Some Home Truths About Losing That Baby Weight

Home Truth No. 1: Meet the Prolactin Hormone

After I gave birth to my daughter, I “shed” around 8kg in the first two weeks. This should sound ridiculous to you because it is. I believe the cause was acute anxiety and severe insomnia. As the acuteness of the anxiety wore off, I took to comfort eating and – surprise! – the weight piled on swiftly. With my second child, I was calm and and after 10 days, I had “lost” my son’s birthweight almost to the gram – nothing more. Knowing that I would be at home alot with my infant and that it would be tempting to reward/ comfort myself with food, I took myself off to Weight Watchers when he was two weeks old. I followed their breastfeeding formula (when you can eat WAY more than a member who is not breastfeeding, but way less than I would otherwise have eaten). Some weeks I was really good about sticking to the programme, other weeks I wasn’t as good for as many days. It didn’t seem to matter. Each week I would step onto the scale and I would be 200g lighter. “It’ll creep off,” the Group Leader would smile encouragingly. Awesome!

At my 6 week check-up with my gynae I relayed my experiences. I found his response utterly liberating. He explained that during the first 12 weeks after birth, your prolactin levels are high and this meant that weight loss would be slow during this time. Obviously, my gynae wasn’t suggesting that I ate whatever I liked during this time, so I carried on trying to stick to Weight Watchers but was no longer disappointed with my weekly 200g loss as I believed this would improve after 12 weeks – which it did. (I have also read that prolactin can stimulate appetite – no doubt because it is connected to milk production and on a basic level it is egging the body on to store up fat reserves in the event of famine which would endanger the baby.)

Home Truth No. 2: Newsflash: Breastfeeding Does Not Cause Weight Loss. Get Over It.

My GP told me this long ago. My dietician told me this after my first child was born. But despite hearing it from trained professionals, it still felt like the whole world was declaring that “breastfeeding causes weight loss”. Even the pamphlet at the hospital where I gave birth to my son listed weight loss as one of the advantages of breastfeeding. Based on some high level research, anecdotal evidence and my own experiences, these are my thoughts on what I believe to mostly be a myth.

Let’s be honest – it is not in the best interests of medical professionals to actively dispel the myth that breastfeeding will make you thin. On a basic nutritional level, experts agree that “breast is best” so if women think of breastfeeding as a calorie quaffer, so much the better.

Here’s why I think that so many women (incorrectly) attribute their post-baby weight loss to breastfeeding:

Experts seem to agree that if you’re breastfeeding, you need to eat about 500 calories (about 2,000kj) more per day than you would otherwise need, to maintain your weight. (This may sound like a lot but if you are stuffing your face with cakes, macaroons and muffins, 500 calories is nothing.) I suspect that there is a significant category of women who continue to eat roughly the same as what they ate before breastfeeding – or maybe just slightly more. They would then automatically create a calorie deficit and therefore lose weight. One study calls such women “restrained eaters”. On the extreme end of “restrained eaters” we have the Heidi Klums and Angelina Jolies of this world. Classic examples of the post hoc fallacy (I knew that Economics course would come in handy): they breastfed and then they lost weight and so they concluded that breastfeeding caused the weight loss. I can’t attest to what these women did or didn’t put in their mouths, but my guess would be that a) they were super skinny before they fell pregnant and gained the minimum amount of weight possible during pregnancy  and b) they ate very, very carefully post birth. A simple case of “calories in” versus “calories out” rather than some breastfeeding miracle.

Home Truth No. 3: Comfort Eating Leads to Self-Loathing

I thought I’d start out with some tough love on this topic, because it really is that simple but oh-so hard to put into practice. If you’re prone to comfort eating, try to do it in moderation because when you’re housebound and you have so little time to yourself and you’re up half the night, you could find yourself virtually comfort eating around the clock. Find something that’s realistic and practical to do in its place, like watching a DVD series while you feed – without a bag of chips next to you. For me, walking around my neighbourhood became my refuge. These are things that don’t require pre-planning and that you can fit in at the last minute (essential with small babies) and which you can do more than once a day. And they don’t involve food.

Home Truth No. 4: Walk! (or something)

I fully agree with Scary Mommy who said that she can’t relate to people who claim to have lost weight from “running after their children“. Like Scary Mommy, I only mix running with child-rearing if I hear something like a loud thud signalling imminent danger for my offspring. Child rearing is exhausting but it probably doesn’t burn as many calories as we’d like to think and that’s why if you want to boost weight loss attempts, I believe it’s best to do some dedicated exercise. I don’t really count vacuuming although it certainly can’t hurt, but I don’t think it should replace a brisk walk – or if you’re a Sporty Spice then whatever you do for exercise. I’m advocating walking because you can do it with your kid in a pram and for most of us, there’s really no excuse to open that front door and go for a walk.

