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Friday, 31 December 2010

December 31st 2010

Be the best imperfect person you can be!

The gratitude thing, I love it but not everybody does, I’ve even had myself a diary printed this year that includes a place for me to write down 3 things each day that I’m grateful for, I find that doing it on a daily basis makes me realise how truly good my life is. I do realise that a lot of people find it particularly difficult though, some find themselves writing the same three things everyday or just not being able to think of anything usually because they’re thinking too hard, trying to think of ‘big’ things rather than the little lovely things that make our lives wonderful, the news yesterday about the Irish families that haven’t had water for 8 days made me grateful for my taps and my flusher on the toilet – see it’s the little things we take for granted.
So if you find it difficult to think of things every day, I came across another great idea this week when I downloaded an app for my phone which was called ‘live happy’ and the one bit of it is called a ‘Savouring Album’, in which you take a picture of the moment and keep it. The album allows you to take a picture of something of beauty you encounter, and write a short text description of what you found to be beautiful about it. We all know the expression “stop and smell the roses.” The Savouring Album is a great way to stop and take a good look at things that we admire and appreciate. Use the camera on your phone not to document, but to help you truly look at things and help you experience their beauty.

Again this might seem a bit difficult or pointless for some of you which led me to thinking about another way of realising what a fabulous life you have and what wonderful times you’ve had. It doesn’t have to be on a daily basis, or a weekly basis but it could just be any time that you feel the need, so you’re not on a timetable or doing something because you think you should, you’re doing it because you want to. So here’s my idea, whenever you’re feeling a bit off or even if you’re feeling fab, find out a photo from one of your albums or take a new photo of something and have a really good look at it and then write how that photo makes you feel, what was good about the time when it was taken, why did that experience or the person or thing in that photo make you feel good and make your life worth living! It need only take a few minutes and what you write doesn’t have to be clever or witty it just needs to be honest. So an example would be a photo I took of Alfie snoozing on boxing day, and about it I wrote, “He’s content and safe and that’s because he trusts me. We are best friends and he loves me. I love how he’s snoring because that means he’s truly relaxed and asleep. Even when he’s being annoying, I love him. Even though he woke me up 5 minutes before I took this, I love him! Even when I don’t have time, I’ll take him for a walk. He’s my little doodle.”

I know this has nothing to do with dieting but hey we’ve got next year to look at that and to be honest, the more content you are in your life and the happier you are being the true you the easier it is to take care of your diet and health.

You could even do a similar thing with your diet, get a notepad and when you eat write a few sentences about what you’ve eaten and why you ate it. Was it because you were hungry, did you enjoy it, would you have chosen it had you not been watching your weight. We all love to eat but have we ever asked ourselves or bothered to identify why it is that we love to eat? Mmm interesting idea. Do you actually stop to truly taste your food, does it matter what your food looks like or are you just interested in the taste? Do you care how its made or where it comes from.

Yep today I shall mostly be asking myself, “why did I eat that and was it good?”

Enjoy the last day of 2010 and look forward to 2011.

December 30th 2010

Life is like an obstacle race. When you fall, you just have to get up & run faster! Rula Jebreal’s daughter – aged 14

Positive thinking – you don’t have to spend years on the shrinks couch! Instead you can write out all of your negative thinking, give yourself a counter argument and begin to control your thoughts. Realise that just because you think something, doesn’t mean it’s true. Most people walk around with negative thinking in their head, but if you stop to write it down on paper, you realise how abusive you are being to yourself. You wouldn’t be that abusive to anyone else, so the next time you start thinking something nasty – STOP and question it. A great example of this was my approach to Christmas eating and drinking this year, in the past I’ve done the “you’re hopeless and have no control” conversations where I’ve promised myself I would stick to my diet over Christmas and then when I don’t, I’ve really beat myself up and made myself feel guilty and bad for doing what possibly everyone does at this time of year, and what everyone is really supposed to do at Christmas – ENJOY THEMSELVES! It’s the one time of year when we should relax. This year I didn’t do that, this year I realised that I can relax my regime over the Christmas break, that gaining a few pounds and having cake for breakfast doesn’t make me a bad person, it doesn’t mean I’m weak or useless. I think it actually means I’m strong for not letting anyone dictate to me how I should live my life!

So if you want to make a New Year Resolution this year – positive thinking is a great one to focus on, or even just questioning your negative thinking!

The way you choose to interpret what happens to you has a much greater impact on your quality of life than the events themselves. Are you a glass half empty or half full kind of person – anyone who knows me knows my glass is always full to the brim ;)

For example if it’s raining, do you say to yourself, that’s ruined my day off and be in a bad mood all day or do you say, ‘great, it’s a chance to chill out and spend a day at home watching tv’. The latter choice will leave you feeling more content and less wound up!

Selecting the positive interpretation of any situation boosts your wellbeing, make up your own stories, for example the next time someone snubs you, instead of taking it personally and trying to work out what you did wrong, rewrite the story, “they could have had a terrible night’s sleep because they have personal problems”, they probably didn’t even notice you because they’re so distracted by their own issues. So now instead of feeling awful because you’ve been snubbed you feel good because you don’t have any personal problems keeping you awake at night!

I’m not suggesting that you ignore your problems and pretend everything in the garden is rosy, but rather approach those problems with a positive attitude and realise that there is also a lot of good in your life.

I have a weight problem, actually no I don’t I used to have a weight problem, now I just have an understanding of my appetite. It’s not a ‘problem’ it’s a joy to be enjoy my passion for eating on a daily basis, to constantly work with my love of food, to find a way to be able to enjoy everything I eat and drink whilst being able to be a healthy weight and have a healthy body, keeping myself happy, finding a balance and enjoying life without punishing myself.

Of course I’d love to have a super fast metabolism that meant I could eat and drink to excess as often as I wanted but I haven’t. I’m still glad I love food, I’d rather that, than not enjoy food and be naturally slim!

So is your weight problem a positive or a negative?!

December 29th 2010

Does anyone else remember back when the amount you ate was related to how hungry you were? Jimmy Carr.

So England have retained the ashes for the first time in 24 years! I only know this because I just turned the tele on to be told, not being a cricket fan it means nothing to me but it’s always good to see a bunch of English blokes jumping up and down on tv ecstatic because of sport ;-)

Apparently today’s the busiest day for booking your summer holidays! And a lot of women are putting their health at risk by carrying too much weight around their waist, I stopped listening right about there. The only time I watch the news on tv and read the papers is when I’m on my holidays. Having just put the tv on for 5 minutes so far this morning, I’ve already heard enough, it’s now telling me I’m going to probably die of the flu, that’s if my fat belly doesn’t get me first!!!!

So did you miss your morning email, I’ve enjoyed my rest, for a week I’ve thought about absolutely nothing apart from what to eat and whether to take Alfie for another walk o yeah and the burning question – how early is too early to open a bottle of wine ;0) Joking aside I’ve not been drinking my red wine this week, although I have enjoyed the odd glass or two of port and damson gin.

It’s been lovely not to think about ProPoints, or whether or not I should eat something, and to be honest because I’ve not done the ‘guilt’ thing and I came away with the attitude that whatever I gain, I know I can get it back off, I don’t think I’ve been as greedy as I have been in the past. I’m also looking forward to getting back to eating well, although I haven’t gone too far the other way to be honest.

Christmas dinner for us was a Nigella recipe, I’m not a vegetarian but moms not a huge fan of meat or proper meals so I thought I’d offer her something different and she ate every mouthful! So here’s the recipe if you fancy something a bit different and totally scrumptious that proves you don’t have to eat “diet food” to stick within your ProPoints. This meal is definitely going in my ‘to-do’ regular list.

