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!


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?


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

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


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.


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!


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!



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

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.



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!


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...


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?


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?


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)

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

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!


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?


Sunday, 5 February 2012

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Shredding It!


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?