The Third Annual Silly Season Challenge

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  • Good Morning SS Challengers

    Its FD for me today so I hope I see some more downwards movement on the scale tomorrow. After a NFD yesterday (I can’t say it was a good one really) weight has gone down another 300g.

    thin, thank you for caring. I ordered some lower alcohol beer (it’s also lower carb, not that I think that makes much difference) for myself today and this should arrive next week just in time for the holidays. As a bonus it is also 50 calories less per bottle! I will see how I go 🙂

    Minka, so interesting about how you ate that truffle. I think I forget to practice mindful eating myself sometimes. On the weekend I ate some Camembert cheese that I had bought for a cheese platter for Christmas. Cheese really is a weakness for me and I should have bought it closer to the day instead of having that temptation right in my fridge at home. Anyway, before I knew it I had eaten half of pack. It was a small oval one but still!! I didn’t even really get to enjoy it as I just kind of shovelled it down. A bit of a waste really.

    So after saying I am going to do B2B next week, my plans may also be getting derailed. I am definitely doing Monday FD but now my friend wants to go to lunch on Tuesday. It’s actually quite funny because it’s my work friend who I see all the time. She is finishing work at the end of this week and so will able to go for lunch next week and she has been complaining that we haven’t been to lunch for ages. This is because Mon/Wed I am on a FD, Tuesday is just a healthy low calorie eating day but a NFD, and Thursday is her night to eat badly so she doesn’t want to eat badly for both lunch and dinner that day. I don’t work Friday. Oh well, I will just choose a nice healthy lunch I guess.

    I will be back tomorrow to report day after FD weight. Fingers crossed

    Enjoyed your post Quacka! We’re fasting together today. What’s for dinner?

    You made me laugh with your honest description of how you ate the cheese. It’s not really funny but it reminded me of myself. Someone made me some fudge for Christmas. I tried a bit in the car on the way home. And then a bit more. It wasn’t really all that great but I tried a bit more …. and then it was all gone. OFMs don’t even know it had existed. I blame too many red traffic lights.

    I hope you can still enjoy the lower cal, lower alcohol content beer.

    Good morning all.

    Minka & Thin, I have “barricades” that I never cross on FDs, so baking is actually sensible as I just know I can’t eat it. The trick is to get it frozen, packaged or out of the house before the next NFD – then the barricades are down and I have to rely on my unpredictable willpower! Yesterday I had the shortbread cooled and tied up in little cellophane gift bags before my FD was over.

    Minka, I think you did exceptionally well with the chocolate truffle. Isn’t it hard to refuse food when others have made a special effort to provide something just for you? I really struggle with that one.

    Cinque, your challenge is a tough one when you can’t eat fruit – that always helps me get closer to my 7 serves in summer. I suspect the reason they don’t want people to count root veg is that too many people would count fried chips most days and for some they would eat a lot of root veg and little else. I can’t see why a baked jacket potato or carrot sticks aren’t part of your veggies especially if they are accompanied by a wide variety of other veg.

    Cali, as I’ll be a guest christmas day I’m not in control of the food, but I usually take your approach too and just have what I feel like. I think the joy of 5:2 is being able to enjoy the special events.

    Quacka, cheese is a big weakness for me too. I have done exactly the same thing with cheese I bought for a platter. There was a time when I couldn’t trust myself to have cheese in the fridge at all. I’ve gotten better, but there are days that sound just like your camembert episode.

    My FD was uneventful yesterday and I have just broken my fast with an early lunch as I have to drive across town shortly to an appointment.

    Hope the fasters have an easy day and the rest of have an adequate supply of will power to handle our NFDs.

    lol thin! That has happened to me before with OH’s lunch meat. I managed to keep a bit to take home but it was a much smaller parcel than when I first got in the car!

    We are having a beef stew for dinner. It’s already in the slow cooker so it will be ready when I get home. I just worked out the calories and it is 683 for half the stew! Considering it is a very big slow cooker and it is about half full, there is no way that I will be eating half of the stew. I am estimating I will eat about a quarter serve which will about 340 calories. My snacks and ‘lunch’ today will be 80 calories so on track for my FD. Yay!

    I’m glad you and LJ understand my cheese eating episode. I am now going to state that I also have a Brie in the fridge for Christmas day. This is my solemn vow that I am NOT going to eat it beforehand. Lol, but I am serious!

    Too funny Quacka. I admire your honesty. Blame the supermarkets – they have all this Christmassy stuff on display not so that we can shop early for our own convenience but so that we will eat it and replace it for Christmas. Our job is to fight back.

    CalifD will be pleased to know that I’m finally acknowledging the Christmas season. My first effort was made this morning – stopping at the PO to purchase the three stamps required to send Christmas cards to long lost UK rellies. I don’t even know my relationship to one set. On Saturday, I will bring the paraphernalia down from the attic and put up the tree with DD on Sunday.

    LJ, I identify with that. I’m just a ‘black and white’, ‘on or off’ type personality. I can’t cope with grey areas. So, it’s either a FD or it’s not. And, definitely agree, all of us here deserve to let it all hang out on Christmas Day in whatever way we choose. It’s all in the planning.

    Minka, thank you but no need to thank me for ‘hosting’ this thread. It’s as much for me as anyone and I’ve done nothing other than put up the header and the first post. Thank you all for joining me and making it fun.

    It was your good idea Thin!
    And then you made it happen.
    X 3


    Here’s the best info I could find on 5 veg 2 fruit portion sizes.
    They say ‘starchy’ vegetable rather than ‘root’ vegetable, which is a good idea. I will follow their advice to make a starchy vegetable no more than one of my veggie serves in a day.

    From here I take that a serve of legumes would count as that starchy vegetable. (It actually has a slightly different take on how to count sweet potato).

    Cinque, starchy veg are often higher in sugar and in calories. As you don’t eat fruit you could probably afford to have a little more of the higher cal veg than most other people because you don’t eat fruit. I’d also be wary of using UK info as they lump fruit and veg together as 5 serves and they need some rules to deter people from having too many of those 5 serves as fruit. They are also setting guidelines for the eating issues they see in their country. If tv is to be believed (and it’s a big IF) an entire generation of Brits survived on hot chips, fish and chips, chip butties and the healthy option – baked beans on toast. Some limits on potato consumption (and legumes) might be required in those circumstances.
    My dietitian did say that it was fine to vary the balance between fruit and veg across the year – I often have 3 serves of fruit and less veg in summer and often only 1 serve of fruit and extra veg in colder weather.
    I know you want to do this right, but I think getting to 7 is an achievement in itself.

    Thanks LJoyce,
    Didn’t the UK one talk a lot more about frozen, and tinned veggies, as well as veggies in takeaway food, as if hardly anyone buys fresh produce!

    On the other hand, they have a big population eating plantain and cassava, which are not common here.

    It is a good point that fruit and veggies can be balanced out over a week, a month or even a year.

    I also like the ‘eat a rainbow’ approach as that helps people choose variety.

    I am happy to still count 2 fruit, I just choose fruit that we call vegetables: like tomato, cucumber, eggplant, capsicum etc. I think it will help me with my variety to have (at least) two ‘fruit’ veg a day.

    I would like to use vegetables to replace grains more often, so potato, sweet potato, or other root vegetables tend to take that place. But thinking about legumes, how can I not have them AS WELL as a starchy vegetable!

