Thursday September 26th

8:30am: Cheese croissant and apple from Pret

10:30am: snack pack mini sausages

1pm: chicken salad from Pret

2pm: Ch0colate moose (mousse) pot from Pret

7:30pm: Innocent veg pot and pack cooked Mexican chicken pieces

 

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Wednesday September 25th

Felt a bit anxious and stressed this morning, and only worked out why when I was in the pool. (Which is when I do a lot of my thinking.) I realised I was feeling stressed about yesterday because I think I messed up. And I think I messed up the day before. Then I decided to look properly at what I was freaking out about. 

 
What happened yesterday? What am I unhappy about?
- I ate lots during the morning. My Graze box arrived and I ate all the snacks even though I wasn’t hungry. Greedy me!
- I ate soup and a bread roll for lunch, even though I wasn’t really hungry from snaking all morning. 
- I had massive chocolate cravings after work, and then sandwich cravings. 
- I ate a ‘naughty’ dinner – chicken burger, chips and coleslaw. And felt uncomfortably full after. 
- On top of that, knowing I screwed up yesterday is making me want to eat anything I can lay my hands on today just to deal with the stress and the disappointment of knowing I will never get over this eating thing and never be thin! I mean it’s been TEN WEEKS AND I’M NOT THIN YET. 
 
And that’s what I am freaking out about. 
 
Then I took a look from another point of view:
 
- I did eat all my Graze snacks right away because I couldn’t resist them, but they were relatively healthy snacks and all low GI. What’s so bad about eating four small portions of nuts and raisins and dark chocolate chips?
- I ate soup and bread for lunch when I wasn’t really hungry. But I didn’t eat a chocolate brownie with it, or a bag of popcorn, or a bag of crisps. (Even though I kind of wanted to.) 
- I didn’t give in to my chocolate or sandwich cravings after I left work. And I really wanted to. All I could think about for a while there was a massive bar of Cadbury’s, or a Krispy Kreme or a chicken and sweetcorn sandwich with crisps. And I walked right past all of the shops and didn’t get any of it. So why am I stressing about having the cravings?! That’s not what matters here.
- I ate too much at dinner. It’s not the end of the world. It was lovely to have dinner with Mum. It wasn’t a binge, I only had a main, and I didn’t even eat all of it. Hardly an end-of-the-world situation there. 
- So in summary…I didn’t binge, I didn’t eat two lunches, I didn’t stuff myself so much I felt ill, and I did resist some epic food cravings and binge impulses. 
 
And after going through all that in my head, I felt better. I didn’t feel like I was doing badly and had failed already. I didn’t feel like all I wanted was to eat everything I could find. I do feel like I’m putting something important into practice and being kinder to myself by focussing on the good stuff instead of the bad. 
 
Today’s food:
 
8:30am: honey and fig yoghurt with a banana
11am: M&S deli pot – chargrilled courgette and asparagus with feta
1:15pm: M&S deli packs – mexican chicken, and tomato and mozzarella salad
5pm: bottle apple and mango juice
8pm: lobster, fries and salad from Burger and Lobster while out with friends. Small square treacle tart. Yum! 
 
I drank plenty of water today, and tried to always wait until I was properly hungry before eating. I was feeling very hungry before dinner, but I knew it was going to be a big dinner so I definitely wasn’t about to snack and spoilt my appetite! I did well today. 

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To Kindle or not to Kindle?

That really is the question…

For a long time, I’ve been fervently anti e-reader. As far as I’m concerned, an unyielding piece of plastic just can’t compare to the wonder that is a bound book. I’m passionate about books; I love the way they feel in my hand, I love the way they smell, I love turning the pages and I love sitting in bookshops for hours, browsing and reading a little here and a little there, piling books up beside me and wishing I could take every single one home, and I love the process of deciding exactly which ones I’ll be buying this time round. (Inevitably, I take home more books than I think I should but far fewer books that I’d like to.) Continue reading

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A perfect Sunday

Bookshop browsing followed by a lazy afternoon in the dappled sunlight beneath a certain oak tree with my beloved. Bliss.

