Dinner and Tea! #imfromyorkshire

It really is a psychological thing! Tell yourself you can’t have something and you really want it. Tell yourself you can have something if you want and you can take it or leave it!

This week has been ‘easy’ to avoid the sugar because I told myself last week “everything in moderation”BINGO! This week when I’ve been tempted or offered it, I’ve thought, “well I could, but I won’t.” Result!

People keep asking me what I’m eating if I’m not having sugar…. Breakfast is now typically a protein shake. I’ve solved the hunger problem thanks to Natural Nutrients. A 40g serving of protein keeps my hunger at bay for about 5 hours. This is great given that my day starts anywhere from 5.30am! If I have time, I’ll have smoked salmon and scrambled / poached eggs or avocado. Clean protein shakes aren’t financially viable everyday so I need to get that sorted but for now, while I sort my other meals out, its working.

Dinner (to avoid confusion I’m from Yorkshire and I eat breakfast, dinner and tea!) depends really where we are and what we’re doing but can be poached eggs or a quick stir fry, omelette etc. Although today, my husband took me and the youngest out for dinner so I ate a Hippo Burger (not a burger made from actual hippo, its a restaurant in Durham!!) Tea is normally a wholesome family meal, so the other night was meatballs and homemade pasatta. I’ve been batch cooking so that I make enough for us all for and to freeze a family sized portion. I’m also making a lot of soups to and freezing in portions to pack the husband off to work with – I’m a great wife (one whose birthday is coming up very soon if he’s reading this haha!)

Snacks, well I’ve found a protein shake alleviates hunger in the morning which is great, an afternoon the kids snack on fruit but I tend to go for celery sticks with almond nut butter or if I do go for fruit it will be dried apricots / dates.

I’ve been a bit slack on the water front because I’ve not been in much this past week. I think I’ll revert to buying a pack of bottled water to have in the boot of the car. It’s normally when I get in the car I think “yup, I’ve remembered all three kids, their bags, coats, snacks, drinks, but forgotten my own!”

So, all in all a good week so far. I’m on the up and winning 😀



It would appear that a lack of sugar and alcohol has broken my brain! Last week I turned up to a party 24hrs early, this week I text my friend to say “we’ll be setting off in twenty minutes” only to be told “have you got the right person, I’m at work” – two days early for a play date… I need a PA!

This week has seen my waist reduce by an inch and my weight drop by 1lb (body fat no change). I decided after a particularly long week that I would have a glass of wine on Saturday night. My husband and I are sometimes like ships that pass in the night, especially if he’s working away. It got to the weekend and I was in a foul mood at the thought of another night sat ‘chilling’ with a glass of water! “I’m 37 years old, if I want a glass of wine after a long week, I will!” Is that a defeatist attitude? In my book, no, I’ve spent much of the past 4 years sober (babies, babies, babies) and the past three weeks have taught me that my previous theory of everything in moderation works for me. Does that mean that I have no willpower? No. It’s been a week where I have seen friends of a similar age fight for their lives and over the past few months my take on things has become very much ‘you never know what’s around the corner.’ So, I had two small glasses of wine – and enjoyed them! The effects….. I can tell I haven’t drank for 3 weeks (that actually doesn’t sound that long really does it?!), I felt rough as a dog the next day and felt pretty miserable. Again, as per the one sugar incident last week it taught me that although I may not feel overly different, my body definitely does. It just goes to show how quickly our bodies get used to something.

This past week has very much been me re-setting boundaries and breaking habits. I’m back on track with thinking before I eat and meal planning is definitely helping with that. A big thanks to Natural Nutrients for the sample pack they sent me. If I don’t have time for a healthy breakfast I have a clean protein shake and either some nuts or an avocado. Quick and filling. Result! I am trying to eat breakfast as opposed to have a protein shake as I want the kids to see breakfast as a healthy meal that starts the day. I did find the time to make paleo banana pancakes one morning which were a hit but they take time to make. My kids can devour about 4 each with blueberries and strawberries so I maybe need to make a batch and just reheat. Imagine hungry lions growling for food, thats my kids!

