The Third Annual Silly Season Challenge

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  • Friday morning in Melbourne.

    Yes Fasting_me, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit every day. (And research is saying that even more would be even better).
    I managed it well yesterday!

    I love your way of defining the veg by colour! I will add that in to my little credo.
    BUT I make an exception of mushrooms, and ooh I am struggling with parsnip. I want to add it in like I do pumpkin (winter squash) even though both of them could arguably be added to the ruled out starchy veggies.
    I’d love to add sweet potato back in, I buy kumara, the orange one, but I think I feel better putting it and potato in with the grain portion of my plate. (And parsnips have become expensive so I don’t have them often). I will keep playing with it.

    It is working so well for exactly the reason you gave Cali. “I think that’s the beauty of the 7 servings of vegetables and fruits per day – you don’t have a lot of space left for things you shouldn’t eat. Veggies are bulky and filling. And they’re so healthy. ”

    Minka, congratulations on your wriggle room, and what a great plan for the Christmas lunch.

    Fasting_me, nice work with your weight, and with cooking for your blog on your fast day. Good luck that you get to St Stephens day without a problem!

    Best wishes all

    Good morning and happy Friday (or Thursday night for some)

    Successful FD for me yesterday and am down 600g for the week. Happy with that and even happier that today is my last day at work for two weeks. Plan to do lots of walking and cook healthy meals over the break. My twisted ankle is much better today so I can resume my big walks again. I wont do any fasting as there is no way I could fast at home and cook for hubby.

    So glad everyone is going well with their challenges and great news that you managed to get Sunday off Minka. Yay!

    Must get some work done to make sure I’m all finished when (hopefully) the boss says we can leave early 🙂

    Quacka, great news on the scales!

    Minka, great news about your Sunday off. Now you will get some relaxation time. I laughed about your plans for the handling of the lunch and hope you can pull it off. I drive a 14 year old Toyota so it doesn’t really matter what’s eaten in it, although I rarely do eat in the car just because I believe I should be seated at a table to eat. I’m afraid that ‘drive’ where I scoffed the fudge in the car couldn’t really be considered a ‘drive’ though. The bridge club is within walking distance of my house – and there lies another confession!

    FM, you made me laugh so hard about socialising with Gordon and Mary. That’s exactly why the social events should be handled by females. We are able to organise the event AND secure a date, time and place. Sorry Penguin.

    Cinque, it’s great that you were able to find a suitable challenge that you have also found beneficial. CalifD is right, there’s no room for anything else to eat. I love all those colourful veggies.

    Today is an eat-a-thon to use FM’s term. It’s DD’s registration lunch followed by the graduation dinner/dance tonight. Needless to say, I’m doing without breakfast. One more FD left before Christmas for me. Holding my own just below 60kg which is at least a kg less than this time last year, but I want to be closer to 59kg than 60kg.

    NFD after FD for me. I’ve tried to be good about only weighing weekly, but not faring well on that one. As yesterday was my second FD for the week I decided to weight this morning as this is likely to be my lowest weight for the week. I’m up 0.2kg on last week and I still have two NFDs to get through this week. That does not bode well. I’m a bit surprised too as I really only had one bad food day and I am keeping my exercise levels up. Oddly, despite the weight gain my jeans are looser than they have been for a few days. I really do need to approach the next couple of NFDs in a controlled way.
    So far today I’ve just had 2 pots of tea and a banana that I spread with a little peanut butter. I have pastrami and salad on rye sourdough for lunch and am planning to grill haloumi, mushrooms, zucchini & capsicum for dinner (I’ll make enough for tomorrow night too). I have a tub of homemade hummus in the fridge and celery and snow peas to dip in it if I get hungry between meals, plus plenty of fresh fruit. Hopefully that will keep me away from bad choices. Not that there are many bad things in the house that I can eat now anyway – unless I start tearing open already wrapped christmas gifts (I did that at easter once and had to buy the chocolate a second time – not my finest moment)!

    I hope those of you fasting have an easy day and those trying to restrain themselves on their NFDs manage to do so.

    Cinque, I’ve been thinking about your 7 veg challenge and also your body’s reaction to sugar – hence your avoidance of fruit. I decided to go and look through my nutrition data spreadsheet to see whether there might be some options available to you that you’ve been avoiding.

    I identified a group of vegetables that have roughly 4-5 grams of sugar per 100g. In order of sugar content (high to low): pumpkin, parsnip, onion, carrots, sweet potato, red capsicum, peas, leeks, turnip. If you can tolerate the sugar content in these veggies, then hopefully you could tolerate a similar sugar content in fruit.
    Now there aren’t many fruits that have only 5 grams of sugar or less per 100g. Only rhubarb, strawberries and blackberries are this low, and I already know that you do still eat strawberries.
    There are two that are only slightly higher at 5-6 grams: passionfruit and rockmelon (canteloupe)
    a few morw that have 6-7 grams: watermelon, apricots, plums, raspberries
    And finally 7-8 grams: peaches and oranges, I stopped looking at 8 grams/100g.

