The Second Annual Silly Season Challenge

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  • Please join me in a Christmas challenge! I want to demonstrate my continued commitment to intermittent fasting while still enjoying everything the silly season has to offer.

    This will be my fourth Christmas since starting 5:2. I want to show that it’s a sustainable way of eating that easily fits into all aspects of our lives, whether we’re still losing weight or maintaining our goal weight. We don’t have to abandon 5:2 for Christmas or travel.

    5:2 offers the flexibility of moving our FDs to accommodate any invitations to functions and celebrations. Christmas is, at most, a two day celebration leaving 29 possible opportunities for fasting between now and the new year! It’s all in the planning.

    Find out who was in and how we managed last year and then come and share your own tips and strategies.

    As with this time last year, I’m back near the top of my wiggle room weight at 61kgs. I pledge to get back to 60kg or below by the new year.

    So, who’s with me for a ‘no excuses’ commitment to either maintaining a current weight or losing one kg between now and 1st January?

    Oh yes I’m in. My younger daughter is getting married 20th January. I’m the Mother of the Bride and expected to look good haha
    I’m currently 59kg and don’t want to put on anymore weight. I’d love to lose a kilo!
    Thanks Thin, this is just what I need!

    Hi Thin,

    I’m in! Hoping lots more come in and join the Silly Season Challenge

    This year has been an Annus Horribulus with a decades worth of personal challenges coming thick and fast all in 1 yr. You know how life goes. I had reached my goal weight of 62kgs (136lbs, or 9stone 10lbs) in November 2016. Today I’m 65.3kgs (144lbs, or 10stone 4lbs) after a year of battling stress eating, battling to keep doing my FDs, sometimes all I could do was get to 3pm. So – the damage for a very stress filled year has been 3. 3 kgs (8lbs). Looking forward to a better year in 2018, and obviously I don’t want to put any on between now and 1st January. This will be my 3rd Christmas on 5:2. Due to ME/CFS I am unable to exercise but I encourage everyone to commit more to you exercise programme and don’t give it up during this busy time.

    Let’s go!😀

    Thin, count me in! I’ve been up and down all of Nov due to ignoring the phrase, “mindful eating” on NFD. Today was a FD and I was 60.6 this morning, so we’ll see what the scale says in the morning and go from there toward a modest goal for the month. I do pledge to do 2 FD per week like I have been doing every single week since May 10th of this year. My challenges will be the NFDs.

    Thin, I hesitated at first as I dont want to fail!!! But I then gave myself a kick in the butt and said “what do you have to loose? ……myself answered FAT/WEIGHT/NOTHING No matter what it will do me some good”

    So I am going to commit to loosing 1kg before January 1st (or more).

    And Merryme, here’s hoping it is a better year to you!!

    I am in too!!!


    Thanks Thin, I’m definitely signing up to behave better this December than I did last year. That is not a good memory.

    My December pledges are:
    – I will do at least 2 FD each week.
    – I will only add a third FD when necessary and sensible – to avoid any corresponding binge behaviour.
    – I will not stress about food, I will enjoy all celebrations and social occasions mindfully.
    – I will plan ahead where possible so that meal preparation is easier.
    – I will be active whenever possible, but as a minimum I commit to exercising at least 3 times each week.

    This morning I was 78.3kg and my hope is that I don’t gain weight over December. However my critical goal is to stay under 80kg as this is the tipping point for other health issues for me.

    Good luck everyone. I hope we all meet our December goals.

    Hi thin,

    Count me in! I pledge to lose 4 pounds this month! Thanks for creating this group! I was able to fast through the holidays before, so I know it’s doable. I’ve fallen off the wagon this year due to not believing I could make fasting a way of life. I had a good fast day today, and plan on 2 fast days a week (500-600 calories) on Fast Days.

    Looking forward to hear everyone’s progress!

    Hi Thin
    I’d love to take on your silly season challenge. Weighed 80.8kg yesterday – would love to be < 80kg real soon, so fingers crossed I’ll give it a go. So glad to see others taking it on as well. Thank you

    This is going to be tricky. My daughter and her OH gave me an early Christmas present (they will be away at Christmas). It is an Advent Calendar on the side of a box. Starting today, every day I open a door and take out a bottle of craft beer. Every bottle will be different so there will a daily puzzle of “how many calories in this one”. I had intended to try for, as nearly as possible, a low alcohol run up to Christmas, so already we are on Plan B. The second Christmas Challenge is to prevent this becoming a habit – that is more beer than I would normally drink. The third Christmas Challenge is lose some weight this month!