The ultimate mealtime test was when I made a paleo dessert. A Hemsley and Hemsley sugar free chocolate mousse made from avocado and banana was a winner with the kids. The husband was a different matter, his face told a different story to what he actually said! It does need a bit of tweaking to get it right but as it was the first time I had made it and everyone ate it, I was pretty pleased. I’m back to enjoying cooking, the freezer is nicely stocking up with homemade soups and meals ready for those days when I either don’t have the time or just can’t be bothered. I think that’s an excellent achievement for a busy mum of three who gets through most days not knowing her own name or what day of the week it is! (that is in addition to turning up for things days in advance!)

My major bug bare was the amount of hidden sugar in things. You can easily consume way over and above the recommended daily limit at breakfast time and that’s what I wanted to get past. I used to cook everything from scratch, make my own soups and stocks and that way if I ate cake or drank wine, I knew vaguely how much sugar i’d had and I wasn’t addicted to the stuff! By reverting back to my old habits of cooking from scratch it leaves me room to allow for the occasional hiccup but I’m hoping that I can get back to where I was. I also need to remember that we are a young family and that sometimes something has to give!

I think the way forward for me personally, is the moderation approach. If I know I can have it, I’m much more inclined not to. It’s psychological. I was offered biscuits / cake / chocolate on at least four separate occasions last week and each time declined. I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t particularly want it, so I didn’t. It would have been easy to have it because I know I like it but that’s where it gets dangerous! I recognise old habits die hard.

I have quite a few social occasions coming up over the next few weeks as it’s my birthday soon, I have a night in with the girls planned and also a trip home to East Yorkshire to stay with my mum and see family. These will inevitably involve cake (my three year old swears I have asked for a Spiderman cake, and a Minions one and some marshmallows!) and wine. I kind of feel that now I’m back at a point where I recognise a treat as a treat and my overall diet isn’t that far removed from where it was a few years ago when I was at the peak of my health, I’m not overly concerned about allowing myself to have the things that I was trying to quit. My blog is called “2017 – the path being back to me” for a reason, and there is still some way to go but when I look at how my train of thought has changed over the past few weeks, that really is progress. It was a lack of focus (and time) that led to things slipping, and in turn these became habits, habits need to be broken and that’s what I have done. I know that it will be very easy to slip again though so I need to keep on track. My once meticulous brain that worked to lists, being on time and was more organised than a military procedure, is mostly a mush of mayhem but I am determined that will change this year for both my mental and physical well being, and that of my family and so far I think I’m off to a good start.

Taking the biscuit.

Today I have a confession. I momentarily fell off the wagon. The kids (always blame the kids!) wanted sweets to watch a movie so I joined them…. was it bad thing? Well the answer is yes and no. Yes, because I immediately felt guilty and annoyed with myself that I had ‘failed’. No, because it taught me a few things. I didn’t have much, but enough to kick start the cravings again BIG TIME and for all that I thought I didn’t feel any different for quitting sugar, after I’d eaten it, I felt sluggish, slept poorly and was back at square one in terms of breaking the habit as it would have been far to easy to just eat more.

So, what have I learnt? I may not feel different after nearly two weeks of no sugar but my body must have been feeling better. It was a big shock to the system eating sugar again. I felt that crap after eating it (physically and mentally), that it just goes to show how used to sugar your body becomes. So, for all I felt like I’d failed and let myself down, I haven’t really because the fundamental lesson is, do I really want to eat something that makes me feel so rubbish? The answer to that is probably a rather flippant yes, because I like cake and chocolate! However, it is enough to make me think, actually, yes I do like sweet treats but no I don’t want to eat it just because it’s there… so I think (I hope) I have come out of the other side stronger…

On the plus side, I am still going strong on the no alcohol, unlike the husband who succumbed to the call of a cold beer (or two) at the weekend and then a box of booze arrived via mail order not long after that!! He says I drive him to it ha.

Another thing that I am learning is that meal planning is working well, its broadened the variety of what we eat because I sit and think about it. It’s also reduced the amount of waste we have and my food shopping bill, but without us going without the things we like.

