Last few pounds – Week 3 BSD

I haven’t weighed this little since 2012 and I’m trying to get my head around how to lose the last 5 to 7 lbs and how to keep them off. They aren’t the “last” for any good reason. My body doesn’t know they’re the “last”. I could lose 20 pounds and still weigh more than I have in the past.  I could lose 30 pounds and still have a ‘healthy’ (though not healthy for me) BMI. I’ve chosen the arbitrary goal weight because that’s where I think I might find a healthier waist measurement – not because I have some dream of getting to where I used to be.

That’s a major bonus of being in my late 50s; I’ve drawn a line under wishing for something I had when I was younger – not just physically, but in all sorts of ways. This age is about looking forward, being positive, taking opportunities and doing my best to live in good health if I’m blessed with a long life.

Of course, there’s also curiosity. What will I look like slimmer than I’ve been in many years? If my face starts to wrinkle in any alarming way, I’ll definitely stop. If my clothes start to be too loose, I’ll stop because I can’t afford a new wardrobe. If the weight comes off the wrong areas and not the right ones, I’ll also stop and reassess whether it’s a change in exercise I need, not fewer calories.

So my “goal weight” is a combination of health, vanity and practicality; the number is flexible. I really needed the quick loss and recalibrating my food and exercise that the very low calorie approach has given me, but I’m going to ease up, add back some calories to normal losing levels of a pound per week.

This post from 2011 still resonates with me for thinking about life beyond reaching a goal. The long-term plan is in many ways more important than the weight loss journey itself and it’s not just about calories consumed and exercise.


I was thinking yesterday that dieting/weight loss/food&body sanity are almost a hobby for me. I have an ‘expert layperson’s’ interest in the process, the changing research and the social climate around these subjects.

I thought I knew a lot, so have been surprised by a couple of things on this blood sugar diet. First, I’m able to exercise and feel good on very few calories. I don’t recall this before. I’m not sure if it’s the uber healthy make-up of the diet, my different stage of life, or just that I was talking myself out of exercising during previous attempts at lower calorie dieting.

I’m also surprised that I don’t crave alcohol. It’s hard to explain but, essentially, when I think about a drink, I don’t get that buzz of anticipation. I know that sounds like an alcoholic speaking but this change in diet has made a huge difference. Very interesting.  (I’ve had less than 3 units of alcohol in 2 weeks. My liver is overwhelmed with gratitude.)

Finally, and this is more my age than the diet, I think I will have to weigh less than at previous ages to achieve the same size – or at least it seems that the scale is ahead of the measuring tape this time when it’s usually been the other way around. Of course, that may be my own body image perception problem and not a problem rooted in fact.

Here are a few old posts around the subject of body image and size perception.

I Feel Fat

I Blame Lycra

Fat Armpits


Blood Sugar Diet – 2 weeks in

I lost very little in the second week but a total of 7 pounds in two weeks is nothing to sneeze at, as my mother would say.

The best thing is that my clothes are fitting comfortably and it’s been a while since I could say that.

To fit in with a social event, I upped my calories to 1500 yesterday and burnt off 400 ish on a walk/run so still a decent deficit. My biggest victory was making the decision to do that, planning what I was going to eat and sticking to it. Anyone who has a history of blowing a diet in anticipation of a social occasion will know how satisfying that was.

So onward to weeks 3 and 4 and seeing where they will take me. Though I’ll always be mindful of numbers on a scale, (can’t crack that habit of a lifetime), my goal is to have a healthy (ish) waist measurement.

The NHS says 31.5 inches for a woman. No, sorry, not likely to happen. In fact it says I should run to the GP because of my huge risk of dying. For the record, my GP isn’t concerned. It’s hard to know who to listen to. (Edit: 88 cm is 34.7 inches – which was obviously rounded up 9 years ago and down recently.)

The waist to hip ratio that would indicate my body fat isn’t going to kill me soon is under .85. This is a possibility but only if I can keep the weight on my hips that I usually lose. We’ll see. The ‘ideal’ ratio is not on the agenda unless I want to weigh less than I did when I was 11.

That leaves aiming for a waist that measures less than half my height. This seems possible as I’ve achieved it in the past and especially now that my most recent height (measured at a hospital appoinment) has me a whole centimetre taller than I thought I was. Somewhere in the vicinity of 32.5 inches would be a monumental achievement and would only be ‘true’ first thing in the morning, but we will give it a go.

Here’s what the NHS was recommending 9 years ago. 

BSD Day 10 – Cholesterol

A few years ago I found out I had slightly raised cholersterol but, everything taken into account, it wasn’t going to do me much harm. However, I was fascinated because my diet seemed very healthy and, at the time, low fat. After much internet searching, I came across a study on raised cholesterol in people who drink coffee brewed without any filters. As a longtime cafetiere brewer who drinks at least two large mugs of coffee every day, I decided to start pouring my brewed coffee through a filter into my mug.

A few months later I had another blood test and got that dreaded call from the surgery to say the doctor wanted to speak to me. Amusingly, it was to find out how I’d managed to drop my cholesterol so dramatically, so I told her about the filters and I didn’t think about my cholersterol again.

