October Update

Dear all,

I’m in a good place right now. For anyone that knows me, you’ll know my struggles with morbid obesity. I’ve probably lost the same 100 lbs several times over but never managed to get below 200 lbs (14st 3 lbs) in the last 25 years. To me getting below 200 lbs by eating healthily (for me that is plant based, wholefoods) and increasing my exercise would, I feel, increase my physical health and life expectancy.

I’ll be 53 in January and in recent months I’d lost control of my eating and succumbed to large quantities of sugars, oils, fats and cheese, loads of cheese…. I’d recently gone for an eye test and the optician saw changes which could indicate high cholesterol. I dug out my ‘Thriva Baseline Test’ from last year with my Lipid Profile on and thought to myself I’ve GOT to do something about this NOW! Despite being a vegetarian, a lot of my diet included high salt, high sugar, saturated fats mostly from cheese and cake baking, and I’d been using oil for stir-frying veg. This definitely showed in the blood test results.

I’ve gone ahead and booked another baseline test, this time I am also getting my active B12, Thyroid, CRP (C-Reactive Protein – used to measure inflammation in the body for auto-immune diseases, heart inflammation etc) and a full blood count in addition to my baseline test which measures Cholesterol, Iron, Liver Function and Vitamin D.

The way I look at it is I do have the ability to change my health around, I’ve got to try and take responsibility.

People have asked me about the THRIVA home blood tests. They are much cheaper than home tests from private clinics. You should also be able to get these tests FREE via your GP if they feel they are warranted. I’m doing this because I like to have my results and explanation in front of me to refer to often.

This link gives you 50% off your test (UK) https://thriva.co/i/CEWPGS

To get to the nitty-gritty I weighed in on September 10th at 299.7lbs (21st 5lbs) and I’ve basically given up nearly all processed foods (a little bit of salad cream here and there and an occasional yogurt), cut out cheese, fats, sugar and salt. Most of my diet this past month has been porridge oats and fruit for breakfast, a massive mixed colourful salad with kidney beans for lunch, a lb of cooked veg (lots of green leaf veg such as kale and cruciferous veg) for dinner with a small amount of starchy veg such as sweet potato. I’m eating 4 pieces of fruit a day and 1-2 oz of nuts such as walnuts and at the end of the day I enjoy a toasted pitta bread topped with 100% peanut butter and a plant milk, hot milky coffee. Supplements include Omega 3 Algae oil with DHA + EPA, Nutritional Yeast sprinkled on food for B12, Vit D 3, Magnesium and Zinc. My daily protein levels are between 70-80g which is perfectly adequate.

My first weigh-in was October 10th and without counting calories I had lost 18.1 lbs (1st 4 lbs) which means my weight is now 281.6lbs (20 stone 1.6 lbs).

Although I’ve had to give up baking for now because of the fat, sugar and flour but I’m OK with this. My focus has to be getting through the next few months in a way I KNOW is the best for me. So many people say to me just have a little of what you fancy. I just can’t do this…for now it’s doing without. I’ve removed all trigger foods from my cupboards. EVERYTHING is healthy and nutritious. HOWEVER I have enjoyed a couple of nights out which involved “normal” food and alcohol and I’ve counted those as occasional treats.

Thank you all for continuing to check out my blog.

I’m going to be focusing on re-creating some autumn/winter WW2 soups over the coming weeks so please check back.

Much love to all.

C xxxx

46 thoughts on “October Update

  1. Hallo, I’ve been reading your blog for a while but this is my first time commenting. Well done on the weight loss. That is amazing. And I know what you mean about baking. I love to bake but it is like laying Russian roulette isn’t it. Good luck to you – you can do it. Anna

  2. Have missed you! So glad to hear from you again. Never give up on yourself. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That’s me too!!

  3. To improve your Liver Function, I would encourage you to take Milk Thistle Supplements. They are relatively cheap and will dramatically change your liver tests. Apple Cider Vinegar is known to improve Cholesterol, Regulate Blood Sugar Levels, Enhance Weight Loss and Aids in Detoxification. I’m not of fan of drinking ACV and water so I buy ACV capsules. Prayer and natural remedies are always the best. ‘;D

    • Carolyn ….So pleased that you are making these healthy changes…..I also use Milkthistle…& raw organic Apple Cider Vinegar…..I drink it in a a glass of tomato juice! Look forward to your updates…..

