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Monday, 31 October 2011

Yay it's Monday - did u wake up thinkin that?

31st October 2011

The fear is worse than the pain. Shannon Bahr

The clocks may have gone back yesterday but my body didn’t so I was in bed so early, before 7pm and I’ve slept till 5am, so I’m now all refreshed and ready to do the week all over again, just finished doing my meeting plan so now I’m ready to go.

I had a very, very lazy day yesterday, reading mags, papers and watching tv, I didn’t do my shopping online in the end either, I just couldn’t face it, I like walking round shops and to be honest I probably have enough food in my house not to shop for a few days, so I may do that, use up what’s in my cupboards – that should make for an interesting tracker this week!

Looking forward to this weeks meeting topic, all about being positive which is a favourite subject of mine, my glass is always half fun – no comments about it being half fun of red wine necessary ;D

I have a feeling the scales will be kind to me this week, I’ll probably maintain or lose half pound which is absolutely fine, I’m feeling better than I have in ages, I can run about 10 miles a week, which if I had time would be more and I’m working on that.   Yes I feel really good and I love it when I weigh members who tell me they’re feeling the same.  Losing weight, getting fit and feeling healthy really does make you feel good about yourself which definitely makes it worthwhile turning down the odd bag of crisps or cake.

So thinking about what’s in my cupboards I’ll probably start today with eggs on toast, corned beef hash for main meal and maybe use the cottage cheese I have in the fridge for tea I could have it with pitta bread, might need to buy salad leaves though.  Have you thought about your day and what you’ll be having?  Getting some idea in your head really does help even if you don’t stick to it 100%.

There’s a delicious looking recipe in this weeks YOUR WEEK for lamb and ginger balti mmm, and only 12pp with the naan bread, or why not a creamy qourn curry for the veggies amongst us or even just for a change if you are a meat eater.

Ooo I’ve just turned the page of YOUR WEEK and there are recipes fro delicious boozy drinks ready for Guy Fawke’s Night, how you liking the sound of Forest fruit mulled wine, rum and orange hot chocolate or white wine cup.  Too early in the morning though yet ;D

I thought we were gonna get lighter mornings now, well it’s 6.20 and still dark – boo, me and Alfie need to walk, I want the daylight.

Have a marvellous Monday, decide that this week you’re gonna be 100% positive regardless of what life throws at you. xx

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Short & sweet...

30th October 2011
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tired.com that’s what I am this morning, not long been home after staying at the Travelodge in Wolverhampton with Lynne & Jo, following our Twilight Walk for Compton Hospice which was unfortunately a bit of a damp squid but at least lots of money was raised.  Wolverhampton in the middle of the night is seedy and noisy!  On the walk back from Compton Hospice to town we past a couple of hookers on street corners – mmm not nice!  Then once in hotel, we soon realised there were traffic lights outside our room and apparently stereo systems on full blast in most cars that stopped.  Also I was told this morning that I am a snoring baby starfish and women trying to sleep in one double bed isn’t ever going to be comfortable.
So I’ve decided I’m doing diddly squat today, I’ve popped to the paper shop for the Sunday’s and am now back in my PJ’s with a mug of tea and a couple of pieces of toast, now that’s what Sunday is all about.  I’ve just watched last night XFactor, I was more impressed this week, I do love rubbish tv and am now looking forward to tonights episode.
Actually I am going to do something today, this week I’m going to do my food shopping online to ensure I only buy good stuff and stay away from all the tempting offers!  I’m also hoping it’ll work out cheaper, I’ll let you know!
Well I’m gonna go do that now I think so it’s done, then it’s the papers and tv for the rest of the day.  Hope you’re doing what you want to do today too.  

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Mmm crisp sarnie - can't beat it...

29th October 2011

Not all who wander are lost. J. R. R. Tolkien
Was just reading a facebook posting by one of my members Rachel and it was saying how she’d been shopping and how much enjoyment she’d got out of buying clothes now she’s lost weight, those full length mirrors didn’t reduce her to tears this year and it got me to thinking about how when we decide to lose weight we tend to only focus on the negative side, the things we’re going to have to give up like certain foods and how difficult it will all be. We should be focusing on the positive such as how fabulous we will feel trying on new clothes or being able to run for the bus without collapsing. Next weeks meeting is all about positive thinking so we can all discuss it in more detail.

I had a lazy day yesterday, after waking at 3am and getting up I crashed by lunchtime, so tea was a crisp sandwich :D delicious and worth every ProPoint. I had a long bath and an afternoon snooze followed by an early night, today will be the opposite, I’m going to give Alfie a good long walk, then have a run to earn some Activity ProPoints for tonight’s meal at the curry house, then we’re all doing a 6 mile sponsored walk at 9pm for Compton Hospice – I must be mad.