So How Do I Shed This Freaking Weight, Then?

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably not a “restrained eater” and you probably find it hard to listen to women who say “just eat normally!” Personally, I need a framework – even if I don’t stick to it entirely. Weight Watchers is great because it’s really flexible in terms of what you eat plus they have a specific breastfeeding programme. I also love the app MyFitnessPal which my friend Megan introduced me to after she had her third child. It takes a little getting used to and some discipline to input everything that goes in your mouth, but after a while you should have an idea of what you need to eat to create a calorie deficit – which, as well all know deep down, is the only way to lose weight.

(PS: My girlfriends and I finally quaffed that “goal weight” champers a couple of months ago)

One (Wo)man’s Fat Jeans…

…might just be another (wo)man’s goal weight jeans…

In my post Is Your Body Lotion Making You Fat? I joked about how that diet’s literature counselled users not to use body lotions as the creams could be “absorbed by the skin as fat”. I still find the statement hilarious. As to its veracity, I can’t say I bothered consulting with anyone in the medical field (apart from the medical practitioners you pay to give you the diet) so I have no idea if it’s true or not. It just sounds ludicrous. Nonetheless, since I first started eating meals that looked like this:

A typical lunch or dinner on "the body lotion diet"
A typical lunch or dinner on “the body lotion diet”

on the body lotion diet, I’ve lost 13kg – with the application of body cream (believe it or not).

This is me at 71kg in mid-March:

71kg on 19 March 2014
The head that goes with the body to prove it really was me
The head that goes with the body to prove it really was me

I look drab because I dressed drab and I dressed drab because I felt drab. I didn’t have “no energy” and sure, I wasn’t morbidly obese (although, technically, I might have been had my body fat percentage been taken) but my new favourite Country Road pants were cutting into me at the waist and I just felt kak. I hated getting dressed in the morning, I hated catching sight of my body in the mirror. And it pissed me off that I had gained enough weight to technically make me need to buy size 14 pants – all in the space of a few months (not that I was skinny before).

I felt like I needed to do something really drastic and different to change the central role that food and eating was playing in my life (and has always played ever since I can remember). I was also pissed off that my weight was taking up so, so much of my headspace. I mean – what a serious waste of brainpower and energy, right? Because I knew that it didn’t have to be this way. I knew I could look – and feel different. I was the only thing standing in my way.

Fast forward four months. This is me last night just before a rare and wonderful date night with my husband:

58kg on 13 July
58kg on 13 July

I’m stoked, to put it mildly. I now weigh 58kg (butt naked, first thing in the morning “pre-coffee and post-wee” as Susan Hayden once elegantly put it). I am 1.66m tall and according to Weight Watchers I should weigh between 55kg and 69kg. That’s based solely on height, not bone structure but I know I’m not a mesomorph (Serena Williams) so I shouldn’t weigh 69kg and I know I’m not an ectomorph (Kate Moss) so I doubt I need to weigh 55kg. I have tiny wrists but I have child-bearing hips (as my first ever personal trainer was frank enough to put it), my mother’s non-existent arse, her broad back and my paternal grandmother’s “problem” thighs. And thanks to my recent weight loss I no longer have boobs. Yip, I am officially an A-cup. But I have two skinny friends whose boobs disappeared after breastfeeding so I have been well counselled in the way of push-up bras. And my very generous husband is happy to buy me boobs. And I am more than happy to accept his generous offer. Feminist shock horror, I know. I actually do consider myself somewhat of a feminist – albeit a far less fervent one than I was in my “youth”. I’m just a vain feminist and if buying boobs is on offer, then I’d like a pair. Thanks, Babe.

Despite exercising 4-6 times a week on average for the past 5 years (including resistance training twice a week with a personal trainer), my tummy and thighs are still – even at 58kg – soft and spongy. But for the 3 weeks a year a spend in a bikini in public, I can totally live with that. Or I can train harder for a harder stomach. Whatever. Life is short.

As for other (wo)mens’ fat jeans… I distinctly remember my neighbour letting slip what she weighed when we were both around 6 months pregnant with our second children last year. 53kg. I think I might have weighed that in Standard Three – before I got boobs. (I used to have boobs). I am now very proud to say that I am wearing her “fat” jeans. Okay, they are incredibly low and I can’t bend over but whatever – they’re Replays and they once belonged to someone who weighed 53kg when she was six months pregnant. Who needs to bend over? These are them jeans:

Proudly wearing my neighbour's fat jeans
Proudly wearing my neighbour’s fat jeans

Naturally, I am so thrilled with my new body that I could get slightly evangelical about the body lotion diet. But I am not here to punt it at all. I found it soul destroyingly difficult at first – yes, soul destroyingly difficult. I have no other words. The extreme deprivation was literally soul destroying. I didn’t (couldn’t) follow it nearly as closely as I was advised to by the doctor and nurse who counselled me. I didn’t really enjoy the fact that you’re advised to only do light cardio a few times a week owing to the low calorie intake. (I’m a stay at home mom – I now LIKE going to the gym). And I didn’t fully listen to that either. I took breaks from the diet many times which wasn’t advised. I gained back a bit of weight when I took my first two week break but when I took the second two week break, I exercised alot, ate a bit more carefully and didn’t gain back the weight.

