Tag Archives: diet

Day 184

Well, I spent last night planning what I was going to do today. It was quite a list. Today was slightly different in tone and I did very little apart from avoid doing anything on the list. That is, I suppose, an achievement in itself, but not quite the outcome I was hoping for.

Breakfast, which hadn’t been on the list, was quite pleasant, as was lunch. We had bacon sandwiches for breakfast, with mushrooms, fried tomatoes and black pudding. Nutritionally I could have finished after tomatoes. I was tempted to leave the black pudding out of the list and appear more virtuous and sensible, but I am fairly truthful in the blog, and the black pudding presents a more rounded picture of both my character and my figure.

Lunch was fancy cheese on toast. I chucked some eggs and finely chopped spring onions in the grated cheese before toasting. We have been using thick-sliced malty wholemeal, which has been good.

We had vegetable curry for tea. Tomorrow we will be having vegetable curry for tea. Julia hasn’t quite mastered the art of portion control since the kids left home. It’s something I have struggled with over the years. I can still picture myself in the late 1970s with a pressure cooker full of vegetables – enough to feed  a family of four, to be precise.

At that point I realised that I had left home, but was still using the portion size I was used to seeing. Four days later, finally free of vegetables, I started to cut back on portion size. I should really have cut back a lot more, but that is a different story.

I have just been reading about a diet that could help me lose a lot of weight. Breakfast is a banana, lunch is chicken, rice and broccoli and tea is a protein shake. It’s a diet developed by someone who has more self-control than I do.

On the one hand I’m looking at a short, increasingly unhealthy life. On the other I’m looking at chicken, rice and broccoli. It’s a tough choice. Well, actually it isn’t. Chicken, rice and broccoli is not a winning combination.

Meanwhile, in a different part of the family (and one where I suspect that chicken, rice and broccoli is a winning combination) Number One Son just did his first Ultra-marathon.  Eighty miles in 24 hours. No, I don’t know why either, but I am glad he’s found a sport he enjoys.


Day 180

Teetering on the slide into winter . . .

Started the day with bacon croissants. I was thinking of getting up and making them but Julia got up quicker and read my mind. There are some benefits to moving slowly.

Completed my jury service form online. I still wonder why they need to threaten me with a £1,000 fine all the time. I suspect it is because the sort of people who draft these letters like the feeling of authority given by the ability to bend others to their will. I’ve  noticed this in other people over the years, particularly since lockdown gave encouragement to petty tyrants.

They are generally people of low intelligence who have been frustrated by their inability to rise in their chosen career, or any career. Their parents didn’t love them. They never learned to say please and thank you. I could carry on, but I feel I have conveyed the essence of my contempt.

Marmalade Hoverfly

Marmalade Hoverfly

As a result of completing the form on line I now have a pre-paid envelope addressed to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau. I am seriously tempted to send them a letter querying their whole approach to jurors.

In the waiting room at the surgery I was privileged to witness four different complaints against practice staff. One women wouldn’t name her complaint – she wanted the practice manager.

One man was complaining about the late arrival of his drugs. He had clearly ordered them late. And he also clearly needed help with anger issues, and possibly with voices in his head, as he muttered and swore under his breath.

Another woman was complaining that she had rung for help in treating the skinned knee of her daughter and didn’t like the answer she had been given by another receptionist (get some ointment from the pharmacy). “She’s not properly qualified.” she kept repeating. If you need a medical qualification to treat a skinned knee there is something wrong with the world, and If a parent can’t cope with a skinned knee there is something wrong with the parent.

Finally we had the man who was trying to make an appointment. You can’t make appointments these days – you have to ring in and hope you get through and then hope that the doctor has a free slot to ring you back. He ended up confused and asked “What would happen if I walked out of here and collapsed?”


Him, I sympathise with. Though I also sympathise with the receptionist, who is forced into a corner such as this by the people who run the NHS. In the end she had to give the obvious answer – “I’d call you an ambulance.”

We went for lunch (we actually ate in the restaurant as part of my return to normal), Julia went to Hobbycraft, who have now emptied their top floor, and I went for tea in the back room at the jewellers.

Back home, I filled in my pain survey and, with painful, clumsy fingers, folded the A4 sheets of paper in three and put them in the (to small) envelope provided. I had assumed that “Page 6 of 6” on the last sheet meant it was the final sheet. But no, as I rifled through the remaining pages (they do tend to include a load of junk too) I found “Page 7 of 6”. What logic is there behind that? I’m afraid that as I completed the final two questions I added a rather terse note a\bout page numbers and envelope sizes.


These people have doctorates, research budgets, staff and big wage cheques (to name but three things I don’t have) and they come up with “Page 7 of 6”.

