Monarch butterfly isolated on white with soft shadow

This weekend’s strategy

This weekend comes heavily laden with social occasions, which in theory could potentially be my undoing.

However, I have a plan!

Last night it was leaving drinks for a woman in my office. Most of the people going looked like they were settling in for a full night of drinking, and by all accounts they did. But I decided that I would have just one drink, ignore the platters of fried food being ordered, and head home for my low-syn dinner.

Tonight it’s my company’s annual summer barbecue. There’s free drink and food on offer, and some of the younger staff in the office are already planning which nightclub they’re going to visit afterwards. I certainly won’t be going to the after-party. I’ll be lucky to make it half way through the actual barbecue.

I’m also hoping that the barbecue has a good selection of lean meat (steak and chicken would be nice – wishful thinking) and salads, which I can dig into without a problem.

Tomorrow I have dinner out with some friends. I’ve talked before about coping strategies for eating out, but I’m not always the best at following my own advice! We have a big walk in the Dublin mountains ahead of the dinner, so hopefully that can help mitigate against any bad decisions.

Throughout all these social occasions I’m not planning to drink much. I might have the odd one or two, but I’m not going to lash into the beer. It’s just not worth it. I’d much rather reserve my calories for food!

concert

Tonight’s concert plan of action

We realised only yesterday that we had tickets for a concert in the 3Arena tonight.

Our normal plan, when going out in the city on a week-night, would be to meet somewhere in the city and have an early-bird dinner before the event. We’d also have a couple of drinks over dinner, as the price of drinks in concert venues is often inflated.

However doing this would not exactly be syn-friendly. When you add the dinner and drinks together we’d probably be way over our syn allocation for the day – and that’s before we’ve even made it the concert!

So what’s our plan of action?

Well this morning I brought both a packed lunch and dinner with me. And so, instead of going out to eat, I’m going to stay late in the office and eat dinner there.

I’ll be having a syn-free meal – actually left-overs from yesterday’s dinner – which I already know will be tasty, delicious, and healthy. And because I’ll still be in the office, I won’t be drinking alcohol with my meal – so that’ll save on some more syns.

The idea then, is to meet up with the misses half an hour before the gig for a quick drink in a local bar, and then head on to the concert.

The misses has also planned ahead for potential post-concert munchies. She’s prepared a chicken curry that’ll be waiting at home. So should we be hungry, we’ll be able to avoid the temptation to get a take-away, as there’s a tasty and healthy alternative ready to eat.

Hopefully all this will help ensure we end up having a great night – but also a healthy night!

Food addictions

When you’re doing Slimming World, there are loads of foods that you can eat freely.

You can have as much as you want of those lovely  ‘speed’ vegetables and fruit. I also find it good to pack in a good amount lean protein, as it keeps me feeling full all day.  And in theory, you are allowed as much of the non-speed free foods (such as potatoes, pasta and rice) as you like – although I find that I sometimes need to moderate these, or I won’t get the loss I’m seeking.

And then there’s all the Healthy Extra and Syns that you need to measure and weigh. When it comes to some of these foods, I find it easier not to have them at all!

Take bread for example. I love bread. I love to eat loads of bread. I could eat an entire French stick in one sitting and still be craving toast to follow. But I find that the Healthy Extra B allowance too restrictive. I don’t want just one slice of bread. I want several. And so I don’t have any. Because if I got the taste for it, I’d eat it in large quantities, and before you know it, I’d be using all my syns on bread.

Alcohol is another example. I like a drink, but there’s not a lot of point having just one. If I’m going to have a glass of wine, then I’d prefer to share a bottle with my wife. But half a bottle of wine is far too many syns. And so it’s easier not to drink at all.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that there are certain foods and drinks that I have an abusive relationship with, and crave quantities of them well above what would be considered normal. It doesn’t happen with all foods. If I look at a banana, I don’t feel the need to eat a whole bunch. But for many sweet and savoury foods, I’m not content with just a normal quantity. I feel the need to eat them to excess.

