Saturday 21 January 2012

Body matters

Yesterday was a relatively mild, dry day and I worked in the garden for the first time in weeks. There is a great deal of tidying up to be done, with old leaves and debris to be cleared away from the first new shoots.
I made an impressive bonfire but it is too damp at the moment to make any attempt to set it alight.

I stayed outside for far too long and by the time I had put the garden tools away I could barely straighten up.
A long hot soak in the bath left me feeling only a little better. February is approaching and I find it the most depressing month, cold temperatures and low light levels combine with the seasonal panic that my body is no longer up to the task of doing much. Why I never gain experience from previous years I don't know, and start with only very short sessions of gardening until my body gets back into its stride.
Anyhow, once I was snugly togged up in my pj's and slippers, I turned on the computer and had a look at Blogland.
Janet, living in California at the gardener's cottage was talking about her weight loss.  It is over a decade since Himself and I were in America. We were absolutely horrified at the size of many people and by the amount of food served as a single portion. The sandwiches that we bought on Nantucket Island were too large to be eaten at one sitting. We had them put in a doggy bag and they fed us for all the following day!
Of course Britain follows where America leads and now we have a huge number of clinically, and sadly often young, obese.
Janet is slender, especially so after six months of careful eating and exercise. Her post makes such interesting reading because she describes very clearly her reasoning and method for her personal success. (I have to say that she is impressively self-disciplined!) I note that we started out the same height, lost an inch and remain the same height - I hope that this is not an ominous sign for the state of our bones!

I have never been as concerned about food as I am at the present time, having been brought up short by extreme pain and the knowledge that some of the things that I love to eat, such as biscuits and chocolate, do me no good at all. My weight hasn't gained very much in half a century, I'm about eight pounds heavier, at 128lbs. (Similar to Janet BEFORE she lost weight!) However, everything has slumped - when your nipples start looking at your toes you know that you are past middle age! So, yes, I'm interested in food, not for how it makes me look but for how it impacts on the state of my health.

Breakfast is porridge made with goats milk, with the addition of flaked almonds and a selection of fresh and dried fruit.

Snacks and grazing are fruits, seeds and nuts

and often one meal of the day is home-made soup. 

I'm extending my repertoire with the aid of the fat free vegetarian cookbook borrowed from my neighbours, Kim and Andy. Today I've made chickpea and parsley

because there is plenty of parsley in the garden.

I tend to wander somewhat from recipes. Do you do that? This one should have been chickpea, lemon and parsley but I had some roast parsnip, squash and garlic in the fridge so I popped them in the pot and thought that adding lemon as well might be a bit much.
The resulting soup was very thick, like a pottage. I gave it a crunchy topping of toasted pumpkin seeds and pistachio nuts.

I've got plenty of parsnips to dig up in the vegetable garden, so you can see which soup I'll be making next!

(What I would REALLY like would be a well-toned body. I realise, as Janet makes clear, that exercise is essential, but since I can barely touch my toes at the moment I'll pass for now!)


  1. Last year I lost 21lbs by cutting out all my favourite things - bread, crisps and cake mainly. After a while I didn't miss them and thought I would carry on in this vein - but Christmas came and with it temptation. I have put 7lbs. back on - winter is a hard time to diet. Hopefully when I am able to be outside more (and not sitting at the computer) I should get back on track - it definitely gets harder as you get older (I'm over 60) but that shouldn't be an excuse. I'll never weigh what I did when I was 21 as that would be a little unrealistic, for me any way, but I won't be putting extra weight on every year either - as long as my mindset is right.

    1. What an impressive amount you lost last year. I wouldn't worry about your Christmas weight gain, it's an impossible time for women because the house is swimming with tempting food and you are the one who is in charge of it all!

  2. Rosemary, I, too, read Janet's post and was inspired. Since turning 50 (several years ago) and being diagnosis with a non-functioning thyroid, I have become very aware of the food that goes into my body. I will now always battle a low metabolism, but I now know it is more about energy and health. I can never pace myself once out in the garden with spade in hand. I do love the feeling of tired muscles due to a good days work. Hugs! Bonnie

    1. Dear Bonnie, I'm sorry to learn of your thyroid problems. Does this mean that you are now eating a more Japanese style diet with seaweed and plenty of shellfish for extra iodine? A posting on your blog would be good!

  3. ahh rosemary, brilliant post! that soup looks sooooooo good. love the crunch of nuts on top and your porrige (oatmeal?) looks delicious. yes, everything does start heading south, doesn't it? good luck and good wishes with your new diet!

  4. I, also, am concerned about my diet and health? I have been on Weight Watchers for months and have done well. I don't obsess about how much I lose each week. If I gain a pound or so, no big deal. I know that if I keep with the program, I will lose it and that spike will be reversed. I do love soups in winter and do make many myself, as then I can control the sodium and other content. Like you, I often change the ingredients depending on what I have available. I just made some wonderful "kick ass, lemongrass chicken noodle soup" that another blogger posted. It was wonderful and low in calories.

    It is always a challenge, but I want to be healthy, have energy, and keep those winter blues away. Eating well helps.

    February is the hardest month, but it is only 29 days (this year). We all have to try to keep our spirits up so we can be ready for the coming spring and planting time.

  5. Dear Maybe, I love the positive thinking - but 29 February days always feel sooooo long!