Green Machine

Well, it’s the end of an era. The Hot Roll Man cometh no more. He says he’s not getting enough business from our company, so he will no longer swing by around 9.20AM with limp white rolls filled with greasy bacon and egg or sausage or black pudding (ew). He shall no longer deliver the Scones of Temptation. I don’t know how many lots of 50p I’ve squandered on his giant sultana scones, sometimes with strawberry jam, sometimes just butter.

This can only be a good thing, really. It was pure torture, hearing the receptionist announce his arrival over the intercom, then sitting there twitching as my colleagues trooped off for their breakfast, arguing with myself as to whether I’d join them. For awhile there I was forming such a Scone Habit that I made sure I left all my cash and cards at home so I wouldn’t have the means to buy one. But that’s the end of that, the scones will have to live on in my memory. Ooh all that butter and fruity goodness, I can just taste it right now as I write. Non-complex carbohydrated heaven.

. . .

Remember that World’s Healthiest Foods site told me I need to eat more greens? Well I finally got round to doing something about that. First of all, what the hell constitutes a green? According to this article, we’re talking arugula (rocket), beet greens, bok choy, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, lamb’s quarters, mustard greens, spinach, swiss chard, and watercress.

I do my shopping online at Tesco and their range of greens was a little sparse. I ended up buying a bag of what was simply called, GREENS. No doubt picked by third-world slaves and doused in chemicals and shipped to Britain at great expense, but I was desperate. When the shopping arrived last night I just sorta gawked at the bag, looking for an ingredient list to tell me what this chopped up stuff was. Kale? Chard? But it just says, GREENS. Is this some British word that I don’t know of? Like how you say aubergine for eggplant, and courgette for zucchini? Are greens an actual vegetable?

Now I am trying to figure out what to do with the little bastards for dinner tonight. If anyone has any recipe ideas please let me know!

. . .

Once again I am having to rethink how to best approach the remaining 10-15 kilos I need to lose and/or the quest to comfortably fit into a size 14, whatever happens first. Like I’ve said before, weekly weigh-ins work really well when you have a lot of lard to lose, as they are a great indicator of progress particularly when it might not show in measurements for awhile. But now they just seem to mess with my head. Over the past two months the scale has gone up three kilos then down again. I’m back now at 85.6 kg.

How I react to the scale each week depends on my mood. A gain could either mean, "Well screw this, I’m getting some chocolate!" or, "Whoa, lardy! Better cut back on the grease". A loss can mean, "Huzzah, keep up the good work" or "Let us celebrate with buttered toast and jam". While the Wednesday Weigh-In was instrumental in getting me focused for Operation Wedding Dress earlier this year, these days it just encourages stupid behaviour. Like last night the Scottish Companion suggested we have a few oven chips (fries) with our vegie burgers and salad, and I freaked out thinking, "Oooh, all those chips sitting in my gut the night before the weigh-in? Can’t we have them tomorrow night instead?".

That is bloody ridiculous! The chips fitted in just fine to my daily allowance of fat/cals etc, yet I didn’t want it Weighing Me Down for this morning’s scale hop. It shouldn’t matter if you eat chips on the day of your weigh in or five minutes after it, you still ate the damn chips. It is much more sane to look at the chips and decide if you want them to be part of the OVERALL picture. Is it okay to eat them in the grand scheme of things? How does it compare to other stuff you’ve eaten lately? Have you made enough crappy choices already or is it something you feel okay with? What will it mean for your overall progress? Etc etc etc. That is a better base for making decisions, not that tiny wedge of time that you’re on the scale.

That said, I know if I don’t check in with the scale I tend to wander off track and become less conscious about what I eat. I need to keep an eye on the overall direction of the number. Yet when I hop on weekly I turn it into an elaborate ritual, making sure I go to the loo first, strip off my clothes and place the scale on the EXACT same tile in the kitchen, and then either over/under react to the number it gives me.

What to do then? I’m trying to strike a balance between wanting to blast off the last 10 kilos but wanting to take a long-term, non-obsessive approach to the way I eat and exercise. I want to lose lard but I’m really tired and bored of elaborate strategies, challenges, deadlines and number crunching. I want things to feel more relaxed, like a transition towards maintenance.

The most important thing for me, as always, is to keep tracking my food. That way the daily statistics (calories, fat/carbs/protien, fruit and veg intake) will tell me if I’m being healthy or not, as opposed to relying on the scale for feedback. I also need to stay consistent with the exercise, to keep my self-esteem bubbling along and so I feel healthier. I have been very consistent with exercise for the past two months and I am just buzzing from it! Like I said before, the scale has been all over the shop in that time, yet I have noticed significant changes in my fitness level and body shape.