I can honestly say that getting down to even 60kg has been sort of life changing. I like looking in my full length mirror. I like getting dressed in the morning. I enjoy shopping for clothes. And I don’t really mind what the size tag says – as long as they fit. (Okay, I won’t buy a size 14 even if it’s a Lilliputian size 14 but maybe one day I’ll get over that too). The nude coloured spaghetti strap top in the picture above is a top I bought from Witchery yesterday. It’s an XS and I truthfully I am just teensy bit stoked. (I have a medium-sized bone structure and I am not really an XS and Woolies is really generous with their sizing but whatever. The label says XS, okay? I might frame it…)

I feel on top of the world writing this post. I know there is a very real risk that I could gain all the weight back and more, but that is one of the reasons I am putting this in writing and making my experience very public. And it’s a very vain and shallow post to write but I am a stay-at-home mom and/or a housewife and it’s taken me years to utter those words out loud so I’m okay with calling myself vain and shallow.

But I’m not really fundamentally vain or shallow. Which is why I want to end off this post with something written by Amber Jones from Go Kaleo. Leigh – a close friend of my sister’s and a trained nutritionist “introduced” me to Amber Jones by posting a comment about her on my blog when I wrote about the deprivation of the body lotion diet. I don’t identify with absolutely everything Amber says about diets and food and weight but she sounds highly intelligent, I do relate to many things she writes and I have no doubt that she’s changing lives as we speak. This is an extract from something she wrote recently. It is so magnificently written and so profound, that I get a lump in my throat every time I read it. Despite the vain and shallow things I’ve written above, I agree with every single one of Amber’s words below:

Amber_rogers_lead-630x476

This picture of me does not tell you how happy I am. It does not tell you how much value I bring to the lives of others. It does not tell you how many people love me. It does not signify that I am better or worse than anyone else. It does not convey the works I create in this world.

Being fit is awesome, because it keeps me healthy and strong so I can go out in the world and do awesome things. Being fit, itself, is not the goal. Being fit is a means to accomplish my true goals. If your goal ends at ‘being fit’, think bigger! The world has so much more for you!

This is one of many links to Amber’s full article. To my fellow Fat to Fit challengers on Gaelyn Cokayne’s programme, entering Week 5 of the challenge, think about Amber’s words when you feel guilty for sharing a pizza with your toddler.

And to the love of my life: thank you for your unwavering support on this journey. You inspire me to be better – in every way. I look forward to so many runs, hikes, rides and adventures with you and our beautiful children.

Is Your Body Lotion Making You Fat?

When I started Weight Watchers five months after Chiara was born, I resigned myself to the fact that no matter how long it took, I wanted this to be the last “diet” I ever went on. A year later, I was 13kg slimmer. I wasn’t super skinny but I was within a few kilos of the lower end of the healthy weight range for my height and build. Then I fell pregnant with Joe and I used this as an excuse to indulge. By the end of my pregnancy I had packed on nearly 14kg.

Thanks to an easy birth and a wonderful night nurse, I was back at Weight Watchers 10 days after giving birth and back at personal training when Joe was two weeks old. My gynae explained to me that it would be difficult to shift weight in the first 12 weeks following child birth and he was absolutely right. It did get slightly easier after that and by the December holidays, I had managed to shed close to 11kg of the 14kg gained in pregnancy. But then came Mauritius, overseas guests, Christmas, New Years, my birthday, kiddies’ birthday parties… Every excuse in the book for me to gain back 6kg out of the 11kg I had managed to shift. And if you deduct Joe’s birth weight from the equation, it meant that 8 months after his birth, I was exactly 1.7kg slimmer than the day I gave birth.

Enter severe self-loathing and the decision to do something drastic.

I knew of someone who had shed a fortune of weight very quickly through one of these expensive medical slimming programmes. I generally don’t like diets that make me drink my food instead of eating it, nor do I like ones where I can hardly eat anything. This diet had both of those elements plus one added bonus: a daily injection in the arse. Awesome.

Nonetheless I made an appointment, had a big fat pizza the night before and went to the consultation prepared to starve myself to thinness. I had to smile. The questionnaire wanted to know why I was overweight, as if it were one of life’s great mysteries. “I eat too much,” I wrote.

The briefing with the nurse offered some good news and some bad. The bad news was that the hormone we were to inject daily would take a week to arrive. Psychologically I needed to start immediately. So this was really bad. The good news was that exercise wasn’t really encouraged since you’d be eating basically “eff all”. I could work with that.