    I realise that some of these sugar levels may still be too high, but you may be able to fix this with a smaller portion. For example most apricots only weight 40-60g each so one apricot would have no more sugar than the average sized carrot. The same is true for most plums.

    The difficulty might be stopping at a tiny portion, especially when you haven’t allowed yourself to have fruit for so long.

    Feel free to disregard this, but I just though it might give you more choices than you thought you had.
    I was even surprised by a few things that had to I double and triple check as I didn’t believe the numbers. For example I couldn’t believe sweet corn wasn’t a high sugar veg – it only has 3.2g sugar per 100g (and that’s just the edible portion).
    The other thing that surprised me was that there’s a big difference between sugar and starch levels in many veg, eg potatoes which have a high starch but low sugars.

    Cinque I’m happy to send you a copy of my spreadsheet if it would be useful to you. (It includes all the macro and micro nutrients and a breakdown of the carbohydrate components).


    LJ, from my experience of having undergone a few body scans now via the Inbody machine, your description of having gained 0.2 kg all while your clothes feel looser speaks to me of you having gained muscle mass. The exercise you have been doing would be a part of this equation. So, I’m going to be contrary here and say I view your reading as boding well!

    Thin, since you wrote it was a ‘small’ box of fudge, I could see how it could have gone down so quickly!

    Anzac, I’m glad that your ankle is feeling better and great you’ll be able to go for some walks. Like you, I’m not a fan of cooking meals for others when I’m fasting! Mr. M is often happy with a couple of soft boiled eggs for dinner! In this way he joins in on my FD evening meal, though he has toast with his eggs. I just have the eggs!

    I was so happy to see Dr M attend this 1st International Conference on Fasting! It is something I would have liked to attend!

    The customer Christmas party was a success for me! I managed to eat absolutely nothing. Yea! I gave the bread roll to the man sitting next to me. One of the office staff was there working in the sidelines and she wasn’t included in the Christmas lunch. At one point she said how hungry she was so I happily passed my main course onto this very valuable member of our team. When dessert came around, I didn’t see that office worker, though did see the big boss enter the room and she happily took the beautiful Pavlova served in a tumbler shaped glass! The person at my table who hadn’t been able to pay, was served along with everyone else at the table, so there was no need to slide plates in her direction! Since there is some nutritious food in the refrigerator that isn’t suitable for freezing, I’ve already begun eating up the Santa Claus melon, cucumber, raw capsicum, hummus, a few bites of leftover stew, and of course Mr. M suggested we finish off the truffles, so we did. In light of this, I’ve decided to call this a 20/4 type of FD. I fasted for 20 hours and started to eat up the healthy food in a 4 hour window and am tracking that in my diary.

    Thankfully, I’m tracking well with weight still 200 grams under wiggle room range. This will be helpful since I’m not planning to fast while we are in Melbourne. However, I will be keeping up my SS challenge commitments though! I trust they will keep me in good stead, or if not, you will read about it!

    Cheers, everyone!

    PS, I should have said I am tracking both healthy and unhealthy food! I can’t forget to add in that Truffle in the tally, can I now?!

    Good afternoon everyone. Real quick check in as been a very busy day.
    Omg had Chinese again last night. Not smorgasboard so could eat just some meat and veggies. Holy moly!
    Back to 67.1kg this morning

    Water weight. Lololol

    Have an awesome day and evening all

    Checking in after the first of two events today. LJ, you made me smile about eating the easter presents but only because I know you wouldn’t do that now.

    Minka, wow, well done! Very impressive. Shame about the truffles but they’re behind you now! Are you leaving for Melbourne tomorrow? Yes, I did say small packet of fudge. Not sure if everyone would agree.

    It is a stinker of a day here in Perth. The graduation ceremony was really great, very funny and not too long. The catering was superb. I had a very small glass of red wine because I don’t like champagne & needed something to toast with (better than soft drinks, surely?). I also had half a wrap filled with fabulously fresh chicken and salad ingredients followed by another half a wrap filled with beef and salad. A large lunch for me. I might have eaten more had it not been so hot and that part not been outside but we left before I could consider it. We are now holed up in the air-con relaxing before the dinner dance. I’m not really planning to exercise any particular restraint at that since DD has spent hundreds on the tickets.

    Hi Thin, Yes, we leave bright and early tomorrow morning! Your lunch and dinner celebrations sound wonderful. Congrats to DD! Your lunch choices were very sound and I trust you are enjoying the dinner as I write.

    Mr. M and I will soon be getting together with Cinque for morning coffee on Monday. We’re looking forward to this!

    Funny to read about food avoidance tactics, especially Minka’s Christmas party! Goes to show, it takes a bit of trickery and planning to strategically avoid the unwanted food and goodies. I read somewhere recently, someone advising just to say “No thanks”, and most (reasonable) people will leave it at that. Most people believe themselves to be reasonable, so (in theory) most will accept the refuser’s reasoning. But what if the person insisting you eat their offerings just isn’t reasonable? I guess it depends. In my case (last week’s disastrous Thai meal), the person offering was pretty well oiled with alcohol, so I could just leave the unwanted dessert – chances are, his inevitable sore head in the morning would have erased his memory of the whole of the previous evening, never mind the dessert episode!

