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Posts Tagged ‘diet’

the lockdown log 48


With the better weather I have been so occupied in the garden that I am a bit behind on this week’s log and whilst the high winds of a week ago did not help I have got a lot done. It has been a good week.

A couple of weeks on from my Covid jab I have still had no further side effects since the thumper of a headache over the first 24 hours. Another week and I will be as resistant as I can be until the second jab comes along in May. I will be keeping contact with others to a minimum anyway, but hopefully the risk of suffering the worst effects should I catch it are diminishing. We are considering whether or not we might try to get a holiday towards the end of the year, but it is so hard to predict how the world will be by then. My gut feeling is that it will be another year before things are settled enough, but you never know.

On the diet front my lack of discipline has been shameful, albeit that I have not put much weight on. All of the physical work in the garden has had an effect that the Berkshire Belle has noted in that my upper body is showing signs of developing muscle and, as she has counselled, muscle weighs heavy. So a couple of kg up from where I want to be at the moment is, perhaps, not too bad under the circumstances, but it does not help when I eat three days’ ration of chocolate in 20 minutes as I did the other evening whilst cooking dinner. Yes I was very distracted thinking about what I was going to do next in the garden whilst trying to focus on cooking something that I had not attempted before, but I managed to eat three squares off a bar of chocolate despite having told myself that I could not have my usual one. Not a major catastrophe, but it does not help.

In exercise terms I am still walking at least 10 km per day on average and have passed 600 km for the year. In old measurement I am averaging 6.1 miles per day and am close to 375 miles for the year so far. With 2-3 hours an afternoon labouring in the garden in lieu of an afternoon exercise walk I should be during calories at a reasonable rate and, despite the slip(s) described above, I have not piled the weight back on. Working in the garden all afternoon does keep me away from the temptations of the cupboards as well so as long as I can avoid stupid consumption of treats I should have a fair chance of losing a bit more weight over the Spring and Summer. Roll on salad weather.

That’s it for this week I think. It is Sunday morning and I am part way through the weekly chores that we save up for today. Outside it is still freezing and foggy, although there is a sign that the sun will break through shortly and warm things up enough for me to get back outside and move some more things along there. So far my morning has not gone too well so I am hoping that the day will improve when the sun comes out.

Stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 46


At home and back from having my first Covid-19 vaccination earlier this morning. A quick and efficient process over at Swindon’s steam museum saw me in and out in about 20 minutes, 15 of which was the required waiting period to make sure that there were no immediate ill effects. I mentioned to my boss that I was just going to chill out for the rest of the day and he suggested that, as I was having the Pfizer version of the jab, I should have a German beer so lunch was washed down with a bottle of Pilsner: no side effects so far.

I have a few chores to do around the house, but am otherwise taking it easy on the sofa. The weather here is cold and the wind chill is making it feel very cold. My neighbour left me use her treadmill (in her garage) this morning so I have got a couple of hours walking in without having too brave outdoors too much. My weight is coming down, another 1.5 kg lost since last Friday, so I am keen to keep the exercise up.

Not much else to report this week. The garden is frozen and there is not much that I can do for the moment beyond a bit of tidying here and there. Next week looks positively balmy by comparison and perhaps I can do more that just look at it all and plan what I can get up to in the coming weeks.

I shall have to drag myself into the kitchen later to knock up some soup for lunches tomorrow and Saturday. Probably pepper soup as I have three red ones available so they, with an onion and the last couple of garlic gloves, should make a tasty brew. Low in calories too and no additives so healthy as well as warming. I like cooking from scratch and tonight, for example, am making a Chinese chicken dish that the Berkshire Belle found in one of her magazines. We do still have cook chill food most weeks, but probably only once a week and everything else will be cooked from scratch. It takes a little longer, but not much.

That’s about it for this week. Stay safe out there wherever you are.

the lockdown log 45


Another week rolls by and we are still OK. My turn for a Covid vaccination must be close as a local couple I know around my age, albeit registered at another surgery, got their call yesterday evening. My arm is ready and waiting.

