Results … Month #6

Results … Month #6 (Down 35.8 lbs)Results Month 6

Happy New Year to all. May 2019 bring you nothing but the best of times!

Mind you, I’m not too happy starting out the new year myself, this morning. I’m down another 2 lbs this past month. A month that included the challenge of settling in to a new home, AND the Christmas holiday binge season. Yes, I’m down 2 lbs. But it could have been so much better.

It seems like I couldn’t stop myself eating garbage for the past week or so. The closer I came to the monthly results day, the worse things got. I was trying to justify my behavior on the grounds that if all the bad stuff was gone, I might get off to a great start in the new year. But I managed to change all that for the worse when I went shopping yesterday!

The only new year’s resolution that I’ve successfully managed to keep in recent years is the one where I resolved not to make any more new year’s resolutions! Despite sticking with that philosophy, I still feel like I ought to be doing something bigger, better & bolder on January 1st each year. In anticipation of that, I thought we’d try something different, something a little more diet-friendly, for the New Year’s Day dinner today. We decided to go with the traditional Irish meal (North American version!) of corned beef and cabbage. With potatoes, of course. That should work well with my dietary ambitions. I could reduce the number of potatoes. And I could devour a whole pot of cabbage if I wanted. Of course everything would be heavily buttered too.

We went shopping for the beef brisket yesterday. Now you probably won’t believe this but all the Christmas chocolate was on sale too. Half off! Seriously, who could resist? I’ve loaded up on those delicious Swiss chocolate balls. Some holiday-sized slabs of those English chocolate bars that I grew up with. And some other silver-wrapped Christmas chocolate figures, they were just so cute. I really looked hard for the dark chocolate versions of all those items. But they must have been very popular for the holidays, they were all sold out! 😉

Already, in my head, I’m writing excuse for next month’s results. I don’t know what else to say!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

But really … losing weight, even just a little, over the Christmas holiday is good. Isn’t it!?! LOL

 

 

Gifts for Dieters

Gifts for Dieters

Instant Pot Chicken Curry

First Pass with the Instant Pot

Many years ago, I took part in a diet contest. In fact I organised it. A group of folk got together to lose some weight, and we asked our family and friends to sponsor our losses with their hard-earned cash. The proceeds went towards a local hospital that was trying to finance a piece of new equipment. The first place prize, for the person who lost the most weight, was … wait for it … a food processor!

As a habitual, long-term dieter, that’s my kind of prize. Something to do with food. Things haven’t changed much, I’m still dieting. And I wanted an Instant Pot for Christmas this year.

Santa Claus delivered … Woohoo!

I carefully read the manuals, triple checked some recipes, and I read the manuals one more time before embarking on my first Instant Pot meal. NOT! What I actually did was wing it. After spending about two minutes flipping through the user manual and the recipe book.

There was a family pack of chicken breasts in the fridge that needed to be used so chicken curry immediately came to mind. It was a hodge-podge of whatever was available after that. Potatoes, onions, and a bag of frozen peas, along with a couple of large cans of diced tomatoes for the sauce. And a cup or two of heavy cream, of course. I did a pot of rice for the normal sized people that surround me. But then I had some of that too!

I had hardly started to cook when the “Burn” message came up on the screen. I pushed a bunch of buttons, turning the thing on and off several times in the process. I pried the hissing lid off once or twice, and stirred things around to see what I could see. Eventually some kind of cooking operation went ahead. I really will have to go back and read some more of that manual, won’t I! Despite my best efforts to defeat the thing, when I finally opened the Pot, the chicken was falling-apart tender. From a culinary perspective, the end result was at least good, if not great. But considering it was my first attempt, I’m cautiously optimistic about bending this thing to my culinary will with a little more practice. The great things I see so far are the ease of use, and how quick and easy it is for clean-up. It also makes it very easy to choose real, whole-food ingredients. And that alone is a good thing.

I’m looking forward to exploring this little cooker more. It makes a surprisingly large amount of food. And it’s right in the wheelhouse of my lazy philosophy of one-pot or one-pan cooking. Only without the splatter! I’ll update my progress with this thing along the way, I’m really hoping it makes it onto my top three small appliances list.

But what is it about dieting that has me looking at food-related things for gifts? Ah well, it’s better than looking at recipe books all the time, isn’t it!

Actually, now that I think on that, I have spent just about zero time looking at cookery books, or online recipes, during the course of this diet.

I had to read that last line again myself. There may well be something very important about that!

Bubble ‘n’ Squeak

Bubble ‘n’ SqueakBubble n Squeak

Bubble ‘n’ Squeak might be familiar to anyone with a connection to the British Isles. In our house, it is very much a part of our Christmas tradition. It is a pan-fried collection of Christmas dinner leftovers. And we very deliberately cook Christmas dinner to excess, with a view to eating bubble ‘n’ squeak for several meals afterwards!