Papperdelle with butternut & blue cheese

Serves 6, 11pp each

1 large butternut squash, approx 1.25-1.5kg or 800g ready-cubed
1 medium-large onion
2 x 15ml tablespoons regular olive oil
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika (I couldn’t find smoked so just used ground – not sure if there’s a difference)
1 x 15ml tablespoon unsalted butter
3 x 15ml tablespoons marsala (I used port)
125ml water
Salt to taste (I didn’t use, as my butter was salted ;) )
100g pine nuts
500g paperdelle or other robust pasta
6 fresh sage leaves (I didn’t have any so missed this out!)
125g soft blue cheese, such as Saint Agur (if you’re not a blue fan, use crumbled Cheshire or Wensleydale)

Peel and de-seed the butternut squash, and cut into roughly 2cm cubes.
Peel and finely chop the onion and fry in the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan that can accommodate the pasta later. When the onion starts to become golden, add the paprika.

Tumble in the cubes of butternut squash and then add the butter, turning everything together in the pan. Once the squash is slicked with the oniony oil and butter and the marsala and water. Let the pan come to a bubble, then put the lid on, turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, put a large pan of water on for the pasta, adding salt only when it comes to the boil; and toast the pine nuts separately in a hot, dry pan on the hob until scorched a dark gold, then tip them into a bowl or plate to cool.

Lift the lid off the squash pan and check the butternut is tender; if not, then cook for a little longer without the lid on – the squash should hold its shape and not turn to a mush. Once it’s ready, season to taste – go easy with the salt because the blue cheese will add extra saltiness later – and take off the heat.

Cook pasta according to packet instructions, though check a couple of minutes before the manufacturers declare it to be ready. While waiting for the pasta to cook – you should give the pan a loose stir or swirl every now and again – you can finely chop the sage leaves and crumble the cheese. Sprinkle most of the sage over the squash, keeping some back and give a quick stir; but keep the cheese for now.

Before you drain the pappardelle, lower a mug or cut into the pan and hive off a little pasta-cooking water, then tip the drained pasta into the resting sage-sprinkled squash pan and slowly turn the pasta in the sauce to combine; or you can do this in a capacious warmed bowl. If you find the sauce too dry, or if it all needs a little help coming together, add some of the pasta cooking water – the starch in it encourages the scaues to emulsify, the better to cling to the pasta.

Drop in the crumbled cheese and about half of the pine nuts, then – much as though you were tossing a salad – gently combine, before sprinkling the other half of the pine nuts and the reserved chopped sage on top


Have a fabulous day, I’m driving home tomorrow and it’s great to take time out because it always makes me realise I love my life and my job ;-) Hope you feel the same about yours, and if you don’t maybe 2011 should be the year you’re brave enough to make changes!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

23rd December 2010

Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough.

I can’t sleep so I may as well be up and doing! If I’ve just woke you up with a FB alert to your phone, turn it off or at least stop sleeping with it ;)

So yesterday was my last day at work this year and what a year it’s been, my first meeting of the year was accompanied by a load of snow and so was the last one! On 5th of January this year I held my first meeting and a lady named Margaret joined and when I weighed her yesterday she was 60lb lighter, that’s over 4 stone – WOW! Not only has her appearance changed but her health has improved and she even got to go to a garden party at the palace and see the queen in between loving fabulous! What a year she’s had and so many of you have your stories and I’m so proud of each and every one of you. Two more members got to goal yesterday too, so let’s all remember ProPoints gives each of us the knowledge we need to lose our weight and maintain a happy healthy lifestyle.

This is probably the last email you’ll get from me until I get back from Devon, or maybe not if I get a moment and I’ve got an internet connection it may not be. I might send you copies of the recipes I hope to be making whilst I’m away. We’ll see!

I plan to spend my Christmas chilling out, cooking, drinking, reading and watching tv and walking Alfie on the beach – YAY!

However you plan to spend your Christmas break or even if you’re working, take care and enjoy. Don’t worry about your weight for a few days, be happy in the knowledge that you can lose weight next year.

Holidays are not an excuse to go crazy, but they are also not a time to cause yourself distress. This week, the guidelines are:

1. Enjoy yourself.

2. Eat what looks wonderful, pass on the ordinary. In other words, choose the scrumptious!

3. Take the time to enjoy the food. Try to determine what, if anything, looks especially good to you? You might gain some insight into why particular foods call to you.

4. Smile all day long like you know a secret. People will go crazy trying to figure out what's "different" about you.

5. Do not think you must consume the leftovers. The week between Christmas and New Year's is not annual "Eat the Leftovers" week but instead it's a regular week like any other. If you have lots of goodies staring at you, get rid of them, give them away (there are plenty of people with nothing, be generous), freeze them for next weekend, throw them away (yes, you read that right, throw them away).

There's no law that says we must eat the broken biscuits. Go ahead and enjoy some, but it's not necessary to stuff as much in as possible. Really, it's not. There will be other boxes of chocolates, other biscuits, other crisps, there will be other holidays!

This is the time to reflect on the year gone by and look toward the new. Next year is going to be excellent.

I wish you all a happy holiday, and above all else, enjoy yourself today and everyday. Having an indulgence is fun, so go ahead and treat yourself, but switch from indulging regularly and eating well once in awhile, to eating well regularly and indulging once in awhile and you'll see the pounds start to disappear.

It’s been a privilege to weigh and support you all throughout 2010 and a joy to watch so many of you lose weight, achieve your goals, change in your physical appearance but also watch you grow in confidence. Next year lets continue the success and share it with others.

I can’t wait to see you all step on my Scales that first meeting in January and whatever they say, you’re gonna smile and me and say, “I’ve had a really good Christmas!”

Take care, love you all


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

22nd December 2010 - facebook email

The best thing one can do when it's snowing is to let it snow!

Well we’ve had a little more of the white stuff but not as much as was threatened possible! Here’s a thought from across the globe from one of my American Weight Watchers Kath who used to come to one of my meetings, She was sat in a meeting in the states yesterday and a lady shared an interesting thought regarding our tendency to say "Oh, why bother, I've messed up, might as well keep on eating". She read somewhere - if you run through a red light, do you say, "Oh, why bother, might as well run through all of them?" Thought that was quite an approach to managing our slip-ups.

Well said I’d say! What do you think? One day does not have to become two then you won’t end up blue xx

Because I have no meetings Tomorrow, this morning I’m going to weigh from 8.30 to 11, so you can drop in on your way to work or on your way Christmas shopping ;-) It really does help having that last weigh in before Christmas just to keep your eye on it all.

It’s that time of year where getting support can be difficult as everyone’s eating, drinking and being very, very merry!

How to Overcome Lack of Support from Friends and Family

While it is easy to learn the ins and outs of how to lose weight, many of us are lacking the support of friends and family to stay the course. Joining Weight Watchers means you share your stories, triumphs, and failures with perfect strangers and new found friends. Over Christmas if you don’t let the feeling of isolation ruin all your hard work. You can overcome a lack of support and reach your weight loss goal. Make use of the group wall to help each other, we also have a group page where you can post things.

Be Your Own Best Friend

If you have esource, this can be your an accountability partner 24 hours a day. By logging your food daily, and keeping track, you are facing the consequences of what you eat and how you exercise, good or bad. While it may be hard to hear, “don’t eat that” from your husband, seeing you’ve hit your daily points allowance sends the same message without killing your mood. By teaching yourself to be completely honest, you are learning to love yourself, flaws and all. Plus, being your own best friend comes with perks. You know what you want and how to get it. So, pat yourself on the back when you get to the end of the day and you haven’t used all your ProPoints and there’s nothing else you want or need. Treat yourself to celebrate your weight loss so far, whether you choose a pedicure, or a pair of shoes, when you leave the “treats” alone, its good reason to treat yourself!

Start a Blog

You may hear words of encouragement every now and the from friends and family members but if you need a well done or a comment about your food choices more regularly, set-up a reminder to write about it. By keeping a weekly blog you are able to look back on your weight loss journey and appreciate your progress. If you can be doing with a proper blog you could blog on our facebook wall and then you’d get feedback from me and hopefully other members, would that be great to have lots of members blogging and tracking on the wall, sharing ideas and giving inspiration and motivation to each other. Plus, you give people an update on how you are doing without obligating them to respond. Your mom may forget the conversation you had yesterday (or is that just mine ;->), but you can keep your words, pictures and videos forever if you blog and they don’t cost anything. I copy all my facebook emails to mine http://wwbevsworld.blogspot.com/ and if you go there you can start your own blog, you don’t even have to tell anyone your doing it!