A light tea followed, to make up for the burger and chip lunch, and I am currently feeling hungry but virtuous as I type.

And that has been my day . . .

Day 142

In the end we had sausages for breakfast. It would have been more economical, and probably healthier, to have had them for tea, but it just seemed like the right thing to do. What better way is there to start a week than eating a surprise gift of sausages?

That’s right, following them up with marmalade on toast. Julia bought some nice mixed grain bread yesterday and I allow myself toast and marmalade on Sundays.The rest of the week, I do without it as part of my cheerless diet routine. There are a varying number of calories in a slice of toast and marmalade – let’s go for 150 as an average figure.  Cut out toast and marmalade for 6 days and that’s 900 calories. Cut it out for 48 weeks (allowing myself a little leeway for weakness and holidays) and that’s 43,200 calories if my mental arithmetic is reliable.

As my daily intake is supposed to be around 2,500 calories cutting out a slice of toast and marmalade a day is the same as fasting for two and half weeks (17.28 days). I did that on the calculator, and double checked it all, as that seems a lot. Tootlepedal has told me several times that dieting is all about making small, almost imperceptible cuts in consumption. If a slice of toast and marmalade a day comes to this, you can see how it works.

Lunch was home made mushroom soup and a sandwich made from smoked mackerel pate. Julia likes fish, I am less keen. As a compromise I bought smoked mackerel last week. She ate some of it and I mixed the rest with soft cheese, black pepper and lemon juice to make the smoked mackerel pate. It made two good sandwiches for lunch and will make two more for lunch tomorrow. I normally make it using the small blender (we don’t have a big one these days) but was feeling lazy today so just whizzed it together using a fork. There is less washing up that way. I’m going to add some chopped spring onion tops and sliced cucumber for tomorrow so I can pretend I am on an elegant Edwardian picnic tomorrow rather than sitting in the windowless back room of a coin shop.

Today’s picture is the tank traps at Gibraltar Point. Strange to think how things have gone – Julia’s grandfather was one of the first tank drivers. I grew up seeing tank traps along the coast (and still do) and on the news from Ukraine it seems that the tank is no obsolete on the modern battlefield. A century of ingenuity went into designing a weapon that is now outdated, but we still don’t have a safe and satisfactory way of opening a can of corned beef.

Makes you wonder about the human race.

Day 66

I changed yesterday’s menu slightly, but as some people read it I won’t go back and change it in the post. I will, however, add a couple of items to the list – I used some leeks to bulk out the onions (I’m using ready chopped onions to save effort for my hands and didn’t want to open a new pack). I also did stir-fried greens to give us a better selection of vegetables.

Greens are one of those things that are a problem when you take Warfarin as they contain a lot of Vitamin K, which is the antidote to Warfarin. That’s why I had a problem a few months ago (the nurse spotted the problem immediately – seems they always see it around Christmas time when the Brussels sprouts start). I’m now trying to keep up my consumption of greens because I need to be consistent with my diet, and because they are healthy and low carb.

I really should start counting the number of different types of fruit and vegetables we eat in a week. It’s vey easy to get into a rut when you order online from the menu headed “My  Favourites”.

It appears that you really need a diet based on 30 types of fruit and veg if you are to achieve optimal gut health. That’s quite a lot.

Prawn linguine with rocket, tomato (and spaghetti)

Last week we had leeks, onion, garlic, carrots, parsnips, swede (rutabaga), sweet potato, celery, tomato, mushrooms, cauliflower, oranges, apples, pears and figs. I’m not sure if you are allowed to count potatoes and rice, you can’t for your five a day, so I won’t count them. That’s fifteen. You can count fresh herbs, so that’s coriander and thyme (though I’m not clear if adding it then removing it before serving counts). You can count spices so that adds ginger. I’m pretty sure that stuff sprinkled from a jar doesn’t count, so just the one. The article counts oats in muesli, so oats in porridge must count, as does the wheat in Weetabix, I suppose. Blue berries and bananas – nearly forgot them. We don’t eat enough chillies to qualify, I’m sure. I think that’s it. And peanut butter – it’s nuts.

We didn’t have any seeds, nuts or pulses, partly because I’m not a natural eater of seeds and partly because Julia mutters every time I used chick peas, lentils or beans. She will have to get used to it, because if we are going to have 30 a week we will need them.

That’s 24 because I just remembered I had avocados on Wednesday. I’m actually quite pleased with that.

Nasi Goreng

It leaves six extra to find but if I add chick peas, beans and lentils, plus peas in the soup I just need to add broccoli, peppers, courgettes (which are all easy enough) and we’re on  – thirty one.

