Egg on the hips

I am guilty about a family tradition passed down from Mother to Mother at this time of year – the task of absorbing some Easter egg calories so your children don’t have to. 

Easter is a bad time for women who have a weakness for chocolate (and are trying to remain/return to sugar free). If you have children it’s even worse. Eggs, chocolate bunnies, sweets, cakes (helped by a birthday party thrown in for good measure) are all sitting in the kitchen saying ‘eat me’. Cadburys chocolate are the worst, I can consume a small Chocolate egg in seconds. Today I ‘helped out’ baby boy with his chocolate buttons egg – I had the egg and he had the bag of buttons – I was taking the brunt of the calorific hit to retain my son’s health ( well that’s what I kept telling myself). I then felt so guilty I wanted to run a mile in shrink wrap before it had a chance to adhere to my hips…

My Mum did the same thing. In fact when I was older I had to hide the eggs so my Num couldn’t get to them. In an effort to save us both she put them in the bin one year. Then later that night retrieved them out of the bin… was a new all time low but resistance was futile.

If you go back another generation, my granny was nearly 20 stone …..gulp….you can understand why we are trying to resist – a good metabolism is not in the genes….

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Fading photos….but not faded enough

I made a nasty discovery in my mum’s old photo collection today…….me when I was fat.

I recall listening to Sara Cox on the radio one day when she remarked how old and inferior she felt when watching 19 year old girls walk by with amazing figures and not terribly much on. She described them as 100% prime beef with men all queuing up at a meat market.

This was not me at 19. Before university student life I had an OK figure, then I started drinking cider and eating at greasy spoons and trying to keep up with my boyfriend’s daily calorific intake. When I look back I recall it not being the healthiest episode of my life and that I may have crept up to a size 14, but the picture is shocking. I literally look like someone pumped me full of gas. Even my facial features have been lost to the landmass that is my bloatedness. Thankfully I can look back on it now and feel relieved that the wind didn’t change and that I didn’t stay that way. It is a shame though that I bhdidn’t look my best when my skin was still in its ‘youth’.

Now in my thirties I have finally grasped the concept of ‘my body is a temple’, yet i have lots of grey hairs, wrinkles  and a few saggy bits where things haven’t ‘sprung’ back to shape. Its all a little bit too late. But as you get older, concerns about your appearance hive way to preserving your health, which is why i am fitter and slimmer now than when i was in my teens……back then i did whatever i wanted and thought about the consequences later.

So to prevent me from ever ballooning like i did when i was 19, that photo is stuck to my fridge as a reminder whenever i get tempted away from an evening’s exercise or tempted towards sugary treats.

I decided not to put the pictures of my semi-naked mother (she seemed to like going topless on all of our family holidays) and my father with george best hair and a podgy tummy on the fridge. Some photos are best left in albums, or better still in our memories… fade with time.

I am blogging for Unicef. Thanks for reading.


Testy tummies

Having quit sugar now for 8 weeks, i am starting to notice there are severe consequences if i deviate.

The other night i mentioned i had invited some friends round and ate more than i should in crisps and dips. While i didnt eat anything sweet, i probably ate more than my usual intake in sugar – I was as sick as a dog later.

My baby boy was then ill a few days later, so then i thought it must have been a bug.

Not so.

Yesterday I succumbed to  a small slice of my brother-in-laws cake. I felt so bloated afterwards i wanted my stomach to be pumped. This feeling continued through the night, into this morning and hampered my appetite for the rest of the day, making me feel slightly nauseous…….and that was one slice of cake.

After these two major occurrences, i then thought back to other occasions recently when my stomach felt uncomfortable and i have felt nauseous – like the time i sucked on some dark chocolate when it was time of the month.

This quit extreme reaction to sugary foods, after having cut it out for a while, surprises me. But when you think about how careful you have to be to alter the diets of horses and dogs (to avoid problems such as colic), it is no wonder that i have been feeling iffy.