So I guess it’s the Alert But Not Alarmed approach. Stay aware of what I am eating and how I’m moving my arse while keeping a cursory eye on the scale, but not be a freak about it.

28 thoughts on “Green Machine

  1. I have no idea what Greens actually are – cabbage leaves? – but yes they are considered a veg in their own right her in Blighty. My fave way to cook them is to chop them into strips, steam them a little and then chuck them in a frying pan with some chopped red pepper (capsicum), whole grain mustard and a tiny bit of butter. yummy!

  2. Hey, you’re back!

    Good to hear that you’re buzzing and I like “alert but not alarmed” as a scale philosophy. I have no idea what “greens” are – I’ve often seen them in the supermarket and wondered… Just one of those appetizingly descriptive English food names like “brown sauce”, I suppose.

    I mostly solve the not-obsessing problem by only weighing myself at the gym, although that came unstuck yesterday when the scale wasn’t in its usual place (it’s broken! At least it wasn’t me that broke it…)

    It also means I have to weigh myself with clothes on. That’s fine. If I start weighing myself naked, I’ll end up trying to subtract what my hair weighs before we know where we are. That would just be silly.

  3. Mystery Greens! How strange. My parents have been known to make nettle soup from the nettles they harvest from their garden in a frenzy of weeding. They never use pesticide sprays so they only have to worry about washing off the bug poop.

    How about weighing yourself every day? This may seem backwards, but if it’s part of your daily routine, not a weekly ritual with much fanfare, maybe you won’t focus on it so much?

    I just dumped WW in favour of plain old calorie/nutrient tracking via FitDay, I was getting a bit psycho with the points system, as soon as I looked close to being over points for the day I’d panic and immedaitely want to eat lots of cake and icecream. Scary.

  4. Hmm…over in my neck of the woods(Texas) when you say ‘Greens’ you are talking about collard greens-which is like a cabbage/kale hybrid.The traditional way to cook greens is to boil or simmer slowly with a ham hock for a long time (this tempers their tough texture and smoothes out their bitter flavor) until they are very soft.

    They are absolutely delicious, so enjoy them!

  5. You’re back! I am one of the people who reads in the background. I only discovered you about a month ago and I read your entire journal. I think you’re amazing, funny and inspiring so thanks for writing again.

    As for greens? I dunno…

  6. If you don’t want to abuse the scale but make sure you’re staying on target, you could also just use measurements for guides. Especially since your working out which can do whacky things to the scale, but show very nicely in the measurement category.

    You probably know all that, but just a thought!

  7. Shauna why don’t you stay away from the scales for a couple of weeks and instead give yourself an exercise challenge. How about another fun-run (or whatever they call them over there)? Or try something new. I once told you that you needed to see this thing through so that you could finally find yourself in the ‘peace of the done’. Sounds like you are in turbelence at the moment and need something new to think about. What about the tape measure? When did you last take your measurements? Remember that with your new found healthy eating you will continue to lose weight even if you stay away from the scales. The mind games that come from that one tiny torture instrument are phenomonal so why not give yourself a holiday from them. YOU CAN DO THIS MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE! You’re in the home stretch now. NJ

  8. I’m not sure what greens are but maybe you could make a low fat chow mein kind of thing and chuck them in that.

    Scales are evil things!

  9. Yet when I hop on weekly I turn it into an elaborate ritual, making sure I go to the loo first, strip off my clothes and place the scale on the EXACT same tile in the kitchen, and then either over/under react to the number it gives me.
    Oh, it gives me great relief to know I’m not the only individual that does this type of very ritualistic ‘thing’ with the scale.

    Just tonight I wrote about abstaining from the chocolate cake in the kitchen b/c tomorrow is WEIGH IN.

    Great blog, BTW.

  10. my ex bf (british) talked about greens too and I never knew what he meant and just got what I wanted instead *L*

    btw I love black pudding. Never had it in a sandwich though that sounds strange but here black pudding is a common dish as well and we eat it with linonberry jam! *L*

  11. I think giving up the scales at your stage of the journey is quite wise. However I will still be hugging them close to my heart for evermore because I am not quite ready to break up with them as yet. They have stopped muttering sweet nothings in my ear, but I still love them with all my heart. Every single clotted artery in it. O.K, maybe you shouldn’t give up the scales. They are way to important.

    Crap! There should be patches for this kind of thing.