Time for me to confess now – though I blame Julia for the lack of pulses, I’m to blame for the lack of Mediterranean style vegetables as I don’t like them roasted and got fed up of ratatouille because we ate so much of it as we transferred to a semi-vegetarian diet in lockdown.

Avocado and Wild Garlic on Sourdough

If I were to use a subtitle for this post it would be – I can cook and I can eat vegetables – I just prefer takeaways and cake! And that, in one sentence, is the reason why I weigh too much.


Day 4

First day back at work – we had over 50 parcels to do, all of them ordered in the last few days. It was both a joy and a nightmare. One of the orders had 33 items in it, ordered in four lots over the weekend and several people had ordered multiple lots in two or three sessions. It’s good to ell the stuff, but trying to tie it all together into orders can be tricky as you don’t always recognise the names. Fortunately, for the cost of half an hour and two bits of scrap paper, I was able to pull it all together.

The other problem with orders in multiple parts is that you end up having to refund postage, as the system charges too much when you order like that.

It took most of the day and three trips to the post office to clear it. The regular post master is isolating with covid and his two temporary assistants were slower than normal (not their fault, as they aren’t in practice) and every time we went with a bag of parcels it caused a queue. We weren’t popular, but would have been even less popular if we’d taken it all in one go.

Parcels . . .

It was good to get back, and to see everyone. Even the weather was better and when we finished it was significantly lighter than it had been when we left on Christmas Eve. This is probably either psychological or an effect of the light, as it really shouldn’t be that much lighter just two weeks after the shortest day.

We had beef again, because there was plenty left even after a meal and a day of sandwiches. This time we had it with mashed potatoes, brussels, chestnuts, and carrot and parsnip mash. And Yorkshire Puddings. There is still some left, and it didn’t seem a big joint when we bought it. Then we ate the last of the Christmas cake.

It’s now time to get back on the diet, even though we still have the Christmas Pudding to eat and enough turkey for three more meals in the freezer. I really did order too much food . . .

Parcels everywhere . . .

Nottingham U16s

Sports, Snake Oil and a Senior Moment

In sports coaching, they say that it only takes two weeks to break a habit. I’ve even heard an Olympic athlete say that it isn’t self-discipline that keeps people training, it’s habit. When the kids said they wanted to take up sport I told them one thing – that I would support them but that they wouldn’t be allowed to come home from school and tell me they didn’t feel like training that night. The only acceptable way was to arrange it in advance because they had something else to do. I didn’t mind them having a social life but they had to have structure.heir training. As result, even when it meant one of them spending two hours on buses to get to training (I had to give the other one a lift somewhere else that night) we never missed a night’s training unless we’d planned to do so.

Four months ago I had more than two weeks off and I broke then habit of daily posting on WordPress. It always takes a lot more effort to establish a habit than to break it, and it’s taking more time and effort than I thought to get back into it. Same for reading WordPress, writing poetry and checking eBay. They are all broken habits that I’m finding hared to re-establish. The only habit I’ve successfully restarted is procrastination. Ironic really, that I wasted no time in starting to procrastinate once I was well.

The difficulty in trying to re-establish a good habit is covered in the material I’ve had from the NHS on-line weight loss programme. You get a choice of several organisations which will provide support in your efforts to lose weight and keep it off. The one I selected seems to give off many of the vibes I associate with  snake oil salesmen. But that, of course, may just be me. Or it might be that I didn’t need a team of bright and bouncy people to tell me that the way to lose weight is to eat less. I knew that without watching a video.

Meanwhile, regarding “Senior Moments”, I got up this morning with the intention of going for a blood test, checked the time, and realised that the test is next Wednesday. I really must get a diary and start writing things down.


Thinking of Food

I’m still not working with all my brain cells. Doing the online shopping tonight I actually ordered reduced fat cheese. Fortunately I realised my error before pressing the button. Reduced fat cheese – you might as well go the whole way and just make a lettuce sandwich.

Apart from that, nothing much happened. I started some research which will hopefully bear fruit in a post next week, packed ten parcels, loaded several lots on eBay and went home.

Julia had bought sausage rolls on the way home and despite my diet I was, I admit, happy to see them.

The diet is up and down at the moment. I have been eating a bit too much recently but am currently trying to cut back. It is just after eleven pm as I write this and I am hungry. This is probably a good sign.

I had a large bowl of vegetable stew for tea, with three dumplings balanced on top. Julia has not, if I’m honest, taken the concept of portion control on board. No dessert. I only had one biscuit with my evening drink. Only one sandwich for lunch. An apple. An orange thing of indeterminate parentage. Breakfast was two own brand wheat biscuits with half a banana and some blueberries.

