I embarked on this current diet (to differentiate it from all the hundreds of other diets I’ve been on) in September last year after seeing photographs of myself at my Dad’s birthday. It’s always the way – you see a photo and think “Oh my god. FAT.”
Anyway there are three things that I have done on this diet – that I have had to do on this diet as I am older and therefore it is harder to lose weight – that have worked for me and might work for you, too.
Most lunchtimes I fall on Dr Kaarg’s Spelt crackers. In the past I have tried oatcakes or Ryvita, but it’s spelt that works and leaves the least trace. I slather 2 crackers at lunchtime with whatever is available – cream cheese, mackerel pate, just butter and cheese and then an apple later, or whatever. Not every day – every day and you get sick to death of them, just the days when I can’t even be bothered to massacre an avocado.
Second, at any point when I want to stuff a chocolate croissant in each cheek, hot buttered bagel up my nose and Nutella in my ears while snorting a line of Ferrero Rocher, I eat a Medjool date. They are insanely sweet little suckers and with 20% willpower will keep you off actual sugar.
Third, I’m eating less meat. Yes, I know. I KNOW! It’s the thing no-one wants to hear. Eat less red meat. The thing is, red meat just… hangs about rather a lot. Used to be I could eat a giant stew every day of the week and twice on Sunday and it wouldn’t matter, but now it just sticks around and makes me heavy. Even chicken, really, is too much. Vegetable-only dinners or fish vanish without trace.
It’s sobering, that meat now has to be a treat. Though that really ought to be the way that it is anyway. We all eat meat too much. It ought to be a treat – and now it is. We have a roast chicken once a week and the rest of the time it’s fish or just vegetables.
It’s a shame doubly because my vegetarian cooking isn’t that great. Although that is one way of losing weight – cook a dinner so inedible that you just don’t eat much of it. My butternut squash-and-blue-cheese parfait is particularly nasty.
BUT! The other night I made a Jamie Oliver haddock chowder and it was absolutely terrific. Here is the recipe.
This is enough for 2 people.
300g smoked haddock, chopped into bite-sized chunks
a pinch of dried chilli, if you have it
1 fist-sized waxy potato – get this right, please, a floury potato will fuck this up badly – chop it into 2cm-ish cubes
4 spring onions, chopped
4 rashers streaky bacon
150g sweetcorn (that’s a large handful) or the kernels of one fresh corn
2 bay leaves
some thyme leaves, about for or five sticks’ worth of leaves?
200-ishg prawns. Not King prawns, like Dublin Bay prawns.
1.5 pints chicken stock
200ml single cream
1 Fry together in a spirited way the spring onion, potato and bacon with about a tablespoon of olive oil for 10 minutes. Add the chilli if you’re using it. Also put in the bay leaves and thyme.
2 Throw in the sweetcorn and stir it all around a bit. Then add the chicken stock. When this is at a gentle simmering point then add the haddock and prawns and let it simmer for about 12 minutes.
3 When the haddock is cooked and opaque add the single cream and stir gently because you don’t want to smash up the haddock. Try the potato to see if it’s cooked, it might need another 10 mins simmering. Keep cooking until the potato is cooked then serve. We had it with a few slices of cheddar on top, which sounds wrong and disgusting but was in fact terrific.
Omg! This post is at exactly the right time for me!! I have just seen photos taken of me at Christmas and had the Arg! FAT! Reaction, and I was almost a stone lighter at Christmas than I am now!!!! (typing while I weep liberally into my last ever latte). Interesting about the red meat hanging around more with increased age. That might explain where I am falling down, diet wise. I guess I am going to have to get better at veg, sigh. And seriously, harder to loose weight as we get older? Just Google it and when I hit the horrible 40 in a few months I am pretty much stuck at that weight forever?? Wtf? It’s that or get into exercise in a SERIOUS and daily type way. Like I have time for that! Urg
past 35 you basically have to eat very little AND do seriously exercise at least once a week. it’s dreadful.