I said a week or so back that I had given up on the diet for now, but it is hard not to try and whilst I have not been recording my weight, I have been weighing in each week and so I was a little dismayed to find that in two weeks of sort of trying not to eat too much I had put on 3 kg and was back up to 109 kg last week (from a best of 104 in early December). This week I have been a little more focused and this morning’s check weigh gave me 106.5 (it thought hard about 106, but kept flicking back up) so I am taking the higher figure and accepting that I am going the right way again.

Dieting is hard because I like the taste of food. I like the mouth feel of eating many things and I also enjoy cooking so denying myself these pleasures is the only way forward and saying nom is not easy. Cooking most of our meals does allow me to control what goes into our meals. We eat very little pre-prepared stuff these days and most of what we eat is either fresh or from the freezer so we don’t have too many additives, preservatives and suchlike in our diet and I can also control fat and sugar content. Things like fat and salt do contribute and enhance flavour though and so neither is eliminated. Having tasty food helps so much because it is satisfying and you can get away with smaller portions. It is when we have something that leaves us cold that we are both looking for more.

The Berkshire Belle is also dieting although she is not weighing herself, rather she works on what clothes fit and whether she can get into clothes that used to fit, but haven’t for a while. It works for her and that is all that matters. It does no good to beat yourself up over these things. If you can keep a positive attitude I think that you have a better chance in the long run.

Today is my day off as usual, along with Sunday, and I was up at my local Sainsbury’s just after it opened at 0700. An hour later I was home with three bags of shopping and a slab of money lighter just in time for the fortnightly fruit and veg box delivery. We have a full fridge and pantry and there should be no need to brave the shops again until early next week when we will need milk. Soup off the day for today, and tomorrow, is a curious mix of leek and cauliflower made last night from remnants having cleared the veg drawer of the ‘fridge ready for today’s delivery. I fried off the leeks with a little oil and added a couple of cloves of garlic for extra flavour then put the cauliflower in and covered with water. Some salt and pepper for seasoning and left to simmer for about ten minutes before leaving to cool and the blitzing it with a stick blender. It is not the most appetising colour, but it was hot and filling at lunchtime and there is nothing added beyond the seasoning. I have a celeriac in the veg box and that will be roast to make the next batch of soup.

I was going to walk this afternoon, but it is chucking it down here in Swindon and I really don’t feel up to going out to get soaked. I have walked for a mile and a half today according to my tracker and had planned on doing around 5-6 miles, but I will find some indoor jobs instead. So far this year I have racked up 205 miles of exercise walking (329 km) so a bit of slacking off is maybe permissible. Last week I mentioned the Teenage Cancer Trust challenge to walk at least 15,000 steps Monday through Friday. I managed that without too much trouble, but it dawned on me too late that if I had just walked for about another 10 minutes each day I could have turned in 20,000 steps per day for 100,000 for the five days and I would have been happier with that than the 93,000 that I did record.

The garden has had some of my attention this week and another bin full of garden waste went out for the green recycling collection this morning. The days are drawing out steadily and I am looking forward to being able to spend more time out there once the weather gets a little more clement.

That’s it for this week. Stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 41


The thought occurred to me as I tried to get to sleep on New Year’s Eve that Covid-19 might be the millennium bug, just that It was twenty years late. Certainly the levels of stupidity being displayed over the 2020 plague have their parallels in that of the later months of 1999, it’s just that we did not have social media to spread nonsense with back then.

When Last weighed myself I was 105 kg, 1kg up on the previous week, and my plan was to relax the diet over Christmas and New Year then to get back to 104 kg, my lowest weight so far, by the end of January. Last Friday I got the scales out again and weighed in at 106.5 kg which is a bit less than I expected. I have not binged during my time off, but I have not had my regular after lunch and that seems to be an integral part of me losing weight. So I have just 2.5 kg to lose in the next four weeks.

I am going to have to balance the post prandial exercise with getting back into the garden. I have lost all of the momentum from last year and need to start again. Neither the exercise walks nor the outside jobs are any great pleasure at this time of year and I will need to find some motivation instead of, as I am now, sitting on the sofa writing this, and other, blogs or watching TV. Last year, prior to Covid, I had started my projects off by making an effort to clear out the bedroom that I use as an office. Most of that initial clear out has been undone by the need to find room to store various things and so what I might do to kick start myself is to resume work there. It is, any least, in the warm and if I can finally sort that room out it will give me some satisfaction which, in turn, might be a catalyst to get me going again on the outdoor work.

