Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Vanishing act...

I'm sorry, I haven't vanished again I promise. I just thought I'd quickly stop by and tell you where I'm at...

I have missed two weigh-ins the last two weeks, I haven't wanted to weigh in because I know I'm making bad choices again and binging. Also because I don't feel like I have the energy to think about nutrition, because it really does take up a lot of time and energy. This isn't just me feeling lazy (although it is a part of it) but some things happening in my life at the moment are just draining me mentally and physically.

First up, my little boy is starting school tomorrow, and it's overtaking my life! First there was buying the school uniform, shoes, book bags, PE kits, getting his hair cut, and then he suddenly outgrew all his underwear overnight too. There's been the school dinner debate, making sure he'll drink water during the day at school, labelling everything down to the last sock, and on top of everything he's bouncing off the walls because he's so excited. Exhausting.

Then, my sister in law had a baby three weeks ago. They knew very early on in the pregnancy that she had a hole in her heart but that it was a small one and would be fixable with surgery when she was about a year old. But once she was born they discovered it was two holes not one, and since then she has developed a leaky valve too. So, in short, she is very very poorly at the moment, so much so that we are going to visit at the weekend and it might be to say hello and goodbye at the same time :( It's breaking my heart and it's all I can think about, when I'm not rushed off my feet with my own two pickles.

Mr FGS's job is not going terribly well at the moment either, so on top of all that we are struggling with money. So when I am hungry instead of reaching for the fruit bowl, I'll pick something cheaper and more filling (usually bread, not exactly the best thing to have) and save the fruit for the kids. And theor are other things that are just making me a bit sad and down, that I don't want to talk about here, but it is all contributing to a downward spiral.

So like I said, food wise the best choices aren't being made and I'm suffering for it. Feeling bloated and no energy. Ollie starts school tomorrow, so I'm hoping to have more time to cook and exercise, and just clear my head. I'm not giving up, just shifting it to the back burner for a day or two. So don't panic if I don't update for a while!

I hope you're all well! If you're that way inclined a little prayer or thought for my niece would really be welcomed. Thank you.

Hx

Friday, 24 August 2012

Salad Days

I've recently developed an allergy to tomatoes, which, in my world, is devastating! I love and adore tomatoes, in all shapes and sizes and various forms. I was practically weaned on tomatoes and usually grow my own in the summer (although this year's monsoon weather put paid to that). Now, if I eat them, it makes my mouth really sore and my chest tight  which is very very scary!

To me, a salad isn't a salad without a tomato. Or it used to be. This recent allergy has made me look at the way I see salads. A salad is a dieter's friend, but it can soon get rather boring if you're eating lettuce, tomato and cucumber at every meal... So I've been coming up with some ways to spice up your salad.

Chose your leaves

Are you an iceberg fan, or do you favour a little gem? The leaf is usually the basis for a good salad, and there are so many available now there's no reason not to vary them. I like to buy bags of pre-washed salad leaves, for convenience mostly, but also because of the variety. Our favourite is a babyleaf salad, but you can try rocket, spinach, beetroot leaves, watercress. Whatever takes your fancy. A good old round lettuce can be a nice change from the more "exotic" too!



Once you've got your leaves, what goes on top. I often find myself piling everything salad-like on top, but you really don't have to. Chose three or four "toppings", such as:

  • cucumber
  • tomato *sob*
  • peppers
  • carrot (grated, cubed, thinly sliced with a speed peeler...)
  • olives
  • herbs (I like basil or mint)
  • beetroot
  • beansprouts
  • mushrooms
  • radish
  • celery
  • onions
Know your onions

A good onion can add a sharp kick to your salad, but again you can vary them. Spring or salad onions are quick and convenient (snip them with scissors) but try red onion, spanish onion or even a couple of pickled onions for variety.

Pickle it

Talking of pickled onions, pickled beetroot, gherkins or cauliflower can also be a great addition to a salad. Add a blob of sweet pickle to turn your salad into a ploughmans.

Fruity twist

Still missing that tomato? I've been experimenting with adding fruit to my salad. Grapes, strawberries (great with balsamic dressing), melon, mango, apple or raisins will make a great addition to a good salad.

Protein power

Now you've got your basics, add the protein you need to make this a meal. Chicken salad will get boring really quick if you have it regularly, but combine it with bacon and a mustard dressing, or with mango and a curried mayonaise and it's a completely different meal. Other great protein sources for salad are:

  • lean ham
  • prawns
  • tuna
  • boiled eggs
  • cottage cheese
  • chorizo (quite fatty but a little goes a long way!)
  • lean bacon or turkey bacon
  • crab sticks
  • omlette
  • reduced fat cheese (try feta or mozzarella)
  • quiche (crustless quiche recipe coming soon!)



Dress it up

Now here's a stumbling block - the dressing. You don't want to add a load of calories at the last minute, so chose wisely. I like to use balsamic vinegar, but raspberry vinegar is nice too. If you're buying a shop bought dressing, do for one that contains less than 40 calories per 100mls or is marketed as a lighter choice (my current favourite is honey and mustard). You can also buy 1 calorie salad sprays that are intensively flavoured so that just a few sprays (at 1 calorie each) are needed. If you're a fan of mayonnaise or salad cream, chose on that's "extra light" or "lighter than light" and try mixing it with fat free fromage frais to make it go further. Or water down some fat free natural yoghurt and add some finely chopped mint, for a dressing that feels really creamy and indulgent, without all the fat.


Things to avoid

This may sound obvious, but if you're trying to keep your salad healthy there are some things to avoid:

  • croutons
  • full fat cheese
  • crispy onions
  • crispy bacon
  • creamy or oily dressings
  • chips on the side!
I enjoy salads, and I always have, but it can get boring, very quickly. I hope I've given you some ideas and inspiration to spice up your salad! Let me know your suggestions too :)

Hx

Monday, 20 August 2012

Weekly Weigh In - Back in the zone

Morning!

Monday again, so I trotted off to the pharmacy and hopped onto the scales. Ok, so it was more like dragged myself to the pharmacy and forced myself onto the scales - it is Monday! But, it paid off since I have lost 2.8lbs this week :)

Last week's weight:

13st 13.8 lbs/ 88.9kg (195.8lbs)

This week's weight:

13st 11.0lbs/87.6kg (193lbs)



I'm surprised at how easily I have just slipped back into this dieting lark. It's like I have a new found determination. Long may it last!

Goals this week:
2l or water (been slacking a little bit on this)
Some form of exercise at least once
Carry on food optimising with the Slimming World Extra Easy plan

How has your week been?

Hx

*EDIT* I've just realised I only have 3lbs to lose to get back to where I was at my last Weight Watchers weigh in...can I do it this week? Maybe that's my incentive to work out...

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Jenny Craig Competition


I think at one point or another most of you reading this blog will have considered using something other than your own will power and nutrition knowledge as a route to losing weight. Wouldn't it be so much easier if things were done for you - if you were told what to eat and when, and even had it prepared for you. There are many plans like this available, including Jenny Craig.

If I'm completely honest, if I had the money, I would totally go down the route of using a weight loss plan where food is delivered to me and all I would have to do it heat it up and eat it. Of course, it's not going to stop me buying a slab of chocolate or snacking unhealthily in between meals, but it would take a huge load of the stress of dieting off. I love cooking, but sometimes I want to be cooked for! But, like I said, £50 a week is way out of my budget - in fact, I usually feed a family of four for around this amount.

But to celebrate their newly launched website Jenny Craig Uk are giving bloggers have the chance to win some fantastic prizes (including £400 to spend at Evans Cycles!) just by asking a question.


The prizes on offer include:

1st Prize – A £400 contribution towards a brand new bike from Evans Cycles (http://www.evanscycles.com) and a 28-day Jenny Craig weight loss package including food hampers and personal weekly phone weight loss consultations.

2nd Prize – A £50 voucher for Sheactive (http://www.sheactive.co.uk) and a 28-day Jenny Craig weight loss programme including food hampers and personal weekly phone weight loss consultations.

3rd Prize – Three 3rd prize winners will each get one 28-day Jenny Craig weight loss package including food hampers and personal weekly phone weight loss consultations.

For your chance to win all you need to do is:

A) Cook up a tasty nutritional question to spice up Jenny Craig's new blog;

B) Describe the question you would like Jenny Craig UK's weight management experts to answer on your own blog and link to the contest in your post;

C) Tell us about your entry by leaving a comment with the URL of your entry in the comments on this post on their blog, or tweet @JennyCraigUK using the hashtag #AskJennyCraig before 11.59pm (UK time) on 13th September 2012.

I think my question would be:

I am a big snacker and often eat out of boredom. What would you recommend for some healthy snacks (that aren't boring!) and to keep my mind off food between meals?

Let me know if you enter, I would love to know your questions too!

Hx

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Food plans and sticking to them!

I feel I have been doing really well at sticking to my food plans recently, and that has been helped greatly by posting them here. But I can't help but think it's a little boring to fill my blog up with food diaries! So, I've decided to make my food diary into a google doc, which you can still look at if you want to! That way I can combine it with a tracer of sorts, and if anything changes during the day I can add to it easily and make changes as I need to. I've been doing this for the past few day, and it's really helped to have a spreadsheet that I can just pull up and add my syns and healthy extras into as and when I eat them. For instance yesterday I had planned to have some cheese on my chilli at dinner time for 3 syns, but changed my mind and had a treat size milky way (teeny kids chocolate bar) for 3 1/2 instead. If I wasn't keeping track I might have just had both. I was really proud of myself for making the choice to have the small chocolate and dropping the cheese instead. Baby steps!

So, here is my google doc with my food planner/diary, for anyone interested. I will add a button to my side bar and will try to keep it updated every day, and add a new sheet each week. Another tool in the armoury for staying on track!

Then once a week (hopefully) I will take pictures of what I eat all day, and do a "what I ate today" sort of post - so it's a bit more interesting! I love looking at pictures of what people are eating and find it really gives me inspiration for my own meals, so I'm looking forward to this too!

How do you plan/track your food intake? Are you a pen and paper kinda person? Or have you got it locked down in your head? If you want to use my google doc template, please feel free, and let me know how it works for you!

Hx

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Recipe of the week - Pineapple upsidedown cake

Yep, cake! I'm not a huge cake fan, but the kids were bored and I said we'd make one. This recipe has no fat and looked Slimming World friendly. I worked out the recipe contains 49 1/2 syns for the whole cake, so if you divided it into 10 that's just 5 syns per portion - not too bad for a treat and much better than processed junk! I served mine with coconut Greek 0% yoghurt (Muller, 1/2 syn per 120g pot) for a retro pina colada vibe ;) (The syn values are for all plans)

Pineapple Upsidedown Cake, 10 servings, 5 syns per serving



150g tinned pineapple, drained (2 1/2 syns)
100g sugar (18 syns)
170g self raising flour (27 syns)
2 eggs
100ml skimmed milk (2 syns)
Frylight/low calorie cooking spray

Heat half the sugar and the pineapple in a pan until the sugar caramelises.

Beat together the rest of the ingredients to make a batter.

Grease a loose bottomed baking tin with frylight before tipping in the pineapple and caramel. Pour the batter on top.

Bake in a hot oven (220 degrees or gas mark 7) for 15-20 minutes.

Once cooked, turn out onto a plate as soon as it comes out of the oven or it will stick to the tin as the sugar cools!


Yum!

And now I have this in my head, so I thought I'd give you all an ear worm too ;)



Hx

Today's Food Plan Tuesday 14th August 2012

Morning!

After yesterday's success I'm excited for this week! So here's today's food:

Breakfast:
Porridge magic muffins made with 35g porridge oats (HEb), 2 eggs, Mullerlight and fruit (will post recipe if they work!)

Lunch:
Pasta and broccoli with 60g Kerry Low Low soft cheese (HEa) stirred through

Dinner:
Chicken stir fry with baby sweetcorn, peppers, onions and mange tout, with noodles

Snacks:
Fruit (apples, bananas, plums in the fruit bowl), yoghurt, cucumber, cottage cheese

Drinks:
Water!

Hx

Monday, 13 August 2012

Weekly Weigh In - Back on track!

*Yippee hooray jumps up and down and does a dance*

Ah I'd forgotten how good it feels to have a good loss! And I mean GOOD!

Last weeks weight:

14st 5.3 lbs/ 91.4kg (201.3lbs)

This weeks weight:

13st 13.8 lbs/ 88.9kg (195..8lbs)



Three massive achievements - back under 200lbs, back into the 13 stone range and under 90kg in one week. Just the boost I needed I think!

I haven't done any exercise this week, apart from taking the kids swimming and running around after them all week, and I had a slip up on Friday night with a binge after someone (*coughMrFGScough*) wound me up, so I am more than happy with the result. I haven't felt deprived, or hungry really although the first couple of days were really hard as my body was CRAVING sugar. It didn't help that it was that time of the month either (which Slimming World helpfully calls Star week *puke*).

All those things said, I know 5 1/2 lbs is a big loss and I'm not expecting as big a loss this week. I'll aim for a sensible 2lbs :)

This weeks goals:

2lbs weight loss

2 litres water a day

1 exercise session...maybe

I've put a maybe to the exercise because I'm still struggling to fit it in. It will be easier in a few weeks when my eldest starts lower school full time, I can hopefully get into a routine where I can have a long walk with the little one in the buggy, or do a DVD routine when he's napping. I do run around with them, play in the park, take them swimming etc but everything has to be at their pace so it hardly gets my heart rate up. But, they say it's 30% exercise and 70% nutrition, and I think I'm finally getting the nutrition on track :)

How has your week been?

Hx


Yesterday's food... Sunday 12 August 2012

Ooops, didn't post this yesterday! Sunday is usually the day I get a little lie in and Mr FGS and the kids let me sleep in to 9.30. Not exactly a great lie in but I'll take it! Anyway as soon as I was up they wanted to go to the park so I didn't get breakfast, and paid for it the rest of the day as I was starving an hour after lunch.

Breakfast:
Nothing! Bad Helly

Lunch:
WM pitta bread (HEb), boiled egg, peppers, 1tbsp extra light mayo (1/2 syn), hummus and carrot sticks

Dinner:
Chicken curry (1/2 syn), rice, brocolli

Snacks:
Mug shot, fruit, wm toast x2 (6 syns), 60g kerry low low cheese spread

Am going to weigh myself in a minute, so I'll update soon - feeling kinda nervous!

Hx

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Today's food plan Saturday 11th August 2012

Little bit late today, we've been busy gardening and took the boys to the park. I had a slip last night, that turned into a binge so I need to be extra good the next few days before I weigh on Monday. I am such an emotional eater and I need to work on that.

Today I am having an original (or red) day, which is slightly different - pasta rice and starchy veg like potatoes are restricted and you can have 2 of each healthy extra instead.