Just like the IQS diet, i read an article in RED Magazine about Ella Woodward, whose reaction to drinking alcohol and consuming copious amounts of sugar while a university student, led to her being diagnosed with PoTS – postural tachycardia syndrome – a rare condition that affects the nervous system, causing nausea, exhaustion, dizziness and weakness. Now, like IQS, she has a diet of raw vegetables and unprocessed food and lots of green smoothies. Interesting recipes include sweet potato brownies and courgette noodles using a spiraliser gadget that you can pick up for £30 on amazon. For inspiration check out

I’m feeling better already.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.


A bottomless pit

I have put on 5 pounds on the IQS diet. Dont blame the diet though. Before I reach for a spoon of sugar in my coffee again, it has dawned on me that i may have been eating more than the rda on peanut butter, which has an effect, even the reduced sugar and salt version. So over the next month peanut butter has been put on the naughty list and i will continue my mission to be sugar free in a bid to be healthier.

A magazine article on body shape featured a comment from a woman that struck a chord with me.  She said her focus wasn’t on her lumps and bumps but on healthy eating. So, i figured if i focus on health, the lumps and bumps will follow (or rather drop off). In the meantime i continue to be repellent to sugar, in the same way that a ex-smoker dismisses offers of a cigarette, today i declined chocolate muffins and mr whippy ice-cream.

However, it is hard to focus on health when all you really want to do is decrease the land mass of your rear-end. My baby boy has discovered it as a new form of entertainment to spank it so it wobbles, a habit inspired by the actions of both my daughter and husband. I am now wondering whether it is impossible to get rid of extra bum – if your born with it you have just got to sit on it – like Kim Kardashian.

Or is it years of bouncing up and down on horses’ backs. Maybe my body’s reaction was to create a buffer, hence the big butt.

Of course there are many more things to be worrying about than the size of bottoms. Us women have to shoulder the burden of achieving the ‘ideal’ figure but ‘ideal’ for whom?

Now my husband has started to comment that my daughter’s bottom is ‘filling out’ and i instantly retaliate with an exclamation of what a beautiful butt it is.

I wonder if there will ever be a time when women are more relaxed about their body shape? Or is it a culture that will continue in perpetuity?

Maybe the way to address it is through a process of elimination, a bit like weeding out an allergy. For example what would happen if high-fashion was excluded from the public conscience for a year, or it was insisted that only plus size models (aka normal size) were used for all advertising campaigns?

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Hooked on quitting sugar

I am hooked on quitting sugar. I have just uploaded the book ‘I quit sugar for life’ by Sarah Wilson and already I am entranced. Like most of us, I have a sweet tooth which, if indulged, will keep going and going until I feel mildly sick. While I am experiencing one of these gorge fests I keep saying o myself’ this isn’t good for you’ but the other less cautious voice in my head (that most of us have got) says ‘f##* it eat it anyway’.

I counteract this sugar rush by not eating much else in an attempt to keep my calorie intake low – healthy isn’t it?

Which is why this book could potentially change my life. So, as I progress through the book, I have started to make small changes to my daily diet. The first big change has been to shift my attention away from the back of packets listing calories and analysing the ‘crabs of which sugars’ section o the nutritional content table. It is an eye opener. My lovely low fat yoghurt comfort foods have now transformed into sugary devils that must be avoided at all costs (or just re-directed to my husband). My lovely big bowl of cornflakes topped with sugar is also now in the devil’s food category. However foods that were previously on the ‘no no’ category, like cheese, are now in the angel food section. The only sticking point with Sarah’s approach is the meat protein and she advises against soya – not good for the half-hearted vegetarian like me.

Going forward, the biggest temptations to resist will be skipping puddings at work and ignoring the presence of sticky buns in our local shop.

I am also particularly worried when Aunt Irma visits (period) as my need for sugar doubles during those periods. I hope there is a chapter in the book that covers that.

This blog is for UNICEF, if you can support the campaign, click here.

Thanks for reading.