Don’t Be a Stranger

She comes to the gym or your Weight Watcher meeting at the same time you do every Wednesday. The least you could do is say hi. This stranger is not your sister, but she could become a friend. You clearly have at least one common interest. What’s wrong with sharing a kind smile and “how are you” with someone you see often? Ask about their workout or their weight loss, or share your goals if you see an opening. Either way, you have allowed yourself to practice the new, more social you that may emerge once you lose the weight.

It’s almost Christmas and that’s a time for celebration, so don’t be too disciplined, remember you’ve lost weight already so you know you can do it, enjoy the holidays and look forward to returning to your Weight Watchers plan soon after xx

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

21st December 2010

In imagination, there's no limitation.

Enough with the white stuff now! I’m supposed to be going to Devon on Thursday and they had 9inches of snow yesterday! And all these poor people stuck at airports, it’s not good at all. I’m just not a fan of snow; snow should be left on the mountains!

Well I went 24 hours without food yesterday because after the meal at Tumbledown farm I had the trots! I did eat toast later on but other than that I was a little scared too. I feel ok though and it was interesting to spend a day without food, a couple of times I forgot and went to have something, then reminded myself and I think that’s like starting a diet, at first you have moments of forgetting when someone will offer you a chocolate and you automatically say yes, it’s habit that’s why and they’re not easy to break. But we all know having lost weight that we can break or change those habits.

What follows now in this email has nothing to do with food or diet but hey you gotta have a day off all that sometimes ;-) I thought I’d share some knowledge with you about what is today a special day for many.

Today is the shortest day of the year; it is also Winter Solstice, which is historically a time of transition in the annual war of light vs darkness, cold vs warmth, abundance vs shortage, life vs death! And even better it’s a total lunar eclipse! Big changes today for our planet ;-)

What is so wonderful about the winter solstice is that once we are past that moment of time we can look forward to brighter skies. Slowly at first, then more rapidly as we go into January and February, days get longer and everything around helps us celebrate the increase of light. It speaks well for the human spirit that our greatest religious celebrations take place at winter solstice time, as people radiate warmth of friendship and love on these dimmer days. The festivals of darker days are really celebrations of light.

In one of his plays, Shakespeare said, "Darkness has its uses." It seems appropriate that our long winter nights shimmer with the brightest stars: Orion, Canis Major, Gemini, Taurus, to name a few beautiful winter constellations. The light they send at night to inspire our minds makes up for the loss of daylight. When we see these brilliant winter stars, migrating farther west each evening, we know with certainty that once more light is on the rise, for we have passed the point of lowest illumination and are surely headed toward warmer days.

NOW THERE’S DEEP for a Tuesday morning ;-)

Think about it though why is it that we turn on so many festive lights during December?

Most might answer the question with "Christmas, of course. We like to put up lots of colorful lights to visually shout the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ." But look around. Christmas is only one of many celebrations involving lights and bright decorations held during December. For Jewish people it is Hanukkah and candles. In Sweden it includes Saint Lucia's Day with lights to compensate for dark of winter. Zoroastrians celebrated the festival of Sada, lighting huge bonfires at sunset, the blaze of fire representing victory of light over darkness and good over evil. Latvian homes are brightly decorated to commemorate the return of light following winter solstice. Ancient Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a wild weeklong unrestrained party. In America various Pueblo groups make elaborate preparations and perform sacred rites that relate to the reversal of migration of the Sun so that life might continue.

When we get down to fundamentals, the reason people in the Northern Hemisphere have always felt the need for additional light in what we now call December is the fact that solar light has waned. With the Sun moving lower in the sky, each day becomes shorter and dimmer. What light does flow down is noticeably weaker, hitting our part of the world from a lower angle, becoming diminished and spread out over larger areas. Weather responds, and all life feels the change.

Humankind seeks solace in numbers. We huddle together around our hearths in comradeship, song and prayer, feeling each other's warmth and love more intimately and intensely than we do at other times of year. We tend to feel greater need for each other now than at times when abundant solar energy comes down from heaven. And in all our celebrations of life, of faith, and of each other, we light electrical and other fires to compensate for the solar energy we depend upon. Our religious reasons for all of this might differ, but buried within them is the need to rekindle our faith that the Sun will turn on the horizon to bring back warmth, abundance and the conditions we need for survival on this planet.

Today we know that longer and brighter days will return following winter solstice, but humans have not always known that. Not so very long ago the fires were lit in belief that if we did not do such things the Sun might keep right on going south until daylight vanished. Indeed, people had learned that regions farther north had no daylight at all during this season of the year. Call it superstition, call it celebration, call it whatever you wish; the fact remains that we cling, in ever changing forms, to rituals with roots in the long ago when people did not comprehend that these cycles of nature resulted from the tilt of Earth's axis and its movement in a great orbit around a star.

I don’t buy into the entire gift buying getting into debt at Christmas time but I do love the idea that everyone gets together and enjoys each others company. Mom and me may not get to go to Devon but if we don’t it’s ok because wherever we are we’ll get to spend some time together and have a rest and that’s all that really matters.

Happy Winter Solstice everyone. And tonight at around 23:38 look at the sky and appreciate the total lunar eclipse even if you can’t see it!

Bev xx

Monday, 20 December 2010

20th December 2010 facebook email


Worry is like a rocking chair - it gives you something to do but won't get you anywhere.

It’s minus 13 degrees outside according to my thermometer, that’s just a little bit silly again isn’t it!

I went for lunch yesterday with my friend at Tumbledown farm, it was supposed to be the nearest thing I’d get to a Christmas dinner this year as I wasn’t going to bother myself, OMG awful, I’ve never tasted gravy quite like it and I think they secretly got mom to make the sponge cos it was overcooked just like she used to make. I did get to taste one thing there that was absolutely delicious though (shame I didn’t just have that and nothing else!) and that was Edamame beans, the were superb, cooked and tossed in ginger, garlic, soy and chilli. The edamame bean (pronounced Ed-a-marm-me) is a green vegetable more commonly known as a soya bean, which is harvested at the peak of ripening. The word Edamame means “beans on branches”, as it grows in clusters on bushy branches. It’s also a complete protein source and high in fibre, vitamin C and folic acid. You just squeeze the seeds directly from the pods into your mouth with your fingers and they were seriously divine. I’m just gutted I’ll probably never have them again as there’s no way I’d go back there, it was dreadful both the food and the service – the company was excellent though.

Here’s an idea sent to me by Karen for those of you that enjoy having chips and dip, inspired by Nigella.

Zero PP spicy dip

One jar of roasted red peppers (in brine, Asda sell them for £1 a jar) blend to a pulp in food processor. Add the stalks from a bunch of coriander, a clove of garlic and two fresh red chillies (seeds in if you like it really hot, removed if you don't. Season with salt. Add juice of half a lemon.

Blend again until everything is finely blended. Turn out into a dipping bowl. Gorgeous!!

Karen says she used some propoints and “cut a Tortilla wrap (3pp) into small Dorito like triangles and baked in the oven till crisp. (About five mins on 150 c) and scoffed the lot. It was blinking gorgeous and loads fewer points than regular dip and chip combos so it's going to be a regular feature on the buffet table over the holiday.”

Sounds like a plan!

Only 5 sleeps till Christmas and I only have 3 days left at work and I’m praying this snow goes away and no more come, at least it hasn’t stopped me walking Alfie so I’m still getting some exercise, the roads were ok yesterday actually I went to the shops and to Cannock (they hadn’t had as much snow as we had).

I hope to see you on the scales this week for your last weigh in with me of 2010! And remember if you’re coming Wednesday morning we’re going to have a bit of a party, so bring a plate of goodies with you, 8.-11am.

