Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A year in - PICTURE POST!

Last week was my 12 month anniversary at Slimming World. I lost 3.5lb so my total loss for the full 12 months is 88.5lb. That's 6st 4.5lb in real money. Christmas weight off, plus a bit more so it's onwards and, well, downwards. Originally I had hoped to lose 2.5lb this week but that ain't never gonna happen after my weekend. I'll be happy with a wee bit off though and I'll get my 6.5st award the week after next. Ultimately the goal is 9st I think, or thereabouts so a way away yet but I hope to get there by the summer.

Anyway this post is less about where I'm going and more about where I've come from. The picture in the blue and white dress was taken in summer 2011 and the other one last weekend.

Take a look!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


Last week I maintained my weight. Far from ideal to be honest. According to my scales at home - and my Wii - I was expecting a couple of pounds off. Undeterred, I've had another text book week. Well within my syns again, I am praying that maybe, just maybe, my loss will catch up this week giving me a bumper loss tomorrow.. hopefully. With a total loss of 85lb I need to get a loss this week to keep up my momentum.

Food wise, we are still powering through Jamie's 15 Minute meals, proving again and again how easy it is to cook low or no syn grub on Extra Easy. Last Wednesday after weigh in we treated ourselves to a chicken shwarma kebab, recipe courtesy of Gordon Ramsay, and Richy cooked us a family meal of chicken cacciatore at the weekend. It was so delicious even Heather ate the hidden mushrooms which she claims she doesn't like!

The big news this week is clothing related.  Armed with Christmas money, I took a trip to New Look - a shop previously off my radar. They do have a Plus section in fairness, but in honesty walking through the "normal" section to get to it was too awful and uncomfortable - dragging yourself through the thin person racks to get to your "bit" isn't fun. I had fun though, perusing the normal clothes... taking clothes to the changing rooms..  disregarding the ones which were too BIG... walking out on cloud nine with a bag of size 14 loot. That's right folks, 14s. Another size down in my jeans too and even the shoes I got were a 5 instead if my normal 6. Who knew feet would shrink!?

Tomorrow marks one year since I joined Slimming World so this weekend when I go out in my new togs I'll get a photo and do a then and now for my next post. Bet you can't wait!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

In the middle

I've been back to class and weighed in. I have gained 3lb since the week before Christmas and I am quite happy with that. I predicted 3 before I jumped on the scales so it's all good. This means now that my interim target is 3st away, and I hope to get that by the middle of the year. Last night was a rare occasion of not staying to class, but I did leave clutching my new pack (it's so pretty!), the new Slimming World magazine (which is discounted in group) and full of promise for today and my ongoing journey. Under the circumstances the gain hasn't dampened my spirits - I'm simply inspired to carry on.

And carry on I have. I have gone right back to basics today. It's a new year and a fresh chapter for me so I want to refresh myself with the plan and get interested again. There are lovely new things allowed as A and B choices (nuts!) so I really need to check the book regularly just now to make sure I am making the most of the plan.

When Megan was asleep and Heather was at nursery I had my lunch, browsed the new magazine, planned a week of dinners using my new books and read my new Food Optomising book, just like the new members. Also like all brand new members, I am writing a food diary again. Slimming World ask you to keep a diary for at least your first four weeks but I only did two last year before I bored myself. I'm hoping that I can manage at least two this year and that it makes me think again about what's going in my mouth. Will power back in place, I even refused to eat Megan's leftover pizza despite being starving hungry! My lunch of carrot, coriander and lentil soup from the new magazine that I whipped up this morning was wholesome, delicious and filling but hours ago and I'm now more than ready for my tea of Greek Chicken and couscous from Jamie's 15 minute meals.

The soup making thing was a spur of the moment thing, inspired by a box of carrots which needs using and seeing the recpie in the magazine. Quick, tasty and warming it was perfect for this freezing day. The girls had some tomato and orzo soup which I think is my favourite. That's quite a statement when you know how I feel about soup. Both soups are delicious although the tomato gets the edge for me, sprinkled with black pepper and parmesan. Honestly though it's just nice to have found a couple I can eat, offering me a healthy, free lunch which isn't salad. Much as I love a nice salad I want heat in the winter.

Anyway I'm off to get my tea on, fill my tummy and look forward to day 2.

See you there!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Indian Winter

I could bang on and on and ON about how wonderful recipe books are. Honestly, there are few things I love more. This week I've gone through my new books, pulled out some recipes and had some great free or low syn dinners. Jamie Oliver has brought us Chilli con carne meatballs with lemon bulgar wheat (more on that in my up-coming series of posts on the subject of 15 minute meals, but what I will say is that bulgar wheat is now On My Radar). Tomorrow, Nigella is bringing me  butterflied leg of lamb with bay and balsamic vinegar. Suitable for the whole family, I suspect I will serve this up with veggies and syn free herby roasties. As for tonight,  we dined on a Gordon Ramsay recipe from his new book; Ultimate Cookery Course.

Without being immodest, I'm no novice in the kitchen, but that doesn't mean that this book can't offer me anything. I've already made a soup for Richy from it and then tonight's massively successful dinner of murgh makhani (butter chicken). Make again? You betcha. I'm not part of the "better than a takeaway" crew. If I'm getting a takeaway it's because I don't want to cook or I don't want to clear up. Simple. However since starting Slimming World takeaways are a massive treat and the fact that tonight's cooking took less than half an hour and cost me a fraction is really neither here nor there.

So here is is, slightly adapted from the recipe as published: Coriander, Ginger and Chilli butter chicken, the way I made it.

Serves 4.

500g chicken thighs, cubed

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1tbsp grated ginger
1 red chilli finely chopped
Juice of 1/4 lemon
2tsp coriander seeds, toasted
1tsp cumin seeds,  toasted
1/2 tsp turmeric
150g fat free natural yoghurt
Salt and pepper

1 small onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp grated ginger
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp garam masala
1/2tsp turmeric
Pinch chilli powder
2 tbsp tomato puree
25g butter

Coriander to garnish

Mix the chicken with the garlic, ginger, chilli and lemon juice (marinade list). Grind your toasted seeds and mix with the yoghurt and turmeric, add salt and pepper and pour over the chicken. Mix well and allow to marinade for as long as possible, overnight is best.

When you're ready to cook, heat a pan on a medium heat and spray with frylight. Add your chopped onion, a pinch of salt and a drop of water. Allow the onion to soften slowly for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, fry for 1 minute then add the ginger and fry for another minute before adding your ground spices (and a bit more water if it gets too dry). Once it smells aromatic, add the tomato puree and mix in well. Add the butter and allow to melt before stirring.

Remove the excess marinade from the chicken and add the chicken to the pan. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, lower the heat and add the remaining marinade to the pan. Cook gently for 5 minutes - don't cook on a high heat or the yoghurt will split.

Serve with rice, sprinkled with coriander leaves and enjoy!

I calculate this to be just shy of 2 syns per person on Extra Easy, although as always I would recommend you check your own syn values. Mr Ramsay's printed recipe is as above only he uses oil or ghee instead of frylight. Whether you make it his way or mine, try it.

I'll definitely be making it again!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year, new me

Happy New Year!

Did you eat? Did you drink?

Were you merry?

I did. I was. Ooft.

Every other diet I've ever done has stopped way way WAY before Christmas so I haven't ever had to consider it as an issue. Obviously this year is different because I actually made it to... well,  past April to be honest.

I've enjoyed my Christmas and New Year. It only comes once a year and I love it. I haven't weighed in officially but my scales reckon about 7lb on. I'm not worried about that. It was an after dinner weigh in for starters, and I can be up 4-5lb on an average Sunday night and still lose 2-3lb on the Wednesday so I'm hopeful that by a week today when I go back to class most if not all of that will have gone. I retain water badly after drinking and seeing as I was mostly drinking for the last few days it's no surprise to me that I'm holding on to water. Anyway I said before Christmas that if I can go back next Wednesday still retaining my 6st award I'd be happy and I stand by that. I think...

I am bizarrely excited to get back to normal. To detox a bit I suppose, cut back on the booze and get back on it. My body needs it. After 2 weeks off plan to varying degrees I am lacking in energy, slightly headachey and *whispers*... a bit gassy. The change in food hasn't agreed with me especially and I would never have believed it would be the case. I suppose a year is a long time though (they reckon it takes 6 months to form a habit) and over the year my habits have definitely altered. On the way back from my mum's today Richy joked of an old habit "will we get a pizza tonight then?"... how we laughed! We have changed. I have changed. And it's a lifestyle change I'm glad to have made. Instead of a takeaway we sat as a family and ate prawn linguine - it was from Jamie's 15 minute meals, was quick (obviously), delicious (naturally), free on Extra Easy (mais oui)... and even better, the kids wolfed it down.

Tonight I'm sat here,  having had my first day back on plan and raring to go. I've browsed my Christmas gifts of Jamie's 15 Minute Meals, Nigellissima and Gordon's Ultimate Cookery Course and have planned my week's meals using all three books.

Can't wait to get started!