Monday, 24 November 2014

The No Diet Diet

Hello friends,

Because there was interest I want to talk about my gradual weight loss of a kilo per month over the last six (almost seven) months. As the title suggests it is not actually a diet in the sense of strictly following someone else's idea of what I should eat. I am not good at that.

There are good diet books out there, sensible ones that give you guidelines you can live by. The CSIRO Diet books by the Australian Government CSIRO website are great. The five to two diet looks interesting in principle five to two diet. I incorporated modified elements of both these diets.

Do your research, these may not be appropriate for where you live or what you can buy or grow. It really does not make sense that one diet will work for everybody. The aim is to find a way of eating that will still work for you next year and five years from now, and doesn't make you miserable or guilty because you broke a few rules. Find a way of eating that keeps your body at the weight it should be and feeling fit and well and that makes you feel better.

We are all individual. I am a registered nurse but I am no dietician. These are just my own observations. My body type and my metabolism and my energy requirements are different from yours .. Who am I to tell you what to eat? Or how much to exercise or how to exercise? There are people that are experts to turn to to get advice if you need it. First get a medical check up and ask the doctor what you should weigh. He may even refer you on. I am getting serious here but it can be a serious issue and I don't want to lead you down the wrong path.

Also food should be a pleasure, not an obsession but knowledge is power so ask yourself 'What should I be eating?'

That's what I asked myself a decade ago when I was not feeling well and having chest pains, stomach pain and irritable bowel syndrome. In the space of a few years two members of my family had heart surgery and it worried me. Heart disease, stroke and diabetes 2 run rampant in my family, as does high cholesterol.

I had a cardiac check up and although my heart was fine - due to a job that has always had me on my feet moving all day long - the cardiologist took a more holistic approach and started to talk to me about diet and told me to lose weight and to avoid processed foods. She also told me the target weight I should aim for, taking into account my age and build. I went and did what she said and all was fine but  two years ago the weight started creeping back on.

Six months ago I looked at myself in the mirror and saw my increasingly 'apple' shaped body profile and I knew I had to do something. I decided to get back to that goal weight again, the magic number. I joined a gym to really get things moving. More importantly I decided with mule like determination that this was it and that it will be life long. Even if it does not go smoothly all the time. I have days when I don't do what I should but then the following day I exercise and make sure I eat carefully. (This is also how I will survive the festive season.)

Determination and moderation wins out in the end. I mean why shouldn't you get to the ideal weight for your body? Why shouldn't you feel good?

Back to the food thing. Around about the time I saw my friendly cardiologist and wondering why I was feeling sick and looking at diet books in my local library I came across 'Eat right for your type' link.

Yeah I know, I thought the concept was loopy too, but just for a lark to prove to myself it was crazy I decided to try out the Type A blood type diet. There was such a big cross-section of food that I wasn't going to feel deprived. Basically there is a list of 'Good' food, 'Bad' foods and 'Neutral' foods according to your blood type. Your blood type gives clues to your genetic background and primitive racial migrations.

To cut a long story short I cut out wheat and wheat products, red meat and potatoes. I ate more veggies, fish and rice, chicken, and tofu and incorporated soy milk into my diet. After a few weeks the change was remarkable. My stomach pain and chest pain (which was really indigestion pain) was gone and my irritable bowel settled down. I knew I was on to something.

I work with doctors. I talk to doctors all day long. A lot of them say it is probably other factors that gave me releif. No one ever suffers from eating more vegetables, right?

I say, whatever. It gave me huge relief. Even my sinusitis disappeared.

It is a modified version of that regime that I go back to and I think my main problem was wheat intolerance even though I can get away with the occasional bit of bread or pastry.  Am I coeliac? No. Other glutens are fine.

The theory is that wheat is now one of the most genetically modified mass produced crop there is and that some of us haven't developed the digestive enzymes to cope with it.

I don't know. I am not a food scientist. The interesting thing is that though I have a problem with wheat you may live very happily on meat, bread and potatoes.

All I want to say is listen to your body. Try different diets that include a wide range of foods. As much as possible make your own meals from unprocessed ingredients. Make a diet plan to live on.

I bought a machine that pulverizes food into smoothies. I usually have a banana/blueberry/soy milk smoothie that has a teaspoon of yoghurt and a teaspoon of malted milk powder for breakfast, after I've exercised.

I shop and plan. I spend a lot of money at my local greengrocer. It's worth it.

I try to exercise every day, even a little bit. I found what works best is to exercise first thing in the morning, before you have breakfast, even if it twenty minutes of an exercise CD or a walk. Do a little, then build up. Give it priority. Get sweaty. There's a whole world of early morning exercisers out there on the bike paths and the foot paths.

If you have injuries a bit of swimming may help. Or walking up and down the pool.

The main thing is that exercise becomes a joy, not a chore.

 In summary:

Find your motivation. Look at the long term, not a quick fix.

Where to start? Go to the doctor for a check up and ask questions.

Do your research.

Look at what you are eating and format your own 'diet'.

Eat when you are hungry. Hunger is a natural body function. Eat to refuel.

Avoid the sugar cycle. I found the less I ate of high fat and /or high sugar the less I wanted it. Your focus changes. You get to know the  'I've over done the birthday party food' feeling. A mini juice/veggie fast and exercise helps me get over it. I am talking half a day folks, nothing extreme. If a friend has gone to the trouble of making something naughty and exquisite I am not going to start preaching at them. I'd rather have a treat and go extra careful in my own time.