Pepper soup

This time of year is soup weather and I am going to get back to knocking up my own as I was through much of the Autumn. The one pictured was a pepper soup made from white and yellow peppers that cam in my fortnightly veg box. With half an onion, a couple of garlic cloves and the last few cherry tomatoes. The dark swirl is balsamic glaze just to give an extra bite. In today’s box I have a massive cauliflower so there will be half of that going to make soup for early next week, I make about 2 day’s worth of soup in each batch and it is a good way of using up veg that I’m not going to be able to use with main meals. A bowl of soup for lunch when the heating is not on is very welcome.

We have placed our first order of the year for plants. We began to buy these on-line last year when there first lockdown mucked up our normal garden centre explorations and have started early this year. We have a range of herbs and veg coming over the period late February to late May and the earlier arrivals give me an incentive to get the old shed broken down and the new greenhouse put up. Some of the bulbs planted last year are starting to shoot and I always look forward to the start of the bulb season in Spring as portent of better weather to come.

I would like t be all fired up to get the jobs in motion and to get the weight off, but I’m not. So I have a bit of a battle on to both get some jobs done and to lose 2.5 kg, preferably 3 in just over two weeks. If I can get my head into the right place I will do both. Watch this space…

Meanwhile stay dafe wherever you are and I hope that 2021 brings you better times.

the lockdown log 39


It now looks inevotable that this lock will go past 52 weeks now. I had a feeling back at the start that it might take more than a year to get things at least under control and get no satisfaction from probably being right. At least with a vaccination now available we have a chance on moving on.

Boxing Day today and a day off for me, the middle one of three days and I am taking advantage of the break to do as little as possible, especially as I worked oil Thursday when I would normally have been off. My diet has been abandoned for a couple of weeks and I am spending much of this leisure time reading. I still get up at 5 am as my body clock is attuned to it and so get a couple or three hours to myself to spend as I like.

I am also relaxing my exercise regime for a few days as I passed the 1020 km target on Christmas Eve with a 13 km effort. Next year IU should be able to double that and will be starting the year with that target on my mind. I am sure to have gained little weight during this break (I am not weighing myself until the first Friday in January), but a return to the diet and resuming exercise should get me back on track.

Something else that I am taking a break from over the holiday is social media. I try hard not to rise to the bait, but the EU exit agreement brought out the wqorst of the Remain camp with some very puerile comment and I duo not want to block people just because I do not agree with them. Instead I just take a break from their assault on my timelines: The ostrich approach again.

It has not all been slacking off though for on Christmas Eve I did my corporation tax return and annual report and accounts, all on-line through the HMRC web site. This is a relatively easy process now and I applaud the advances that have been made. It is about 15 years since I fired my accountant and started doing these things myself and it has got progressively easier as the systems have been improved. On Thursday it took me less than an hour from start to finish including pulling the required figures together from my Excel spreadsheet into a format that suited the input requirements and sequence.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">I did not get the usual email acknowledgements to my submissions and initially thought that not might be due to the proximity of the holidays plus Covid-19 effects on staffing, but it dawned on me today that I had not had any other emails into my business address for a couple of days. On checking I had been subjected to one of those occasional spam attacks and my mailbox was full so today I have had to do some complex file editing on line to undo the logjam and things are now working again.I did not get the usual email acknowledgements to my submissions and initially thought that not might be due to the proximity of the holidays plus Covid-19 effects on staffing, but it dawned on me today that I had not had any other emails into my business address for a couple of days. On checking I had been subjected to one of those occasional spam attacks and my mailbox was full so today I have had to do some complex file editing on line to undo the logjam and things are now working again.

Out in the garden I have had a walk around to make sure that everything isa secure ready for the high winds that are forecast. The first of the two water butts on the new shed is almost full to the connecting tube with the second butt and so, with the heavy rain forecast for tomorrow, I should be well on the way to having both butts full and available for when the watering season starts.There are some bulbs showing shoots above the ground already and some of the new leaves on shrubs are starting to burst early. I hope that we do not have to severe a Winter now.

I hope that you have all had a successful Christmas, if you celebrate it, and are all safe and sound. See you agin next week.

the lockdown log 38


My usual Thursday scribble here was put off as I had a day out down in Shoreham to visit an airline simulator for a couple of hours playing with a virtual Boeing 737-800. This was a belated birthday present and had to be fitted in around various issues with the lockdown and travel restrictions plus those that apply to the leisure sector.