I’m still struggling with breakfasts. Mornings are manic in our house, everyone wants feeding, changing, getting ready for work and nursery, the dog wants to be out for a wee and wants his breakfast (or he nicks everyone elses) so its literally all systems go from the minute our eyes open. I am always hungry on a morning, I’ve always been a breakfast person so this is a struggle, and, its only going to get worse when I go back to work after my maternity leave. This is something I need to look into in more detail as a good breakfast sets me up for the day – or at least the first few hours of pure madness!

So, I’m back on the wagon and hopefully will have time at the weekend to try the Paleo chocolate mousse recipe for Sunday dinner and see if anyone notices that it’s not Angel Delight! 😀

The results are in…..

Today I am half dead, literally! A half 4 wake up call from one son wanting to get up just for the craic and the other one belting out the lyrics to Fireman Sam was not the leisurely start to the day that I had hoped for!

Before I drowned myself in caffeine, I took my weight and measurements….. Weight and body fat, exactly the same as last week BUT I have lost an inch off my hips and half an inch off my thighs. I wasn’t surprised that my weight has stayed the same, partly because I’m a healthy weight anyway and weight tends to fall off pretty easily when you first start ‘dieting’ if you need to lose a few pounds. There’s also the fact that I’ve been hungry all week so my body probably thinks I’m trying to starve it.

I use the term ‘diet’ loosely. I do not need to lose weight, nor do I particularly want to. A few people have said to me this week, why are you ‘dieting’ there’s nothing on you, you don’t need to lose weight. I can’t stress enough that weight loss is not my goal. My ultimate goal is to break the bad habits that I’ve fallen into, and to eat and feel more healthy, as I did pre babies. I’m lucky in one sense that I’ve never really had to think about my weight. That does, however, lead me (and others) into a false sense of security that I can eat what I want and not worry about it. I’m built like my dad was, and, my nanna is and both were/are type two diabetics.

Being tired has certainly taken its toll this weekend but I stayed strong, unlike one’s husband who succumbed to a few beers last night while I drank water. I’ve never actually given up sugar before. I’ve always been an ‘everything in moderation’ type of person – apart from when I had morning  (read that as 24/7) sickness, when I could navigate my way around the north east by supermarket car parks with accessible bins and vowed I was never eating anything, ever again! I’ve given up gluten and wheat before, caffeine, alcohol, and cut back of stuff but never totally given up sugar – and what a minefield that actually is. A full English breakfast with no sauce – eh?!?

The hardest bit this past week has been hunger, especially when I’m tired and a quick sugar fix is a big no, no. I decided that I needed to sort that out otherwise failure would be on the cards. There’s no need to be hungry, and when I’m hungry all I ever think about is the wrong food. So, I bought some nut butter, apricots and dates when I was shopping to snack on. I had a few dates and apricots this afternoon (wild!) when I could feel temptation rise and that curbed the craving. I’m not quite sure if that’s the right thing to do but it worked so I guess it was.

The kids asked what was for pudding after Sunday dinner (and yes I had a Yorkshire pudding because a Sunday dinner isn’t a Sunday dinner without one!) and they had ice cream because dessert is a treat on Sunday. It’s compelled me to look back at some paleo recipes that I have for sugar free desserts. You wouldn’t think they were sugar free unless you knew, so, I’m going to try and find the time to give some of them a whirl over the next week or so and see if the kids actually notice….

I’ve also started meal planning for the week ahead so that I’m not caught off guard. That’s actually reduced my shopping bill which is great because everyone in this house LOVES food so we get through a lot! I also hate waste and throwing things out, so only buying things that we actually need solves that issue too. Another task this week is sorting breakfasts out, I’ve had a ‘clean’ protein shake (some of the cheaper ones have a lot of ingredients in them that I can’t even pronounce, and, still have sugar in them so I avoided them because it defeats the purpose for me, really) some mornings, as mornings are mega busy sorting kids out for nursery etc and a quick slice of toast leaves me feeling bloated and hungry a few hours later. I found with the protein shake that it still didn’t curb my appetite for long so I had a handful of nuts with it the next day and noticed that hunger was warded off for longer. Protein shakes are not a long term solution though, and as this is about breaking habits and making new ones I need to find a quick breakfast that suits me and my busy schedule!