    Penguin, you are going to have to have a chat with Joffy on the Southern Hemisphere thread. If I remember correctly he has the inclusion of beer on FDs all figured out. I even seem to remembering him squeezing 3 beers (and little else) into one FD when mates & beer dropped in unannounced.

    First FD of December done – not a1/4 of my TDEE, but coming in at 520cals. I’m OK with that little extra. I’m not out of the woods yet, stress-wise, but my blood pressure is beginning to go back to normal this week, after some good news.

    Chritmas lunch tomorrow with members of medical support group. Focus is not on food but on working out how to get through the Silly Season unscathed energy wise. No breakfast for me tomorrow.

    My starting weight is 59.3 and my goal for the month is 58. I plan to continue sticking to my FDs and eat mindfully on my NFDs. My NFDs are the toughest for me. It would be so nice to get to my final goal of 58 kg by the end of the year!

    Maybe I’ll try to buy something to wear over the holidays that shows off my weight loss so far. Having clothing that you really like in a small size is good incentive to stay there!

    I’ll join you if I may.

    I intend to weigh less on January 1st than I do today. I am aiming for a 3-4lb loss.
    I have a few social functions in the next couple of weeks and I’ve already planned my FD around them. Fortunately none of them are buffets or in someone’s home so there is less chance of over-eating.

    Good luck everyone 🙂

    Day 1-yesterday. We had my DD wedding celebrant and his wife over for dinner last night. DH cooked a 3 course dinner. I suggested we didn’t need the 1st course but he said “it’s just a salad” – was a yummy Thai beef salad. I only had one wine and one chocolate that our guests brought and this morning my weight was down 200 grams- I’ll take that😀
    Today is a Christmas celebration lunch with 4 or 5 girls I went to school with. Tomorrow is dinner with my DDs future inlaws. I really need this thread. Thanks Thin x

    Stay – I though I had a difficult week of food challenges, but yours sound worse, 3 challenging days in a row – although given you’ve lost weight after the first challenge I’d say you are handling it well.

    I didn’t make very good choices for dinner at the craft fair last night, but there wern’t really any good foods to choose from. My cousin and I bought a bowl of tabouli with felafel, 2 samosas and a paper cone of salt and pepper squid and shared. Apart from the the tabouli salad it was all deep fried – not things I’d normally choose.

    I’m doing a FD today. As I count my week as Sun-Sat, this will make 3 for this week, but I have challenging food days on Monday and Wednesday and would like to squeeze a FD in on Tuesday, so I think a FD will work better today rather than my usual Sunday.

    We’re off to a great start, thanks for joining me.

    Penguin, that advent calendar sounds terrific. I assume you’re not compelled to drink the beer every day, just retrieve it and ooh and ahh about its origins. On the other hand, as LJ says, if you and Joffy want to drink your FD calories, we’re not judging!

    Hello, breakfromcookies, I see you’re from the midwest USA so you have a buddy here from your region in CalifD.

    Amazon, we’re honoured that you’re here. I know you’ve been on this forum for a long time as I’ve seen your posts for as long as I can remember. I’m sure we’ll all benefit from your experience. You’re working in lbs, so are you also from the US?

    LJ, it’s hard to find healthy choices in that environment, isn’t it? Our local council has set up food vans at the river for the summer evenings. It’s a great idea in theory but there’s never anything I want to eat.

    Good job Stay, have fun with the girls today.

    Hi thin,

    I am English and I am a Londoner. I’ve converted to kilos for cooking and shopping but not for weighing myself for some unknown reason 😆

    I have been on doing 5:2 for a long time and on this forum for about 3 years but after (eventually)losing 68lbs with another 16 to go I lost the plot completely (life gets in the way sometimes) and have been going round in circles for far too long and my weight has been slowly creeping up. I think (hope) I’m finally back on track as I’ve managed to lose 5lbs and I thought I would join you for a month and see if it helps keep me on the straight and narrow.
    I am very good at giving advice but not always good at applying it to myself!

    I follow 16:8 on non FDs and I only eat dinner on FDs. Occasionally I have a food free FD but it is far too cold for that right now as if I get cold I can’t get warm without eating now I am merely overweight rather than obese and no longer have an inbuilt insulation layer.

    I am going out for the day and will be visiting a German style Christmas market. I am planning to indulge in some of the food on offer but won’t be eating anything else today. I am going with my naturally slim friend who rarely over indulges and I always aim to eat no more than her so I should be OK.

