Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Herbalife: The Verdict

You can read the backstory to this post by clicking on Herbalife. Basically I'd lost 1 stone (14lbs/6kg) in 4 weeks (through eating less and partly through being sick with a kidney infection for 10 days), stayed the same for the next 2 weeks, and was looking for something to kick start the weight loss momentum.

With Herbalife it's not just the weight loss but also a whole load of other numbers and measurements which, being a numbers person, sent me into numbers heaven. 

I paid 550nis (about 90GBP) for three weeks worth of weight loss shakes and tea. However, I couldn't do the shakes twice a day with only a small low-carb meal once a day and an additional high protein snack. This is what is required for proper weight loss but I just couldn't do it - I needed to chew more than once a day. So, I did the shakes only once a day and had two small meals. Apparently I was doing the maintenance programme. 

On the accidental maintenance programme I had enough tea and shakes for six weeks. So six weeks after starting Herbalife I went back to Debi Zylbermann for the verdict. Considering it was the maintenance programme I did very well:

All body measurements (bust, hips, upper arm) went down 2cm each, I lost 1kg (2lbs), body fat was down 2%, water content up 1% (still 6% off a healthy 45%), muscle mass up 1kg, physique rating up from 2 to 3 (this means still fat but with more muscle - the ideal is 6), visceral (internal) fat down from 12 to 11 (1-5 is good, 6-12 is ok, 13+ is excess), basal metabolic rate up by 19 calories to 1488 (I so want to get to 1500), and metabolic age down from 90 to 84 (I'm 52 so need a bit of work there). Bone mass still a healthy 2.4. 

I actually have enough shake powder left for another 5 days or so so I'm going to continue with that until it's gone. The raspberry tea is finished but I've discovered that hot apple juice (made with 100% apple juice concentrate and hot water) is delicious or lemon tea is also good. 

Its not over as Debi has invited me back in a month or so to do the numbers again. Whilst I won't be doing Herbalife I will be continuing what I've learnt from it and practices I've adopted. It will be interesting to see if I can lose weight quicker whilst satisfying my need to chew though. 

Here's what changed:

Each 500ml shake was preceded by a 500ml glass of tea, That's 1L of water once a day and I always had at least two more glasses or tea during the day. I hardly use my mugs anymore - only the 500ml (= to 2 mugs) glasses. I'll continue to use the double sized glasses and precede each meal with a cup of tea or hot apple. 

I eat far less bread and instead snack on cottage cheese or tuna on rice crackers. I do have some bread but not like I used to and it's not out of control. I seem to have been weaned from a long suffered carb addiction. Even when I make pasta or couscous for supper, I make enough for DD and a tiny bit extra for me as I know I will be finishing hers off as well. 

I was already eating healthily and in moderation when I started Herbalife but with more carbs and less protein, and less liquid intake. It seems that the changes are desirable. 

Now lets see what happens over the next month. I almost cancelled on Debi (again) this morning as I couldn't see the point of going to record a 1kg weight loss, but now I'm re-motivated to continue the challenge. 

Bottom lines: 

I lost weight on the maintenance programme because it's a healthy and moderate way to eat and I'm still overweight so it was there to lose. 

I am certain the weight loss programme works if you do it. I couldn't do it because I needed the chew factor. However, I am reminded of a quote from Wendy Shenkar's book: The Fat Girl's Guide To Life, "the weight loss industry is the only industry where if the product doesn't work you blame yourself rather than blaming the product." LOL, so true! Was it the product's fault that I couldn't do it or mine? Who knows, who cares, if you can manage it it will work. But then so will any other diet. 

If you're a numbers person this is the programme for you. Or you can buy your own digital analyzer scales for the price of about 8 months of shakes and teas from Herbalife and follow your own high-protein/low carb diet. 

Had I not done Herbalife I may or may not have kept off the 14lbs I lost in the first month and if I had kept it off I may or may not have lost more weight doing it my way. That's like saying if I'd not moved to Israel I may have married a millionaire in London and had 6 children before I was 40 or I may not. I'm happy with what I got on both accounts.

I am still motivated to continue losing weight and I don't feel I wasted my time doing Herbalife. I could have done with not spending the 550nis but it gave me an education in factors other than pounds or kg and the motivation to get all those numbers into the healthy zone. The education was expensive but the motivation is priceless and for that it was definitely worth it. 