Nearly three hours driving each way plus an intensive couple of hours concentrating on flying 70 odd tons of aeroplane mostly manually took up my whole day and I was too knackered by the time that I got home to be able to focus on this blog so it has had to be put off until today.

The sun is shining and I had planned to get an exercise walk in this morning, but I am making soda bread and we have number one daughter on the ‘phone from Down Under too so maybe I will get out later. I am well on track to beat the 1020 km target by the end of December, but I would like to get at least a couple of km in today. As it is the holiday season I have given up on the diet for a couple of weeks, relaxed my eating regime a little and am avoiding the scales. Normal service will resume in January.

The news continues to frustrate me, especially the desire to blame the government for all ills. IOt is the people who are causing the problem here by mixing too much and unless the government introduce draconian penalties they will not behave. Perhaps putting troops on the streets with orders to shoot on sight might do the trick…

Similarly Brextit: Why is it our fault that the EU do not understand what out means? We are leaving and that means that they should have no control over us. It is that alone that is at the centre of the problem regardless of how they dress it up. What with that intransigence and the Remain camp trying to put a spoke in at every opportunity it is no wonder that things have dragged on.

In health terms all is well here with us. Possibly the mask wearing whilst out and much hand sanitising has helped in avoiding catching anything else as well. We had out ‘flu jabs a while back now just in case and will welcome the chance of a Covid jab when they become available to us. Vaccination is the only way that we can beat this thing and get back to some semblance of what we used to have. I doubt whether we will ever get back to the way that we were because change is constantly happening. The last ten months have seen much change in, for example, shopping habits and accelerated the death of the High Street.

Christmas is almost upon us and this time next week it will all be over. As usual for us we have no decorations up beyond the rows of cards from friends (there are a couple of Christmas robin ornaments, but they stay out all year because we like them). No-one will visit and we will stay put here. Any contact with the outside world will be by ‘phone or Skype and that suits us. There is food in the ‘fridge, freezer and larder and we have some booze too so we will be happy with just us and the cats.

We know that others would prefer to have larger gatherings. They will do what they think right and we hope that, if they do gather, that no harm will come to them from it. Other than that, as always, stay safe out there wherever you are.

the lockdown log 31


A bit late this week as it has been a hectic one here, but we are both still functioning. This is being written on Sunday afternoon and so we know that we are heading for another lockdown if parliament vote for it on Wednesday. Do we need it? Buggered if I know; we will just have to cope with whatever it brings and will, as so far, do what we are asked to do.

I would normally have written this on Thursday morning, but I got up to find that the dishwasher had died and spent most of the morning checking the obvious things to see if I could get it going again, but to no avail: A new one is needed. Grabbing the chance to get some outside work done and an exercise walk in meant no time for sitting here blogging. Friday and Saturday vanished ion a blur of jobs and Sunday mornings are always housework time so here I am taking a few minutes after getting various month end stuff done on-line. The sun is out although it was supposed to be raining and I might have an unexp[ected chance to get some time in the garden before cooking dinner.

My weight loss is still going the right way and I am down to 107 kg having hit my 108 target the week before. I still have not drunk the bottle of London Porter that I had promised myself and it is sitting in the ‘fridge awaiting the moment when I feel I have really earned it. Something in my mental approach to dieting has gone awry here and I seem to have lost all focus. On that basis I have held my reward back even though the scales tell me that I have gone below the point that I had set.

This morning I went out and walked just over 6 km in just over an hour. I did not want to go out and, when I did, I did not want to go far, but I just got my head down and got on with it despite it not being a nice morning. This was another example of my head not being in the game and having to push myself to get on with it. There may be an element of diet/exercise fatigue creeping in after 4 months and I clocked up 500 km walked since July late last week. Walking gets in the way of my various DIY projects and as for my hobbies, well they are largely forgotten. I do not have enough hours in the day to do everything that I want to do let alone having to coupe with clapped out domestic appliances.

Nil illegiti carborundum as we used to say and I fall back on buy basic principle that life is shit that you have to rise above. As long as I can still laugh about it and still get some results everything will be OK.

