Seven Days of Positive – Day 113

In books, Diets, Uncategorized, Weight loss on January 31, 2015 at 9:54 pm


On the chair in my bedroom is a pile of clothes which keeps getting higher. They’re the ones I can’t wear any more because they are too big.

Too. Big. Oh how I savour those words.

Since starting the plan of my nutrition guru Amelia Freer in October I’ve lost ten kilos – which is over a stone and a half in olde Englishe – and I’m down nearly three jeans sizes.

I say nearly because even the small size 12s are so big I can take them off without undoing them and have to hold them up with a belt, but while I can get into the small size 10s (jeans sizes are so inconsistent, it’s a total joke) they’re just a wee bit too snug to be quite comfortable.

Four years ago they were my go to jeans, comfy enough to wear on the plane from London to Sydney, so that’s where I’m trying to get back to. I reckon another two kilos should do it. Maybe three.

But I’m trying not to obsess on the numbers, what’s far more important is how much better I feel and not just ‘about myself’, in general wellness.

Obviously my self-esteem is boosted, no longer carrying fat bastard failure shame around with me, but I also feel exponentially better in myself.

It’s more than just less tired – although imagine carrying round a ten kilo suitcase all the time, strapped to your body… no wonder I was exhausted. I feel more cheerful, more optimistic and I’m sleeping better than I have for years.

In that regard, I think my adored five or six mugs of strong tea a day were messing me up a lot more than I realised.


I’m now having just one in the morning and occasionally another with lunch – with milk. I’m not supposed to have milk on the regime, but while I was perfectly happy to drink black coffee in the morning my skin went insane from it.

Coffee seems to be absolutely the one worst thing for rosacea, so I had to can that, but fancy dancy China tea served without milk, while very dainty, doesn’t deliver the caffeine kick I need first thing.

I decided to experiment with the one cup of proper tea with milk (OH JOY) and it hasn’t slowed down my weight loss so I’m sticking with it. Sometimes at 3pm I have to gnaw on my knuckles I want another one so badly, but I don’t give in.

I’ve come way too far to blow it now.

Apart from that I haven’t diverged from the plan at all – because I find it really easy to stick to. If you check back to my original posting on it here you’ll see what the key points are.

I really enjoy my meals. For lunch I had salmon fillet, stir-fried with leftover roasted butternut squash and green beans, with garlic, chili, ginger and coriander for flavour, with a delicious mango for pud. Tonight I had a two-egg omelette with fried courgettes, followed by a baked apple. Over an hour later I’m still absolutely stuffed. There’s no doubt eating fat keeps you fuller.

I have 190g of full fat Greek yogurt for breakfast and it’s so sustaining.

So losing weight feels easy when you’re never hungry, but in the last couple of weeks something else amazing has happened – I’ve got the Amelia Freer glow.

That was the thing that struck me almost more than the weight loss in my friend when I saw her post-Amelia. Her skin just had this radiance that makes her look really beautiful. The slender figure is almost a bonus on top.

George before

You can see it in the pictures of Boy George too. I just about it have it now. My skin is clearer from rosacea than it’s been for years and it’s getting that dewy look which seems to take about ten years off Amelia’s clients.

Changing the way you eat has to be worth it for that.

Quite a few Aussie readers expressed interest in Amelia’s book Eat. Nourish Glow. when I first wrote about it and I’m happy to say it’s now available there.


Here’s the link to the Harper Collins website with various suggestions where you can click on to buy it.

(I’m not going to advise a particular bookseller – as an author they are ALL my friends – and the other option is to ask your local independent bookshop to order you a copy, if they don’t have any in.)

  1. Hi Maggie, I’ve been a fan of yours for years…always considered you a confident “real” woman of style. I have been struggling to find the right mental attitude to lose the extra 10 kilos I’ve gained in the past 10 years but you have completely inspired me with your enthusiasm for Amelia’s program and your delight with the new “you” has roused my into action. I have just ordered Amelia’s book and I will excitedly await it’s arrival.

    • As I was just saying to Wattleflatjane – just try the five hours between meals eating nothing. It makes such a difference. It takes a bit of getting used to but it cuts out so much ‘grazing’ I didn’t even realise I was doing. Let me know how you get on. I’d love to be able to tell Amelia, because she is just the nicest person.

      • Oh, Maggie, would you please tell Amelia that she has changed my way of thinking, eating, and (basically) living. I have been messing around with this way of eating for the last twelve months (although I suspect I’ve always known the way I was eating wasn’t quite right), but reading Amelia’s book was the final push I needed to make the commitment. I can’t imagine doing it any differently now. Maggie, you are an inspiration, too, and I will try not eating between meals. I think the trick is to not allow yourself to get so bored that you focus on eating. There have been days that I forget about eating between meals and they are the days when I’m busy, focussed on work, lost in a novel, or (ironically) caught up in actually experimenting with cooking new recipes. I loved the book – I love Amelia’s honesty, her laid-back style, the way she suggests really good ideas without being pushy or dogmatic – just sharing what she knows and you can take it or leave it. I guessed she would be a really nice person, so thank you for confirming it.