The average person in the UK consumes 23 spoonful’s of sugar and that is before they have consumed any fruit juice, according to Aussie TV presenter, Sarah Wilson, who has launched a book about quitting sugar for life (gulp).

Sarah argues that since the 60s it has become increasingly easier and cheaper for food manufacturers to use sugar, which is why more and more f is are eating way more than our RDA. Most of the time we don’t even know we are consuming it. So what is so bad about sugar Sarah takes human evolution back to when we were a bunch of cables scavenging the land for food. Rarely we would come across a berry and when we did, we would gorge on it, but that would be that for the next few months. The key damaging ingredient in sugar is fructose. Because of our history of lack of berry foraging, our bodies are not designed to take on too much fructose, it is hard for the body to breakdown so it is stored as fat. In addition to affecting obesity figures, Sarah says that there is scientific evidence that some diseases that have seen an increase over the past few decades are linked to too much sugar in our diets.

As I was listening to her interview, I began to think about whether I could try this diet, to les a little  it more weight, but, more importantly experience the health benefits. I live sugar and am probably addicted to it. Sarah has ‘quit sugar for life’ (title of her book) and provides recipes and healthier sugar alternatives to attempt.

I am tempted to give it a go, but this is the sugar mountain I have to face…..

Today’s menu for Tom:

1 coffee with sugar

2 Satsuma

3 slices of honey and seed bread

1 small bag of mini party ring biscuits

1 milkybar

1 beetroot, broccoli, cauliflower and Marmite toastie (no I am not pregnant)

A few roasted broad beans (might as well have just sucked on some sea salt)

2 unashamedly big bowls of rhubarb crumble (with rhubarb roasted Ina ton of sugar topped with buttery sugary crumble)

I might have sneaked some Easter chocolate off the kids too.

So, do you fancy my chances cutting out sugar?

How about I get this book when its out on the 8th May and I will tell you how I get on?

I am blogging every day for UNICEF. Read about my campaign here.

Thanks for reading.

Hurry up Halloween!

Every third week in the month I have a mad chocolate addiction. The week preceding my period (sorry guys) is the week when my body has a hunger that can only be satisfied by guzzling copius amounts of chocolate, particularly Cadburys. It has to be done and I hate doing it because I am convinced I can feel my body start to wobble as fat is applied for every ounce of chocolate I consume. My response is to not eat much else in an effort to restrict my calorie intake – healthy I am not.

This dreadful week clashes disastrously with preparations for Halloween. We take it very seriously in our village to the extent that, for one night of the year only, it is our job to feed every single kid in the village with sweets (I don’t think anyone has a proper dinner on All Hallows Day or whatever the ‘official’ title is).

So, I take advantage of the special offer that seems to be repeated every shop you set foot in “Only £5 for a tin of Celebrations/ Roses/ Heroes or Quality Street” (I would be interested to know if this deal is available all over the UK as well as the South East) Every year this deal seems to coincide with the run up to Halloween and Christmas. Its almost as if there is a national crisis of surplus chocolate that needs to be disposed of before the New Year – kind of like a chocolate harvest.

I bought a tin, took it home and put it in the top cupboard. I can still reach the top cupboard by standing on tippitoes so I don’t know what I am achieving by putting sweets and chocolates there. At least I have to slightly stretch my midriff every time I grab a treat for myself or the kids.

The tin started talking to me form the cupboard and before long my will power cracked and ravaged the tin. I can’t just have one or two or three – I eat them so quick I lose count. Maybe there is a slight pause, but not enough of one. So, I endeavoured to buy another tin the next day that I WOULD NOT open (It is important to add that tin number 1 still had quite a lot of sweets in it – I am not a complete glutton). So, while filling up with diesel (and checking out the police bike cop filling up at the next pump….although he didnt take his helmet off so a bit tricky… I thought it was illegal to keep your helmet on when walking into the shop…..guess its ok for a cop)

I purchased another tin and congratulated myself on not going anywhere near it on the way to work. It was on the way back that proved a problem “open me” tin said. I’m afraid I did although paced myself a bit this time – just had a few….they were tiny sweets anyway.. I felt better by telling myself that if i strung all the sweets that I had just eaten together they wouldn’t even make up the size of one cadburys dairy milk bar.