    I think I prefer counting just fresh produce: fresh beans and peas, yes, dried legumes…. maybe not. My legumes feel like they are in their own category, more in the protein section. (Maybe I will only count them on days that I haven’t got enough other veggies 😉 )

    I notice the Australian one put sweet corn with the starchy vegetables, and it is certainly in the higher sugar category, and is my special treat! I will give myself permission not to count it in with the one serve a day of starchy vegetables 😉 (enough winks Cinque)

    My biggest disappointment with those articles was the lack of recognition of leafy greens. They weren’t in any of the pictures, except in the salad a little bit. I try to have a serve of them every day. (It is still 1/2 cup cooked or a whole cup raw, folks).

    Well, there is plenty of wriggle room around 5 veg, 2 fruit! I am interested to see what I consume in the challenge!

    Cinque, the guidelines the dietitian gave me listed legumes as a vegetable and also as a protein. I personally also think it could be counted as a grain too – especially when I’m using things like legume flours for baking. I tend to treat it as a floating serve that I can drop into any vacant spot!
    I couldn’t find my saved link, but I think this is the booklet my dietitian referred me to:

    I agree with your dietitian LJoyce, and with you! Legumes are a protein, and grain-like, and officially a vegetable. Super food!
    All the guides count it as a vegetable. I go by Australian Dietary Guidelines for my info, I just chose the Conversation article to share because it had such good illustrations. It was also clear that legumes make up the 5 veg.
    It is just my personal choice to make up my 5 veg (and 2 fruit) from fresh produce. I’m not suggesting that anyone else should do the same.

    Earlier this week my neighbour invited me to a christmas afternoon tea this Friday. So I moved my planned FD to tomorrow instead. Well today I got an email from someone who I used to work with and still have lunch with occasionally. He suggested we have lunch next Monday – you guessed it, on my next planned FD! However as my Friday FD has now become a Thursdsay FD, moving Monday to Sunday should be fine. For someone who does not like her planning being upset I’d say I’m being remarkably adaptable at the moment. I just hope that adaptability doesn’t extend to high cal parts of the menu.

    Thanks for the articles and the discussion you two. I do love my veggies and a big variety and I think I eat 5 serves a day but I’m going to check tomorrow. I tend not to think in cup sizes when it comes to vegetables or salads.

    LJ, I’ll be fasting with you on Sunday.

    Interesting to read of the cultural differences about the 5 veg and 2 fruit standard. I hadn’t realized that chips, crisps, onion rings, would count as a veg serving. Upon reflection I realize how few leafy greens I consume. Mr M makes my lunch every day and I know he adds at least 2 cos lettuce leaves. Sometimes I buy a bunch of kale though haven’t for some time! Yes, I can see the value of the plant food challenge next Silly Season!

    I’ve definitely been hungrier than usual today and have struggled with cravings which haven’t come and gone like FD hunger pangs, but instead have been gnawing under the surface most of the afternoon! I’ve just been noting them and been continuing on my way without indulging. Since I’m not actually desiring sugar, I’m not sure the cravings are indeed ‘fall out’ from yesterday’s sugar hits.

    I roughly tracked my calories again on My Fitness Pal today and I’m now over my 1400 TDEE calorie limit by at least 300 calories. I’m okay with that since I’ve only had foods I carefully thought out before ingesting. If anything the extra calories are from the larger than usual serve of crockpot beef and veg stew I had for dinner, which I portioned that size because I felt so ravenous. The extra dinner hasn’t helped all that much! Even with a full belly, the underlying gnaw is still there and at the same time I’m in no mood for a dark chocolate truffle. I just want the cravings to subside and feel satiated again. Usually I would have given into the cravings and known that I could get away with doing that because a FD is due in a couple of days, though this is part of my challenge and as much as it is challenging, I am enjoying it. I know that this is what I should be doing.

    Just heading off to bed, but saw your post Minka. Try drinking water to combat the gnawing. That’s how I got out of a similar sounding trap a few days ago! My brain was accidentally sending me hunger messages instead of thirst ones.

    Thin and others, thank you for the congrats.

    I’m actually living in the far north of Surrey, just outside of 2 London boroughs, so not close to Guildford at all! Surrey is a massive county which probably ought to be sub-divided, like East and West Sussex – IMHO!!

    Anyway – today is a derailler alert day! How I did this I do not know – BUT I have scheduled 2 consecutive meals out at Thai restaurants, tonight and tomorrow – different friendship groups who just happen to like the same type of food! Now, I love Asian food of all kinds, but my body typically reacts with a huge weight gain the morning after…so I’m looking at a potential serious undoing of a lot of hard work (sigh). How to keep myself on track? A FD on Friday will help. So will small portions. Thankfully I won’t be pressured into drinking alcohol, as I have the legitimate reason of being the designated driver both nights. I guess this is just what happens, so mindful control is called for. That, and drinking lots of water – thanks for the reminder, Cinque!

    FatFingers – I find it helps if I avoid the rice and noodles at Asian restaurants – definitely less damage on the scales. Not easy to avoid the sodium though.
    Good luck with your Thai meal choices.

    FatFingers, I agree with LJoyce — try to avoid the rice. Every time I eat white rice, my weight goes up and then doesn’t go down easily.
    And speaking of weight, after Monday’s Fast Day with the Beet/Bleu Cheese Salad [yes, using Feta would be fine, also Chèvre as a substitute for Bleu] I GAINED a pound! Impossible. Then yesterday [a Slow Day], we were taken to lunch by out financial advisor. I ordered a “Philly Cheese Steak” sandwich [open face, beef + melted cheese] of which I ate 1/2, along with 1/2 of my very good coleslaw. Sounded like a recipe for disaster, but today I weigh ONE POUND less. Go figure. But I’ll take it. Our Friday ‘tea’ with friends has been postponed to next week some time. So Friday night’s dinner will be Fish Cakes and I use my Fast Day recipe and portions for that, making Friday [usually a Slow Day] into a 1/2-Fast Day. ODH would not know this.

    For those of you going to restaurants, here’s my strategy. If there is a good appetizer selection [at yesterday’s lunch this was lacking], I order one appetizer for that course and follow it with another appetizer for the ‘main’ course. Splitting the dessert with ODH tops off the meal. This usually results in very minimal or no weight gain. Often enjoying a sparkling wine with ‘first course’ and another wine with ‘2nd course.’

    Did you hear of the study that seems to show that eating a green, leafy salad daily forestalls Alzheimer’s disease? Eat your greens! I get one of my servings of green veg in a lunchtime smoothie: 8 oz milk, 1 oz spinach/kale, 1/2-oz date. Blended until smooth. I find it delicious and satisfying and it keeps the trains running.

    Potatoes and lentils do NOT make it onto my list of vegetables! But I do include the breakfast Fruit Smoothie as one serving.
    M-m-m-m….cheese! Eat it daily [1 oz] to keep up my Calcium and because I love it.

    Quacka, with that beef stew — did you measure the volume of the finished stew? Knowing that and the total calorie count will make it easy to determine the food value of a ‘serving.’ Time consuming, I know, to work out all the ingredients, but then it is done.