That is, until a routine full blood count about 8 months ago for a completely unrelated reason revealed  startlingly high cholesterol – way beyond what my previous highest level had been and high enough to get me an appointment with a lipids specialist at the local hospital. I have a feeling alarms rang and lights flashed when they entered my numbers into a computer.

So off I trotted to the hospital (almost literally; it’s a mile walk through the countryside from my house) for my appointment. First I got measured and weighed only to be told I was a whole centimeter taller than I’d spent the last 40 years saying I was. I promise I haven’t grown but I decided to go with it. Why argue?

Then, I spent a good half hour with a dietician who had apparently never met anyone so in tune with her diet. (Read: a little on the spectrum about keeping records. It’s a family thing, unlike cholesterol.) Anyway, after a quick run-through of my diet, we ended up talking about what her mum could do about her menopausal symptoms.

When I finally saw the consultant, she was a little bit taken aback at my high numbers with no family history of heart disease or high cholesterol. She also asked about my diet and I got to share my brilliant coffee story. I was very relieved to hear her say that she didn’t really want to start me on statins (I’d done some reading about women and statins) and was more interested to see what I could do via diet alone. Apparently, if you’ve been able to change your cholesterol levels with diet alone then you can’t have the familial problem, but I remained a bit of a mystery.

Even though my diet was very healthy, on reflection, I’d been completely taken in by the “high fat dairy is better than low fat dairy” argument. We’d also been eating very low carb and our protein (much of it meat-based) was higher than it needed to be. For the past seven months, we’ve halved the protein portions in our meals and I’ve gone back to eating low and non-fat dairy and getting my fat from olive oil and some nuts and seeds.

Tomorrow is my follow-up fasting lipids test so I’ll know in a couple of weeks what effect the diet has had. Stay tuned.

This may not seem Blood Sugar Diet related but it bangs on about full fat dairy being fine and the  myth that low fat dairy has more sugar and carbs than high fat dairy is repeated frequently on the BSD800 website forum. I’ll blog about that when I get my blood test results.


Week 1 Results – blood sugar diet

Keep in mind that, pounds-wise, I’m not very overweight. However, because all my fat is stored around my middle and my torso is very short, I know I have to lose a good 10 – 15 pounds. OK, 10 for health and another 5 for a combination of vanity and just to see if I can do it. (Aside: you should hear the regular debates I have with my hairdresser over whether it’s luckier to be born with the ‘skinny arms & legs’ gene or the ‘shapely waist’ gene. In my experience you can’t have both. )

So, Podge here needs to lose 10-15 pounds and I’m really really fed up with trying to do that slowly. Slow weight loss is a wonderful thing and I would encourage everyone to give it a go first. It educates you in what it feels like to eat for a healthy lifestyle rather than a diet – and that’s the reason I’m no longer on a 30lb lose/gain rollercoaster. However, I just got to a point where I was quitting too soon, making too many excuses to overeat, and simply not seeing the results I wanted. Above is the pattern you can see repeated in my life many times in past few years and I was so tired of the 150 – 157 bounce.

I’d heard about the low blood sugar diet and dismissed it as impossible for me until my ‘fed up’ levels overtook my ‘I can’t do that’ levels and I decided to gird my dieting loins and give it a go for two weeks.

Today was my official (rather than purely observational) scale moment and I’ve lost a total of just under 5 pounds. In one week. That’s three to four times faster than usual, the kind of weight loss I thought only very overweight people got. I always discount the first two pounds of any diet because they’re the ones that come back as soon as I eat a cracker, so I’ve lost 3 pounds. I’ve been walking or walk/running most days and trying to keep up the weight-bearing exercises so hoping that’s mostly fat. Bring on Week 2.

I found this post about  “slow dieting”, describing how I finally lost my nemesis 25 pounds many years ago and made peace with eating. I’ve kept off 15 of those permanently and am today only 5 pounds away from being there again, so I don’t want to discourage anyone from taking the slower road. It’s what got me to food/body sanity and that’s a very worthwhile destination.

Blood Sugar Diet – Day 6/14

Been thinking about why it’s easier for me to stick to 800 calories a day than 1400 calories a day. Even on my challenging tired day, I only ate 1000 calories. I think the answer is two-fold.

  • My normal ‘sensible’ approach to losing weight involves 1400 calories of food and 200 calories worth of exercise. There’s no doubt it works if I stick to it, but it’s rare that I stick to it for more than three weeks and even then I don’t really stick to the 1400 calories, especially on weekends. It seems to set me up for ‘just a little treat’ and we all know where that leads.

When I’ve only got 800 calories, I know that means real sacfice for a bit. There’s no wiggle room for adding  poor quality calories if I also want to have energy. I guess what I’m saying is that I need an options-free method of weightloss. There’s lots of variety but it’s nothing that I’m prone to overeating and it’s good quality so fills me up.

  • There’s also the bonus of seeing weight come down almost every day and being able to say, ‘only 2 weeks’ when I think it’s getting hard. I’m almost half-way there and am on track to losing more in a week than I’d usually lose in three.  So it’s the addition of the motivational loss, but also a lack of boredom. I just know it’s not going to go on forever before I have a noticeable loss. I’m fascinated to know how long it will take to lose 10 pounds and that’s motivating too.