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On the Move

After a few weeks of intense fun in Beijing, I am back in the depths of the English countryside. Strangely enough, it rained the whole time I was away and it is only now something resembling summer has finally reached England. I’m making the most of my country garden that catches the sunlight while I can; in three weeks, I’m moving to central London to live.

 I’m currently sitting in my bedroom surrounded by piles of long-forgotten miscellany, such as tarot cards and almost empty bottles of perfume, with the occasional cardboard box teetering atop a heap of books pulled from the shelves and piled haphazardly on the floor or on top of something else. I have a distinct tendency to randomly throw things into boxes and then stash the boxes away out of sight, and on my journey through my wardrobe today I discovered old scraps of diary entries, neatly torn from school exercise books, mainly discussing boyfriends and horses; old love letters written to me by an enchanting boy I never met because he lived up North; a set of runes in a red velvet bag (when I pulled one out, it was the rune representing journeys); a set of plates and cups decorated with pictures of shoes that I have never used but intend to start using; and a lot more besides. I never throw things away. At university, my room was always awash with paper. Sometimes, when the urge came upon me, I’d pile all the paper into themed stacks – modern Chinese newspaper readings, notes from history lectures, photocopied short stories – but hardly ever filed it away properly, leaving it to gradually work its way across my floor and obscure the carpet until the urge to tidy returned. Unfortunately my room in the house I am moving into is significantly smaller then the room I am currently in, so I have to get rid of quite a lot. Including some books. I’m not especially impressed by this, but I’m only throwing away things like cheap classics that won’t cost a lot to repurchase and books I didn’t enjoy reading or have never read. The actual throwing out process is the hard part; after it is gone, whatever is it, I won’t miss it. This knowledge does not make it easier to part with anything.

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Goodbyeeee, goodbyeeee

It is goodbye from me until August – I’m off to China for the summer! I would blog while I’m out there, but none of my friends there can access my blog so I suspect it is banned. Maybe because I blogged about unpopular Chinese authors. Anyway, that means no more posts from me until I get back. I wish everyone a great summer, whatever you do and wherever you are. Enjoy yourselves!

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Intelligence

Over the last few days my reading has focussed on acquiring new skills. In a geeky kinda way. As preparation for the new academic year (I’m getting in early, here) I decided the best thing I could do, besides the advance asignments I’ll be set, would be to improve my study skills. I discovered Tony Buzan; my local library has practically all his books as far as I can tell, and I’ve taken several out and have started on Speed Reading, which promises, among other things, to make students of the technique improve their reading speed, comprehension, the way they use their eyes and brains, their vocabulary and general knowledge and overall confidence. Who wouldn’t love all that? It had to come home with me. Also in the collection are books on improving my ‘perfect memory’, writing better essays and even one entitled ‘How to Argue and Win Evey Time’ – and I do so love arguing (but only when I win).

Contained in one of these books were some true life stories of people who had applied Buzan’s techniques and shot straight to the top of their classes with no other training. This got me thinking; is it really possible to increase one’s intelligence? The general consensus from the limited online research I’ve done seems to suggest it is possible. Various studies have demonstrated that certain factors can increase types of intelligence, from eating and exercising to listening to Mozart to simply expanding vocabulary from a few minutes’ study each day. Business people with an extensive vocabulary are supposedly more likely to succeed than their counterpart with weaker vocabularies, although this study is not substantiated. Doing crossword puzzles or sudoku are also credited with enhancing problem solving abilities and of course reading is the traditional method of becoming smarter. But do these methods actually result in tangible, long lasting mental benefits?

I’ve decided I’m going to give them a go and see. First up is the Speed Reading book, as I mentioned. Time is always an issue for students so using less of it to acomplish more seems like a sensible place to start. I’m also going to work on increasing my vocabulary every day and I might even buy a Sudoku book to try. The thing is, I remember feeling like I could do anything at all when I was 17. I was confident in myself and my intellectual abilities, and I have somehow never quite got that feeling back. I want to return to 17 year old me, ready to take on the world and know I can win. If reading books to help me build upon my existing skills can work towards bringing that about then that’s what I’ll do. Watch out Einstein, I’m coming!

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