Sunday 16 January 2011

My Special K fetish

I’ve been trying to lose weight since I was thirteen. How ridiculous is that? Even when I weighed 119 pounds (I’m 5’ 8”) I thought I was too fat.

I’ve endured the ritual humiliation of WeightWatchers and Slimming World; I’ve detoxed every which way and drunk endless dreary milk shakes. Yeah, they all worked for a bit...but, as we all know, diets simply don’t really work longterm.

Then, weirdly, bizarrely, something just clicked a few months ago. I wish I could tell you exactly what it was, but I can’t quite pinpoint it. Simply put, I stopped wanting to kill myself slowly with food. I gave up booze; I gave up meat. Fast food and ready meals went out the window. I tried to eat chocolate but it made me feel ill.

Okay so, being me, I took it to extremes and for a while I stopped eating altogether. But that little experiment came to an abrupt end when I nearly passed out doing 80 mph down the fast lane of the M5.
I’m marginally more sensible now but, even so, I wouldn’t recommend following my example. What you might want to try, instead, is taking a look at the new Special K website.

Now, let me confess upfront - I have a Special K love affair that is bordering on the fetishistic.  It started back in the 1970s (when my mother was using it for her own round of dieting) and has endured intact to date. Not remotely as a diet food, let me quickly add, but as my late night comfort snack – a vast bowl (none of your berry nonsense, thank you very much - the pure original unadultered flakes), with a sprinkling of  sugar and topped with creamy milk. Do I still want to eat it on my new health kick?  Er, yup.  So, when Kellogg’s invited me to a briefing on the cereal’s new website, I was there before you could say ‘less than 2% fat.’

Last time I looked at Special K’s weight loss plans they were all about cutting out two meals a day and replacing them with cereal, shakes or snack bars.  Yawn.  But now it's all change and the emphasis is firmly on making healthy eating part of everyday life. It’s a far more sensible and realistic approach and I confess I was impressed.

You simply log in your details – weight and height plus your weight goal and your lifestyle – and the site will come up with your ideal plan. So it will be tailor-made, regardless of if you simply want to lose a few pounds so you can fit into your old jeans, or you’re a new mum wanting to shed baby pounds, or an older woman wanting to regain her confidence and her curves.

There’s no sign-up or subscription fees – it’s totally free. I like that. A lot.  I also like some of the other features – the online food diary (research shows keeping track really helps); an emotional tracker (so you can figure out your food triggers); a desktop widget and iPhone/Android apps and (love this) the option to ‘buddy’ other members in your area or with your goals or “issues”. A busy forum is another motivational tool. I’ve hung around a lot of online fora (some would say far too many!) and they really can be hugely supportive. Oh, okay, so some can be pretty repellent but...well.... this one looks nice.  :-)

What’s it missing? I would have liked to have seen a little more focus on self-esteem and some visualisation/self-hypnosis techniques would have been a bonus (like those offered on Pete Cohen’s plan – which, I have to say, does cost).

There are vegetarian options but, to be fully inclusive, it would have been good to have seen vegan diets included and also options for coeliacs and those with other intolerances and allergies.

Still. If you do want to commit to getting yourself to a fit and healthy weight, I think it’s a useful resource.
Just think – if you lost two pounds a week, what would you weigh come summer? Tempting?

A rare recipe (make the most of it!) from the Standard meal plan

Mixed Bean Salad with Rocket, Mozzarella and Tomato
60g  aduki beans, boiled in unsalted water (or tinned)
60g black eyed beans (ditto)
120g butter beans (ditto)
30g rocket
55g sliced mozzarella
Large tomato, sliced or chopped
1 tbs low-fat dressing (I'd be tempted to drizzle a bit of my favourite argan oil instead)

Mix it all up and add an average wholemeal roll. 

Then have some grapes and kiwi fruit for pudd... 


Unknown said...

I too love the original special k but found only carb free makes me lighter boo hoo

Fennie said...

Sounds more fun than Dukan for someone who doesn't particularly like meat. Off to have a look now.

Mrs. Tuna said...

I used to just cut back a bit on eatting to lose a few pounds. But now that I'm narrowing in on FIFTY I'm thinking I need to add way more excersise. Darn it.

Frances said...

Jane, I just love Special K for its own good self, and now you are telling me about other benefits.

My current cereal faves are Cheerio's (cold) or oatmeal (hot) and I still yearn for eggs and bacon. E and b not happening. Occasional toast, with butter and marmalade, yes.

Guess that I get so much exercise at the workplace, up and down stairs over and over, lifting heavy bits and pieces, bending, stretching. Sometimes, I laugh and call my job a gym that I am paid to attend!

Continued happy new year's wishes to you. xo

Posie said...

Jane that last recipe sounds scrummy, I love feta salads. I am not into special K, but think their new approach to dieting sounds good, I just love Alpen, or porridge, it fills you up for hours...until its feta cheese salad time x

Liz Tipping said...

I like following plans like this sometimes just to see if I can stick to it!
I'm aiming for 2lbs a week to get into my favourite dress. it's just 13 weeks until the bank holidays start so that could be 26lbs! Liz x

Mummysquared said...

Does the diet involve eating a lot of Special K? Like, your own bodyweight? Because that, i could like... Here's hoping!

Exmoorjane said...

SAEM: darn it! But that is true for a lot of people.. Is it ALL carbs that does that? Have you tried things like spelt?

Fennie: Couldn't ever quite be bothered with Dukan..

Mrs Tuna: yup, eat less, exercise more - it's pretty simple really (though often easier said than done!)

Francies: Yay! My Special K soul sister in NYC!!

Posie: I'm an Alpen fan the no added sugar one..that's my morning fix!

Liz: you can do it! I have total faith.

Mummysquared: ah, sadly not...they reckon you need a broad range of foods..but I reckon you could factor in a couple of bowls a day!!