    Good morning everyone

    Weight today 67.4kg, up 100g from yesterday. Not too bad considering that I didn’t end up completing my FD yesterday. It was going so well until I got home and then I totally destroyed it. I’m putting it behind me and looking forward to Monday’s FD. Between now and then I am going to eat lightly, lots of salads and protein and that’s it. Maybe a piece of fruit.

    FM, I didn’t measure out the end volume of the stew but I did meticulously weigh and record everything that went into it. I did end up eating quite a lot of it but still not half the stew! There was actually some left over and OH had quite a big portion too. It was really nice to come home and have it ready. Work is crazy busy at the moment and I am suffering from lack of sleep, so it was nice to not have to cook. I was talking to my Mum yesterday and she asked me if I have still been walking (for exercise). She reminded me that it helps me sleep. I so need to get back into it.

    FF there are lots of yummy Thai meals that are healthy and not too high cal. I usually choose clear soups or vegetable dishes and if I am feeling like protein I may have that in an entree. If I have an entree I usually just order two as my meal instead of a main. I also try to avoid noodles, rice and coconut milk. Saying that, it is also important to enjoy what you are eating. I hope you find something yummy!

    Have a great day SS challengers.

    Hello challengers

    Have been a bit absent as had a difficult patch but back now and feeling very positive. My challenge weight is looking, well, challenging, as I have actually gone in the wrong direction….but I still believe it can be done. 88.2 this morning so 86 by the 3rd Jan – gulp – or maybe not so many gulps will help the cause

    Have loved reading your posts. Good luck everyone!

    Good morning SS challengers

    My second FD for the week today. For once I can report that yesterday’s NFD was actually controlled. I’ve decided to only weight weekly, so I won’t have any feedback on that until the weekend. My exercise goal is looking in doubt this week as I seem to be dodging either high heat or heavy rain – not conducive to long walks. I might have to resort to another shopping centre walk today if this rain keeps going.

    I had intended to take some veg-lentil soup from the freezer for dinner tonight. However I also need to deal with the bounty that my vegie patch is producing at the moment. So I’ve decided to make an omelette with a filling of zucchini, cherry tomatoes, sorrel leaves and mushrooms. As is normal for a FD omelette the 2 egg mixture will not be sufficient to fold neatly over all that veg, but that’s ok, it still tastes nice.

    Have a good day everyone.

    Minka, hats off to you for being so in tune with your cravings and dealing with them. I hope the water reminder from Cinque helped. I just poured myself a cold glass before reading the remainder of the posts.

    I went to bed a bit hungry last night and thought I was in for a bad night but OH was away overnight (sleep clinic) and I slept through until 3.30am and then dozed until 5.30am. Went for an early walk before it started getting hot and weighed in at 59.4kg. Just in time for the next SS thing tomorrow. (Quay to the Amazon, I think I already posted a link to it).

    Fatfingers, hope all went well with the Asian restaurants. I, too, rarely eat rice and my rice portions have changed significantly since I arrived on this forum 4-5 years ago. I used to fill my plate with rice and then pile on all the rest. Now I never take more than one spoonful of rice when out, none when at home because I use cauliflower rice which goes particularly well with Indian food.

    When I was heavier and mainlining all food, I would never have noticed what foods had any particular effect on my weight. Nowadays, eating so much less, it’s easy to see that bread and rice are killers for me wrt weight gain and subsequent effort in getting it off again.

    It can be difficult ordering only what you want when you’re dining out with a group because people usually like sharing dishes among the entire crowd. I do too but it usually results in overeating for me.

    FM, sounds like you’re on track with the SSC even if your scales (or your body) were confused about which was the FD and which the NFD. Great news about the leafy greens because I love them but it may already be too late about staving off dementia! I often forget words.

    Quacka, Anzac, you’ve had a bumpy week but you’re back on Merry’s horse now.

    LJ, good that your FD is going well. I have eaten very little today so far. That’s in preparation for tomorrow’s event where I may even indulge in alcohol since we will catch the ferry home and it will be 38C. Strangely, it’s from 1-5pm.

    FM the leafy greens related to Alz prevention is enough for me to raise my servings per day! That research definitely motivates me! I had 3 sticks of celery with my dinner, though it’s green, not so leafy, so I guess that doesn’t count? I also love and eat cheese and find it filling and satisfying and I eat too eat it daily. Mr M sprinkles grated mozzarella on my lunchtime salad and that is yum and I’ve not observed it contributing to weight gain.

    Quacka, good on you for weighing everything that went into your stew! That’s what I want to do next time I make my own crockpot stew. Do you use My Fitness Pal? Might you have entered the ingredients into the selection on the My Fitness Pal food list called ‘crockpot beef stew home made’? If so, that’s what I’m using to estimate the nutritional value of the stew in my fridge!

    Fatfingers, I don’t know if you like Thai beef salad, though I’ve enjoyed that option as a main from time to time when I’m out eating Asian. Like some of the others in the forum, I tend to avoid rice and noodles and order mild seasoning rather than hot so I don’t require rice to balance out the fire of chili that might be burning my taste buds!

    Anzac, I’m glad to read that you are feeling better after having gone through a difficult patch. I’ve had my share of patches myself and they often reflect in my eating consumption and weight. I’m often an ’emotional eater’ and have found 5:2 so forgiving of all reasons for eating more than optimal. I too trust you reach your goal!

    LJ your garden omelette sounds like the type of omelette I’d like to enjoy! Yum! Well done on the successful NFD too!

    Thin, I love cauliflower rice! That’s what I too make when at home!

    The good news is that I did happen to drink a big glass of water about an hour before bed (sage reminder Cinque and Thin!) into which I mixed my 15 grams of inulin powder and that did the trick, no more hunger pangs for the rest of the night. I haven’t had any cravings today either, so I’m going to blame the gnawing hunger and incessant cravings on the Tuesday evening sugar hit! No way do I want to go through that again. It just isn’t worth it. Not only did I not really enjoy the syrupy cake in the first instance, but I liken yesterday’s insatiable hunger to be on same par of discomfort as crossing Bass Straight on the Spirit of Tasmania during rough seas (which I did both to and from Melbourne and vowed never again!).

    Other good news is that the scales registered favourably this morning even after yesterdays caloric excess over TDEE. I wasn’t so concerned about clocking in over TDEE for a variety of reasons. In any case I’m ready for my Friday Fast Day that will begin in about 15 minutes!

    Happy Fast Day to any other Friday Fasters for tomorrow (or Thursday ones if you are in the USA)!

    My FD had the potential to be derailed, but I resisted.
    I took my 7yo great-nephew’s birthday present and cup cakes over to him this afternoon and was invited to go out with them for dinner – to McDonalds. I explained that I was doing one of my two weekly “lean days” that are necessary to keep my weight stable. They were fine with that. I could have gone and just bought a salad but I was looking forward to a proper meal as I hadn’t eaten all day. I’ve just finished eating my lovely veggie stuffed omelette – much nicer than anything McDonalds could produce I think.

    I don’t have a problem with shifting my FDs around to accommodate social occasions, but I still need to actually do 2 FDs and if I’d abandoned today it would have been just one this week as I have an afternoon tea tomorrow and the actual party for the birthday boy on Saturday.

    The next week will be challenging, from tomorrow through to next Wednesday I have a social food event every day except Sunday (my precious FD). The only event I’m not worried about is dinner next Tuesday as it’s a family dinner that I’m hosting, so I control the menu. (My sister and brother in law are staying with me overnight so I invited all their children and grandchildren over for dinner.) It will be a simple chicken and salad dinner with a fruit platter and a pavlova for dessert (they all love pavlova and I hate it, so easy for me to stick to fruit).

    I’m feeling much better now I a tummy full of dinner. Maybe a cup of tea would be good though.

    This no-snacking-after-dinner thing is really working! My weight all week has been in the “Sleek” range and I am so pleased. Giddy, actually.
    We normally would Fast today but it is the Feast of Saint Lucy, which we celebrate although we are neither Sicilian nor Swedish. Always have yeasted coffee bread at breakfast and Salmon Pierogi with Sparkling wine at dinner while we decorate the house and Tree. Tomorrow we will Fast.

    Since many of you like Thai food, I’m sending this recipe:

    Thai shrimp and Noodle Soup. 272 calories 2.3 g fat 3.8 g fiber 26.3 g protein 37.6 g carbs 82.4 mg Calcium PB TIP: serves 2. Invite a guest or save for a lunch later in the week.
    46 gm rice vermicelli noodles [that’s one small ‘bundle’ of noodles] 2 cups chicken stock, unsalted 6 oz raw shrimp, shelled OR 6 oz cooked shrimp, tail shells removed 4 oz carrots, grated or ‘slice’ them with the vegetable peeler to form long ‘noodles’ 2 scallions, sliced diagonally 1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce 4 tsp lime juice 2 tsp sugar 2 tsp. Thai green curry paste 1 cup spinach leaves, loosely packed, then coarsely chopped OR ¼ cup frozen spinach, chopped and squeezed
    Bring a quart of water to the boil, add the rice vermicelli, cover and take off heat.
    After 4 minutes, drain and reserve the noodles. Put the stock, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and curry paste in a pan together. Warm while whisking to combine.
    Add most of the carrots, saving some as a crunchy garnish. Add the spinach.
    If Shrimp are raw and frozen: cut in half cross-wise and add to simmering liquids.
    Simmer the liquids until carrots and spinach are tender.
    If Shrimp are cooked: cut in half cross-wise and add to soup now.
    Serve the soup, sprinkling the chopped scallions and remaining grated carrot over the surface. This is warm and wonderful and spicy and filling.

    Some how I have gotten out of the Big Glass of Water Daily habit. Must go get some now. Done.

    Goodness, LJoyce, you certainly have a busy social calendar! Our outings consist solely of Dr appointments and committee meetings. Well, and my weekly knitting group which is not to be missed. That omelette sounded delicious! Very French Farmhouse.

    Minka, I’ve never made cauliflower rice, mostly because my ODH would spot it from 10-yards away and put the kabosh on that idea. I try to sneak cauliflower into things, like roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes and he doesn’t notice. Sometimes as part of a ‘winter medley’ side dish. And he was find of this:
    Indian Vegetables with Naan: 299 calories 13 g fat 6.3 g fiber 17.6 g protein 31 g carbs [28 g Complex] 78 mg Calcium PB This delicious meal needs 2 things in advance: Rogan Josh Sauce and Naan breads.
    1 naan flatbread, 106 or fewer calories/piece 3 Tbsp Rogan Josh Sauce ½ cup zucchini, in 1/2” dice ½ cup cauliflower, in 1/2” pieces ½ cup tomato, in 1/2” dice 2 oz ground turkey [I used 15% fat but would have prefered less fat] ¼ tsp Indian curry powder
    Cook the vegetables and turkey in a little water until softened and turkey is fully cooked. Drain, saving the cooking water for baking or soup stock. Add the sauce to the vegetables and meat and heat gently. Warm the naan in the oven or on a hot, dry skillet. Plate to suit your preference. W.o.w.

    thin, forgetting words is not of concern as we age — it is forgetting what the words mean. I’ll do anything, even as I approach 70, to stave off Alzheimer’s. both my parents succumbed to it and I don’t want to go there. Neither of y grandmothers were afflicted and they lived to 90. Fingers crossed the Fast Diet will grow me enough new brain cells!

    This is becoming a dangerous week. So far we have had three festive meals. Because we have lots of different interests, OH and I keep Friday clear for some joint activity which frequently involves a lunch out for which there are no rules. Tomorrow there will need to be. Serious fasting Monday/Tuesday!

    Good morning from wet Melbourne,

    Doesn’t this thread show so clearly that on top of the feasts and expectations of the silly season, there is also CHAOS!
    All these dinners and celebrations and lunch dates appearing at the last minute and completely destroying any plans people make to do 5:2 in the week, or just to have a day without treat food.

    All power to all of you planning and replanning and working your way around the obstacles and grenades.

    Well I’m here for my veg and fruit accountability. Goodness it is tricky. And good grief I was Ms Legume eater yesterday.

    Yesterday I had cheela for breakfast, an Indian pancake made from ground legumes with onion, a small zucchini (homegrown, I pick them very small), ginger, mint and coriander that would have added up to two serves of veggies, but I only cooked half the mixture so I call that one serve.
    Lunch was a potato latke (it’s around the world at mealtimes at my place 😉 ) More zucchini, onion, herbs and the potato, which I am counting part of to make it up to 2 1/2 serves of veggie, especially as I had a good dollop of ajvar with it, and a few lettuce leaves.
    An afternoon snack of hummus with carrot sticks and celery. Half a cup.
    Dinner was a chicken drumstick in a curry sauce (that was based on onion, ginger and tomato but I can’t be bothered figuring out how much that would count, only writing it down to make me feel smug) (and coconut milk? fruit? veg?), blackeyed beans with greens, and more zucchini, 2 of them, griddled this time. Okay this time I will count the beans and greens as a cup, which gets me my 5 veggie serves. The zucchini will be one of the fruit serves. AND I had some ‘real’ fruit: strawberries (lovely low sugar fruit it is) and yes that would be a cupful. That makes my two serves of fruit.

    Success. I wounder if it will be all legumes and zucchini again today. It is to start with as I am having the other half of the cheela batch for breakfast again.

    Cheers all.

    PS Meant to say, interesting research about greens and Alzheimer’s, thanks FM.
    I found a link:

    Fantastic article — thanks, Cinque. Hadn’t read that one but it is the keeper.

    Keep the Faith, penguin.

    I think that those of you from Commonwealth countries do a lot more during the Christmas run-up? My ODH noticed that when he consulted in England and Wales. Is it true? Of course we live in a tiny country town and are both retired, so no office parties or work-related occasions. Our biggies are Christmas [read: Dec 22, 23, 24, 25 with our sons and then New Year’s Eve with about 10 other couples.

    Fasting tomorrow.

    Good morning SSCs

    I actually feel leaner rather than bloated today. I think it’s the first time in over a week that I can say that. The cooler weather helps as my body hangs onto less fluid. Three consecutive days of either FD or controlled NFD helps too.

    I’ve made a decision about the challenges for today and tomorrow that will minimise any damage from all the treat food. Today at the afternoon tea I’ll choose the one treat food that appeals most and just have that one thing with a cuppa. I suspect there will be plenty of conversation to provide ample distraction. I’m carefully planning today’s meals to be filling but healthy. I’m also planning a larger lunch than I’s normally eat so I don’t arrive at afternoon tea hungry. Tomorrow is a kids birthday party that includes lunch. My nephew’s wife always has healthy platters that contain raw veg and fruits along with the usual party pies etc. I will fill up on the healthy options and allow myself two small treats if something appeals. I’m allowing two as there will be lots of homemade baked goodies and I may want a savoury and a sweet item – they will be child sized so it should be fine.

