5 + 2 = Weight Loss?

I love the internet! The hours you can spend reading and researching (procrastinating on my part usually) jumping from link to link and seeing where it takes you… heaven!

Anyway, I have spent a considerable part of the weekend that has just passed researching the 5:2 diet, as I’m feeling a bit unhealthy and a wee bit bloated. (I fear too many of the lovely ‘C’ words in the form of chocolate, cheese and Cava have been in my life of late.) My BMI is fine, but I’d love to lose half a stone for my wedding.

Wee aside: do you think anyone ever achieves their perfect weight? Because we see so many images of skinny celebrities and our culture contains such strong messaging around the importance of appearance, can we ever feel slim enough? I’m horrified about the amount of time I spend thinking about my weight – it just feels so wasteful… But wasteful or not, back to today’s topic – a diet!

The 5:2 diet featured on a recent Horizon documentary* where a TV doctor followed the plan for a month – eating 600 calories on two non-consecutive days a week and eating normally (the recommendations for daily calorie intake for men and women, not pigging out obvs) for five days. The doctor lost a stone and also enjoyed additional health benefits, such as lowering his blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Other rumoured benefits include reduced risk of developing cancer and Alzheimer’s.

The idea does appeal to me – two hard days and the rest normal. A lot of people spoke about noticing losing weight off their middles, where my excess fat prefers to reside. So, I thought I might try it out, even if it is a fad and even if there are people lining up to condemn it. (Such is the power of anecdotal evidence over peer-reviewed clinical studies, hmm?!)

If anyone else has tried this diet and would like to share their experiences, please feel free to get in touch!

 

*This link doesn’t take you to the actual programme by the way, but you will find various extracts from the programme on YouTube.

Everything Good Begins with a ‘C’

Chocolate cakes made at the Tennents Training Academy

Chocolate sponge topped with chocolate butter cream, white chocolate sprinkles and chocolate truffles. Mmm-hmm…

Upmarket spa days, cocktail making classes, cupcake decorating lessons or an old-school piss up…

All appear to be options for a hen night. I’d also considered another option – no hen night – thinking along the lines of ‘once again, why this unnecessary encouragement to spend money?’ But friends asked, expectations were raised and yet again the pink, fluffy roller coaster that is wedding planning swooped me up.

Customised t’shirts, pink Stetsons, L plates and handcuffs probably won’t play any part of the night; I also want to keep costs as low as possible so that rules out options too. If I had the space at home, I’d do a home-made option – come round to my house in the afternoon, drink Cava and eat cakes I’ve made.

Alas, chairs are few and we currently own a very badly behaved cat prone to throwing up, knocking over wine glasses and partial to stealing cake off plates. (Seriously, he does.)

At the weekend, my mum, a good friend and I tried out the Tennents Training Academy’s chocolate and champagne evening. We got a one-course meal, two glasses of champagne and a lesson in making and decorating chocolate cakes. Oh, and there were plenty of chocolate sampling options for the cocoa-obsessed punter…

The evening once more confirmed to me my lack of patience (those white chocolate pencils we had to create were flippin’ hard) but was indeed great fun. Since then, I’ve had visions of good, girlie fun in the training academy despite the fact that I have mild anxiety issues around group activities (wah! Too many people! Gotta talk to them all! Are they having fun, oh no they’re really, really bored…)

The academy also does wine tasting so I’m wondering about a bit of cake making in the afternoon with wine in the evening – opt in and opt out so that no-one has to spend too much money. A solution, non?

And finally, after all the sweet stuff we need to include cheese. When human beings stumbled upon the making of cheese, it was among the finest evolutionary discoveries ever. My hen party needs, therefore, to find a way to pay tribute to the world’s most magnificent food…

 

The Unneccessary and the Unoriginal

Do you need a caption for a fake pic created through Paint?!

I mentioned in the office recently* that I planned to send out ‘save the date’ cards and a colleague asked about this in a kind of ‘ok, what is this and is it an invention of the roller-coaster train that is wedding planning?’**. In other words, completely unnecessary?