Breakfast:
35g porrigde oats (HEb) mixed with pineapple Mullerlight, defrosted frozen berries and coconut 0% fat greek yoghurt (1/2 syn)

Lunch:
Carrot sticks, Apple, 60g Kerry Low Low cheese (HEa), Pack French Fries (4 1/2 syns)

Dinner:
Turkey burger, 42g low fat cheese (HEa), Wholemeal pitta (HEb), butternut squash wedges

Friday, 10 August 2012

Today's food plan Friday 10th August 2012

Good day yesterday :) Getting into the swing of it, and the turkey burgers I made for dinner were lush!

Today's plan:
Breakfast:
Poached eggs, tinned tomatoes, oven baked hash browns, fruit

Lunch:
Wholemeal roll (HEx B), 2 slices Kerry Low Low Cheese, ratatouille (2 syns)

Dinner:
Lamb hotpot

Snacks:
Fruit, yoghurt, cucumber, hummus, tzatziki

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Who you callin' chicken?

So, although I have recommitted myself to eating well and losing weight, I haven't committed myself to any form of exercise yet. My running shoes are buried under my children's wellies and sandals (British weather ftw), I have no idea where my sports bra is and my Zumba DVD is gathering dust. I do want to pick up some exercise again, I just have to fit it in and commit to it.



I have problems committing to exercise because when you have two children and no childcare (my family live 60+ miles away and the eldest is off school until September), and a partner who works irregular hours and sometimes has to travel a lot, getting an hour to myself to go for a run 3 times a week doesn't always happen.

Today, a leaflet came through my door, advertising a new local Zumba class. I like Zumba, I'm not too bad at it (ie I only occasionally trip over my own feet and look like an elephant having a fit) and I enjoy it. The class is at a really convenient location for me, just down the road at a building I work in occasionally and you don't have to pre-book the class or pay up front for a course. And it's only £4 a session, which is affordable. The timing is slightly awkward, as it's around the time my other half gets home (so I would have to leg it down the road) and then he'd have to put the kids to bed. But I deserve an hour to myself right?

The problem is, I am just not brave enough. I really really want to go to this class, I really think I'd benefit from it. But it would mean walking into a room full of people I don't know, who probably know each other, are most likely fitter than me, wont sweat as much as me or even occasionally look like an elephant having a fit. And that scares the proverbial out of me.

Am I being silly? Should I man up and get on with it? I've never been good with new situations like that. I have my little bubble and I'm perfectly happy in it, thank you. But it's holding me back. There is also a new running group in my town that I wanted to go along to, but I can't bring myself to do it. I'm just worried about what people will think of me, or that they'll think I'm weird. Why does that even bother me?

I just don't know what to do. I know I'll probably chicken out, or find an excuse not to go along next Tuesday. But there's a little part of me that wants to go. Ok, a big part, I don't think I have any little parts, teehee!

What do you think? Are you the same?

Hx

Today's food plan Thursday 9th August 2012

Quick one this morning as I'm taking the boys swimming - little bit of exercise! Yesterday was good, I upped my syns to 11 and felt much happier. I don't feel so energy sapped either, so I hope that means my body is adjusting!

Today's food:

Breakfast:
2 low fat sausages (1 syn each), baked beans, fruit

Lunch:
Crustless bacon and potato quiche, salad

Dinner:
Homemade burger, homemade coleslaw (will check syns), wholemeal roll (HEx B), cheese (HEx A), homemade oven chips

Snacks:
Fruit, hummus, cottage cheese, carrots, cucumber, mini twister ice lolly (2 1/2 syns), yoghurt

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Today's Food Plan Wednesday 8th August 2012

Day two over and things are going well. I ate so much fruit and veg yesterday, I think I have a slight orange tinge due to carrot overdose. I can definitely tell I'm upping my water intake as I'm becoming rather well acquainted with my toilet. My body is craving sugar too; I'm breaking out, my hair is greasy and I'm so exhausted without that sugar high! It's only temporary though, hopefully in a few days (once Aunt Flo has departed too) I'll feel better. I only had 3 1/2 syns yesterday, when Slimming World says you should have between 5-15, but I more than made up for it in free food, and I wasn't feeling hungry. I will add some more syns in though, as I don't want to feel deprived. Here's today's food plan.

Breakfast:
Veggie omelette, beans, fruit & yoghurt

Lunch:
Soy & garlic chicken (1 syn), wholemeal pitta (HEx B), salad or veg

Dinner:
Potato skins with cheese (HEx A) bacon and onion filling, salad

Snacks:
Fruit (grapes, apples, bananas, doughnut peaches), carrot sticks, slimming world hummous, cottage cheese, yoghurt

Drinks:
Water, tea, coffee (with milk 1/2 syn), diet coke

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Daily Food Plan Tuesday 7th August 2012

Yesterday's food went well. I stuck to the plan of what I was eating and only had 6 1/2 syns - 3 on cheese in the morning, 1/2 on a splash of milk in tea in the afternoon and another three on cheese in the evening (since when I weighed out my 42g of healthy extra cheese there was a teeny bit left, so as I had enough syns left I had it too). I did get some cravings for sweet stuff (eg chocolate) in the afternoon, but I didn't cave. Water was good too, and I had at least 2 litres. A good start, I hope I can carry on!

Today's food:

Breafast:
Soft boiled eggs and wholemeal soldiers (healthy 'b' choice) with marmite, fruit and yoghurt

Lunch:
Jacket potato with left over turkey bolognaise, 42g reducaed fat cheddar (healthy 'a' choice)

Dinner:
Oriental soy and garlic chicken (seasoning mix 1 syn), stir fried vegetables (no oil), noodles

Snacks:
Fruit (bananas, nectarines, apples and grapes in the fruit bowl), carrot sticks, cottage cheese, boiled egg, syn free hummus if I get around to making it... natural yoghurt, 1 pack of cheese curls if I absolutely must! 4 1/2 syns.

Drinks:
Water, water, water! Diet coke, black tea and coffee or with a splash of milk (1/2 a syn)

Monday, 6 August 2012

Daily Food Plan Monday 6th August 2012

I thought I would post my daily menu plan in order to help keep me on track. I find it really helps me to plan my meals in advance, even if it is only the night before.

Breakfast:
Baked beans on wholemeal toast (Healthy 'b' choice), 20g reduced fat cheddar (3 syns), mullerlight yoghurt, apple

Lunch:
2 quorn barbeque fillets, vegetables, savoury rice

Dinner:
Turkey bolognaise pasta bake, made with lean turkey mince, very low fat cottage cheese, 42g reduced fat cheddar (Healthy 'a' choice), salad

Snacks:
Fruit (bananas, nectarines, apples and grapes in the fruit bowl), carrot sticks, cottage cheese, boiled egg

Drinks:
Water, water, water! Diet coke, black tea and coffee or with a splash of milk (1/2 a syn)

My new starting point...

So, this morning I took myself off to the pharmacy at my local supermarket where they have a set of all singing-all dancing digital scales. Literally. It shouts at you. Fortunately it prints out your vitals discreetly, but it makes sure everyone in there knows what you are doing first...

I stepped on, inserted my 50p and gripped the handles. After measuring my height and weight, it apparently took my body fat percentage too.


At my last Weight Watchers weigh in in March, I weighed 13 stone 8 lbs, or 190lbs. Now I weigh 14 stone 5lbs, or 201lbs. It's not as bad as I thought it might be, but I'm still pretty upset that I've gone back over the 200lb mark, have gained 11lbs and am 13lbs over my lowest weight. But I'm not going to let it depress me, I know why it happened and I know how to change it, and this is a new start! I'm feeling positive.

My goals for the week are:


  1. Get back under 200lbs
  2. Stick to the Slimming World Extra Easy plan, and keep track of my Syns
  3. Get back up to 2 litres of water a day.
I think these three goals are pretty easy to achieve, and when I step on the scale again next Monday I'll feel great. Baby steps. I haven't included any exercise goals yet, as it's food I need to focus on for the moment. If I can fit in a swim or a run, all the better, but I wont beat myself up if I don't manage it.