    I had another potential de-railler day on Wednesday when I was invited to an afternoon cream tea, featuring scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam! I got away with just the one, and stuffed the second one in a doggy bag for my OH to have at home. And I ate carefully the rest of the day, and followed up with an 800 cal FD yesterday.

    As a result, today I reached a new low of 148.8lbs, so just below my ‘target’ of 150lbs. It feels good to be approaching the Big Day with a bit of wriggle room under my belt! I’m sure this is probably in part due to the ‘whoosh’ effect that comes with losing all the excess sodium from last week’s Thai meals, but whatever the reason, I’ll take it!

    thin to Minka: ‘the truffles are behind you now..’ What are you implying, thin — that the truffle weight now reposes on Minka’s derriere?!

    FatFingers, good job reaching that new low. What a fine feeling. One of my ladies group always pulls out every possible stop when she is hostess: cream scones, sausage rolls, the lot. One Scone always goes in the doggie bag to split with ODH.

    Minka, do you live near Cinque?? How interesting. I’d love to meet some of you. No, ALL of you.

    I can’t bear to hear about all that hot weather in Australia — sure doesn’t sound like Christmas to me. Sorry, I’m being ‘regionalist.’ It is rainy here and more due all day which should wash away our snow — sad. Picked up Dear #1 Son last night at 11:45 pm. so nice to have him at the breakfast table today. Lots of bread-baking with him is planned: Baguette, Stollen, German Christmas Pretzel, Pain de Mie, bread sticks.
    Good results from yesterday’s Fast — am at Sleek Weight. Mouclade Vendeen for dinner, with Broccoli or Brussel sprouts and bread sticks. Shouldn’t do too much damage.

    Happy Friday, Happy Summer or Winter, happy visits with friends and family.

    Good morning everyone

    Congratulations on your new low weight FF and also FM for being in the sleek weight range!

    I am also at a new low weight at 66.4kg this morning. It seems the water weight from the Chinese food has gone. Yay!

    My family arrive today to stay for a few days so it will be fun times.

    Hope you all have a great weekend

    Good morning from lovely Melbourne

    Yesterday, when I posted, I was so focused on my challenge that I didn’t take the time to share how much I enjoyed your story, Fasting_me, of trying to meet your friends at each other’s house. And also of how lovely your SKEIN group is. I am a textile lover and did heaps until ill health stopped me, so the pleasure of such a group is very real to me.

    And yes, it is Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere, and yet most of us have a Christmas tradition of winter food, and warmly dressed Santa, and Christmas cards full of snow and reindeer.

    Minka and Mr M are coming down from their home in northern NSW to Melbourne on the southern coast. A big trip! 1,500km just to see me! 🙂 (They have family in Melbourne, but are taking time out to catch up. What a pleasure).

    LJoyce, I really appreciate the info you have shared about sugar content of fruits and veggies. When I first cut out sugar I scoured the net for info and it was very hard to find. I finally found a list from the United States Department of Agriculture, but it mostly contained brands of processed foods, and I had to go through picking out fruits and vegetables and other items I used. I had the same amazement at some of the levels, but it clicked that yes, the difference between fruits we call fruit, and fruit we call vegetables, is exactly related to the sugar content.

    I would love a copy of your spreadsheet on the carbohydrate components! I don’t feel that I am suffering on lack of choice of things to eat, and I have incorporated rhubarb into stews! But I would LOVE a more comprehensive chart. I bet it is more accurate too, although, with so many things the sugar content varies between stages of ripeness etc. And you are right: I’ll have a bit of watermelon and not have a reaction, and before I know it I eat a kilo and wake up the next morning feeling a grasshopper that has just gone through a windscreen. But better information should help me!
    My gmail is joyyamdaisy@

    Minka, yay for that link to the conference. (I follow him on twitter and completely missed it). No summaries and news from it, that I could find, but maybe that has to do with the time of year.

    Cheers for your successful partyfasting! Brilliantly done!

    Thin, what a lovely graduation ceremony. I hope the second function was lots of fun!

    Fatfingers, it is SO hard dealing with a drunk person forcing ANYTHING on you, well done on handling it so well. And then you navigated another bomb zone with panache. So glad that the scales rewarded you. A new low! Brilliant.

    Quacka, woot, the 66’s are back! have fun with the family.

    I got my 7 serves of veg/fruit in yesterday so SSCwise it was a success. A bit of a feast day with how much else I ate, so I hope today I will be less of a garbage guts.

    Best wishes, all power to us today.

    Good morning SSCs

    Cinque, I’ve sent you the data. I hope it’s useful.

    Minka, I think you did an exception job avoiding food at that lunch. Drive safely, hope you enjoy your trip to Melbourne.

    FM, I’ve only ever had hot Christmases but they’ve always feel like a bit of trial to me too. Growing up we always had the traditional roast turkey and hot christmas pudding – not ideal on a 40C day. In recent years we’ve switched to a cold seafood lunch which is more conducive to the climate and the seafood makes it a special meal. All the Christmas imagery that we get here is based on a northern hemisphere winter and always seems to involve snow. One of these days I’m determined to experience a white christmas.
    Enjoy that baking. A hot oven and smell of breads baking sounds like lots of fun on a cold day.