Hope its not a Manic Monday for you today xx

Sunday, 19 December 2010

19th December 2010

Emotion is energy in motion. Peter McWilliams

I’ve decided next year is the year I’m going to get good in the kitchen, I can already manage to cook a meal and I’m getting better but I’d like to have my own set of recipes that I can enjoy and cook regularly, quickly of course because I’m a busy bird! And don’t worry I’ll be sharing my knowledge with you. I’ve bought Nigellas and Jamies latest books so because of the snow spend yesterday looking through Nigellas for ideas, I’ve already pointed a couple of Jamies, he always uses way to much olive oil but that doesn’t mean we have to! Then I have lots and lots of old Weight Watcher books and I have been ProPointing some of my favourites.

Some of the recipes are just not suitable for eating on a regular basis, I found a nigella spaghetti dish yesterday that had 29 ProPoints per serving, that would be my entire day’s allowance gone in one meal! That would have to taste tremendous to be worth those points. I did find some really good recipes though and I’m thinking of doing a Budget Bev’s Bites in the new year because we’re all gonna be skint, I already am ;) December’s not the best month for me workwise and with this snow it’ll be all over until January. I’m just hoping we can get away next week for our break and so is my nephew who gets my house to himself.

I found it quite amusing yesterday when I checked facebook at how many people were bored because they couldn’t get out, I’m rarely bored, I always find something to do. Although I have to admit telly was a bit dull so we didn’t watch much of that.

Instead I made a chicken casserole and started on planning my week of menus for my holiday, I just hope they have a half descent kitchen.

Now lamb might not be the cheapest meat but sometimes I treat myself and here’s a nice recipe I found yesterday. At Christmas, there’s always a bottle of port in my house!

Lamb with rosemary and port

ProPoints® Value: 10

Servings: 2

1 tablespoons Oil, Olive
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 medium, Boneless Leg Lamb Steaks

For the sauce;
1 tablespoons Butter
1 sprig(s) Rosemary, Fresh
1 clove(s) Garlic
4 tablespoons Port

Mix together the oil and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl, then smear this over the steaks, either with a pastry brush or by dipping the steaks directly into the bowl.

Heat a heavy-based frying pan and cook the steaks for about 3 minutes a side, depending on the thickness of the steak and how you like it done.

Wrap them in foil to rest on a warm plate or in a warm place, while you make the sauce. With the pan still on the heat, but turned down low, add the butter and let it melt, then finely chop the needles from the rosemary sprig and add them to the pan.

Peel and crush or finely chop the garlic clove into the pan, then pour in the port, letting it sizzle and reduce slightly. Unwrap the steaks and add any juices from the foil parcel to the sauce. Then put the steaks onto plates and pour the sauce over them.

Serve with green beans or any vegetable of your choice.

For an extra 4 propoints you could serve this with 200g potatoes each, boiled or mashed, or a crusty bread roll for dunking.
Enjoy your snowed in Sunday! xx

Saturday, 18 December 2010

18th December 2010 facebook email

If you change the belief first, changing the action is easier. Peter McWilliams

Well its stupidoclock on Saturday morning and I’m wide awake!  Hopefully I’ll get an afternoon snooze later maybe.  Haven’t slept well knowing the one stray cat has slept on the fence ;( he’s so timid and scared of everything he won’t got in the kat kennel unlike the other one who’s sleeping like a baby in his new penthouse apartment ;).

Anywho, for those that have asked my meeting times over the next few weeks they are at the end of this email.

Here’s a thought about overindulging on Christmas day – realise that even if you gorge yourself, you can’t gain much in a single day.  Your stomach holds only about 40 fluid ounces.  If you stuff it even a few times with average food during the course of the day, the average Brit consumes 7,000 calories Christmas day.  That’s about 5,000 calories (and a lot of ProPoints) above maintenance for most people – which means you may gain a pound.  The scales may say two or three pounds, but this will be largely water retention and digestion overload, which are temporary.  So please don’t be jumping on and off the scales every day!

Most importantly – don’t feel guilty – just get back on the wagon.  You’ve had your fun, just like everyone else, and you can resume your question know that you didn’t miss a thing.  It’s not what you eat Christmas day that gives you a weight problem, it’s what you eat from boxing day to the following Christmas eve. 

Most of us love a drink, especially at this time of year, so here are the ProPoints values of some of those Drinkies!

Wine  - by the bottle easiest way!
White Dry = 18pp per 750ml bottle
White Medium = 20pp per 750ml bottle
White sweet/dessert = 25pp per 750ml bottle
Rose, Red or sparkling = 19pp per 750ml bottle
Champagne = 5pp per 175ml glass
Sparkling White Wine= 4pp per 175ml glass
Spirits -  25ml measure unless otherwise stated
Advocaat                         2pp
Amaretto                         2pp
Baileys                             3pp (pubs serve doubles so 6pp)
Brandy                             2pp
Gin                                   2pp
Pernod                             3pp
Port (50ml)                     3pp
Rum                                 2pp
Schnapps                         3pp
Sherry (50ml)                  2pp
Tequila                            2pp
Vermouth Dry (50ml)      2pp
Vermouth Sweet (50ml)  3pp
Vodka                              2pp
Whisky/ bourbon            2pp
Liquers – high strength   3pp
Liquers – med strength   2pp  
Cream Liquers                 3pp (most pubs serve doubles!)

Barley wine                     4pp per 180ml bottle

Bitter                               3pp per ½pint
                                        3pp per 330ml can
Lager                               3pp per ½pint
                                        3pp per 330ml can
                                        5pp per 440ml can
Lager – alcohol free         1pp per ½pint
                                        1pp per 330ml can
Guinness                          6pp per pint
Cider dry                          4pp per ½ pint
                                        6pp per 500ml bottle
                                        7pp per pint
Cider sweet                     4pp per ½ pint
                                        8pp per pint
Cider low alcohol            2pp per ½ pint
                                        3pp per pint
Cider vintage                   10pp per ½ pint
                                        20pp per pint
Magners light cider         3pp per 250ml bottle
                                        4pp per 330ml can
Bulmers light cider          3pp per 250ml
Shandy Bass                    1pp per 250ml
                                        2pp per 330ml can
Co-op strong Brown Ale  9pp per 500ml
Bacardi Breezers
Blueberry, mango, Pineapple, raspberry or watermelon                        4pp per 275ml bottle
Bacardi breezers
Orange or lemon             5pp per 275ml bottle

Fruit Juices – 100ml glass
Apple Juice                      1pp
Carrot Juice                     1pp
Cranberry Juice               2pp
Grape Juice                      1pp
Grapefruit Juice               2pp per  250ml glass
Orange Juice                   1pp
Pineapple                        1pp
Tomato Juice                   1pp per 250ml glass

Soft Drinks
Cola          regular                    4pp per 330 ml can
Cola  diet                         0pp per 33oml can
Bitter lemon                    1pp per 100ml
Cream Soda                     5pp per 330ml can
Ginger beer                      5pp per 330ml can
Lemonade regular           2pp per 330ml can
Lemonade diet                 0pp per 330ml can
Soda water                      0pp per 250ml glass
Tonic water                     2pp per 250ml glass
Tonic water diet              0pp per 250ml glass
Cordials – don’t forget them!
Lime juice cordial            2pp 50ml measure
Peppermint cordial          0pp 50ml measure
Fruit squash                    1pp 50ml measure
Fruit squash sugar free   0pp 50ml measure
Grenadine syrup              1pp per tablespoon

Ame                                 2pp per 250ml glass
Appletiser                                3pp per 275ml
                                        4pp per 330ml can

Dr Pepper                                4pp per 330 ml can
(same value for most soft drinks)

Shloer                              1pp per 125ml glass
                                        3pp per 250ml can
Red bull                           3pp per 250ml can
J2O  all but                      3pp per 275ml bottle
Apple & raspberry           4pp per 275ml bottle

Remember if you want to guarantee zero ProPoints in your glass, it’ll be water you should be asking for!

Have a Snowy Saturday!

My Xmas Opening Times -

My last meeting of 2010 is Weds 22nd Dec, if you usually get weighed on Thursday my other meetings you could attend next week;


Monday 9.30am & Wednesday weighing 8.30am – 10.30am,
St Johns Methodist Church Hall, Victoria Ave, Bloxwich WS3 3HS.