    Fastingme, I have all the medical appointments too! I’m retired and yet several of my commitments are pre-Christmas lunches with people I used to work with. (I’ve managed to schedule one of them in January as my calendar was getting ridiculous.
    I suspect that one of the reasons Christmas is a bigger deal here compared to the US is that you have just had Thanksgiving and I’ve always felt that is a more important holiday to Americans than Christmas. I suspect in Australia, the fact that it’s summer here is also part of it. It’s holiday time when everyone wants to take time off work and all the kids are on the long school break. It’s not unusual for businesses here to close down for a week or more over christmas, and often well into January. So pre-christmas is the winding down period before holidays. I’ve also noticed that a lot of work events are often scheduled a week or two before christmas as there is an assumption that people will be too busy (or on leave and traveling) closer to christmas day. (If people are traveling to be with family the distances here can be huge – I know someone who spends several days driving to Perth for Christmas most years.)
    I can’t help you on the level of Christmas cheer in the UK – Penguin can probably help you there.

    I have a tendency to accept most invitations and opportunities for social interaction as there was a time in my life when I was more isolated and quite lonely and I don’t want to return to that situation. At the time my health was poor and I was struggling just to manage the demands of work, so I didn’t have the energy to do much other than work. I find if you say no too often, people stop asking. I’m in better health now and I’m retired so I actually have the energy to socialise.

    Penguin, I hope your few days of christmas cheer don’t do too much damage. Your FDS usually produce an excellent weight loss so I have doubt you will keep your weight in balance.

    Cinque, well done on getting to your 7 serves of fruit & veg. I am a bit worried by the leafy veg article – the median intake was 1.3 serves a day. That means eating more than that for a good mental decline outcome. As I am not a cold salad fan I struggle to average one serve a day. Maybe I need to reconsider merits of the green smoothie.

    Minka, I think celery can count if you eat the top of the celery sticks that includes the leaves – I don’t mind them actually. Well done on the friendly scales – mine don’t know how to be friendly!

    Thin, enjoy your indulgence today, including alcohol. Just don’t fall off the ferry on the way home if you’ve had one tipple too many. : grin:

    Good morning silly challengers….I mean silly SEASON challengers 🙂

    I had a good FD yesterday, finally, so I feel like I’m back on track. Weigh-in day today and unfortunately I’m up 500g for the week but that blip is behind me now

    Hi Fasting_me, yes we do have a lot of Christmas get-togethers and parties throughout much of December. It’s a fun time of year and I love it, especially as it is summer and many events are out doors. But it is very hard on those of us trying to lose or maintain their weight.

    Interesting article Cinque, thanks for sharing it. I’m glad that the one vegetable dish that I really like and have every day is salad with lots of leaves. I am not a fan of cooked veges unles they are stir-fried, very sadly, so I have salad even all through winter. I have lots of raw veges too such as capsicum, cucumber, carrots, beans, radish etc. I need to read more of your posts Cinque and get my vegetables looking more interesting! Your Indian pancake breakfast sounds really yummy.

    So glad you are feeling better LJ, and well done with all that preparation for your upcoming social events. You sound prepared both mentally and physically so you will be fine. Enjoy having a treat too though, don’t resist absolutely everything 🙂 Sorry to hear you had a lonely patch in your life but so very glad you are healthier and able to socialise more now that you are retired. I often think about retirement as I am now closer to 55 than 50 but so long as we want to keep travelling I have to keep working. Now where is that lotto ticket?

    Also LJ, huge congrats on not derailing your FD! And Thin, enjoy that party and as LJ said please don’t fall off the ferry after a couple of drinks!

    Anyway, speaking of work, better get back to it. Have a great day all

    Morning silly people!

    A late entry for me because it’s going to be 38C, groan, and I went straight for my walk before coffee and post reading this morning. Already, at 6am, it was quite hot in the sun.

    Anzac, hurray for a successful FD yesterday. When is your last day of work before the holidays?

    LJ, great planning for your social events. I hope you have a lovely time enjoying cups of tea and lots of socialisation. So good to reflect that, while much of the population suffers decreasing health and increasing weight with age, you are going in the opposite direction. Good job avoiding McD. I’m proud to say that my DD has only been inside one twice – both were for primary school birthday parties (not hers).

    I loved driving across the Nullarbor because we did it with another couple who knew so much about the outback and showed us weird things that we’d never have seen on our own – trap door spiders come to mind. Most people compete to get across in the fastest time but we spent two weeks enjoying every minute. However, I’m amazed that your friends make that trek every year.

    Cinque, it seems to require quite a lot of food ensuring the delivery of those 7 serves. You are very creative. Will you spend Christmas with some of your sisters?

    Penguin, does it have to be lunch with Mrs Penguin? Can you go for a paddle instead or is it too cold for that? Regardless, I hope you had fun at your food events and I’m sure your M/Tu fast will mitigate any damage.

    FM, thanks for the reassurance about it being OK to remember the meaning but not the word! A lot of people tell me that they forget words but I still think it happens to me more often. Anyway, I love all the leafy greens so maybe I’d be even worse were it not for eating them regularly! Sorry to hear of your parents suffering from dementia, it’s so hard on the loved ones. My OFMs wouldn’t eat cauliflower rice either but it’s so easy to make and you can freeze individual portions. It takes 1 minute to microwave a portion so I bulk the OFM’s meals with rice and make the cauliflower rice for myself. Where are you located, FM?

    Last night we had salmon steaks and salad. I always seem to lose weight after eating fish. Weight this morning 69.1kgs. I’m very happy with that as we’re nearly halfway through the challenge. Just in time to sabotage it this afternoon. Like you LJ, I did a bit of planning and ate breakfast so that I wouldn’t arrive ready to eat the tents housing the food. I’m curious to learn what ‘interactive food’ means. You kill it first? Or someone offers you food, you take it, say thank you, they reply that you’re welcome? Not a vending machine? Or is it something where you have to solve a problem in order to retrieve the food? I’ll let you know.

    LJ, this is the ferry taken from our side of the river with Perth (we call it ‘toy town’) in the background – it’s all enclosed so it would be hard to fall off!

    Minka, you’re over the worst and doing so well. Interesting to reflect that something that caused so much angst wasn’t really all that enjoyable to you. I will take you and LJ on the ferry with me and try to practice some of your techniques while at the party. Mindfulness isn’t really in my vocabulary. I don’t even like the word. But I will be with people I don’t know well so hopefully that will slow me down. Instead of feeling guilty about enjoying these things, I will heed what you said – the whole point is to be able to balance enjoyment of the food AND remain a healthy weight.

    Aren’t we lucky?

    Thin, that ferry is very different from the image in my mind – it’s based on those I grew up with. Until recent decades in the Riverland, the only way to get between most towns was to cross the River Murray on a ferry (or punt as we often called them). They were were mostly made of wood and didn’t really look that sturdy – they mostly carried cars and trucks and just a little foot traffic. Gradually they were replaced by bridges, but there are still a few in use in the smaller towns. It wasn’t a bad system unless it was a busy time of year like easter or christmas, then you could wait 3 hours for your turn to cross. This is what they look like: a bit different to your ferry, which looks more like a boat to me, and is clearly just designed for foot traffic.

