diet

When the boots fit ... or don't ...

Yesterday I met a friend for a walk around the lovely market near where I live and stopping for a glass of wine and to chat and plot some very exciting ideas for the new year.

But I digress :)

She's also a member of the Thai Diet Movement and was wearing a beautiful pair of Dubarry boots .... that she had bought THREE years ago but was only wearing for the first time as this is the first time they fitted comfortably around the calves.

It's these seemingly small things that chip away at us, that make us uncomfortable in our own bodies and in our skins, that make us feel ... well, feel horrible ... that we can't even wear a great pair of boots.

I completely get this one too - it reminded me of some years ago when I was bought as a present some pink wellies that I'd really wanted ... and when I put them on I couldn't get them over my calves.

I had to cut down the backs to make more room for my legs. It doesn't feel good at all.

But it feels so good when you start getting happy in your skin, pulling those boots on without even thinking or worrying, or pulling them on only SO far before they're tight and uncomfortable ...

We celebrate ALL these 'small' things for the huge things they are in the Thai Diet Movement.

It's all about simple principles and recipes and ideas that change our relationship with food and with our bodies forever as we consciously choose, create and celebrate each individual happy weight.

The Thai Diet opens again with a whole new fresh look and feel and all sorts of new things in January 2018 ... and I'm excited to be working on it ready to share with you in the new year.

If you want to know more just pop your details in the sign-up form below so I can send you all the info as soon as it's ready to share.

And honestly, these simple steps have had and are having big results for so many of us in the group ... it's like something switches off in your head and also ON ... and it becomes not only easy, but fun too.



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Make sure YOU'RE in your dreams

I realised I do this.  Or rather, didn't do it.

Didn't add to my goals, dreams, 'perfect day' journaling ... well, I didn't add ME.

I was missing from it!

Me, physically (and ok emotionally too actually) ME.

I was missing.

How can I create my dreams, achieve my goals, dream into creation that perfect day ... if I'm not in them?

If I'm not also at one with me, with myself, happy in my own skin?

If I don't know how that feels, or how I want it to feel?

How can you live a dream life in a body you don't feel is your home?

And actually, domino effect, small actions, small things creating big ones?

Dream big ... and start with finding peace with your body.

It's easy, and it's necessary.

You cannot live a 'perfect' life without being at one with yourself - and that includes feeling good in your skin - WHATEVER that feels like for you.

I believe it's a powerful and easy way to start - you decide, you choose, you see results, you're inspired and you start to BELIEVE.


I was talking with a friend the other night and realised something so important.

We often FORGET to think about our physical selves - or ourselves at all for that matter - when we're thinking about our lives and goals and ambitions and dreams.

We think about the jobs we want, the relationships we're calling in, the creativity we'll share, the places we'll live ...

All those artists, all those beach houses, all those fulfilled lives and all those dreams written down, made goals, made real.

But you know what's missing?

YOU.

The real, actual, physical YOU.

We so easily disconnect with our bodies ... and almost forget about them.

As IF you can create your dreams without also being totally at ONE in your dream body too.

THAT you, me, us .. in the dream life ....

Don't forget to put YOURSELF into the dream.

Not just into it. Into the HEART of it.

You're happy just as you are? That's brilliant. SAY SO.

Don't let your body, health, wellbeing, how you FEEL in YOU not be a part of the big, big dreams.

It's pivotal.

It's important.

When dreaming, setting goals, writing out those perfect day journaling exercises ... do NOT forget to put yourself in them.

Your perfect day begins with feeling comfortable in your own skin, surely, luxuriating in just being YOU, at one with yourself (WHATEVER that looks like for you).

I think it's too easy to forget this - and I believe that firstly it's powerful to consciously add YOURSELF into your dreams.

I also believe in the domino effect, small changes creating big shifts.

And - no matter what you might be telling yourself - feeling at one again in your skin, losing weight if that's what's going to feel good and right to you, is KEY to then also creating all of the rest of the things.

Yep, and actually easier.

It's a perfect starting point. Start consciously choosing, creating, feeling happy in your skin.

Results happen fast .. both physically and mentally.

Don't dream big ... without YOU being in the dream.



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Who do you want to be? What's your identity? Who are you?!

You know sometimes, when you realise you've been identifying with something ... and realise you don't have to? That you can change that belief. And that it doesn't define you.

That's how I was with smoking ... I smoked 20+ cigarettes a day from 16 years old until 38. And when I stopped I was worried about WHO I WOULD BE.

It sounds insane, but my identity was as a smoker. I wondered who I would be as a non-smoker.

The answer of course, was me ... the same as I was as a smoker during all the time I didn't smoke. If that makes sense.

It really made me think though - I'm glad I realised it but it felt stupid and I wondered why I wanted that identity, why I was actually worried about who I would be without it.

That was 9 years ago now.

Last year when I decided to lose weight I thought I'd like to get back to a (UK) size 14.

It felt like an achievable goal, and it felt like a size where I would feel 'normal'.

I also identified that it was a size I'd been happy at as an adult and had been kind of default size for me - I loved getting smaller and hated getting bigger but 14 felt 'enough'.

Well, then I became a 12 and THEN decided to reach for more, be braver, bolder, go for what I really want - and hadn't been, hadn't lived in my body at a small size as an adult.

But why should that mean I couldn't? Why shouldn't I choose the big goal?

Why not say it, go for it, commit to it? Just because you haven't done it before, doesn't mean your life has to be lived in where you've been comfortable before.

And ... I've never been very fit, well, since a child/teenager who loved sports and running and ballet.

Not part of my identity.

Not until now. I've been softer, curvier, warmer ... as a child I was lanky, free, needed movement.

So I'm now making that my identity too.

I am going to become the fittest I've ever been in my life.

This is BRAND NEW!

Fit and strong and lean (and still soft).

I don't know why I've been scared of saying it, wanting it, doing it.

But now I do.

We can choose our identities, shrug off those that no longer serve, that in fact hold us back.

What do you really want?

Who do you want to be?



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Celebrating 1 year on ... it's about choice, not rules or restrictions

Today is one year since I made a decision.

The decision to lose weight.

The most surprising thing to me then was how EASY I found it - the only hard part was being honest with myself, stopping hiding from myself and make that decision.

I didn't expect it to be so easy, or enjoyable or what a wonderful process it is to become happy again in your own body.

Or that it would change my mindset around food and eating forever in the most beautiful and easy way - still eating food I love and with no hard-and-fast rules - it becoming all about CHOICE.

That was a big turnaround in my thinking to move from it being not about restriction but about choice.

So today ... I journal and track and note things down - my weight, good things I've made to eat, how I'm feeling ...

And such a change from my note and what I wrote a year ago.

Hello YEAR 2, WEEK 1 ... 



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Exercise .... sounds hard. Moving every day ... is so good

Yoga and regular movement is changing my life.

When I was in my early teens I ran. A lot. I ran and ran. I ran miles when I got home from school. I ran in the dry, I ran in the rain, I ran in the snow. I kind of hated it .. and halfway through the hour or so that I ran .. I LOVED it.

I was also, in my head, training for the next Olympics. Yep me, a lanky 13-year-old in the Norfolk countryside.

And I did ballet. From age 4 - 16. A LOT of ballet.

I loved trampolining, netball, racing around outdoors with my sisters, horse riding. As WELL as being the total 100% bookworm.

I was a skinny, tall, lanky kid ... and then around 14-15 I developed.

NOT HAPPY.

No more Royal Ballet School.

Hello sports bra.

And then I started going out and more into music and travel and writing and studying ... and I went to Uni in London in the year of the new summer of love :)

Partying, playing, experimenting, learning, being.

I never found my love of movement again.

I joined gyms, went through phases. Bought the kit - for a new hobby of sailing, or riding, or whatever.

Planned to BE THAT PERSON.

But I just wasn't.

You know, I think it also has a lot to do with weight.

It's HARD to move - let alone feel confident - when you're overweight. If you struggle to breathe when you bend over to put on a shoe ... well ...

And lugging an extra 10, 20, 30, 40 pounds along with you?

It's HARD WORK.

I increased my walking a lot last year. I started scooting home and sometimes walking the hour home from work.

And now something's shifted.

I now LOVE and WANT to move every day.

I feel my body was MADE to move.

I walk home, I swim, I walk the dog, I do 30-minute wonderful online sessions of yoga.

The yoga in particular is changing my life.

The moving everyday - and more importantly - the LOVING and WANTING to move every day .. is changing my life.

And my core muscles, and my balance and my strength ... and my peace.

Don't give up.

I'm 47 years old and I only just found how it works for me.

Don't give up.

Try things, go easy on yourself, lose some weight first, whatever works for you.

But I honestly NEVER thought I would find my love of exercise and movement again.

35 years later ... I have.

Keep going, keep trying things.

It's SO worth it to feel at one with your body again.



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There is NOTHING wrong with wanting to lose weight

It seems to me that the whole self-acceptance thing has gone too far.

It now actually feels that you're WRONG in some way and that you'll be judged for wanting to lose some weight.

You are in charge of you: you don't have to sign up to the 'love yourself at any size' brigade.

You CAN say you'd feel happier in your own skin by losing some weight.

You don't have to dress it up as wanting to be 'healthier', or 'more empowered' - although those are great things to want too.

There is NOTHING wrong with wanting to lose weight.

To wanting to feel happy again in your own skin.

With wanting to get back to your own personal happy weight.

But some days it feels like all I see are messages that you don't have to change yourself to be happy - you ' just have to learn to love yourself the way you are'.

Well, I disagree.

Totally disagree.

If that's for you, then hey go for it.

I genuinely want each and every one of us to feel happy in our own skin.

But for me, I know ... I was NEVER going to feel happy in my skin, overweight, uncomfortable when I bent over to put my shoes on, out of breath ... feeling NOT LIKE ME.

It's all gone too far I think.

The solution is NOT for everyone to 'learn to love yourself' or 'be happy at any weight, you're still the same person'.

Because ... actually for many of us?

We're NOT.

We're not the person we are when we can move easily, walk and run up the stairs freely. When we're feeling good in our skin. When we start enjoying clothes again.

When we feel more OURSELVES, our real selves again.

Yes, I think it's gone too far.

There is NOTHING wrong in saying, declaring ...

'You know what? I'd feel happier if I lost some weight'.