      • I will! I’ll send it on to her right now xxx

  2. Oh dear Maggie, what fabulous news. Nothing like that smug little internal grin one can afford oneself when the jeans feel a bit lose rather than a bit too tight – and 3 sizes down – you must be positively fluttering down the street. Good for you, I bet you feel and look just great. Amazing how small (ish) adjustments in diet can have a profound impact on the skin. I have never been a fan of skimmed or reduced anything. Skim milk in my morning cup or two of tea is enough to really dent the first couple of hours of the day – makes me grumpy. Thrilled for you. Congratulations. BX

    • Skim milk is the END. I am so glad that rubbish has finally been thrown out. When I went to Belgrade for the first time and saw all the incredibly beautiful slim people tucking into animal fats I knew low fat was a load of nonsense…

      • It’s so hard convincing other people that fat isn’t bad and that the way you’re eating is actually good. I read a quote today from Marlies Hobbs who started up the Paleo Cafe (in Australia), “Demand respect from your friends, family and colleagues of your lifestyle choices”. I feel a huge sense of dogged determination that I’ve never had before. It just gets better and better…………..

  3. Well done, Maggie. I agree with enrobemoi about the smug little internal grin. I feel that I have 2 or 3 kilos to go, too, and I’m not daunted by that at all. I intend to eat this way for the rest of my life. I bought Eat Nourish Glow from Booktopia (just in case anyone in Australia can’t find it) and LOVED it. Not ‘snacking’ is the only thing I’m finding hard, but I’m trialling changing my meals to 6am, 10am, 2pm and 6pm – and that seems to be working for me. (I always loved second breakfast!) I love having lots to eat – protein, carbs, good fat, veggies, nuts and seeds, and fruit at EVERY meal – and I’m actually enjoying cooking, which is something I’ve never felt before. You eat better so you feel better so you eat better……. I’m just starting to get the glow and I feel so much better – I have energy, motivation, enthusiasm, and I feel so, so positive! I think we’re on the right track, Maggie, finally!!!

    • Dear Lizzy, love the Paleo Cafe (the people in Bondi Junction, right?) fabulous food, really top notch and excellent cafe, great staff too. Re fat – if most people had any idea how much (usually bad fat) they consume in processed/ready to eat foods – muffins, baked goods – they would yelp. BX

      • Isn’t it great, enrobemoi, to be able to go to a cafe and KNOW that everything you’re eating is safe and clean. Yay, Paleo Cafe! (There are quite a few in NSW, VIC, SA and QLD and growing all the time – it’s a franchise-thing).

        Ditto salt and sugar – so much in processed food. How did ‘we’ let this happen?

        Giving up processed food is the best thing I’ve ever done…..

      • Nothing wrong with fat – as long as its not hydrogentated death fat… I look forward to trying the Paleo café when I’m Sydney in April. But is it also ‘low fat’?

  4. Thanks for the Booktopia hint, Lizzymint. I might try there.

    Would this regime be easy for a vegetarian?

    • You would have to make sure that you had lots of alternative sources of protein and that you were getting enough good fats, Bollyknickers. For me, it’s about eliminating processed food completely – unless I’m processing it myself ie: making almond milk (so easy and with no crap in it) or a green smoothie or mayonnaise or chia pods, etc., (all easy as). I am grain-free and dairy-free now and I don’t eat any sugar – other than what I get from fruit and the odd drop of honey or maple syrup – so it was a huge shift and change to my mindset – but I can’t imagine going back now. People are always saying that I must miss eating things like cake and spaghetti and ice cream, but I don’t. I’ve replaced them with other things that are just as satisfying, but make me feel so much better. Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels (to misquote Kate Moss). Good luck!

      • I never thought I could give up grains, but I don’t miss them at all – how weird is that? I miss my oats a little, but once I’ve lost all the weight, I will use them occasionally. I think your re-jig of Kate Moss’s famous quote nails it!

    • It would be harder but I think possible, as Lizzymint says. I don’t miss grains at all, but I am still eating some dairy. Just yogurt for brekkie, milk in my one cup of tea and occasionally haloumi cheese.

      • I didn’t think I could give up any of the things I no longer eat, but it’s been surprisingly simple. Tonight I had hazelnut, blueberry and almond custard for dessert. There’s so many good things to replace the crap……..

  5. 1. Your pile of ill-fitting clothes sounds very satisfying. I ENVY you your 10 kg+ weight loss and improved health. Body and spirit are much elevated when you get it right.

