Could Your Plate Be Making You Fat?

Hey, so first up – it seems that this past week wasn’t one of those where the places on my Win a Kindle Draw flew – true there are only – yes ONLY 48  places left – but there they are – still up for grabs by anyone who likes to sign-up for this blog.  So, still a chance to tell any friends or family – share the link – they’ll thank you if they win, just go to Win a Kindle for all the details.

I’ve hit the title this week with Could Your Plate Be Making You Fat?     WHAT?!?   

Bear with me…..

I’m still on the ‘watching what I eat’ kick this week, I know – again – yes, I do blog about other topics, honest,  but the programme I told you about  last week (The Men Who Made Us Fat) gave me another angle to think about this week too.  And By The Way – last week’s programme is now available on YouTube (for my US readers who can’t see iplayer – well worth watching – link HERE)  (For my FWT? cheerleaders: I’m maintaining the new weight with only one set of reps of each day’s exercise and eating as before)

This week they were thinking about The Men Who Made Us Fat by super-sizing  meals.  I learnt something – I always thought McDonalds were the initiators of this insidious scheme – seems they just spread the idea better and further – it started with popcorn.  iplayer version here for another 9 days  Youtube episode 2 part 1 here – the others will come up then

If you are watching what you eat you’d not get suckered into the ‘would you like to super-size that’ ploy (always supposing you were in such an establishment in the first place) however, I discovered something that may cause you to up your portion size without meaning to, without really thinking about it.

new design plain plate 27.5cm

I recently bought some new dining plates – just a few plain white ones to make up numbers a bit – my set is over 20 years old and has suffered some casualties and the design is long gone being available.   The new plates weren’t anything special in size – same as most of the rest in the shop. Basic, standard white dinner-size plates – or so I thought until I tried to put them in the cupboard with the others.  They were an inch larger.

summerfields plate 25.5 cm inner 17.5 cm

Not only that, these new plates were of a different design to my original ones – flat with a gently turned up rim around the outer edge – which seems to be the current poplular style. My summerfields design plates have a central flat place with a raised decorated flat rim at an inch and a half wide round the edge – so the flat / food area is basically a 7 inch diameter circle. The new plates, being flat almost out to the edge offer a flat / food surface of at least 10 and a half inch diameter.

That’s a whopping  50 % more space on your plate that looks like it ought to have food on it.

Another TV programme. Britain’s Secret Eaters (honest – I really don’t watch much TV – and not of this kind, it’s formulaic and one of those that treat the audience as if it has the attention span of a gnat – repeating itself constantly… enough of that rant .. won’t be watching them all, needless to say)  Briefly, the premise of the programme is that the participants are vastly overweight but do not understand why, as they all believe they eat sensibly, healthily and not too much – some even think they do not eat enough!  They then allow cameras to be placed in their main rooms to monitor their eating habits. What they didn’t know was that the programme makers would also set private investigators to trail them and get all the info on what they ate outside the home too.  As you can imagine these people actually pack away vast quantities of food that they didn’t even think about -ok! Ok !  now we come to my point. We also see them eating what would be considered a healthy balanced home-cooked meal. Except it is on one of those large style dinner plates and it is FULL. Edge to edge.  When it comes to it, eating too much of any food – not matter how healthy, will result in putting on weight.

We eat* with our eyes before we eat with our mouths, so they say. (or *serve up food)  Our mind can tell us whether we’re going to feel full and satisfied as much as our stomach. So if a standard meal would look a bit paltry on a large plate, the temptation might be to put a bit more on it … to super-size it.

Am I right – might the right amount of food look ‘too little’ on an extra large plate? Could a plate help to make you fat…. or a different plate help to make you slimmer?

Any experiences to relate? Any thoughts on my theory? I’d love to hear from you!



So Close and the Men who Made us Fat

So close? So close to what, I hear you ask…So close to calling the draw in my Win a Kindle (or 1 of 4 other prizes) How close – well, just  72  more people close … that number of places has gone over a weekend – and at other times taken a couple of weeks.  So it is close – but it is up to you (and your friends and family) how close.  Please keep spreading the news of this free and easy-to-enter draw!  Just 72 places left out of a thousand!  Click link above for full details.

This week I am doing a ‘maintaining weight’ stage so have little to report on Fat Woman Thinning?  However, I did I watch a fascinating programme on BBC 2  

The Men Who Made Us Fat.

The combination of political and marketing power had very unfortunate side-effects for American citizens, us, here in Britain and eventually the rest of the westernised world. If you can, catch it on iplayer  – the second programme goes out on Thursday so there’s only 15 days left to catch-up with the first! click here for the >  BBC programme 

Watch the spokesperson for the American Beverage Association mouth the same sort of phrases that the spokespersons used to do for the tobacco industry.