Happy Monday everyone, have a good week!

Hx

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Slimming World Basics - The Extra Easy Plan

Hi!

So, I said yesterday I would explain some of the basics of Slimming World to anyone who was interested! I hope it will help concrete it in my mind too, so bear with me! I wont be going into explicit detail, as I'm sure that would breach some kind of copy right or trade mark or something, but if you have any questions feel free to ask!

When you go to a Slimming World meeting, you'll be introduced to three different plans. There are Original (or red) days, Green days and the more recent addition, Extra Easy days. At the moment, I will be following the Extra Easy plan the majority of the time simply because it does what it says on the tin and is really easy to follow! Not that Original and Green are hard to get to grips with, but I find the choice on Extra Easy is wider and I feel more satisfied.

Food is split into three groups; Free food, Healthy Extras and Syns. The majority of your food for the day should come from the free food group - but the range of free food is huge! And you can eat as much of it as you like - eat until you are full.

Free Food
Free food is split into two groups - free and superfree. Superfree foods are fruit and vegetables which are free on all plans, no matter which you are following. These include (but are not limited to):
Fruit - fresh or frozen but not cooked or tinned
Vegetables - with a few exceptions such as peas, sweetcorn, parsnips, potato and sweet potato


On the Extra Easy plan, these things are also free:


Eggs - poached, scrambled, boiled, fried using low fat cooking spray - in fact any way you like as long as no fat is added
Fat free and very low fat dairy - including plain and some fruit yoghurt, very low fat cottage cheese, very low fat fromage frais, skimmed milk soft cheese such as quark
Meat replacement, such as quorn, textured vegetable protein (TVP and tofu)
Low calorie soft drinks, black tea and coffee

There also also things like stock cubes, dried herbs and other seasonings that are free. Also, fat free salad dressings that are less than 40 calories per 100ml can be used freely.


Meat and poultry - Bacon, beef, chicken, ham, pork, turkey ect. all skin and visible fat removed. Mince should contain less than 5% fat. Most things like sausages and burgers have a syn value.
Fish and seafood - Cod, haddock, prawns, tuna etc, free unless canned in oil
Pulses - beans (including baked beans), lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans etc
Rice, pasta and grains - Couscous, all types of dried pasta, quinoa, bulgar wheat etc, all types of rice
Starchy vegetables - potatoes, peas, sweetcorn, parsnips, sweet potatoes etc



So as you can see that is a huge list! All of it can be enjoyed freely, and will fill you up. No weighing, no counting. It is pretty easy to create whole meals from just the free foods.

Healthy Extras

Healthy extras are additional foods that our bodies need for health. On the Extra Easy plan you chose one 'a' choice and one 'b' choice per day.

'A' choices are dairy foods that are high in calcium, for example an 'a' choice could be:

  • 350ml skimmed milk
  • 28g cheddar
  • 42g feta
  • 42g mozzarella
  • 42g reduced fat cheddar
  • 3 mini babybel light cheeses


'B' choices are high in fibre, for instance:
  • 35g porridge oats
  • 2 weetabix
  • 57g wholemeal bread
  • 4 original ryvita
Syns

Syns stands for synergy, and every food that isn't on the free foods list has a syn value, and this is why you really need access to the slimming world literature, either through the online source or through meetings. Everyday, you can have up to 15 syns - use them for a treat (a 140ml glass of wine is 5 syns, or a 2 finger it kat is 5.5) or add some extra cheese (6 syns per ounce/28g), a bit of sauce (extra light mayo is 1 1/2 syns per 2 level tablespoons and 4 tablespoons of gravy, made with granules is 1 syn) or a slice of bread (3 syns).



I hope I haven't confused the hell out of you here! It can be a little overwhelming at first, but it soon all sins in. And it works! I know it sounds mad that you can eat all the pasta, meat, eggs etc that you like, but really, you can. Of course, you have to chose to eat these things instead of the high syns foods like chocolate and crisps, and that's the part that I'll struggle with. I'm going to weigh in in the morning, hopefully that will shock me enough to banish the cravings!

If you have any questions, please ask and I'll do my best to answer. But really and truly, if you want to follow this plan you need to have it explained by someone trained to explain it, and you need access to the literature. There is no class near me at the moment, so once I get my finances sorted I'll be joining the online resource. Until then, I'm going it alone! Wish me luck!

Hx


This is not a sponsored post and I was not offered any remuneration for writing. All opinions are my own. All diet plans should be followed with caution and I highly recommend seeing advice from a Slimming World consultant before embarking on the plan.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

It's time...

...to stop making excuses!

I've decided to begin again. Make a new start and get this weight loss journey to its conclusion. The truth? I'd completely stopped the 'diet', any exercise regime had fallen by the wayside and my heart just wasn't in it. I wasn't enjoying following the plan I was using, and finances meant I had to stop going to my Weight Watchers meetings. All credit to Weight Watchers, I lost close to 3 stones (40lbs exactly) following their plan but I was finding myself constantly hungry, depriving myself not just of treats but even skipping whole meals in an effort to lose weight and it was maing me miserable. Combined with the fact that I just find the plan really hard to stick to without going to group and having the online tools available to me, I gave up. I admit it.

I wasn't doing badly, 6 weeks after stopping my subscription I'd only gained two pounds from my last weigh in, which I was surprised at. I didn't feel like I was gaining weight, my clothes still fitted, I had bony bits where I should have bony bits and people were still telling me I looked good. This isn't the case any more. most of my clothes still fit, but clothes which only just fit me at the start of the summer definitely don't fit anymore! My hips have a bit more padding and my bra straps are feeling a little bit tighter. I don't have a scale at home I don't now the damage in term of pounds and ounces, but I'm guessing I've gained at least a stone (14lbs).

I don't want my clothes not to fit. I have spent most of my adult life with such a limited wardrobe, only being able to shop in plus size stores and I am enjoying being able to buy and wear what I like rather than just what fits! Being a size 14-16 (US 10-12) means that I can shop in most of the main high street stores without worrying that I'm going to struggle finding my size. If I carry on, this isn't going to be the case much longer.

I was also without my laptop or internet access for a good 2-3 months. The laptop is old and literally falling to pieces. It's been revived, but goodness knows how long for. But as long as it's working I'm going to use it to keep me accountable. Through this blog, facebook groups and other inspiration sites. Pinterest, recipes, exercise vids on youtube are all in my arsenal to get me back on track!

So, starting on Monday, and will weigh in at the scales at the pharmacy. I'll be following the Slimming World Extra Easy plan. I followed Slimming World in between having my two boys and it did work for me. The only reason I chose Weight Watchers this time was because there is no Slimming World group in my area any more. But I find Slimming World easier to follow alone, and also it is easier to fill myself up and avoid feeling hungry on the Extra Easy Plan. I'll post sometime in the week on the basics of the plan - it'll help me get it concreted in my mind too!

So, I'm back! The journey is far from over, but I'm determined to get there. I'm actually excited!


Hx

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Long overdue update...

Hello! I haven't vanished, I'm still here! Just about. I haven't updated in a while for many reasons, not all of them weight loss related. I am struggling, flailing, sinking maybe, in more areas than one. It's as though everything is conspiring against me, and if I'm truthful, while diet and exercise has been in the forefront of my mind it's been the last thing I've wanted to pay any attention to.

