Prince Albert in The Karoo kept a part of my heart after spending just one weekend there. You can read about our experiences on www.BizCommunity.com or by clicking this link.
Prince Albert in The Karoo kept a part of my heart after spending just one weekend there. You can read about our experiences on www.BizCommunity.com or by clicking this link.
Although I was very nervous about my interview on The Expresso Show this morning, I think it went really well. I’ve certainly received a lot of warm feedback about it which I appreciate.
I didn’t get to make one point that I really wanted to: I’m hoping a publisher will approach me about publishing a book about my weight-loss journey combined with no starch, no sugar, high-protein recipes from my favourite chefs so if you know anyone, please be in touch!
In earlier blog posts I have detailed some of the things I did to allow me to shed 70kg. To save you trawling through everything, here are links to some. This post has a link to something Prof Tim Noakes wrote which really works for me. Here is a link about a blog that says there is no rule that it should be easy – but it isn’t has hard as I ever thought it might be.
Finally, just because I can’t resist sharing these pictures I took with the celebrities, who, by the way, are divine, here they are:
We spent the weekend at Bid Huisie in Prince Albert. It is one of the most charming towns I have visited. I try to be a locavore whenever possible and buy things to cook that are made or grown within the area that I’m eating them. It was easy to do with this dish, inspired by a lunch we had at Bradley Bordis.
The black pepper feta came from Gay’s Dairy while the olives and the olive oil came from Prince Albert Olives. I brought the fennel along with me from Cape Town.
Here’s how I made it:
I marinated the feta and pitted olives in olive oil along with a fist full of oregano for about 30 minutes but longer would do no harm. I cut the fronds from the fennel bulbs and then sliced them into quarters before poaching for 10 minutes in boiling water.
When Bradley cooked this for us, and I suggest you do the same, he grilled them in the oven until the edges started to burn. I couldn’t rely on the oven so I popped them into a pan over high heat with a bit of olive oil until they started to sizzle.
The hot fennel gets tossed with the marinating feta and olives and then onto greens which wilt slightly from the heat. It makes a great first course or salad option.
I’m not trying to limit my fat intake any longer but if you are, slicing cheese with a vegetable peeler is a good way of creating the look of abundance without as many calories as cutting cheese into wedges.
I bought a kind of pepper – looks like a bell pepper but is much smaller and a little fiery although nothing close to as hot as chili peppers, from the Saturday market in Prince Albert. They added vibrancy in colour and in flavour to this simple dish of blanched broccoli topped with Gay’s Dairy’s Prince Albert Regal, a sharpish cheddar-style cheese made from Guernsey milk.
These dishes work well if you are following a low carb high fat plan.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but I am proof that you can. I have set myself the challenge of doing as many things as I possibly can for the first time. The reward is great but the effort to achieve it is great too.
For my first ascent of Lion’s Head I just kept looking ahead. I’m pretty frightened of heights but I just focussed on taking the next step ahead of me and followed as closely as possible in the footsteps of Andrew and Jenna-Sue who are Lion’s Head mavens.
At times it was very, very difficult for me climbing up but the fear of getting down again or worse, being scared stiff and needing an airlift off the mountain, was always at the back of my mind. My focus on getting to the top did mean, and there’s a life’s lesson in this, that I didn’t enjoy the journey – I consciously decided not to look out and about in case I freaked out so just kept climbing.
It was great to get to the top but then I was antsy about getting down again. When I’m anxious I manage my anxiety by doing things and sitting around on top, chatting, eating the lunch we’d carried of chicken salad with broccoli and fabulous coffee was less enjoyable than it might have been on account of my worry about how to get down.
So, instead of keeping my anxiety to myself – I shared it and asked the experts how best to get down. “Keep your back against the rocks”, Andrew said, “and make sure that your centre of gravity is back and not forward so if you do topple, you topple backwards against the rock face.” Jen chimed in: “Have three points that are solid”, which Andrew further explained as having one hand and two legs to secure yourself or two hands and one foot.” I ought to have worn my bikers’ gloves as the palms of my hands got a little sore supporting myself on the rocks as I came down.
