Tag Archives: Diet

A pre-emptive strike: Final verdict

27 Jun

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”

~ W. C. Fields

A few weeks ago I officially resigned from my efforts to keep fit and eat healthy in Honduras. Declaring myself a lost cause, I relaxed all my standards and started eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Using “I’ve put on weight” as an excuse to relax your diet is not the smartest move, but I’ve decided to focus on weight loss when I’m back in the Land of Oz, not while travelling.

In How I Met Your Mother, one of Marshall’s five reasons for wearing a nightshirt is: “no elastic waistband leaving its judgmental pink teeth marks around my Thanksgiving belly.”

Oh, how I emphasize with this! While I’m still able to fit into my pants, by the end of the day I can’t wait to get home so I can take them off and start breathing again.

This week, believe it or not, both my regular taxi drivers made comments about my weight.

M, who I hadn’t seen in more than a month, declared as I entered his cab on Tuesday, “Wow, you can see that you’ve really liked Honduran food!”

And yesterday JC said to me, “You’re going to return home a little fat, aren’t you?” This sounds harsh in English, but said in Spanish it’s not quite as offensive. It still stung a little though.

Not as much as being asked if I was pregnant (who does that?) but it’s never nice to be reminded you’ve porked up.

Despite the weight gain, I wouldn’t class my pre-emptive strike program as a failure.

My main aim, if you recall, was to lose enough weight before I head to Honduras that it will offset the extra padding I expect to acquire while over there.

And I’ve been successful in that respect. Late last year I was about 10 kilos over weight, which I lost before leaving Australia, but then put on again in Honduras.

If I hadn’t conducted my pre-emptive strike on rice and beans I would have arrived in Honduras 10 kilos overweight, put on another 10 kilos and returned home 20 kilos heavier than I should be.

I’m much happier with the prospect of losing 10 kilos once back home than 20. Hugely happier. (Pardon the pun.)

Plus I’m harboring the (slightly delusional?) hope that during my 7 weeks of backpacking through South America, all the walking will miraculously melt away my extra kilos. Never mind all the delicious South American food I’ll be eating.

Stranger things have happened, right? I like to be an optimist. 🙂

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find some chilenas de leche. Now that I’ve reached my final week in Honduras, I’ve decided to remove my self-imposed ban.

¡Buen provecho!

Related posts:

Stairway to trim, taut and terrific

A pre-emptive strike: Final update

A pre-emptive strike: Update 2

A pre-emptive strike: Update 1

A pre-emptive strike on rice and beans


Diary of a food addict (Part two)

23 May

“It looks to me to be obvious that the whole world cannot eat an American diet.”

~ Jerry Brown

If you missed Part one of the diary, you can check it out here, before continuing with our journey of gluttony and excess.


Feeling like we need a reward for our healthy omelette breakfast the day before, we order waffles with bacon and sausage smothered in maple syrup at Everything POP Dining. Nice start girls.

While exploring the Animal Kingdom we eat our obligatory MMICS, followed by a mix of garlic & chilli and teriyaki boneless chicken wings as a mid-morning snack.

Walking past the delicious smells emanating from Flame Tree Barbecue on Discovery Island makes us crave some ribs so we stop there for lunch. A half order of BBQ-rubbed ribs and a fruit plate seems like an excellent combination because the good in the fruit cancels out the bad in the ribs, right?

I then finally get to enjoy a savoury pretzel when we return to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon. Dreams really do come true!

Our father-dearest had kindly given us some money so Sarah and I could go out and enjoy a swanky sister reunion dinner together.

We decide on Fulton’s Crab House, mainly because of the novelty factor of dining on board an authentic turn-of-the-20th-century riverboat replica. It’s docked on the wharf at Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island.

We start off with a yummy entrée of portobello mushroom fries and a not-so-yummy entrée of calamari.

For our mains (confusingly called entrées in the US) we choose the Louis Fulton’s Ultimate Crab Experience for two. This includes Alaska King crab, Alaska snow crab, and Pacific Northwest dungeness crab. It’s massive!

Ultimate Crab Experience

Our waitress kindly offers to help us break down the crab, although this makes us feel like 2-year-olds being hand-fed our dinner. A delicious and ridiculously over-sized dinner.

We really didn’t need the appetisers. The crab platter on its own was way too much food. Poor Sarah isn’t as much of a glutton as I am so about halfway through she really starts to struggle.

As full as we are, at the end of the meal I avow we can’t leave Florida, home of the Key Lime Pie, without trying it. We half-heartedly nibble at our shared dessert, before we admit defeat and head back to the resort.


