Blood sugar diet: day 39 of 56

Today’s statistics:

  • Starting weight: 122.4kg
  • One week ago: 120.2kg
  • Today: 118.3kg

That’s 4.1kg off in four weeks.  I am happy.

So what had happened?  A week ago I had blipped upwards due to a slack weekend.  I had had food porn – Irish English breakfast – down the Irish pub in the city centre, bread rolls and a few cocktails.  No regrets.  It’s a way of eating, not a diet.  I now know after several weeks on this diet/WoE, that as soon as I get back on track without making anny big fuss, the weight comes off, generally within 3-5 days.

On a positive point, friends have started noticing my weight loss, asking what diet I am trying.  Two of them have ordered the book and have started within the last fortnight.

“If Ginge in Germany can manage it, so can I.”

And my new Marmite cycling top fits me just nicely.  It even has a nice jar-like shape.  Not long now till the Tour de France starts in Düsseldorf.  Los!

marmite

Have a love it-or-hate-it day, won’t you!

 

Praise in public, rebuke in private…

So, a break from articles about the diet.

Church matters.  Specifically house group.

Once a week I attend house group with other members of church.  Yesterday we started looking at Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Yesterday evening Deckname Markus sat next to me, as he did the previous house group session.  Deckname Markushas, at the last two sessions, spoken really loudly all the way through the last sessions.

The effects:

  1. I had to put my hands my ears whenever he was speaking.
  2. I whispered in his ear, “Could you speak more quietly please.”  (Just once.  He then spoke quieter for a sentence, then WENT BACK TO FULL VOLUME a few seconds later.)
  3. Rather than stop for a cuppa and small talk, in the great tradition of the Sunday newspaper reporters, I “made my excuses and left,” shoes on, heading down the stairs from the 3rd floor and to the nearest taxi for home, solitude and the sound of silence.

Another house group member also “had to dash.”  (British euphemism: “I don’t have to dash, but I don’t want to stay here any longer tonight.”)

I asked that person:

Does Deckname Markus work with old people, or is he hard of hearing?

Reply:

Phew, yes, he was talking really loudly today!

Today I bit the bullet.   I sent our man an SMS, as low-key as possible:

 Could you talk a bit quieter at house group please?  The last two times you were so loud, I had to cover my ears when I was sitting next to you.  Danke Dir!

Polite, friendly and zum Punkt.

This afternoon a reply came back.  I’ll translate from the German.

I hate SMS.  It’s a terrible form of communication.

I phoned Schatz to seek her opinion, as she understands the German Weltanschauung better than I do.  She has a good expression.  “We must talk about the blue elephant in the room.”  I rang Deckname Markus to try placate him and explain there was no malice intended.

He admitted that is one of his weaknesses, but still took umbrage at my texting him.

So, folks, straight question.  What should I have done?

Have a low-decibel day, won’t you!

Ears

Blood sugar diet: day 15 of 56

So, the past weekend.  I allowed the shackles to come off a bit.  Over the weekend, I ate white bread rolls, and I also had curry twice.  Oh, and a couple of bottles of beer.  I probably blipped up a bit on weight, but on Monday I was back in the groove today.  I tend to think of it as being analogous to a prisoner going on weekend leave and returning to HMP Wherever.  (Vocab note: HMP – Her Majesty’s Prison.)

Since the weekend I have been as good as gold, albeit with about ten Haribo sweets altogether.  I had been tempted to eat a Halbeshänchen (half a rotisserie chicken) on the way to a meeting yesterday evening, but instead chose to enjoy a nice home-made omelette (mushroom, ham and sliced gouda cheese – most pleasing to the palate).

Yesterday I cycled to a church meeting in glorious sunshine.  I cycled back in the dark.  I wore my Union Jack Flag cycling top and Union Flag helmet.  The rationale was not patriotism, but somewhat more prosaic.  One month ago, I could not get that top on.  Well, maybe I could have, but I would have done a very good impression of Doctor David Banner turning into the Incredible Hulk, with the slow rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-rip sound of shirt material slowly tearing.

Yesterday evening the top fitted me, albeit slightly tightly, but it certainly came down below my belly button.  I shall keep wearing the top every time I go cycling to measure progress in terms of looser clothes, as well as scales being friendlier.

Here I am in Union Flab Flag clothing.  It turned a few heads as joggers and cyclists headed past me along the banks of the River Rhine…

UnionFlagPic

Have a patriotic day, won’t you!

Blood Sugar Diet: Day 7 of 56

So, here we go. I have a confession to make. I deviated from the strict programme on the weekend.

