Regular readers will know that at my heaviest I was 43st 5.5lbs – I imagine therefore that there isn’t really a need for me to admit that I am a lover of large portions…but just in case of any doubt, I do love a large portion. And for any likeminded souls – firstly, get your mind out of the gutter, but secondly, read on…
Large portions just seem like such a good idea. I remember being horrified once when I had dinner a few years ago at One Devonshire Gardens – a posh restaurant and hotel in Glasgow. Horrified not only at the price for my tiny meal, but mainly at the tiny meal itself. It was supposed to be a “modernist twist on retro classics with a satirical feel”…clearly their rather wanky words, not mine! What actually arrived was a small – very small – Jenga-esque stack of chunky chips (which were raw inside!) – I think that there were four chips – and the smallest piece of steak I have ever seen…I think that it must have been taken from the runt of the litter it was that small. Heading back to my Travelodge – far more me than the posh hotel my boss was staying in, and where he had made me dine – I inevitably stuck a few coins in the vending machine in reception and dined on Cheddars and M&Ms at a fraction of the price of my unsatisfactory meal!
My childhood memories surround wonderful family dinners and parties – where there were always leftovers, and where the top button was undone on trousers to make room for dessert! Everything was celebrated, or commiserated, with food – and plenty of it. It was not at all uncommon to head home from a family party with a doggy bag of leftovers, “just in case”…just in case you got peckish later on! I have to make it absolutely clear that I do not in the slightest place any responsibility or blame at the feet of my family for my size though. From a very early age my eating habits, or my over-eating habits, were forming without the knowledge of my parents. They had no idea that I swapped my healthy lunch for an unhealthy one at school, or that the dinner ladies would often give me leftovers after I had eaten my packed lunch. Or that the presents – chocolate ones – that I was given to give to my friends for their birthdays, were eaten by me and the wrappers hidden in the back of my wardrobe.
It is a simple fact that I had no ‘off’ button when it came to eating – even as a child. Food became my friend and my comfort. It was the thing I turned to when I felt happy, or sad, or lonely, or overwhelmed with life. It was my drug of choice and I chose to abuse myself with it…until I very nearly died. Some people can take or leave it – I took it, and continued to take! By the time I reached my late teens and early twenties, this habit was so ingrained that it just grew and overtook me. I became my food – it was all I thought about. I remember being in a meeting a couple of years ago, during which a buffet lunch was delivered. We ate lunch and the leftovers sat on the table…seriously, I couldn’t concentrate as I could see this food. I managed to get through the meeting and told people that I would stay behind to clean the room…what I really meant was that I wanted to stuff the now curly-edged sandwiches into my mouth, stuffing down my emotions in the process.
Episodes such as this were horrendous and highlighted to me how bad my eating had become. It seemed that things such as the majority of my earnings being spent on food, or the fact that I had to buy my clothes from one specific website as I couldn’t even fit into the usual plus-sized clothes from places such as Evans and Simply Be, were not enough to highlight this. Instead, I had to find myself hanging back at work functions – not to socialise and network – but to eat, before I began to take things seriously. Even these events did not spur me on though. Neither did the pleas of my family.
Anyway – I won’t harp on about that. I just wanted to have a little review of portion sizes. I know that my portions are big, and I know that as I get smaller and my calorie requirements get smaller, I will have to reduce my portions and eat more of the lower calorie options to bulk my food out. I wondered if any of you have seen this before?
Which orange ‘dot’ do you think is bigger? When I first looked at them, my eyes told me that the dot on the left was the larger of the two. In actual fact, both orange dots are the same size. The space around the dot on the right gives the impression that it is far smaller. Can you guess where I am going with this yet?!
Size matters! An extra couple of inches can make such a difference. In terms of weight loss, smaller is better when it comes to plates. Take a look at those orange dots again. If your meal was represented by those orange dots, which do you think would satisfy your mind and your eyes more? For me, the meal on the left somehow seems more substantial. And this is also the impression that foodie scientists and psychologists have been left with after studies. Known as ‘The Delboeuf Illusion Bias’ this optical illusion was used to demonstrate that we load larger plates with more food, whilst we put less food onto smaller plates. We really do eat with our eyes.
Contrasting colours also have an impact. I saw this on ‘Secret Eaters’ where people were asked to serve pasta – a tomato-red pasta – onto either white or red plates. Those with red plates loaded up far more than those with white plates. It had nothing to do with the colour of plates as such, but the stark contrast between the food and the plates.
I guess we always want to ensure that we have ‘enough’ food…a huge plate with a small bit of food in the middle somehow feels rather alien. The purpose of a plate is to hold food, and therefore it is by it’s very design tempting us to fill it! I have a variety of plates in my house and I can honestly say that my smaller plate is filled, as is my bigger plate, and my even bigger plate…so a really simple way of reducing calories without feeling cheated, is to use a smaller plate. It sounds so obvious doesn’t it?!
Anyway – the usuals…
I was woken up by a text message from my Dad asking if I was up yet; my response was, “I am now!”. I had asked him yesterday if he fancied a BBQ today, which he declined. However his girlfriend wasn’t happy with that response and so he was calling to say that he would come over after all! So I got up and headed off for supplies and was thrilled to find that Asda had a decent stock of the Quorn red onion burgers, which are syn free and on offer for £1 – I stocked up! We then headed off to the stables and moved the muck heap – I helped a little and directed, but my other half did most of the hard work. We also moved the huge wooden mushroom…I say ‘we’ when I mean that my Dad and my other half did it! The horses came in and had a little picnic of pears, carrots and radishes – only a few though…and my Welsh Cob decided to pinch some red onion and absolutely loved the stuff…his eating habits are as strange as mine I think. The BBQ was interrupted at times by rain showers, but we persevered and managed a BBQ lunch. After this, we cleared up and headed home. I discovered ’24′ last night and am hooked. I am just on the first series so far and the episode where the girls so-called Dad killed her…just about to put another couple of episodes on.
Breakfast: Apple, banana and kiwi fruit.
My food has been lovely today. I opted for an Original day and started the morning with a superfree breakfast, as I wanted to save my HEB for bread rolls! Lunch was lovely – the beetroot salad is really tasty and I put some on my burgers along with red onion…lovely tasty burgers. Dinner was inspired by a tweet I saw about the Slimming World craze for ‘Big Mac in a Bowl’ – a very low syn meal which supposedly tastes like a BigMac. As a burger lover, how could I refuse this challenge? Basically, you brown some extra lean beef mince with onion, and add chopped gherkins to this once it has cooked. You then use your HEA – or two in my case – on those cheese slices you get for burgers. LowLow do some, and Kraft make a light version but I used the Asda lighter ones – all of these are 3 slices for a HEA. So I mixed three slices in with the mince mixture, and then ended up melting three on top. Basically you load salad onto a plate – or just iceberg lettuce if you are sticking to the BigMac theme…I just wanted a bit more superfree food with mine! Then top this with the mince and some thousand isle dressing – Kraft do a light version which is 1 syn per tbsp – and there you have it…a BigMac in a Bowl. Unfortunately my other half picked up extra lean pork mince…so mine was a piggy BigMac…but it still tasted good!
Exercise: A little muck heap shifting.
Thank you for reading – and I hope that you have the losses on the scales that you deserve this week,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx