Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Apples are not the only fruit

So tonight is weigh in. I've had a pretty good week. I was out for drinks for a friend's Hen night on Friday. I drank more than my syns allowed and I *might* have had some nachos too... And possibly a box of chips when I was waiting for a taxi.. And perhaps a can of Irn Bru. And maybe a sunshine ice cream on Saturday with the kids. That doesn't sound great does it? But i synned most of it and apart from that I've been really good, plus I've got back into my wii fit... Well, just about anyway.

We have also had good dinners, no more alcohol and most importantly I have made a conscious effort to eat less on Mondays and Tuesdays when I am at work because I really believe I eat too much at work. It's all good stuff, and it might well be free but I'm confident that portion control is key to Slimming World success. I don't eat much in the way of protein during the day during the rest of the week so my body feels sluggish after a heavy protein lunch on my work days.

I took a fruity couscous with spiced chicken into work on Monday which was absolutely gorgeous. I tossed some leftover chicken through the spices which made it economical too, something which is extra important right now. I actually found the recipe at but I believe it's from a SW book. I made some changes according to what I had in the fridge. Here's the actual recipe:

Marinade for 4 large chicken breasts:
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp cayenne pepper
2tsp cumin seeds
2tbsp sweet paprika
2tbsp chopped parsley
8 cloves of garlic, crushed
Juice of 2 lemons
1 red onion, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper

200g couscous
1 red apple cored and diced
114g red and green grapes, halved
I large orange, chopped
2tbsp chopped coriander and mint

Score your chicken breasts. Mix the marinade together and rub well into your chicken. Leave to marinade up to overnight. Grill until cooked.

Cook the couscous according to packet instruction, stir in the fruit and serve with your chicken and herbs on top. Devour!

I made a couple of adjustments. Firstly, I was using leftover chicken so I cooked the marinade for a few minutes in a pan sprayed with fry light, then I tossed my shredded chicken through it. I also used my new love - pomegranate seeds instead of apple, mainly because I was packing for a lunch box but actually I think I'll stick with the pomegranate seeds. They are fresh and add a lovely sour crunch to the dish. This is a big hit for me and will become a work lunch staple. I hope my friends enjoy it as much next week when I take it in for their lunch (I'll let you know!).

Tonight is post weigh in Adana kebabs with pitta and sumac veggie kebabs.

I can't wait.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Five a day

We started getting a vegetable box delivered recently. We get a £12 box from Homefresh Foods plus a dozen eggs £2) and it does us part if the week but not all. We like our fruit and veg and we power through about 20 bananas a week and a dozen apples, plus melon, strawberries, kiwis, pineapple, pears, grapes. In veg terms peppers, broccoli, carrots and onions are fridge basics. What I love about getting the delivery is getting super fresh, high quality goods for a great price. As a company they also communicate really well which is a godsend for busy mums like me who have little time to pick up the phone. (As an aside note you can check them out on Facebook if you are local to the Glasgow area).

We eat most things, but one thing neither of us has ever really loved in courgette. Happy to eat it if it's put in front of us but I could count on one hand the number of times I've bought it. Last week our box arrived and in it were two jumbo courgettes. My challenge was to find an interesting, diet friendly dish which would encourage us to eat courgette again. As usual my first port of call was - they never let me down regardless of occasion, skill or requirements.

One of the first recipes I came across was Courgette and Ricotta canelloni. The grated courgette is softened in a pan with garlic and onions, added to ricotta and Parmesan, seasoned with lots of black pepper and finished with lemon zest. The creamy courgette mixture is then stuffed into canelloni tubes which are laid on a bed of passata with more passata poured over, dotted with the remaining cheese, then baked for 20 mins. I have to say it smelled fantastic and tasted even better. I served with herby roast potatoes and a big mixed salad. Truly a feast. I calculated this to be 1/2 a syn per portion as long as you use all the cheese as your HEA. Everything is is free or super free which makes it a well balanced, delicious and totally nutritious meal. And that makes me a happy girl.

Unfortunately I failed to take a proper picture but the picture below shows how yummy it was. The recipe can be found at Enjoy!

Ps. I haven't said much about my losses in my last couple of posts, but I have now lost 21.5lbs (that 1.5 stones in real money). There's still a long way to go, but I'm pretty pleased with that.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

They love me, they love me not

The bathroom scales are both your friend and your enemy. You know that old saying "keep your friends close and your enemies closer"? Well that perfectly sums up the relationship I have with my bathroom scales. It's a love/hate thing. They pick you up and knock you down, and can send you from zero to hero in a flash of numbers just as quickly as they can destroy your feelgood.

