Today we mowed the lawn. That is, Waratah pushed the lawn mower and I, Wattle, bagged up the grass. This is a task that makes the garden look nice and has the interesting side effect of providing some sneaky, gentle exercise!
Its almost the New year! How we are looking forward to 2018. Our very own web site is about to launch onto the Internet.
For the past few weeks we have had the site showing on our own local network. I have been learning how to use an image editor, to make “posts” and am developing into a writer of Blogs. Waratah has been studying how to make things happen behind the scenes. Trust me, its a lot of study.
Before I go much further into the world of Blogs there are a few things to mention right now. You will see right down the bottom of the site, “Powered by WordPress”. These three little words hide such an enormous meaning and importance. We want to acknowledge and say thank you to the persons who make “WordPress”, which is the computer code that makes the web site possible.
The second thing to mention is how delicious Cherrymember is. In this month we remember all the things we ate during the year, and hopefully have learnt to eat slightly less of the foods that cause weight gain problems such as chocolates during the festive season. Pretty soon we are also going to launch into the essentially disciplined, culinary month of “Januberry”. Meanwhile, enjoy!
Happy New Year to all.
Novels about journeys can be real page turners, I am sure you know the ones I mean. The heroine (or hero) overcomes all the many obstacles along the path, chapter by chapter and finally arrives, at the desired place.
This is “Januberry”, the first of twelve chapters in the year-long journey of weight management .
It’s not too difficult to imagine all the many obstacles along the path is it. These blogs are all about overcoming them, or mostly overcoming them, to arrive this time next year, at the desired place : a few kilograms less!
A few kilograms less than how many kilograms ? Yes it’s a good question ! The answer is 80.2 kilograms. That number is meaningless all by itself so here is some accompaniment. This time last year the scales said 86.7 kg.
Now instead of worrying about how large a number 80.2 is I am concentrating my attention on the weight loss of 6.5 kilograms. That is very pleasing.
Are those kilograms really lost? That’s another good question. We will see.
Doing a walk each day is great for preventing weight gain. It doesn’t have to be of long duration and it doesn’t have to be so agile you wear your shoes out after a month. What it does have to be is : to actually be done.
A few years ago I purchased an inexpensive camera which fits into a purse and is so marvelous it just about takes the photo for me without even getting it out of the purse. I then commenced a daily task to take a photo of some flower whilst out walking. I managed to do this for about three months and thanks to my user-friendly camera have some lovely photos.
This year I am repeating this daily task of taking photos whilst out walking. I hope to last at it for at least a whole year. If you become a frequent visitor to our website you will notice that the image at the top of the home page changes each day, showing what I see .
Taking photos is a bit nebulous. After some months rest and recuperation from such a lot of walking we came up with another motivator. Here I present you with some pretty and original mathematics… “30 walks” equals “Enjoy one meal out at a restaurant”.
Now how would one know if they did 30, 31 or a mere 15 walks? Well thats quite pretty too. Each walk pick up a tiny stone from the side of the road. After a good wash and dry I keep my stones in a meaningful place, on the kitchen windowsill. But other places would work just as well, in a bowl on top of the fridge for instance. The one place I try not to keep my extra stones is on top of my waist!
Sometimes a task takes the form of cooking some new type of food. Last night we had scones for supper. They were delicious. Here is our recipe.
“Cheesy Cajun Scones”.
(This recipe has been adapted from the traditional.)
Turn on the oven to 250 degrees Celsius. The oven being preheated is important so this is the first action to take. The amounts of ingredients are not strict, just approximations.
Combine 2 cups Self raising flour, 1 level teaspoon salt, one level teaspoon sugar, one heaped teaspoon dried spice or herb (We choose premixed Cajun spice), one heaped teaspoon commercial brand Parmesan cheese. Chop up 50 grams of commercial brand sliced cheese and add into the dried ingredients. Then cut in 50 grams of real, salted commercial brand butter tiny bits at a time. Lastly add in 190 grams of real whole milk, 50 grams at a time, mixing it till the last of the dry substance bits turns into an only just wet dough. Weather effects the recipe, you might only need 180 mL or up to 200 mL.
