Excess Baggage – an update

I’ve been on this little excess baggage project for 7 weeks now, how am I going? 

From a numbers viewpoint, I’m down 3.6kgs in total – which doesn’t sound much, but given I’m aiming at an average of around 500g per week, I’m on track. Some weeks I lose more and some less. While I was travelling for 10 days at the beginning of August, I considered it a win when the scales registered a small gain of 200g on my return.

If you read my weekly wrap-up posts or follow me on Instagram, you’d notice that I’m still baking, and we’re still doing our cuisine theme nights on Saturdays – we call it Saturday Kitchen, draw a country out of the “decision” bowl, and I cook according to that theme. 

We’re also still eating out for Sunday lunch – although I’m trying to make better choices without feeling as though I’m denying myself. Last week, for example, I chose the mussels with tomato sauce rather than a burger or a pasta. It felt like an indulgence.

How good do these mussels look?

This means that my losses are smaller than they would otherwise be, but it also means that I have less trouble sticking to my routine on weekdays. I’m not tempted to rebel or binge because I know I have the flexibility to do so on a weekend. It’s sort of like 5:2 in reverse.

When it comes to midweek evening meals, I haven’t really changed what we eat – we still have either an Asian style soup, lean meat and salad or veg, an Asian style salad, or stir-fry. We’ve always cooked with plenty of herbs, spices, garlic, ginger, chilli etc. 

Pho Bo

How can I still lose (a little) weight each week while indulging on weekends? 

  • I took a tip from Nigella (in “How To Eat”) and am keeping my weekday breakfast and lunch options pretty much the same each day: a boiled egg with a slice of rye sourdough toast for breakfast and home-made vegetable-based soup for lunch.
  • I’m minimising snacks during the day
  • I’m not drinking wine Monday-Thursday
  • Other than my morning toast I’m avoiding starchy carbs. Where I’d normally have noodles, rice, pasta or potato with an evening meal or in soups and salads I’m having extra veg instead. 
  • I’m reducing portion sizes

I’m also moving more and averaging 10,000 steps a day across the month. Because I work from home remotely to an office in Sydney I’m largely desk-bound and have virtually no incidental exercise during the day. To ensure I get my 10,000 (and yes, I know it’s an arbitrary nuber) I:

  • Walk 5km at 6am each weekday
  • Take the dog for a 30min walk each lunchtime
  • Add another 30-40min walk a few times a week after I knock off work – especially if it’s been “one of those days” in the office. Extra steps I get during the week mean I can take it easier on the weekend.

Am I feeling any better? Yes, I suppose, although it is early days.

As I said when I started this, I had some advantages:

  • I rarely eat or drink anything with sugar – added, hidden or otherwise – although I make an exception for fermented sugar ie wine.
  • I rarely order or eat dessert – I’ll cook it (and usually photograph it) but don’t eat it
  • I don’t snack after dinner
  • I cook most things from scratch using real food
  • I’m the queen of the cookbook and enjoy the creativity of coming up with interesting meals and, most importantly
  • I wasn’t starting this from a position where I didn’t feel good about myself – while I haven’t treated my body with respect, I absolutely don’t hate it

My aims were to:

  • Control my portions and be more mindful of what and when I’m eating
  • Reduce my starchy carbs
  • Reduce my alcohol intake
  • Move more
  • Drink more water

Six weeks in I’m definitely doing what I set out to do – except for the water part, I still lose track of that. I’m still missing my evening wine, but know that moderation isn’t my thing so I’m better cutting it out – besides, my digestion is actually better without it. My tummy is also better without the starchy carbs. I only noticed both of these things when I was travelling and indulging in both alcohol and starchy carbs!