    Day 2. This did not start well. Normally I weigh myself first thing every morning, yesterday I didn’t. So today’s is the start weight -218 pounds. That is one pound up on what my body now seems to regard as my set weight. This is not surprising. Yesterday was a confused day in which I did not plan the evening meal. In the afternoon we defrosted a small freezer, clearing it of all the forgotten things, so the evening meal turned out to me a selection of bought in Chinese snacks (small spring rolls, money purses), a pork pie I made some time ago and an individual fruit tart that OH picked up whilst shopping. Accompanied by a beer from the Advent box. 150 calories in the beer, no idea about the others but too many. And this morning I cut myself shaving in the tight space just below the nose where you can’t stop the bleeding.

    Today will be better.

    Amazon, I hadn’t considered the UK as a possible origin for you. I’m originally from Brighton but Australia is my home now. What a weight loss story you have. So funny, “Take my advice, I’m not using it”! I hope you get back to the weight you want to be and I applaud you for tackling it at this time of year. We know that many well-intentioned people will be joining this forum in January. And most won’t stick around because they’re making excuses right now and then they’ll be on a quick fix ‘diet’ when the damage is done. We have to learn to make this a way of eating for life. You have a good, strong name that sounds like you mean business! Although, CalifD is probably thinking about shopping when she sees the word ‘Amazon’.

    It is so interesting what you say about the skinny people. They never seem to eat! I had one very thin friend for years and I never saw her put anything in her mouth. If we went for coffee, she would leave the tiny shortbread biscuit offering in the saucer and I’d be pre-occupied with wanting to reach over and pop it in my mouth. I have another very skinny uni friend and we’re still in touch 40 years later. For decades, I was always the chubby one. It’s finally caught up with her though and now her boobs are bigger than mine (not to mention the spare tyre). I never thought I’d ever weigh less than she.

    Penguin, I hope you have a better day. Tip: do the shaving before you open the advent calendar!

    FD for me. I’ve had the obligatory two coffees with almond & coconut milk. Other than those 20 cals, I will try to make this a 24 hour fast and will literally have a three ring circus to distract me from any hunger. We’re going to Cirque Du Soleil when I’d normally be having my 2pm cauliflower soup. Has anyone seen Toruk?

    Good morning to all the Silly Season Challengers,

    I decided to join this challenge a couple of days ago but forgot to put in my weight on the day.

    My starting weight for 1st December was 79.8 which was slightly up from my weight before I left for Japan.

    I fasted on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd December with my weight this morning being 77.8 so I have for the month of December lost 2 kg, one being what I put on while away and one new kg lost.

    I did some rethinking of my calorie intakes and recalculated my TDEE which I think has helped. I also calculated my TDEE for my first goal weight of 68Kg and focused on keeping my 1/4 FD calorie intake to that calculation which turns out to be 412.4 calories. Keeping well below that amount on my FDs was definitely a challenge but I was determined to do it.

    For those who have committed to this challenge, good on you!!! We can do it together!!!

    I am looking forward to having a great Christmas Day and not have to worry about what I put into my mouth because I know I have lost enough Kgs for the month already and I will reward myself with a feast!!

    I stuck to my FD yesterday with difficultly. It was unexpectedly cold and wet here which seemed to accelerate my appetite.

    I ended up having a spinach beef and pine nut salad for dinner, with a handful of strawberries and a hot almond milk drink for afternoon tea. I think that would have taken me close to 500cals, but I gave into the desire for another hot almond milk in the evening, which I suspect took me over 500.
    For those of you who don’t know me, I no longer count calories on any day as I usually eat from a small range of meals on FDs and I know they are all well under 500. The salad was not one of my usual FD meals and I know pine nuts have an outrageous number of calories.

    I’m glad I stuck with it instead of abandoning the FD as I was tempted to do. I have lunch out tomorrow and an afternoon tea on Wednesday, so getting a FD in yesterday was quite important. I’m also planning a FD on Tuesday.

    Jj – I think working with the TDEE for your goal weight is wise. It gives you time to learn what the food and calories that you’ll need at goal look like. Having already adjusted to this before getting to goal I think makes it easier to maintain when you get there.

    Hope you all have a good Sunday, fasting or otherwise.


    I think that’s really funny considering this is a British website 😆

    I have friends in Perth and Adelaide and have visited Australia several times.

    I worked in the NHS as a radiographer for 40 years and my name is from a very old newspaper article where the journalist described radiographers (who were mostly female back then) as Amazonian women moving heavy machinery around seemingly without effort and made made me laugh but was absolutely true!

