Before moving to France it was discussed at length how much we would strive to lead a healthier lifestyle. They say happiness expands your waistline, well this is definitely true for both Ian and myself.
Convenience foods were always our downfall in the UK. It was so easy to just nip out to the shop at the bottom of the road and with 24 hour supermarkets anything we could have wanted was within a 5 minute drive. In France it is very different indeed! Yes, we do have a ‘Spar’ in the next village 10 minutes away. However, it is much different from any Spar in the UK, most noticeable when you see the resident cat wandering around! It closes for lunch every day, at 7pm in the evenings, and you have to navigate those narrow roads to get there. Our nearest supermarket is located in Chalais about 15 minutes away. No 24 hours here.
With this in mind, since September we have stopped all our evening snacks. No more biscuits with our 8pm coffee, which easily turned into a full packet once opened; and that was just between the two of us! Food is also more expensive to buy here, although Lidl is helpful in providing most of the things we need, at a reasonable cost. All these factors together have lead to us planning our diet and controlling what we eat. We will write a weekly menu, shopping only for the things on our list. We throw much less away and save plenty of money!
From September to the end of December we were watching what we ate, but very loosely, Ian still devouring his crisps, peanuts and alcohol and me with my chocolate. We had lost some weight but not enough to satisfy a good weight loss. So, on January the 1st it was decided that we would refrain from alcohol (Ian) and chocolate (Lauren) until we arrived in the UK on 16th February. Obviously neither of us want to give in and loose the challenge so we are both doing well! Although as Ian arrives in the UK on the 13th he thinks it was agreed that he could drink then. Errrrm nope, so he will lose when he gives in then! Woop!
Our ‘Dry January’ challenge has helped massively and we have both noticed the weight beginning to drop off. To give ourselves a bit more of a boost and to try a new weight loss method we have also been restricting our carb intake. The first week we ate no carbs whatsoever apart from on the Sunday at the end of the week as our ‘treat day’. I lost 8lb, Ian lost 8lb, and that includes a Chinese banquet on Sunday night! We are now at the end of our second week, with some carbs during the week (minimal) and a 4lb weight loss each. I’m very much looking forward to Spaghetti Carbonara tonight for my end of the week treat! It is my absolute favourite meal!
Our progress to date has been excellent, even if I say so myself. I have lost 2 st 5 lb and Ian has lost 1 st 11lb. I really feel like we have turned a corner in our way of thinking, both when we eat and how I feel after I’ve eaten. We are both wearing smaller jeans that we had previously packed away as they didn’t fit. Personally, I eat smaller portions, I don’t crave sweet things as much (sugar withdrawal was hard!!!) and, much to Ian’s delight, I am only drinking 1 can of diet coke a week.
It does help that Ian is an excellent chef, our meals always taste delicious and are often full of ‘boring’ veg that he has turned into a masterpiece! Nevertheless, we do allow ourselves some treats and I find it easier to get through the week knowing I have a yummy meal to look forward to on a Sunday evening. One of our staple favourites for lunch during the week is Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon soup. Whilst it does have carbs in with the lentils, they are the ‘good’ kind of carbs so we allow it in our diet. It’s a lovely thick soup, very filling and I don’t miss having bread with it (although Ian does allow himself some, I am being much more restrictive!).
You can find the recipe here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/red_lentil_and_bacon_27157
Another discovery of mine, an excellent substitute for rice with any dish, is cauliflower! I made cauliflower rice for the first time last week and it was delicious. Hardly any calories too! I used about half a cauliflower for 2 of us and this was plenty. Ian paired it with a Chicken and Tomato Thai Curry. Mmmmmmmm.
This is the recipe I used, although its open for any variation. I am going to turn it into a chicken fried cauliflower rice this next week.
We have been doing more exercise and generally are trying to be more active. Ian walks daily, and I walk not so daily but more than before!
I will keep everyone updated on how we are doing. I cant stress enough how much better we feel in EVERY aspect of our lives. The big test is yet to come; our week back in the UK followed by a week in Disneyland approaches!