Another bad sign was that I was asked three times, by three different people (therapist, nurse, doctor) whether I’d done this before.

“No!” I felt like screaming, “if I done this before I’d be skinny, right? Right? RIGHT?”

Of course the worst news of all was the daily meal plan:

– 30ml of skim milk
– 2 small fruits (excluding bananas and grapes)
– a shake for breakfast
– lunch and dinner: 75g of lean chicken/ fish with 120g of steamed veggies but not the yummy ones like butternut
– 3 provitas (and boy do I look forward to those three bad boys)

The theory behind the programme is that when you inject yourself with the hormone that is activated when humans actually face potential starvation – the HCG hormone – your brain tells your body to attack your fat reserves. But you can’t trick your brain into thinking that you’re starving if you’re not – hence the fact that you can barely eat.

Although I haven’t felt starving on the programme (supposedly the hormone means you don’t feel hungry) I have felt utterly deprived and at times miserably depressed. It has honestly been the hardest diet I have ever been on – and boy, have I been on plenty in my life. However, I have managed to shift 5.5kg after 20 days of (more or less) sticking to the regime in a 30 day period. So, I would argue that it has been worth it, even if I do gain back 1kg after eating one Easter egg this weekend.

Having said this, winter is not the most ideal time of year to go on this diet, because, according to the programme’s literature, you could be giving up cupcakes only to have your starving body guzzle up the calories in your cocoa butter. This is the warning:

“Body lotion and body butter: You will be surprised at the amount of calories body cream, oil, body butter and lotions contain. During the initial 6 week period, it is advisable not to apply any body lotion or cream or oil to your body. The absorption of fat by the skin can make a difference to the total amount of calories consumed…”

So with the beginning of winter and Joburg’s high altitude, I look and feel like a crocodile but at least I’m a slightly skinnier crocodile than I was a month ago…

On Khloe Kardashian, Self Esteem, Liz Hurley & White Jeans

Having a new baby means being awake at all sorts of ungodly hours. Thanks to The Husband’s generosity and pragmatism, we have a night nurse. I say “pragmatism” because he knows how grumpy I get when I am sleep deprived and he knows there is a practical – albeit costly – solution. Her name is Precious. She taps me gently while I am sound asleep and says with urgency:

“He’s awake!”

I fly out of bed in response to the urgency in Precious’ voice, dash to the nursery and then flop into the feeding chair and sometimes even fall asleep while Precious changes The Prince’s nappy and readies him for his feed. And then I generally sleep through the feed until she prods me and tells me it’s time to change sides. I can safely say that I would trade in my car if I had to, for the luxury of a night nurse. I feel human the day after Precious’ shift and like a dead woman walking the day after her night off.

Most nights I crawl back into bed and pass out after the feed, but some nights (and, fortunately, so far, not many) I simply can’t get back to sleep. This was the case a few nights ago. I was so wide awake that I eventually crawled out of bed at 4am and crept to the TV room.

I happened to turn on M-Net just as a show called The Talk started. It featured a bunch of women sitting around a table. Amongst the women, I recognised Sharon Osborne. As the introductory music ended and the audience applauded, one of the women introduced the first topic of the talk show with the solemnity one would expect were she reporting on a grave political crisis: Khloe Kardashian’s poor self esteem.

khloe-kardashian-279718138

The camera then cut to this round-table of female presenters looking traumatised by the news and brimming with empathy for the reality TV star. In order to give viewers a real taste of the emotional hardship endured daily by Khloe, the presenter quoted Khloe who had said that “being compared to somebody else every day does sort of beat up your spirit and soul.” Apparently Khloe reported that she had been called the “heavier” and “less attractive” of the sisters. Luckily for Khloe, Sharon Osborne was the first to comment with a statement that is bound to reverse all her psychological trauma:

“I just think she has the BEST personality out of everyone!” Sharon gushed, to rapturous applause from the in-studio audience.

Thanks, Sharon. You do know that you basically just called her ugly? When my dad was at university in the sixties, the prevailing catch phrase for an unattractive woman was: “She sure can cook!” With the emancipation of women and Woolworths microwave meals, the modern version of this maxim has morphed into: “She sure has a great personality”.

I konfess that I just kan’t watch Kris, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie Kardashian/ Jenner and their show at the best of times, although I can’t think of a better cure for insomnia than Khloe Kardashian’s complexes. If only I’d been able to keep the TV on for an extra minute or two, I would have been able to pass out from absolute apathy.

