Family and feasting

Judith Wills / 21 March 2014

Diet and wellbeing blogger Judith Wills finds that a schedule full of entertaining plays havoc with her good intentions.

Having spent a more than pleasant weekend in Somerset visiting my son, his partner and our little grandson, swiftly followed by a two-day visit from my youngest stepson, his wife and my slightly larger step-grandson, I can most definitely report that the last seven days have not been ideal for my dieting plans, though I probably burnt more calories chasing after and carrying toddlers than I would in a normal week.

Wonderful though socialising can be, it never fails to wreck willpower and the best laid plans. If I'm the one doing the hosting, then, with a paranoia about appearing mean or not having exactly what everyone wants to eat and drink in the house, I buy far too much and eat too much as well, obviously. And when I'm a house guest, I want to be polite and appreciative and thus, well, you know how it is.

So I weighed myself yesterday and, having lost 4lbs of the stone I had put back on by the New Year (see my blog of January 24th), I have now put 2lbs of the loss back on too, making a grand total of 2lbs lost in nearly two months.

How pathetic is that?

I have two weeks now before more guests arrive, and then three weeks before Easter when we're supposed to be spending three days in Portmeirion with gourmand friends. So it's obvious I've got to try harder while it's just the two of us (Husband would like to lose some surplus midriff weight as well, which is always very useful – like when you give up smoking, it's always easier if the other half does it too) because it is pointless pretending 'watch what you eat' mode is going to happen when we're with other people.

To that end, I've temporarily given up alcohol again. And after weeks having breakfast mid-morning and then no lunch, I've got bored with that routine, so I'm skipping breakfast instead (shock, horror, I can hear you all say, but honestly, you really won't die without it) and having lunch again. There are two good things about this plan – one, I'm at my least hungry when I wake up and left to my own devices don't even begin to feel hungry till about noon, so I don't miss breakfast. And two, lunch offers much more scope than breakfast if you enjoy preparing and eating food. OH, and three, here in the wilds our papers aren't delivered until late morning at the moment and who wants to sit and eat without anything to read?

Lastly I intend to return to NO starchy carbs in the evening, just protein, bit of fat, plus brightly coloured vegetables.

My target is to lose 3lbs before first set of visitors and then 4lbs by Easter. What happens then – Portmeirion and chocolate temptation looming - will be something to worry about later.

Ate for lunch:

At this time of year I have very little saladstuff in the garden, but I found summer-sown red and white cabbages in the veg patch still miraculously OK, and remembered a type of coleslaw I made last year to go with grilled pork steaks. Here's this year's version – it really is lovely (I think the orange dressing makes it) and even supermarket-coleslaw haters like Husband will enjoy it (he did).

Winter salad

To serve 4

  • 125g each of thinly sliced red and white cabbage
  • 1 medium-large carrot, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 2 heaped tbsps walnut pieces
  • 5 semi-dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 level tbsp sesame seeds or flaked almonds

For the dressing:

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil
  • Juice of half a large orange
  • 1 scant tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 dessertspoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and black pepper

Make up the dressing and stir or shake thoroughly then pour over the salad ingredients in a bowl and combine well. Cover and leave for an hour if possible. The salad makes a light lunch on its own, or try it with cold chicken slices or ham. Leftovers will be fine next day.

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