Monday 5.30pm, 5pm (express weigh only),

Community Centre, Well Lane, Wednesfield WV11

Tuesday 9am (express weigh only) or 10am, 5.15pm, 6.30pm,
Methodist Church, Wesley Road, Short Heath, WV12 5QT


Wednesday 5.30pm & 6.45pm

St Albans Church Hall, Griffiths Drive, Ashmore Park, WV11 2LJ

My meetings restart Tuesday January 4th 2011

Wednesday 10am, Thursday 8.30 (express weigh only), 9.30am, 10.45am, 5 & 6.30pm
St Johns Methodist Church Hall, Victoria Ave, Bloxwich WS3 3HS.

Tuesday 9am (express weigh only) or 10am, 5.15pm, 6.30pm,
Methodist Church, Wesley Road, Short Heath, WV12 5QT


Wednesday 5.30pm & 6.45pm

St Albans Church Hall, Griffiths Drive, Ashmore Park, WV11 2LJ

Monday 11th - 5.30pm, 5pm (express weigh only),

Community Centre, Well Lane, Wednesfield WV11

17th December 2010 facebook email

 "No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself." Madonna

How Do You See Yourself?

Do you want to lose weight and/or enjoy better health because it is something you truly want, or is it something someone else wants for you? Before any real change will occur you must WANT to have the changed result. You must WANT to be somehow different than you are now, and therein lies the dilemma.

Frankly, most of us are pretty comfortable right where we are, which is why, despite dieting and great efforts to eat less, our daily habits haven't changed, and when the dieting ends so goes our resolve, then whoops, here comes back that weight you worked so hard to lose.

Wanting is multi-layered, and so much more than simply wanting to be somehow different. Here are some parts of "Wanting." Use these to write down any issues that spring to mind for you. These can be important clues into your personal path to permanent weight loss.

1. Your Identity:
You see yourself as overweight and haven't been able to see yourself any other way.

2. Peer Pressure:
Others see you as overweight and support that by continuing to offer second helpings and "special treats," despite your protests you'd rather not eat fattening foods.

3. Upset Family Dynamic:
If you change, the whole family unit must accept that you have changed and often must make changes themselves.

4. Habits
Your brain doesn't necessary like change, preferring the status quo, and will seemingly fight your efforts. That is why habits seem hard to break. The brain can be retrained and soon your new habits are your new status quo, as strongly defended as the old habits once were.

Peer Pressure

Who hasn't experienced this at some time or another? I’ve heard so many stories, mothers baking cakes, husbands taking you out to eat. It’s easy for me to say just tell them NO, or tell them to stop with the not helping you but blah, blah, blah. Sure. I can talk big - but when it's happening to you, it's not always so easy to speak your mind or say no.

Peer pressure comes at you from all sides. First there are your friends who want you to be their buddy. They don't want to lose their drinking buddy or their "I’ve been dumped lets share a bucket of ice cream" pal, and you don't want to lose their friendship. Even when things aren't going well, the majority would prefer not to "rock the boat." We prefer the familiar and if you make changes it will affect your relationships.

So what do you do? Do you go ahead and eat just to salvage a relationship or do you follow your new mind and make an effort to break some of those habits - letting the chips fall where they may?

Every situation is going to be different in that some relationships may end (if they only liked you because you were heavier than them for instance), but true relationships don't dissolve because you get interested in achieving better health. Most spouses would be happy if the other got in better shape - if they have jealousy issues, that's something you'll need to work on together, but it's a
separate issue from your decision to lose the extra pounds.

A strong, healthy relationship will grow and change right along with you. Your friendship will become stronger by being supportive of each other. But what's going on when your friends and loved ones seem to go out of their way to put up roadblocks, baking you special foods, or giving you treats, surprising you with your favourite pudding when you've said you don't want to eat them right now?

Do They Want me to Fail?

Because we've grown so used to showing our appreciation and affection with food, it can be especially difficult for your loved ones to watch you when you're making a real effort to change your eating habits, especially if you talk about how difficult it is, or worse, if you mention how much you wish you could eat something.

They are not rubbing their hands together with glee thinking about how they can ruin your plans, rather, they suddenly get the bright idea that giving you a nice big box of chocolates for Christmas day would be just the thing. They think you'll like it - they think it's what you secretly want, and they want you to be happy. Really, they do. Next time someone does this make an effort to find the good in their gesture, say "Thank you," then give it away. You are not powerless in the face of temptation.

The decision to eat a more healthy diet doesn't change because someone hands you a plate of chips. No one makes you eat them! Think it through.

How you deal with it is your choice. You could smile sweetly and say, "Thank you so much, and since you know I'm not eating these right now I'll just put them away," then don't even open the box.  Watch their face drop because no one gives a box of chocolates without expecting to at least get some. A friend told me her husband will tell her he bought her a "present," handing her a box of chocolates, jumping all around saying, "Open it, open it," and then gobbles them all up. She has to hide some if she actually wants any for herself. Is he getting chocolate for her or himself? Sometimes gifts of treats are more for the giver than the receiver, think about it.

Giving you a treat gives them an excuse to overeat, doesn't it? Ah, ha, caught you. It is also entirely possible to learn to eat a piece or two of chocolate, enjoy it, and put the box away. I know, because
I have on occasion been known to do it.  I’ve got an opened bar of 80% dark chocolate in my fridge that has been there since October!

Do you believe you can't eat just one? 

If you think you can't do something - you're right. You need to change that belief. If you won't let yourself have a little because you think you'll then want to have it all, the you have to work on that.

We want to overdo it sometimes. We want to skip exercise, we want to sleep in. It's okay. You're okay. You're allowed to give yourself a break.   You’re allowed to enjoy this Christmas just be sensible and go easy on yourself, don’t eat for the sake of eating (loose the ‘because you know you’re going on a diet in the new year so you better eat it now mentality’) and don’t eat or drink because someone else wants you to.  EAT because what’s in front of you is going to taste fantastic and you want it, and you’re not too full to enjoy it.  AND GIVE IT YOUR FULL ATTENTION when you are eating it! 

Above all always make sure you ENJOY everything you eat without guilt, you’ll be surprised at how suddenly when you give yourself permission to have anything, you start to make better choices.

YAY it’s Friday, enjoy. xx

Thursday, 16 December 2010

16th December 2010

If you sit with a beautiful girl, two hours seem like two minutes. If you sit on a hot stove, two minutes seem like two hours. That's relativity.

Weight Watchers sent out some great coupons to members who’d supplied their email on their registration cards yesterday so check your email, the one was reducing the Complete Bundle from £69.99 to £59.99, it includes, scales, pedometer, cookbook, deluxe pack, clicker and toffee bars – bargain!

I have to say I’m so impressed with my members this week, they’re all so positive, whether they’ve lost weight or not they’re sure they will continue to do so once Christmas is done. And of course getting members to gold is always the ultimate and we’ve had two already this week.

We’ve all heard of one-day at a time, but one-minute at a time? Come on, who needs that? Hum, maybe you do at this time of year!

In the past if you've struggled repeatedly, yet continued to fail in your efforts to lose weight, have you stopped to think why? Was your plan to stop, quit or cut down too restrictive? Did you say, "I'll never drink wine again," or "From now on I'm never eating ___ again," and then when you couldn't resist you felt like a total failure?

Any time you make an effort to change a habit or pattern of behavior, at first it seems it'll be so easy. Just say no. But then the cravings and urges keep hitting you, washing over you like waves on the shore, relentlessly, repeatedly, until you give in. "I can't do it. I don't have the will power. I'll never lose this weight."

These waves are an expected part of change; so don't try to fight them. Instead learn to surf them.

Learning to Surf the Waves

Get out your boogie board, and you'll be glad for those waves. Think differently about the situation. So you're riding a wave of desire, ah, there's the crest, now you're floating down the other side.

Once over it, you soon forget all about it, until here comes another wave. What do you do? You ride it too. Up, over, down the other side. Just ride it, and you'll go over another and another.

Habits hit hard, but each successive wave is a little less intense, a little shorter. By riding the waves you'll find you can learn to surf them, then even enjoy them as they lose their power over you.