See you here next month for the follow up. 


Jerusalem people, if you want to contact Debi Zylbermann she is on facebook. 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Meal Hygiene

It seems to me that DD is hungry every evening just before supper. Even if I bring it forward to to try and catch her before the whine, "I'm hungry!" As soon as I go to make supper she's hungry. Of course I tell her to wait bearing in mind that she's eaten a number of snacks since coming home from school about an hour before. "Supper's in 10 minutes," I say.
"But I'm hungry now! What can I have to eat?"
"Nothing, you'll wait 10 minutes and we'll have supper."
"But I'm hungry! Can I have something to keep me going?"
"No there's nothing now, wait for supper.
"There must be something I can eat now." She goes to the fridge. 
"Get out of the fridge!" I shout, losing it. "We're not in Africa, you're not starving to death, you can wait 10 minutes!" I forcibly pull DD's head out of the fridge, shut the fridge door, and banish her from the kitchen.

Later while we eat, I tell her that when I was a little girl and I was hungry, I would ask, "what time's supper?" not "what can I have to eat now?" And if Grandma said supper was in 10 or 20 minutes, I'd go away and be hungry for 10 or 20 minutes while I waited for supper. I don't think she got it.  

I remember my brother-in-law saying that they never established good meal hygiene and that it had been a mistake. He wasn't referring to washing your hands before you eat and using a knife and fork, he meant serving proper meals at set times, sitting at the table and not running an all-day open buffet. I loved this idea and vowed to instigate in my home - but I've never quite managed it.

Natasha at The 1979s Diet writes this: In the 1970's we had 3 meals a day. The only snack we had was a piece of fruit. There were no take-aways, no giant cupcakes, no endless supply of nibbles ...... and you felt properly hungry between meals.


Natasha once wrote about this oft had conversation: "I'm hungry."
"Have an apple."
"I don't want an apple."
"You can't be very hungry then."

LOL, didn't we all get that response at some time in our childhood?

At what point in time did we stop waiting for supper (or any proper meal)? When did we make the shift away from three proper meals and a couple of tea/coffee breaks to just grabbing food whenever we felt like it?

I think in our case it might have been when I was about 9 with the instigation of packed lunches for school and my Mum going back to work. These two events meant that there was suddenly a stock of small bags of crisps and chocolate biscuits in the house to supplement the sandwich and fruit for packed lunches, and we were encouraged to take something for 'tea' to keep us going until supper - which changed from an early children's supper to one family supper later when Dad got home from work. Suddenly we were allowed to help ourselves and we did.

I tried to be more strict with DD and I got the following lecture from my 6yo: "But I'm hungry. You've got to let me eat something if I'm hungry. I didn't come here just to be hungry and not eat anything!"

I stood my ground but, as always, it ended with a fight. I won of course because I'm the grown up but I know why she fights it - because she's seen me eat whenever I'm hungry and not just at meal times.

So from now on this family is going back to 1970 when there were no ready made snacks in the house apart from fruit, meals were served at the table three time a day, and in between were a drink and a biscuit - just one. Well maybe two.

Does anyone practise meal hygiene these days? I'd be interested to hear how it works in your house.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Famous Photo

Last week, On Thursday evening, 4th December - DD's birthday, the dusk looked like this. I think everyone in Jerusalem and surrounding areas has these photos, I've seen at least 6 postings on fb. It was, in the real sense of the word, simply awesome.









Thursday, December 4, 2014

Now We Are Six

Now I am Six

When I was one I had just begun,
When I was two I was nearly new,
When I was three I was almost me,
When I was four I was not much more,
When I was five I was just alive,
But now I am six I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six for ever and ever. 

A.A.Milne

The day started with two presents wrapped and sitting by the front door as if they'd come through the door somehow. I don't know why we do that as we don't even have a letter box, but that's what we do. Opened in my bed of course. One was from me and one from Grandma and Grandpa (although they don't know about it yet - I'm still waiting for my mother to get online so I can tell her what they bought and thank them). 

School and work followed as usual. I didn't dare suggest going out for tea after the fiasco on my birthday. So we came straight home to prepare for the party in school tomorrow. 

I don't get to stay for it but we have to take a cake with candles, some nasherai, paper plates and napkins, a present for the classroom (a book or game), a little gift for each child or prizes are optional (I found little tangram puzzles for 1.5nis each (25p)), and an activity for the teacher to do with the class. 