Normally, I would agree. In the journey towards a wedding, one does discover an awful lot of superfluous rubbish… I’ve succumbed to a lot of it, but I will draw the line at cars, presents for bridesmaids, an engagement wedding photo shoot, DVDs, make-up trials, hair-do trials*** et al.

The ‘save the date’ cards are a wee bit of an indulgence though. I had a quick look through Pinterest recently on a ‘should I join this social media community, given that I photograph food I make a lot’ kind of way. There, I spotted a very cool save the date pic a couple had taken.

Once upon a time, I worked for a company whose motto was ‘never knowingly original’ – a fine, fine aspiration. For my own save the date cards, I’ll be adapting the idea I saw on Pinterest (and I’m going to use the cat, hoping those last few words have spiked your interest oh dear, lovely readers and compelled you to keep reading week on week as I promise to feature it here once I’ve created it).

To further justify my cards, my wedding is on a Thursday so I’m guessing that people need notice of the date to book time off work. At a push they could stumble into their offices the next day but I wouldn’t advise it…

 

*I promise I do not talk non-stop wedding while at work. I do realise it’s mind-blowingly dull for everyone else.

**I paraphrase, but I could sense this was what she meant.

***When I was 16, I went for a perm. On top of existing curly hair (the 80s perm industry had very powerful marketing). If there are trials of hair styles, that one was guilty, sentenced to life and no chance of parole.

Post-holiday; It’s Raining

Greetings, greetings…

Well the last holiday before the wedding was pretty fabulous (Tenerife). As readers in the UK will appreciate, it’s great getting away in November and leaving behind rain, rain and more rain.

We spent lots of time outside (the joy! the luxury!) and wandered round bare-footed a lot of the time. Vitamin D was absorbed through the skin. Sunglasses were a permanent feature. Cava was consumed (j’adore).

So, a case of post-holiday blues on Monday. [Why do I live in the world’s wettest place? Why don’t I work where I can get outdoors more often? Why do I not work as a freelance writer, ‘have lap top will live in warm country typing out words on my wee balcony’? Wah!*] Therefore, searching through the fab world of blogosphere, I found this rather empowering post… **

How to change your life?.

 

*I am very sorry about sounding so ungrateful. I am very lucky – partner, family, friends, very spoiled cat to my name etc.

**And also hit upon a way of not having to write too many words. Clever hmm?

Happy Holidays! (Hair-free?)

Freddie never worries about excess fur.

Ah autumn, season of mellow fruitfulness – makes one think of cold, crisp days and walks involving satisfying strides through dead leaves…

On the other hand, the rain may set in round about the beginning of October accompanied by strong winds and not let up until early December when the snow starts. To avoid some of the rain and to stock up on Vitamin D*, we’re now off for a week to Tenerife and our last holiday as a legally unattached pair.

The holiday preparation is similar to the kind of things most brides-to-be feel compelled to do – diet, exercise like crazy, write lists, rub in lotions and potions and experiment with different hair styles.

Oh, and remove excess body hair. To this end, I visited a salon today for a spot of depilation as I’ve never mastered the art of waxing my own legs. The salon offered designer, intimate waxing (the mind boggled), which I turned down feeling that my lady bits** were not in need of that kind of attention.

Thinking about the wedding though – given that my legs will be completely covered, does that excuse me from leg waxing and, if I keep my arms pinned to my sides, then that surely means the underarms can be left European? The time I spend on waxing, shaving, plucking and the like can then be put to more productive use.

You might argue that my husband-to-be deserves a hair-free wife on his wedding night. Maybe so, but I suspect that following the excitement of the day and a little ‘refreshment’ or two both of us will be falling into bed exhausted by the end of the day!

 

*We Scots miss out on the natural acquisition of Vitamin D much of the time and especially so this summer.

**Caitlin Moran’s rather fabulous How to be a Woman has a hilarious chapter on what you should call your lady bits; I favour the coolly quaint quim, myself.