I found coming down harder on my knees and those muscles between the hip and the knee but also psychologically. It was only once we were on the level that I began to enjoy the view – the bay with its lines of blue sea, white sand and green trees that looked like a country’s flag and the vibrant puce of the flowers.
We then came to an avenue of silver-leaf trees which glittered in the light as the breeze moved the peach-fuzz of their leaves into the sun. We had a hedge of silver-leaf trees in the front garden of the house we grew up in and I thought about my mom and how proud she’d be of the way I have transformed my life.
“Here’s where most people slip and fall,” Andrew warned, describing the gravel near the bottom of Lion’s Head akin to walking on ball bearings . “Best is to tread lightly,” he said. The traffic boom at the foot of Lion’s Head felt like the finishing line of a race against myself that I’d won.
It was great to be done – I was tired, very tired and my feet and muscles were sore, but I felt that I had achieved something new.
I look forward to the next Lion’s Head climb and I’m sure I will enjoy it more – secure in the knowledge that I can do it.
Making your own mayonnaise is much easier than you imagine and it allows you to control exactly what goes into it. Use four egg yolks for a super-stable emulsion and dribble in 250ml canola oil at room temperature. All the ingredients must be at room temperature. Add a teaspoon of mustard, a teaspoon of salt and half of teaspoon of pepper. Dribble the oil in drip by drop while whisking the eggs and the mustard. With the emulsion underway, you will see it forming ribbons and it gets so think your hand gets tired or the machine gets warm, add a tablespoon of good quality (expensive) vinegar. Once you’ve added all the oil, (I drop it in from a jug) whisk in a tablespoon of water. Right, your basic mayo is now ready. It will look like a yellow ointment. The ingredients are very inexpensive so don’t stress if it doesn’t work the first time. Just toss it and start again.
As it is so highly flavoured you will only need to use between a teaspoon and a tablespoon per meal. Here’s a tip – wash your salad leaves and while they are still damp stir in a teaspoon of mayo to form the dressing or when making a chicken salad add the chicken to the mayo while it is still warm.
In this dish, made from chicken breasts roasted in the oven at 180 for 35 minutes and salad leaves, crunch and zing is in the form of chili-flavoured cashew nuts and celery. A delicious high-protein, low carb and low fat meal that is easy to make. Store the mayo in the fridge. I find mine stays fresh for two weeks at least and is always finished before I need to turf it.
JP cooks salmon and broccoli better than most restaurants. He sears it both sides in a very hot pan with a bit of butter and olive oil and then cooks it skin-side down for four minutes with a lid on, seasoned with lashings of Ina Paarman’s Cajun spice. Broccoli is steamed for three minutes in a little salted water. I could eat this dish every day.
A perfect no carb, high protein meal.
When I attended the ManKind Project’s New Warrior Training Adventure in March 2002 I did so as I wanted to be brave. I gave myself the animal-totem name Brave Lion as I felt that I had wimped out of much in my life. Attending that experiential weekend was the first stage in taking my power back.
Last night I returned from seven days in Madagascar. A trip made possible following an invitation from Jenman Safaris that I would write about the experience in the media. They had been kind enough to invite me on a camping safari adventure before but I declined fearing that I would not be able to survive the elements. I feared that I was too soft to rough it.
Following my discipline and dedication to shed my excess weight and get fit I thought differently when the invitation to kayak in the rivers on the East coast of Madagascar, near Fort Dauphin and the Sainte Luce reserve, arrived. JP and I had kayaked a few meters from one island in the Maldives to the next but that was hardly an indication of what this trip – a distance of about 40 km over two days – would entail. I knew that hiking was involved and was comfortable with that but I also knew that two nights in tents were on the cards.