I’ll let you know tomorrow if that kind of confidence was the kiss of death.

I know; that’s entirely up to  me.

In the meantime, we’re having a tuna and blackbean salad with toasted almonds and mayonaise(ish) dressing.

Here’s a good example of previous good dieting intentions doomed to fail.


BSD Day 5/14

There was no post yesterday because there was little sleep the night before.


Not sure what else I can say. In the past few years it’s been interrupted by hormonal night sweats, stress, leg cramps, itching,  and more. Did I mention stress?

I’m happy to announce that yesterday’s sleep was interrupted by birdsong and light. I can take that. Rather than waking from 3-5 as I used to, I simply woke too early and couldn’t get back to sleep.

But the consequences for the rest of the day were a foggy brain and a desire to eat. Of course, there’s also the problem that it’s a very long day, so you just have more hours in which to feel hunger. However, despite around 200 extra calories, I was down another pound this morning. I was fully prepared for a slight water-based rise, so that was a nice surprise.

And this is why I’m at my mental-healthiest when I can look at a number like a scientist and say, ‘Hmm, interesting’.

I don’t have any old posts on sleep, but here’s one from the archives on depression and weight loss.


BSD Day 3/14

No exercise today. I’ve got a skin condition that flares with sweat. Not nice, but sometimes (like yesterday) I just need to run for my mental health, so I suck it up, itch,  then do nothing the next day except stay cool and love my skin.

Funnily, “doing nothing” included walking a mile to drop something off at a friend’s house. In our post-car life, a casual mile walk doesn’t count as exercise, but at least that’s 70 calories I wouldn’t otherwise have burned.

Anything else of note on Day 3? I’m not particularly hungry, but I will be by supper time. Yesterday I asked the partner to come and shred the poached chicken because I knew I’d eat half of it before it got near a salad. I was happy to make the dressing.

Salad Dressing. I can’t believe I spent more than 20 years of my adult life buying salad dressing and being intimidated by people who made their own. I’m the perfect example of someone raised in the convenience food 60s and 70s by a working mother who hated to cook even when she did have the time. I was in my twenties before I realised spaghetti didn’t have to come out of can and in my forties before I worked out that olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some grainy mustard make poached chicken salad delicious and healthily filling.

What other things would I never have thought about before? Spices. Besides chili powder and cinnamon I didn’t really have spices. Well, I had them but I never ran out of them. Now I buy cumin in bags and go through them frequently. Chili flakes, fresh basil on the window sill, all sorts. Our spice cupboard is bursting.

Must clarify that I still hate cooking and have passed most of it on to the more responsible adult in the house. He likes cooking; I like eating. It works.

I thought I was going to talk about weiging today, but I found an old post about ‘Scale insanity’ which still says it all for me.

BSD Day 2/14 – stuff I know

Been reading many threads of the BSD website forum.

As always, I find myself being inspired, informed, wary, afraid and downright judgemental. (Forgive me)

It also made me reflect on how all my work, research and reflection on the weight loss process has changed my habits and thus, to a certain degree, my life.

For instance – junk food. I know without any doubt whatsoever that anyone who loves junk food and wants to lose weight needs to get all that junk food out of the house. Seriously – nothing tempting in the cupboards during the weight loss phase and maybe even forever. It sounds so harsh but it’s very much cruel to be kind advice.

Your partner likes chocolate? I tell mine to go buy all the chocolate he’s craving and eat it on the way home from the store.

Kids like crisps (potato chips)? Limit them to weekends only – everything eaten and out of the house by Sunday suppertime. They shouldn’t be eating them every day anyway. If they’re old enough to buy their own, apply the partner’s chocolate rule.

I wasn’t expecting to rant, but CHANGE requires CHANGE. I’m largely shouting that to myself. For me it’s alcohol. Even then, I wanted to type ‘wine’ as though a gin and tonic would be ok today if I really wanted it.

I won’t make promises for the future, but during these first two weeks alcohol isn’t going to be in my life. My choice is have a drink or lose weight.

For two weeks.

If I can’t achieve that then I have a bigger problem than a spare tire around my middle.

Here’s an alcohol related post from the archives: Alcohol and the Middle Aged Woman


Blood Sugar Diet Day 1/14

Warning – this could get boring.

Trying to stay positive and patient with myself for needing to be food- obsessed for a few days. I’m not going to attempt this on diet autopilot as is my normal pattern.

First challenge: remember that I like coffee with just a splash of milk.

Second challenge: eat. then stop eating.

Third challenge: walk.

Simple? It’s 11:30 am and I’ve accomplished the first and am charging up the ipod for the third.

The second – and not in an eating disorderish way, I promise – is the difficult one.

Oh – there’s the fourth challenge: to start every sentence and thought with something more positive that “I hate”. Seriously – need to work on positive thinking, but it doesn’t come naturally.

Off to walk to the grocery store (3.5 miles return) to buy some seeds to round out the blueberries and yogurt.