    FF, well done managing those scones and the new weight low.

    Thin, glad the graduation went well and I hope you enjoyed the dinner dance.

    I foolishly weighed myself again this morning. Despite a very careful NFD where I ate nothing but healthy fresh foods and I definitely did not exceed my TDEE – I managed to gain 0.8kg (2 pounds) yesterday. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat myself, I hate bathroom scales. They are mean little beasts who take great delight in telling lies and making me feel back when I don’t deserve it!
    Despite that unhelpful feedback from the scales I am determined to do another controlled NFD today and then I’ll do my first FD for next week on Sunday.

    Hope everyone has a good day.

    Just wrote a big long reply and lost the whole lot so I’ll just say hello until I can muster the energy to re-write all that.

    Oooh, lucky, I retrieved it.

    It’s 9.30am on what is forecast to be another stinker 39C. We were a bit late with our walk and it was hot and riddled with flies. I’m now enjoying reading your posts with my first coffee. Wow, what excellent reports from everyone – great job!

    Fatfingers, reading of your well-oiled friend brought to mind a woman at another table at our event last night, completely off her face, unable to walk properly and generally behaving in an undignified manner (not that your mate was that bad). She all but gave my OH a lap dance in an effort to get him on the dance floor. Definitely not a good look in a woman my age. Her husband wasn’t in much better shape, shirt half untucked exposing a big, white belly.

    I limited myself to one pre-dinner drink and a glass of red wine with the meal. OH was driving so he had one only. Other than the alcohol, it wasn’t really a big indulgence being a dinner dance, appetisers in short supply being handed round before being seated. The meal was one of those alternate serving affairs which instantly renders me with plate envy before I’ve even seen what OH has been served. My friend seated next to me (mother of another graduate who also went to high school with my DD) told me that her husband would be getting ‘whichever of the two dishes she didn’t want’ which made me laugh a lot. It was a good meal with good desserts (also alternate serving but I convinced OH to share). I did a lot of dancing over several hours so I’m happy to report being the same weight as yesterday morning, being 59.7kg.

    LJ, it’s never felt like Christmas to me in Australia and I, too, associate it with cold weather. As you say, all the imagery involves snow, mistletoe, holly and roaring fires in the local pub. When it’s not my turn to host, we always go to the beach on Christmas morning. This year is my turn and we must get the turkey into the BBQ around 8am, ham in the indoor oven, air-con blasting and do our best to find some not too nauseating Christmas songs by our favourite rock bands. I hope you can enjoy a white Christmas once in your life. Mulled wine, mince pies, egg nog & brandy. I shall join you for a FD tomorrow, Sunday.

    Cinque, so happy that Minka and Mr M. will be down to see you! I hadn’t realised that you were driving Minka! Safe trip. Have fun with Cinque and make sure she eats all her veg.

    FM, I’m on the other side of the continent and have met 7 people from this forum for coffee, all from the SH thread. I’m often the only Perth loser posting though. The last person I met, PerthGirl, was kind enough to give me some milk kefir grains which I have enjoyed for the past two years. When LJ comes over here, I’ll give her some grains.

    FM: Minka’s truffles/her derriere, very funny! Let’s hope not.

    Quacka, wow, well done, you’re on a roll. Have fun with your family. Don’t forget us.

    I will never forget you all, thin! You have all been amazing in helping me get to where I am. I’ve said it before but I will repeat myself. I would not be where I am without all of you. Thank you

    My family are due to arrrive any minute. I really just wanted to say to LJ – put those scales away! I know how rude they can be and you really don’t need them. You know what to do, you know when you have wavered and you know how to fix it. Use your skinny jeans. Dry them in the dryer if you like, to make sure they are really skinny. They are a much better indicator of things going wrong. Hope it works out well for you 🙂

    Thin, is that a bribe you are offering?

    Thanks Quacka – I know the scales are an unreliable guide for my body, but I do struggle to stop it affecting me when I do weigh.
    Enjoy the family time.

    Cinque, I meant to say that the spreadsheets I sent you are in excel, so you’ll probably need a Windows system to read them.

    Quacka, have fun with your family over Christmas. And congrats on your weight loss!

    LJ, it’s hard for me to imagine a summer Christmas, but I definitely think that cold seafood or cooking on the BBQ would be the way to go. It’s hard to keep the house cool on a hot day with the air conditioner competing with the oven. There must be some warm weather Christmas imagery in Australia too since most people who live there have only known a warm Christmas. Then again, I always thought it was funny seeing fake snowmen on the front lawns of houses in Phoenix, Arizona where it’s warm at Christmas too. They also light up some of the cactus:

    Today (well yesterday now) was our winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.

    Thin, glad you had a nice time at the graduation dinner, in spite of the drunken woman at the other table. Nothing more annoying than having to deal with someone who’s had too much to drink, especially when you aren’t feeling tipsy yourself. I hope DD had a good time. My weight is 1.1kg higher this year than the same day a year ago. But it was hovering around the same numbers over a week’s time, so not very different. 59.8 this morning

    Minka and Cinque, have a great time on your get-together in Melbourne. I hope you have lovely weather. Minka, have a safe drive.