You don't have to couch it in other language, dress it up as something more spiritual or whatever is is.

You ARE allowed to just want to lose some freaking weight and feel happy in your skin.

We were not born overweight and we weren't designed to be overweight.

Do NOT feel that in this current climate of acceptance - which is great of course, acceptance of everyone as they are and as they are happy to be, YES .. but you?

If you're NOT HAPPY being overweight, there's nothing wrong with saying so, declaring your mission to lose the weight - there's nothing to hide.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH WANTING TO LOSE WEIGHT WHEN YOU'RE NOT HAPPY THE WEIGHT YOU ARE.

Oops, lots of shouty caps there!

It actually makes me really angry that people are basically being told to change their mindset - to be happy being unhappy in their own skin!

F-that! You can be, do and have whatever you want!

And if you're unhappy in your skin, at your current weight? You know what?

YOU DECIDE ... YOU get to decide to change that.

Set your goals, and commit.

Then choose to take the actions needed to get the results you want.

And keep going.

I'm with you all the way :) 



The photo of me that made me FINALLY decide to lose weight

I think this photo is actually harder to share than my 'before' bikini pics were.

Probably because I'm not normally in a bikini, but I am normally in a tee and jeans, and often cooking.

So I must have looked like this.

I'd been hiding away - I honestly now don't know why - from thinking about, confronting my weight gain for so long.

I'd known for a while, for months (ok, years), that it was only a matter of time until I 'did' something about it. But it was as if I were waiting for something really bad to happen before I did it.

I suppose luckily, it wasn't a health scare that was that bad thing. It was an image scare. 

I'd thought I'd kind of looked ok. I only looked in the mirror at certain angles and I took carefully-angled selfies (face only) - time to be really honest now. You never really see unexpected sides or angles, or what you actually look like unless you try.

And then one day - doing what I love, cooking, at a friend's - she took this photo of me.

April 2016

April 2016

October 2016

October 2016

And that was the really bad thing that had to happen.

This was the moment, this was the picture that finally made me take action.

And you know the weirdest thing? Like any fear, it's always worse thinking about it. When you DO IT and take action, the fear's kind of gone.

This photo made me cry. A couple of days later when I stood on the scales and confronted the reality that made me cry too. 

Enough was enough - time to take action.

But that was in April, and I haven't felt that awful out-of-control feeling about my body, my eating or my weight since.

We all have a trigger, or a moment that's the one that makes us act.

This was mine.

What I know is - get brave, make a decision, take responsibility and also ENJOY getting results and being happy with your body again.

27 weeks later and 38 pounds lighter, I am.


There's another round starting MONDAY 9 JANUARY of my 8-week Tiniest Thai eating programme - where I'm sharing what I've changed about my diet and way of eating that's seen my lose the pounds, get happy again in my skin, feeling great - all while eating delicious, healthy Thai-inspired food. 

Want to join us? Find out more here.


Becoming lioness: losing weight + being happy

It's been 26 and a half weeks now.

(On my Tiniest Thai weight-loss diet.)

Which makes me start singing this (of course).  

 
 

And HOW beautiful?   (And yes, back in 1988 - I think it was - I had the Sinead haircut too).

It took me ten years to put on three stone - that's 42 pounds.

And during that whole time, that whole ten years, I therefore wasn't being my best self. I just wasn't.

It was there in the back of my mind all the time in the earlier stages. A bit uncomfortable. A bit thinking the 'right dress' would fix it. 

By the end, I was only wearing clothes that 'fitted' because - to me - nothing looked good.

I was actually struggling to breathe easily while bent over doing my shoes up. 

I was unhappy with my body and my weight.

For TEN years. For a decade.

And for the record, this body did nothing wrong. It was strong. It never got ill. I abused it, not it me - and that was nagging at me too.

Yeah, constitution of an ox here - but now making my poor body work so hard to work well (and it did) with all this extra weight? I felt guilty too.

And then this year, April this year - well, I decided to stop whispering around about pretending I was ok with it, pretending I might start some dull bland diet I was NEVER really going to start .. and ROAR. 

Quietly and elegantly if possible.

But take back control for sure.

With the powerful ease of a lioness.

I am a lioness.

lioness.jpg

Strong, sociable, powerful and protective and I WILL FIGHT when needed.

So I stood up and fought.

To get my body back.

More than that - to get my control back. Control of my own body and life. Control of my strength and flexibility.

And of my happiness.

It took ten years to put it on, sad pound by heavy, reducing, quieting sad pound.

It's taken six months to release most of that weight back into the wild and stride into being the lioness I am.

I have more to go. I have more to learn.

But putting my lioness on .. that's good. I don't want to take her off again.

Oh and I won't again this time.

This time I'm tracking and keeping aware and doing all the things i've done following my Tiniest Thai Diet

The lioness is now me. Or I am now she.

We.

We are stronger, lither, lighter.

More hunter and yet also more protective. Able to move more freely.

More us. More me.

I am so happy to have become feeling ME again from losing weight that I can't stop sharing and talking about it. And others have been joining the Thai Diet Revolution now too - which makes me even happier!



Don't save clothes for 'best' - wear them for everyday + love them!

Years ago I bought a skirt.

About 7 or 8 (or 9) years ago.