Next steps…

Given that I’ve been in this routine since the beginning of July it’s time to step things up a tad. My goals for September will be:

  • Add hills back into the equation a few afternoons a week.
  • Download some strength exercises to do at home 
  • Get up half an hour earlier (at 5am instead of 5.30) to add some yoga/stretching into the mix
  • Reduce my alcohol consumption on weekends
  • Drink more water

A recipe…

Of course, there’ll be a recipe. This one is my Bun Cha, a Vietnamese style meatball. We cook these on the barbecue, although you can do them in a pan, and I choose not to have the noodles with mine but still serve them like that for the family.

I also do a variation of this salad using shredded poached or grilled chicken, or lemongrass-marinated beef strips instead of the meatballs. It’s also great with prawns and seafood. You can find the link on my foodie blog, here.

Author: Jo

I write, I bake, I chase sunrises.

24 thoughts

    1. Sensible is not normally a word associated with – nor is moderation…so it’s proving to be an interesting exercise in that regard!

  1. Cheering you on Jo! Sounds like your plan is working and it’s a lifestyle plan, a non-diet approach which you can hopefully stick to as it does allow for some treats. I lost 5kgs in 6 weeks when I stuck to 10,000 steps a day and keeping to 1200 calories a day using My Fitness Pal. It was hard, but it made me much more aware of portion sizes and I kept the weight off afterwards just by remembering not to pile my plate high! Good luck with it all – and GO JO! 🙂 #MLSTL and Pinned

  2. Anyone who cooks as deliciously as you do (and who appreciates food like you do) should be congratulated on losing any weight at all! I’ve been trying to lose a bit too and am down 5kgs since I left work – less stress hormones, less comfort eating, and I’m able to eat less without worrying about coping at work on a light lunch etc. Why is it soooo easy to put the weight on and soooooo difficult to shed it again?????
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

  3. Fabulous results Jo! 3 cm equals about 1 kg of body fat -6kg of body fat is about 1 dress size. I love your sensible approach and you are really in a great headspace and I am so happy for you. Keep it up and each day you will see the difference and feel so much healthier. #MLSTL.

    1. Not quite there with the headspace but getting there. I’m not known for being sensible or patient so this is also an exercise in both.

  4. That’s great work Jo. I love that you’re taking a balanced and sustainable approach. We’ve both had experiences at being overly rigid and crashing and burning. I also love the exercise you’re doing and really wish I could get myself more motivated in that respect.

    xx

    1. It’s so slow, Deb. And I’ve had a cold this week so gained a few hundred grams – which I’m trying to keep in perspective.

  5. Where there is little or no deprivation I reckon you are on a winner…and that’s great. I hated diets with a passion and whilst they worked for a bit they did not long term. I have learned a lot about what goes well inside my mouth for ease of eating and stays in my stomach far better thanks to my cancer. I also do not miss treats – but I have limits on them. Water!! I carry it with me but do not drink enough. My walking goal is between 6.5-7.5steps a day but magpies are around so walks have been fewer. Great catch up Jo. Denyse #mlstl

    1. Thanks Denyse. It makes for a longer and slower road, but I’m less likely to throw my hands up in teh air and forget about it…

  6. You’re doing great, Jo! I have been incorporating many similar strategies into my eating habits and agree that when I’m going to ‘cheat’, I don’t stray too far from the healthy path. I would encourage you to add that strength training into the mix, it is so essential for us as we age.

  7. Having been on a pretty restricted diet in recent times, although I have eased up a bit now, it sounds to me like you have this nailed mentally Jo. I agree with you that if you get your head in the game it can be much easier, and yes enjoying cooking helps enormously as well. We were dealing with no sugar, alcohol, gluten or dairy and I was getting bored with breakfast ideas. I decided to play with making ginger chicken congee and it was a revelation to us both. I also found getting my gut health right has made a huge difference and it sounds like you are addressing that as well. Great results!

    1. Thanks Jan, I’m getting there. I don’t eat sugar at all & very little dairy – although I love cheese, my tummy doesn’t like commercial cheeses. I couldn’t live without my weekend wine and my sourdough, so am keeping them as weekend treats. It’s a slow slow road & my head is gradually & slowly getting to where it needs to be.

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