The waffles were so good yesterday we decide to have a similar breakfast, this time enjoying chocolate chip pancakes with bacon and sausage smothered in maple syrup. Shameful.

At Hollywood Studios Sarah tells me 9.30am is too early for our mandatory MMICS, so I reluctantly agree and we wait until later in the morning to enjoy our favourite snack.

We have a late lunch booked at Mama Melrose’s as part of a Fantasmic dining package, so we decide to take a break. Poor Sarah has been completely wiped out by the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, so she really needs to sit somewhere quiet and try to recuperate.

We grab a coffee and a Mickey gingerbread man at the Writer’s Stop, a small café in the Streets of America section of Hollywood Studios.

When it’s time to head to lunch Sarsy still isn’t feeling good, so barely touches her mozzarella and tomato entrée or her whole-wheat vegetable fettuccini main.

I happily scarf down my mixed greens salad and my grilled pork chop, but our waiter notices Sarah isn’t eating and checks on us several times.

Our attentive waiter brings us the bills and tells us he won’t be charging us for Sarah’s meal. We are touched by his kindness so make sure we leave a large tip.

Fortunately, a long nap back at the hotel helps Sarah recover enough to attend Fantasmic in the evening.

Once back at the resort we duck into Everything POP Dining and have a late dinner of vegetable lasagne (Sarah) and an apple and cream cheese bagel (me).


We travel to Downtown Disney for breakfast, but discover the only restaurant open at 8.30am is the Earl of Sandwich. Not to worry, Sarah enjoys a bacon and egg roll while I munch on a BLT.

For our mid-morning snack I’m delighted to introduce Sarah to churros filled with dulce de leche.

We’re excited to score a table at the ever popular Rainforest Café for an early lunch. My excitement is lessoned however when I learn we have to sit next to elephant statues that trumpet loudly every 10 minutes.

I have a ‘rainforest’ burger and fries while Sarah samples the coconut shrimp, blackened tilapia and scallops that come with the ‘Taste of the Islands’ platter.

We return to Pop Century after lunch, where we check out and catch Disney’s Magical Express bus to the airport.  Sarah and I share a mediocre  Starbucks coffee before saying our farewells.

* * * * *

So there you have it folks, The (Unhealthy) Feast to End All Feasts. I’m considering these two posts ‘how to’ guides.

How not to eat healthily at World Disney World.

You’re welcome. 🙂

In a belated effort at damage control, from now until I leave Honduras, this is what my lunches will look like:


Diary of a food addict (Part one)

22 May

“Gluttony and idleness are two of life’s great joys, but they are not honourable.”

~ Julie Burchill

Forgive me readers, *burp* for I have sinned and snacked and scarfed and *hiccup* supped  and slurped my way through Walt Disney World.

Despite deciding in advance I would eat well and look for healthy options, my sister’s and my week at Disney could be described as The (Unhealthy) Feast to End All Feasts.


I arrive in Orlando and decide “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” is good advice, so order a medium cheeseburger meal from McDonalds.

The medium fries and coke are the same size as a large back home. And apparently one cheeseburger is not enough. The meal comes with two!

I foresee this as an inauspicious start to the trip. Our dinner of hot dogs and fries at the Magic Kingdom turns this little inkling into a strong hunch.


We elect to skip breakfast at the hotel so we can get an early start at Epcot. The Mission: Space ride then messes with our heads so badly it’s quite a while before either of us feels capable of eating anything. (Awful, awful ride.)

We eat a simple lunch of chicken or pork with veges at the Sunshine Seasons Food Court. Once we’re back out in the sunshine I tell Sarah I’d heard great things about the Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwich, so we hunt one down.

The Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwich (MMICS) is so damn good we promise we’ll eat one every day for the rest of our trip.

I then declare I feel like a pretzel, but by the time we find a pretzel stand they only have sugar and cinnamon pretzels left. Figuring a sweet pretzel is better than no pretzel, down the hatch it goes.

When we return to Epcot after an afternoon nap we need a frozen chocolate-covered banana to help us cool down. That Florida afternoon sun is hot, so it’s definitely a need, not a want. 😛

Shortly after I cannot resist the lure of a bratwurst and beer at the German pavilion. Everyone loves bratwurst and beer!

We’re now pretty full, but as we wander through the park we pass a stall selling something we’ve never heard of before: funnel cakes.

To our slight disappointment, it turns out that funnel cakes are just kinda large squiggly donut-pancake hybrid things. Although that doesn’t stop me from polishing mine off.