    • Thanks, I’ll look into that. My liver came back good from my initial baseline tests last year but it’s always good to be on top of things so will give that a go and the apple cider vinegar, thanks 🙂 xxxx

      • Lately I’ve been putting ACV in apple juice. It really tastes good. A sprinkle of cinnamon is even better. ‘;D

  4. When you come to realize that you are fighting for your life, I pray those “normal food and alcohol and I’ve counted those as occasional treats” will become poison in your sight. ‘;D

  5. I’ve missed your posts, sorry that the reason for it was you being in a bad place emotionally again (I can empathise with that!) – here’s to a happy and healthier both of us!

    • Hey, life always has it’s ups and downs. Am a pretty positive happy-go-lucky person but sometimes get overwhelmed and during those times need solitary time. Hope all is OK with you… hugs xxxxx C

  6. Well done! You have given me encouragement. I am 76 and 260 lbs. I cannot walk far therefore no exercise is possible apart from pushing a trolley in a supermarket! I know that I must cut down on food consumption. I am going to try again! Thank you!

  7. Hi Carolyn, congratulations on the weight loss!
    I discovered your blog about 6 months ago and have since become kind of obsessed with the idea of rationing. I see that you used to live in nova Scotia, I’m from PEI myself and my partner is from Dartmouth. I’m actually going try try rationing here for myself to see if it helps with weight loss. I’m 32, a mother of 4, and I weigh 275 lbs.

    • Hi leigh! Thank you for leaving a comment and YES, loved living in Nova Scotia from 2004 to 2013… a wonderful 9 years. It broke my heart to leave but life moves on… Good luck with your plans xxxx

  8. You are doing the right thing. I have the same problem. I’m good for awhile, then I crave a trigger food and regain all the weight I lost. Stay strong, you have a lot of people rooting for you to succeed!

    • It is difficult making the change long term, working on stuff psychologically big time right now to keep this going in the right direction. THank you so much for your encouragement xxx

  9. Very pleased for you – I thought I could see a difference in you before you posted those before/after photos, and guessed you to have lost 15-20lbs.
    Do you plan to reduce the quantities over time, to allow your tummy etc to shrink, so you’ll be satisfied with less volume of food?
    It would be really interesting to have those blood tests for oneself and keep track of things.
    Does your GP automatically receive the results too?
    Good health and every success to you xx

    • There is an option to leave your GP’s name and address on the settings in Thriva so if they need to make contact they can. There is a thorough explanation of the results which I like. If there was anything that needed investigating further after the blood tests I would bring the results to my GP. YES over time I think my stomach will shrink in size as its hard work eating vast quantities of veg and infact the quantities this past week or so are definitely less than they were so I think it will happen naturally over time. Thanks so much for your good wishes xxxx C

  10. Hello from Fort Worth, Texas!

    I subscribed to your blog a while back and was so happy to see your post pop up in my inbox. I am so glad that you have had recent success. I joined Watch Watchers in July and have had several set backs. I am pretty good during the week but when eating out or during the weekend it get very difficult. I have been asked several times over the past year if I was pregnant. Not pregnant and that is a painful question. I have twin 4 year olds and have never lost the extra weight. I am so too tired to exercise. I hear it gives people energy but am too tired to get involved.

    I have read several books about WWII rationing and that interest lead me to our blog. Although I would hating having another world war, here are some things that would be so much easier to be under rationing. You wouldn’t feel like you alone were missing out on treats that everyone else is enjoying. You would get invited to lunch by colleagues, another social pressure related to food. The approach to food would be different. But processed food companies reign supreme and sugar is their drug. I guess what I like the most about the WWII diet is it’s simplicity. Maybe it is simplicity that I crave.

    Anyway, seeing your post has been encouraging to me. Thank you for posting and keeping it real. I like seeing the photos of your unprocessed food creations. It is also exciting when the numbers on the scale come down if only a little. You can do it!

    • Hello and thank you for your response 🙂 Oh gosh I used to get the pregnant thing too many, many years ago. The beauty of now having grey hair is that people no longer say it (but probably still think it)… LOL!!! I so agree with you about social pressure and not feeling alone. We are so very lucky to have so much food and so much choice these days but like you say a lot of our choices now are so far removed from ‘real food’ that consuming these items on a daily basis must be causing a lot of the health issues which seem so prevalent these days C xxx Take care and good luck.