    Good morning,
    I got my challenge done yesterday. My trick is to do a big stir fry of mixed vegetables (I’d just been shopping). I counted 6 serves in it last night.

    LJoyce, I got your wonderful email. The spreadsheets are great, especially the fruit and veg one, and so is the information in the email. Much appreciated!

    I love that cactus picture Cali!

    Well, fellow challengers, we are reaching peak silliness. Best wishes for your day!

    I’ve decided to retire my bathroom scales until the end of the month, they cause me too much frustration otherwise. I’ll just keep doing 2 FDs and exercising as much control on NFDs as I can manage.

    FD for me today. Must rush – I’m heading up to Keynton Valley to buy cherries.

    Hi! Writing to you from Melbourne and we flew Jetstar which I would count as the worst flight I’ve had except when my brother once took me up in his Cessna and decided to do some tricks in the air! The take off was so turbulent my teeth started jittering and I gripped my seat. I usually don’t mind turbulence though this was at another level. I was one of many who screamed when we hit an air pocket and lost altitude very quickly. Then when near Melbourne the airport was too busy so we flew around in holding pattern for 45 minutes. Descending was as challenging as take off and again began to feel I was crossing Bass Straight in stormy weather! The experience completely drained me of cortisol which I run low in anyway and I was an exhausted zombie for the rest of the afternoon. Nausea continued for hours after landing, which Mr M felt too, so it was almost like another impromptu fasting day in some regards since neither of us could face eating lunch. I made up for it at dinner though with a Grill’d Wagyu burger on low carb bun, which was delicious Though we were sitting at our favourite Westfield in Doncaster, I went to my favourite raw desert and protein smoothie bar. I bought my Mint Tart back to the Italian pattisseri wwhere Mr M had ordered a gluten free mousse cake. At that point I still felt my calories were being well spent. However Mr M couldn’t’t finish his cake, so I did and then an hour later after shopping I went back to the raw bar and ordered another dessert, one I had a hard tome choosing between earlier! I rejoined Mr M at the patisserie where he’d been reading and finished off the second dessert and, well, I was reminded even favourite foods don’t taste that great when we are not hungry and even more so when the stomach has shrunk and it is uncomfortable to fit it in. I told Mr M that I bought it because last year i’d Seen a couple of desserts I couldn’t decide upon and left one to buy the next day and when I went back it had sold out. I said I wasn’t going to let that happen again, Lol! He then asked why I didn’t take it home. I replied that I did that once and the chilled dessert got warm.and turned to the unpleasant consistency of baby food, so I wasn’t going to risk that again, another, Lol as I write. Good thing I was on a downward roll and weigh in before boarding plane was 700 grams under wiggle room range, I would have needed it. Those raw desserts might be sweetened with dates or rice malt instead of refined sugar though the less refined sugars are still sugar calories. Thankfully I’m as yet not gnawing or voraciously hungry after all that, though I’ve yet to eat and that doesn’t usually arise until I’ve eaten. A meal. Mr M wants to go out now, so I”lol leave you here! In good spirits from Melbourne!

    Minka, Eep!
    Best wishes for today.

    Here is something that puts The Silly Season Challenge in Perspective.

    It ends with 5 tips that seem to be tailored more to the rest of the year than the silly season. I think we could come up with better tips!

    Cinque, I liked this one of the tips:
    3) Self-monitor! One study reported that systematically recording what you eat, drink and how much you move during holiday periods was associated with improved weight. Use goal-setting and self-monitoring ……

    Just what we are doing here! Especially Minka who is brutally honest in her reporting. Well Minka, I think you may have earned those sweets treats on this occasion what with that traumatic flight. And, as you say, you did already have ‘negative calories’ in the bank. Hurray for planning and hurray for 5:2.

    Does your brother also live in Australia or are he and his Cessna based in California? What kind of Cessna? I don’t mind stalls but I’m not at all keen on loops. My OH does spinning for a living. He likes to tease my brother (who is terrified of flying) that anyone who isn’t afraid of flying simply doesn’t know what’s going on!

    LJ, not a bribe! But you did say that Perth was on your list of places to visit (can’t imagine why). And I feel sorry for you with your mere billions of store-bought bacteria when I could supply the real McCoy. fasting with you today. Hoping to get closer to 59kg tomorrow.

    CalifD, we are 100g apart! Aren’t those cacti fabulous? I wouldn’t like to be the one removing the lights! Even in S. Cal it didn’t feel much like Christmas but, as a single young professional, I often used to fly over to Hawaii with friends and avoid the whole thing. On other occasions, I’d volunteer to work since I had no family. It really is such a lot of hype. Anyway, you’ll be relieved to know that I have now done my food shopping and everything is under control. None of us has any presents though! DD had said she wanted the PADI dive course which made me smile as I knew I could buy it from the comfort of my living room. She has today gone off the idea. Bah humbug.

