I've only three days to go before I end up in London for Cybermummy, the parent blogging conference. As I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to get sponsorship from the lovely people at Kelloggs, who made me this handy little badge to show off:
I'm very excited. (Not least about a trip to London without children; a chance to wander round a sight or two, have coffee with a friend, and sleep in a bedroom I don't have to vacuum.) It's not a trip entirely without stress, though - I have to read one of my posts during the crowdsourced keynote, and public speaking is not my strong point. But that's right at the end of the day, so I only have the whole time I'm there to dither about that one. Great.
When Kelloggs offered me sponsorship I offered to blog about the Special K diet website. I liked what Kelloggs said about nutrition during the blogging event they held in January, so I felt confident that the diet plan would be worth a try. I'm not the kind of person who diets for a special occasion - but every so long, the pounds creep on and I need outside help to remind me just what kind of things I should be eating.
The website claims: "All the personal meal plans on MySPK have been developed in conjunction with our expert nutritionists, dietitians and behaviour change experts to harness the latest in scientific thinking and bring you cutting edge advice about managing your weight."
That sounds a little bit too edgy for me, but in fact what you get is just really well-balanced, well-planned meals. You go to the website, you put in your details - including whether you want to cook from scratch or make things a bit easier, and how much alcohol you plan on drinking.
(I like wine. This is part of the reason I could stand to lose a few pounds. That, and chocolate. I may be undisciplined, but at least I'm self-aware.)
And then the system spins and whirrs and there it is - a meal plan. A really healthy one, too, with all your five a day and your fibre and your protein and then some fun things like pots of custard and scones. There are lots of snacks (I need snacks) and some lovely recipes, like asparagus risotto and cod with couscous, herbs and vegetables (below). No low-carb, low-GI, this-food-goes-with-that-food nonsense that I can't understand.
A few years ago I remember there was a diet advertised where you ate cereal for breakfast and lunch. Rest assured, this isn't it. I didn't even eat any Special K during the two weeks I did the diet - any low-fat cereal was okay, and some mornings I got porridge, or poached eggs or even a bacon buttie. Two weeks on, and I was 5lbs lighter, but most importantly I felt like I'd been eating really well.
And that was the thing I liked most about the diet, quite aside from the 5lbs. I even went back on the diet with no intention of losing weight a couple of weeks ago, when a bout of tiredness left me peeved with meal planning and at risk of throwing constant bowlfuls of very slight variants of pasta with pesto onto the table. After a week of extra sleep, regular healthy portions of food and the odd slice of cake (like I said, I had no good intentions) I felt a lot better than I would have done if left to my own devices.
It is, however, a month or two since this happened, and one of the 5lbs has gone back on. Only one though - and that's hardly Kelloggs' fault. At no point during the diet did the website say: "After completing the diet, buy multipacks of Galaxy bars from the discount shop in an attempt to save money by buying in bulk, then munch stoically through them. Also drink additional wine, especially if it is the school holidays or you are in a tent or at the in-laws or just a bit bored."
As I said, undisciplined. Self-aware. And if I see you at Cybermummy, don't expect me to look like the kind of woman who regularly diets.