Place 2 teaspoons SR flour on the clean, dry sink top, or bench top. Place the dough into this and move it around a bit so the the SR Flour gets incorporated into the dough. It will feel less wet, but only just dry. Gently pat it into a shape thats about 30 millimeters high. Place on a chopping board and cut into approx 18 parts. Place the parts on a tray that you previously dusted with SR flour about quarter of a teaspoon.
Timing of the cooking matters. In a fan forced oven try 4 minutes, then rotate the tray and cook for another 4 minutes. Each oven behaves differently, you need to try it out a few times to find the best amount of cooking time. They rise a small amount. After they are cooked place on a metal cooling rack to cool. Serve with a small amount of butter on them.
We have found good success cutting the scones in half when they are cooled and then freezing them, just removing them from the freezer as needed and using the microwave oven to thaw them.
When I look into the mirror I like to see me. With a few kilograms less weight it will still be me. It is my belief that there is an important relationship going on here and I call it “Weight and See”.
Did you know that as you lose weight you need to eat less, proportionately less of each type of food to maintain that lesser weight? I didn’t. I found that out at a commercial weight loss organisation. I think the reason I didn’t know was because until then I’d never lost enough weight for it to be an issue.
Its actually quite easy to lose weight. What is harder and for some almost impossible, is to maintain a weight which is a lot less than the amount it was a short time ago.
What a revelation it was, and what a shock. As this knowledge entered my mind it dawned on me… less potato crisps, less chocolate ripes! Less meat and gravy, less desserts. The only thing that seemed to not be less was lettuce. Alright, that is an overstatement. The sad fact is, even less lettuce is required.
The trouble is that this knowledge was not owned by my stomach. It shrunk hardly at all during the fast and marvelous weight loss experience. So my mind and eyes wanted to see more food on the plate, my stomach was demanding to be kept fuller of the more satisfying foods and you can imagine what happened. Yes indeed. Most of the weight went right back on again, almost as fast as it was removed.
Now after some years of this slower journey to lose weight my eyes and stomach have caught up, and when I look into the mirror, I still see me.
Today I am going to tell you about how I invented the Collendar.
After giving up smoking I gained a lot of weight. For the first few weeks the brain demanded enormous amounts of sugar, presumably something to do with the changing chemistry. Then for some months after that the desire to keep moving the jaw and mouth after meals persisted, along with eating sweet foods as a substitute for cigarettes.
The problem is that the cravings for sweet foods last more than a few months. They go on for many months and meanwhile the body is growing larger and needs more food. To anyone considering giving up cigarettes my advice is to resist the comfort of patches and allow the weight gain to happen, even though it can be alarming, in the interests of giving the brain plenty of time to adapt to the loss of nicotine, say a good six months to a year.
There are a few things that can help. One of my favourites was to cook up a brew of filling broth. It had a litre of water, a chicken stock cube, tomatoes, onions and mushrooms and one quarter of a bottle of dried basil, all boiled together for half an hour. It isn’t too hard or time consuming to make and has the wonderful and comforting characteristic of involving a lot of hand to mouth actions.
So a time arrived to think about losing some of the weight.
That was roughly when I learned that the value of catalogues is multi-faceted. Not only do they inform you of the shop’s prices, they can be the basic material of an activity called “Collage”.
They have images of foods, motivating words and phrases, and all sorts of things like shoes, clothes, and parts of them are just plain colours. I set to to cut out all sorts of images and sometimes using sticky tape grouped them as my own picture on a page. My hands became very busy without the associated movement to the mouth.
Sometimes the groups of images started looking like “Calendar” pages. I would find an image with the month’s name and cut that out, and incorporate it with an image of a number showing what date it was and place all sorts of other images in my picture.
Voila! The “Collendar”.
Meet my new culinary BFF. Just in case some readers don’t know what a BFF is, those letters stand for “Best Friend Forever”.
Here is a description. It is tall and gracious, and is named Steamer. Made of stainless steel, it is moulded like an enormous boiling pan. A glass lid allows it to display what contents are sitting in its stainless steel sieve-like basket. When its makeup of vegetables is applied its natural beauty is enhanced, making it look like a work of art.