We start out by adding diced turkey and ham to a pan swimming with your fat of choice. Though butter is highly recommenced! Adding the Christmas veggies next, Brussels sprouts and carrots are among my favorites, starts the whole bubbling and squeaking symphony that gives the dish its name. Chop up some leftover roast potatoes, and in they go. Next it’s the mashed potatoes, to glue the whole mix together. These should have been mashed with ludicrous amounts of butter and heavy cream! When the first evidence of pan singeing appears on the potatoes, turn the mess over to brown the other side. Now add heapings of stuffing on the already-browned side. Next comes a strained jar of sour pickled onions. And finally, just before serving, add a big splodge of Christmas gravy, and blend.

If you haven’t had bubble ‘n’ squeak before, it probably sounds disgusting. Trust me, it’s not! Indeed, we have an annual debate about which meal was better … Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, or the first Bubble ‘n’ Squeak meal on Boxing Day. Or St. Stephen’s Day if you prefer.

We went out for Christmas dinner this year. But we cooked a full Christmas dinner on Boxing Day anyway. Just so we could have bubble ‘n’ squeak. No kidding, we didn’t eat the food when it was hot and freshly cooked, we just tossed it into the fridge so we could make bubble ‘n’ squeak later.

I’m really not sure what this all says about my weight problem! LOL

The bottom line is that we need a diet that tolerates occasional bouts of delicious insanity. And what better time is there to go nuts than Christmas. Just now isn’t the right time for me to discuss the impact of all this on the bathroom scale. We’ll get back to worrying about all that nonsense in the new year!

Whatever your traditions, I hope you are enjoying them to the fullest this holiday season. And if you have any good recipes or food traditions to share, please do. I love to learn about new cuisines and cultures. And I’m an equal opportunities eater! 🙂

PS … Next time, I must remember to tell you what those closest to me think appropriate as Christmas gifts for a fat guy trying to lose weight! And no, it’s not socks!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!Merry Christmas 2018

Not everyone celebrates Christmas but that shouldn’t stop us sharing the spirit of joy, giving, and celebration together. Of course, it can be a time of great challenge for those of us trying to lose weight! My diet has been terrible this month and I’ve written a letter to Santa Claus, asking for some magic diet dust to help me out as the year winds down. I haven’t checked under the tree yet but, fingers crossed, he has delivered.

I have very few excuses left for my lack of adherence over the course of this month. We have working appliances now so I can cook real food again. Yet I still find myself gravitating towards all the bad stuff. Cookies and dessert seem so much easier to grab as I pass through the kitchen. It’s time I gave myself a Christmas gift and went back to eating more whole, real food again.

I have learned one thing during the month though. And this isn’t the first time I’ve learned this particular lesson.

The longer you continue to eat poorly … the more difficult it is to stop.

Of course, I knew this already. It’s not like like this is a new “light bulb” moment or anything. I just didn’t want to say it out loud. Why I’m saying it out loud on Christmas morning is beyond my comprehension. Why couldn’t I have waited ’til after the Christmas dinner? And dessert!

The other big lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of months is one on the value of writing a daily entry in my journal. It doesn’t have to be a daily essay. Even a short entry, done each day, is a mental reset that can help steer a better dietary course. I have been very erratic in my journalling over the past six or eight weeks, to my detriment.

I think I’ll enjoy my Christmas dinner today. And I will have dessert. I may even behave badly on the following day. But I think I’ll make an extra effort to journal about it too. If you haven’t tried journalling before, give it a shot. I’m not talking about a detailed food journal, or anything like that. Just a little résumé of each day’s trials and tribulations can often provide a stabilizing influence that is quite remarkable. And it’s a great place to vent a little too!

Whatever the light that lights your way, I hope it shines brighter on this Christmas Day for you.

Merry Christmas!

Shameless Self-Promotion!

Shameless Self-Promotion!For a Man or a Dog

Just in time for Christmas & the holiday season, I cut the price of my book … “For a Man or a Dog” on Amazon. I’ve read it & I think it’s great. I highly recommend it! 🙂 🙂 🙂

About one third of the stories in this collection should give you a chuckle, another third will bore you to death, and the rest fall somewhere in between! Hey, I might as well be honest but I still think it’s worth the price for the good ones. Go get yourself a copy. Or pick one up as a stocking-stuffer for that friend with an interest in Ireland & things Irish. If you do get around to reading it, please review it on Amazon. Unless you think it’s awful. In which case, just skip that step!

For those who follow my weight-loss exploits, some of the stories might give you an inkling as to why I got fat in the first place! My Mammy’s Irish food was really good! 🙂

The Kindle version is down around 60% & the paperback is down around 20%. Wish I could do more with the paperback but the printing cost is the primary driver on that one. The new pricing is in effect on all the regional Amazon sites (Americas, EU & Asia) that it’s available on.

I also clicked a box for “other distribution”. I have no idea what happens with that but Amazon says it makes the hard copy version available for purchase by libraries & bookstores. Needless to say, there aren’t a line-up of libraries & book stores that were waiting for me to do this but if you happen to know of a library or a book store that might want to carry a copy of something with an Irish interest, could you let them know.

And could you please share this post with your friends for me. Especially those with Irish connections, or those that might have a trip to Ireland on their bucket list.

Thank you.

Paul