Earlier this year I embarked on The Clean and Lean Diet. Well, most of it. I didn't give up the glass of wine with dinner :-). Despite the wine I have managed to drop four kgs and am now within 2kgs of my goal weight. Woohoo! I'm the same weight I was in 1992. Mind you it's taken me three months where it should have taken about six weeks but what the heck. If dieting makes you miserable about the things you can't have it's not worth it; happiness should be part of every diet plan I reckon!
A key element of the C&L diet is having protein and vegetables at every meal, and the diet book naturally suggests go for organic. Not something I've been able to fulfil sadly as a) there aren't many organic options near where I live and b) it's really expensive. The 'protein at every meal' bit is expensive enough without sourcing organic versions of it, but I do buy from the fishmonger, butcher and greengrocer rather than the supermarket. Of course we're talking good meat, the pricey stuff, not sausages which are a no-no, full of the wrong kinds of fat. Chicken breasts. Lean steaks. And fish. (I suspect this is why wealthy people are often lean - they can afford the good grub and aren't stuck with sausages.)
However, I have dutifully got used to having baby spinach and rocket with my breakfast, sometimes raw, sometimes cooked. I am encouraged to eat up to half an avocado every day, as it's full of 'good' fat, which is no hardship as I adore avocados.
The thing I have really cut down on is sugar. Rather than nibble a biscuit (or, frankly, stuff it into my mouth and scoff it if I'm really peckish), I'll grab a handful of raw nuts instead. I confess to chocolate, good chocolate, say 20grams of dark Lindt, after dinner, but during the last week I've even cut that out and don't really miss it. Sadly sugar means fruit though, and I do LOVE fruit! Fruit the diet tells me is OK are berries such as blueberries. Yup, the expensive stuff again. The thinner the skin on the fruit, the less sugar it contains apparently. Melons and oranges are bad news.
Carbs I've cut down on too, as veggies have carbs in them and I'm doing OK only having bread, pasta, rice or potatoes once or twice a week.
And then there's the chewing. Chew everything at least twenty times, the book says. I've always been a fast eater. One of my friends years ago told me I eat like a dog! The C&L diet says that every meal should take at least twenty minutes to eat, but I've broken that rule too, mainly with hot breakfasts. Cold, congealed eggs and limp cold cooked spinach don't appeal. In fact I wouldn't eat them. Breakfast I still nosh into quite heartily, but I've noticed now that I finish my other meals a lot later than my husband. The 'eat like a dog' mantle is resting firmly on his shoulders. Even I have never seen anyone hoover up bacon and eggs like he does.
So all this is working, and it's really positive. This week getting on the scales has been the high point. (The tax news was obviously the low.) Finding that I had to tighten one of my belts a notch almost had me whooping out loud.
My crap tax news means that I can't buy clothing, shoes, books or music until I've got that debt out of the way.
The hard thing there, I may add, is not buying books! My love affair with books is a blog subject in itself. I think I have a book-buying addiction.
Clothing... heck, I've got a wardrobe crammed with the stuff, and now I make some of my clothes too. New clothes I don't need, but I will miss the challenge of being creative with fabric (fabric also coming under the banner of luxuries I can do without).
Shoes... again I have plenty. Too many - I did a cull again a couple of weeks ago of boots that don't fit right and shoes with not much wear because they're uncomfortable and handed in a big, stuffed-full carrier bag to Vinnies. I live in boots in winter and have boots I bought last year which still look new and are comfortable.
Music... well, I've been using iTunes now for ages to buy; it's cheaper than buying CDs. I don't buy a lot of music any more anyway. Certainly not Top 40 stuff but I do find some interesting jazz and folk on my cruises around the radio dial and have a hankering to hear it on demand rather than when it makes a radio playlist.
The one thing I'm not compromising on is the diet. Buying and eating meat and fish might be more expensive than sausages or simply turning veggie (there is only so much tofu I can take in a week), but losing weight is having a positive effect on my psyche and self-confidence. That's one thing the taxman is not taking away from me.