  11. Hi Caroline, I am Natalie and am from Cape Town, South Africa. I have been reading your blog and it was so nice receiving an e-mail from you. I am 65yrs old, a vegetarian and cannot resist chocolates etc. I take my hat off to people who can resist the lovely sweet stuff.

    Keep well and chin up.

  12. Dearest Carolyn,

    The greatest bravery is required when we face the ultimate test…the person we face in the mirror. So many haven’t such courage, but you, natural and gifted teacher that you are, clearly do. The deep honesty in laying bare your struggle is a sign of the wisdom dwelling within; remember, to know oneself is the beginning, the seed from which wisdom sprouts.

    So many of us would have shirked from this, would have hidden away and kept the struggle secret. It need not be weight, of course—we all struggle with things that overwhelm us, that we find ourselves weak when faced with. Alcoholism, infidelity, self-centered behavior….these and so many more are things destructive to our physical and emotional health.

    But you know what? The person who admits the struggle is the one who will emerge victorious.

    Do you remember the quote from Thomas Edison about success? He recounted his many, many failures, until finally managing a success. He said, and I am paraphrasing, “I tried and failed, and tried and failed again, and then tried and failed AGAIN…until I finally succeeded.” The important part that leads to success is the trying. The failures are really only steps along the way, part of the process.

    Carolyn, I think you have more going for you than maybe you realize. You are an articulate, intelligent woman, and a beautiful woman too. The work you have undertaken has more impact than just your own life, you know. How many people have come here and found inspiration, entertainment, knowledge, and wisdom? This is no small thing, you know. If it wasn’t a struggle for you personally, I think it might lose something.

    What I mean is, when you throw your heart and soul into something, really give of yourself, it isn’t going to be easy, you know? After all, few wars have ever been won in a single battle. My friend, know that you are appreciated, and that victory will indeed be yours. There is no other possible conclusion.

    I am thinking of you with much love this autumn evening in Southern California. I haven’t met you, but I count you a friend.

    ~ Jack

    • Dear Jack,

      WOW. Thank you for your comment and taking the time to write it. I’ve had a few people be a little hurtful in the past about why I keep failing, like it’s some sort of psychological issue or need. I’d much rather believe, like you have shared, that the reason for my many, many failures is simply because I haven’t yet succeeded. I WILL beat this, I do feel close. Each failure is a lesson … By the way your comment is beautifully written and a joy to read. It’s really made my day. Thank you. C xxx

      • I guess what I am trying to say is that, the fact that you are honest about the struggle is something we can all relate to, because we all struggle with various things. I personally hate to see someone crowing about how easy such-and-such was for them, because I can’t identify with that—give me a person who reaches their goal only after a lot of sweat, tears, and setbacks. That’s the kind of hero I can relate to.

        I have a lot of different things that I struggle with in life, so I can understand how hard it is, how there are setbacks. But having setbacks is normal, something to be expected. So, I don’t want you to feel discouraged, because I see you as a winner, someone shooting for the long-term prize. I know a lot of people who have struggled with weight, and the only ones who have lost the battle are the ones who have given up. To be able to get up after a defeat and fight again…well, that’s hero stuff. That’s you, Carolyn—a hero.

        Please don’t let people get you down with negative comments—they just are reinforcing a validation for themselves by doing so because they lack that sense of personal confidence…and so they try to establish it by an assertion of a supposed superiority. It is a hollow effort on their part; anyone who can only feel good about themselves by being hurtful to another is acting out of shame. Simone Weil, my favorite philosopher(I’m Jewish, so I loves me some Simone!), put it thus: “A hurtful act is the transference to another of the humiliation one feels within themselves.” I try to bear that in mind when people are hurtful and negative.

        I will share something personal…Carolyn, we are roughly the same age, and, coming of age as I did during the time that I did, I am HIV+. And people have reacted negatively towards me because of that for decades. I have often been reminded, sometimes subtly, sometimes not-so-subtly, that this is my “fault”, that it is a lack of character that has somehow made me thus, because I was not moral enough, or religious enough, or careful enough, to avoid it. The truth of the matter is that I was not knowledgeable enough; the first reports about what would eventually be known as HIV/AIDS were issued just shortly before my fifteenth birthday, and back then, no one knew anything.