    2. I have just bought the Summer part of Amelia Freer’s book via my IPad. I would like the hard copy version, but as I have Michelle Bridge’s book next to my bed (unopened), I fear more raised eyebrows from my husband.

    3. I lost 2.7 kg whilst away – the skiing and walking counteracted the Sacher Torte. But now I am back in the work saddle I am comfort eating again. It has to stop! I am clipping on my pedometer again tomorrow for my daily 10,000+ steps (I lost 4 kg before Christmas thanks to this). And I will join the local adult ballet class (the teacher has assured me that inelegant hippos are welcome). I should swim in our dam, but marauding snakes scare me a little, so I think I’ll use my membership at the golf club pool instead.

    And I will cook some decent meals. xx

    • Try Amelia’s tip of eating nothing between meals – 5 hour breaks, not even a herbal tea, just water. It’s amazing how it stops all the little bits of grazing I used to do, eating leftovers as I cleared up, a little bit of toast here, a handful of nuts there. It really adds up. It’s also meant to balance out the blood sugar in some way I can’t be bothered to swot up on, it works, that’s all I care about. If you do that, cut down on carbs, don’t have seconds and only have sugar and booze once a week (in the same meal), you will lose weight.

      • It’s the sugar that is my downfall: I get a desperate feeling that only can be assuaged by bad things. Mad. We were in our neighbour’s orchard earlier and inhaled the sweetest raspberries: I need to restrict my sugar intake to beautiful fresh fruit. And stop the grazing.

    • I think the trick, Wattleflatjane, is to eat enough at each meal to keep you full until the next one. And then have a drink of water first if you have a craving in between; often we are thirsty, not hungry. I have always had a sweet tooth. I’ve consumed so much sugar over the years that I’m surprised my pancreas even works anymore! Giving it up is not as hard as I thought it would be, though, and once you’re through it, it’s pretty easy. Three pieces of fruit a day is enough to feed my sweet tooth, and I spread it out a bit – banana in my chia pudding, blueberries in my baked custard, watermelon in a green smoothie, and apple in my almond ‘muffin’. Finishing each meal off with a ‘dessert’ is wonderful and makes it feel complete. I’m still struggling with eating enough at breakfast and getting past the need for morning tea at 10am – I have breakfast at 6am. I’m going to try it today and see if I can eat everything now and make it through until lunch at 11.30am – but that means I need to eat dinner at 5pm or stretch it out until later and risk being hungry. It’s all trial and error………..

      • That’s tricky with a very early brekkie and lunch. As it’s winter here I use hot water to get me through – I had a late lunch booked in today at 3pm and the hot water got me through. In warm weather I will drink fizzy water. Your regime is very similar to mine, having the three fruits as part of my meal. Your food sounds fab, where can I find those recipes? x

      • Thanks, Lizzymint. My Mondays are always busy: I rarely have lunch until 2, so it was OK today having only water between meals, though I did slip up when a bag of Lindt balls beckoned me. But I only had 1 (3 actually…). You can see my problem. I KNOW I feel so much better when I don’t scarf down sugar. It really is an addiction. But ramping up my physical activity does seem to help.

        My darling husband has declared February as a dry month for him, so I think I will try that too – at least from Monday – Friday. I only have one drink in the evenings, but I guess every l ittle bit helps.

      • Try Amelia’s thing of having one treat meal a week Jane – knowing I can have one blow out, which yesterday featured STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING keeps me strong the rest of the time. sugar is our enemy, I do believe that now.

      • I have a Vitamix now – I thought it would be a worthwhile purchase, and it has been – so some of the recipes are in the book that comes with it. I’ve had to adapt a lot of it because it’s not all ‘clean’ and you have to know what’s OK to use and what’s not, but so far it’s been really easy. Custard is pretty simple, just mix almond milk and egg together (you can add cinnamon and/or vanilla) and bake in the oven for about 40 mins at 200c. I add blueberries to sweeten it. I also have a book by Dan Churchill that has some lovely simple ‘clean’ recipes. It’s all been a lot of trial and error, really. For the ‘muffins’ I use the pulp leftover from making the almond milk, add some millet flour or coconut flour, and whatever comes to hand really, mix it all up, put it into patty cases and cook in the oven for about 40 mins at 200c. No two batches are the same, they’re not very sweet, but I don’t care, it tastes like cake to me. Chia pods are really easy, too. Almond milk, chia seeds, and fruit. I usually mash up 1/4 of a banana, add 50ml of almond milk and a dessert spoon of chia seeds. Leave overnight – the chia seeds expand and make the pudding solid – and it’s done. Lovely. I’m still a novice at all this, and I do wonder whether I’m consuming a few too many almond ‘products’, but the further I get away from sugar addiction, the less I need the substitutes – so where I was eating a bowlful of chia pudding or custard, I’m now happy with a few mouthfuls. Eventually, I’d hope to just have ‘dessert’ occasionally rather than with every meal, but for now it’s getting me through the sugar cravings. I’m happy to share the recipe details with anyone who wants them – but you’ve got to be prepared for the difference in taste.