    My best friend has been overweight in the past but never obese as I was but she has no problem maintaing her weight. She eats well but wisely.
    I have several friends who I’ve known for many years who have always been thinner than me and are no longer so. Their attitudes are varied and interesting going from “well done you look fab”, through “don’t lose any more weight” (I was still obese at this point!) to no acknowledgement at all depsite being 68lbs lighter!
    All of them have known me since I was a slightly overweight 20 something so it doesn’t make sense to me.

    I fasted on 1st December and was out for the day yesterday. I had a glass of mulled cider and a main course plus wine in a restaurant and tasted a few tiny pieces of cheeses etc in a food market. It was an excellent non FD for me especially as I was assaulted by the sight and smell of food for most of the day. Having said that, I didn’t actually see anything that I really, really wanted to eat.

    I’m at home today and am aiming not to eat until dinner as once I start I don’t want to stop and that has been one of the issues stalling my weight loss, so it is time for drastic measures.

    I’ll be fasting again tomorrow.

    Have a good day everyone 🙂

    Day3 report. An act of sabotage yesterday. OH made her first batch of Christmas mince pies, then left them to cool in full view in an unattended kitchen. In spite of that, and the advent beer, I’m down one pound.

    Penguin, beer + mince pies = weight loss. Only you could accomplish that! 😀

    Amazon, I think the way others react to our weight loss is mostly about them not us.
    Sometimes they fear being the fat one in the group, when they’ve always relied on you to fill that role and it’s often a mantle that they do not want.
    Sometimes it’s an unwelcome reminder that they need to do something about their own weight, but just aren’t at a point where they can face that yet – in this case you are an unwelcome mirror.
    I’ve had the same variety of reactions that you have mentioned and I’ve come to learn that their comments are rarely personal to us, just to them. Only those who are happy in their own skin give me honest reactions.

    I know that their reactions are about them but what surprised me was who acted in which way ie people who have always seemed so happy and relaxed in their own skin displaying anxieties/feelings I didn’t know existed.

    I have no intention of ever being the fat one again.

    I am in! Have recently returned to 5:2 after falling off this summer. Though I was quite active, I found myself eating high carb sugary foods. The more I did, the more I craved…and caved. I gained 8#! I am prediabetic and had been working towards better numbers by my next physical this coming spring. Have returned to 5:2 the past 3 weeks and am down 6#. Interestingly, the sugar cravings have significantly abated. That is huge! Bread and pasta have never been great challenges for me…it has always been the sugar. Alcohol is sugar’s best friend, and I had been having 1-2 glasses of wine when fixing dinner. Bad habit that I have ditched. I now have wine or a cocktail purposefully and enjoy them, but don’t seem to crave it. What a cycle that was. Glad to join this challenge. It will be a great reminder to stay loyal to those 2 fast days each week. ( I love that I can flex which day. A real psychological advantage.

    Day three and a half. Today’s Advent Calendar door has given me a bottle of “Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale”. It is the colour of a sticky toffee pudding and tastes like one whilst still being recognisably a beer. The world is getting weird.

    Those mince pies didn’t get frozen fast enough but I did get some exercise – been baby sitting a neighbour’s collie dog.

    I’m in! I’m 75.45 Kg @ 5’10” and I need to lose a kilo or two of fat. I survived Thanksgiving without gaining, and I know I can do this too.

    I am in. I did two water only days per week for a year. I lost 40 pounds and have not been able to bring myself to fast since then. I landed in the hospital with high blood pressure and a heart arrhythmia. It is the wake up call I needed.

    I have to take pills that require food twice per day. I think the 500 calorie fasting days will give me enough food to take the pills. I am hoping that if I lose enough weight that I will be able to give up many of the pills I am taking. I have fasted through Christmas before. I can do it again. I don’t want to. I have to. I really have to.

    Wish me luck as I wish all of you healthy happy holidays!

    Starting weight 273 lbs or 124 kilos.

    FD tomorrow will be welcomed. I’ve added a couple of kg over the weekend. Decorating the house for Christmas (indoors) which takes some time with 3 trees and other decorations. Yesterday I spent at least 3 hours running around stores looking for a tree stand for an artificial tree because we looked ‘everywhere’, couldn’t find ours, and wanted to get the tree standing with at least the lights on it. Should have been a simple thing, right? None of the stores had them. After the 6th store and several phone calls from the car, my DH calls me on my mobile to tell me he finally found it. By then I had eaten a roast beef sandwich I’d picked up at a convenience store that was just plain awful and a candy bar to make up for the awfulness of the sandwich. Does that make sense?? Well, it did yesterday.