It wasn't a specially special kind of skirt to anyone but me - but to me, this was (and probably still is) my perfect skirt.

I saw it (randomly; clearly we weren't out clothes shopping) in a supermarket in Truro, when down in Cornwall, visiting one of my sisters).

It's a sort of flannel-y grey.

It's just above knee length.

It has good fastenings.

And it has a lovely drapey ruche-y front.

I totally adored it on sight. This is my love-at-first-sight sort of a skirt - I love grey, I love draping,

I just loved it.

I'd also just about started to put on some weight round about then.

I bought it in a size 16 without trying it on, convinced it would be perfect. (It wasn't expensive - but I WAS excited about finding my perfect skirt there).

Disappointingly, back at my sister's house when I tried it on, it was the teensiest bit tight ... just an inch or so that made me not comfortable in it. But of course I kept it. It was just an inch.

And in my wardrobe it stayed.

Over the last ten years I put on three stone (that's 3 x 14 pounds maths people - I can't do it in my head).

And the skirt stayed. Every time I tried it it was tighter.

But I still loved it.

Finally, this year, in April, I decided to start losing the weight - and now I've lost all but 7 pounds of it ...

What I didn't do earlier was check in with my favourite ever - yet unworn - skirt.

When I put it on today, thinking, 'oh well, if it's a little loose I'll still wear it' ... well ... it comes on and off without need of the fastenings.

Rachel Redlaw skirt weight loss

So, goodbye perfect, favourite, unworn skirt - and I hope you fare better in your next home. (And I'll be continuing the search for one just like you - only a little smaller).

AND ... MORAL OF THE STORY!

Do not SAVE your favourite / perfect / ideal clothes for 'one day'.

WEAR THEM.

Love them.

Enjoy them.

I do kinda wish I'd tried this on earlier and worn it a few times.

(BUT .. I'd still rather have lost the weight! )

 

Portion sizes / Choose consciously / Keep going (Week 4 of 12 on The Tiniest Thai diet)

A third of the way into my 12 weeks - and three main takeouts (not the curry or Chinese kind!) this week:

1. Portion sizes

I'm greedy. Or rather, I was greedy. And I hate waste (especially food waste) so I'll tend to eat pretty much what's there. 

Best example is probably rice.  As it's non-wheat and it's gluten-free, I tend to think of rice as just 'healthy'. Which it is of course, but ... I was eating way too much of it.  For me, it's a little like pasta, where you just don't trust that the measured amount is going to be enough so you throw in more (and it's too much but you just eat it all). 

So I've been measuring what looks like a TINY portion of uncooked rice at around 20g ... but cooked it gives me my own decided portion size of two tablespoons (and a little leftover that I throw away or keep for another time). 

And ... it's ENOUGH. Learning ENOUGH has been brilliant for me.

(This sounds really bad to admit, but I will admit that, since measuring and following my Thai-style diet, I've actually noticed how much I'm saving on shopping and how much longer things are lasting).

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet rice portion sizes
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet rice portion sizes
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet rice portion sizes

2. Choosing consciously.

Oh this is a big one.  I've been working on it and it's finally sort of clicking into gear for me.

Ok, so the other morning, I was off on the train to a client meeting early and wandering around looking for something for breakfast ... I really wanted a bacon sandwich.  But, I spent five minutes thinking it through.  

And my reasoning was, 'yes, of course have one ... IF you're really going to enjoy it'.  

And, honestly, I couldn't say that would be true.  It would be a bit of a rubbish one from a train station outlet and I'd eat it quickly whilst standing and ... I knew that - today at least - I'd regret having it. 

Another day, when I'm going to love and enjoy it, sure! But today, I went and got a black coffee and a 'protein pot' from M&S and some mango too. And felt good.

3. Keep going.

In the past, I know I've done this.  So there's a dinner out with friends, or a family lunch, or a client do ... or something ... and you have incredible, delicious choices in front of you. 

You can do what I used to do - and what I suspect a lot of us do - and just throw total caution to the winds!

'Well, what can I do? I might as well have everything that's here!' And not just that, but afterwards, 'oh well, I've 'ruined' today now - might as well keep eating!'.

But .... it's life.  And it's also good food and a great time having a social happy time.

I'm proud of myself that I'm learning to do two things - firstly, choose kind of wisely. I say kind of because no, I can't resist chips. But I can resist dessert, and I can choose food that's going to nurture me as well as delight my taste buds. 

And secondly, so what? It was good, it was fun, it's life. But get straight back on with choosing consciously what's good for your body and - if you're trying to lose weight - what's going to help achieve that. Straight away, that same day/evening - just make a good choice. 

Enjoy what you've had (mindful conscious choosing - and then get right back on with choosing what's going to get results).

Some favourites from Week 4

Iced coffee made with almond milk

So good.  Make an espresso or small, strong coffee.  Tip into the blender along with a handful of ice cubes, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a mug of almond milk and blend. One of my favourites!

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet iced coffee almond milk
 

On-the-go breakfast / brunch / lunch

These 'protein pots' from M&S are delicious - and surprisingly filling.  My favourite is this salmon one with edamame and a wasabi dressing.