And so, like any addict, it’s easier for me to avoid them altogether.

getitoffme-header

Back on plan

It’s the 10th of January, and the Christmas and New Year break is already a dim and distant memory.

Gone are the long lie-ins. Gone are the days spent languishing on the sofa. And gone are the hourly trips to the fridge to graze on all the worst food possible!

We’re back at work, and we’re back on plan!

Over the break we enjoyed a very nice Christmas, a two-night trip over to Galway (party capital of western Ireland), and an amazing wedding. Indeed, we indulged so much that when it came to New Year’s Eve, we opted to stay at home and give our livers a rest.

But it took till our first Slimming World class of 2017 to encourage us back on plan. However before that we needed to find out what damage we had done over the last 2 weeks.

The class was somewhat busier than normal last week, so it was easy to hide amongst the crowd. I had literally not set foot on a set of scales for 2 weeks, and so I had no clue what my weight would be. And so it was with some trepidation that I stepped gingerly onto the scales.

I was pretty such I had gained weight. But by how much?

Well, I actually LOST weight – 1½ pounds in fact!

All that wine and chocolate, and sausages, and everything else I had enjoyed over the holidays hadn’t done the damage I feared. I guess the fact that I stayed on plan up until Christmas Day itself may have helped me mitigate my excesses.

The only down side was that, because there were loads of new members joining the Slimming World class, our consultant didn’t have any time to do the usual Image Therapy, and as such nobody in class heard about my amazing achievement!

Oh well. I’ll just have to keep losing again this week!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention, back in December I had set myself an interim target to try and achieve a 4 stone loss by Christmas. And you know what, I only went and did it! In the space of 6 months I lost 4 stones, which I think is amazing. Now If I can just lose another 4 stones over the next year!

Gin and Tonic

Counting my alcohol syns

One of the things I do to try and make my weight loss more successful is to avoid drinking alcohol at home. Booze is just empty calories, in that the alcohol provides no nutrition to the body. And to be honest, I’d rather save my syns for food!

However, with less than 6 weeks till Christmas, I’m faced with a number of opportunities to socialise with colleagues, friends, and family. And if I’m going out then I do like to have a drink. But all the while I’m conscious about not going crazy, because those syns can quickly add up.

A standard strength pint of lager such as Carlsberg Export is 11½ syns. And a pint of Guinness is only slightly better at 10 syns.

If I’m having wine over dinner, and polish off a bottle to myself, that’s anything between 30 and 40 syns for the bottle!

So what can I drink that’s low in syns, and is generally available in pubs and restaurants?

Spirits

A standard pub measure (35ml) of gin is 4 syns, and it’s the same for vodka, brandy or whiskey. So I can have up to three gins with slimline tonic on a night and use just 12 of my 15 syns.

Beer / Lager

Drinking pints is just too  syn-full, so I normally try and see if I can find a low-calorie bottled beer.

Coors Light is only 5 syns a bottle, and Corona Light is 5½ syns.  They’re probably the lagers you’re most likely to find available in a pub or restaurant. Although there might be other light beers, and it’s always worth asking, because most of them will be around 5-6 syns each.

I also like to ask for ice in my glass, which always seems to make the bottle of beer last a bit longer.

Wine

I do enjoy a nice glass of red wine, particularly over dinner. But it’s so dangerous to start drinking wine in a group, because the waiter or your dining companions will invariably top up your glass a number of times during the meal, often without asking you first! Also, with different sizes of wine glasses everywhere, you don’t know what size of measure you’re getting.

One trick I’ve used before is to order a glass of a different wine to what everybody else is drinking. That way you will have a better idea of the size of drink you’re getting, and it also means that it won’t be topped-up from the bottle(s) on the table!

Having said that, the size of a ‘glass’ of wine seem to vary quite a lot, and you often get by default quite a large measure! A small glass (125ml) would be about 5 syns, a medium glass (175ml) about 7½ syns, and a large glass (250ml) is 10½ syns – depending on the strength of the wine.