See how one idea caught on – against all evidence – so much so that scientists telling the truth were ignored and a whole new industry ballooned to make money by conning us into getting fatter when we thought we were doing the right thing to get slimmer.

And what does it mean if you are a TOFI?

Losing Weight but NOT Dieting

If you have been following my Fat Woman Thinning? you will know that I am NOT dieting – but I have lost 28 lbs in 22 weeks.  I started off explaining that ‘dieting’ as such is usually not a good idea.  How ‘starving’ you body rebounded on you – making your body think it had to conserve every bit of extra energy it could (It does this by converting it to fat and tucking it away in fat cells for use in lean times) Been there, done that, got the (Larger’) T Shirt – before I understood such stuff!

Oh? Are you new to this topic – wonder what I’m on about ? – have a look at some of my blogs under Losing weight in TOPICS – ‘Does this look like a diet to you?’ where I photographed everything I ate for a week,  is interesting! Or run through the drop-down weeks from the FatWomanThinning? on the top bar.

We are all Cavemen at heart

As they point out in the programme – we are essentially, physiologically-evolutionarily, still cavemen. They were hard-wired to get extra calories when they could – like finding a wild bee-hive and collecting the honeycombs – and so are we.  The difference being we don’t even have to climb up a tree or a cliff to get it – we have all the high calorie stuff we could possibly want temptingly easy to pick up and eat – and designed to be so.

And that’s the other part of the equation. Even if we eat well, most of us don’t have to get out there and do hard physical work each day and that’s what is missing.  I was listening to an ex Olympic athlete talking – she said how often people said to her ‘I bet you like being able to eat anything you want now that you are retired from athletics’ and she pointed out that when she was in full training she could eat anything she wanted – as she burned a huge amount of energy every day.  Now, she had to watch what she ate or else she put on weight – and that was with maintaining a healthy level of fitness.

In Fat Woman Thinning I have been following an exercise programme that:  1, Does not take me long.  2, I don’t have to go to a gym or class to do.  3, Doesn’t / needn’t cost much / anything to get started on.

Does it work – look at the evidence.  Which is what the politicians should have done all those decades ago and perhaps we wouldn’t be in the obesity mess we are in today.

Did you watch the programme?  Can’t pick up BBC iplayer and want to know more?  Is it annoying to feel that the populace are being duped by the big food giants?   How do you react to their continued claims?

Any thoughts on any of this?  I’d love to hear from you.


Coincidences, Reality and a true Potty story

How many of you experience coincidences in your life – and how often?  So what do I mean by a coincidence.  Well, it might be like my parents travelling to Australia – then taking a round Australia road-trip with my aunt and uncle,who live there, and meeting a girl from the next village to ours in Cornwall, UK.  It wasn’t just the meeting, but they actually had to have talked to the girl, and recognising a British accent, ask where she was from to realise the coincidence – to go half way round the world to meet someone who would nortmally live so close.

Or when you just decide to phone someone and the phone rings – it’s them!  Or you and your friend both buy the same gift for a third friend?  Or you get lost in a strange town, stop the car to ask someone  the way and that person happens to be someone you went to college with over ten years ago!

OK, so now, hands up if you’ve ever been struck by a coincidence .. yeah .. and if you have, I bet it’s not been the only one!

If you haven’t you probably are not tuned in to them, but somehow, once you notice them, you seem to encounter more 🙂

I’ve written previously on Inspiration for my novel Some Kind of Synchrony of how a couple of things brewed themselves into a plot.  (A friend mentioning a way she and another whiled away the miles by making up and telling each other episodes in a Mills and Boon type story, being one of them)

The other ingredient in the plot was something that happened to me.  I’d written my first novel almost by accident.  Yeah – I know – how do you do that eh?  Well, the answer to that is ‘potty’! 🙂

First take a time everyday when you can’t do much else but sit by and wait.  I’m risking a lot telling you this – one of my sons may never speak to me again 😉   This ‘time’ that I had was sitting waiting for my youngest son to ‘perform’ on his potty during that crucial potty-training stage!  Now, you just can’t wander off when this is in progress (not if you know what is good for you) and you can’t be in a hurry (your tension will trasmit itself to the child in question and a great pile of anxiety can build up about the whole process) no, you just have to be patient and this little guy would rather sit there and play with a couple of toys while his body thought about what it was doing / going to do, and this could take quite a while each morning. (He always prefered play to the serious business of life – and still does!)

So I’m sitting there and a story that had been playing itself quite a bit was running, (in my head – it’s as if I’m watching a movie somewhere just up and right of my eyeline – where you often ‘look’ inside your head for memories) so grabbing an old note book I decided to start writing it down.

Before long Eventually (these things take time – both of them) I had filled three notebooks and the little lad had passed that crucial stage and knew what he was about.  I was encouraged to take some time out to type it up on the computer and to my amazement found I had a 80,000 word novel. I was blinded by the – to me- amazing fact that I had written so much – that the story hung together – that I had written some parts ‘so poetically’ – that the few friends and family I showed it to were encouraging.  I proudly sent it off to publishers and agents!  Huh! (blush to think about it now)

Like I said – I had written it almost by accident – once I got into the craft of writing a bit more I realised that this was my ‘apprentice piece’ – and apart from friends and family (perhaps not even those) I should have consigned it to the back of a drawer rather than sending it off and, taking my lessons, moved forward to a better crafted novel.  This ‘book’ does indeed reside in the back of a drawer – and though there are good sections, though the plot still hangs together it was definitely not worth sending it off in the state it was in – and as for the wonderfully poetical parts – that’s where the phrase ‘you must kill your darlings’ comes from – they, most definitely, should have had the chop!

As I wrote that first story I hooked many of my characters to people I knew (some just casually) and stole from them their description or their personality.  Over the following year I noticed a few little coincidences.  Things that I had made happen to these characters did happen to the real people.  When I examine it in detail it was only one or two things, nothing bad or harmful – and some quite logical in their progression – but coincidences all the same.  This was the other germ of inspiration for Some Kind of Synchrony, which I didn’t write for another twelve years or so.

Another of the ‘words of wisdom’ handed down to new writers (along with ‘write from what you know)  is  ‘do not rely on coincidences for your plot to work out’  – well, not always put in those terms – but that’s the gist. (good blog post from The Ediors Blog on this HERE)  Readers, understandably, feel cheated when, to get out of an awkward plot situation, some kind of coincidence provides the opportunity of escape . So, to base a whole novel on coincidences was a bit of a risk in itself.  However, once you know and understand  the rules,  it is possible to take a definitive decision to break them to achieve a wholly different effect.

And this is what I did in writing

Some Kind of Synchrony

How would you feel if you made up a thriller, pinning the characters on some of your friends, in which people got really hurt, even died, only to find later that spookily similar stuff started to happen to just those people … and what if one of those was someone you loved?  First 3 chapters of Some Kind of Synchrony can be read Free by going to this link. (as a PDF file)  or you can download  the shorter Amazon sample for Kindle here

For FWT? cheerleaders – I am still at the 10st and am taking a few weeks to stabilise at this new weight. It’s been helter-skelter down, 28 lbs in 22 weeks, and I am adjusting to this new me and feeling great! Having been away and unable to update daily the weeks 23 and 24 are blank but I shall resume my daily record as of next Monday. Thank you all for your great support so far!

For everyone waiting for my  Win a Kindle (or one of 4 other prizes)   draw – we are really on the last countdown.. as of today there are only 89 places left – so if there’s someone you haven’t told here is possibly your last chance. Forward this blog to your friends and family – hopefully they’ll enjoy the eclectic mix to be found here – something for everyone – from baking to body-boarding, nature to novels, local history to losing weight – and anything else that the catches my interest along the way.

What is the most amazing coincidence you have experienced in your life? I absolutely love to hear from you!





OK, hands up all those who thought this was going to be a blog about the Queen’s Jubilee!

I see ….. 🙂

Anyway – this is, and on time for once, NATURE NOTES for MAY.

May started quietly enough, a few blues already in the hedges, violets, birds-eye, bluebells.

Red Campions
White Stitchwort

but then ..  my favourite display – the red,white and blue.  Red Campions, White Stitchwort  and the Bluebells                            – all mixed together!

No matter what I do the camera cannot capture the beauty of this brief time, usually about two weeks, rarely longer, often shorter, when these three plants are most noticeable all along our Cornish hedgerows.  All too soon the large umbilifers, like cow-parsley, and the ferns unfurl and take  over

Cow-Parsley takes over.


Unfurling fern









Other whites have come and gone – the pretty starry flowers of the Ramsons (wild garlic) are found in large patches in this area and even lining the lanes. I hear that they are valued in the restaurant kitchens of London … here they are abundant and free!


The other blooms that have come and gone is the apple blossom on the orchard trees, again it is brief, but the scent as you walk past a tree absolutely laden with blossom, as they were this year, is delicious!

Also in the hedgerow is this plant – known as Bastard Balm – not a common plant despite it’s name (Just means it isn’t the real balm by the way)


So that’s my cheer, Hurrah for the Red, White and Blue – colours of our May hedgerows.

And talking of Cheer – just to let all my FWT? cheerleaders know, I am now at 10st !! and my reward is a time of stabilising before I decide on the next goal! Thanks for all the cheering from the sidelines – the day by day notes will continue.

My Win a Kindle draw is still running – just  – though it really is the last chance for you to let your friends and family know, as of today there are only  99  places leftClick Here for all the details!

What do you like about the month of  May? I’d love to hear from you on your favourite signs of spring where-ever you are in the world!


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