Yes, I admit that it’s hardly a starvation diet, but it lacks the two slices of toast and marmalade, a sandwich, and pudding, as well as the cake, biscuits and chocolate that always seemed to crop up.

That’s where you score with online shopping – no impulse buys, no sudden urge to eat a pork pie just because they look nice in the chiller . . .


Good News

Thanks for your good wishes everybody – I can now report that after two days with no Warfarin I am back in the target zone and, with any luck, will stay there.

The cause might simply be Covid, or it might be that I changed my diet dramatically during Covid. You can never be quite sure. However, as I also changed my diet dramatically whilst my leg was bad, and didn’t see any changes from that, it might be as simple as just having Covid.

There are other drugs available, but I need to lose weight before I can use them, so the remedy is in my hands. I’ve been eating a bit more over the last few days, in case that was part of the problem, but now have to stop again. I have already lost a reasonable amount of weight after the episode with my leg (loss of appetite and the inability to walk to the fridge both helping my will power) and I want to build on that.

My ideal weight, according to my medical records, is 12 stone (or 168 pounds for those of you who work that way). When I was 16 and looked like a beanpole, I was twelve and a half stone, and when I went to work I  bulked up a bit with all the physical work and ended up at about 14 stone. That was, to be fair, where I should have stopped. In those days my ideal weight was 14 stone according to the medical profession. Like so many things over the years, they have adjusted things to make me look worse.

I am off to bed now (still tired after Covid) and am going to start tomorrow with healthy habits in mind. The reason for the poppy? We still have one or two blooming every morning – they really are very persistent.

Covid Paranoia

On Tuesday I spent several hours in the back room of a shop with two people who texted on Thursday to tell me that they both had Covid. I tested immediately, and was negative.

Today, waiting between my two appointments at the surgery, I started with a small, dry cough. During the day, it carried on . . .

By the time I got home I realised that I had probably passed it on to several people, including my two workmates. They have both visited their elderly parents during the week and this clearly is not good.

As soon as I got in, I tested again and watched for the result.

Single bar next to the “C”. I’m still clear. The cough is still here too, but yet again a simple cough has been magnified into something it isn’t. This is a relief because I didn’t want to be responsible for spreading the virus to vulnerable people.

Both my friends are double vaccinated and so far, despite one being over 80, are reporting symptoms like those of a heavy cold. This is good.

Medical report – I have a cough and a case of paranoia. I also have some exercises from the physio and am feeling better already. The nurse is impressed by my capacity for recovery and thinks I will be able to take over my own dressings quite soon. Flu vaccine is due at the surgery this week and if it arrives they will vaccinate me during one of my other appointments.

It’s all looking good.

Diet report. We are only dealing in broad figures as I had my shoes on and didn’t count the decimal places but I have lost around eight pounds in the last two weeks despite eating apple crumble and ice cream, a McDonalds and chicken kebab meat with chips. You can see why I struggle with my weight, can’t you?

My breakfast of wheat biscuits, fruit and toast and marmalade remains the same. My lunch is just one sandwich with fruit or tomatoes (that’s reduced by one sandwich). In the evening I try to eat smaller portions in the evening but haven’t made any other changes.

If I cut down more i could probably loose more weight, but I may not feel quite so good about it if I cut out all the stuff I like.  It’s a balancing act, but it’s working.

The Middle of the Night

I felt tired, so I fell asleep in my chair.  This is a bad thing to do, for many reasons. I then woke and went to get the pain killers from my desk. I still need them to get a good night’s sleep. While I was there I noticed the computer was on, so sat down and had a look at my emails. Over an hour later, I am still here and am now writing a blog post. This, if you needed any further evidence, demonstrates the deeply ingrained nature of my bad habits.

The good news is that my leg is looking good and it is likely that I will be released from the grip of the nurses in about two weeks if things continue as they are.  They are all nice people, and I enjoy our chats, but it will be nice to get my life back.

My diet is not going quite as well as it was, as Julia is intent on making sure I eat properly (by which she means “more”) and I want to eat as little as possible. I have definitely cut back, but the quicker I lose it, the sooner I can start to enjoy the benefits of being lighter. I’m never going to be slender, but it would be nice to lose weight.

The downside (there always has to be a downside) is that my trousers are now too big for me and I need to get a better belt or start moving the buttons on the waistband. It’s not a bad problem to have, but it does show the advantage of elasticated waistbands. If I lose weight I may go back to Chinos and elasticated waistbands.

The header picture is the pond that inspired one of my haibun. Lavinia mentioned it in the comments so I thought it was good opportunity to re-use the picture.