It is forgiving of my vagaries because if I forget its boiling on high with 3 inches of water in it for a half an hour it doesn’t burn its bottom. User-friendly doesn’t do it justice. It is so easy to wash, and it hates soap, making its maintenance very inexpensive.
Chocolate ripe you are not my culinary BFF any more.
Yesterday Waratah’s mother and I went for a drive to a rural town. We had a delightful look around which included visiting some opportunity shops. I bought an elegant glass carafe. It has a sturdy bottom making it a particularly practical item for every day use.
I firmly believe that developing the habit of having a large glass of water with dinner has led to the permanent loss of about half a stone of weight. I think of it as a half stone, but the scales would read it in the metric amount of about three kilograms.
What a great result for turning on the tap and tipping the water down the tunnel! It has to become a habit though, every night, it’s just as important as placing the food on the plate. Now we will enjoy chilled water with our meal.
We also bought a large quanity of delicious fresh apricots. So there is today’s pre-defined task, to get them into the freezer to be ready for our pancakes in “Aprilcot.”
Have you noticed that it is getting increasingly more difficult to buy tins of fruit that have no added sugar? If that is all that is available I’d suggest throwing the liquid, which is pretty much pure sugar, straight down the sink. Yes I know that is a wasteful thing to do, but it is so much better than being “waistful”.
Catalogues often have an image of a half (1/2). These can help with motivation. I pair them with images of foods I would prefer to eat less of.
Over time I have gathered a plastic sleeve full of cut out images of commercial brand biscuits, ice creams, cakes, chocolates and crisps. It makes for a pleasant virtual-eating afternoon doing all this cutting out and thinking about all the indulgent foods I didn’t actually eat. For example *half* a Chocolate ripe is better than a whole one.
Also over time I have gathered a plastic sleeve full of cut out images of a half (1/2). Blue ones, green ones, fat ones, tiny ones, you name it. The list of the types of an image of a half well and truly covers any future mood I might have. While cutting them out I imagine what sort of food image I might pair with the image of a half.
These days when I am making my Collendar there are very few images missing to cover any, and I do mean any, high calorie menu item.
You will also notice that on my Collendar the image of cabbage hasn’t appeared. That is because they are really difficult to find in catalogues. At some stage a printer might be useful, but for now never mind, it is alright. I know that I am eating it, and now you know it too!
Tonight we are having *half* of a commercial brand boysenberry flavoured cone ice cream on our pancake. My collendar page reminds me that I really did need less of this indulgent food.
Herbs can be an oasis in a lean, almost sugarless culinary desert. I try to highlight one each month… mmmn taste Basil.
Creamy Basil Salad complements pan fried chicken, lettuce and tomatoes so well and is a pleasant change from the more conventional vegetables for some meals in Januberry.
Here is our recipe for “Creamy Basil Salad.”
Boil 4 handfuls of dry pasta per serve, for 20 minutes. We use the large shells shape of pasta, but others such as spirals would work just as well.
Rinse the boiled pasta in cold water to cool them to room temperature.
The amounts of the ingredients to be added to the boiled pasta vary according to taste and to what is in the refridgerator. We add generous amounts of salt and pepper, 100 grams of chopped cashew nuts, a chopped up whole green capsicum and about 90 grams of green basil leaves, also roughly chopped.
Then try adding 150 mL tomato paste and 150 mL of garlic flavoured, sunflower-based aioli salad dressing and stir them in. Add more of each, depending on taste and how liquidy you want the salad to be. Refridgerate the mixture if you want to serve it chilled. Give it a stir just before serving and check if it needs a little more liquid.
Yesterday afternoon a technician from the “National Broadband Network” (NBN), our government owned, monopoly, telecommunications infrastructure provider, was sitting above a meter high hole on the side of the street directly outside our house and the next thing you know our internet and telephone were disconnected. Then the next thing you know they remained disconnected, and now a day later they still continue to be disconnected.
Borrowing our neighbour’s mobile telephone we established that our modem is constantly attempting to connect to somebody else’s modem, and that that somebody else is not even using the the same internet service provider as us. On top of that our neighbour was also disconnected at the same time, and is not the somebody else, so we know the problem involves at least three houses, possibly more.