Aside from bad TV at 5am, the weeks following the birth of a child can be tough. Especially when they happen to be the very weeks when Hyde Park and Sandton City go on sale. About a week after The Prince was born, The Husband’s favourite Hyde Park store was offering 50% off all their merchandise and he was looking to spoil me. What could I do under the circumstances other than engage in aspirational acquisitions? I was immediately drawn to a gorgeous pair of white, skinny jeans with gold zips. Tres, tres St Tropez or tres, tres Sandton. But as I picked them up, I was reminded of something a friend told me last year. She told me that it had been said (by some famous and fabulous male stylist, I think) that if you’re a woman and your name is not Liz Hurley, you simply should not wear white jeans. Sorry, honey. Although I agree that I am not Liz Hurley and that I should not wear white jeans, I have always loved white pants and am delighted that white jeans have made a comeback. So I now have this pair – that cost 50% less than usual – hanging in my cupboard, staring at me and taunting me. I should somehow sticky-tape them to the fridge…

Liz Hurley Leaving Her Home London June 17, 2008

But since that’s not terribly practical, I decided to re-join Weight Watchers instead. I polished off a cupcake in the car on the way there and arrived ready to take a deep breath and step on the scale. The last time I attended Weight Watchers was before I found out that I was pregnant with The Prince – a time when I weighed a lot less than I do now. For this reason, I made a point of mentioning to the Group Leader that I had stopped Weight Watchers because I’d fallen pregnant (they don’t allow pregnant people to follow the programme) and that I was returning because I’d just had a baby. Clearly, however, I did not place enough emphasis on the word “just” because a few minutes later I climbed on the scale to hear the Group Leader say (raised eyebrow and all):

“I see… yes… well…your weight has gone up quite a bit.”

“I literally just had a baby eleven days ago!” I snapped.

To this, my fellow members responded as one would hope the Sisterhood would respond with remarks like:

“Oh my gosh, I’d still be in bed!” and

“You look amazing for someone who just had a baby!” (From my observations and my own behaviour, women say this to one another post babies, no matter what, but somehow it’s still nice to hear even if you know it’s a big, fat lie.)

I automatically felt better.

But sisterhood or no sisterhood, I still have to find a way into those designer white jeans before they go out of style again.

Man Cannot Live By Chocolate Alone

This is a magnet I’ve had on my fridge for years. I’m starting to think it may have been subliminally fuelling my love of chocolate…

It’s Monday today, which means my new diet starts today. (If I had R1 for every Monday that I intended to start a diet, I would be a bazillionaire.)

I think I need to change this slogan. I need a little inspiration from Little Britain’s Marjorie Dawes, the delightful Group Leader of her local Fat Fighters club. Here’s a quote from the rather voluptous Ms Dawes, who is trying to introduce her members to a new, zero calorie food substitute:

“Dust. Anybody? No. High in fat? Low in fat? Dust…It’s actually very low in fat. You can have as much dust as you like.”

Awesome. New motto:

MAN CANNOT LIVE BY DUST ALONE BUT NATALIE CAN

Granted, about a month and a half ago while I was standing on the Weight Watcher’s scale, holding my breath, sucking in my cheeks, wearing a dress so light it could be mistaken for a nightie… I had officially lost 10 kilograms since 22 July 2011. And yes, I remember that fateful day in July when I stepped onto the Weight Watchers scale and told the Group Leader that her scale was definitely broken as there was no way in hell that THAT number represented my weight.

But since the happy 10kg loss I have backslid somewhat a gained a kilo or so. Now, my goal of losing millions of kilos before leaving for New York on 25 May is no longer possible. Isn’t it amazing how time flies when you’re stuffing your face?

The Husband’s cycling buddy went on one of those insane diets where you lose like 5 kilos in 15 seconds. You know – those lovely diets where you inject yourself, eat two steamed peas for breakfast, drink a putrifying shake for lunch and snack on dust, air and your own saliva. She lost 5 kilos in two weeks, to be precise and went on to lose 14kg over three months. I know I should be happy for her but I am absolutely GREEN with envy. I decided drastic action was required.

So I checked out her diet and was really keen for a split second, but I’m just not big on jabbing myself daily like a druggie. And The Husband has been known to pass out at the sight of needles, so he’d be no help with my morning stabs. I also have an absolute abhorrence for shakes. Five months of Herbalife in first year varsity means I cannot stomach the smell of a shake – milkshakes aside, obviously. Five months of liquid for breakfast, liquid for supper. (The Herbalife plan allowed you to splash out and eat solids for lunch – YEEHA!). Of course I lost a fortune of weight but the minute I ate solids again – even just a freaking toasted sandwich now and then – I packed on the weight.

So that put paid to the 14kg in five minutes cycling diet, tempting as it was, seeing the results in the flesh.

I then voraciously consumed Tim Noakes’ theory which states that a high protein/ low carb intake is the business. But The Husband’s uber lean cycling friend who lives off things like chickpeas, lentils, wheat free Bircher muesli and fruit (and has body fat of about 7%), told me it was a bad idea. I trust thin, healthy people, so I took his word for it.