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet M&S protein pot
 

Omelettes

Two eggs, beaten in a bowl for each omelette.  One an Arabic omelette with herbs and one a Thai omelette with a little soy sauce, cooked chicken and served with fish sauce and sliced chillies.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet omelette
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet omelette

A super-simple-supper of steamed fish

Steamed in a parcel or cooked in a remoska with chillies, garlic, lime juice a little sugar and spring onions.  Delicious.

Here's the recipe.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet steamed chilli fish
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet steamed chilli fish

Simple squid or chicken stir fry

Again, very simple and utterly delish!

I love to keep a packet of frozen squid (and other seafood actually) in the freezer and it defrosts so fast and you can make all sorts of good things. 

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet squid stir fry
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet squid stir fry

I'll be back to share Week 5 soon!

PS. I lost 1 lb this week. That's fine. I also ate well, and ate out a couple of times. Sometimes it'll be faster and sometimes slower - and I was all about a gentle mindset this week and not pushing myself.



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4 Pounds Lost + Doubt Overcome: The Tiniest Thai Weight-loss Diet Week 3 of 12

Week 3 (of a planned 12) was a harder one than the previous two have been. Harder than I was expecting - at the start anyway.

Doubt crept in.

It tested me a bit but then ... my big takeaway (not a curry one either - ha!) from this week was to ... JUST KEEP GOING 

When you're not seeing results, when you start wondering what the point is, when you feel like 'giving up' (although going back to how you were eating before was clearly not the best for your health). 

I'm learning to focus on the outcome I want, the result I want and - even when it feels like it's not happening - to TRUST and BELIEVE and to KEEP GOING.

So, I started the week having put on a pound.

And I knew that was going to happen at some point, as I'm weighing daily, and I KNOW it's just a number, just a fact and that my tracking that is helping me but still ... I did feel disappointed.

And then ...

BEING GIVEN SANDWICHES FOR LUNCH

It wasn't helped by the fact I had a lunch meeting the next day with sandwiches provided - and I'm not eating sandwiches on my Thai-style diet. 

But what can you do?

LIFE is still going to be there and throwing things at you - so what I've decided to do is NOT do what I've done previously, and just think 'oh well, if I can't do it then! I might as well have ALL the sandwiches, AND the cakes while I'm at it!'.

I'm just trying to do what I can, the best I can, and not give myself a hard time about it.

So I had three little quarter sandwiches and chose chicken and salad (the mayo was out of my control) rather than cheese or ham. And I said no to the pastries and the sausage rolls. I did have a handful of crisps (because crisps are my total downfall and because I love them) but I said no to the cake and ate grapes instead. I did ok.

I can't beat myself up about this - this is a huge one for me to learn a middle ground rather than being so all or nothing.

And then - on Thursday, I weighed myself first thing and ... I was 2 pounds lighter! 

YES!

 So, so happy. Feel vindicated that what's important is to keep going, just keep going and make conscious choices whenever you can.

DINNER PARTY FOOD

And on Friday I had friends for dinner, to my monthly Tiniest Thai Salon where we talked about creativity and poetry and all sorts of good things. I was worrying about what to cook (well, what I would eat really) but then made a menu that no-one would even know was 'diet' food.

We had a tom yum goong hot sour soup with prawns to start. Tom yum probably USES more calories to eat it than it contains!

Just don't even worry about this one - it's a goodie.

Then a Thai-style roast chicken served with rice (I had only a spoon or two of this) and a Thai-inspired salad (which doesn't have any oil at all in the dressing - and I skimped on the sugar that my own recipe includes).

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet roast chicken and som tam

I also put out a home-made sweet chilli sauce (which looks impressive but is super-easy) as it goes perfectly with the chicken - but I was careful to only have a teaspoon myself.

But you know what? That teaspoon was actually the perfect amount now I'm being mindful and not sloshing it in without thinking.

For dessert I made a fruit salad with mango, melon, kiwi and apple - served with a sugar/salt/chilli dip

MY FAVOURITE THINGS TO EAT THIS WEEK

Breakfasts ...

Usually fruit and/or eggs. 

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet eggs
 

Papaya with squeezed fresh lime is so delicious - and two hard boiled eggs with some salt and pepper or a drop of soy sauce are packed with protein and keep me full until lunch.

Lunchtime ...

I made a really easy salad at lunch at work by taking in some chicken I'd cooked at home on the griddle the night before - with salt and pepper and ground cumin plus just ONE teaspoon of oil.

I mixed the diced cooked chicken with cucumber and spring onions and a little sliced red chilli and lots of lime juice - then spooned this mixture into little gem lettuce leaves.

It makes such a difference to me spending a little time making my food look really appetising!

 Sunshine coloured fruit for pud - mango and melon.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet

Dinnertime ...

This was a good dinner. And the preparation time is really quick - I soaked a few dried porcini mushrooms in water whilst pottering around getting the other ingredients together - they probably soaked for 10-15 minutes. 

Then I just put fillets of sea bass in the remoska (I absolutely LOVE my little remoska oven - it does the best roast chicken - but you could make foil parcels and put them in a conventional oven to steam and bake inside the foil) and added:

- the porcini mushrooms, taken from the water (keep the water!) and sliced (removing any tough stalks)

- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce mixed with the mushroom water and 1 teaspoon sugar

- 1 rasher of bacon, diced

- 2 spring onions, sliced

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai steamed seabass
 

Cook for about 20 minutes or until done.  I served it with a little rice (2 tablespoons of cooked rice is my own diet portion) and some stir fried green vegetables with chilli, garlic and a little soy sauce.