How depressing, our site is only just launched and now it is not on the world wide web. Tomorrow is Saturday, and it defies belief that the policy of the NBN is to attend to the provisioning of our national telecommunications infrastructure only during business hours, Monday to Friday.
Well, I have acknowledged my mood drop, right through the floor, down to the level of the place where the wires are now attached so strangely.
Perhaps the hardest relationship to understand and to act upon is how mood is able to effect what, and how much we eat. Instead of having a comfort food feast I am forcing the continuance of my tasks.
To be complete my collendar needs a page made each day. I am reminding myself that the images will still appear in the archives eventually. It’s important to go walking every day and take the photos. Best of all, this blog might be the most important one I ever write of the whole blog collection. I must hope that it will be readable, some day, in its rightful place, on the internet.
I am always glad I am not a contestant on a weight loss television program. They seem to be huffing and puffing, and still they get pushed to do more.
Whilst I do thoroughly enjoy watching the contestants’ dramatic weight loss journeys, I think it is important to be sensible about my own exercise. Some small amount of huffing and puffing is alright. If breathlessness became too great I would think that I made a poor decision about the distance to walk and review it.
Choosing the amount of distance to walk depends on how much feels right.
At the other end of not quite one kilometer down the hill, there is a shopping center, so our distance almost chose itself. We buy some groceries and trudge back up the hill, making it an almost two kilometer round trip. In the first year or so we did not go every day, only some days.
This year’s plan is to go for a walk every day. Some walks will be a similar amount of distance in other directions, allowing us to view many gardens. We take breaks along the way as required, more in hotter weather. I am finding that as there is less weight to carry, I need less breaks. This is very heartening. So in general it will be safe to say that the hardest walks will always be the first ones. It does become easier.
Isn’t today’s image lovely. The raindrops are showing so clearly on the rose’s leaves. We timed our walk to happen between two rather heavy showers. Of course if it is raining heavily all day long, on some days, that will be no excuse. That’s why they make umbrellas!
For the first year my Collendar took the form of obtaining catalogues. That is easy. They place them in the mailbox all the time. I felt like placing a new sign on our mailbox, “Squash in as much junk mail as you can, thanks.”
On less busy days I started cutting out some of the images that appealed. Images of foods that are good to eat and images of foods that are nice to eat but only sometimes. I studied images of numbers… Did they look summery, wintery? What colours are they? What colours surround them? Are they small or large? How would I place them on some chosen coloured paper? I’d cut out images of the date. Many catalogues have their sales dates printed on them. I also cut out images of words like “great value” and “Win”. An A4 plastic pocket was allocated for each month and I kept all the cut out images in them.
The goal was, and still is to keep my fingers busy, no where near my mouth.
At some stage a trip to a stationery shop for something else found me also walking out the door with some bags of A4 paper, of various colours.
I asked myself, “What is on my plate?” I started mentally owning what I eat. I covered a large plate with some of the coloured paper near the start of each month. It is very fast and easy to stick on some washed, dried and cut out food packaging, or some catalogue images that reflect what has been eaten. A visual diary forms. If a month stars more cheesecakes than carrots I get the message.
As well I would start placing a few cut outs from pamphlets of places we visited, activities we went to. An example is when ever I think of “Aprilcot” I also think of Pub Quizes, because we bestirred ourselves to attend some, each Thursday night, for the duration of one April.
If you ever decide to make a Collendar think of it as a work in progress which takes some years.
It might involve the collection of a collection of images, making a “What is on the plate?” visual diary, and the gradual collection of Collendar pages. I say gradual because it might not be always possible to make a page for each day, on the particular day. It might take years to make a complete set of 366 Collendar pages.
And after the Collendar is made? I will know that I have really given up smoking.
Nothing has been mentioned yet about what is on the plate for breakfasts.
In general I like to have a breakfast that I find filling, for example 2 fried eggs with a short cut bacon slice on 2 slices of lightly buttered toast.
In a varied, ongoing eating plan I think the natural source of fat in whole milk is useful. Porridge is great in the winter months. Muesli mixed with dry rolled oats is a particularly filling combination in any month. Cereals such as wheat biscuits are very good value, but taste quite bland, so these may need a fruit or honey accompaniment.
