OK. I'll do this in several stages, as I need to marshal my thoughts, and also if you want to try this too, you need to understand what I'm doing. Plus I've never done anything like this before.
Now we all know how to lose weight, don't we? Ask a roomful of people, and they'll almost all say "Eat less and exercise more". Sounds easy. But why is it so hard to achieve? Many of us think we're following that advice but still don't get slimmer.
While sitting around with my broken ankle, I was concerned about putting on extra weight because of my inactivity. Hobbling around the house on crutches wasn't using many calories, especially when you spend most of your time in one room. I had lots of time to fill, so I read 2 very different books that I'd recently bought - "French Women Don't Get Fat" by Mireille Guiliano; and "The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics" by Jessica Porter. Both from Amazon, if you want to rush out and buy them, but there's no need really, cos I'm going to summarise them for you. Very very briefly.
"French Women.." - what I took from this book is eat fresh food, preferably what's in season; make soup a meal; and control your portion sizes (as Cathy says in the comments).
"...Macrobiotics" - based on healthy Japanese diets. Again, eat fresh food, plenty of whole grains, chew your food well, lay off dairy products.
So what to do? I could see the sense in the macrobiotic stuff, but couldn't see myself changing to a brown-rice-and-tofu diet with seaweed on the side. It was too extreme. The French book is really interesting (and it has recipes too). Overall, they echoed the things that nutritionists keep telling us. The common theme was eating food that was not processed. This is important. But what do we see when we turn on TV or read magazines? We see ads for McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, instant food, meals in a minute......in short, we are bombarded with ads to make us do the opposite.
Oh OK, I hear you say, I have a fulltime job, the kids keep me busy, I don't have time to muck around preparing fresh food. I'm far too busy. It's easy for you, Shirley, you don't have to feed anyone else, you work at home, plenty of time on your hands etc etc. Yes, true, but we're not talking here about having to winnow grain, then thresh it and pound it before we can make flour to bake our bread. So let's have none of those excuses.
Sitting around being unable to walk also focuses your mind on how much we take our health and well-being for granted - until we haven't got it. Is your health important to you? Of course it is. So how much time are you spending on it? Steal the L'Oreal slogan - "Because you're worth it" Isn't that better applied to health than hair colour?
So let's start with #1 in my new eating plan (note I don't use the word "diet" - like "budget", it's a word that's guaranteed to make you feel deprived). Breakfast. Yes, you must have it. If you are too busy to make yourself a decent breakfast, go to bed earlier and get up 15 minutes earlier. I used to have toast for breakfast - I LOVE bread, and I make my own sourdough most of the time. Now I have porridge made with rolled oats, and including a handful of kibbled wheat, and raisins, covered with cinnamon (a natural sweetener) and a bit of sugar, and a small portion of milk. Delicious. And it keeps me full all morning, despite the fact that the refrigerator is just 2 metres (6 feet) from where I'm working.