    Thin, a real penguin might go for a paddle today – there is a hard white frost outside this morning and the heating is working hard to get the house from our overnight setting of 14 C to our daytime 20C. I agree about the fish. Lunch, with luck, will be a cup of coffee and tonight will be salmon and veg. I have never experienced the cauliflower rice that keeps being mentioned but it doesn’t sound tempting.

    I have quickly skimmed the posts on this and the SH site and will go through them more intently when we get back from what I hope will be a quick trip to town to buy the last of the Christmas presents we need for the grand-children.

    Hi SS Challengers, lovely skimming and reading today. Am tired from sleeplessness last night. Thankfully the hunger has been fine during today’s fast.

    Thin, yes, I didn’t really like the cake. I spoke to someone who tried a piece the next day and they didn’t like it either! I’m also very difficult to please. Remember two Christmases ago, I delighted in an amazing tasting raspberry Zumbo cube? Last year Mr M and I shared half each of a white Zumbo cube pastry that looked similar to the red raspberry one (raspberry no longer being made in 2017) and a chocolate dome and I was dissapointed In both. Either my sweetness tolerance has changed or Zumbo added more sugar into his creations in 2017.

    One of my previous indulgences was a very dark Belgian chocolate mixed with ground nuts and nothing else added that was sold in bulk bins at Coles. One day I realised it was no longer available. The clerk filling the bins said it had been discontinued due to unpopularity. I asked why it wasn’t popular. I found it delicious, I said. The clerk replied that it wasn’t sweet enough and explained that customer trends preference higher sugar content.

    We are Fasting today: Curried Tomato Omelette with banana for breakfast. Fish Cakes for dinner, with 2 vegetable sides. Gained 0.7 pounds yesterday, but still under the Target Weight and under my SSC starting weight. The gain was due to our little Festival Dinner yesterday which included an entire bottle of sparkling wine [Crement de Limoux, which is very good] and lots of Christmas Cookies. Usually I limit my wine to 5 oz/night so this was over the top. maybe that’s why I slept so poorly last night….

    Thin, thanks for the tip about freezing cauliflower rice for individual servings. Must try that. BTW, I’m in New Hampshire, USA.

    LJoyce, I’ve been on your ‘punts’ — in Canada. One on a river, one on the ocean! Brings back memories. Great strategy on choosing your favorite treat to avoid over-eating. Very clever.

    Minka, I’m with you for a big “Ugh!” on overly-sweet treats, especially from a package. No flavor, only sugar. No wonder there is an obesity crisis.

    Penguin, I perceive that you are in a Northern Latitude, like me, since you mentioned frost instead of 38C temps like some of the others.

    The day went well, at least so far. It was too cold to hang around so the shopping was done briskly and we were home by 1pm, by which time the temperature was up to zero C. All I have to do now is ensure that in hiding the taste of the broccoli by blanching it then stir frying it with spices, shallots and small pieces of bacon I do not add too many calories.

    Fasting_me I am on a north facing slope 500 feet above the River Wye in The Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. A lovely place, but at this time of the year it can feel cold.

    Good morning SS challengers

    Saturday 7:20am

    Weight this morning 67.2kg. I’m just hanging around this 67kg mark at the moment and I am happy with that. I only had one true FD this week but I have been eating lightly as much as possible.

    Minka I was using MFP a couple of years ago before I started 5:2 but for some reason I can’t access my account now. I now use Calorie King which is very similar and I have entered the stew under ‘beef stew’ lol

    LJ I like your strategy for being in control at the parties you are going to. It is good to have a treat or two. I think sometimes we can make a big issue of it if we say “I’m going to this party/lunch/ event and I’m not going to eat anything that is ‘bad’ food”. Then we get there and it all looks yummy and people are saying how good it is and then we abandon our idea and just go for it and end up stuffing ourselves silly. It’s all about balance. Good on you.

    Penguin, your description of where you live has formed a beautiful image in my mind, like something from a movie. It sounds amazing.

    FM thanks for the recipes. The Thai soup sounds like my kind of food! I love shrimp (prawns) and could happily eat them every day. I think I could find so many different dishes to put them in or even just have them cold with an icy cold beer. They are very low in calories too which is a bonus.

    Regarding water, I try to drink at least two litres of plain water everyday. This doesn’t include tea, coffee etc. I have a couple of water bottles that I fill and then I know exactly how much I have had for the day. I sometimes drink more water especially on FDs and some days my body is just telling me it wants more. There was a time in my early 20s when I didn’t drink any water! I hated the taste but I trained myself to like it and I can really feel it if I haven’t had enough.

    Veggies. I love love love them. I grow Kale and am still trying to grow Spinach. I have planted packets of silverbeet seeds and can never seem to get any to sprout. I had more success with a flat leaf type spinach that can be picked young and used in salads like the baby spinach the supermarkets sell. That crop has finished now and it will soon be too hot for spinach to grow. Well, maybe. It has been unseasonably cool here although very humid because of all the rain keep getting.

    thin, we drove across to Perth a few years ago. We were one of the ‘get across as quickly as possible’ crew. It took 3 days with the last day being 11.5 hours of driving! We camped in a tent the whole time and it was 42 degrees minimum every day! We also saw some amazing things and I got to see my first ever live scorpion. I have a really funny story about camping going across there. It was our first night and we drove off the road to camp behind the tiny bit of scrub that was next to the road. We were also right next to a field that had sheep in it but we only found that out later that night. In the middle of the night I had to go outside to, well, make water as they say. I grabbed the torch and shone it outside the tent and the ground was covered in these huge beetles!! I think they were like a dung beetle of some kind but I’m not sure but they were really big and there was millions of them. I didn’t want to go out there but I HAD to so I kept sweeping the torch around in an arc to try and keep them away from me and to make some space to go in. Oh my goodness! OH was laughing so much. I finished as quick as a flash and then I literally dove back into the tent! OH was still laughing. Lol. The next morning when we were packing up we lifted up the tent and there was heaps of them under it, though nothing like the millions I had to deal with!
    The next night we found a shelter to camp under as there was a big storm brewing. Luckily we found it because the storm was severe and it rained heavily most of the night. Other campers kept turning up all night and by the end of that night there was about 10 different lots of people under this one shelter.
    On the way back over I got bitten by something that made the whole back of my knee swell up. When we got to Port Augusta I had to get some anti histamines which didn’t really help much at all. It could have been an ant. Aaaah ants…. there were millions of them too and they were also huge.

    Well I best be off to go start the day. Have a great weekend everyone.

    Oh and I loved what you said, thin, about this challenge being almost half over. We are all doing great 🙂

    Brrr Penguin,

    My veg accountability yesterday:
    Cheela (or adai) for breakfast containing 1 serve of veggies.

    Strifry for lunch with at least two serves of veggies (spingonions, ginger and chili for the base, 2 stalks of celery and half a fairly big carrot).

    A serve of braised silverbeet, roast pumpkin and tomato with my chicken and couscous evening meal. The tomato and half the pumpkin make my fruit. I had so much pumpkin (yum yum) it counted as a serve of fruit, and a serve of veg.