Sit on your hands if you have to, but ride the craving out. It won't last. The toughest times are those first few days because that's when your desire to continue old habits is highest and your will to ride out the craving is at its lowest. Even though your desire to change may be very high, the will to withstand those waves is low simply because your "usual" pattern of behaviour used to be diving right in or letting the wave knock you completely over.

Stay Out of the Water

Post a "No Swimming" sign for the next wave. You can go swimming anytime but not this wave. Just this one wave. One minute at a time. If you have a habit of overeating, no matter what time of day, realize it's just a habit. No different than a habit of biting your nails, twirling your hair, or picking bits off your sweater. Habits are acquired, repetitive tasks. They usually help us feel better simply because their repetitive nature is soothing. Habits can be broken if you are willing to ride the waves. If you've tried the "I'll never eat ..." again approach and it didn't work, try the one-day at a time or one-minute at a time approach.

When the urge strikes, decide right then to ride this one out. Tell yourself, "I'm riding this wave," and then as Nike says, Just Do It. That means you decide in advance that you will wait, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or 5 minutes; whatever time works for you. Decide how many minutes you will wait before you'll go ahead and do whatever you want to do. A few minutes gives you a chance for the wave to crest and you'll see how often it does just that.

Every single time you ride that wave and get to the other side it gets easier and easier. Now, it could be that it takes a hundred waves before it gets easier but it will. The day will come when you'll realise you used to have a problem with this food or that, or you used to eat an entire bag of crisps every night, but you no longer do. Now if you want a biscuit, you eat a biscuit but that crazy desire to eat them all is finished. The tide has turned.

Try it for the next day or two. When the urge strikes, say to yourself I’ll wait ten minutes and see if the urge subsides.

Have a terrific Thursday xx

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

15th December 2010 facebook email

Balance," said the tightrope walker, "it's all about the balance!

Keeping a food diary will give you a much greater understanding of what you really eat. You may think you're not eating much, when in fact, you could be adding numerous extra ProPoints; such as, milk and sugar in your coffee, that handful of nuts, and all those biscuits or chocolates you grab every time you walk past the jar. All those bite, licks and treats (BLT’s) add up. Capturing those tiny bits on paper especially at this time of year when the ‘old’ you comes out can open your eyes to where small changes can make a big difference in the future.

Your mission should you chose to accept it - Keep a food diary for one week that’ll take you up to Christmas eve. If this sounds like torture because you’ve so much going on, do it anyway. Realising the choices you make when you’re not 100% on track will help you in the new year when you refocus totally.

Tiny changes in your lifestyle can result in big changes in your overall intake, and will result in the changes you want to see.

When making the effort to keep a food diary you'll discover foods you may not realise you're eating. They sneak in and wreck havoc with your weight loss attempts. You'll also see if you're overdoing one food group while under eating another.

It’s making small changes that will make big differences long term. For example, I never put spread on a sandwich anymore, I no longer have sugar in my tea. These things I wouldn’t change even when I’m not tracking and watching my weight. I always use low fat mayo, low fat coleslaw, and skimmed milk. In restaurants I almost never eat the bread unless it is fresh baked or very special. Skip the white rolls and type of bread you could eat any day at home. Why fill up on bread when the food you're really waiting for hasn't yet arrived!

I rarely drink fizzy soft drinks, I opt for water. I don’t know if it’s true because there are so many studies out there but Aspartame has been linked with increased appetite and I don't want that. Drink more water. Easy and saves your wallet too.

When at a coffee shop drink low-fat lattes, or no lattes at all. There are more calories and saturated fat in a Starbucks' coconut latte than in a McDonald's Big Mac plus fries! If you're drinking a latte every day, you're getting a big load of extra fat and calories right there; even a skinny latte has ProPoints. Be sure the ProPoints you have are worth it to you.

What to do if you just love all the things I mentioned above, and you can't bear the thought of giving any of them up? First, decide if you are happy just the way you are. Not everyone needs

to make a change. If you love your lifestyle more than you'd love the idea of changing it, then don't change it. Accept yourself as you are, and move on to other things in your life. Why waste your life wanting what you're not willing to have? However you’re reading my email so I doubt that that’s true, so you need to learn balance, you can have these things sometimes but not all the time.

When I was a kid we had bread and butter with everything, we even had it for pudding dipped in the sugar bowl! No this wasn’t a delicacy this was a lack of money, the bread was there to bulk out the meal, these days I still absolutely adore bread, ooo toasted with butter, have to say dipped in sugar isn’t doing it for me, however I rarely buy it because I know when I do, I overeat on it and the taste of bread and butter is just not worth the extra couple of inches on my waist it would produce!

Just because you grew up doing something, doesn't make it a rule. If you grew up buttering everything, see if there aren't times you can just skip it. A tablespoon of butter has 3 ProPoints, and it's all fat.

Remember, it's one day at a time, one bite at a time. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither were those thighs.

Have a wonderful Wednesday xx

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

14th December 2010 facebook email

The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. G.K. Chesterton
I only went and lost weight yesterday! I was amazed and thrilled and will not take it for granted but obviously home cooking helps even if you do o’d on baileys! I’m loving the new cookbook, yesterday I prepared my veggies before I went to work so it was quicker to make when I got back. Had stuffed mushrooms and chilli sweet beef which was my own concoction – nice.

I’m guessing that most of you are planning some overindulging over the next few weeks, so I thought a delicious zero ProPointed soup recipe may come in useful to counteract this.

Roast butternut squash soup

1.5kg butternut squash (or pumpkin), peeled, de-seeded and cut into chunks
low fat cooking spray
2 onions, sliced into thin wedges
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
2.5cm (1”) piece of fresh root ginger, chopped roughly
1.2 litres (2pints) vegetable stock
salt & freshly ground black pepper
a small bunch of parsley, chopped to garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to gas mark 6 / 200oC / fan oven 180oC, place the butternut squash in a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes until tender.

10 minutes before the squash is ready, heat a large saucepan and spray with the low fat cooking spray. Stir fry the onions with the spices and ginger until softened, adding a little water to prevent them sticking.

Add the roast squash and stock. Stir and bring to boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Liquidise the soup in batches and then pour back into a pan. Season and heat through. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

And how about a vegetarian low ProPointed meal.

Mushroom sloppy Joes – 4pp per serving

350g large button mushrooms, quartered
2 garlic cloves, crushed
low fat cooking spray (1pp)
150ml vegetable stock
can of Batchelors Low Fat condensed mushrooms soup (4pp)
2 tbsp half fat crème fraiche
4 medium slices of wholemeal bread (8pp)
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp chopped fresh parsley, to garnish.
Place mushrooms and garlic in a pan, spray with low fat cooking spray and cook them gently for 5 minutes. Add stock and seasoning, and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the soup and heat through. Add the crème fraiche and stir well. Remove from the heat toast the bread. Top the four slices of toast with mixture. Scatter over the parsley and serve.
Have a tremendous Tuesday xx

Monday, 13 December 2010

13th December 2010

Habit and routine have an unbelievable power to waste and destroy.- Henri de Lubac

Monday morning’s rolled around again and it’s only 12 days to Christmas, hooray! I cooked again yesterday made myself a delicious roast lamb dinner, slow roasted it in a red wine gravy – ooo nice. Then I made mom a turkey and mushroom pie with the remaining filo. I spent my afternoon looking through my old Weight Watcher cookbooks for my favourite recipes and copied and converted them to ProPoints so I have my own cook book started now. Stuffed mushrooms on the menu today I think!

I’ve cooked and eaten well this weekend, at the same time I’ve given myself permission to overindulge! It had nothing to do with the fact it’s Christmas time! I just do that every now and again because I’ve realised that I have an emotional eating pattern and rather than ignore it or try to fight it I go with it as best as I can. By doing this I no longer feel guilty afterwards like a lot of people do when they overeat.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to start working on your emotional eating pattern right now, before the New Year when you usually make your resolution to really do something about your weight. Beginning to have control now and knowing that you are doing something about it, will give you that extra momentum and confidence that just might make the difference for next year.