Sabotage is a different thing. You just have to politely decline. Thank you but no, I'm full may be your mantra with some people.

Regarding the temptation of fast food,  figure your own grab-and-go foods. Fruit,  tuna, rice cakes, nuts, plain yoghurt are some of mine. You will figure out yours. Think of strategies to cope with the highly laden foods that confront us at every turn and don't buy into it. Also, out of principle I tend not buy anything marketed as 'diet'. The ingredients label usually reveal sugar in some form or other. Eat real food instead.

But once again, if you have the occasional lapse, it is not the end of the world. On the contrary, enjoy then back to the usual eating.

Become a fan of filtered water. Let all the other stuff (the famous fizzy) become an occasional treat.

Watch the alcohol. I have pretty much given up alcohol, because I want to. I drink very occasionally and if I drink it is  for the taste of it rather than for the effect. I've known for a long time that alcohol does not agree with me but now I am listening to my body.

So, that's it, my change of pace. It's mostly a change of attitude.

Listen to your body, treasure it, and give thanks.

Good luck on your  journey,


Sunday, 23 November 2014

V9050 Dress

There's been constant sewing going on here but not much blogging. I like doing blog posts but life  dramas and pre-christmas work kept getting in the way.

But today I am finally able to get some photos and do a catch up post.

V9050 is one of a clutch of recently released Vogue patterns and was hidden in amongst much more flamboyant dresses but it caught my eye immediately. I had some fire engine red pure linen in the stash. I decided to try to fade the colour into something more subtle so I soaked the material, which had been re washed for shrinkage, in a tub of hot water with a cup of White King bleach. The result was the orange/brick colour I wanted with some interesting marbling. Success!

Then I measured and adjusted the pattern, made it up with basting stitch and adjusted some more. Going by measurements and guesswork I thought I did not need to do a sway back adjustment as I had plenty of seams to take in and the back seam was already curved.

Well - I Should Know Better but all was not lost. I took the back piece up at the shoulders and cut down the shoulders and back neck by 5'8" to hike up the upper back.

There were other issues at work here, the back neck to waist length was too long and I have a slightly rounded back neck. I had enough ease at the armholes as I had added a bit of width at the sides. It worked but my armholes now are a bit too wide at the back at the top of the arms. I am going to go back and fix this. Ah the joys of turning two dimension into something that fits a three dimensional body..

Also, due to my fitness & careful eating regime I keep slowly shrinking. I'm not complaining but it makes fitting a continuing process. Just before the photos were taken this morning I took the upper back princess seams in and the side seams in. Maybe I should have cut a smaller size at the start but taking from is easier than adding to! The aim is to get a fitted look while skimming over the remaining bulgy bits. Challenging but six months ago this dress would not have been flattering on me at all.

I did not line the dress. It has to stay breathable through the Sydney summer and even though it creases as soon as I sit down, it is very comfortable to wear.

Would I make it again, yes, but not right now. There are too many things in the pipe line.

The pattern is ready though, with these modifications:
Altered back neck/shoulders.
Sway back adjustment.
Knee skimming length.
Slanted side seams brought up by 2"

There it is. Regarding the weight loss, I have 2kg left to go, more for medical reasons than vanity although my vanity is coping quite well :))

Weight loss is such a individual thing and there are many factors involved in making it stick but if anyone is interested I'll do a post on how I did it.

Have a good week,


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Jalie 3024 top

Readers I have frankenpatterned myself a sleeveless summer top using Jalie 3024.

I am starting to become a real fan of this Canadian pattern company because of their excellent drafting and their multi sizing and the fact that their pattern pieces remind me of building blocks and I like nothing better than interchangeable bits so I can run with my own ideas.

The top I made uses the bodice of View C for the back (the back and front the same on that dress) and  the bodice of View B without the crossover. I traced these then added enough of the skirt to make a top.

I added a CB seam so I could do all in one facings that end under the bust.

Bring on summer...

The order of construction and method for the facings is:

Join the fronts to backs at the shoulders on the bodice and also on the facings.
Lay the facing piece on the bodice piece, right sides together.
Serge the neck edge 
Serge the armhole edges.
Turn the whole thing right side out pulling the backs through the fronts.
Sew the side seams.
Sew the back seam.
Top stitch the neck edge. Top stitch the armhole edges.
Cover stitch the hem.

An almost instant top.

My alterations to the pattern were:  Take 1cm off the back at the shoulders and 2cm off the front at the shoulders and to raise the front armhole a little, also widen the armhole curve 1cm at bust level.

My straps ended up a bit wider because of all this but that is my preference.

I bought the pattern for the dress but I am very pleased with this basic tank top. It's going to be a TNT.

By the way, my first version was supposed to be a yellow top to go with my V9007 skirt (see previous post) but it turned out too awful due to the cheap & nasty material used. Lets just call it a non-wearable muslin shall we?

In case anyone is wondering I did not make the pants, they are Target skinny jeans with 6" cut off to make them into capris.

I have a pile of sewing that I am going to do for DD from a recent material buying spree.. Off to clear the cutting table.

Happy sewing,