On Tuesday this week I gained half a pound, which to be honest was a complete surprise because I was expecting a gain of at least 3 or 4 with how bad my diet had been that week. So the weight loss gods smiled on me and I should have learnt my lesson and got back on the wagon this week. But I haven't, and this week has been almost just as bad. I can't remember the last time I did any exercise other than walking to take my eldest to school. I am in a major funk and I can't get out of it.

I don't want to have the relationship that I have with food any more. I want to eat what I want, when I want it and lose weight but of course, that's silly. I can't have it both ways but am finding that following the plan I am is making me feel deprived. Which is equally ridiculous because nothing is banned and I can have a little bit of what I want. If I want chocolate, I can have a small chocolate bar. If I want bread, that's fine too. But, I can't stop at one biscuit or a small piece of cheese. Which is ridiculous because who needs to eat a family sized pack of crisps? I just can't stop myself though. I've tried not having it in the house, but there are certain things I have to have for the children, or Mr FGS. And if there really is nothing "naughty" I'll eat an excessive amount of what is there. Stuff which is fine in moderation, but moderation isn't in my vocab at the moment.

What's causing all this? I don't know exactly, but a combination of things I guess. Stress is a major factor, but I can't take the stress out of my life at the moment. Financially, we're up the proverbial creek, and this rolls down onto other things that get me down. I have lost almost 3 stone, but am still wearing clothes from 6 months ago (even things I wore when I was pregnant, although they're mostly bed clothes) because we can't afford to buy new, or even second hand. Mr FGS lost his job just after Christmas, and therefore all the benefits that came with it. His company car, laptop and phone all were returned, severely limiting the work he can do now and therefore our income has been slashed. Then the car which we took out a loan for and bought 3 weeks ago broke down last weekend, costing us another £200 to fix. Within the space of 4 hours, the car broke down and my laptop, phone and camera all stopped working. Just small things that all added together make me want to cry.

Of course, Mr FGS is working all of the hours he can to try and bring money in. The majority of my evenings are spent in alone, which again makes food difficult because I don't want to buy and cook a meal just for myself. So I plan to have a jacket potato or a salad but when the time comes, once the children are fed, bathed and settled down for the night I go for a sandwich, packed with cheese, mayo, or something equally unhealthy. Of course I could use my time alone in the evenings to do a workout DVD or switch the Wii on, but having eaten badly and been on my own with 2 young children all day I just can't bring myself to do it. Andrew comes home around 9 or 10pm and goes almost straight to bed. It's lonely, and also putting a strain on our relationship.

He's now working all weekend (even on Mothers day tomorrow) and I am stuck in the house with the children alone again. I don't drive, it's raining and we couldn't even go for a walk because another thing which broke last weekend is my pram. It's fine for short trips to the shops or the school run, but the wheel falls off every 5 minutes and it is impossible to steer so a walk in the woods a few minutes from us is impossible. And of course, replacing the pram is out of our financial reach for at least another week and a half, if not longer than that and I am at my wits end.

So the long and short of it is that I am turning to food for comfort, because I feel like it is the only thing I have. At least it's better than alcohol, right? It's what I've always done, and I guess that habit is hard to break. But it is making me feel worse with every mouthful. I know I shouldn't be doing it, and it certainly isn't making me feel any better, but I can't help myself.

I am sorry this has been such a long and negative update, I just wanted to let you know what's been happening and why I've been, and probably will continue to be, a bit quiet. I need to work on my head and heart, and hopefully my body will follow!

Hx

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Weekly Update and SCC week 9 review

I nearly didn't write this update. I am about ready to give up, or do something drastic. This week I exercised 5 times, ate within my points every day except for Saturday (which would have been covered by the extra activity points I earned), got 2l of water every day, and had what I consider to be a "good week". So I should be celebrating a loss and giving my halo a polish. But I gained 1 1/2lbs. For no reason. I can't blame my monthly cycle, because I'm right in the middle of it. I'm perfectly healthy, not suffering from a cold or any other ailments. I sweated through a run, two zumba sessions, a pilates session and a legs, bums and tums DVD. I mostly ate clean, not too many carbs, lots of fruit and veg, lean meat and dairy. Over the weekend I had a few biscuits and an extra slice of bread, I refuse to believe a that would make me gain a pound and a half. Plus like I said, on the Weight Watchers system you can earn extra points from activity, and over the week I clocked up more than enough. I can't give up any more of the things I love! I drink mostly water and have almost completely given up caffiene - I used to drink almost 2 litres of diet coke a day, now I have a small 500ml bottle once a week and only allow myself one decaff coffee a day - which I don't even have any milk in. I snack on fruit, veg and rice cakes, instead of crisps, biscuits and bread. I never drink alcohol except special occasions - I've had a drink 3 times this year, whereas I would usually have a bottle of wine in the fridge on the go, and have a glass or two a few times a week. So why am I struggling to much? Why am I gaining weight when I look at what my diet and activity was like before compared to now and it is so different? I am so frustrated, and fed up. Two steps forward and one step back. I could cry.

I met my Spring Chick Challenge goal this week. I wanted to work out 5 times and I did:

Wednesday - rest day
Thursday - 30 minute run
Friday - 50 minute Legs, Bums and Tums DVD
Saturday - 20 mins Zumba + 10 mins Wii Fit
Sunday - 20 mins Zumba + 10 mins Wii Fit
Monday - 50 mins pilates DVD

This week I'll aim for the same if not more - some activity every day, even if it's just 20 minutes Zumba or a walk. This week's challenge is to try a new recipe - which is something I love doing anyway so I'll be sure to blog about it too. I got a new WW mag at my meeting today, so I'll try something from there.

I am so disheartened. I want this so badly, I am trying so hard, I can honestly say that since my birthday I have barely put a foot wrong, but I'm not seeing the results. It's all I think about, but it's making me miserable. I just don't know what to do any more.

Friday, 2 March 2012

How healthy is what you're eating?

So, we're on this journey to lose weight, slim down and generally be more healthful people. But a discussion we had in my Weight Watchers meeting this week got me thinking how healthy I really am, or rather how healthy is the food I'm eating. Sure, I've lost 40lbs, but you can do that simply by restricting your calories (or points in my case) - so you could eat one 1000 calorie burger in a day and nothing else, and still lose weight. But it's not exactly healthy, is it?



Give yourself a number on a scale of 1-10, of how healthy you think you are, food wise. If you think everything you eat is 100% spot on, go for 10. If you're a member of the burger club, it'd be much less! Remember that number.

Guidelines (here in the UK at least, but I think they're a good pointer) detail 5 things you should be doing every day to maximise the health benefits you get from your food. These are:

  1. Eating a variety of 5 portions of fruit and veg a day.
  2. Drinking 6-8 200ml glasses of water (or other fluids) a day.
  3. Eating 2 portions of lean protein a day (meat, poultry, fish, beans, pulses, dairy).
  4. Eating 2 portions of wholegrains a day (fibre-rich foods such as wholemeal pasta and rice, wholegrain cereals, wholemeal bread).
  5. Consuming 2 portions of dairy a day (especially important for women).
There are also things you should be cutting down or restricting your intake of:
  1. Salt. No more than 6g a day.
  2. Alcohol. Your intake should not regularly exceed 2-3 units per day for women, 3-4 for men. See here for a guide to alcohol units.
  3. Refined sugars. These contain no nutritional benefit, other than calories!
Now start from 0 and give yourself a point for each of the following:
  • 3 or 4 portions of fruit and veg
  • 5+ portions of fruit and veg
  • 6 or 7 glasses of water a day (1200-1400ml)
  • 8+ glasses of water a day (1600ml +)
  • 1 portion of lean protein (a portion is equivalent to a peice of meat or fish the size of a pack of playing cards, two eggs, four tablespoons of lentils or beans, 100g cottage cheese)
  • 2 portions of lean protein
  • 1 portion of wholegrain (a portion can be 3 heaped tbsps wholegrain breakfast cereal, 1 heaped tbsp uncooked porridge oats, 1 medium slice wholemeal bread, 1 small wholemeal roll, 2 heaped tbsps cooked brown rice,2 heaped tbsps cooked wild rice, 3 heaped tbsps cooked brown pasta, ½ wholemeal pitta bread or 2 rye crispbreads)
  • 2 portions of wholegrain
  • 1 portion of dairy (a medium-size glass of milk, a small pot of yoghurt, or a small matchbox-sized piece of cheese)
  • 2 portions of dairy 
Now take off a point if you:
  • Consume too much salt
  • Consume more than the recommended amount of alcohol regularly
  • Consume too much processed sugar (use your own judgement as to what is too much!)
So, what was your "score"? Was it higher or lower than you initially thought? Initially, I thought I was around a 6 or 7, but actually it's higher than that. I always without fail get my 5 a day now, and usually by lunchtime. I've got the water nailed, at 2 litres a day. I always get at least 1 portion of protein and dairy, and my wholegrain intake is good. I didn't have to take off any points either, leaving me with a score of 8 or 9 (most days!). I don't always get enough dairy, and sometimes protein, but I think I'm doing all right! Food for thought.



If you can get all that within your calorie "budget", then you can officially say you're healthy! Of course, you need to add in exercise/activity, not smoke, do anything else remotely risky and factor in any medical conditions! This healthy business is a full time job!

Hx

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Weekly Weigh In, 40lbs less Helly!

At bloody last! After 3 weeks of putting in maximum effort and not being rewarded for it, the scales showed a 3lb loss this morning. Thank goodness, because I was about ready to give up, I was that frustrated. My 3lb loss this week has meant I hit 40lbs in total! 40lbs! That's the same as an average human leg! Imagine carrying around an extra leg...

Back to the Spring Chick Challenge. I haven't posted about it for a couple of weeks now because I feel like it hasn't been all that relevant to me, but this weeks challenge is something I can do, and need to do. It's to up the duration or intensity of your exercise. Last week I worked out 3 times, this week I want to up it to 5. 5 lots of 20 or 30 minutes minimum isn't hard to achieve, and I really want to push to lose 2lbs this week as that will bring me to 3 stones lost, or 20% of my starting body weight! Eeek, a big goal! Wish me luck!



Hx


Saturday, 25 February 2012

Review: Weight Watchers Garlic and Herb Chicken Bag 'n' Bake

I eat a lot of chicken. Not every day, but at least 3 times a week, so I'm always looking for new ways to cook it without adding too many ponits/calories. I spotted these new bag 'n' bakes at my meeting this week and for 85p I thought I'd give it a go. I'e cooked with these baking bags before, the idea is that you put your ingredients, meat, veg etc in the bag, add the seasoning and bake, and you end up with moist juicy meat, no added fat and great flavour, and they do work! Chicken breasts come out much less dry than they would simply baked with a bit of foil over the top, and have a nice herby/barbeque/cajun or whatever seasoning.

The one I bought comes in a little box, which contains a favouring sachet, the baking bag and little tag to seal it with. It serves 2 and has a ProPoints value of 0!


The instructions (printed inside the box, took me a while to find them!) say to add 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts and 250g veg to the bag, along with the seasoning sachet. I used more veg than this because I wanted some leftover roast veg for the next day (courgette/zuccini, red onion, red and yellow bell pepper). I also added some new potatoes, so I wouldn't have to cook them separately.

This is what it looked like with everything in - probably too full!

 Seal it up with the tie provided, pierce a couple of holes in the top and put it on the bottom shelf of the oven (the bag mustn't touch any part of the oven) for 45 minutes at 180/360/gas 4. I stuck it in, went for a run leaving Mr FGS strict instructions to leave it alone unless it exploded and it was ready when I got back!


It was very tasty, and I'll definitely try it again, but there are a few changes I'd make. because I used so much veg, and cooked the potatoes in the same bag, the flavour wasn't as intense as I'd have liked. So next time I'd either add a clove of garlic to the bag, or cook the potatoes separately. I'd also change the veg up a bit - on the box it shows baby sweetcorn and cauliflower, which would be tasty! I get bored of the same veg sometimes, and I think roasted baby sweetcorn would be nice.

A medium (165g) chicken breast is 4ProPoints, and we had 200g new potatoes which is also 4PP. All in all 8 points for the whole meal is reasonable, and really I didn't need all of the potatoes. I will definitely buy this again!

What do you think? Have you ever tried a baking bag? What do you do to pep up chicken?

Hx

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Pancakes - how do you eat yours? Plus no more binging for Lent...

Hello!

Since yesterday was Shrove Tuesday I thought I would share with you my pancake recipe - the basic pancakes are only 2 WW ProPoints each! So they'd make a great dessert or even breakfast any time of year, topped with fruit and greek yogurt - yummy! There's also a savoury version that's just as good!

Basic pancakes
Makes 8, 2 ProPoints each

150g plain flour
200ml skimmed (0.4% fat) milk
150ml water
1 egg
Calorie controlled cooking spray (I use FryLight)

In a jug combine the milk, water, and egg. Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre, gradually whisking in the milk and egg mix until you have a smooth batter. It's best if you can leave it to rest for around half an hour before you use it, but you don't have to if you can't wait! Heat a frying pan until it's very hot, and mist with cooking spray. Using a ladle, spoon about 100mls of mix into the hot pan, turning it so it covers the base. Leave over a high heat until the edges start to lift-about 3-4 mins. You'll know the pancake is ready to turn if you shake the pan and it comes loose - you shouldn't have to use anything to "scrape" it from the bottom of the pan. Turn/flip and cook the other side for about 1-2 mins.

Toppings-

Lemon and sugar - sugar 1PP per teaspoon



Cherries and ice cream - tinned cherries (without juice) warmed gently, served with low fat vanilla ice cream - 2PP per 60g scoop


Nutella and banana - Nutella/chocolate spread 1PP per teaspoon

Savory Variation - Green Eggs and Ham

One of my son's favourite books is The Cat in The Hat so we made green eggs and ham by adding 2tsp of green pesto to the batter (over 8 servings it doesn't make a difference to the propoints, but if you are eating more than one add one propoint per 2 pancakes) and served them with some boiled gammon (2PP per 30g slice) and parmesan cheese (1PP per teaspoon). They made a great lunch!

 
My boys enjoying their green eggs and ham!

Did you have pancakes yesterday? What do you top them with?

Now, onto the serious bit. Shrove Tuesday rolls onto Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, where it is traditional to give something up for 40 days until Easter Sunday. I can't remember the last time I even tried to give something up for lent, but one of my fellow bloggers Nikki set a challenge to give something up this year, so I decided to give up binging. Odd thing to give up? Perhaps, but I feel it is my biggest downfall. Every Tuesday after my weigh in, I have a "day off" the diet - which usually turns into a binge. I can't stop at one biscuit, or just buy a small chocolate bar. Once the crisps are open they're gone, and it often involves a take-away and alcohol too. I'm not saying I'm going to give up having the chocolate or the crisps, but I'm not going to stuff my face at every opportunity on a Tuesday anymore, I'm going to track the points and be accountable, use my weekly points for a treat if I want one. Eek, I'm a bit scared...but it's only 46 days, right?

If you'd like to join in, hop on over to Nikki's blog!

Are you giving up anything? Good luck if you are!