Popular thought is to only weigh yourself once a week, around the same time of day. The theory is that your weight fluctuates naturally so weighing in more than once a week can give false readings. I wish I could manage the once a week thing but I struggle to stay off them on a day to day basis. To be honest, now that my class is a Wednesday evening I've taken to weighing both morning and night. Sheesh. I need to get a grip. It may look like I have a problem, but I see it as damage control. If I know what damage I've done the night before, I can fix it the next day. Or try anyway.

I weigh in the morning because historically that's when I've weighed in. It's what I know. It's most people's lightest time. If I'm going to weigh more than once a week but less than twice a day it should be this one I drop I suppose but it's the hardest one because it's the longest standing weigh in. Before anyone tells me how unhealthy this is... I know, I'm working on it.

Even when the scales aren't being so friendly and are telling you that you've stayed the same or gained, there are other ways of boosting yourself. Clothes getting looser may seem obvious but it can take a little while to really see a difference. I took my measurements on week 1 and up to now (7 weeks in) I have lost 4" from my waist (such as it is) and 4" from my chest. That's a boost right there. So you see, it isn't only the friend or foe scales which have the answers you are looking for. It's just knowing where to find the answers.

Now I just need to take my own advice, and wean myself off those scales. Wish me luck, kids...

Saturday, 10 March 2012

All about the olives

I don't feel well. My mouth is sore with a big ulcer and I have a hideous cough/breathing thing going on. My head is thumping, my eyes are sore. Still, I'm off my food, right? Wrong. I could eat Heather. Or Megan, I'm not fussy. The show must go on though. It's a busy enough week this week without making it worse.

My littlest Bee, Megan, turns 1 on Monday. This means cake. And tea out. Thankfully the party isn't until next weekend so I can worry about party food, drinks, a takeaway with friends and more cake then. In the meantime, I've got the weekend plus Monday night. Sheesh. Tough one.

We went over to Whole Foods in Giffnock this afternoon. It's an American chain doing things the right way - high quality, fresh goods at a (mostly) reasonable price. Fruit and veg, deli, bakery, speciality beers, liquors etc. There aren't many of them in the UK but if you live nearby I would definitely recommend making a trip over. Anyway, I digress. As we are walking around there are various sampley things. Bits of bread, samples of beers (West's Hefeweizen and brewdog's 5am Saint), wine, cheese, chicken. How am I ever going to keep it real today?! We ended up being pretty good both with the nibbles and the purchases (the most interesting being massive green olives and 2 bottles of beer) and I came home a happy bunny.

I thought tonight was going to be a bit more synny but owing to some excellent planning on my behalf (how modest am I?!) I put down in front of us a low syn dinner, and treated myself to a Hefeweizen. We had Adana kebabs with homemade wholemeal pitta bread (healthy B choice), salad, roasted red peppers, wedges, feta cheese (healthy A choice) and some of those lush olives.


Now... is it bedtime yet?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

With a little help from my friends

Dieting is all about small steps. It doesn't matter whether you have a lot to lose like I do, or a smaller amount, like Mr Bee, it's hard work. It requires dedication, will power, encouragement and positive thought. I am lucky. I have a great support network around me of family and friends, but not everyone has that.

Firstly I have Mr Bee (who has also lost a stone!) surely my biggest supporter. Since I do most of the cooking he also eats diet dinners (such a they are), and he has amazing strength when it comes to resisting the rubbish. Plus, he doesn't have half as much to lose as I do so he can afford to sneakily munch on a breadstick with hummus at the fridge before dinner more than I can. He is absolutely THE best thing for helping me. Without his support and motivation I could not do this.Friends are crucial.

My friends are being hugely generous with their well dones on Facebook, but special mention has to go to my Fatbusting Buddy, Gayle. She started her SW journey a week or two before me and is doing great. It is fantastic having someone to text during the week and on weigh in night, which is the same time on a Wednesday for us, just at different classes. We share recipes and tea ideas and suggestions, which is really what it's all about. There are a few of us at work (including Gayle) who are dieting at the moment, all doing brilliantly. In my office Sharon, Suzy and Nicola are all looking fabulous and just having people around you who are achieving makes a massive difference. I have a Facebook group too which is about 30 girls from a birth board I am on from when I had Megan. We all have things in common - year old babies, dieting. Again, it's somewhere else to share highs and lows, somewhere else to ask advice and share tips. The Slimming World Facebook page and also Slimming World (unofficial) group offer further support and there's always someone who knows how many syns, or why, or what.