Some months, but not many, will find my breakfasts featuring a small serve of sugar coated cereal such as cornflakes or cocoa-flavoured rice bubbles. A large serve of oranges will be a must have in this style of breakfast because these types of cereal are delicious, but not at all filling.
Only in one wintery month do I allow my favourite breakfast, hot meat pies with tomato sauce.
For the month of Januberry breakfast has a light summery feel to it, but is still filling. It consists of a cheese and bacon bread roll with no butter, topped with generous amounts of ham, lettuce, tomatoes and onion.
This “Weight and See” strategy relies on making small, achievable changes that will endure and have the subtle effect of experiencing gradual weight losses that will also endure. It is long term.
I only get on the scales once per month, usually on the last day of each month. I make a graph. It is not too difficult. On the bottom line across I have the months and on the vertical line up I have the weights. With a pencil I just place a cross at the point on the paper where the two values meet.
When this site becomes interactive we will have a place on it where graphs can be made easily and this type of visual picture of progress will be possible. As well as me making my graph, you might choose to make one of your own.
Over the last three years my graph shows that there has been a ten kilogram downwards trend, which is very pleasing.
The month to month weights do fluctuate. Up a bit, down a bit. I don’t get alarmed or disheartened about fluctuations. Each year the month of “Apply” has shown an up a bit. That is the acceptable and inevitable outcome of allowing the pastry eating theme for a month.
What matters is comparison. For example, is this year’s up a bit less than last year’s up a bit? Is this year’s weight reading less than last year’s? Yes! And yes! Very pleasing indeed.
Telephone companies have catalogues which sometimes have images of the word “mobile”. On some days I place them on my Collendar page. They remind me of the importance of walks done.
Speaking of technology, six days have now elapsed of having no internet or telephone connection.
Did you know that you cannot speak directly to anyone at the “National Broadband Network” (NBN), our government owned, monopoly, telecommunications infrastructure provider? What happens is after a long wait on hold, you speak to somebody at your “Internet service provider”, (ISP). They in turn send an e-mail to whoever, at NBN, reporting a fault. That was a surprise to find out that the ISP personnel are similarly unprivileged to talk to personnel of the NBN on the telephone.
Now if you are lucky something might happen.
We made enquiries after the weekend and were told that the report of the fault was closed, having been “resolved”. Really, I can’t agree with them that having no internet or telephone connection is properly “resolved”.
This time we made an appointment for an NBN technician to “Trouble shoot”. That means to come and visit us inside our house, and inspect our perfectly good modem setup that was working just fine before last Thursday when that previous NBN maintenance technician connected those outside, below ground wires so strangely.
Our appointment is for tomorrow afternoon.
Hooray! Our internet and telephone are now connected.
Our appointment this afternoon was honoured by a different NBN technician, who listened to our opinion of what the problem was. Within ten minutes he verified that indeed there were crossed wires outside the house and he reconnected them correctly.
My Collendar page for today helps me to enjoy my walk during this very hot weather here, even if I don’t really enjoy it as much as I could. I am certainly celebrating summer!
I think everyone would have experienced that the feeling of fullness is very different to, and does not properly mask, the feeling of not having had enough calories. At the start of my weight loss journey I liked to find ways to keep my mind from thinking about all the calories I wasn’t having.
One really good way was to concentrate my mind on how the food that was allowed looked, when it was served up. An example of this could be fruit, say a portion of grapes. They look so much nicer on a plate with a coloured serviette beside it. I went out and bought some inexpensive paper ones.
Our kitchen started to become more interesting with seasonal colour themes for tea towels, dish cloths and table cloths. I chose red for the summer. The other seasons have yellow in autumn, blue in winter and green in spring.
A really good side effect of a more colourful kitchen is to do the dishes more often so it looks nicer still!
If you look at the part of the site that has the archives you will see that my Collendar pages for the month of Januberry are starting to form a set. They all have the background colour of dark red. I think this gives them a summery appearance, and makes the images of berries look very appealing.
Perhaps I will make a tabletop style book of the Collendar pages eventually.