So, another week beckons, new things to try and report back on, and we’ll see where we are this time next week! Thanks for reading 🙂

I’m no quitter – yet…

Day 5 of no sugar and day 12 of no booze. Wine, I’m not overly fussed about any more but sugar….. Its all I think about! I’m constantly hungry, and I’m definitely not thirsty because I’m making sure I drink at least 3 litres of water a day. I even put sliced lemon in it to trick my brain into thinking its gin so I drink more (for the record, that DOES NOT work!).

I spoke to my friend (a personal trainer) about the fact that I’m constantly hungry and apparently I need to up my protein intake. So, this afternoon when I so very nearly thought ‘forget’ it, I give up, I hard boiled some eggs. Two of those beauties and my hunger had subsided and I didn’t want to reach for something sugary – result. However, I really don’t want to be ‘that person’ who rocks up to places with hard boiled eggs in their handbag (we all know of at least one person in the office who everyone whispers about because they always bring a lunch, that stinks the place out!) I now need to find something that I can snack on that doesn’t get me talked me about/banned from places…..

I was expecting to feel fabulous by now (because it’s been aaaaaages) but I don’t. I have a sore throat and a headache that I put down to my germ ridden children, but, the headache could also be sugar withdrawal. My skin is very teenage like and apparently that’s normal because my body is detoxing itself. I am however, sleeping better, but feel like death when I wake up. I like the fact that when I go to bed I can think to myself “yes that’s another day that I didn’t give up” and feel positive that I can carry on for one more day. Who would have thought sugar could be so consuming.

I do feel a bit disheartened after a chat with Google about ‘how long do sugar cravings last?’ I am reliably informed by numerous studies and blogs that sugar cravings last forever. It’s breaking a habit , a bit like alcohol or nicotine, and there will always be triggers. Given that I have three small children and I like cake, there will be no end of triggers; party bags, gifts, treats, trips out…. so I need to teach myself discipline and willpower – is that even possible?

I have a certain level of motivation as I have been keeping myself busy to distract myself from thinking about the ‘S’ word. I’ve cleared every cupboard in the house and boxes of junk stashed under the beds. In doing so I found a bikini that I bought 6 months after the birth of my first baby (he’s now nearly 4) and I’ve worn it once, possibly twice. I then had two more babies in quick succession so I’ve never worn it since. I’m going on holiday in April which will inevitably involve swimming, so, it’s my mission to wear it and be happy wearing it. I tried it on and it fits, but it could fit better.

I’m interested to see what the scales say on Sunday. More the body fat than the weight. I’ll report back at the weekend with the results, if I’m still alive!

Sugar – It REALLY is the master of the universe!

Dear God, it’s everywhere and in everything! 

When I say it’s everywhere, I mean everywhere. I took the kids to soft play earlier and Mary Poppins was singing “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” in the background! Then there was the list of kids snacks to buy, all sweets, crisps and sugary drinks. The bottled water wasn’t listed on the big poster – is this because it’s loads cheaper than a £2 bottle of juice or because it’s just not cool and kids simply don’t want to water drink anymore? I’m the naughty (or read that as tight) parent who takes fruit, a packet of gluten free oat cakes and drinks of water in my supersized mum bag. I really begrudge paying a fortune for junk and I don’t want my kids only having the choice of crisps or chocolate as a snack while we’re out. 

Of course I do let them have sweets, biscuits, cakes, icecream and all the other things that kids have (I draw the line at fizzy pop and fruitshoots) but in moderation. We live in a society now where we can have everything and anything we want, literally 24/7, so I’m trying to teach my tribe that anything goes, but in moderation, and that treats are just that, treats. No more sneaking off to nick their chocolate stash then, lead by example n all that!  

I used to be an avid reader of labels but then jumped on the paleo bandwagon a few years ago and started making most things from scratch. I’ve done that less since I had my third baby because I just don’t have the time. That has got to change.

We don’t eat a lot of processed food but ask my three year old what he wants for tea and 99% of his responses would be fishfingers – and I’m not talking my lovingly homemade paleo variety either.

