It was when I noticed that my clothes were getting a bit uncomfortable coupled with a programme about losing a stone of lockdown weight in three weeks that I was prompted to start eating a bit differently.
The TV programme was based on a Mediterranean diet of 800 calories a day including lean protein, eggs, full-fat dairy, legumes, nuts, olive oil and masses of vegetables. Leafy green and non-starchy vegetables weren't included in the 800 calories a day total because "they were so important".
I balked at the 800 calories a day - or about 1,000 with the amount of vegetables included. It just made me really anxious about whether I was going to get enough food to eat and whether I was going to feel hungry. I aimed to keep under 1,450 calories a day, which worked well for me and, looking back, I come in at an average of about 1,300 daily calories. This allowed me to eat everything that I wanted, including the occasional glass of wine.
It's the pattern of eating that has changed quite a lot for me. I was schooled in the three meals a day, breakfast is the most important meal of day and the Eat Well Plate approach to nutrition. The Eat Well Plate is still promoted by the NHS and Public Health England, even though it is ridiculously out of date with the latest scientific findings. I always had a problem with it, being naturally inclined towards cheese, olive oil, nuts and avocados. "Too much fat", the fat police have shouted at me for decades.
I've never had much of a sweet tooth and most of my meals are home-cooked. I do have a soft spot for baked goods like crumpets, malt loaf and my favourite, home made bread with jam - leftovers from childhood tea-times - and a weekend treat is toast and marmalade with proper coffee and the papers. I'd been having increasing problems over the past year with really bad headaches when I was hungry and that was a major motivation for trying a different pattern of eating.
The TV programme (everyone involved did really well, by the way, which was a relief to me) was based on Michael Mosley's The Fast 800 which introduced me to some interesting new ideas including intermittent fasting. It was the first time I'd come across this, although it seems to be a thing at the moment. I try to eat within a restricted period with a fifteen hour fast between my last meal and the first one the next day.
It's worked pretty well for me, with a meal somewhere around 10.30-11.00am, and another one in the early evening, somewhere between 5-7pm. I found I didn't need three meals each day and recently, that's been dropping down to one main meal with more of a light meal (handful of nuts or some fish and vegetables) later in the day.
I'm really pleased with the results - I'm 15lbs lighter, 4 inches lost from my waist (I noticed my jeans, this morning, far from being too tight required hoisting up), my headaches are now only occasional and I rarely feel hungry. I also like having a couple of hours "free" in the evening, now that I am eating earlier. I like the break between working for someone else and "my time".
I am wondering now whether to try the Fast 800 for the next three weeks: am I ready to cope with that psychologically? I've certainly got enough vegetables to keep me going. A new greengrocer Green Tomato has started in my area "... Leicester's first emission-free carbon neutral mobile greengrocers ..." in addition to the weekly organic delivery I get from Eden Farms. Let's see what happens!
I did have a pizza, when I was in Liverpool recently, from Rudy's Pizza. It was flipping lovely! I also really enjoyed steak and chips at Castle St Townhouse. The soundtrack in the Townhouse was good, too, including Bobby Blue Bland singing Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City. They must have known I was coming.
Keep well, friends!