Photo by Steve Snodgrass on Flickr

This week has been a battle of time: the pressure to get work tasks finished to a deadline versus the time and energy it takes to prepare meals from scratch.  It’s a battle that I saw coming and prepared for in a way. I  got a few ready-made meals in, but from a company that cooks them like you would at home, so no processed stuff. I chose the lowest carb and sugar options, bunged them in the freezer, and then relied on them quite heavily last week. Mostly, we both enjoyed them, and they had the added advantage of controlling portion size for me, something I am not that good at doing for myself. It’s not damaged our weight loss, either. Two pounds for Andrew, three for me.

I’ve been thinking a bit more about food in between meals this week, not as much as before I started the Harcombe Diet, but more than last week, and I have noticed it creeps up on me towards the end of a busy work day. I need to watch that, and make sure I am not doing too many hours at work and wearing down my stamina.

We are Phase 1 still, and I am not snacking, but after the evening meal,  we are having cashews and pistachio nuts (unsalted, not roasted) as well as two dark chocolate squares. I have struggled with the tea ever since I started, and have succumbed to taking milk in my tea at home, but not at work. I’m still missing sweetness in my hot drinks, but have resisted the temptation so far. I hope it won’t be too much longer before I get used to tea and coffee without sweeteners; it’s the one thing I think I am most likely to crack on first, which I didn’t expect!

The next test is dining out next week. I am away for work overnight, and eating out with friends. I’ve picked the restaurant, and I know it’s somewhere I can find good choices, but will I make them? We’ll see.

The easy dinner options have allowed me to spend more time with my knitting, which has been lovely. I feel more relaxed for having the needles in my hands most evenings, and I am sure that being more relaxed must help my willpower in sticking to THD. I’ve finished a chunky cowl, which is much needed with the very chilly spells we’ve been having lately, and I have almost finished a second one for a friend. I rarely knit in super-chunky, and it is great to see a project come together so quickly. If only losing weight more quickly was simply a question of picking a thicker yarn!

In many ways all this feels a lot like FWP – First World Problems, or at least First World Preoccupations. I didn’t intend to get political on this blog at all, but this has been the first week of Trump’s presidency, and marked by exactly what I expected (dreaded) having heard rather too much of his despicable rhetoric and lies. I can’t let it go unremarked. I’ve donated to a couple of organisations in the US that I think will need all the help they can get to fight his particularly nasty brand of politics, American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, and here’s why:

By an executive order this week, Trump revived a ban on US foreign aid to organisations that discuss abortion as a family planning option or campaign for abortion rights. There is already a ban on US tax dollars going to overseas clinics that provide abortions, but this extends it to funding to nongovernmental organisations if they offer abortion counseling or if they advocate the right to seek abortion in their countries. That means fewer people campaigning for the right to abortions for women who are raped (a common tactic of warfare in some parts of the world) and become pregnant as a result. That means closed clinics for all sorts of contraception, and higher rates of unwanted pregnancies, in countries where decent healthcare is already hard to come by for many people, and the death rate in pregnancy and child mortality rates are much higher than they ought to be. But on top of that, it also drives the sort of outcomes that Trump and his ilk claim to be trying to avoid: more abortions. A study of 20 sub-Saharan African countries by Stanford University researchers found that in countries that relied heavily on funding from the United States for reproductive health services, abortion rates rose when the policy was in place.

As for the ACLU, they have got off to a flying start … this week, they and others challenged Trump’s executive order banning nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the USA. The ACLU  won a stay from a federal court on behalf of Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who had been detained at JFK airport. He had been working as an interpreter for the US armed forces in Iraq, and accord to one platoon leader had saved countless US service members’ lives. Just the sort of person you would want in your country and on your side if you were a patriotic US citizen, you’d think. Not Trump. But thanks to the ACLU, for now, he’s not going anywhere.