Flora Olney says
I couldn’t agree more. I’m 52 and still a bit in denial about how little I can eat!! I fast for 24 hours every Monday and only eat two meals a day and that’s just to maintain. I also agree about eating less meat – my daughters vegetarian boyfriend came to stay and so I had to do all veggie meals and then just carried on – found the scales were very complimentary. Please continue to post your diet details- very helpful. Also looking forward to your autumn fashion tips!. Best wishes Flora x
Thanks Flora! Great to have you here x
Oh you have cheered me up on this fat February morning.
Problem is, I find myself in the Nutella snorting scenario 99% of the time. I am early forties, fat ish (i.e ten stone is not fat) reasonable ish, logical ish and with some will power yet I am still pushing carbs and sugar like the wolf of Wall Street. Wtf is going on? At the risk of a full psyc recommendation, any other hints and tips?
no you are just stuck in a sugar high/crash cycle. you need to get off sugar completely for 3-5 days … this is horrible… but after then you won’t be such a slave to it. it IS a drug, you ARE an addict and cold turkey is the only answer I’m afraid 🙁
jo dodsley says
Also Nigel’s jacket potato filled w smoked haddock wholegrain mustard and spinach. Simmer in milk/cream first then use to mash the potato and spinacj and bung whole lot back in oven
That sounds lovely – now on my shopping list for next week! Thank you
I’ve made the same realisations as you recently … meat … it needs to be a treat. For the last 2 months I’ve cut out all meat at breakfast and lunch, dinner will only be chicken or fish, and Sundays – well bring on the roast dinners and red wine! I’ve lost 4 pounds and am well chuffed. I love reading all your tips! Will try these crackers at lunchtime.
it’s all about finding your “grain” I’ve decided… for some people rye bread works, for others it’s rice cakes but for me it’s spelt. worked through all the others until I found a good one. might be yours too xxx
Lovely! I love haddock too. I am trying to put on weight so could maybe use double cream? I don’t eat red meat either so just the fish, sounds and looks gorgeous!
Don’t even ask why I’m reading this post (it’s for phrases like ‘fall on’ and ‘in a spirited way’) but, on the subject of crackers, have you tried Peter’s Yard sourdough crispbreads? http://petersyard.com/ I first got some in a cheese delivery from Brock Hall Farm Dairy and haven’t looked back. Ocado sell them. And on the subject of vegetarian-only dinners, we eat cous cous aux sept (ou cinq ou huit) légumes from time to time and, though admittedly we usually have merguez with it, it’s a perfectly delicious and satisfying meal without. It also has the advantage of being simple to prepare, mostly chopping up and stewing a load of veg – fennel and / or celeriac are delicious in it – with no pre-frying or anything first, and pouring boiling water onto the actual cous cous grains is simplicity itself. But you must allow about a couple of hours for it to cook, you do have to add different vegetables at different stages, and make sure you have cous cous spices and harissa in. Add a little dried fruit – apricots, dates, sultanas – as a treat. It’s tasty and moreish but even feels light and healthy as you eat it.
Love this post thank you as always needing losing weight inspiration. I am completely addicted to Kargs emmental cheese and pumpkin seed crisp breads but they are quite high in fat. I know people say fat is good but Im not convinced it keeps you thin. Love the haddock recipe as I am trying to eat less meat too mainly because I only want to eat good meat and its expensive to eat it every day plus not sustainable etc etc and probably not good for us. Problem is vegetarian food is delicious but a lot more effort and labour intensive (and I like cooking) be great if people could share easy veggie recipes that dont have millions of ingredients and take hours of prep etc as we are all too busy and lets be honest its easier to fry a quick steak rather than lose the will to live. Talking of being busy
better get off these blogs and do some work xxx ps sure no one is interested but flipping hate Butternut squash!!!
I hear you about the age thing. I walk 2 miles a day and feel like I barely eat anything nice, but the only thing that has made a dent in the last post-baby half stone is sinusitis followed by a chest infection. Not really a tip. Going to try the meat reduction, we do ok with fish and vegetables in the summer, but we are deep in shepherd’s pie territory at the moment. Finishing the kids’ dinners is my downfall too, have tried to stop that recently, and serve them smaller portions!
Roasted Veg with Halloumi (adapted from a Waitrose recipe card years ago).