We have sinned in thought and word and deed…”

Saturday

Breakfast consisted of two cheese bread rolls (white bread), filled with turkey slices, slice of hard-boiled egg, tomato and lettuce, washed down with a cup of coffee. By no means ideal. However, I am not going to do self-flagellation about it. I had no cravings or hunger pangs for carbs. I just wanted to sit down in my local café, write my diary, have my breakfast and then go. I actually enjoyed my breakfast. However, an hour after eating the rolls, I did feel quite drowsy for nearly an hour. Maybe my body has become averse to bad carbs like processed white bread?

Lunch was Irish (English) breakfast down the Irish pub in the city centre. That was most pleasing to the palate. Arguably it was, notwithstanding portions, not too horrific. I don’t plan to have the all-day breakfast every day. Probably once a quarter. I don’t have the cravings for it.

Evening meal was dinner at the vicarage. Asparagus, creamy potatoes, ham slices, followed by strawberry cake, and washed down with a glass of white wine (Spanish, €7.99 from Kaisers supermarket).

Sunday

Breakfast: two croissants and a coffee at a Bäckerei near church.

Lunch: shared church lunch, a bit of curry, rice, casserole and ginger cake. I enjoyed it.

In the afternoon I was invited out for coffee and biscuits. I enjoyed the biscuits, too. Home-made.

Evening: Stopped off at Turkish café and had doner kebab with a small bottle of Coke zero. My first cola in a week. It tasted really, really nice, I have to say.

Monday (today)

Breakfast: two hard-boiled eggs, with a small amount of Marmite dabbed on to add flavour.

Lunch: bowl of salad in the canteen.

Evening meal: Hallbeshaenchen: half a roast chicken.followed by a Pink Lady apple.

In the evening I attended a lengthy meeting from 20:00 till gone 22:00. There I let my guard down (and the side down), by succumbing to temptation to eat biscuits, probably about ten of them.

Observations

Yes, I did not follow the programme on the weekend. I did try carbs. What have I learnt?

  1. I don’t have cravings for carbs. White bread makes me very drowsy. Next time I will order omelette down my local café, which is more satisfying anyway.
  2. All-day breakfasts are delicious. Next time I will ask for it without the bread. Next time will not be till t’other side of the 8-week diet. (I was showing a colleague round the city centre anyway. Normally I’d have been alone or with Schatz, having a coffee and small lunch together.)
  3. Home-made biscuits are moreish. All biscuits are moreish. Next time I am offered some, I will politely decline.
  4. I feel no shame about vicarage dinner or church lunch. I will not be anal retentive about diet if invited to dinner. I get invited to dinner once every three months anyway. Church lunch I attend once every six months.
  5. Sunday evening meal: next time I’ll bring a packed evening meal to eat on the train when I head home from evening service, or I’ll keep something healthy at home for when I get back to “base.
  6. Tonight I was at a meeting of Church Council. I had brought the tea and biscuits. I should not have touched the biscuits. One biscuit becomes 2, 3, 4… 10 biscuits.

Excuses, excuses? Thin end of the wedge? No. Please spare me the righteous indignation. I applied a variant of the 5:2 rule – 5 days “on-task”, 2 days not on-task. Today, without hesitation or difficulty, I am back on track. Shrug shoulders, move on.

As Erich Honecker once said:

Vorwärts immer, rückwärts nimmer!

Next checkpoint is on day 10: check-up with GP when I found out 3-monthly blood sugar score. Watch this space…

Have an appetising day, won’t you!

The Church-Shopper

I’ve been remiss, I know.  No blog articles from me for a while.  I apologise.

Let’s recap a few facts about me.

  • I am a British expat, living in Germany.
  • I try to integrate: I speak German.  I have a German Schatz.  I respect the Ruhestunde.  I prefix insults with, “Es ist nicht böse gemeint, aber…”
  • I am a practising Christian (Anglican/Episcopalian).  Practising, because I can never get it right.  As part of my faith, I attend church (Anglican => Anglophone) most Sundays and go to weekly (Anglophone) bible study/house group (“Hauskreis” in German for theo).

So, what is this article about?  Well, I’m not Catholic, but I do have a bit of a bad conscience, “ein Schlechtes Gewissen”.

The house group I go to is very multinational: Americans, Africans, Brits, Germans, Malaysians, Chinese, you name it.  ABC… G, M and much more.  Please don’t get the wrong impression.  It’s not a theology seminar, with everyone sitting round piously studying Ezekiel 25:17.  We drink tea, we sing worship songs, we pray together, we laugh and joke.  All in my beloved mother tongue, English.  (Remember Samuel L Jackson when he was reciting from that passage?)

As part of the study we read a chosen text from the bible and chew it over.  Hence: bible study.   Each of us takes it in turn to read aloud a paragraph.  Roger so far?