Okay, so then I checked out Dr Dukan’s diet on-line (“five million French people can’t be wrong”) but then I remembered reading a blog post last year by Mushy Peas on Toast. She started on Atkins, lost 2kg in a month, decided it was B.S and moved on to the Dukan Diet. Dukan is the diet that Tim Noakes implies Elizabeth Hurley got Fatboy Shane Warne onto. (Apparently Shane Warne is now looking rather ripped, but clearly I’m behind the times because I thought Liz Hurley was married to a Pakistani cricketer – can’t keep up with these celebs).

Anyhoo, so “Peas” from Mushy Peas on Toast tried Dukan with her colleague. Here’s what her colleague said about the experience:

Eating only skinless chicken breasts for 3 days made (me) go on a weekend binge fest that involved making love to vatfuls of cake.

Not ideal. With all the kiddie birthday parties The Princess get invited to I am confronted by alarmingly yummy butter icing cup-cakes. Mmmm.

So I scrapped the idea of the Dukan diet. I then got obsessed by a diet that my new mommy friend from down the road told me about: Healthpoint. I was ultra keen until a Google search revealed that this is an Amway product. I am not buying YET another diet. If I could get back all the money I have spent on diets and pills and shakes over the years, I’d also be a bazillionaire. So there went Healthpoint.

I then walked past the dieticians in Atholl Square and their first opening was this Thursday. Are you kidding me? No ways. First of all, you can’t start a diet on a Friday and second of all, this is freaking urgent, people!!!

Then I remembered a dietician I used to go to years ago. When she first handed me her diet plan I asked if she was trying to kill me. I later discovered that a friend of mine was also seeing her. She was referring to her as The Food Fascist and that set off a recognition trigger in my brain – OMG! Same girl! Aptly named, I have to say. Nonetheless, her very spartan diet did actually work, so I figured I’m going to do a combinantion of Weight Watchers and The Food Fascist’s diet and I’m going to go to my weekly Tuesday weigh-ins at Weight Watchers just so that I have an affordable policeman involved. There’s something about stepping onto the scale under the watchful eye of someone else, that can actually alter behaviour…

On The Food Fascist Diet I get to eat the following: (it’s so spartan, I can actually type it up for you in like 10 seconds).

BREAKFAST: half a cup of cereal with milk, 1 small fruit

LUNCH: 1 tin of tuna OR 2 eggs OR 2 small chicken breasts AND 2 teaspoons of margarine

SNACK: (Yeeha! I thought she’d outlawed snacking): 100ml Activia yoghurt OR 1 small fruit

SUPPER: same as lunch but can substitute with two hand size portions of fish

Veg (and dust) are free, but the good stuff like butternut and pumpkin are limited to one serving spoon full, so there goes my favourite butternut and avo salad from Tasha’s where they give you like half a butternut…

When I did The Food Fascist’s Diet in 2008, I lost 3.8kg in two weeks but I’ll settle for 3kg in 18 days. I’ll worry about the other 5kg post New York when I plan to drink my body weight in cocktails on top of the Empire State building or wherever it is that New York people drink cocktails. Everywhere – if The Sister’s stories are anything to go by.

Sounds like a plan.

Diets are always good in the planning stage.

Fortunately for my master plan, we had date night at DW Eleven-13 this Saturday night – i.e. BEFORE the commencement of The Food Fascist Diet. Oh my greatness, the food was amazing. And original. Normally, I am not a big fan of original and experimental. I like the food I know and like and I want it to taste GOOD. And I don’t want teeny, tiny French sized portions. And that’s what I like about DW. The overall cuisine and influence I would call French but the portions are Saffer size. Not ridiculously huge, but substantial. No room for dessert and side orders if you have a starter and a main which is just how I like it.

Plus, even though the chef and restaurant have won awards they are completely not up their own arses. They are so NICE – it’s really refreshing. When you call to see if they can squeeze you in last minute, they try their best. They don’t scoff and clear their throats and condescendingly tell you to call two weeks in advance.

Divine, divine up-market, fine dining restaurant. I highly recommend it.

Right folks, with the distant memory of DW‘s lamb and porcini lasagne, I’m off to measure out my half cup of All Bran. Eighteen days and counting…

New York, Crispy Cassava Snacks & Kit Kat Singles

The Princess first started to display signs of separation anxiety around 7 months or so. I think around 8 months is text book or something, so I wasn’t too surprised when it happened. Yesterday, however, her separation anxiety reached new heights. I literally had to go to the toilet with her on my lap. Her reaction was so violent when I tried to put her down that I thought she actually might injure herself if I laid her on the floor – albeit right in front of me – with her toys.