You can still eat plenty at Christmas. Even if you eat a little too much that will be okay, as long as you are making a conscious decision to indulge yourself on this special occasion. If you can begin to trust yourself by starting to be more conscious about what's going on within you, you'll probably be able to prevent some or all of those awful blazing binges that make you hate yourself and rob you of the opportunity to enjoy the holidays.

If you’re worried about overindulging, remind yourself, that everyone is tempted to overindulge during the holidays. For some it doesn't matter, they just eat or drink a little bit more and work it off after the holidays. But if abstinence is important to you, or controlled eating is something you are working on, the temptations become more difficult. By planning ahead you can have an easier time with your eating goals.

Make it easier on myself by allowing for some indulgences, but planning for it by budgeting for the extras into your ProPoints allowance and by saving your weekly allowance for it.

Start to understand your own reasons for overeating and overdrinking and watch for these triggers. And maybe just accept that this is a time of overindulgence and that if you do overeat or overdrink it is not the end of the world.

If you really do struggle, ask for help, others can often help during difficult times. Sometimes just talking with someone who will listen is help enough. When you decide to ask for help, remember to choose the person wisely and be clear about what you're asking for. The meetings are a great place to discuss how you’re feeling, either with myself, another member or with everyone in the discussion.

Christmas can be a very emotional time for some, so if you’re one of them, recognise your feelings, uncomfortable feelings commonly accompany difficult situations. Although the usual advice is to express feelings, sometimes that isn't appropriate, especially if you’re at the in-laws for example or because you got the worst present ever from a loved one! Consciously deciding to keep your feelings private for good reasons is not the same as being in denial. In fact, that decision can actually make you stronger and more self-confident.

Most importantly, take care of your own personal needs. It's important to be good to yourself. By taking care of your own needs, you'll be proud of yourself and probably avoid something of the challenges you are now anticipating. In order to take better care of myself, continue with the routines you’ve already put in place following ProPoints, these will help keep up your health, not set you up for disappointment, respect yourself and your feelings and needs. What are you going to do to assure that you do these things for yourself?

Enjoy this time of year and don’t fear Christmas, remember you can take things too seriously! I had an email the other day that really made me smile because it showed what happens if you get too extreme!

In this email there was a photo of Gillian McKeith and below it said –

This woman is 51. She is a TV “health guru” advocating a holistic approach to nutrition and ill health, promoting exercise, a pescetarian diet high in organic fruits and vegetables. She recommends detox diets colonic irrigation and supplements, also making statements that yeast is harmful, that the colour of food is nutritionally significant, and about the utility of lingual and faecal examination.

She didn’t look good! Next there was a photo of Nigella Lawson and below it said –

This woman is 50. She is a TV cook, who eats nothing but meat, butter and deserts.  So forget “join a gym and eat more celery”. This Christmas it's food and booze all the way, and the only exercise you need is dancing!! Merry Christmas!

I think you’ll agree both show extremes, so finding your own balance is very important! I’ve done the Bailey’s thing this weekend and it was delicious and now I don’t feel the need to do it again this year.

Let’s hope today isn’t a Manic Monday!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

12th December 2010 facebook email

Don't ask for an easier life; ask to be a stronger person.

Well I was full of energy yesterday, sure does make a difference to your energy levels eating the right food! I spent a few hours in the kitchen, all the recipes were from the new Weight Watchers Seriously Satisfying cook book., made the most delicious dish, “spiced beef sarb” (page 72) , it’s not too hot or spicy just flavoursome and delicious and I’m going to cook it again today and freeze some, might try it with turkey mince and save a few ProPoints and I will serve it with Roasted Butternut squash in the week.

I’ve just checked mince and the different ProPoints,
Beef 100g = 6
Beef (extra lean) 100g = 4
Turkey 100g = 3
Quorn 100g = 2
Soya 100g = 2
I also made Beef & Ale pot pie (p120) which was very tasty too and looked great as you can see ;-)
The quick beef stew on page 106 is now in the freezer ready for next week. I also made that cottage pie recipe I posted the other day, but I had to add an extra stock cube to give it a bit more flavour.

As I enjoyed myself and I’ve got some filo pastry left I’m going to spend a couple of hours again and fill my freezer so I don’t have to cook much before Christmas.

I also took mom and Alfie for a walk; the ice has finally gone from everywhere, thank goodness so we might venture over Cannock Chase today. A brisk walk is an easy way of earning extra Pro Points, my pedometer tells me everyday that I’m earning between 3 and 10 additional Pro Points which at this time of year more than any other when I want to eat big plates of Beef & Ale pie, I can go have a second helping because of that extra walking I did.

Are you active at the moment or has hibernation set in because of the dark nights and cold weather? There is always something you can do to keep active, it’s just finding something you enjoy, whether that’s dancing round the living room or joining a Zumba class.

Don’t forget you’ve got that weekly ProPoints allowance of 49 but it’s not a never-ending allowance so if you need a few more, then you need to move a bit more!

Have a super Sunday xx

Saturday, 11 December 2010

11th December 2010

It is not the great temptations that ruin us; it is the little ones. John W. DeForest

I woke up at stupid o’clock this morning so I’m gonna actually do that cooking that I was supposed to do yesterday, I did fetch the ingredients but I had leftover beef stew to eat and went for a super long walk with Alfie instead, he got to go off his lead and have a run round which he loved. By the time I’d done all that it was afternoon and I was ready for tv time!

Shopping yesterday was extremely difficult for me, I managed to stick to my list and will aim to make sure I have a list for the rest of the month because the temptation of all the Christmas food is too much, I think I need to steer clear of the big supermarkets and stick to the local greengrocers and maybe nip to co-op for anything else, it may cost me a little more in cash but it will mean I’m not buying all the goodies there!

So I’ll be cooking three meals out of the new Seriously Satisfying cook book today and they are quick beef stew, which I can freeze to eat in the week, beef and ale pot pies, and spiced beef larb (also freezable). I’ve only just realised they’re all beef, mmm, I like beef what can I say! I’m also gonna make a cottage pie and a creamy leek dish with Colman type sachets, if I have time but that maybe tomorrow as I have other stuff planned today.

Mmm here’s a quick and easy pudding recipe that’s low in pro points so you have a few leftover for a glass of wine ;-)

Banoffee pie pots

Serves 2, prep time 5mins, 3 Pro Points each

1 medium Banana, sliced
1 Ginger Nut Biscuit
2 heaped tablespoons Dulce de Leche (it’s a jar of sticky toffee stuff)
2½ tablespoons 0% Fat Greek Yogurt
10 g Chocolate, Milk, grated

Place the biscuits in a plastic bag and smash until it resembles breadcrumbs. Split between two ramekins or glasses. Top each with 1 tablespoon dulce de leche. This is very sticky so be patient, but it doesn’t have to be neat. Lay the banana slices on top of and spoon over the yogurt. Grate a bit of chocolate on top and serve.

Here’s a tip I found in a magazine - Make it milk

Instead of glugging a bottle if water after your workout, have a glass of milk. A study has found it could speed up fat loss due to the combination of calcium, protein and vitamin D, which helps build muscle and break down fat. Milk also ensures you get the calcium your body needs.

Enjoy the weekend. xx

Friday, 10 December 2010

10th December 2010 facebook email

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. Franklin D Roosevelt

What a fabulous week, 6 members achieved their goal weight and yesterday Margaret received her 10-year gold star, and Toni received her 6-year gold star what an achievement! What was brilliant about some of those achieving gold was the fact they’ve been with me for a few years and it was the boost of the new ProPoints plan that helped them get that last half stone off. I’m always so proud of all my members, but this weeks been truly special for me.

Well I made the sausage casserole using Richmond’s skinless thin sausages and was shocked at how much fat came out of them! No wonder sausages are so high in Pro Points.

If you remembered to take a copy of “Your Week”, you have to make the Mince Pie Pin Wheels, they’re delicious, one of my girls made them for us last night and at one propoint each you can have 7 of those or 1 mince pie and trust me the 7 is superior.