My biggest anxiety was the toilets. I have a thing about toilets. I want them en suite, private, sound and smell-proof, clean and, above all, with running water. I knew the toilets in the camp wouldn’t be. I’m not going to say much more than while I still prefer my comforts, this toilet wasn’t the issue I feared it would be – perhaps nothing ever is.
The kayaking was hard. In parts I felt that I had to rely on my paddling partner Fali but I did really well. I was sitting in the front and we were ahead of the other three much of the time which meant that I’d be the first to pierce the calm of the waters which is a wonderful sight. It also meant I was the first to brush against the low branches of the Delicious Monsters and the mangroves that sit up on the banks like spidery hands having a manicure. My fear of spiders was really aroused. There are huge Golden Orb spiders in webs that span the river and more than once spiders landed in my lap as I accidently pierced their webs or shook them off a leaf. I was scared a lot. I also scared a group of five young children, fishing and playing in the river. There is a legend about the white people who steal the hearts of the local tribes and I was whiter than usual on account of the sun-cream slathered across my face. They ran away screaming and the whole village came to the banks to see what caused the commotion.
From the comfort of the fabulous Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest resort we headed into the forest in search of Lemurs. I enjoyed the first part of the walk and appreciated the shade that the high trees offered from the afternoon sun. All that changed as it grew darker. The deeper into the forest we walked, the wetter it became and, as the humidity rose, so did my anxiety. I thought back to the story of Iron John. I thought this was my Hero’s Journey and my fear was not the spiders and the snakes, (we saw three yellow Colubridae which I heard our guide Earnest describe as Colibri so I tried to think about soft towels instead) but rather my psyche’s shadow gripping me in the sweaty darkness. I could not outthink my anxiety. I tried to manage the situation by checking that Earnest did, in fact, know how to get us out of the forest and eventually I refused to go any deeper in search of the Lemurs. When we did see them I was too freaked out to enjoy them and couldn’t get the idea of being sucked into the wet soil and lost forever, out of my mind.
I have returned from Madagascar a braver man. I now know that I can tolerate much – that I can hold my own with other people who have more experience doing he-man-type things that I do; that I am seen and appreciated for trying.
Who would have thought that in my mid-forties I would learn so many new things about myself? I wonder what my next great adventure will be.
If we were honest about how we feel about fat people would that make it easier or more difficult for people to lose weight?
I can’t help but think that if people viewed the obese in the same way as they do alcoholics or smokers in public that rather than turning the self-loathing that most obese people experience (I certainly did), emotions might be channelled towards the person expressing the disapproval rather than ourselves.
Imagine if the same pressure that exists on barmen serving more drinks to drunks came to bear on waiters serving high-calorie meals to people already obese.
The argument that people driving drunk or that the impact of second-hand smoke affects not only the person doing it but others also should be extended to include how we view the obese. Hospitals are investing in bigger beds and stronger chairs to accommodate the increasing number of people who are fat. Medical Insurance, by its very nature, means that the many pay towards the few and as lifestyle diseases which are inexorably linked to being overweight increase so too will the premiums we all pay.
I suggest that mothers need not correct children who candidly ask strangers “why are you so fat” as it is a question that those of us who are, or were, incessantly ask ourselves.
Despite the efforts of my parents to limit the amount of food I would eat as a child, I would steal back into the kitchen and eat, often compulsively, from what was left over. I am not for a moment suggesting that losing weight is easy but I am suggesting that as most of us think about food not as nutrition but as a source of pleasure that we make it more difficult for those of us who have an unhealthy relationship with food to limit ourselves.
A recent study in the US demonstrated that even when diners knew the calorie content of a dish they still made poor choices. So, information is not necessarily the key to help us maintain healthier lives. As furious as I imagine I might be if a waiter refused to let me order a confectionery or high-calorie dish if I were obese, I can also imagine how the embarrassment of that eventually might help me make better choices.