    Minka, I bet your tastes have changed. It is sad to think that Zumba’s creations might be too sweet for you forever more. But you are in good company 😉

    What the chocolate clerk said about sweetness winning out is the big issue for all the people worrying about people’s health, and why it is so hard to make the big industries reduce it.

    LJoyce, your sort of ferries are familiar to me. Before the West Gate bridge in Melbourne was built (I was a little kid then), we used to get one across the river to visit relatives in Geelong.
    But I am also familiar with the Sydney Ferries, so yours didn’t come as a surprise, Thin, I hope you had a wonderful time.

    Morning challengers. The aviation Christmas event was good fun yesterday. Huge tee pee tents were decked out with steamer trunks, antique books, old globes and fans (and boy it was hot when we arrived at 1pm). We had comfy couches to lounge on. There was a huge open bar in another section but the icy cocktails were being served in our tent, a bit too convenient. Our choice was named, ‘Indiana Jones’ and comprised Tanqueray Gin & tonic. I had three! But OH said there was hardly any booze in them and I certainly didn’t feel any ill-effects.

    The food was utterly amazing. I was able to exercise more restraint there because there was limited variety. Two tantalising appetisers were circulated before the food stalls opened offering a choice of three items. I skipped the pulled pork served in a bun and tried the fish which was OK if a little bland. But then I saw chicken mole which is one of my favourites from Mexico. It was perfect and I had two of them but no rice.

    A magician worked the crowd and there was a dance floor but no takers in that heat. I was surprised to see a lady from bridge whose partner it turns out is also a contractor for this company. Everything was going well until they brought the snake around. Later, there were bite sized dessert treats offered, one was a chocolate filled churro and the other one of those mini ‘window box’ pastry treats with a piped filling. Came home feeling not at all stuffed and even had a light supper of scrambled eggs and cos lettuce. Yet today, I see massive damage on the scales (1.4kg) which must be attributable to the gin and, hopefully, water weight as I made sure to drink three glasses of ice water for every Indiana Jones. Hoping my walk will dissolve some of that as I am now above my ‘trigger weight’ so it’s nil by mouth for me until I get back under 60kgs.

    I’m hogging the airwaves.

    Penguin, that sounds chilly alright. It must be fun to shop for your grand-children although some of yours I think you’ve said are at an age where pleasing them might be trickier.

    Quacka, what a funny trip across the Nullarbor! Did you drive it in both directions? For the unfamiliar, that means ‘no trees’, hence camping next to a bit of scrub bush. My best memory is walking to the Bight, dragging sticks in the dirt the whole way so we could find our vehicles when we returned (it’s otherwise possible to get horribly lost returning to the road but not knowing in which direction your vehicle is waiting). Incredible to stand on that vast expanse of land looking over the ocean knowing that (relatively) few have gone before you.

    Minka, what a shame about the supermarket sugar push. Yes, I do recall your emailing me a photo of the Zumba cake.

    Cinque, you’re doing well with your veggie intake. I like the old car ferries. I’ve been on some in Africa where they’re pulled with rope by people on the shore. And in Uruguay, a ferry driver let OH have a go at driving one. He was beaming from ear to ear when he successfully ‘docked’.

    FM, surprised to hear you’re in N.H. I don’t know why but I’d always assumed that you lived in old England.

    Just back from a very noisy kids birthday party. Although as it was mainly little boys there was just lots of yelling, not the high pitch squealing that a group of little girls can produce. My nephew has quite a large yard so they had room to hire an inflatable water slide – this is the one they hired with a huge shark on top. The kids loved it – if fact they were still loving it when I left.

    The verdict on my plans for dealing with yesterday’s afternoon tea and today’s party – probably a C- I didn’t stick to the plan but I didn’t go overboard either. At the afternoon tea I did manage to stick to one small portion. But last night I was baking chocolate shortbread decorated with smarties (for today) and three of the fell of the tray and shattered on the bench when I transferring them to the cooling rack. I am not good at throwing out food, so despite the fact that I don’t even really like chocolate flavoured shortbread, I ate all the broken pieces. It took what had been a successful day and made me feel a bit grumpy about the final outcome.
    I had expected there to be healthy savoury food on offer today as my nephew’s wife normally does that in addition to the party food. However there was not, so I had a hot dog, a party pasty and a piece of homemade pizza. These were kid sized items, but it was still plenty of calories but it left me hungry. There was a fresh fruit platter which I helped myself to instead of having any of the cakes etc (that was a small win I suppose). I was so hungry still when I got home that I had boiled eggs on rye toast. (I should have had that before I went to the party I think – I’ll know for next time.) Dinner will at least be high in veg. I have a pile of things just picked from my veggie patch that I plan to cook to cover the next few nights meals. Tonight I’ll have them with a 1/2 serve of chilli con carne. I am looking forward to my FD tomorrow and quite hopeful that today’s choices won’t lead to an evening of continued overeating.

    Thin, what do you mean “they brought the snake around” – do you mean that literally? I’d be running for home I think.

    I hope everyone is having some success managing their christmas food challenges.

    Thin, I loved your description of the themed aviation party! How fun! For me one of the best part would have been the arrival of the snake! I know, there’s always gotta be one in every crowd! Yes, I’m a Carpet snake lover! I’m assuming it was a Carpet Snake that arrived? …I looked up ‘Window Box’ pastry and only came up with pastry boxes with see through tops! I’m guessing the ‘Window Box’ might be a square puff pastry shell with filling in middle? Like these?

    Cinque, I too regard tomatoes as fruit and I remember Dr Fetke specifying that there isn’t any need to eat sweet fruit. In other words we can reap all the nutrition we require from vegetables. I realize that when I take on the ‘fruit and vege’ challenge I might call mine the ‘7 veges a day challenge’! As far as the food industry goes, I gathered from the clerk, or rather she was a ‘rep’ filling the bulk bins. She was a rep from the third party company that contracts to have their product sold in those bins at Coles. Anyway, the rep said that she really liked that dark Belgian Chocolate mixed with the raw nuts too but that it didn’t sell well and wasn’t as popular as the sweeter treats sold in the other bins. She said from her experience representing the company by filling the various bins and seeing what sells, is that the products with the most sugar sell the best, so that’s what is stocked. Diabetes diagnoses are at record highs and I guess I’m in the minority preferring less sweet options.

    fastingme, where do you live in the Northern Hemisphere?

    LJ that jumping castle looked like something I would have enjoyed because I’m a big kid at heart. I know I would probably be too heavy though, even when optimal on the scales! Sounds like you did fine at the party! Good for you for only eating the broken pieces of cookie and not half the tray, as I’m inclined to do when baking!

    Quacka, great to read that you’re happy with the scales and also that you’ve been able to eat lightly and fast only one day in the week. That’s actually a goal of mine, to be able to do that regularly. I might have said that my first goal was to reach my goal weight. I’ve now come to realize after having maintained around that weight for over 2 years, that I’d like to eventually transition to eating in such a way that only one fasting day a week is required. …I think I might have once signed up with Calorie King and another one too, to compare to My Fitness Pal and ended up returning to MFP. One thing I don’t like about MFP is that it is impossible to completely delete a particular food from my own personally created list. So I’ve got all these ‘dud’ foods on the list that I no longer eat, junking up the selection process. I won’t even add a seldom eaten food onto the list for that reason. Instead I manually work out the calories and add into the tally via pen and paper!

