Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Big ol' RANT


I have a feeling this is going to be a long one, so go make yourself a cuppa before reading…..

Today I am a frustrated Brit! One of the things I have discovered from reading so many diet/weight loss/healthy living blogs from across the pond is that it appears that the UK is sooooooooooooo faaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrr behind in terms of the food market. I regularly read things like ‘low carb tortilla wrap’, ‘egg beaters’, ‘low carb wheat thins’ etc etc. Here, we are lucky if the supermarket stocks wholewheat pitta! Even having Whole Foods stores etc is confined to London and the rest of us can go jump!

No WONDER there’s an obesity epidemic in this country when our choices are limited to high fat this and white flour that….even the low fat stuff is somewhat suspect as it’s filled with dodgy sweeteners and preservatives, the curse of aspartame! Bread is a big one that gets me! If white flour is so bad for us stop bloody baking bread with it and replace it with nice wholegrain and whole-wheat and stuff!! I guess it comes down to cheapness at the end of the day. I don’t spend a phenomenal amount on food each month, but we buy a LOT of fresh produce. If I lived and ate the way I would LIKE to I’d be skint!! Why is organic produce so expensive? Why are low fat brands more expensive than the crappy, processed, generic bollocks you buy in the shops? It’s ridiculous! Sure, there’s a huge amount of personal responsibility when it comes to healthy living and diet and people here DO expect to have everything done for them ‘I’m trying to lose weight so I will go to my doctor and see what eh can do about it’ kinda mentality – DO IT YOURSELF YOU LAZY BUM! But ALSO for those of us who HAVE clicked on, SURELY there’s a responsibility upon the UK food industry to provide cost effective, cheap, healthy options to everyday foodstuffs. Is it just me? It is MADNESS that in this country a family with low income are actually better off financially if they buy a week’s worth of food at fricking ICELAND ( rather than buying natural produce – even at somewhere like Aldi! It’s just bizarre. Sorry. I’m getting my Jamie Oliver on here aren’t I!! (Don’t get me started on him) Frankly, you Americans have no excuse for YOUR obesity epidemic! You have healthy, wholesome, low carb, low fat, high protein this and that at every turn! I am going to go to Holland and Barrett at lunchtime to see what’s in there (I’ve never been in before!) and this whey protein powder is intriguing me…..
Which brings me to Laura’s blog Laura is the queen of protein powder and low fat this n’ that…..check her out at the link.
I know I’m not drinking wine at the minute but I have been looking into this big hoo haa about sulphites (or sulfites if you’re reading in the US!!) It’s all a little bit scary once you begin the research. I will freely admit that I am a wine snob (£5- £6 and above is good wine, anything below is a big NO!) but even I have succumbed to the ‘six bottles for £10 offers that lurk around on a regular basis! For it to be THAT cheap it simply can’t be good for you!! Again, in the US, you can freely and easily find good quality, truly organic, sulphite free wine(or so I am reliably informed)…here? Only option is order online. This is one website I found
Next item on the ranting agenda? Oh, I am re-reading Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Great book, if a little crude (HA! I’m a fine one to talk!!!) and my British scepticism naturally allows me to find a happy medium between following it blindly and giving up everything, and taking some of the finer points on board. For instance – this aspartame thing. At one point in my life I did drink a lot of diet coke, it’s a ww staple here in the UK and I have been known in the past to use it as a ‘fill me up’ in-between meals when I am trying desperately not to eat. Not any more! Now that the emphasis is on ‘Filling Foods’ I’d much rather make a smoothie of natural ingredients rather than ingest a chemical! The book is annoying in that it’s written by Americans for Americans so the produce and brand names etc etc do not translate across the pond, and we have no hope of finding such products here! But it is informative in certain places!
ALSO another reason why I heart America is they measure stuff in CUPS! This knack I learnt from my amazing Vancouver pals and was given a set of ‘cups and spoons’ as a wedding makes life SO MUCH easier instead of stressing about metric versus imperial and all that bobbins, it’s one cup of this, half a cup of that…GAH! SIMPLE!!!
Speaking of weightwatchers…..I am a die-hard fan of the programme, thanks in no small part to the absolute gem of leader I have here. (you know who you are ). I love it because it works, it’s healthy and it helps me to feel in control of all my crazy idiosyncrasies and habits that affect my wider life and aren’t just about weight loss and healthy eating.