So, this is undoubtedly better with a thick chunk of chorizo cubed and thrown in, but is still mighty fine on its own.
Veg quantities at your discretion.
1 block halloumi, sliced
red onion, quartered lengthways
small or tiny tomatoes, halved or not depending on size
peppers, sliced into largeish slices lengthways
new potatoes, waxy (see Esther’s point above: quite so), quartered lengthways
1 tbs olive oil, juice & zest of 1 lemon, 1tsp sumac, 1tsp dried thyme, salt & pepper.
Preheat oven with large roasting dish in to GM6.
Make dressing – dried ingredients first, then lemon juice & zest, then stir in the oil.
Parboil potatoes 6mins, drain. Return to pan, add peppers and onion, toss in small qty of olive oil.
Fry chorizo lightly if using.
1. Put onions, peppers & potatoes into hot dish and roast 20m.
2. Add dressing and cherry tomatoes if using, roast another 20m.
3. Add halved toms if using, chorizo ditto and halloumi. Toss to coat halloumi in some oil (otherwise it won’t brown). Roast a final 20m.
4. Remove from oven and rest until the tomatoes have cooled sufficiently to be eaten.
This is very good with on top of cold cooked puy lentils (make extra dressing to toss lentils in) with cold crumbled feta on top instead of halloumi. Probably without the chorizo, too.
Fan ovens probably need the cooking time tinkered with.
Regarding bread, I make it in a breadmaker regularly, just flour, water, yeast and salt, and it’s a) very good and not spongy and b) my husband, who feels extremely sick after half a shop-bought sandwich, can eat it happily. Obviously it’s still carbs but it is ‘better’ carbs; and rather the odd slice of proper toast-and-butter than a Gregg’s snot-filled pasty when you’re out because you’re starving … And genuinely, once you can remember the quantities of those four ingredients in your head (1 tsp Dove’s yeast, 1lb bread flour, 12 floz water, 2tsps salt), hit prog 1 and remember to press ‘start’, it really only takes 5 mins.
And yes, as the control-group of a childless woman, I can confirm that after 35 it all goes suddenly to pot unless you up your game. Note to self: must up my game. Still, Lent: no alcohol for 46 days – I must be losing weight already?
Go vegan and you’ll never need to diet again. I was always a veggie but about 3 years ago I went plant based and never looked back. Also, don’t eat sugar or drink caffeine, they are both poison, as are artificial sweeteners (they make you fat too). Don’t eat anything with five or more ingredients (if your Nana wouldn’t have touched it then neither should you). Use that as your starting point and experiment with what works for you personally, and most importantly, enjoy food. Et voilà – problem solved! (you are welcome).
sorry but I draw the line at vegan. but I know it works. so many actors and actresses are vegan these days that the BAFTA dinner is entirely vegan this year
Thanks Sophie you are very kind sounds yummy going to make it soon x
Catherine Sharman says
I am a dedicated meat eater but married a reformed vegetarian (I broke him with bacon) and so his repertoire of vegetable-based meals is much higher than meat based. We often unintentionally go a few days without much meat consumption, the key really seems to be to consider them not as ‘vegetarian’ meals and more like meals that just, oh!, don’t happen to have meat in. Some things we have: omelettes, chickpea curry, jacket potatoes with scrambled eggs, vegetable crumble, soups (bit boring, but filling!), homity pie.
Simply nigella has some quite lovely vegetable based main meal recipes – I LOVE LOVE LOVE the roasted cauliflower, Harissa chickpea and pomegranate thing she does- totally delicious
Easiest veggie/vegan recipe of all is spaghetti/whatever pasta’s in the cupboard aglio e olio. It’s my absolute favourite thing to make on vegan Monday, and if you’re only going meat-free you can chuck a load of Parmesan on top too. Nutritional yeast is a surprisingly palatable alternative, BTW.
Top medjool date tip – if you freeze them it’s like eating a toffee!
I look forward to trying this out x
Have you tried posh haddock fish fingers cooked and broken up on top of a chowder as a providing the haddock/crouton hybrid? Works very well with soup made from onion, potato, stock, frozen peas, all blended too.