All for now as I have other things to get done. Next week I will try and fit in some news about the local wildlife. Stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 30


Autumn has come, the leaves are falling heavily on the remnants of various Atlantic storm systems and it is generally wet and cold. Outside jobs are not much fun and neither is walking for exercise, but both are necessary, so how to motivate myself?

There is a serious issue here in trying to sustain the progress that I have made so far over the last year with the garden renovation and, since July, my weight loss. In terms of the former there is an element of burnout, but it is less critical in that I have the Winter to finish things off now. The weight loss program is more urgent and whilst I have lost a lot so far I know that there will be another plateau sometime soon and any slacking off will bring that on and/or make it worse.

At least I can deal with setbacks more often than not and if I do have a bad week with no weight loss, or worse a gain, I am sure that it will just drive me to regain my position over the next week.

The shed has finally arrived and is up. The picture below shows it as built and it has already been painted on the three sides that we can see, plus much of the interior. The back will get painted when I next get a couple of dry days, but before that I will put the shingles on the rear of the roof. The shed can then be pushed back into place against the fence and I can do the front shingles. The capping pieces are on order and will, hopefully, be here next week.

Time is my biggest resource issue at the moment. The days are getting shorter and there is a lot to squeeze in. When it is wet I will not run power out to the shed so am restricted to jobs that I can do with hand or battery tools. That is not too bad as the pressure is off and all I need to do is to make sure that I do a bit every day and weave into those jobs the annual stuff; I have over 100 bulbs to plant in the next three weeks or so for example, have leaves to clear, grass to cut and so on. It all helps to fill my days.

Over the course of writing this the sun has come out and the light makes everything seem more cheerful. I have a chicken roasting in the oven for dinner tonight though and there is the veg to go with it that need preparing and cooking. Any further outdoor activity will have to wait until tomorrow.

I hope that you are all well out there. Stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 25


This week we have had a red letter day in that the Berkshire Belle steeled herself and let me take her out shopping. Apart from an occasional potter around the front or back yard it was the first time that she had been out of the house since February.

Confidence is important and suddenly she has that back in spades and that, in turn, has done wonders for me. When you care about someone it can drag you down too when they are having problems and so I am really pleased that we have made a step forward.

The new shed is starting to assume mythical properties. It was supposed to arrive at the local supplier last week and then their carrier was going to call me with a date for getting it to me. So far I have not cashed it as it isn’t really that important; I have plenty of other things to do, but it is an irritant and poor customer service in terms of communication.

Another delivery related to the shed has arrived and I thought that I had two problems; one in terms of damaged goods and the other being the wrong size had been supplied. I contacted the supplier using the relevant page on their web site last Friday and got a response yesterday morning (Wednesday) asking for photos. As I stood by the item later in the day ready to photograph it my ‘phone rang; it was the supplier asking why I had not responded to their email. Fact checking showed that I did have the right item, but I had been mislead first by reading mm as cm and then by assuming that the quoted dimension was length as the items is used lengthways. Wrong; the dimension is the width and so I did have the right things, just not enough of them and I need to have another measure and a re-think.

These things are the drawback to on-line shopping in that You can’t see and feel the item before you buy, but in the current environment buying on-line has become our norm for so much. Today we are due six deliveries two of which have arrived; one from the butcher ad one from the greengrocer. The fishmonger’s parcel is about 15 minutes away as I write this and Amazon will be here with the rest anytime up until around 7pm.

Today is a special day in that we have been together for thirty one years. Not bad for what many who knew us assumed would be a six seek wonder. There will be no real celebration of this milestone though, just a Thai style fish curry for dinner tonight and, probably, no booze either. We are trying to stay healthy and squeeze in as many more years together as we can.

My weight still comes off. Half a kilo, half a kilo, half a kilo onwards to paraphrase Tennyson. At this rate it will take me to the end of this year to make the target of 108 kg, which is 17 stone in old money, that I set myself before I could have another bottle of beer. This week has not been a good one in dietary terms, but a lot of physical exercise has presumably helped offset that. Another target passed this week is that my exercise walks have totalled 100 miles since I started back at the end of June. Meanwhile there is a bottle of London Porter by the wine rack awaiting my loosing another six kilos.

Stay safe out there wherever you are.