So now both tins are in the top cupboard with slightly depleted quantities and I am going to test my willpower by saying no more. If I crack, I will tally up each sweet and keep a record of it on this blog as we count down to Halloween (a bit like Bridget Jones and her daily record of calories consumed and cigarettes puffed).

I am blogging every day for Unicef. To support my fundraising campaign please visit my site.

Thanks for reading. (Whoops – all this talk of chocolate has given me an appetite – 1,2,3,4,5……)


How long can you go without eating?

I know you can go longer without food than water, given that our bodies are 70% made up of the stuff (or something like that). I missed a post yesterday because I was ill and dog tired. You know when you wake up and your tummy feels like its been on a roller coaster ride all night? You don’t feel like doing anything except laying flat on your back. Once upright you know you are going to be sick.

With that in mind, I still had to get up, feed baby, dress baby, feed kid, nag kid to get dressed, nag kid to turn off TV, nag kid to put shoes and socks on. Nag, nag, nag all the way to the school bus stop. I was freezing. Everyone else was in jumpers but I was dressed for an arctic winter (3 layers plus coat scarf and hat).

I then had to face work – the day from hell. My colleague was on holiday so doing the job of 2 people plus everything on deadline. I work part-time so that basically means that everything that has a deadline of a Monday or a Friday has to be done a whole lot earlier because I am not in the office on those days. So you basically have to work a whole lot more efficiently and harder for less pay. Don’t read this bit while you are eating but……once at my desk I stayed there all day because if I got up I knew I would need to rush to the bathroom. When lunch-time came around all my workmates (who I had fully briefed of the situation) tried to entice me to the dining hall but my appetite for food was the equivalent of my appetite for dog shit – I wanted to stay well, well away.

I was convinced that at some point I would start to get hunger pains but no, my body had battened down the hatches and was not letting up. I was wading through all the website work I had to do – boring repetitive clicking and clicking – while fighting off painful tummy cramps. I then had to write a few articles with poorly tummy induced writers block.

When I finally got enough courage to stand up and walk around a bit I went to get a camera from the bottom draw of a filing cabinet and wished I hadn’t. As I bent over I farted, not just any fart – it wasn’t noisy, it was deadly. If I had attempted to light it the place would have burnt down in minutes. If there had been a colour to it, it would have been shrek green. I thought to quickly abandon the area so the stench could not be linked to me but, to my horror, I was too late. Two of my workmates walked in behind me into, what must have been for them, an assault on their nostrils. I did not look at their expressions but instead went into denial and held my ground. I felt that was better than quickly fleeing as a) they already knew it was me anyway and b) in a strange way I felt by staying there I was claiming responsibility for the fart even though they didn’t say ‘euuuugh’ and wrinkle their noses (although they must have felt like it) and I didn’t say “sorry, yes, that was me….um…..I bent down for the camera at precisely the wrong moment, I will now attempt to fan it out of the window. Anyone got any oust?”

Since then I haven’t eaten, I am not deliberately starving myself, I just don’t fancy eating. Food is not in the agenda. My appetite was tested when I met my Mum for a coffee (the latte went down fine by the way so my tummy must be on the mend now) and saw a beautiful display of homemade cakes and chocolate loveliness and didn’t fancy any of it – not even a crumb. Now is it wrong that I am in fact enjoying this loss of appetite because I am thinking about how many pounds I might be shedding. Or is my body just going into starvation mode and just saving every pound of flesh it can? Either way I wonder how long you can actually go without food. According to an article discovered on a brief internet search, 2 months apparently!

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Do you have an eating disorder?