Today I’m going to be mostly cooking once I’ve finished my paperwork and I’m fancying Bobotie on page 94 of the new Seriously Satisfying cookbook, which is a South African recipe that’s ready in 40 minute, prep & cook time! Ooo or maybe sweet & sticky pork only take 30 minutes, although I think I’ll keep those for next week though when I need something quick, I want to cook something I can freeze, there’s a quick beef stew that’s ready in 30 minutes which can be frozen or creamy chicken pies that only take 30 minutes, I like the ‘make it fast’ section of this cookbook. OMG there’s the most delicious looking Beef & Ale pot pies, yep sorted that’s what I’m making today for sure, ooo and I could also be tempted to do Moroccan lamb skewers or pork with sweet potato mash. Oh dear it’s too early in the morning to get this excited about food! One more, spiced beef larb, takes 20m and looks divine, and freezable, yep, that looks like a takeaway at home. Right I’m gonna stop looking now cos I can’t take all the pictures of food when I have so much work to do.

So until you get your hands on a copy of the new ProPoints cookbook, here’s a nice recipe I had by email yesterday;

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie - A classic given a makeover...

Serves 2 at 10 pp each

1 tbsp olive oil (4pp)
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
200g / 7 oz extra lean beef mince (9pp)
2 carrots, peeled and diced
100g / 3 ½ oz swede, peeled and diced
1 tbsp tomato purée
150ml / ¼ pt reduced salt vegetable stock (vegetable stock / bouillon cube crumbled into 150ml boiling water)
230ml / 8 fl.oz boiling water
1 bay leaf
2 medium (300g) sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly diced (8pp)

(1) Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and the mince, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Cook for 5 mins, or until the onion has softened and the mince is browned.

(2) Add the carrot, swede, tomato purée, stock, water and bay leaf. Simmer for 15 mins, or until the sauce has reduced.

(3) Meanwhile, cook the sweet potatoes in a boiling pan of water for 15 mins, or until soft. Then mash. Preheat the oven to 190°C / fan 170°C / 375°F / Gas Mark 5.

(4) Pour the mince mix into a pie dish. Spoon the mashed sweet potato over the top, then bake for 10 mins, or until golden and bubbling.

Have a delicious day xx

Thursday, 9 December 2010

9th December 2010 facebook email

It is easier to believe than to doubt. Everett D. Martin
Great week so far, 4 members have reached their goals and are now members of the exclusive Weight Watcher gold club and the average weight loss is 2lb per person, which is inspiring in this weather and this close to Christmas. My meetings run until December 22nd and return in the New Year on January 4th. If you feel the need to get weighed inbetween those dates then check with Weight Watchers for which meetings are open.

Regarding Facebook, if you want me to answer a question, email me direct as I don’t always see the comments written on the group or page and I’ve just noticed that the new layout isn’t letting me comment on them now anyway!
I had a delicious beef casserole yesterday, I cheated and used a Colman’s mix and I’m actually glad I did because I wouldn’t have made it taste that good had I not. I’ve also bought a Colman’s Sausage & Onion Casserole recipe mix which is 4pp for the packet, the only thing you add to it that’s ProPointed are the sausages and a pound of sausage is approx 39pp or you could use a pound of quorn sausages for 14pp or Weight Watchers sausages for 17pp, I’m going to be using Richmond thin sausages (31pp) because that’s what I’ve got in my freezer! Four meals for 9pp each not bad, I’m going to serve it with Kale and carrots mmm and mash potatoes for an added 4pp. Now that’s a comforting and filling winter meal for 13pp, you could wash it down with a glass of wine (6pp) or a mince pie (7pp) or even a mulled wine (recipe below) which you can counterbalance with a zero pointed soup for lunch.

The new Weight Watchers Seriously Satisfying Cookbook has arrived, I’m going to cook a few things from it Friday, I was supposed to be driving to London for the day but with the weather I’ve decided to stay home, so I shall have an afternoon in the kitchen I think. I also fancy cooking the Mince pie pin wheels in this week’s edition of YOUR WEEK.

Mulled Wine

ProPoints® Value: 3
Servings: 10
Preparation Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 15 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

The inviting smell of spices combined with the hot wine will have all your senses tingling!

300 ml Water, (1/2 pint)
425 ml Grape Juice, (3/4 pint) unsweetened red
2 tablespoons Sugar, Muscovado, dark or light
1 teaspoons Ginger, Root, fresh (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger) (grated)
4 individual Cloves, Whole or Ground
2 teaspoons Cinnamon, (2 sticks)
1 medium Lemon, sliced
700 ml Wine, Red, 1.25 pints

Put water, grape juice, sugar, ginger, cloves and cinnamon sticks into a very large saucepan. Heat gently until just below boiling point. Add wine and reheat gently. Do not allow mixture to get too hot.

Pour into a punch bowl or jug and serve hot.

If you haven’t got all the individual spices, you can buy a mulled wine spice pack which would do the job.

So comfort eat carefully in this cold weather and you can still lose weight.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

8th December 2010 - facebook email

In life count your gains, not your losses. In dieting count your losses not your gains! (Bev Longsden)

Well it’s warmed up only minus five this morning, I really could have slept in and taken a duvet day but instead I shall have a warm shower and take Alfie for a walk round the block.

I attempted to get back on track yesterday, I enjoyed two of my three meals, had bran flake with warm milk for breakfast (4pp) which I can live without! For main meal I had faggots (7pp), Aunt Bessies roast potatoes (4pp )and mushy peas (4pp) which was delicious (Alfie likes faggots apparently!), then for tea I had scrambled eggs (Alfie enjoyed these too!) on toast (10pp) mmm. Now I’d been tracking on the new iphone app and once I had my lunch and realised it was 15pp, which took my total up to 21pp, I considered stopping with the tracking because I hadn’t even had my tea, but instead I tracked everything including my large glass of red and my Weight Watchers dark chocolate orange bar, and my cup of soup at the meeting which I may have forgotten if I hadn’t written in down already! I ended up having 44pp yesterday which is a lot but because I’ve written it down I realise I can still make it through the week. I also earnt 8pp on my pedometer, thank goodness I need them for the appetite I’ve got at the moment! So only 7pp have to come out of my weekly allowance!

So this morning instead of feeling deflated and thinking that’s another day I’ve not been on a diet, I actually feel positive because although 44 is a lot, 44 was the most I actually wanted to eat yesterday which is progress as at one time that would have been nearer 88! Even if I had 44pp every day this week, as long as I was doing the walking on and earning the points on my Pedometer I’d still be within my allowance. Here’s to ending the year lighter than I started it! Hopefully you are too.

I also resisted MacDonald’s about three times yesterday so that was a bonus! What have you resisted this week?

I was reading something a snippet in a magazine at the weekend that said be wary of eating in large groups if you're trying to lose weight. According to nutrition specialists the longer you sit at the table, the more you'll eat. Dine with one friend and you will eat about 35% more. With a group of seven, that rises to 96%! Try to use the 'rule of two': either a starter or wine or dessert, plus your main course. I remember a couple of members telling me how they’d been out for lunch after their meeting and both sat there chatting then realised that they were picking at the last few chips on the plate without really wanting them, so they poured lots of salt over them to stop them from eating them just for the sake of it. Good idea!

So what you eating today, have you already planned it? Or are you gonna decide as you go along. With my appetite as it is I’m going to plan it (disappeared to the kitchen for a few minutes). Ok I’ve looked at supplies and breakfast is going to be a whole packet of Mattessons turkey rashers (4pp) 2 eggs (4pp) and tinned tomatoes, was going to have a toastie but no bread left, which I think I’m glad about! My main meal is going to be cottage pie which is a hefty 16pp, I bought it yesterday as part of a Sainsbury’s meal deal so it’s a Taste the Difference a.k.a. Makes You Fat! It’s ok though if I have it with lots and lots of veggies. That takes me up to 24pp, if I add on the definite glass of wine for 6pp I’ve hit my daily allowance so will got into my weekly and activity allowance again and I’m going to have to think about tea as the cupboards are a little bare and I’ve got paperwork to do. But planning has only just taken a few minutes, so why don’t you do the same.

Why not make some zero pointed soup, and if you have too much, remember you’re leaders ALWAYS hungry! ;-)