        But, again, some people have to find validation by assuming a superior stance toward others.

        I don’t know quite why I have been confessional here…I guess that I just want to say that, being someone who is, as I have often said, a man who may as well have a target on my back, who has something for so many to hate…gay, Jewish, HIV+…I can relate to people being hateful and negative. But I have realized, at long last, that this is their problem, and not mine. I hope you know the truth of that too.

        Don’t get down because of the naysayers, and please know that you aren’t alone. There is an army of individuals struggling with many different things, and having you set the example of courage and resistance is marking out the battle plan, giving orders to the troops. Carolyn, you are the general leading this army—over five million blog visits tells just how large an army it is! And what general worth his salt didn’t suffer some wounds along the way? You have earned a purple heart, but the important heart is the one you have shown us all along, the one leading the battle.

        Did I mention that I think you are a hero? Because I think you are. 🙂

        ~ Jack

      • You are also a hero Jack, I don’t care if you are gay, HIV+, Jewish or whatever (actually some of my best friends are gay! and I am a Pagan) YOU are a wonderful human being and a great raiser of low spirits! THANK YOU!!

      • I agree with Tempewytch, a great raiser of spirits indeed! And you write so beautifully, that simple act is a joy! Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with everyone and I really appreciate your comments. I read them this morning actually but had to head out to a meeting at work, wanted time to respond properly. The more I think about life the more I just don’t understand hatefulness. People are people are people, each one of us as different as the stars in the universe or leaves on a tree. We marvel at the splendour of such things until it comes to humans where we are cautious about the beauty of difference. We judge, we become judgemental. I think you come across as a caring and warm human being Jack with empathy and wisdom and a great way of expressing feelings. Thank you for taking time to write and sending some hugs your way, I know you’ve delighted quite a few of us on here with your lovely responses. Take care of yourself xxx C

  13. Carolyn,
    You give me so much strength to pick up and keep going. Learning to eat healthy and lose the weight is so hard. But we can do this You are not alone in your struggles. We can win this battle and be happy healthy people. Thank you for all you do!!!

    • Hi Cindy, just got home from work and sat down with my first cup of coffee of the day and it’s lovely to get such encouraging comments left on the blog, thank you xxx Good luck to us all! xxx C

  14. I guess I have out-posted allowable additions on my original comment thread, so I have to start a new one. 🙂

    Tempewytch & Carolyn, you two are absolute sweeties! <3 You are too kind to me—I think the only thing notable about me is that I have reached middle-age, and have the perspective now of looking back on my past and seeing the many ways I could have been kinder, or more supportive, or patient, or whatever…and this gives me pause to think and not be so rash. I wouldn’t exactly say that I have “matured”, but I have managed to grow up a little bit. Men are creatures who usually retain too much immaturity than is good for them; I speak of myself, of course, when I say this. There are plenty of people who think I am a major jerk, and I certainly have earned that distinction for some of the immature moments I’ve had in life. I comfort myself by thinking that probably everyone can look back on their past and cringe a little. But I try to be much, much better these days. My friend Mollie says that I might be worthy of sainthood if the canonization involved an actual cannon… 😀

    But I truly am in awe of this blog, and how it manages to weave together so many things, from the historical interest, to practical & frugal living, to self-help, to social concerns. Did you ever get a look at the link to the “First-Hand, First Rate” vegan cookbook PDF that I left quite a while ago? It really is a very interesting read, showing vegan cooking from its earliest moments of that distinction; that is, “vegan.”

    Tempewytch, I wanted to add that I have known many Pagan individuals, especially during my art school days, and I have always thought them sensational people. I think there is a wisdom to a nature-centered reverence, something we have largely lost these days. I think the world would be better to return to such ideals, and it gives me hope that there are clearly seeds of such awareness sprouting and bearing fruit. One of the precepts of Kabbalah is that “God” is ultimately unknowable, but reveals aspects of itself(I refuse to assign a gender) through various planes of existence, the most immediate and accessible one being nature, the natural world. I like that thought, but like even more the beauty of Pagan ideals that see us as part of nature, not separate from it or greater than its many components. After all, I don’t see why my life should necessarily have more meaning than the life of a thousand year-old redwood tree, or the chattering birds that I so enjoy having visit my vicinity. Actually, I am quite sure that they have done, and do, far more good than I have in my life here.

