that the rates people expect you to charge and the rates you expect to get paid are about as far apart as I am from my ideal weight. I just can't believe the nerve of people (translation agencies, mostly) who expect you to work for such ludicrously low amounts. Nobody can survive on that. I used to earn more as a teenager, babysitting for the neighbours! Anyway, I nevertheless took on a few of the less badly paid assignments, but they are few and far between. Also, the level of proficiency that is expected in really specialised fields is ridiculous. Like no one's ever heard of a learning curve.

I just got asked for a quote on a job translating a ridiculous 93 words, and when I told them my minimum rate was 15 euro (most agencies have a minimum invoice amount of 27 euro or more), got told that was "waaaay over budget" and they preferred to look for someone else to do the job. So I asked what their budget was and didn't get a reply. These people can't be for real? Of course with the globalisation of the industry, they'll probably find a kid in India to do the job for the equivalent of 2 euro... and I really don't even want to compete with that.

I know this all sounds really bleak, but the thing is I am (or was) totally confident about working as a freelance. I still think I can do it, but I've got to stop sitting around waiting for S to give me the work she's been promising me. I've got to toughen up and accept that I might need to tell her I have other obligations when she finally decides to give me work.

So tomorrow I'll be sending some emails and contacting some interim agencies to see if I can get some work in the short term. Cause as much as I've been enjoying the time at home and the lack of stress of the past few months, I still need to earn a living, and that's not going to happen by just sitting on my ass waiting for the phone to ring...

Week 34 WI

Yay! I've definitely broken my plateau and am back on my way down!
0.7 kg / 1.5 lbs off this week! I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the scales, it'd been so long since I'd seen the numbers really go down like that.

Results so far:
Loss this week: -0.7 kg / -1.5 lbs
Total loss: -12.7 kg / -28 lbs

And that also means I got my 4th silver 7. The last one was way back in March... So that's 2 stone gone. Will stick to what I've been doing (no alcohol, wholemeal carbs, sports) this week and hopefully see another good loss next week :)

Traditional Belgian dish - chicon and ham rolls

I made this dish last night so thought I'd take a few shots of it and post the recipe here. It's one of my favourite dishes, more a winter kind of thing, but I indulge in it all year round.

The main ingredient is chicon, or witloof chicory*, which are pretty difficult to find in the U.K.. They're slightly bitter, so if you're not a fan of artichokes and Brussels sprouts, stay away from them ;)

* Witloof Chicory (also called French or Belgian Endive) are blanched, tight heads produced by forcing (or growing in the darkness) the big mature chicory roots in forcing structures. See picture further down.

I have tweaked the original recipe - which uses lots of butter and cheese - to make a WW-friendly version, but if you're not on a diet, please indulge in the real thing as it is absolutely divine with the added ingredients ;)

Ingredients (serves 1)
(the reason I make this dish for 1 person is that my husband hates chicon, so I always make it just for myself)

2 nice big chicon
2 large slices of ham (about 30 g per slice)
200 ml semi-skimmed milk
2 level tbsp cornflour
150 g potatoes
1/2 tsp butter
salt, pepper, grated nutmeg
Optional: grated cheese

Cut about 1 cm off the base of the chicon and cut out a small cone to get rid of the harder core. Don't wash the chicon before cooking, as this increases their bitterness apparently. If necessary, remove one or two outer leaves if not perfectly clean.

Melt a tiny amount of butter in a saucepan (about 1/2 tsp is enough), then add the chicon to the pan. The butter just gives them a really nice creamy taste, so I don't leave it out, but you could. Add half a cup of water and cover, leaving to simmer on a low heat for about 35 minutes (the softer the chicon become, the nicer they are). The water should just about fully evaporate - make sure they don't burn and add a little extra water if necessary.

I usually make this dish with mashed potatoes (simply cook the potatoes, drain the excess water and add a couple of tbsp of milk to them before mashing them up, then add salt and pepper).

For the sauce: put the milk on to boil and add the cornflour. Stir on a low heat for about 20 minutes, while the sauce thickens (this is a low-fat version of a white sauce. For the full-fat version, use an equal amount of butter and flour). Season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg.

Take the cooked chicon and roll each one in a slice of ham. Serve with the mashed potatoes and cover with the white sauce.

Optionally, you can sprinkle the dish with grated cheese and put it in the oven to grill for a few minutes.

The low-fat version of this dish is 7 points (including the potatoes). Add extra points if you use butter in the sauce or grated cheese on top.

Bon app├ętit!