I was with my stepmum today who loves food. I do too but for the first time in  my life I made a deliberate effort to make my bottom half (a size 12) match ,my top half (size 10). I did this by adopting the policy of a couple of my petite friends – put less in your mouth. Its bleedin’ obvious isn’t it? But why has it taken to get to my thirties before I gave this a go?

I last lost a significant amount of weight when I was trying to shift my postgraduate body that had endured 3 years of Snakebite, chocolate and chips. With a bit of waccy baccy thrown in for good measure. I did weight watchers and meticulously counted my daily intake making sure that I kept within my 20 points per day allowance. Wine was replaced with diet coke and vodka and I swapped 5 weetabixes in the morning for 2. I got back to  my pre-uni size and in the main kept to it as I had the Weight Watchers points system chip embedded into my brain.

After the birth of my second child I looked at my rear in the mirror – which has always been big, and thought…..why not give this a proper go and get this butt reduced. So I simply stopped eating as much – seriously stopped eating as much – mainly by skipping lunch and breastfeeding and exercising like a trojan. Yes my little son even helped to suck it out of me. Within a couple of months of this, helped by training for 64 lengths of the Swimathon and embracing the Zumba movement I cracked it. Size 12 skirts and trousers were now too big – while my butt was still big it had been reduced.

In doing this I have realised I liked food and that I was over-indulging in my portions. Madonna’s trainer once said that the portion size should only be as big as your fist and this is true. It didn’t take long for my stomach to shrink and for me to feel fuller quicker. I have come to the conclusion that we westerners do eat more than we need. I have been eating way more than I need for most of my life.

However I can’t pick anything up now without looking at the calorie count and then totting up in my head how much I have already consumed – I try to stay around 1000 calories a day. My Stepmum, who is a larger lady, is looking into following the feast and famine diet. The diet is based on consuming 600 calories for 2 days and then a normal calorie intake for the rest of the week. Apparently this is good for combating dementia. I think it is better to just reduce portion size across the board rather than dedicate special days to starving yourself. My friend’s Mum, who is losing weight has taken it to the extreme. One day she didn’t eat until 1pm and only had a plum, had a salad for dinner and that was that. Even on my best ‘figure conscious’ days I couldn’t do that – I would be trying to eat my pillow at bed-time and wouldn’t sleep. My friend – she eats twice a day – skips brekkie, has something at 10am then something at 3 and that’s it – she’s full.

It got me to thinking – what is healthy and what is bordering on an eating disorder? Also given that I didn’t decide to lose significant weight until my thirties is the pressure to look thin reaching its peak – with the likes of Kate Middleton and Victoria Beckham inspiring us to put figure first before hunger pangs?

Then I think about the families in drought ridden countries who survive on nothing but rice if they are lucky – what would they do if they were whisked away to the UK – would they go  mad and gorge on all of our gorgeous food? Maybe initially but then would they also get sucked in to looking good? I think the reason why I have made a concerted effort now is the pressure to look good despite multiple pregnancies – and be a bit smug about it too.

For all the negatives of obsessing about weight though, there are some positives I have experienced: finding it easier to exercise, looking better in jodhpurs and having more energy.

When pic-nicking my daughter paused before she ate her apple pie to ask me how many calories were in the cake. I responded very quickly with “about 200 calories”. My Stepmum then said to my daughter how important it was to eat lots when you are growing. I thought – shit has my calorie counting gone too far – am I unwittingly passing on to my daughter the beginnings of an eating disorder in later life? Or am I encouraging her to think about what she consumes – is that a good thing? I don’t know. Our culture does two things – it makes us body conscious but it also makes us feel that we may have eating disorder issues if we seriously reduce our intake – but I wonder whether our intake is just too much in the first place??

My quest for the perfect rear continues – when walking up the alleyway, my daughter following me said “Mummy your bum wobbles” …

Thanks for reading if you enjoyed the post as ever please leave a donation to Unicef – the whole reason why I am blogging.

I am signing off for the weekend now as we are off on a mini-break. I know we only just came back from a week’s holiday but gotta enjoy the school holidays while we can…..