Tag Archives: losing weight

How I lost 20 kilos after 50, for good – well, almost – part 7

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You’ll be pleased to hear that the balcony renovations are finished and the scaffolding has moved over to the next set of windows. This doesn’t mean there is no noise. The same drilling and hammering is still going on, only it’s not right next to my office and I won’t hear the trade union fellow trying to convert his fellow workers any more. The worst case scenario is four months which means that, theoretically,  it will all be gone by the end of April if not before.

View from my renovated balcony
View from my renovated balcony

But that’s not what I’m going to talk about in this post, though it is related. The subject is actually my unwanted weight gain since last April, which has crept up to an annoying five kilos. The problem is the change in my daily routine. Being part-time in Blois and part-time in Paris and going to Australia for 5 weeks holiday upset the apple cart completely. When in Blois, Relationel – it has to be his fault! – does far more physical work than in Paris so I have to feed him and it’s not always easy not to eat the same things as he does.

Also, when I’m gardening or renovating, I get hungry and don’t necessarily have the time (or energy) to cook or prepare appropriately nutritious food. Not to mention the periods when I was by myself in Blois. I certainly sympathise with people who regularly have to cook for and eat by themselves. Often I just didn’t feel like it. It obviously requires a different strategy when you’re alone.

Doctor Antoinette Séjean
Doctor Antoinette Séjean

One of the first things I did when I got back to Paris yesterday was to ring and get an appointment with Doctor Séjean, my nutritionist, who recommends the “four bowl diet” (see previous posts). I was able to see her practically straight away, to my great relief, because I want to get rid of these extra kilos before they set in. She was very pleased to see me after all this time (my last visit was in October 2011) and delighted to learn that I had been including her in my blog.

The first thing she suggested was to concentrate on chewing well to prevent bloating when eating raw vegetables and to eat more slowly, putting your cutlery down after every two mouthfuls. The idea is to pay more attention to the food you’re eating and take pleasure in every bite.

Four-bowl plate: 1 bol salmon, 1 bowl quinoa, 2 bolws of vegetables
Four-bowl plate: 1 bol salmon, 1 bowl quinoa, 2 bowls of cooked vegetables

She then said it would be a good idea to cut out all raw vegetables for the first one or two weeks of the diet and to have fresh citrus fruit rather than fruit juice at breakfast. I wasn’t sure if and when I should be eating carbs. She said to limit my intake to 3 to 6 tablespoons per meal (40 grams of bread) and have them at lunchtime rather than at night. I need one hundred to two hundred grams of protein and 1 to 2 tablespoons maximum of oil or butter at each meal.

But my big question was what to do at afternoon tea time when we’re in Blois and are gardening or renovating. We usually have Gerblé raisin biscuits (when there isn’t any Christmas cake!), which are very compact low-sugar biscuits that are supposed to give you vitality. Sadly, they have to be eliminated and replaced with 5 to 7 walnuts and some protein or fruit.

My new jacket from Un Jour Ailleurs
My new jacket from Un Jour Ailleurs that I’ll be able to wear when I’ve lost 3 kilos

I came out feeling motivated again and stopped in at the store where I bought one of the winter jackets that disappeared with my lost suitcase. I was delighted because they had practically the same model on sale and I was able to buy it because I know it will fit me properly when I’ve lost those extra kilos!

Who’s going to join me in my weight loss? If you have never used Doctor Séjean’s four-bowl diet, you should go back and read my other posts first, because the present diet is aimed at losing weight fairly soon after putting it back on.

The Natural Skinnies and Us
How I lost 20 kilos after 50 – for good: Part 1
How I lost 20 kilos after 50 – for good: Part 2
How I lost 20 kilos after 50 – for good: Part 3
How I lost 20 kilos after 50 – for good: Part 4
How I lost 20 kilos after 50 – for good: Part 5
How I lost 20 kilos after 50 – for good: Part 6


How I lost 20 kilos after 50, for good – Part 2

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In Italy six months after the diet began & 12 kilos lighter

Last week, in Part 1, I told you about the first nutritionist I saw when I decided to go on a diet (after listening to weight-loss hypnosis tapes first, remember),  a guilt-inducing naturally skinny Asian doctor. The second person I saw was much better – a very smiley touchy-feely doctor from Martinique, Marie-Antoinette Séjean, who is the author of two diet and nutrition books, and who, although slim, was obviously not a natural skinny. I told her about my previous experience and she said not to worry, that we’d work something out together. She told me to write down everything I ate during the next two weeks. She also reassured me that I wouldn’t have to give up anything permanently, including red meat, prunes and foie gras.


In the meantime, she suggested several things I could do to lose weight:

  1. Chinese bowl with quinoa

    Cut out all wheat-based foods for 3 weeks because wheat has a bloating effect. She suggested rice, quinoa (I’d never heard of it but now really like it), buckwheat and polenta instead. She reassured me that it was only for three weeks.

  2. Cut out raw vegetables for 3 weeks for the same reason.
  3. Divide my plate into four: ¼ protein, ¼ carbs, ½ cooked vegetables.
  4. Don’t worry about actual quantities, except for the carbs, which should correspond to the contents of a Chinese bowl (when cooked) and should be eaten at every meal.
  5.  Make sure I was getting 200 g of protein for breakfast. This is because the protein stops you getting hungry mid-morning and when you lose weight, you lose fat and not muscle. We decided on an egg, a yogurt (they come in individual 90 g pots here) and a 100 g pot of fromage blanc (this is a soft, fresh cheese, vaguely like cottage cheese but not salty, with roughly the same nutritional value and consistency as yogurt), 2 pieces of buttered Swedish bread (even though it contains some wheat, but I’d been eating that for breakfast for years and couldn’t bear the thought of giving it up) and a piece of fresh fruit or small glass of fresh orange juice, eaten AFTER the protein.
1/4 protein 1/4 carbs 1/2 cooked vegetables

It all seemed very reasonable and manageable. I had told her I wasn’t interested in losing weight quickly, but I did want it to be permanent. I asked about exercise (long-forgotten apart from cycling in the summer) but she said not to worry about it for the moment. She weighed me and took all my measurements. She explained that it’s important to look at body measurements as well and not just weight, because you stay the same weight on the scales but lose centimetres around your body. I made an appointment for two weeks’ time, just before Christmas! It was only when I got home that I realised I hadn’t mentioned the wine. So I decided to cut down to one glass at lunch and two at dinner, except for oysters on Sundays when we usually drank a bottle of sancerre between us.

Next installment in two weeks’ time! You can start writing down what you’re eating every day as well. Be honest with yourself and don’t leave anything out. Remember, the aim is not to eliminate anything, just to be really aware of what you’re eating. But you might just find that you’re cutting down anyway …

Dr Marie-Antoinette Séjean, 81 rue des Belles Feuilles, 75116 Paris. 01 44 05 16 15
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