Now, here is why my bad conscience has crept it.  One of our house group members is a nice guy, (Deckname: “Hermann”).  But…  But…  But… his command of the English language is somewhat lacking.  (That’s British understatement, by the way.)  I frankly also think he is a bit of a “church-shopper,” the kind of person that you don’t see for months because they’ve been going to…

  • A Chinese church, because they do such wonderful refreshments after the service
  • An African church, because the preacher is so entertaining
  • A local German church, because they needed an extra singer etc

You get the idea.  Harumph…

So back to house group/bible study.  “Es ist nicht böse gemeint…” but here are my points of frustration.

  1. Hermann’s tendency to church-shop.  Why does he never, ever come to our church on any Sunday?  Is house group a social activity, in the same way that some people nip to the pub, evening classes, chess club, etc?
  2. Does he have “English-groupie” tendencies?  This seems to happen among some people.  Wow!  The chance to mix with exotic foreigners and practise my English and be sophisticated.
  3. A purely practical point.  Is Hermann’s English good enough?  To give a wider context, we have a policy in our church that children at Sunday school most be sufficiently proficient in English to be able to understand the course material.  Further, they must speak only in English during the lessons.  “Es ist nicht böse gemeint…” but it’s to provide a lingua franca in the lessons.

I can’t help thinking, what would happen if we applied that English proficiency policy to our house group?  Notwithstanding Hermann’s being a nice guy, in terms of MoSCoW priorities (Must have, Should have, Could have, Won’t have yet), house group’s must-have is to study the bible.  Here I have serious concern.  When Hermann’s turn comes to read from the text, he makes me feel like I’m back at infant school again.  He speaks so slowly and haltingly in English.  (Think of when you were at infant school and your classmate would read out like a Dalek on mogadon.)

Then… the cat… and… the… dog… went… in… to… the… house…  and the… maaaaaaa-gicccccccccccccccccc-ian-… cast… a… spell… on… the… dog… and… the… cat…

(Ten minutes later your classmate has finished reading out the sentence, during which time classmates have started rocking back and forth.)

So imagine the double-whammy of a church-shopper who reads in English like a Dalek that has just swallowed a large dose of mogodan, combined with no-show for months on end because he happened to disagree with the text we were studying.

Then add the mispronunciation of Biblical names:

  • Abraham/Ahhhh-braaa-haaaam
  • Sarah/Sarrrrrraaaaa
  • Canaan/Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah-naaaaaaaaaaahn
  • Noah/No-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh

This being after he had heard everyone else reading the same names out in the correct, Anglophone way…  Pay attention at the back of the class, puh-lease!

Then there is the “Umschreiben.”  This is ironically a difficult word to translate into English.  Let me explain by way of worked example.  I don’t know the word for “dog” in a given language.  I therefore say in your language, “The animal that barks and has four legs and chases cats.”  That is Umschreiben.  Hermann does a lot of that, a fact which again makes me think, “He’s not quite going to get the discussion if he hasn’t got the vocabulary.”

Am I being too harsh?  No?  Oh, thank you!  You see, I’m thinking of joining a local Albanian-language house group.  My Albanian is a bit limited, but they do do a nice cup of tea there, and I like their preacher, and…

Have an Anglophone day, won’t you!

What a weekend!

Normally Schatz and I spend the weekend together, either I spend the weekend at Schloss Schatz, or she spends the weekend at Schloss Ginge in Germany.

Last weekend was different.  I spent the weekend from Friday lunchtime till Sunday teatime with eighty members from church at a youth hostel on the German-Dutch border.  The theme of the weekend: Pleasing God.

What a weekend!

A core team had spent hours organising the weekend.  Think of a duck seemingly flaoting across the water.  We, the core team, were the duck’s webbed feet, unseen below the water.

What activities to put on?  In what order?  What if it rains?  What if someone falls ill?  Ah, yes, we have a nurse.  Who should be the guest speaker?  Should it be family service?  Communion service? Etc etc etc.

The Seven P’s came to my head from the days of helping plan Territorial Army exercises.

  • Proper
  • Preparation and
  • Planning
  • Prevent
  • Piss-Poor
  • Performance

And that preparation paid off.  No fights among the children.  No arguments among the adults.  Blessed with so much.

  • Fascinating, informatives talks by an engaging speaker, Lee Gatiss
  • Beautiful weather
  • Great fellowship
  • Walks through beautiful woods
  • Inspiring preaching
  • Bible quiz
  • Teach-in sessions on how to do skipping, using the skipping rope I had brought
  • Finally, the chance to watch people learning how to ride a unicycle (“Einrad”)

Will we do it again next year?  You betcha we will!

Have a hostelling day, won’t you!