    I will likely lose The gained weight on my FD tomorrow, but the point was to lose weight this month and get down to my goal. So I have to do better.

    Thin, the name Amazon does make me think of shopping. 😁 I wondered yesterday, several times, why I didn’t just look online for the stand. Stores were crowded, things were already starting to look picked over, and traffic was terrible. Amazon, cold weather makes me think of eating to get warmed up too.

    I’m trying to psyche myself up for the FD tomorrow! I had a successful one last Thursday, but was super cold all night! I tend to skip breakfast on FDs and have a protein bar for lunch, sparkling water and a protein centered meal for dinner.

    My plan is to get into a good book tomorrow evening to distract me, any suggestions? Now that I’m working full-time again, it’ll be easier to keep busy. I’ll check in with the group tomorrow.

    I have lunch out with ex-work colleagues today. I have already looked at the online menu and worked out what I’ll order, so I feel OK about it.

    Yesterday afternoon I made all of the shortbread dough (in various flavours), for the many batches I have to make. And I’ve refrigerated it all so I can slice off and bake as many as I need for the various occasions and gifts. I baked enough for today’s gifts with just one spare biscuit. The one spare was planned as I made a flavour combination I wasn’t sure about and wanted to know it tasted OK before including it in the gift bags. It was fine (chocolate & walnut shortbread), not really my cup of tea but the chocolate lovers will enjoy it. Given how badly I behaved with the leftover shortbread I baked a week ago I’m quite pleased with how this went.

    For all those with food challenges today – I hope you enjoy yourselves without going to excess.
    For those on a FD – I hope it’s an easy one.

    Check-in after a weekend that started out with one Christmas thing to attend and ended up more.

    The main one was a bring a plate function so OH and I took a large plate of watermelon (summer here in Australia), a small bowl of macadamias, and a tiny, tiny bowl of candied ginger. We know that others take plates of the usual Christmas fare so try to take something that’s not.

    I am gluten and grain intolerant, but can have a little with some consequences. I really love grain foods but, I have a form of food intolerance where the symptoms/reactions include an addictive component that goes for 5 days. If I eat any, not only do I get swelling and inflammation , but for the 5 days of withdrawal I have very intense cravings for them. (All tested with a dietician, not in my head). There are a number of foods that cause this addictive reaction to the intolerance. If I eat any one of them, the reaction will include addictive cravings to All of them. So, I know if I eat any I’m in for a battle. Celebrations are an extra challenge for me.

    Fortunately, the 1st function was a medical support group Xmas gathering where many people have gluten problems so most of the food was gluten free, which was lovely. There was a salmon mousse which was nice and healthy and healthy, but came with wheat crackers. As I got tireder (ME/CFS) I had some with the wheat crackers forgetting there were some veggie sticks on a plate not too far away I could have used instead. Those few crackers set me up for a fall later in the day when we were invited out on the fly, where some Christmas food was also offered and all of it wheat/sugar/chocolate based. The chocolate and sugar I can usually get past if I don’t want it, but the wheat was harder, especially that I was now in reaction time with the craving thing happening. So, instead of refusing it, I ate. Not heaps but enough to give me more of a problem and bring on fluid retention. Wrong move. I should have taken some of the watermelon and nuts with us so that I had something healthy to eat.

    So, my weight is up 1kg in 2 days as I start my FD today. And I’m aching a bit. My goal is to come out of Christmas at a stable weight but I really want to not go into Christmas proper at 65k-66kgs. I have a little grandchild’s birthday before Christmas as well, so I need to learn from this and strategise for any impromptu things with other people, especially when I know the people are “feeders”.


    Welcome thinittowinit, grannygump and diverdog. So pleased you could join us and I enjoyed reading your individual stories.

    Granny, I’ve continued fasting twice a week despite reaching my goal weight 28 months ago because I find it helps put the breaks on those bad habits we otherwise tend to return to. I used to enjoy a pre-dinner G&T or two and wine with dinner but found I completely lost the taste for alcohol on a previous ‘starvation diet’ and realised that it had just been a habit. Like you, I now find the odd drink a lot more pleasurable. I’m with you, sugar is my enemy and always makes a FD harder when I’ve had too much the day before.

    Diverdog, good job maintaining your weight over Thanksgiving. In which part of the US are you located?

