One kilo down already, yippee! Might not sound much but I feel so much better already. Actually, I began to feel a lot better from the day I started my weight loss programme. My body is now a 'cheese-free zone' and my little FitDay.com daily nutritional pie chart is showing me I am eating a lot more good stuff and a lot less fat. Maxine and I have been walking every day rain or shine - technically it's only supposed to be for 30 minutes but we're usually so busy talking that it ends up being more like an hour. The dogs come along with us and even Ella is getting some much needed weight loss! So far I have only made a few small changes to the way I eat, but they seem to be making a big difference. One trick which works for me every time is to swap butter or margarine for hummus. Because I love to eat bread and toast, the amount of fat all adds up when I'm slapping huge amounts of spread on, so now I spread my bread with hummus when making sandwiches and I even have my Vegemite on toast with hummus instead of butter. It's really yum, honest! The only thing I have learned is not to buy huge tubs of hummus, even when it's on special (unless of course you know you are going to use all of it) as it will only keep in the fridge for three days. The other down side is that Noel refuses to come near me as the hummus contains garlic and he tells me I could easily keep a whole tribe of vampires at bay. But I have learned to combat that too - I spread some on his sandwiches when I make his work lunch and he doesn't even know it's there!
Another trick I have found which is really helping with the hunger pangs is my fat free vegetable soup. This is taken from a diet I was given several years ago which was called the Sacred Heart diet or some such thing. Noel and I decided to do the diet together and after four days we had to call it off, we were nearly falling over! The first day you ate nothing but this soup, the next nothing but fruit, nothing but bananas and milk on day three and you had to live on steak throughout day four. Sounds extreme huh? Turns out it was actually some kind of extreme weight loss regime for people who are morbidly overweight in hospital and have to drop weight fast before they can undergo operations. No wonder it wasn't enough to keep an active person properly fed! Anyway, even if the rest of the diet was no-go for us, the soup was actually very tasty and can be eaten any time you feel hungry to fill any gaps. You can eat as much as you like as often as you like and I have found it brilliant to settle any mid morning or mid afternoon tummy gurgles. It makes a big batch, costs little to make and you can freeze it too. There is a very similar recipe for this type of soup in Weight Watchers books too, so it must be good for you! If anyone would like the recipe, hide('penny')drop me a line and I'll happily pass it on.
However, the clincher for me is portion sizes. I have actually started serving my evening meal up on one of my children's 'half size' plates and I have learned this is all I need. It gives me enough and I am just nicely full, not stuffed! I think many of us are so conditioned when younger that we 'have to eat everything on our plate' that we can't bear to waste food when it's sitting in front of us - I know I'm like that anyway! So this way I don't waste any of my meal but eat just the right amount. I have also applied this to my other meals too; instead of having two sandwiches for lunch, I have one - and it's enough! Instead of two slices of buttered toast with a whole can of spaghetti, I now have one slice of dry toast with half a can and I don't feel hard done by. It's got to be better for the grocery bill too as many food items now go round twice! Just as I was experimenting with reducing my portions, I got an encouraging email from Simple Savings member Claire Mitchell, saying that portion size was indeed the key, so thank you for that timely piece of advice Claire, I will stick to it!
For some people I am sure these tips are nothing new, and indeed even I am wondering to myself why I didn't think of it before, but sometimes you just need a little reminder or someone to point it out. I have found myself using several new tips from the Vault lately that I have known about for some time, but just hadn't got round to putting it into practice. For example, I have recently started a 'scrap paper tray' which sits next to my desk. I couldn't believe how much paper we were going through, with the kids printing out reams of stuff from their children's websites and games, it was getting way beyond a joke. So often when you print things off the Internet you end up with at least one extra page that only has an inch of unwanted blurb from the bottom of the web page on it and I always used to throw them away. Not any more! Firstly if it is possible when I want to print information from the Internet, I highlight the text I want and copy and paste it into a blank Word document - that way I am not wasting ink printing out buttons, advertising banners and pictures. Also where possible I turn my printer paper over and print on both sides - I find this alone has saved me heaps and really cut down on the amount I use now. My desk is always covered with lists, reminders and notes but at least now I am using pieces from my scrap paper tray to write them instead of grabbing a new piece out of the printer! I cut used sheets of A4 paper down the middle and they fit nicely into my little tray. The Vault also has heaps of ways that you can reduce printer ink costs, I used to go through heaps of black ink but I haven't replaced a cartridge since November! Just type in 'computer printing' in the search bar to bring up some helpful tips.
Another area I have learned to save heaps is washing - not only money, but in precious time! How is it we become so conditioned to 'having to do the washing' each day? I used to feel like Widow Twanky (the washer woman from Aladdin!) doing up to four different loads a day at times - and I have an 8kg capacity machine! So after perusing the Vault I decided to make a new rule that I would only bother to wash when I had a full load. This has been great - I can literally go at least two, or even three days without doing a single load. I save heaps in power, powder and water - not to mention hours' worth of time over a week hanging it all out and taking it down! Like I said, why didn't I think of it before? I don't know, but I'm glad Simple Savings reminded me!