Finally, Group and Image Therapy. This is the group session after weigh in. In the past I have found Image Therapy a depressing affair but this time I am finding it motivating. This is partly down to my consultant, Lynn, and partly down to the others in the group, who are friendly and welcoming and more than prepared to share cooking and shopping tips and ideas. To be honest though I think my attitude towards Image Therapy is the biggest thing. Reading other people's positive experiences in the magazine (which I highly recommend to any SWers) and online, and then hearing them in class is so inspiring. As are the achievement stickers, one for slimmer of the week, another for each half stone, a little jingle of the bell for each half stone lost. It's small things but it really gives a buzz, and then you go home after a Image Therapy feeling buoyed and enthused for the week again.

In a nutshell this is a thanks for all the support I've had so far and all the support I'm going to need throughout the rest of this journey.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Challenge Extended

So on Saturday morning I cleared out freezer (odious task) and then asked Mr Bee what he fancied for dinner. He thinks he is so witty. He answered (thinking this was about as likely as flying to the moon) "steak, chips, onion rings and some spicy prawns on the side". Smart arse. Challenge extended.

"Done", I said. Challenge accepted.

I knew I had 2 rump steaks in the freezer so trimmed them of all fat, seasoned and fried for no more than 90seconds each side in fry light. It was tender, succulent and delicious. I also always keep a big bag of raw, frozen, ready to use prawns in the freezer. Sprinkled with chilli flakes and sautéed quickly in a hot pan, there's your Surf and Turf.

Slimming World chips are easy peasy. Chop potatoes into chunky chips, parboil for 6 minutes and drain. Chuff up (thanks Jamie Oliver) in the pan and allow to dry. Place onto a baking sheet sprayed with fry light, spray a bit more fry light and bake at 200 degrees C for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway.

The onions and mushrooms were dipped in egg and then dusted in wholemeal breadcrumbs (half of my Healthy B choice for the day). I added garlic salt to the crumbs after I made the onion rings and they were crispy and delicious too. Serve the lot with a lovely side salad (not pictured) and you have a great healthy meal. To be honest even without a salad you have plenty of veg in your onions and mushrooms.

This doesn't look or feel like a diet dinner in any way, but it is absolutely free (as long as your B choice is used for the bread crumbs). This was a big, luxurious feeling dinner. Plus I got to feel just a little bit smug as I put it on the table.

You're welcome, Mr Bee! ;)

Friday, 2 March 2012

Le weekend

Or as it is more commonly known in Dietville "Oh balls, the weekend."

It's pretty easy to stay on track during the working week, particularly if you work Monday to Friday as Mr Bee does, and I did (motherhood has brought part time hours). You get up, go to work, come home, eat the healthy, diet friendly dinner lovingly prepared by your wife. Not quite so in my case obviously but the gist is the same. Healthy, SW friendly dinners, little or no alcohol or treats, no puddings (other than a Muller Light yoghurt - free- or maybe a packet of mini hobnobs - 6 syns) and Bob's your Aunty Jane... It's all going swimmingly.

Until Friday. Back when I worked full time Friday's were a challenging day in Dietville. A fat roll (greasy sausage or bacon roll from the van, for the uninitiated)? Lunch brought in from a local takeaway? Nandos? Frankie and Benny's? Chinese? Tasties from a local deli? No thanks I'll just have my salad/baked potato/soup. To resist temptation you've got to a) be super strong b) be right in the zone c) eat lunch elsewhere or d) really love love love what you brought with you. It's really bloody hard to say no sometimes, particularly if you're not feeling particularly virtuous anyway.

Mr Bee and I have decided that since we are in this for the long haul with many multiples of stones to lose between us (with me carrying the bulk of it) that you have to live to stay sane. I'm not going to pick carefully on the rare occasions I get to eat out, nor am I going to limit myself to a solitary gin on a Saturday night. I am going to be careful though. Gone are the days of rich synful Friday and Saturday night dinners, luxurious with cream and oil, bread and olives, followed by locally produced Italian ice cream or large chunks of homemade cheesecake. You have to make choices in this life, and as long as I can provide us with good, wholesome, filling, enjoyable meals I'll take the wine/beer/cocktails over the olives and butter, thanks.

Which is why we are sat here having a Hoegaarden or 2, having had a syn free tagliatelle and meatballs and a positively angelic day.

I can cook really good food. I can't brew beer.