    Thin, except for a few small things, my food shopping is mostly finished too. We don’t usually exchange gifts at Christmas because we all seem to have everything we want already, at least affordable things! Even though northern Cal is colder than southern, it was still a big change from the Midwest where I grew up. We had serious snow there in the winters. If our Christmas wasn’t white some years, it was at least freezing cold. Having grass and a few flower growing in the garden and any trees that keep their leaves throughout the winter here was a huge change for me. I love the cacti, especially the large saguaro in Arizona and other parts of the Southwest. The first time I drove around the high desert 🌵 I felt like I had landed on another planet.

    Minka, I sympathize with you and your turbulent flight. Although I fly a lot I’m a nervous flyer. Although I seldom get caught in the really bad stuff, it’s very frightening when it happens. I wish you a quiet and uneventful flight home.

    Cinque, thank you for posting that article. But I agree that we could probably come up with some better tips.

    LJ, I would love to see a copy of your sugar and carb spreadsheet. I meant to ask you yesterday, but then must have forgotten.

    Well, time for some sleep, it’s after midnight here again, but at least I’m sleepy. I paid all day for that really late one yesterday. I think I still have some sleep to catch up on. 😴

    Just wanted to let you know i’m Writing on my iPad with one finger while in Melbourne, hence the strange sentence structure and odd punctuation.

    I loved the Christmas Cacti Cali!

    Cinque , some sage advice in the holiday eating article though really didn’t cover the indulgences I eat that put weight on me, I’m quirky rather than mainstream with my preferences and for me is about portion sizes and veering from intuitive eating which can be my downfall, and the article did cover those points!

    Thin, Sadly my brother (who lives in Orange County Calif.) had to sell his Cessna after he had a stroke, which for him was worse than giving up driving. I’m not sure which model though I will ask him. Then one night he was watching the news and he saw a report showing a Cessna that had crashed into the roof of a house. As he continued to watch he realised it was, or had been his. No one was hurt in the crash and he followed up on the report and found it was pilot negligence that had lead to the crash. He was heart broken and regretted ever selling to that person. The Cessna had almost been like a member of the family. How do you do on the loop the loops, Thin? My other brothers have all had bad acts and as you’ve read, I’m a land lover!

    I’ve continued to keep my food. Diary though is more vague since every meal has been cafe food, so calorie tracking too difficult.

    I’m now motivated to seek out travel scales Thin. Not having the daily weigh-in is another level of support I miss.

    Looking forward to seeing you in the morning Cinque!

    Far. Auto correct, I meant to write that my other brothers all had boats, not ‘acts’. Also again apologies for not proof reading while on the road. Usually I write while sitting at laptop with mouse at hand.

    CalifD, when I moved to California, I drove there from the deep south. My first experience of it was at Needles. It was about 120F in the shade and I decided to get a motel until things cooled off. I remember immersing myself in the pool and just staying there until after sunset. The scenery was just flat, barren land and a few cacti. At that point, I was really questioning my decision. Of course, I came to love living there (San Diego, not Needles!) and one of my absolute favourite things to do was going hiking and camping in the Anza Borrego dessert.

    Back to business. FD has gone well. I didn’t eat until after 5pm again. This is becoming a potential new way of handling FDs. It’s 7pm and I’ve consumed fewer than 300 calories. I’ll see how the evening unfolds as to whether I need anything else.

    *&+$# —-I meant ‘Darn’ not ‘Far’! And I was sure I corrected it before posting too!

    FD went well. I had a nectarine, plum, apricot and 2 cherries throughout the day. Then a leafy salad with a little tinned salmon for dinner. Because my dinner was so low cal I decided I could afford the extra calories for the fruit, although I usually have a banana and the tiny pieces of fruit I had today add up to about the same amount of calories.

    I have to head out early as I’m babysitting all day and prefer to look after the kids in their own home. I will be taking my own food with me but I suspect lunch for them will probably be something like chicken nuggets!

    Glad to hear that those who’ve traveled have arrived safely. I hope everyone’s christmas preparation go well.

    Hi challengers

    Quick weight check in on Monday morning, the day before Christmas. 66.6kg. I’m very happy with that.

    Mum made some beautiful Greek biscuits calls Melomakarena and Kourambiethes. I haven’t had one yet but did notice one of the huge containers is almost gone! One of my nieces then told us that the other niece had already had 7 today (which was yesterday)! She took another one and my Mum actually had to tell her to stop eating them for today. Half an hour later her own mother (my sister) and her went up to the shops and bought a Magnum icecream for themselves. Talk about sugar overload!!

    I have had a brief conversation again with my sister and mum about 5:2. I tried not to be over enthusiastic and just answer their questions but I can’t help myself. I have to just stop and calm myself a bit before I keep talking! I hope and pray they will do it in the new year as they both need it for weight loss and for their health. All I can do is be there for them. Oh and send them home armed with my 5:2 books 🙂

    Hope you all have a Happy Christmas

    Only 34C today, seems cool.

    CalifD, I’m with you about the exchange of gifts. I’m not into consumerism for the sake of it.

