I don’t really know what else to call it. It has no name. It’s basically a sensible eating plan. Which is what I shrugged and said to my midwife not long after I’d been given it.
OK, let’s rewind.
I’ve never been skinny. Well, maybe when I was little. although when I was little, I remember people (my grandparents and their friends, mainly, I think) telling me ‘She’s going to be a heartbreaker’. I think they meant I was pretty. But I really couldn’t understand why ANYONE would want to purposefully break other people’s hearts? So what possible incentive did that have for me to grow up beautiful? I could go off on one long tangent here but suffice to say, remaning slim for aesthetic purposes has never been something that remotely interested me. I’m not bashing those who do…it’s just not for me. I look the way I look, and I’m fine with that.
And the other reason that’s always banded about? ‘Health’? well, I’m quite proud to say that I have, pretty much, a clean bill of health. No chronic health issues. Very proud of it and prize it highly since I’ve had the opportunity to emigrate…twice…and anyone who understands the types of paperwork that entails will know that a health check and fitness certificate from a doctor. Just to be sure, the first time round, I did try one of those crappy milkshake diets before applying for my first visa, which lost me a few kilos but I hardly felt any different within myself to be honest.
When I fell pregnant with #1 in 2008, about half way through the pregnancy I was diagnosed with ‘Gestational Diabetes‘; which means I wasn’t producing enough insulin for both myself and the growing baby. They were quite scary. ‘They’ being the medical ‘professionals’ who told me I’d be taking pills and injecting myself with goodness knows what. There was no way, I told myself, that I’d be doing that. I am cautious and generally avoid taking any medications if I don’t have to. I mean, I’d rather suffer with headaches and period pain than take paracetamol. So when they followed up their threats with “…if you can’t control it with diet…” I thought, well, then, I’ll have to control it with diet then, won’t I? So I did.
Anyway, that’s enough rambling. All I was given in a brief meeting witht he ‘nutritionist’ at the hospital after that fateful day was the sheet you see pictured below. Well, the one you see pictured is actually a titdied up, revamped, clearer version I retyped as what I was handed was a sheet that seemed like it was a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy of something someone had created on an ancient room-sized computer in 1988. It was blurred and skewiff and had black marks all over it.
What you see here is a result of me retyping the text and scanning in the plate diagram and repositioning it on the page I newly typed.
When I went on a fitness freak challenge when living in a very beach-orientated culture which meant spending a lot of time in a swimsuit, I almost had a fit when I couldn’t find the page I had printed; and then couldn’t find it anywhere on my laptop either…can you imagine?! I was then, very very surprised that a simple eating plan (OK, diet…) such as this was NOWHERE to be found on the internet. Not even after searching methodically in the way that helped me re-discover my Brownie Recipe that I had once lost. Anyway, I finally did find a copy I had sent someone in the annals of my neverending-storage Gmail account and to my relief, re-downloaded it, printed it, and laminated it. It is now permanently magnetised to my fridge door.
Seriously? This is a basic, healthy eating cheat-sheet, given to me by a nutritionist/dietitian in a major hospital, that has worked for me to both control diabetes (of the gestational kind, but I’m pretty sure that works the same way as other forms, Type 2 for example?) and, when I actually did want to be skinny on a whim, lose about 50lbs (OK, I was doing a 2 hours work out every single day in addition to running after toddlers and teaching them to swim…but hey, the eating habits didn’t harm the efforts…).
That doesn’t mean I’ve followed it permanently…I have for at least the past two years, smiled sadly at it while opening the door to retrieve various items that are NOT sanctioned on the list. (yes, those 50lbs have crept in somewhere….)
However, in the last fortnight, a personal tragedy has forced me into a rethink and so I have re-started following this plan with a vengeance. And in the first week of not starving myself but just checking this sheet before I decide whet to eat and what time, I’ve lost 2lbs and an inch and a half. Without the extreme excersising. And I know this because I’ve gone back to my trusty little note book in which I would once a week record my weight and waist size, along with any notes as to what might have been happening that week, how much excersize I did or didn’t do and so on…
And Viola…it’s like running a slimming world right from your own bedroom. Apparently. But I’ve never been to slimming world or weightwatchers because I’ve nver had the money to spare…
Please feel free to download the PDF of the Sample Meal Plan <– here. I have it laminated and stuck on the fridge door, with a felt pen in one of those magnet holders they use for shopping lists next to it (you know the kind I mean, right?) , so each meal/snack time I can tick off with the felt pen what I’ve had, to help keep track of the variety and, on some days, that I’ve actually bothered to have something at that time! (I’ve found it handy, in my advancing years and my filling schedule, to set a reminder on my phone. I have had funny looks when my phone goes off telling me it’s ‘Lunch Time’…)
Basically, all I do is tick off the ingredients as I get them out of the fridge/cupboard, then cook them however I like. I let myself a little leeway and have some raisins and a tiny drizzle of natural honey in my porridge, or some marmite as well on my toast; I cook veggies in a quick stir fry with some olive oil, worcester sauce, soy sauce and so on; or start a stew-pot in the morning with a variety of veggies, some split peas and some couscous or noodles; and that will see me through lunch and dinner. I make my own curry so sometimes that’s cheating as it has both chicken AND yoghurt in so I suppose that’s two from the protein section, but there’s veg and herbs and spices in it too and I always have hlf-veg and half-rice instead of all rice with it. (My hubby likes this one as he loves my curry. Although he doesn’t do veggies…)
What I’m saying is, I use it as a guide. Be creative using the ingredients suggested on the page. Every now and again I think outside the box and stretch the limits of what I’m supposed to have; but generally, after a few days on it, I tend to not crave biscuits, cakes, chocolates; and the smell when hubby brought lunch for him and the children in today (it’s Saturday and a rugby -international-on-the-telly day) actually didn’t appeal to me at all and I was very much preferring my salmon, savoy cabbage and broccoli stir-fry I had prepared for myself, followed by tinned peaches! (and black decaf coffee, because I’m weaning myself off caffeine too…)
Someone I spoke to about this once said it does remind them of the Slimming world plan; but I’ve never done it so I don’t know. I don’t generally ‘do’ a following-recipies type plan, it’s too much faff for me, I’d rather be given the basic ingredients and be creative. But, if it helps, my aunty who’s a district nurse runs This Blog about Slimming-World friendly recipies.
Also, here’s the Diet Record Sheet now that I’ve figured out how to upload PDFs for other people to use 😉 I keep my little note book in the same place, near a tape measure, so I know where to go every wednesday (also set as a reminder on my phone…) morning, to weight and measure and note it down.
There you go! A free, self-help diet without having to spend a fortune on a book!
So, here’s the disclaimer: I’m not a fitness or healthy eating guru (But come one, healthy eating is healthy eating, right? We all understand it, that’s not the problem…it’s the cravings and the willpower and the temptation!!) so this post, nor my posting of the diet sheet below, is not a substitute for professional advice. However…I’m not exactly advocating extreme starvation or anything here…
Good luck people, and you’re welcome 🙂
*Before you ask, no, I’ve never been able to find out the definition of ‘Free’ vegetables…I just presume they mean veggies that don’t count as Carbs, for example potatoes, kumara, etc… I’ve just always concentrated on leafy greens (– savoy cabbage has always been a favourite), salad leaves, carrots, onions, broccoli…