Sunday, 16 November 2008

Which way?

There are several points where one can come unstuck in the weight-loss stakes, and I've reached one of them. I don't know if I will, however and will have to wait and see.

First, it's going from a wish, an intention, a need to lose weight to starting to do so. Then, after the first enthusiastic rigour, when you've lost several pounds quickly, it's not to give up or at least start to slip into old habits when it gets boring or you crave your favourite indulgences and you feel impatient because the weight loss has slowed, however hard you've tried. If you're doing a lot of exercising, you feel you should be rewarded by weight loss, but it takes a long time to burn off fat by exercise. It does speed up the metabolism and tone you, but actually losing weight with exercise but without dieting takes a long time.

I got through both those stages and now I'm on a plateau. This isn't exactly a dieting plateau, because I'm not trying to lose weight just now - in fact, I said a long time ago that I'm eating the way I need always to eat now, so in that sense I'm not doing anything 'wrong' in any case. But I'm not behaving quite as I have been - partly that's because it's physically more difficult to cycle as much as I did in the summer; but actually it's not as hard as it was this time last year. There are slopes I didn't attempt or got off half-way that now, if I find it tough, I just stand up on the pedals and slog up and wouldn't dream of walking. Partly, I admit, it's laziness. I'm finding it harder than I did a couple of months ago, so I'm less inclined to bother. Last November, I cycled nearly every day, come what may, but now I'm bringing home enough food for two or three days rather than fetching it daily. I can't let this last long, I need to get going - my hip needs the activity as much as anything else.

Of course, if I get going again and lose those final pounds, I'm not in the clear - will I ever be? Last time I lost all the weight (and a bit more) that I'd wanted to, I effortlessly stayed at that weight for several years. I became complacent. You can get away with quite a bit, once in a while. Trouble is, the odd chocolate biscuit or handful of peanuts, whatever your poison is, becomes a habit. And fat and sugar are highly cravable. And if you start to gain weight again, it seems almost impossible to stop.

As I was grating some cheese for a beetroot risotto tonight, I realised it would be the first cheese I'd eaten in at least a week. I've not been in to town on a Thursday, so haven't bought cheese at the stall (and have walked past the tempting deli) for three weeks. So, apart from cheddar for cooking (and for the Sage), I haven't had any in the house. For a week or two, I used it a lot in cooking, but last week it so happened that I didn't. So I've lost the craving - as long as putting it in the risotto doesn't bring it on again. I hope not, I couldn't actually separate out the flavour of cheese from the rest of it.

I've been quite hungry on a couple of days this week. One day, I hopelessly craved sugar. I didn't have any sweets in the house, or I'd have eaten a couple of jelly babies or wine gums. I had chocolate, sesame snaps and biscuits in the house, but instead I ate a couple of teaspoonfuls of the quince jelly I made the other week. I figured it wasn't so bad - fruit juice and sugar only. And one can't eat a whole lot of it.

And I've scoffed huge quantities of raw carrots. A bunch lasts two days - not sure how many that is, 10 or 12, I suppose. That's in addition to those I eat as I prepare them for a meal. I have to do more than we need of all vegetables. Sprouts, leeks, turnip, whatever - I steal bits from the pan before putting them on to cook.

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