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charlie, computer cat

December 2018



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So much for OBLOAFA* plan! Quite apart from my weekend activities (of which more anon), I was going to get on with things this week. I have failed to do so. There was a plan, and it related to lunches. You see we get free lunches in the canteen. This is good, because free food! But bad because free fattening food! I'm eating 5-600 calories a day in lunches. So the plan was as follows:

1) Buy lower fat lunch alternatives that I can prepare in our minimally equipped kitchen (toaster, kettle)
2) Eat breakfast at work, thus still getting some free food! benefit
3) Eat said alternatives for lunch

Step 1 went fairly well and I got a selection of pasta pot type items to warm me up over the autumn and winter lunchbreaks (any other suggestions welcome, btw). Step 2 I failed at this morning, because I was very low in my "on the case" levels so I ended up starving 20 mins ago and went for biscuits. And step 3 is looking doubtful because I have forgotten to bring the cunningly purchased items from step 1 to work with me!

On the other hand, I did come in in the car today (naughty, but compensation to self for not so great night) so I could drive over to Sainsbury's and get something healthy. It feels like hassle but I probably should make the effort.

* Operation Become Less Of A Fat Ass


Just how bad is this canteen if it won't provide you with anything acceptable for lunch?
After all, if you'll accept pasta pots then you're clearly not going macrobiotically OTT.
If it's a portion size thing could you take a side plate and ask them to dollop an appropriately sized chunk on that?
The sandwiches would work but (a) there are only 2 that aren't horribly soggy and (b) I like hot food in winter. The jacket potato is what I generally go for, but once you've added tuna mayo (I can't stand baked beans) you're around 500 cals. If there's a pasta meal on the menu then I'll often go for that but in general the hot food choices aren't that appealing and have started to be served in dishes, rather like when you order a pie in a pub, which makes portion control tricky.
Aah, the baked beans thing is tricky. Could you bring in your own ultra-low fat creme fraiche/Lea & Perrins/pesto/tinned tuna/salmon/smoked mackerel to add to the plain baked potatoes? (still takes time and money of course, so you're no better off).
Yes, but that would require me to be organised enough to prepare it, which so far has not been a go-er :) I'm hoping that if I use the ready meal thingies to break out of the cycle, I might then go from there into doing some home prep. Possibly.
Is 500 cals all that bad? Is it not your main meal of the day - or do you have that in the evening? My colleagues who are (successfully) dieting are eating jacket potatoes at lunchtime - normally with cheese I think. Is mayo a lot fattier than cheese?

My preferred strategy for dieting is to skip breakfast, have some sort of smallish snack around morning tea break (1030-1100), then eat a big, starchy late lunch, coast through the rest of the day on that, and have no dinner, or just some salad or something. You need to eat in the day to give you energy for life, but you don't need to eat before you go to bed.

Some people wouldn't manage the no breakfast thing, though, in which case you just eat something sensible for breakfast and reduce or manage without the teatime snack. I'd probably be better off if i did eat breakfast, but i just got out of the habit at some point.

Seriously, big lunch, small dinner, it just works.

-- tom
I think I would find that really hard - dinner is about having a nice relaxing time cooking as well as having something to eat and I wouldn't be able to cook for lunch. I think I'd end up snacking in the evening a lot if I did that.
No, it's not my main meal of the day so that works out to be a bit much, especially if I go out in the evening. I'd rather cut back a bit there and be able to allow myself another glass of wine at the pub but it's true it is a trade off.
That canteen is indeed very fattening. I have given up on it now, and taken to bringing in leftover dinners instead. However, if you want to use your free food budget on something, I can recommend the fresh juices from the fancy new coffee bar at the front.

good luck,
- Joanna
Do you already have a hot-food thermos (wide-mouthed, easily available; I think I got mine at a camping shop)? And a few small easily-cleaned plastic pots for bits, like cherry tomatoes or olives or a smattering of grated cheese?

I pack a hot lunch for at least one and sometimes two every day - for example, tomorrow everyone is getting home-made pea soup, an egg salad sandwich, carrot sticks, a few anchovy-stuffed olives, and a single hob-nob. I preheat the thermos with boiling water ( shared from the a.m. tea or coffee making), slap the soup on the cooker to heat it, and prepack everything else the night before.

But it's the kit that makes the difference. And a good lunch bag. Takes very little time because it's a routine centred around the utility of the containers, which are always the same.

Good luck, though, i know you'll crack this one.