  12. OK – This is how I see it. I have joined / rejoined WW probably 50x over the last 20 years… I get to a spot where I have lost the majority of the weight and then I say: “I want to lose lard but I’m really tired and bored of elaborate strategies, challenges, deadlines and number crunching. I want things to feel more relaxed, like a transition towards maintenance.” No, I guess you said that, but the point is I have NEVER become a lifetime WW member. I get to thinking that I am tired of the routine and I just want to live normally… However, the way I am living IS normal if I want to stay at a certain weight range. To relax is to slowly resume the behaviors that kept me fat. Tory at attributes her success at losing and keeping her 100+ lbs off through diligence. I am not telling you what to do, just something to think about! You are awesome!! By the way… sauté your greens for 1 min with no stick butter flavor spray, fresh garlic and top with a sprinkle of imitation bacon bits… Yum!

  13. I wouldn’t bother with greens at all. (Actually I think they’re also known as spring greens and are a youthful version of cabbage – but that might be something else). Broccoli, however, is a “superfood” (i.e. masses of nutrients) and I love it – tend to have as much as I can while dieting (and brussel sprouts in the winter) – they help with a sort of internal spring clean… Also agree that you should try weighing every day – it’s less of a big deal when you fluctuate. Love your blog btw!

  14. Thanks for the supportive comment at my site DG, it means a lot. I’m also a bit obsessive about the day, nah 2 days before my weigh-in. It can be very sad to obsess so much. I read an article in this past WW issue in OZ about being obsessed with the scale and how mentally when you’ve lost heaps of weight you can still obsess for many resons. I identified so much with it, you probably could too. Some girls recently on a night out told me that I am no where near as large as I see myself and that they all see me as being thin. This reminded me that the picture of myself inside my head is probably still very skewed. You are a role model for me and I love your site. I know you’ll loose this last 10-15 without missing a beat. I hope I can be right next to you with my 5. 🙂

  15. As you’ve probably read in the past. The scales dictated my moods and I HATED the sons o’ bitches!

    It’s all about what feels right. Remember when you first ran? Remember when you first stepped foot in a gym? It’s all about whether you are ready to stand away from the scale for a little bit.

    I like Nessa Jane’s idea. Set up a 2 week long excerise challenge. Lock the scales away. But you need to absolutely make sure that you are doing it for the result, not to ‘sneak away from the numbers and be unaccountable’.

    For now, I reckon, you should try to throw a little tradition out the window. Shake things up a little. Move the scale to a new tile. Do you own the scale or does it own you?

    P.S. HOT roll man? Oh, that would have been the death of me.

  16. I am with you on the way the whole weigh in thing effects the rest of your decisions for the week. The scales have gone up and down lately and I get so pissed off about it (even when I have said that I will not). At the end of the day, I am fitting into old clothes that I couldn’t wear past 6 years ago and everyone is noticing the loss – that is everyone except the piece of shit scale – and the smug bitch who sits behind it noting the measurements thinking “up, down, up, down”

  17. Sorry about the above recipe link not working. It’s a greens recipe from Tyler Florence. You can use any type of “green.” I find that greens are very sandy, and a general pain in the ass to prepare.
    If you like baby spinach, it’s a cinch to cook or throw into salads raw. I purchase it prewashed in the bag. To saute it, add it to a pan with a little olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
    I relate so much to your feelings about gains or losses. I do the exact same thing.

  18. thanks for the recipe ideas folks! and for the tips re the scale. i’m gonna go with what i said in the entry and see how that goes 🙂

  19. I say WI once a month, or twice… rather than once a week. Might help to keep the focus without the insanity.

    Good luck! Oh, and what is black pudding???


  20. I am a new reader to your blog however I enjoy it very much – it is helpful, funny and insightful. Keep posting please !!!!

  21. Helloooo?? Anyone there?…it seems you are doing some reflecting, or maybe just need a break from us all but just so you know, I have been silently stalking this site, anxious for your return. So take your time but know that I for one don’t just want to hear from you to meet my own need for a laugh and encouragement, but also to know that you are ok. Toodles, from a West Aussie.

  22. “Now I am trying to figure out what to do with the little bastards for dinner tonight. If anyone has any recipe ideas please let me know!”

    I’ve always had good results using the following procedures:

    Step 1: Open bag of said “Greens”.

    Step 2: Position bag directly over waste basket.

    Step 3: Invert bag and shake vigorously.

    Step 4: Consult phone book and order in Pizza.

    …and there you have it.

Comments are now closed on all Dietgirl posts. For fresh conversation please visit me at