Hx

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Weekly Update *sulking*

*sadface* This week, I have done everything right. I've eaten well, tracked every mouthful, got plenty of water, worked out...but when I got on the scales this morning I had gained 1 1/2lbs. GAINED. I wanted to lose 1 1/2 pounds. I know it's just going to be water retention - AF is due to make an appearance and I have been on antibiotics this week for an infection in my hand which wont clear up - and I definitely haven't gained a pound and a half of fat because there's no way I've eaten enough for that. But it's still frustrating. I had to leave my Weight Watchers meeting early because Mr FGS got called into work and it was too busy to keep the little one amused, and I almost cried when I told him I'd gained. I'm stuck, this month has been a failure, and I'm fed up with the whole thing. I hate February as it is. Meh.

I've had an infection in my hand all week, and am now on my second course of antibiotics to try and clear it up. It's just my finger, but my goodness it's made me miserable. I've only been able to work out 3 times instead of the 6 I had planned, not slept very well because of it and feel like the housework has gotten on top of me because it's too sore to do much. But still, 3 work outs are better than none and I should have lost weight this week.

I am going to sulk today, and shake it off tomorrow for a fresh start. Hopefully. Sorry for being a misery!

/pityparty



Hx

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Recipre of the week - Pork and mushroom "burgers" with spinach salad and crispy potatoes

Hi loves :)

I wanted to share with you what I had for dinner last night. It's a recipe I kind of "made up" out of necessity - what we had in the fridge! But it was delicious, and I'll definitely make it again. You can throw in what you like really! I used regular pork mince, but if you used lean mince the ProPoint/calorie value would be lower. However it might be a little dry.

Pork and mushroom "burgers" with spinach salad and crispy potatoes
Serves 2, ProPoints per serving - 7



Ingredients:
For the burgers (5PP per person)
2 large flat mushrooms
250g pork mince
1/2 a large onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sage
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp olive oil (1PP, but nothing split between 2)

For the potatoes and salad
200g potatoes (2 PP per person)
Calorie controlled cooking spray (I use fry light)
2 large handfuls spinach
2 spring onions
Balsamic vinegar, to taste

Finely mince the onion and garlic and add to the pork mince. I used a food processor for this, but you can do it by hand if you don't have one. Add the say, soy and oil. Peel the skin from the mushrooms and remove the stalk in the centre (you could add the finely chopped stalk to the mince if you like). Place them on a baking tray and press half of the mixture into each mushroom, forming the mince into a patty.

Dice the potatoes to about 1cm cubes (you can leave the skin on!) Spray a baking tray with cooking spray, add the potatoes, season and spray again. Bake the potatoes and "burgers" for about 20-25 mins at 200o c/400o f, gas mark 6, turning the potatoes a few times.

Serve with a large salad of raw spinach and spring onion, dressed with balsamic vinegar.

Yum!

Hx

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Weekly Weigh In - have I hit a plateau?

Well, after staying well within my ProPoint allowance all week, having Jillian kick my butt every day and generally being saintly, I stayed the same again. Grr. Wasn't impressed. But I have had a couple of nonscale victories instead. I had a gift card left from Christmas and needed some retail therapy, so we hit the shops yesterday afternoon. Browsing the sale rails I found 2 cute jumpers that I loved - one in a size 16, one in a 14. I usually buy an 18 but suddenly thought I should try a size smaller. The 16 was too big! Only a little, but still, as I plan on losing more, not worth getting since it wouldn't be long (hopefully) before it was completely too big. I tried on the 14 and not only did it fit perfectly, but it looked pretty damn hot, if I say so myself. I walked around the shops for the rest of the afternoon with a very smug look on my face :)

Then, yesterday evening with it being Valentines, Mr FGS decided that we would have a date night at home once the kidlets were in bed. He put on a shirt and I decided to try a dress that I bought for a friends wedding back last May. I bought it online and it fitted...just, and looked awful so I got something else. Well, I tried it on last night and it looked lovely :) Almost 3 stone lighter, a ton more confident, and finally taking control of my body.


This week I WILL lose 1 1/2 lbs to take me to 40lbs. There really was no reason I shouldn't have lost weight last week, so hopefully I'll "catch up" this week. I'm moving onto level 2 of the 30 day shred tonight (terrified). Food is planned, Mr FGS is working the whole weekend so any temptation he brings with his unhealthy habits will be removed and I WILL do this! The Spring Chick Challenge this week is to use smaller utensils when eating, so my porridge and soup will be eaten with a teaspoon out of a mug, and I may even use the children's cutlery...as if everyone didn't think I was insane enough...

Have a good week everyone!

Hx

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentines to me...

Happy Valentines everyone :)

Whatever your feelings are about Valentines day, you can't avoid it. Almost the second Christmas is over the shops are filled with tacky heart shaped nick nacks, chocolate genitals, novelty underwear and pink champagne, as if spending a weeks wages on this tat somehow proves that you're in lurve. Cynical, moi? But whether you fall for it like it or not, there is one person in your life that deserves some loving. Yourself. Forget the sentiments and fluff, this valentines I will be loving myself (that sounds a bit rude...) for once. How, I hear you cry. I will work out, drink my water, eat well and be happy about it. It's all too easy to forget, on the days when chocolate is your friend and getting off the couch is too much like hard work, that the reason for the journey we're on is so that the bits about ourselves that we're not so enamoured with can be changed. I certainly don't love my body as a whole right now, but I know it's improving, and I love the changes I'm seeing. I'm learning to love my legs. I've always loved my clear skin (even the freckles) and my bright blue eyes. Even my wobbly tummy, criss-crossed with veiny stretch marks is a testament to my two beautiful, funny, amazing boys and I love that. Ok, so maybe I don't love my tummy so much...


I don't need to scoff a box of chocolates, or stuff in a three course meal to know that I am loved, or to show my love to anyone else. I wont let the day derail my weight loss, because I think that proves to the world that I love myself, far more than any sentimental tosh would. Keep doing the things you do year-round. That's true love.


How will you be loving yourself this Valentines? Head over to Cyn's blog to check out more self loving bloggers!

And, my final thoughts on valentines day.


Helen England, lowering the tone since 1982...

Hx

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A Tale of Two Suppers

I was in a pinch for what to make for dinner last night. It's still freezing cold here, and my youngest has an ear infection so I didn't want to take him out in the cold to go shopping, so I had to use something from the freezer. I dug deep and found two frozen breaded haddock fillets - something I wouldn't eat usually any more. I worked out the ProPoints and it came to a rather high 9. I usually try not to go over 10 for my whole meal. But I had salad in the fridge, so I made a big salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and red pepper and dressed it with balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of parmesan (1PP). I really enjoyed it - it felt like the fish was a little bit of a treat, but combining it with the 'free' salad meant I could enjoy it without any guilt.

My 10PP dinner

Mr FGS, however, can only be described as a salad dodger. He would have eaten a tiny bit of the lettuce, cucumber and onion, but coated in mayonaisse. Instead he had his with oven chips and baked beans, totalling a whopping 22 ProPoints (at least) - and that's without the bread and butter, and mayo on the side.


Was I jealous of his high-carb, high-fat dinner? Not one bit! I know mine was more nutritionally balanced, as well as lower cal and generally healthier. And while his dinner still had all the elements of a healthy meal (protein, carb and veg - baked beans count towards your 5 a day!) you can tell just by the difference in colour between the two plates that mine would contain a wider variety of nutrients. I know it wasn't a perfect meal, but I managed to fit it into my diet plan without ruining it.

How do you fit "treats" and "bad" food's into your diet without going overboard?

Hx

Saturday, 11 February 2012

I believe

“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” 
― Audrey Hepburn 


What are your favourite quotes?