Fortunately for me, around the time her separation anxiety started, she became a Daddy’s Girl through and through. There was about a week where she would cling on to me and then she started putting her arms out for her Daddy while I was holding her and refusing to come to me from her Daddy’s arms. Part of me is mortified by this, but in many ways it makes life easier. For example, the guilt at jumping on a plane bound for New York will be cushioned by the fact that she will be having a ball with her Daddy for the four days I am not here.

Yip, for four days I will be trying to keep up with The Sister’s glamourous new life in New York City. On Saturday, I got an e-mail saying that she was about to head off to a private party in a loft apartment in Tribeca and that she thought she’d wear her leather pants. My knowledge of New York has been almost exclusively gleaned from Sex & the City. I don’t know where Tribeca is and I don’t own leather pants. When I started writing this blog, it was 11:49 on Sunday morning and I was still in my pyjamas. Not because I went clubbing until 4am that morning but because The Princess and I were embroiled in a battle of wills from 8am to 11am. She was supposed to go down for her morning nap at 8 or 8:30 at the latest and she finally, finally passed out at 11am. That’s a three hour long sleep battle with a ten and a half month old and I felt as though I had just run a marathon. I can’t imagine anything more exhausting. I can’t imagine that a 17 hour trans-Atlantic flight and four-day jet lag can come close.

So, in some ways, I am very ready for New York at the end of May and in some ways, I am so far from being ready. When I booked my flight, I set myself a goal to lose 8.5kg in the 17 weeks before leaving for New York – an average of 0.5kg per week. Sounds healthy and feasible, right? But it’s now three weeks later and whereas I should have lost 1.5kg, I have  lost only half of that – 800g. So now I have exactly 14 weeks to lose 7.7kg. I may need to move the goal posts a little but many kilos are going to need to be shed before I see myself in leather pants…

Enter the dieter’s version of crack cocaine:

1) Crispy Cassava Snacks from Woolworths.

1 small 20g packet = 1 point on Weight Watchers, out of a daily total of 20. Not bad, right? The bonus is that there is so much sh*t on these bad boys that one tiny little packet burns the living crap out of the roof of your mouth, thereby making further eating for the day somewhat painful. A dieter’s dream. My personal faves are the “Cream Cheese & Chives” variant. I find the “Vinegar & Lemon Pepper” flavour tastes like a lemon and I’m also not such a fan of the “Lightly Salted Flavoured” type. Lightly Salted Flavoured: sounds wrong, I know, but that’s what it says on the packet.

2) Kit-Kat Singles.

1 “finger” = 1 point on Weight Watchers. Totally worth it to satiate those chocolate cravings.

I was about to eat the whole bag bag on Sunday as I sat in my pyjamas, hair unbrushed, feeling totally mangled by my sleep fight with The Princess, while The Sister must surely be tottering home from her Tribeca loft party in her heels, ready to sleep off a hangover until midday. Fortunately, for my waistline, The Sister called just then. She said the loft was amazing, there were waiters serving French champagne and little canape thingies. It was, however, mainly populated by thirty-something New York women, looking for husbands. (Evidently, you can say this when you’re 28, you’ve just moved to New York and you’re blonde and hot). Unfortunately for all females concerned, men were apparently thin on the ground and the uber eligible bachelor owner of the amazing Tribeca pad was firmly up his own arse.

And it is armed with this information about the trials and tribulations of New York singletons, that I find the strength to put away the packet of Kit Kat Singles, brush my hair, slap on some make-up and walk to Tashas with The Princess in the Jozi sunshine.

Back on the Scale

I am proud to say that my holiday reading was entitled The Self-Hypnosis Diet. And I actually read it from cover to cover, while in the land of du vin, du pain et du Boursin (the land of wine, bread and Boursin cheese – and if you have not sampled the latter, go directly to your nearest good Spar or Woolies and indulge. It is to die for).
Anyway, so whilst in France, I was reading this book. I even listened to the accompanying CD, consisting of trancework. Trouble is, you have to lie down and close your eyes to do trancework and for me, lying down, closing my eyes and not sleeping is just an impossibility. The authors do say that the “message” contained in the trancework is “still received” by the unconscious mind – even if you are asleep. If this is the case, then that is indeed a score. Lose weight while you sleep. I like it.
Perhaps my unconscious was not hearing so well, though, because in the past three weeks of taking a sabbatical from Weight Watchers, I managed to gain 0.8kg. I suppose it could have been worse but of course I would have preferred no gain at all. I guess those many, many glasses of French wine and all the yummy French restaurants had to go somewhere. So now I have a measely 2.4kg loss to report over a 7 week period. Not exactly the stuff that dieting records are made of.
The plan of action to step this up and get serious again is to run a half marathon. There, now that I’ve written that in black and white and posted it to a public domain I will have no excuse but to do it. Else I will appear lame. And that’s because I will be lame. I planned to start running yesterday but found myself lying in bed absolutely paralysed with fear. Fear of the pain and exhaustion that running when you’re not running fit, causes. Whilst in France, I announced my running plans to The Husband, which is another sure way to make them stick. He suggested “we” (which means him running way, way ahead of me) enter the Irene half marathon because it’s “flat”. After consulting a friend who’s an experienced runner, I heard a different synopsis of the Irene half. There’s only “one bad hill”. Hmmm. Sounds alot scarier already…
During the same wave of enthusiasm for half marathons that hit me in France, I suggested to my half-sister, an East London resident, that she and I do the Surfers half-marathon in East London next year. I was initially attracted to the idea because it’s only 16km, instead of 21km, but here’s what expert friend had to say about the race:
 