And this was a good dinner too. 

I had sausages in the freezer and I hate waste so diet or no diet I was going to use them!

So I made a little cut in the sausage and squeezed the meat out of the casing. Two per person.

I mixed the meat with a splash of soy sauce, a little garam masala and some flour and rolled them into little meatball shapes.

I browned them in the pan (using the spray oil) then added diced celery and garlic and stock.  When cooked I added a splash of red wine vinegar and a good pinch of dried chilli flakes and we had them with rice noodles (and a veg stir fry as I had some vegetables that needed using!).

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet sausage meatballs
 

Yes, it was a harder week at the start but I kept going - and started seeing results!



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2 lbs lost / 4 things learnt: Tiniest Thai weight-loss diet wk 2 of 12

Wow, what a difference a week makes!

This Monday morning was almost tears of happiness - and feeling just pretty euphoric actually.

Not just that the number on the scales is going down, but that I'm feeling in control and that feeling of having taken action on something. 

This week I lost 2 lbs.

And I learnt 4 main things:

 1. Accountability is HUGE!

I mentioned this last week, but it's so true.  Because I've announced and told everyone I want to lose weight AND because I'm blogging my results, it's definitely given me a bit more resolve than I might have otherwise had.  

2. The small things matter.

I've made a few small changes that are making a big difference.  

* No milk in my coffee or tea - I'm having a couple of black coffees a day (with a teaspoon of sugar in each) and maybe one green tea with mint. But no milk.

* No peanuts!

Peanuts are delish of course, and very very more-ish and I can't stop picking at them if there's a packet in the cupboard. But they're incredibly full of fat and not good, nut-fat, healthy-heart-fat either, being a vegetable not a nut.

So for that crunch in my salads and stir fries, I'm toasting a few flaked almonds instead.

* I'm also using an oil spray for cooking rather than sloshing the oil in without thinking. I have to turn the garlic and chillies quickly and often before even 30 seconds is up I have to add a little slosh of water, but this seemingly tiny change is having a big impact.

3. I feel a little lighter and that makes exercise seem easier.  

I'm feeling really motivated about measuring my steps daily and aiming for 12k.  

To be honest I often struggle to reach 10k, which I know is what we're all supposed to achieve daily for just good health rather than weight loss, but it's the difference in my mindset I'm proud of - and I'm really interested in and looking for ways to naturally increase my steps.

4. Decluttering.

Woo-hoo! Didn't expect this! I love a bit of decluttering and the drive kicked in this week - firstly, to declutter my food cupboards and get those out of date herbs out of there and the ancient baking bits and pieces I've never ever used.  Time to clear that stale energy from the kitchen!

And having done that ... well, I moved on to my bathroom cupboard and wardrobe ... I can't WAIT 'til I can declutter all my 'fat' clothes and be building up a gorgeous capsule wardrobe of happy weight clothes.

This week's favourite recipes:

Lunches ...

* 2 poppadums cooked in the microwave at work (literally seconds) or brought in ready cooked.  

Topped with a little cottage cheese, a little mango chutney, chopped cucumber, spring onion, red chilli and coriander leaves.

* a great green salad with mixed salad leaves and avocado + a dressing of lime juice.

Spending a little time making my food look pretty also makes me appreciate and savour it more.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet lunch
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai avocado salad

Dinners ...  

I'm more likely to add a little carbohydrate to dinner - some rice noodles or a couple of tablespoons of plain boiled basmati rice.

I've made a version of a seafood pad krapow stir fry (using spray oil) and had some really good salads using the salad base of this steak salad but topped with griddled chicken or seafood.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet squid krapow
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai dinners

I have to confess there were some treats around this week at work too - but one of the BIG things for me is just learning not to be 'all or nothing'. 

So - yes, I did have a very small slice to taste the delicious cake that my colleague and friend (and baker extraordinaire) Jackie brought in for someone's birthday (deconstructed Snickers cake - you think I could refuse, even with my zero-sweet-tooth?!).

But I didn't have a huge slice, and that's one of the things I'm learning - I'm not trying to deprive myself here, but I am wanting to lose weight - so i'm always looking to the result, to the outcome, but in a way that's going to work for me.



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The Tiniest Thai diet for weight loss: week 1 of 12

This is quite a scary one for me.  

I've known for ages that I've been putting on weight (of course) - and ... I've been putting my head in the sand about it.  Thinking that somehow it'll just stop and somehow I'll 'lose weight' and somehow just drop those pounds and be back to my happy weight.

Well, guess what? Sticking your head in the sand doesn't work ... and last weekend, after a weekend of eating huge bowls of pasta in some sort of pasta trance, I woke up on the Monday morning incredibly bloated and uncomfortable and downright unhappy.

But it seems, that was the point that enough was enough.

I did it. I got the scales out and stood on them and found I was back to the heaviest weight I have ever been.

It was soul-destroying. Crushing. I was tearful and scared that it was out of my control and full of self-loathing. 

And I also decided to do something about it. 