    Penguin, your environment sounds beautiful. Forest of Dean sounds quaint and I think of all the ‘Escape to the Country’ episodes I’ve watched and so maybe have seen terrain around your part of the world?

    Eating to my TDEE and fasting 2 days a week has seen me return to weight loss mode. This morning the scales registered a number just under the low of my ‘goal weight envelope’ or ‘wiggle room range’. As I peruse my food journal today, I know I’ve eaten quite a higher number of calories than my TDEE. Lol! I don’t need My Fitness Pal at the moment to point this out! From having tracked much of my food intake over the past 8 days, I’m starting to develop an innate sense for my TDEE. So, I doubt the scales will again register a number be below the bottom of the envelope tomorrow morning, which is a good thing!

    I’m happy with what I ate today and how I ate it. Mr M and I did share a truffle over tea. The difference was when I looked, I saw that his plate contained the petite dark chocolate truffle AND a Mint Aero Bar broken into half! I took about a 1/2 hour to finish my truffle and when my dainty truffle sat half eaten on the plate, Mr M chuckled as he walked back from the fridge with a second Aero bar! I giggled too! I mean, who am I to criticize? I’m known for making short work of half a batch of cookies just as they come out of the oven! Anyway, I tallied the sugar grams in the two Aero Bars plus the truffle. They totaled 56 grams or 14 teaspoons of sugar all consumed within a 20 minute period! By the way, I just went and checked and see there are two more dark chocolate truffles each for us and I also spied 2 more Mint Aero Bars! Mr M says they were on sale! …He quipped, ‘$1 each and I couldn’t resist the bargain.’

    Good morning everyone,
    Quacka, what a riot of a Nullarbor trip.
    I went across with 4 friends, two motorikes and a holden stationwagon, when I was 19. I only remember the stunning splendour of the Bight, the glorious sky over the plain, arriving at Eucla in 51c degrees and drinking 10 glasses of water (talk about dehydration). It was wonderful.

    Thin, fabulous celebration. Pity about the snake.

    Great ferry/punt stories.

    Minka I am also finding tracking helpful, even though it is counting veggies in rough and ready ways.

    Yesterday I had a veggie free breakfast but my midday meal was roast pumpkin, and a cup and a half of salad with some Bolognaise sauce and gnocchi my sister made. It turns out the meat sauce was so packed full of veggies that it was another serve of veggies, so that is three and a half serves.
    So yummy that I had it again for my evening meal with more pumpkin and grilled zucchini.
    This would add up to 6 1/2 serves of veggies, (plenty of which were fruits) except I had a second serving (didn’t need it AT ALL, but delicious) to finish the leftover sauce and pumpkin, so that would be another couple of serves.

    I have started my fast day still feeling quite full, oh well I will feel lovely and empty tomorrow morning.

    Cheers everyone.

    The fourth and final final festive meal of the week. Not really a meal: a couple of hours in the village church this afternoon for carols, quizzes, sausage rolls, samosas, mince pies, stollen and other equally dangerous things. We had planned a sensible steak and green veg evening meal, but that has been postponed until tomorrow. Surprisingly we are both stable, but the idea was to lose weight during this challenge. A careful day tomorrow and a heavy duty fast on Monday/Tuesday!

    Quacka, you make the wild life on your cross country trip sound so attractive I think I’ll stick with our wild boar.

    Thin, I assume it was a reasonably large, tame non-venomous snake. None of ours would qualify. The longest is only about a metre long and very slender. Whilst non-venomous it has some anti-social habits. It is actually getting easier to shop for the grandchildren. They are old enough not to have changed their minds between now and Christmas and even the youngest no longer believes that they are delivered by reindeer.

    Minka, the Wye Valley and the Forest have been on “Escape to the Country” a few times. This is still a largely unspoiled rural area and the lack of industry, or much other employment, means that it is one of the cheapest areas in the country for buyers.

    Cinque, I am not really a fan of breakfast so I am no expert, but I am having trouble getting my mind around a “veggie free breakfast”. What veg would qualify for breakfast?

    Challenge report

    Weigh in this morning and my weight is unchanged from last week. So I remain half a kilo down from the beginning of December. I failed my exercise challenge this week. I did just 90 minutes of exercise.

    Room for improvement.

    Enjoyed the above posts with my first A&C coffee of the FD. I really feel I need this FD along with Wednesday’s before the final event of the season (excluding Christmas Day which I consider a meal, not an event) on Saturday night. I realised that 3 of the 4 main events this month had nothing to do with Christmas.

    LJ, I thought it was funny how you graded your food performance with a ‘C’. Yes, the event was Amazon themed and it was a real snake. No idea what kind. A snake is a snake. It looked long and fat to me. A lot of the guests were handling it so you’re probably right, Minka, that it was a carpet python. You have just registered on my ‘slightly weird’ scale with your comment about that being a highlight for you.

    Penguin, were you describing an adder? Perhaps less dangerous than some of those foods you described in the church hall. It sounded fun nevertheless with the quiz and festive community engagement.

    Cinque, blasting across the Nullarbor on a motorbike sounds fun. I remember driving across the top end in a VW Kombi in 50C temperatures and OH and I each drinking a litre of water every hour.

    Minka, I love those ‘Escape To The Country’ episodes and have concluded that’s where I need to be. Our next property needs to have a view, a larger block and a smaller home. A long boat in England might fit that bill. By ‘NH’, I meant New Hampshire, not Northern Hemisphere. I concluded that FM is one of your fellow countrywomen. I made up the description of the ‘window box’ dessert and, from your link, I see that I gave you a completely false impression. I’ll try to do better and report back. So, just two more truffles to get through. What a great deal of restraint you show in getting them down. Be careful not to show too much enjoyment in eating them or you might find yourself with another box for Christmas.

    So, we’re halfway through the SSC!

    Minka, I asked OH how he would describe those desserts and was then able to enter enough keywords to find them. Here they are:
    Scroll down to the 97mm rectangle. They were offered at another event at the Convention Centre.

    Thin, No, a grass snake (Natrix natrix). Non venomous, swims well, eats frogs etc. Defence mechanism squirting a foul smelling liquid, hence my comment about anti-social activity. The Adder is a lot shorter and chunkier. It is venomous but very rarely fatal.

    Thin, the aviation Christmas party sounds like it was a good time – except for the snake. Most of what you gained was probably water, maybe from increased salt intake. I went from 59.2 yesterday morning to 59.9 this morning, likely from snacking. This is a difficult time of year with all the Christmasy treats available. My challenge was to not snack after dinner. But I may change that to no snacking after snacking. 😁
    Cinque, I’ve always counted legumes as a protein rather than veggie. Eating from a rainbow of colors reminds me of Thin’s veggie platter that she took to the party last week. I liked the article on leafy greens helping to prevent dementia. My salads probably have 3 or 4 servings at least, for each of us. I don’t make one every night though. I need to change that.

    LJ, your eating yesterday doesn’t sound all that bad to me. After all, it was a NFD. You didn’t binge, you just took part in the festivities and it sounds like you made up for it with a reasonable dinner.

    Penguin, it’s even colder there than it is here this week. It sounds like you live in a very pretty area.

    Thin, those desserts and appetizers are a beautiful presentation. They look like something Intesha and LJ would make.
    A snake is a snake, but at least it didn’t chase you. 😮😁

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