Recently (again, due to blog-stalking bitch cakes and other ww’ers) I have noticed a profound distinction between weightwatchers UK and weightwatchers US…….the US appear to have their approach ‘sorted’ whereas in the UK it feels a bit ‘floundery’ (possibly not a word…)

Por ejemplo… magnificent, talented, intelligent ww leader, rather than facilitate a discussion on the psychology behind weight loss as well as the science of it, is forced by the giant corporate conglomerate that is ww UK to ‘sell, sell, sell’ ww products. I do believe there’s a time and a place for ww own brand products BUT I have seen an increase in recent times of products coming onto the market that are ww own brand. (a) they’re more expensive and (b) isn’t the beauty of ww the fact that you can work out the ‘points’ in ANY brand of ANY food? Surely by bringing out more own brand stuff (a surefire money spinner, let’s face it) ww are just encouraging people to be lazy! And sure, Rich Toffee bars are gorgeous, and you feel because it’s ww branded it’s OK to eat and still lose weight! But in reality they’re not magic bars! If you ate just ww microwave meals you’d still be eating a load of processed, preservative laden, salt filled crap!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there’s too much emphasis on the ‘business’ side of ww - ie flogging the merchandise, and too little on the psychology behind WHY the group of people who attend ww meetings are there - why they have a problem with food, how does it manifest itself, what are triggers? why are they triggers, how can we modify behaviours and give techniques and practical advice on how to help challenge habits, fears, assumptions.

I read on Bitch cakes’ blog that they recently looked at ‘the cycle of change’ in their Brooklyn meeting. A really useful very common tool used in primary care and the talking therapies to help an individual understand how they relate to change and in particular changing a habit. It’s commonly used with drug and alcohol clients, as I think I have mentioned before. COMPLETELY applicable to the psychology of weightloss and would be sooooooooooo useful but annoyingly IWWG is ‘gagged’ by ww UK who set the programme for meetings. Frustrating to say the least.

Another thing that ww UK lags behind on is the web application for phones! Can you believe that we can’t get the ww app for BlackBerrys and I phones yet?! Er….heLLLOOOO, it’s 2009 for sobbing out loud!

Last night’s dinner worked super well – chicken arrabiata with whole wheat pasketti (spaghetti) so I totalled 17 points for yesterday. I have been trying to have dinner a bit later in the evening so I make the most of my points and don’t sit in front of the tv and ‘pick’ at total crap. Seems to be working. Although I have to be careful not to eat too late or I can’t sleep!!

This morning’s food is (so far)

Grapes (1.5) strawberries (1) peach yoghurt (1) skinny latte (2)

I tin tuna in spring water, drained (1.5) mixed with coriander and chilli and 2 tbsp mayo (0.5)plus 2 whole wheat crisp bread (1) and then another 2 because there was a lot of tuna left over (1) plus spinach, tomatoes and onion.

It’s 3:15 and I am surrounded by chocolate high fat high calorie sweets and biscuits in the office…..the curse of office working! So I allowed myself one ww caramel cake bar which *happened* to be locked in my desk drawer for occasions such as these. I also swam 44 lengths in 30 minutes at lunchtime. Haven’t yet made it to the health food shop – will go on way home I think.

No clue WHAT to make for dinner – but with 12 points gone I better get on the ww website quick for some ideas!!!


I have weight loss envy my friends! Last night I was astounded at the scales, people were losing 3 and 4 pounds each left right and centre. And there’s me with my measly one and a half….IT IS NOT FAIR! I am sulking.

On the bonus side, I wore a suit to work today that I haven’t worn for ages (mostly because it didn’t fasten over the flab) and today I put it on and didn’t even need to undo the zip to get it over my hips! My immediate thought was one of mistrust “ I must have stretched it” but then I realised it’s because my body is becoming more streamlined even though the scales aren’t exactly being very helpful at the mo!

Will someone PLEASE explain this phenomenon to me? HELP!!!!

With much love, as ever

BigFatPie xxxx


Jen, a priorfatgirl said...

I found myself nodding my head to everything your Big ol' RANT!!!

I'd like to let you know, I have a 2nd bedroom that is not in use, if you need a place to crash while your looking for your new home here...just a thought :)

CONGRATULATIONS ON WEARING THAT SUIT!!! I Bet you looked like one hot brit!

♥ Dee ♥ said...

I love love LOVE the way your write!

Clothing NSVs are the absolute best, aren't they? Congrats on the suit fitting. Great feeling.

Thanks for giving me a peek into life in the UK. Gotta love the internet.

Glam said...

After hearing your WW hardships in the UK and the issues surrounding the availability of good quality food I feel like a big, whiny baby!

It also makes we Americans look absolutely pathetic - access to some pretty awesome produce and health packed food options and we're still lined up in the McDonald's drive-thru!

P.S. I was literally taking a swig of Diet Coke when I read the part about you giving it up because of the chemicals... Sign?!