    Minka, your post wasn’t there last night – I’m sure! So sorry to hear about your brother and the demise of the Cessna. There are only certain manoeuvres that I can handle in a light aircraft. Upside down isn’t one of them. I bet you and Cinque are meeting as I write.

    Quacka, hoping your family with follow in your 5:2 footsteps. You will be setting a great example. Have they commented on your weight? Enjoy your cooking with your mum. The mere thought of doing that with mine makes me shudder!

    LJ, hope you have a good time babysitting.

    Very happy after my FD at 59.2kg. Exactly where I want to be. I might even allow myself a mince pie tonight. Instant sabotage.

    Quacka, I’m in awe that you haven’t had any of your mother’s biscuits yet. Melomakarena are an absolute favourite of mine, even thinking about them I can just about taste the walnuts, honey and cinnamon. Sorry I’m baking at the moment and am thinking of all things sweet.

    Babysitting went well and am now in the middle of the dessert baking, better get back to it.

    I helped DD make some White Christmas yesterday. As it was a FD, I couldn’t taste test it but, to be honest, it wasn’t too hard to resist after seeing that melted copha and condensed milk going in. I’ve had a piece just now and it’s actually quite nice (pistachios, roasted almond slivers, glacé ginger, good quality white chocolate, etc). I’ll try and keep the binding ingredients in mind when I’m tempted.

    I plodded away at a relaxed pace today preparing foods for tomorrow. The Gods have kindly revised the weather forecast. I’ve prepared the lemon & craisin stuffing for the turkey; the yummy yam bake (it also has some ingredients that I could do without but the pecans I’ll arrange on top before baking tomorrow remind me of Thanksgiving); the apricot glaze for the turkey and the devils on horseback. Drinks fridge filled, table set and now it’s time to relax. We’re working our way through the Harry Potter series (again).

    Merry Christmas all!

    Hello, Silly People.
    Both of our sons are home now, which is wonderful. It took all 4 of us to get the tree up yesterday, then the boys [ages 36 and 38, but they are still ‘the boys’ to me] and ODH put the lights on. This is 2 weeks late for us, but ODH and I are not as strong as we used to be, so we left it to the boys to help us. Next year: SMALLER tree. All the baking is done, except for the ‘chewy noels’ which are best out of the oven. Still must frost the Buche de Noel. Today is devoted to decorating the tree, wrapping gifts, attending an Open House, and dinner en famille. Not a Fast Day today, unfortunately. But I logged in all the foods I expect to eat today and still came under my TDEE. Have gained 1 pound in past 2 days — now at 108.2. Not real happy about that. Next Fast will be on Wednesday, then Friday. Could be battle to get back to my Start of SSC weight. Son #1 is throwing himself into bread baking, trying to perfect his baguettes. So every day he makes 2 baguettes, making notes on how they came out. I have learned new techniques from him which should improve my yeast breads a lot.

    Thin, what is a ‘White Christmas’ — sounds like a dessert..? A layered bar cookie perhaps?

    Quacka, I’ve never heard of Melomakarena but my mother always made ‘Mexican Wedding Cakes’ which are just like Kourambiethes. Delicious! They are a must for the cookie plate. It is so difficult to watch people you care about not care about what they eat [or know they should]. You can keep nudging or remember ‘my own life is all I can hope to control’ which always helps me.

    LJ, I love the sound of all those fresh fruits for a Fast Day. Yum. Comice Pears are delicious but very difficult to find. Got some at last and we have been eating one among the 4 of us at breakfast.

    Minka, yes to the daily weigh-in. I log food in more rigorously on days when the weight creeps up [ie: today], but mustard weigh-in daily. A friend of mine from college phoned me one day from the local tiny airport, asking for a ride into town. My payment for the favor was a ride in his Cessna. At one point, high over the Great Valley of Pennsylvania [northern end of the Shenandoah Valley], he put his hands in his lap and said, “Now you fly it for a while.” Ahhhhhhhhhh! So I took the co-pilot’s controls and flew it. That was cool. Your struggles with the pastries sure rang a bell with me. One of the first things we do when we travel is to locate the nearest pastry shop, much to our delight and our rue.

    Cali, where did you grow up in the Midwest? Our sons attended college in Indiana and Minnesota. You are right about deserts — like Mars they are. One son went from Indiana to Albuquerque for grad school, so we visited a lot of desert/mesquite terrain. Very much like being in a John Ford film. Or on Mars. And now you are in ‘northern California’ — where? Other son is in Oakland, cousin in Mill Valley, other cousin near San Jose.

    Cinque, while it is true that sugar-rich ‘fruits’ have more calories than their lower-sugar ‘vegetable’ relatives, to what extent does the sugar content matter? Our son the Biologist is all in favor of reducing sugar — ADDED sugar that is. He does not distinguish among the sugars in various foods. That simplifies it for me! Of course, at this time of year, all the cookies and yeast breads are loaded with ‘added sugar’ and we all chow down anyway. Mostly we eat cookies for dessert at Christmas, except for the Buche de Noel on Christmas Day.

    Must wrap Christmas gifts. No new snow yet, but they keep teasing us with forecasts of flurries.
    Merry Christmas to you all. May all your gains be little ones.