    Thinit, I’m interested in your water fasts. Did they run from dinner the previous night to dinner on the FD evening or beyond?

    Amazon and LJ, agree completely, the comments received about weight loss are all about the person making them. I also heard, ‘you’ve lost enough weight now’ too often and now sometimes hear, ‘oh, you’ve kept the weight off, then’. I felt that some people seemed to be willing me to put it all back on. But none of this bothers me because the confidence I gained in losing 23kgs outweighs any of that. So to speak.

    Penguin, that beer sounds interesting. Does it have any calories? Do you share it with your OH?

    JJulie, did you manage a sensible eating day yesterday after your success on the scales?

    LJ, I liked your penultimate paragraph with the advice about TDEE, “Having already adjusted to this before getting to goal I think makes it easier to maintain when you get there.”

    CalifD, enjoyed your post, oh the perils of being out of your environment when it’s time to eat. As I read your post I thought, ‘why didn’t she order that tree stand on Amazon?’ and then I got to your final para!

    Breakfromcookies, good job on the successful fast – I remember feeling cold on the evening of a FD when I started fasting. And very tired. Were you asking for suggestions on a good read or suggestions for getting through the FD? If the latter, I’m with you on skipping breakfast so as not to awaken the hunger dragon. Forgive me for commenting on the protein bar though and feel free to completely ignore my advice because this is all about whatever gets you through a FD. But I just wonder about the nutritional value of that protein bar. It is likely to have quite a high sugar content and it’s also not teaching you to eat properly. I know that some people have a protein shake which raises the same issues. I wonder if you could substitute that with a warming home made soup? If you feel the need for the protein, then Joffy’s (SH thread) minestrone soup could be a helpful suggestion. In my case, I eat homemade cauliflower soup, 103 cals, every single FD at 2pm. I’m very boring but routine works for me.

    The circus was great. We got home at 4.30pm and I still wasn’t hungry. But the OFMs were so we had a very early dinner and I ate my miso soup with chicken & shiitake which was already prepared. I found it just made me want to eat for the remainder of the evening but I limited myself to 340 cals and made it through the night unscathed. 300gms closer to my Jan 1 goal of being 1 kilo lighter.

    P.S. Hi Merry, I took so long to write that and your post appeared later. Hope you’re all fit and well.

    Lj – Have you ever made gluten free shortbread? I’ve been thinking about having a go at making some. I had some on Saturday but the sugar in it was a bit too much a bit crunchy. I just wan’t to make a very small quantity for Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The commercial ones are also very high in sugar, and often commercial GF stuff has heaps of palm oil, which is nasty stuff.

    Hi Thin, well done on your FD yesterday, and I bet the circus was wonderful.

    Hi to everyone where ever you are in the world.

    Re the smilies and emoji’s, it’s easy to get them on my phone – there’s a link emoji. you’ll need someone more techie than me to help. Anyone?

    FD going well – staying out of the kitchen, and focussing on Chrissie presents, washing, Christmas decorating, etc etc. So far have had 1 Rooibos tea and water, a couple of calories.

    Merry, I haven’t made gluten free shortbread, but it’s a recipe that should adapt very well to it, as it has no rising agent and contains rice flour already.

    My family recipe is 3oz caster sugar, 8oz butter, 13oz plain flour, 2 oz rice flour or cornflour. (1oz = 30g – this is my Nana’s recipe so I always make it her way using ounces) The butter needs to be very soft but not melted (if its not soft enough it won’t absorb all that flour). Cream it really well with the sugar then work the flour in gradually – I use an electric mixer. Roll it out on kitchen paper to 8-10mm thickness and cut into fingers or any shapes you like. Carefully place onto a tray and refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking. Bake in a 155C oven for 30 minutes. The low temperature means they will cook completely without browning. (If you want a quicker option, place the dough onto a long piece of plastic wrap and roll into a sausage shape with a 3-4cm diameter. Roll it up tightly in the plastic and refrigerate until very firm. Unroll the plastic, slice into discs that are 8-10mm thick and place on a baking tray and bake. This is much quicker than rolling out dough and cutting shapes.) This isn’t a very sweet shortbread, most modern shortbread recipes have contain a higher proportion of sugar. My Nana would have made this with salted butter but I use unsalted butter (usually cultured unsalted butter). I wouldn’t consider using margarine or oil, although coconut oil may make a nice coconut flavoured shortbread.

    Because shortbread is meant to be dense and not rise I think gluten free flours would work well. You could try it with all rice four or simply follow my recipe and replace the plain flour with a commercial gluten free flour.