    Well, I must dash off and face the day. I apologize for the tardy reply, but I wasn’t feeling well at all yesterday and had to lay low. I hope the day is wonderful for you both….your kindness has already made my day bright and cheerful. 🙂

    ~ Jack

    • Good morning Jack, just rushing to get myself off to work (having already dropped my eldest daughter off at work in the city at 5:30 am this morning). I’m hoping to get into work at 7:15 this morning (an hour early) seeing as I’m up so early and leave an hour early to get more walking in! I will respond properly tonight as there are some good discussion points in your response! Just also to quickly say that YES the PDF is a great read, I am going to download it onto my tablet and re-read it tonight if I am not too tired. Here is the link if anyone else wants a look https://spiralseed.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/first-hand-first-rate.pdf C xx

      • Just read this passage from one of her leaflets in 1972.. over 45 years ago and she is calling for what is needed today to sustain our population. “There is widespread concern over the human ‘population explosion’ which threatens to lead to grave shortages of food and other essentials and to add seriously to the pollution of the environment. Few people realise that the earth is having to support another population explosion – that of the animals deliberately bred by man for food. This population puts an even greater strain on the environment and one that is quite unnecessary, for man can get all the food he needs much more economically direct from plants.

        Land released from livestock feeding and luxury crops and made available for the growth of essential plant foods for direct human consumption could provide plenty for all the world’s people. Accompanied by a system of just and secure land tenure by local producers, such a policy could eliminate one of the major causes of disease, unrest and war.

        The chief obstacles to man’s survival on this overburdened planet lie in the minds of men. Most people find difficulty in adjusting to ideas that do not fit in with the habits and thought patterns of generations – especially when, as with feeding habits in the West, both producers and consumers are subject to the high pressure salesmanship of the meat, dairy and chemical industries.

        If we are to meet the challenge of the human population explosion, we must free ourselves from all ‘sacred cows’, all outdated ideas and learn to think and act boldly, imaginatively and compassionately.”

        Two Population Explosions (Vegan Society leaflet) – 1972

        SETTING ASIDE whether one is vegetarian, vegan, omnivore etc her thoughts above would make an excellent topic of discussion about how humans move forward to sustain their future….

      • Hi, sweetie!!!

        I have been out of the loop this week, but finally have a chance to catch my breath. Isn’t it amazing that something we think of as recent, being vegan, is actually not recent at all? It gives me an enormous sense of security just knowing that veganism has roots, real roots, and isn’t just some passing fad. Previously, the earliest I had ever come across “vegan” as a term was in Laurel’s Kitchen, the vegetarian cookbook from 1974. It’s funny, but in that book, it is specifically stressed that vegan is to be pronounced as vej-an, with a short e, as in “vegetable.” Clearly Laurel was misinformed on this point.

        It is a good cookbook, though not vegan. It has a lot of good recipes for soy sandwich spreads. Two other older cookbooks that I think are interesting: “The Gluten Book” by LeArta Moutlon, probably the earliest seitan cookbook, from 1969, and “How To Make All The Meat You Eat Out Of Wheat” by Nina and Michael Shandler. Neither book is vegan—LeArta suggests cooking gluten in chicken broth—but they are good resources for making seitan.

        Have you made cashew cheese yet? That might be something you would be interested in—I make it myself, ever since I discovered how easy it is. The one crucial thing you need is agar powder; I had to order it, since my local specialty store doesn’t stock it, unusual for Southern California. My dear, I must be off and running this morning, but I shall leave you with this recipe for cashew cheese, plus my love and hugs! 😀 😀 😀

        ~ Jack

        Cashew Cheese:


        1/2 package Pomona’s Pectin (must use this brand! Otherwise it won’t set!)
        1 C. water
        1 C. raw cashews
        2 T. lemon juice
        2 T. nutritional yeast
        1 t. sea salt
        1/2 t. onion powder
        1 t. garlic powder
        1/2 to 2 t. crushed red pepper flakes (depending on your heat-o-meter)
        1 t. agar powder
        you can also quickly stir in some added some canned green chilies and pimientos just before putting in containers to set, but doing so will cause the cheese to have a bit of a shorter shelf life.