Monday was not a good day for healthy eating.


We choose the healthiest breakfast option we can find at the Pop Century food court: omelette and a “biscuit” (savoury scone).

Our tour of the magic kingdom includes lunch at the Columbia Harbour House, where we both choose salads to share. Go team healthy eating!

After lunch we have our compulsory MMICS, later followed by a ‘dole’ pineapple ice-cream float to help us cool down. These are our only poor choices of the day, so it’s definitely an improvement on Monday’s horror hoovering of junk food.

Dinner time sees us heading to Downtown Disney where we snag ourselves a table at Wolfgang Puck Express and enjoy pizza and salad with a small glass of vino. Not a bad way to end the day.

* * * * *

The Feast continues tomorrow. Take a Pepto-Bismol, and stay tuned.

That one cut me deep, bro

8 May

“The weight comes off, you know? If you stop with the bread and the pie, it really does. It really works.”

~ Philip Seymour Hoffman

A male colleague asked me this afternoon if I was pregnant.


I don’t know if he or I was more embarrassed after I blurted out a startled, “Me? NO!”

Gentlemen, let me give you a hot tip: unless a lady is giving birth right in front of you, it is never OK to ask her if she’s pregnant.

My colleague’s faux pas was both incredibly awkward and excruciatingly mortifying, but it also made me realise it’s time to face the truth.

Despite my good intentions, the stairs I use every day, and the gym I go to a couple of times a week, what affects my weight the most is my diet.

And I have been eating far too many chilenas, tortillas and other assorted carbs and far too few vegetables.

I haven’t been weighing myself, but when I arrived here all my pants were loose. My pants still fit me but now they’re starting to get tight. Uncomfortably tight. Apparently, ‘you-look-pregnant’ tight.

So it’s time to get disciplined and follow my basic ‘healthy eating’ principles again. This entails:

  • boosting the amount of vegetables I eat
  • increasing my protein intake
  • drinking a truckload of water
  • controlling the size of my portions, and
  • monitoring and limiting (but not eliminating) less healthy foods, particularly anything that contains sugar.

Saying goodbye to my beloved chilenas was hard, but I successfully met that challenge.

This gives me some hope I’ll be able to get back on the wagon, and start looking like less of a wagon wheel.


Alfajores—I want some mores

23 Apr

“If cookies be the food of love…munch on.”

~ Dame Judi Dench

Dear blog, I think I’m in love.

They say that you find love in the most unexpected places. In my case I found my new love in Espresso Americano, a Honduran chain of coffee kiosks.

The coffee here in Honduras is great, but the baristas are all pretty ordinary. Black coffee generally fine but no one seems to know how to make a good cappuccino or flat white.

I can’t survive without my morning coffee fix though, so I persist in patronising Espresso Americano all the same.

It was there that I fell in love with my new favourite snack, the ‘chilena de leche’. Also known as ‘alfajores’, they are a shortbread biscuit sandwich filled with dulce de leche.

I have developed a very unhealthy obsession for these sugary, buttery biscuits of awesome.

chilena de leche

What started as a once-off purchase with my morning coffee a few weeks ago has rapidly turned into a daily, sometimes twice-daily habit. This does not help my plan to maintain a healthy weight.

Last week I decided enough was enough and I was going to cut chilenas from my diet cold turkey. However seeing as it was my Birthday Eve, I elected to have one last chilena treat.

My one last chilena then turned into two last chilenas, but I did come to my senses before purchasing a third ‘last’ chilena. Tempting though it was.

It’s been a brief but intense love affair. I know that removing alfajores from my life is the right course of action, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

As I sipped my poorly made latte this morning without an accompanying chilena, I felt bereft. How can something that feels so good be so wrong, I wondered.

But the decision has been made, and there’s no going back. Relationships are never the same after a break-up.

I’ll miss you chilena de leche. You and your sweet, tantalising fragrance. Your flirtatious dusting of icing sugar. Your melt-in-your mouth texture.


It’s going to be a tough few weeks while I adjust. But it’s for the best.


(I’ve been a little bit naughty and tracked down a recipe online so that if I get a craving back home in Oz I’ll be able to make them myself. If you’d like to try your hand at making them too, you can find the recipe at whats4eats.)

A pre-emptive strike: Update 2

4 Jan

“Eating crappy food isn’t a reward—it’s a punishment.”

~ Drew Carey

It’s been six weeks, so time for another update about my ‘pre-emptive strike on rice and beans’.