Until now, as far as I can gather, the activities have been either pass the parcel or musical statues. So I decided to make a pin the tail on the donkey. 



I'm not much of an artist but it's a donkey. And as it's all on plastic paper they don't actually pin with pins. I'm sending sellotape instead, and a blindfold of course. 

That's the end of my creativity. The cake started out as this:



But it ended up looking like this after DD decorated it herself:



That's a house and a butterfly btw. Obviously we will add the candles when we get to school tomorrow. 

So if I can drag DD away from her new tablet...


Before we turn out the lights and call it a [birth]day, I just want to say one word about tablets for children. If you are an only child with a single mum you need a tablet at least until you can read fluently. That's all. 

Happy Birthday DD 

Now you are six you're as clever as clever,
 I love you now and I'll love you forever. 

Your Mummy xoxoxo 
(with apologies to A.A.Milne)



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Requalifying

In May I wrote about suddenly being disqualified from M.A. status as a college tutor. You should read this first because I cannot bear to go over it all again, I'm far too traumatized. Here's the update.

I eventually heard back from all the institutions I contacted and gathered together a pile of emails saying I'd been awarded the B.Ed. (Council for National Academic Awards) and the M.A. (London University) but no one has transcripts of courses or grades from 1885 (although I could request they dig under the housing estate that is now my old college to see if we could find something) or even 1998 which were both in the pre-digital era.

I asked London University to write an official letter describing the course of study I completed and stamp it in red - because red is official innit. They sent it to my parents in London (for a 10 pound fee) who then gave it to their neighbours to bring to Israel when they came on holiday, thus saving the 15 pounds extra it costs for LU to send an official letter abroad.

My friend from the same course sent me a copy of her Ministry of  Education certificate showing that our M.A. has been accredited by them for the past 16 years. I copied my pay slips from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the college where I now teach to prove that - I don't know what it proves but I took them anyway. I filled in a five page questionnaire for each degree. I took my bound dissertation. I took my degree ceremony photograph with me posing in a robe and mortar board. I even took a published book that has my name in the acknowledgements as an expert with an M.A.

Off I went the MoE with originals and copies of everything. I knew this would be the first of two visits as I didn't want to get anything notarized by a lawyer until I was sure I had everything. They accepted the B.Ed - even they couldn't see a way to get 30 year old grades from a housing estate. But the M.A. documents didn't satisfy them. I spoke to the boss, I waved my friend's certificate about and cried, "we sat next to each other in every lecture!" They weren't buying it.

Eventually, and I think it was because of my friend's certificate which they could see me using against them if they didn't find a solution for me (thanks Chana :~) ), they said if I got another official letter from LU explaining that they don't have transcripts and grades from 1998, they would accept my application. OK, I could do that.

It was June. I came home and put my head in the sand. Then we had a war and the summer holidays and I dug deeper into the sand. Then the new academic year started and I didn't start at the new college so I pulled my head out of the sand and wrote to LU. It took them a whole month to answer me, another two weeks for my parents in London to get the letter and another two weeks after that for the post office to deliver it to me in Jerusalem.

Today, 6 months later, I rushed to the MoE (the Israeli Government collapsed yesterday and the Ministry of Tourism is on Strike with no end announced so who knows what will go next) with everything in triplicate, the photo, the book, and my bound dissertation.

I saw the same lady I saw in June (not the boss lady) and went over everything again. She looked at all my certificates, papers, and copies. She even took a copy of Chana's certificate and wrote a note on it explaining why it was included. Then she told me I had everything except....

She was right, I'd never been to a lawyer to get notarized. The boss lady had said all I needed was the extra letter from LU. Therefore I thought the notarization wasn't necessary. Silly me. "Don't worry, you can do it now," said the nice lady. "Down the road is a law courts building. Go there and grab a lawyer, get him to stamp and sign this page and come back. Sometimes they make you pay sometimes they don't. You don't need to wait in line again, just bring it in to me."

Grab a lawyer? Grab a lawyer? Honey if I knew how to grab a lawyer I'd have done it 30 years ago and I'd now be out lunching with the other lawyers' wives. (I did't say this.) However, she seemed to have seen this work before so I toddled down to the law courts and tried to grab a lawyer. It doesn't work like that of course. You can't just grab a lawyer. The guard on the gate told me to go to room 107.