Anyway, back to labels. Today I was looking through the cupboard for something that was quick but not “bad” for my dinner. I came across a chilli and quinoa “high protein”  super food snack pot type thing that I got free from a supermarket promotion. “Great, that will do.” So I chucked it in the microwave and then I read the label… GOLDEN SYRUP!!!! who puts golden syrup in a main meal branded as super healthy? It really is no wonder type two diabetes is sweeping the nation.

Today is day three of no sugar (aside from the revolting mouthful of golden syrup chilli) and I’m not sure if it’s sugar withdrawal I’m experiencing or just a pure test of willpower. Either way I could quite happily murder the chocolate santa sat in my fridge and his two mates!

I noticed that I slept quite soundly last night which is unusual for me. It did mean the 4am night feed from one child and the 5.30am wake up call from another nearly killed me. The obligatory two cups of tea had me almost pulled round by 8am, almost.

I’m consoling myself with the fact that day 9 of no alcohol means I’m not really missing it so hopefully a few more days of no sugar and that will be the same. Now that I’ve told myself I can’t have it, it’s all I think about!

It’s time for tea in the mad house now and then an evening of no wine or chocolate. As Tuesdays are notoriously poor for television, I have a feeling I’ll be in bed early to avoid temptation!



Sugar – the master of the universe!

So, the other night I decided that the relationship I had with sugar was not a good one. Since my dad died in November, I have used that, and Christmas, as an excuse for a poor, and lazy diet, and I’m slipping into bad habits.

I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but always been in control. I’ve always exercised and I’ve always maintained a healthy weight. Lately that has started to slip. Not so much the weight; I have three children under the age of four so get plenty of exercise, but, I don’t have a lot of time for me; I eat quickly, without thinking and over the past 12 months my usual good habits have fallen by the wayside.

Why now?

I was out with my friend the other night. We rather embarrassingly turned up to a children’s birthday party a day early – better early than late in my book but 24 hours is a new personal best for me! So, there we were with two disappointed three year olds, all dressed up with no where to go! Being the good mums we are, we took them out for tea and a play date instead. I wasn’t particularly hungry but ordered anyway, didn’t eat it all, then ordered dessert. It was only when I got home, I thought what a waste of money it was, ordering when I wasn’t hungry and totally unnecessary to then eat a dessert!

We’d had an earlier conversation in the car about food and weight gain. I said I was more concerned with what’s going on inside, what I can’t see happening; the effect of eating ‘bad’ food on my heart, the risk of type two diabetes and stroke etc. That’s where it stops though, I think it, but don’t do anything about it.

After a Christmas of mince pies, spiced fruit cake, biscuits and more chocolate than a Cadbury factory, I’ve decided enough is enough. Its time to get back on track…

I put a status on my Facebook page “Day two of no sugar and it’s annoying to think there’s a Cadbury’s factory worth of junk in our kitchen courtesy of Christmas! I shall remain strong! 💪” which prompted Lynn from Durham Family Chiropractic to drop me a message asking if I would blog my journey over the next few weeks for their website.

So here I am on day two (day nine of no booze, but that’s easy in comparison to sugar!), determined not to quit quitting and attempting to blog, all while looking after my three kids (age 3, 20 months and 8 months – yes we have a tele!). I’ve read all sorts on google about sugar addiction and withdrawal and apparently days three to five will be a killer – great! I have to say though, so far it’s been relatively easy. The hardest bit is once the kids are in bed. It’s my time to chill out with a glass of wine and raid the never ending stash of junk! Yesterday’s party bag full of haribo and cake is sat staring at me. Obviously if I eat it, it saves my son from the sugar, so ‘technically’ I would be taking one for the team!

I’ll be recording the good, the bad and the ugly over the next few weeks and seeing how addicted to sugar I actually am…. I’ve weighed myself and recorded my body fat. I suppose I should measure myself too and see the exact effects of quitting the sugar. We don’t eat badly, its literally the snacking (and there’s a lot of that because I don’t eat properly through the day) that needs to go and I am genuinely intrigued to see the changes of eliminating something that is apparently as addictive as cocaine!

Watch this space…