Today’s assessment at the gym had me quite literally running into the change rooms afterwards and doing a happy dance. Despite the recent Christmas and New Year celebrations, this time I’ve still managed to lose 3 kilos and reduce all my body measurements by 1–2.5cms.

I’m also starting to fit back into clothes I haven’t worn for 12, 18, and even 24 months. Most importantly, I feel healthier, fitter and stronger than I have in ages.

I keep getting asked what diet I’m on, but I’m actually not on one. I’ve just been:

  • seriously boosting the amount of vegetables I eat
  • increasing my protein intake (because of the amount of exercise I’m doing)
  • drinking a truckload of water
  • controlling the size of my portions
  • monitoring and limiting (but not eliminating) less healthy foods, particularly anything that contains sugar.

And that’s it. It’s been a bit of a slapdash, haphazard approach, but it seems to be working for me. My good results to date are actually probably more of an indication of just how bad my eating habits were before, as opposed to any crazy or radical change now.

I’m hoping that my new healthy habits will not only put me in good stead for the change of diet coming my way in Honduras, but that I’ll also be able to continue most of them while travelling. I guess I’ll find out how possible this is once I’m on the road.

40 more sleeps to go!

A pre-emptive strike: Update 1

19 Nov

“It would be far easier to lose weight permanently if replacement parts weren’t so handy in the refrigerator.”

~ Hugh Allen

Those playing along at home may recall my post ‘A pre-emptive strike on rice and beans’ in which I set out my plan to lose weight before my big trip overseas next year.

I intimated that if I got some positive results, you’d hear from me again. But if I didn’t achieve anything, I’d just pretend like I’d never publicly declared I was going to work on my diet and fitness.

Well, the good news is that my revitalised health routine has been working. I had my end-of-program assessment at the gym today and I was very happy with the results: I’m now 2.8 kilos lighter and I’ve lost 2–6cms off all my body measurements. Go me!

I still have a way to go but at least I’m moving in the right direction. Although the biggest benefit I’ve encountered has been how good I feel on a day-to-day basis. I’ve started craving healthy foods as opposed to junk food, and those exercise-related ‘happy’ endorphins are really starting to kick in.

Admittedly, my routine is exhausting (dragon boating 2–3 times a week, personal training 3–4 times a week, Krav Maga practice 2–3 times a week) but at least I’m seeing results, so it feels worth it! I’m also sleeping amazingly well at night.

I have just enough time to squeeze in another 12-week program at the gym before leave for Honduras, so hopefully my progress will continue and I’ll be able to give another positive update in a few weeks’ time.

A pre-emptive strike on rice and beans

2 Oct

The only way to lose weight is to check it as airline baggage.

~Peggy Ryan

Without going all ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ on you, I have a confession to make:
A combination of factors has led to many items in my wardrobe starting to feel a wee bit too tight. I like to call it the knee-injury-plus-break-up effect.

(My top tip: zero exercise due to a dodgy knee and comfort eating due to a broken heart will not be part of the next fad diet.)

Ordinarily, a few extra kilos (or in my case, eight extra kilos) would not be too much cause for concern. Eating healthier food in smaller portions combined with daily exercise should help me gradually get back to my normal weight.

However the complicating factor I’m now facing is that there are only a few months until I depart for an extended overseas trip. And, as many of you would know, weight loss is to travel, as a snowball’s chance is to hell!

Over at The Healthy Globetrotter Leah has some great tips on how to stay fit and healthy while travelling. I had to laugh when I read her description of travel sometimes resulting in coming home with “a little extra padding”.

As an exchange student, we used to joke that AFS stood for Another Fat Student. Weight gain while living overseas was almost unavoidable for most of us youngsters. On the plane home from Brazil we all compared our mass increase like it was a badge of honour.

“I put on nine kilos.”

“That’s nothing, I put on seventeen!”

From what I can gather, the staples of the Honduran diet are beans, tortillas and rice. I already know from past experience that Em + a high-carb diet = extra kilos.

So the challenge is set! Can I lose enough weight before I head to Honduras that it will offset the extra padding I expect to acquire while over there? I would love to break-even, if a net loss isn’t possible.

And before I start getting lectures, yes, I do know that weighing yourself is not an ideal way to track overall health, and yes, I do know that muscle weighs more than fat. But in terms of a benchmark I’m happy to use kilograms for now.

(Besides, I can guarantee you it’s not eight kilos of muscle that have suddenly caused my jeans not to zip up.)

I’ll post regular updates on my progress, assuming there’s anything to report. In this case, no news is bad news!