It's ridiculous! I KNOW about food! And about nutrition.  I talk about it and help people with it.  I KNOW what to do, which makes it even harder to understand why I'm sabotaging myself like this. 

So, I weighed myself and I decided to there and then start using my knowledge of food and nutrition and especially Thai food to develop my own weight loss diet.  

I mean, when you think of Thai people you don't exactly think of overweight people.  You think of beautiful, healthy people with clear skin and shiny hair - of sunshine, beaches, fruit and smiles.

I cook Thai food to share recipes here and for my supperclub - it's just that I haven't worked on a healthy, happy way of eating for weight loss.  But it lends itself so naturally towards that too as I've written previously.

Week 1 then.  I made it up as I went along. 

I lost 4 lbs (mainly because I started from a starting point of totally bloated from the Weekend of Pasta). 

Here's 5 key things I learnt from Week 1

1. It's all about your mindset. 

When I woke up to what was happening to my body and was upset about it, I finally admitted to myself how it was making me feel.  It was making me scared and upset. The first point is to take action. Be honest with yourself and vow to take action. 

When you're ready to do this, you're ready. No point forcing yourself if the mindset isn't there - you'll only be fighting with - and lying to - yourself.

2. Action, any action.

Yep, any action, no matter how small.  I started noting down (just on Google Keep on my phone) every single thing I ate and drank. 

And I noticed where I was guessing or cheating - for instance on top of his biscuits I always give my dog a very little roast chicken (from a pack I buy for him from the supermarket) and I realised that every single day I was eating a slice of roast chicken too.  

I was having a sugar in my morning tea, when I'm very happy to have tea without sugar. 

I was choosing a banana a day from the fruit at work rather than having an apple. 

Make every single tiny change - yes, they do matter, yes they do add up (even when you think they wont').

3. Pay attention.

I was upset with myself for having put the weight on and letting it get to this point without catching it before and earlier.  Well, this is a mindset one for me for sure - I'm great in a crisis, in fact I LOVE a crisis, but just sort of normal life discipline, less good.  It's going to be one for me to work on when I'm back to my happy weight to make sure it doesn't go on again. 

I know all the general diet advice is not to weigh yourself every day but to do it once a week but hey, this is MY diet plan and having seen what happens when I DON'T pay frequent attention, then right now for a few weeks I am going to micro-manage the hell out of this. 

I am weighing myself every single morning and making a note of it. And yes I know that some days I might go up a pound and I KNOW that I'm really only measuring once a week BUT the discipline of every day is working for me.

I'm also keeping a note of everything I eat and drink.  You know, it's just a fact, you're recording facts, this stuff doesn't come with any intrinsic WORTH attached to it. 

What's the phrase?  'Where attention goes, energy flows'.

And I WANT that attention and energy on my weight and my food and my diet right now.

4. Don't hide from the emotions.

I admit it, I felt horrible that first day. Honestly, sick of myself, full of self-loathing and disbelief that I could be so stupid. Why I seemingly had no will power.  Why I was doing this to myself.

Ok, don't hide from the emotions - and of course the emotions around our self-image and weight can be intense.  Feel them, yes, but then we have to find a way to release them.

It's not good, it's not kind to talk to yourself like that - I know I wouldn't speak to a friend feeling the same like this.

So let it go however that works for you.  You could journal about it. Meditate on it.

I also use EFT - emotional freedom technique - 'tapping'.  I tapped a lot that first day and I've been tapping on these feelings ever since.  It's another odd one, because I tap frequently, but I've never done it on my feelings about my weight before.

(At the end of the 12 weeks developing this eating plan, I'll be adding more information and videos to tap to, but in the meantime, just look on YouTube as there are lots of fab EFT people with videos there).

5. Measure it out

I don't mean weigh everything, I just mean be mindful.  

I used to slosh oil in the pan to stir fry in a very cavalier way - somehow thinking it wouldn't make a difference.  In fact it made about 200 calories every meal a difference.  I'd eat a huge portion of rice without thinking, but cutting it down to a smaller one - well, I am more than as satisfied, in fact more so as I'm comfortably fed rather than uncomfortably full.

Try having a little less. 

I've been having half a chicken breast for instance rather than a whole one, and again, like the rice portion, it's fine.  More than fine. It's enough.  

And 'enough' is that elusive amount that when shovelling quantities of food in mindlessly, you don't hear the whisper of 'enough'. 

Here's some of my favourite things I made this week

Well, I made a really good kao tom (rice soup) for brunch - it will also make an excellent lunch or dinner.  I made sure I used just a tablespoon of cooked rice and a very small piece of chicken (perhaps 1/3 of a breast).  And I measured out 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes at the end for the flavour.

Sticking with eggs, I've also been boiling eggs in the evening to take two hard boiled eggs with me in the morning for breakfast when I get to work.  They're really good with some salt and pepper or a little soy sauce (or a teaspoon of sweet chilli sauce) and really keep you filled up until lunch.

And my favourite steak salad.  I've had it with griddled chicken too which was very good.

The Tiniest Thai diet Rachel Redlaw rice soup
The Tiniest Thai diet Rachel Redlaw eggs
The Tiniest Thai diet Rachel Redlaw steak salad

Oh and snacks-wise? 