    This year I made 4 versions of the basic dough:
    – Plain – The original, my Nana’s shortbread.
    – Orange cashew – I added orange zest and chopped cashew nuts (raw nuts as they toast while baking). I also replaced 2oz of the flour with 2oz finely minced rolled oats.
    – Vanilla almond – I replaced 1 oz of the rice flour with vanilla custard powder and also added vanilla bean paste and I rolled the sausage of dough in flaked almonds so that each round will have a ring of almonds around the edge once I slice and bake it.
    – Chocolate walnut – I replaced 1oz of flour with dark Dutch cacao powder. I added chopped walnuts. I also had to double the sugar to 6oz to counteract the bitterness of the cocoa.

    Because the dough has no eggs it keeps for a long time if well wrapped – basically it has the same fridge life as butter. It can also be frozen, although the butter content means it won’t be much firmer than if kept in the fridge.

    Good luck, I hope you find a gluten free flour that works. I have high hopes that this is one substitution that should work well.

    Thin at last thanks for the welcome. This sure is an active thread. I live in Henderson, just outside of Las Vegas Nevada. I’m about 74 lbs down from my heaviest weight of 240lbs at age 50. I’ve kept most of it off for 16 years usually 180 lbs =- 5 lbs. I’ve been experimenting with 5:2, time restricted eating, Short term water fasting and “fasting mimicking diet” for around 2 years. I also work out but have not done so for the last 3 weeks as I’m moving to a new house.

    Food was always a big deal at the holidays for my extended family. I love fresh baked goods and will happily gorge and eat all of it ASAP. My method of dealing with it is to allow a very limited amount in the house. I have it once and then give or throw it away. I am an excellent baker but I no longer gift people with cakes or cookies as I feel I am contributing to their ill health.

    Good afternoon Silly Seasoners,

    I am happy to answer Thin’s question with a yes.

    I decided to make OH and 18YO home made pizza for dinner. OH was driving to Townsville so wanted his for lunch before he left. I precut all the toppings.
    Red, green and yellow capsicum diced, onion, pineapple, mushrooms, olives ham and cabanossi. Oh had salami, cabanossi and all the vegies on his. We used a pita bread type pizza base that I bought at Coles which turned out really nice when cooked as it was not heavy and it was crispy. OH could not eat all of his so took half of it to Townsville with him to have for dinner last night.
    18YO and her boyfriend shared one together.
    Mine was mainly vegetarian with just a bit of ham on it. I did not eat it all either and two pieces really filled my up. 18YO’s boyfriend took the rest home to his place so he did not have to cook tonight.

    This morning’s weigh in was 77.1kg so I was really pleased.

    Today however we went to lunch at Japanese noodle shop. I am so full!!!!
    I had their new option on the menu, light base soup with noodles and cabbage, black mushrooms, bean sprouts, shallots and spinach. The owner came up and asked me what I thought of the new dish. Told her it was wonderful and just perfect for my healthy eating. Dont think I will need any dinner tonight.

    Feeling good about December!!!!! 😆

    Hi everyone,

    What a busy thread 🙂

    I am fasting today. I don’t eat until dinner on FDs but I do have a splash of milk in my teas and coffees. I prepared an aubergine bake last night which comes in at 630 calories and is plenty for 2 FD dinners. I did it yesterday as I have an appointment at 4pm and I know I’ll be really hungry and need to have something ready to put in the oven or I’ll be tempted to pick, not that there is much in the fridge to pick at apart from a carrot or two!

    Gluten free flour should work in shortbread.

    Time to get busy and keep out of the kitchen,
    Have a good day everyone 🙂

    Day 4 sitrep. Weight unchanged. Today will be a FD, but not a total fast, I will permit myself something light about 6pm because thereafter I have to drive 150 miles into London.

    I am guessing there were somewhere between 150-200 calories in the Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale. None today because of the driving.


    One more thing I should add about the shortbread recipe. It’s always a struggle to get the creamed butter & sugar to absorb all of the flour. That’s why I add it gradually. Sometimes I have about an ounce left that I can see isn’t going to work into the dough properly, so I don’t try. Although I know that the softness of the butter has an effect on this. The moisture content within the flour and sugar and even the milk solids in the butter may also have a minor impact. So don’t feel you have to force all of the flour into the dough if it’s obviously not needed.
    The dough should feel fairly firm rather than soft but should not be crumbly, it should come together in a ball easily.