      • I’ll have to Google Vitamix! Sounds like a gadget I’m going to need – like a spiraliser… I’m not strictly doing Paleo, but once I’m off the weight loss part of this regime I will eat something like it. Sugar is once a week for me. It’s the bad guy, I totally agree with that.

  6. I was telling my bestie about your diet over the weekend. She is battling weight issues at present. I was telling her about your tea obsession. She drinks a lot of tea (with full cream milk!) every day.

    I’m really pleased for you Maggie – keep it up & you’ll fit into those size 10 jeans in no time!

    • Nothing wrong with full cream milk Annie…. it’s got all the goodness in it. Low fat has now been shown to be the biggest wrong turning ever taken in food advice. It’s what’s helped to make our nations fatter. Good fat (not processed hydrogentated poison) keeps you feeling full and is good for us. My regime has two tablespoons of olive or coconut oil a day mandatory. And if I have a steak I can eat the fat off it. Yum! Suggest to your friend that she tries the 5 hours between meals thing with nothing but water in between, it might get her started. x

      • I had the second half of my breakfast at 7.30am but still felt I ‘needed’ morning tea at about 10.30am. I had a big glass of water instead and made it through until lunch at 12pm. Then I had a few cravings at about 3pm and had a cup of hot water. It worked so well that I was fine right up until I had dinner at 6.30pm. So it does work! Perhaps stretching breakfast out over an hour-and-a-half is OK as long as I don’t eat for five hours after. Trial and error. Trial and error.

      • it’s a great start – I’m glad you found the hot water thing works for you too (I was incredulous at the idea when Amelia first told me!) but the five hours clock starts when you finish the meal. Meals shouldn’t last more than an hour. So if you finish brekkie at 8 am, you wait until 1pm for lunch, then if you finish that at 2pm, it’s 7pm for dinner. No food after 9pm. You’ll get there!

  7. Congratulations! I bought the book after reading your last post and I’m now at the beginning of week 2. Caffeine withdrawals are over and I can see and feel a big difference. Can’t wait for the Freer glow to kick in!

    • That’s brilliant! My husband just stopped mid-sentence in the kitchen, squinted at my face and said ‘Your skin looks different…’. Even husbands notice! xxx

    • Those were the calculations I was doing in my head just now, Maggie. So, finish breakfast at 7.30am. Eat lunch at 12.30pm and finish it at 1pm, then have dinner at 6pm – I usually start cooking at 6pm and eat a bit of salad as I’m cooking and finish eating about 7pm. That’s five hours between the three meals and 11 hours overnight. I think that’s as close as I can get. D’ya think it’s close enough?

      • Yes, but skip the salad nibbling. Start each meal with two bites of protein, so your blood sugar doesn’t zip up too fast after the, er, mini fast. Once you’re used to the timings, you can move on to being a bit stricter – just one type of protein at each meal (so not meat and cheese) and portion control. I think stepping up to it works well. I started cutting back my tea weeks before, or I would have failed at the first fence. You’re doing really well x

  8. I remember Amelia saying in her book to get the meals right first and then eliminate the snacks. And that makes sense. The first few times I tried it I hadn’t had enough carbs, so felt that real dip in energy. Good advice about the protein, I’ll have to sort that out. I don’t think I eat more than one type at each meal. It’s complicated and challenging, but enjoyable, isn’t it.

  9. 10 kilos! F***! I’m going to buy that book right now. Well done, Maggie xx

    • It does take a bit of commitment Victoria – alcohol and sugar just once a week – but I’ve found the results so reliable (a steady pound down a week, after the initial quick loss) that I’ve been able to stick to it. Sometimes circumstances make it impossible, but if you stick to the five hour fasts between food and don’t let one unavoidable ‘wrong’ meal make you feel ‘I’ve failed, I might as well have all those chocolate digestives…’ it still seems to work. I couldn’t go on the way I was. I didn’t recognise the face in the mirror xxx

  10. Hi Maggie, I am really pleased to read of your continued success. Have you encouraged your hubbie and Peggy to eat a similar dinner to you too? I hope your mum is still doing well too.

    • Thanks Fran. We eat the same whenever possible – steaks are very popular with them! but they get more and a carb element if they want it. My husband is very careful about his sugar these days, because he used to be really addicted and his blood sugar started to look dangerous, so he’s controlling that through diet. Thanks re mum, she’s much better. x

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