    Merry Christmas SS Challengers. Hope you and your families all have a wonderful day 🙂

    Hi Fatfingers, your name cracks me up as my engagement and wedding rings are now very tight, too tight so they are staying off until I get healthier. I am new to 5:2, so could you please give me your top tips for fast days as it sounds like you have them totally sorted by now? Cheers.

    Merry Christmas,
    Just a quick hello to tell you that I met Minka and Mr M yesterday for a treat of a morning chat, and coffee, and beautiful food to break our fast, that included at least one serve of vegetables, and possibly two.

    I did manage my veg challenge yesterday.

    And I am in the middle of making high veg finger food for our Christmas lunch today (other people are making desserts, I’m not a Grinch! 😉 ).

    Must go.
    cheers to you all.

    Merry Christmas SS Challengers.

    I suspect no-one is fasting today, so I’ll wish you a very merry non fast day, where every food choice brings you deep pleasure.
    I hope you all have a lovely day with family and friends.

    I’ll be back here tomorrow to do a FD, which I’m sure will be needed.

    We have until the 31st for this challenge, right? 🙄 😁

    That was my understanding. After today it will take that long for me to get anywhere near my stated target for the challenge!

    Oh dear Cali & Penguin, do those questions indicate there was plenty of christmas cheer to be had over your side of the pond? There’s a whole week left to undo any damage.

    I’m making a start on my own indulgences with a Boxing Day FD today.

    Loved the above posts. Especially yours FM. I read it twice.

    The SSC ends on 1 January – so we have to be careful on NYE too! I cheated and extended my goal to be under 60kg by 3 January – which is the day after my first fast of the new year.

    I weighed in at 59.7kg this morning but had already decided last night to postpone my Wednesday fast until tomorrow. It’s a matter of food logistics.

    TigerAnne, welcome. My top tip for 5:2 is to first read ‘the book’. It’ll be the best $11 you’ve ever spent. Once you understand the basics, you’ll be in a better position to determine what works best for your particular circumstances and join in the discussion of the many variations that you will encounter on these threads. My second tip is to master the two fast days before attempting any other major changes to your diet. This involves a lot of boring calorie counting at first but you must rigidly adhere to a quarter of your TDEE on FDs. Later, you will no longer need to count calories as you’ll come to rely on certain FD fare that works for you. Fast days are non-negotiable. Don’t allow anyone to sabotage them – especially yourself! Good luck. After this challenge ends, stick to the SH thread, we need more kiwis over there.

    Guests have gone home and the kitchen cleaned. It was a nice holiday with lots of great food. But I’m actually looking forward to fasting tomorrow. I need a break from all the fat and sugar.

    TigerAnne, welcome to the 5:2 way of life. My top tip? Keep it simple. Do 2 fast days (FD) each week, either the same two days each week or switch them around, but always do them. Like thin said, don’t let anyone sabotage you. FDs are non negotiable.

    I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. You have all been a big part of keeping me on this plan for over a year and a half. We’re all in this together.

    FM, here’s a recipe for White Christmas that doesn’t contain copha.

    CalifD, glad you’ve had a good day. I’m with you tomorrow for a fast day and really looking forward to it! We went to the beach today. But the hot weather ended yesterday and it was a bit smokey, cloudy and it even rained a few drops!

    Thin you deserve a break with the weather after the hot week you’ve had.

    My FD has been fine but I was wanting my dinner from 4pm – I made it to 4:45 before hopping into my salad. I might have a final snack of some lovely cherries before I call and end to FD food.

    Cinque, I had already cut up or grated most of the veg and put it into a container with baby spinach leaves, so it was in the fridge and ready to go. The container holds 1.8 litres and it was nearly full, yet I know that if I’d crammed those same veg into a cup measure it probably would have measured as about 3-4 cups. Without compacting it, it was clearly 7 cups. It had me pondering again how we measure what 5 serves of veg is. Perhaps that idea of 400 grams that you mentioned a week or so ago is the easiest option. The only thing it wouldn’t work on is the softer lighter salad leaves as 100g of something like baby spinach is quite a few cups.

    Tomorrow will likely be a high cal NFD. I have a lunch in the Adelaide hills tomorrow with my dad’s rellies. I expect this to be much more challenging than the christmas day fare as that was mostly seafood and mayonnaise laden salads – neither of which I really care for. For christmas lunch I stuck to a little cold chicken, a pile of green salad and 2 baby octopus (seafood I actually like). If it hadn’t been for the cheese board it would have been a very low cal lunch. However tomorrow my cousin is catering so I know there will be a lot of delicious fare, including multiple desserts. Today’s FD was more anticipation of tomorrow than payment for yesterday. I’ve now done my 2 FDs for the week so there will need to be some very careful NFDs to follow.

    Good job LJ. It’s nice to be in front. It felt odd all day not doing a fast but I think I made the right choice. The leftovers tasted so much better with just the three of us to cater for tonight. It will make both my FD and the OFM’s meal easier to plan tomorrow as we’ll all be happy for a turkey/ham break. Plus there’s now a bit of room for my frozen FD meals to fit in the fridge.

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