There was a man behind a desk in room 107. The sign on the door said 'Secretary to Someone' but I asked him if he was a lawyer just to be polite.
"Do you need something notarized?" he asked. He was obviously used to this. "Go to room 100, pay 480 shekels (about 80 pounds) and bring me the receipt."
Me: "480 SHEKELS?!!!!"
Him: "No, not 480 shekels, 48 shekels."
I went, I paid, I brought back the receipt, Mr Secretary took out a stamp, he asked me if all the documents are true, I said 'yes', he stamped, he scribbled over the stamp (I think that activates it or something), and I left.

When I returned to the nice lady I told her about room 107 and the 48 shekels. She wrote it down to help others in the future. (Dear Karma, please note that I paid it forward.) She told me I should hear from them in about a month. I'm hoping that means I get accredited in a month but I'm trying not to think about it too much.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits 26: Almost Six

1
DD (trying on my sandals): Why don't you wear these anymore?
Me: Because it's too cold. I need to put them away for the winter.
DD: No, you mean you need to put them away for the summer!
(Now I'm not sure which one of us is right.)

2
DD (waking up in my bed with my radio-alarm on): Turn that music off, it's going right up my ears.

3
DD: It's a good thing the tooth fairy knows I like sticker books. How lucky!

4
DD: Do you know you can dance sitting down?
ME: Yes I think you can.
DD: Yes, it's for when you don't want to waste too much energy so you can dance sitting in your chair.
Me: Good to know. Thanks.
DD: You're welcome.

5
DD: Some of the songs in the films are my favourite.
Me (thinking of songs from Mary Poppins or The Sound of Music): Which songs are your favourite?
DD: Something from Shrek 2.
Me (thinking of Halleluia and I'm A Believer, etc.): Sing it to me.
DD: (wiggling her hips and arms in the air): I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt!
Me (!@#$%):



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Wasn't Ready For This

I have said a number of times that age 5 was the most exciting year so far. Actually every year gets better than the last as I'm not one of those mothers who would like her baby to stay a baby for longer. Probably because I'm an older mother whose friends are all making weddings for their children and becoming grandparents, I am happy to embrace each new stage of intelligence and independence (hers and mine).

I love it when DD (occasionally) chooses what to wear and dresses herself. I swell with pride when she reads words in English that I didn't know she could read. I enjoy hearing her start to read in Hebrew. I'm bowled over by the connections she makes when doing number work. It's only numbers to 20 but when she says, "Of course 6 and 5 make 11 because we know 5 and 5 make 10 so if we add one more to one of the 5s to get 6, that makes one more than 10," I am amazed and in awe that she thinks like that.

I  get excited when DD has a play date and I know they will disappear into her bedroom and entertain themselves. Even better is when she goes to a friend's house. I'm fascinated by the fact that she has her own social life independent of me.

DD tells me (also occasionally as I don't get much information from school) something funny or good, or not fair, that happened at school and though it's 6 year old's gossip, it's getting more and more interesting. I can't wait till 10th Grade!

However, yesterday, two weeks before her 6th birthday, DD came home and showed me that she'd lost her first tooth. Reader I wasn't ready for this.

We bought her real jeans from Primark back in April. Put a child in jeans and they instantly look like a teenager (even if they are only 2 1/2). My little girl has been looking like a (small) teenager recently and I think it's cute. But she still has her milk teeth so she's still a very little girlie and I do love that.

Part of the shock was that we didn't even know the tooth was loose. It just came out with no warning. You should get some warning, right?

Then my 'big' girl got worried that the tooth fairy wouldn't know to come because she lost the tooth at school. (I was a bit upset too - I sort of wanted to see it and maybe keep it for a while.) I told her we'd write a letter and put it under her pillow. "Can't you just send her an email?" asked my child of the computer generation.

I could have made her write more but we were both tired after homework and everything else. DD wrote her name and drew a picture. "Can the tooth fairy read pictures?"
"Of course she can, she's magic."

This morning under the pillow was a new sticker book from the tooth fairy. "Oh, not a coin?" But she was thrilled and in awe about the sticker book (thanks to Grandma for sending it from London).

I wasn't ready for new teeth. It marks the beginning of the real end to that adorable baby face. I  know another adorable young girl face will take its place - one that comes with a reader, a backgammon player, a shopping pal, an independent little miss. But I wasn't quite ready for this.