Hx

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Recipe of the Week - Healthy Breaded Prawns

It's been a wee while since I posted a recipe, and I wanted to share what I had for dinner last night because it was YUMMEH! It's a little involved but totally worth it, and felt like a huge dinner for only 8 ProPoints. It's a recipe I found on Pinterest but I modified it for British weights and measures, and ingredients, but it's easy enough to figure out!

Healthy Breaded Prawns and homemade wedges

Serves 2, 8 ProPoints per serving (5 for the prawns, 3 for the wedges)

Ingredients
For the prawns:
250g raw king prawns
1 slice white bread
1 egg white
1 tablespoon (15g) grated parmesan

For the wedges:
300g (approx 2 medium) baking potatoes
Fry light/calorie controlled cooking spray
1 tsp Smoked paprika/chilli powder
Salt

Method:
Cut the potatoes into wedges. Spray a baking tray with cooking spray and add the wedges. Sprinkle over the paprika or chilli and season with a sprinkle of salt. Give the tray a shake to coat the wedges before spraying again. Oven bake for about 40-45 minutes in a 200 degree oven.

Tear the bread into chunks and process to fine breadcrumbs. In a dry frying pan, brown the crumbs until they're crispy and dry, then place on a plate to cool. Once cool add the parmesan and mix to combine them equally. Put the egg white in a shallow dish. Rinse the prawns and drain well. Dip the prawns in the egg and then the crumbs, before placing on a tray sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat with all the prawns and then bake with the wedges for the last 10 minutes, turning halfway through.


I forgot to take a picture when I was done (probably because I was hungry...) but I served them with the wedges and a huge 0PP salad of lettuce, pepper, onion, tomato, cucumber, and balsamic vinegar. Sooo yummy.

It makes such a difference to try a new recipe and love it, and I'll definitely try this again. The crust would be good with chicken too....ooh now I'm thinking goujons!

Hx

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Weekly Weigh In + SCC Update


Morning lovely people!

I weighed in this morning, and I can usually kind of tell what to expect. I know if I've had a bad week and should see a gain, and I know if I've done well - and it's not always to do with how I've eaten or exercised, but more to do with how I feel. If I feel bloated, I know the loss wont be as good, and vice-versa; if I feel slimmer and less bloated I can usually expect a good week. But this week has been a funny one for a couple of reasons. It took me a few days to get back into my routine after my birthday, and while I feel like I've worked out hard and can already feel a difference that way, my food intake hasn't been great. I really didn't know how I would have done, so when I saw that I had at maintained the same weight as last week it made absolute sense. I will ill last week, and therefore my body was recovering from that, and then with the birthday celebrations to maintain was totally expected. I'm fine with it, and have made my peace! Onwards!

Previous weight: 13st 7 1/2lbs (189.5lbs)
Current weight: 13st 7 1/2lbs (189.5lbs)
+/-: 0lbs

Last weeks SCC goals:

Maintain my weight at least, lose if I can. -Yep!

Work out! Anything is better than nothing. Re-do week 3 of C25k minimum. -Yep, 4 days of 30 Day Shred, no running. Bit scared of running when it's so icy out, but I'll try this week.

Continue to track and drink 2l of water. -No to tracking, yes to water.

Caffeine free - have been caffeine free Thurs to Mon (apart from one coffee at a friends on Sunday) and it was HARD! I get bad headaches and sometimes the only thing that helps shift it is a diet coke. But I switched to caffeine free coke and decaf coffee, and got at least 2l of water every day.

Goals for this week:

Lose 1 1/12lbs, to bring me to 40lbs total.

Menu Plan, Track - be accountable!

Keep up the water - 2l a day.

Complete level 1 of 30 Day Shred - have done 4 days so far, rest day today and back to it tomorrow. Plus a couple of runs if I can.

Mini challenge - drink only water. I'm not sure if I can (or want to) but I will stay caffeine free where possible.

I am having a day off today, rest day from 30 day shred as my neck is aching (I suck at crunches) and going for a meal later. I may do some pilates stretching later if I get time, but I want to get my menu plan worked out as I didn't do one last week which was part of the problem with food I'm sure. I have a new WW mag to look at for recipe ideas, and stocked up on snacks this morning. I'm ready for a great week! Who's joining me?


Hx

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Shredding It!

Hello!

I have been hibernating this week, hence the lack of posts! It is just so cold! -8 in the night and only -3 now. I know Maren the Viking would tell me to suck it up but cold temps and turning 30 this week (which I wasn't looking forward to) have meant I've spent the week on the sofa. Until yesterday, when I started Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred (UK peeps, the DVD is £5 in Tesco atm) which I got for my birthday. Yes, I asked for exercise DVDs for my birthday...clearly I am insane. So, once I'd bought a universal remote for my DVD player so I could get past the menus I stuck it in and sweated for 20 minutes. Seriously, she makes EVERY MINUTE of this count. I was puffing from about 30 seconds into the warm up. I am going to do it every day, hopefully first thing in the morning if I can get the baby to sit in his high chair for 20 minutes, and add a swim, run or Zumba session 3 eves a week! My thighs are sore this morning, that's a good thing, right?

Hx


Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Tuesday Treat - Good Jeans

If you're anything like me, a good pair of jeans are hard to find, especially as it seems like as soon as I find a decent pair I'm shrinking out of them (not that I'm complaining!). So when I was asked by Daxon (you may have spotted the button in the sidebar) if I'd like to review an item from their new plus size range I jumped at the chance. I'd never heard of Daxon before, but apparently Daxon is part of Redcats, which is the 3rd largest home shopping organisation in the world. I'm all for a bit of home shopping! I chose this pair of indigo straight leg jeans by Celaia in a size 18 (they go from a 10 to a 24), which were £37 (more than I'd usually spend, but currently reduced to £22) and waited anxiously for them to come. I didn't have to wait long and was pleasantly surprised when they arrived.



The problem I have with jeans is that I have a small waist, big tummy and short legs. So to get jeans that fit in all these places is near on impossible. Most of my jeans are way too long, and this isn't helped by the fact that as I have to get a size that will be comfortable on my tummy they will then slip down because they're too big on the waist. These jeans are a perfect leg length for me, and I can wear them with heels or flat shoes without treading on the hem. If you are taller than 5'2" you might want to go for a longer length though. I went for straight leg, where I usually chose bootleg or similar because I can tuck them into boots that way too. Perfect. They are a little snug around the tummy and waist, which I was disappointed in. I almost ordered a size 16, since all my other size 18 jeans are almost too big for me now, but I'm glad I didn't. Going by the measurements on the Daxon website, I would be a 26 though! Another thing I like about these is that they don't have any elastic in the waistband. I'm not a fan of elasticated waists on jeans, but in plus sizes they seem to be the norm. 

I can tuck them into my Uggs...

I can wear them with flats...

 ...or with heels...

...although probably best that it's not at the same time...

They're made by Celaia, another brand I had no previous knowledge of, but a quick google tells me they're a French brand who also supplies to LaRedoute. I was impressed to discover that they guarantee their clothing for a year, which goes to show the quality. And also means that when I inevitably break the zip (I seem to be heavy on zips...) they'll replace it.


Daxon currently only deliver to the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and BFPO Germany, and charge £2.95 for standard delivery. If you spend over £60 at the moment you can get free delivery with the code 8024.

All in all, I would definitely recommend Daxon, and will be shopping with them again. I've got my eye on this swimsuit...now to just get some pennies from somewhere! Did I mention it's my birthday tomorrow...

Hx

Item provided for review consideration. Opinions 100% my own. Please see disclosure policy for more information.