        Lightly oil half (6) of a cupcake tin rounds in a pan with a 12 cupcake capacity (or if you have a 6 cup one, just use that!). Use your blender to combine 1/2 package of the dry pectin (about 4.5 teaspoons) and the agar powder with the water and lemon juice. Pour water mixture into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat while stirring constantly. Set to low heat and let simmer while you grind cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder and onion powder until very fine in food processor or with your blender. Do not over process and make nut butter.
        Mix 1/2 C. water (not included in amount above list) with the small calcium packet from the pomona’s pectin package, set aside. Pour the boiled water mixture over the ground cashew mixture into the power blender, ignoring instructions in your blender manual that say not to use boiling water in it. Blend until smooth and creamy. It’s gonna thicken quickly, so immediately add HALF (1/4 C.) of the calcium water and the crushed red pepper flakes and pulse until all combined. Immediately pour the hot cheese into the prepared cupcake tin(s).
        Refrigerate uncovered for an hour. Turn mini cashew cheeses out onto a plate (upside down) and let set uncovered in the fridge for another 4-5 hours. 1 serving of cashew cheese is half of one mini round, which is the perfect amount for 1 grilled cheese sandwich or 1 quesadilla. This recipe makes 12 servings of cheese. Don’t forget to store the rest of your pectin and calcium water for the next batch. Calcium water stores well in the fridge and the pectin will store in your pantry indefinitely. Cashew cheese keeps for about a week in the fridge and freezes well.

      • Just had to post this link to the Vegan Society documentary from 1976—-very interesting! 😀

  15. I have been a fan of yours and reading the blog since you Canada days. I think you are an amazing writer. We are much alike in our weight and food history that we are yo-yo dieters. I too have lost a lot of weight at one time then gave up and put on all I lost and then some.

    About 25 years ago I got completely tired of the up and down and all the sad and frustrated feelings. I was also having some health issues and my doctor told me that the up and down in my weight was worse for me than if I just stayed at a heavy weight. I thought he was crazy but I decided that I would just stop all the dieting and just eat. Try and concentrate on eating healthily (vegetarian) but not worry about my weight. I went up about 10 lbs but then I seemed to settle into an eating habit that did not stress me out. In fact after a year I actually lost 15 lbs without even trying and not ever feeling inadequate again. Such a relief to not be thinking of my weight all the time.

    Later on I did lose 110 lbs simply by eating the right foods and portion control and walking Kept it off for 7 years but gained some back with the meds I am on for my cancer. But still eating in a healthy way.

    You are doing great. If however you get tired (as we all do) I would like to suggest that you do not give in entirely but instead just increase what you are eating and add some extras for a while. Then go back to what you are doing so well.

  16. Dear Carolyn, I have enjoyed reading your blog for years.
    You struggle on bravely and inspire others.

    I read recently that if 99% of people cannot lose weight on a diet, or having got some weight off, cannot keep it off, then there is something wrong with the diet, and it is cruel to blame the dieters. The whole diet industry wants people to fail, so they can prey on them. DH was rewarded with sweets when he reached targets at Weight Watchers!

    I have had some success with Low Carb, Healthy Fat eating recommended by Dr Michael Mosley and others. It seems to make sense, and at least I don’t have the cravings for sweet things anymore, and I don’t feel hungry all the time. I was seriously addicted to sugar and was snacking frequently, and that went after the first few days. It may be the way to go for a healthy life.

  17. I just love your blog.you never give up. I love the 1940s recipes you have and am working my way through them. They are mostly real scrummy an don’t have lots of ingredients. You are doing wonderfully awasome.

  18. It took me many years (and my kids getting sick) to realize my weight gain was from carbs. Specially gluten. Once I removed that from my diet, the weight came off. Of course, I also cut out all processed foods and had very limited cane sugar (subbed stevia, dates, maple syrup, honey for sweeteners). I have been gluten free for 14 years now but will still gain weight if I eat too many gf carbs (white potatoes, rice, gf breads, etc). So I eat them in limited amounts. I am sharing this because perhaps you have a similar trigger? I don’t believe in one-size-fits-all diets. But wanted to share in case it helped.


Leave a Reply