    I find the easiest way to get the butter and flour mixed is to rub it in with my fingers in the same way as when making pastry, then add the sugar and it should all come together easily. I add the sugar last because I don’t like the feel of it when I’m rubbing in the butter.
    Or you could use a food processor which will take seconds! 🙂

    Morning all,

    I have a Silly Season event to attend today. It’s a group from the learning centre. I take advantage of my position as permanent class secretary to exercise control in devising the menu. So there are several plant based dishes. Encouraged by my success, at least half of this group have been turned on to 5:2, some with great success, so I’m with like-minded people which always helps. To set a good example, I’m contributing a large platter of rainbow salad.

    This year’s host owns a winery and is supplying champagne which I don’t drink as it gives me a headache. As it’s a bit of a drive for me, I won’t be drinking anyway. So, all in all, I’m not too worried about this one. Hope to focus more on enjoying the company outside the classroom setting and less on the food.

    Have a great day all.

    Hello everyone,

    I’m mostly through my fast day, it’s been a busy one & that’s helped. Of course, I heard the sabotaging voice in my head telling me I wasn’t going to make it through. Why is this voice so convincing at times??!!

    Thin, you are right, the protein bar (190 cal) is a bit of a crutch. I have always eaten them for lunch on fast days. It’s sort of a tradition / break from making a real lunch. Perhaps I’ll try hard boiled eggs for lunch on Thursday. I’m planning on having smoked salmon on fiber crackers for dinner. I had a kombucha after work today (70 calorie drink).

    I’ve been a little cold, but the Midwest is enjoying its last day in the 50s today. The rest of the week looks like it’ll be below freezing.

    My ultimate goal is to lose 7-10 pounds before my big birthday in June. I’d like to lose some this month, but to be honest, coming out of the silly season without weight gain will be okay with me.

    Good night from the U.S.

    Late afternoon here of my Monday FD. It’s going well, with just a 200 calorie soup. I haven’t decided on dinner yet. I’ll probably get Subway sandwiches for OFM. Maybe I’ll have some of the pinto beans with jalapeño, chili peppers and lime juice that I cooked up yesterday. Or there’s always the sauerkraut in the crock which should have reached the proper degree of sourness by now. It takes so much longer without the warm summer temperatures!

    FD for me today, my first for this week. I need to counteract lunch out yesterday and also prepare for an afternoon tea event tomorrow.

    I’ll follow the usual plan of just eating dinner and having a small piece of fruit mid afternoon in needed. I have a tiny lamb steak (about 70g) left over from last night’s dinner (lamb steak, mung bean dahl & kasha buckwheat). Tonight I’ll steam green beans and carrot and team them with the lamb and some fresh cherry tomatoes.

    As usual I have allocated some calories to milk so that I can have cups of tea when I want throughout the day. So far I’ve had one pot of my favourite morning tea blend. Always my favourite way to start the day. If I can have my cups of tea on FDs I rarely feel deprived. It’s a simple thing, but makes a lot of difference to me.
    When I started 5:2 one bit of advice I received was not to drink calories. I really tried to find calorie free drinks but it didn’t go well and I realised it was one bit of advice that didn’t fit me. I came accept that I was actually prepared to sacrifice food for cups of tea with milk. Once I got to a point where I no longer felt the need to eat either breakfast or lunch on FDs, it was actually quite easy to have the cups of tea and not go over 500 cal and I only had to construct one meal from those calories.

    Have a good day everyone.

    Another busy day moving stuff, getting ready for an estate sale and preparing two houses for sale. I broke my 35 hour water fast with four over easy eggs and two slices of sprouted bread with Irish butter. So yummy! Dinner was chicken kebob, lemon potatoes, baba ganoush, greek salad and a glass of white wine.

    All food tastes so good after a water fast!

    Day 5. In London. Got here late, slept late. Everyone at work or school, so I am alone in the house with the sick grand daughter, two dogs, three cats and several guinea pigs. To be strictly honest, the guinea pigs are not in the house. I couldn’t find the scales until I was fully dressed and went looking for a coffee. Scales are in the kitchen. No idea what I weigh.

    Good morning,

    I have a catered afternoon tea to attend this afternoon. I don’t intend to abstain but I do want to consume just a moderate amount. To this end I decided I need to arrive at the afternoon tea not feeling hungry.
    I am soaking the various rolled grains that I make porridge with. I’ll have a large bowl of it late morning as it’s one of the few foods I can rely on to keep me feeling full for hours.

    Hope everyone has a good day.

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