Perhaps in an attempt to shield obese people from unkindness we are all contributing to their growing girth.
Being fat is a self-inflicted handicap. But, unlike other handicaps which I imagine occur mostly suddenly, those of us who were or are fat know that the weight piles on gradually and we manage to lie to ourselves about our condition for so long that, over time, we become used to the new normal.
Being heavier than we need to be isn’t normal. It isn’t normal to have to check if a chair will hold our weight before sitting on it, it isn’t normal to break toilet seats. It isn’t normal to have to use a hand-held shower to wash between our legs because an overhead shower won’t reach nor is it normal to dose ourselves with drugs simply to keep ourselves alive.
I remember talking to Dr Winston Shaer, a surgeon I was meeting with to discuss publicity. He had changed his view about diet so radically that he now lives and promotes a limited vegan diet free of sugars and other addictive foods. He said to me that if I followed his diet, within three months I would have normal blood-sugar readings and shed sufficient weight to take me out of the morbidly obese danger zone I was in. His diet, like the one I eventually followed, was such a radical departure from what I considered normal eating that I thought he was a crackpot just for suggesting it.
He was, and is, of course, right. But for me adopting a vegan diet seemed so totally impossible that I wouldn’t even allow myself to consider it carefully. So I know that for many of you, never eating starch again or making the kinds of changes that I have made to my diet also seems crazy.
I know that I saved my life by changing the way I eat and it is only now that I am at a healthy, normal weight, that I am totally free of the chronic drugs I took for diabetes, hypertension, back ache and gastric reflux. All the money I spent on doctors, chiropractors, psychologists, physiotherapists, not to mention pain and discomfort, could have been saved had I changed my diet and physical activity.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is the silver bullet that will impact every aspect of your life, as it has mine. It isn’t easy to change your life and your habits. But if you internalise that being over-weight is killing you, that eating or drinking the foods that make you fat is poison for you, that you will cure yourself of the lifestyle diseases you probably have if you’re heavy, then making the change is easier than you think it will be.
Knowing myself, as I do, I’ve accepted that I will always have some anxiety or another. At the moment I’m anxious about having sufficient money and the time to do all the things I believe I must do. I’m also anxious about food options when we travel to Madagascar in April for our Kayaking Adventure and when we cruise to Europe in June how I will cope with food available 24/7 on the ship.
Body dysmorphic disorder is, according to Wiki, a psychological condition where sufferers believe something is wrong with the way their body looks and this becomes the basis for anxieties, obsessions etc. I first heard the term when I attended the Bariatric Support Group meetings while I was still in the running for the procedure and one of the speakers warned that people who shed lots of weight sometimes developed a dysmorphic view of their bodies.
I am actually eating now more than I naturally want to, and here’s why there are alarm bells about me skirting around the edges of dysmorphia.
I weigh myself every time I’m at the gym, which is sometimes twice a day, and over the last while my weight has been pretty constant between 81kg and 83kg. Remembering that my excess skin weighs, according to dietician Judy Kotze, between 5kg and 7kg, my true weight is actually as low as 76kg, so there isn’t a lot of room for me to lose more. What’s worrying me is that even when I eat more than a naturally want to; my weight doesn’t increase by much. It is as if my metabolism has been reset and I don’t have to worry now about the calories I consume. What I do have to worry about though is losing still more weight – please don’t tell me that I’m looking gaunt – so I’m supplementing my diet with protein shakes from Kauai or Supreme Protein bars adding an additional 600-odd calories to the mix.
When I look at myself in the mirror I see what I think is actually hanging skin as a fat roll which I want to get rid of. One part of me wants to remember that I once weighed 153kg but another wants to be slender and wear things like skinny jeans and skimpy underwear in which, and I own this, I look a bit like a stuffed doll.
The job now is to handle my stress about money by increasing billings, work smart rather than hard, and, thanks to SleekGeek, Eat Clean and Train Dirty.
How are you getting on with your journey towards health?