I've been making an effort to have interesting fruit in the house! And I take the time to peel the kiwi fruit, slice the fresh pineapple, core and chop the apple ... and have them with a very little of a delicious sugar/salt/chilli dip.

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet fruit and dip
 

There's something about taking the time to prepare the food and enjoy it that's just luxurious, and it sends a great big message to your subconscious that you are WORTH this gorgeous fruit and to have it beautifully prepared for you to enjoy.

I know there'll be ups and downs along the way over the next 12 weeks, but I'm feeling really happy to have started - and actually enjoying it too!

When I've finished the 12 weeks, I'll be creating The Tiniest Thai diet as a 12-week programme to share.

UPDATE: 1 JAN 2017. I'm now on Week 37!! I've lost 40 pounds and am feeling like ME again - and happy in my skin.

And The Tiniest Thai diet IS now an 8-week programme - here's all the info if you'd like to join the Thai Diet Revolution!


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5 reasons to eat Thai-style for weight loss

A belated Happy New Year - well, a belated Happy Songkram!

Songkram is Thai New Year, which is on 13 April each year, but has the celebrations continuing on 14 and 15 April too, with the famous water festival as well as naturally a time to reflect on transformation and change.

It’s made me think about my own new year’s resolutions made back in January — or intentions perhaps rather than resolutions, which just sounds a bit more positive and like things I actually want to achieve and do or become.

Mine included wanting to feel lighter and more energised and yes, to lose some weight. And with Songkram, inspiration (finally) struck.

I write about, develop and share recipes for Thai food. After years ago spending a lot of time n Thailand, including a time living there, I love the food and cook (and eat) it most of the time.

It’s happy, healthy food.

I also cook and host my monthly supperclub, The Tiniest Thai in London, held in my flat — so I’m always thinking about food and menus, and there’s always something in development, something I’m cooking or something I’m cooking to blog about and share.

It’s good food, healthy food, but I do eat a bit too much of it and it’s starting to show.

Inspiration struck — and... of course!

Why I haven’t thought of this before I don’t know.

A Thai diet is a perfect way of eating for those of us looking to drop a few pounds.

Yes, I’ll cut down on some of the recipe development a little and be a bit more mindful about the amount of oil I use to stir-fry and, in fact, cut down on stir fries.

There’s 5 very good reasons why eating Thai-style is going to help my new focus on healthy weight-loss - without weighing food, counting calories or cutting out food groups.

I’m starting today ... and I’ll be reporting back ...

Here’s my 5 areas of focus

1. A lot of Thai food is so flavourful that you don’t need to eat as much to feel satisfied and also, and importantly, it’s not dependent on fats for the flavour.

With lime juice and fish sauce and chillies, the food is vibrant and tasty without the need for oil I’m going to be trying lots of hot and hour salads, and steamed fish with tons of flavour, served with rice.

Rachel Redlaw Larb Thai spicy salad The Tiniest Thai

2. Ah, rice.

Rice is the staple of Thai cooking. Even the words for eating, for having a meal, ‘gin kao’ means literally ‘eat rice’. Rice is more easily digestible than wheat carbohydrates such as bread and pasta, and suitable for those on a gluten-free diet. Cooked rice has a lot of water in it too, which fills you up. The only thing is to be a little bit careful with portion sizes — it’s easy (well, I find it so) to eat too much rice when you only need a handful (your handful, yes!).

3. Snacks! There is food everywhere in Thailand, in shops and restaurants, street cafes and stalls and food sellers walking past you all time time with sliced fruits and hard boiled eggs. This has made me realise just how easy it is in that environment to snack healthily — when there’s so much choice of beautiful fruits ready prepared particularly.

I’m going to be making sure I’ve got interesting fruit and salad vegetables prepared to snack on during the day — oh and hard boiled eggs too — perfect with a little salt and pepper or dipped in a little soy sauce (at around 85 calories per egg).

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest thai fruit Thai salt sugar chilli dip

4. The way of eating is to share. So, no big plate heaped with food. A bowl of rice and several smaller dishes for everyone to try — and it’s considered rude (naturally) to take a huge portion. So you’ll have a couple of spoonfuls of rice and then try a little of the other dishes.Communal eating means you also generally eat slower which gives you to time to feel full.

It’s easy to eat like this even if you’re cooking for just one or two — put the rice in a bowl and make a couple of smaller dishes, perhaps a salad and a stir fry (going easy on the oil). Anything left can be eaten at the next meal (or even for breakfast — I love that the Thai way of eating means you can eat anything for breakfast, not just ‘breakfast’ foods).

5. There’s no dairy, really. I love cheese so much that I have to be really careful about buying it — basically, if it’s in the fridge, there I am slicing off tiny piece after tiny piece until... oh it’s gone. I have no self control when it comes to cheese. I love a sprinkling of feta on things but if I’m honest, I don’t eat just the sprinkling. If I’m at home, I’d be going back to break off a piece more. No temptation on the Thai diet — because there won’t be any cheese to be tempted with!

I’ll be going back through my own archive of recipes (as I’m putting down the development of new ones for a while) and making sure I reduce the oil where possible to make some delicious Thai food for my weight loss diet.

Oh and with a little bit more mindfulness on portion sizes too.

A Thai friend once told me, “eat spicy, get small”!

I’m putting her theory to the test now.

And a very happy - and late - new year!



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