Nats, the Surfer’s is an awesome race, but don’t be misled by the
distance, personally I think its much harder than an ordinary half
marathon.  You run in the middle of the day, boiling, start off running
on soft churned up sand, and about three quarters into the race you have
to run over boulders for a good stretch. You also have to swim through
2 rivers (on the upside, there are young hot life guards to help you
across!).
The Husband also swears he’ll run this race with me, but I’ve heard that one before. Shame, his ego just can’t handle running as slowly as I run and after the first five or ten minutes, he starts to speed up… he can’t help himself… and before I know it, he’s gone. Maybe I can try to make him jealous at the prospect of hot, young lifeguards hauling me across a river… That said, I’m not sure I want to suffer the indignity of being hauled across a river by anyone… Oh boy, what have I got myself into?
On a less exerting note, I have booked myself in for my very first hypnosis session. The Self-Hypnosis Diet inspired me to the extent that I want to try hypnotherapy for weight loss. Obviously I’m hoping that the therapist unlocks some sort of childhood key to my weight issues. The authors give an example of a chick who discovered during hypnosis that her granny told her that ice cream would always make her feel better and so in her adult life she ate loads of ice cream and got fat. Simple. Key to weight issues unlocked. I’m hoping I also get to blame someone from my childhood for my food addictions. I can just hear The Mother Figure rolling her eyes right now and going “It’s always the mother’s fault!”
Anyway, let’s see what the therapist uncovers on Thursday. Hopefully I’ll manage to go into a state of trance instead of a state of deep sleep as I am most probably about to do right now. Yip, it’s time for The Self-Hypnosis Diet CD. Hopefully tonight I’ll be able to advance beyond track 3: “clearing the past”, before I pass out.
Night, all.

The Runaway Guy Again

So yesterday was Day 7 of Weight Watchers. Which meant it was time to be weighed. Never a pleasant experience. As promised, I arrived with my post-pedicure flop flops weighing all of 30g or something. Not wearing my 400g takkies from the week before would mean an instant weight “loss” of 0.4kg. In addition to those 400g, I am pleased to announce that I lost an additional 2kg. Now to keep up the motivation for the next 10-15kg. Dear God, that’s the equivalent of a three year old toddler that I have to lose. Deep breath. One day at a time, 100 grams at a time…

The good news is that instead of being allowed to eat 20 points worth of food per day, I get to eat 26 points per day because I am partially breastfeeding. (I never did manage to breastfeed exclusively). If I were breastfeeding exclusively, I’d get to eat a whopping 32 points! The way the points work, is that the more you weigh, the more points you get to eat, even though you have more lard to lose. I think it has something to do with the fact that the fatter you are, the more energy you burn to do the same task as a lighter person, so therefore, the more food you can metabolise. At 26 points, I am consuming the same amount of points as a person of 140kg or more! Shows how much you need to eat while you breastfeed. But also, it shows how many points I’m going to have to give up when I’m not breastfeeding. Eek! Every point is precious to me right now!

After the Weight Watchers weigh-in, I was swanning around Hyde Park in search of a skinny cappuccino fix, when I saw the man in the picture below:

Yip, none other than old David-John of “runaway” make-up fame (see poster above). You may remember him from a previous blog:

http://www.onsabbaticalinsandton.com/runaway-make-up-with-david-john/

This time, however, I saw him IN THE FLESH as I walked past his make-up stand in Hyde Park. And I have to say, he is scarier in person than he is on his poster. His enormous brush cut is still very much intact and I’m pretty sure he was wearing make-up. And not just a touch of blemish stick. I’m talking about a whole faceful of the stuff. It kind of made me want to…er… run away. Haha.

Good old David-John. What would Hyde Park do without him?

Besides running into scary make-up men and counting out Weight Watchers points, The Princess and I have been pretty much holed up indoors this week. I have a nasty cold, cough etc and just as I was patting myself on the back for breastfeeding, thinking how it totally has protected my baby from all my winter ailments, The Princess started coughing. Thankfully, she is still her usual happy little self, so it can’t be too serious, but we’re heading off to the doc tomorrow anyway.

Counting the days until summer…