I did attempt housework yesterday but after clearing off and dusting the windowsill in my office and the floor, I got bored and give up; I’ll never make a housekeeper it has to be admitted.
I’ve noticed the last few week’s lots of quotes are being posted on facebook as photos, some are very good, and one yesterday which I added to our wall said, “If it’s important to you, you will find a way.  If not you’ll find an excuse” how true is that.  So if you’ve been struggling to stay on track the last few weeks, mull over that quote, is it important to you, if the answers yes how can you make it work, what needs to happen for you to stay on track? 

For me, I realised I needed to get active, I’ve also realised that I only have so many hours in my day and I need to get my work/life balance more level so this week after a discussion with my manager and a great deal of thought I’ve realised I need to cut back on the meetings that I do to give me the time I need to do the aftercare and paperwork, it’ll still mean I work a 50 hour week but it means I won’t have to work a 60 hour week to get everything done and I won’t be constantly playing catch up.  The decision has been one of the hardest I’ve had to make in a very long time because I love my work and my meetings and all my members.  However I also love myself and realise I physically don’t have enough hours in the day to do it all.  I want to go running 3 or 4 times a week, I want to be able to take Alfie on long walks, I want to occasionally sit and read a book (something I never get round to) and I want to have the time to cook healthy meals.
We are on this planet but once (as far as we know) and personally I want to enjoy it, I want to get as much out of my time here as possible.  My moms not getting any younger either so I want to spend more time with her and as much as we both hate housework it does have to be done and it’s time for me to step up and help.

I know when I eat healthily and drink sensibly and get some exercise I have much more energy to do all those things I want to do plus those things I need to do, so for me it’s not a hardship following the Weight Watchers ProPoints plan, it’s the only sensible thing to do.  So I can’t eat a bar of chocolate every time I see one, or eat a bag of crisps at every meal time but why would I want to when I know they’ll just make me gain weight again, I’d much rather have the odd crisp sandwich now and again and devour it, if we have something too often we get bored with it anyway, we take it for granted and don’t even notice it.  I hadn’t had any wine in my house for well over a week until I bought a bottle on Thursday and when I poured that glass, it was like nectar and I savoured it.  When I have my curry tonight I’ll enjoy every mouthful because it’s been a while since I’ve had one and I’ll enjoy it even more because I know it’s within my allowance and isn’t going to make me gain weight next week.
So even if you do blow it this weekend, remember a lapse does not have to lead to a collapse!  It doesn’t have to be a disaster, it can be a chance to learn and get back on track.

Enjoy your Saturday, whatever your plans. 

Friday, 28 October 2011

A bad workman always blames his tools!

28th October 2011

Courage does not always roar, sometimes it’s that little voice at the end of the day saying I’ll try again tomorrow. 

Woke up at stupid o’clock (3ish) this morning and decided to get up, I’m in a doing mood not a lying in bed mood, so I’m going to get lots done this morning, sort my office, clear my desk and do lots and lots of paperwork, then I’ll take Alfie to the vets AGAIN, and later I’m going to enjoy a long, hot bath whilst I finish off my Weight Watchers magazine and maybe throw in an afternoon snooze too.

I made the Spanish Cod and Chorizo from the cooking for two book yesterday for me and my helpers for our tea and well I haven’t had any complaints even though it didn’t look exactly like the photo in the cook book, it tasted fine.

As it was payday this week for me, I treated myself yesterday to lots of bars and I filled a big glass bowl, I’m going to have a treat everyday and on run days I can have two!  Nice, I’d forgotten how nice the bars were until I had that toffee bar the other day, so it’ll be my afternoon break bowl because we all need to stop and pause and take time out of our day. 

It’s been a great week this week in meetings , another 2 to goal yesterday, congratulations to Sarah and Alexandra, you’ve both done fab and look amazing, that’s 111 gold members this year now in my meetings alone – fabulous.  

This week in the meetings we looked at the tools that help you lose, obviously for everyone those tools vary but the a few that most of us find invaluable are;

EATING OUT GUIDE – you can be prepared, and plan which restaurant to eat at, make wise choices, select in advance, know your PP and track them.  I’m off for a curry tomorrow night and I’ll make sure by using it my tandoori chicken or whatever I decide to have will be within my 49 weeklies.

SHOP BOOK - Plan your shopping list, interesting reading, make sensible food selections before going to the supermarket, Propoint items already in your cupboard. Know you are in control.   I haven’t done this for a while but I used to sit browsing through the shop guide looking for ideas, trying to find low ProPointed foods, I might do that tomorrow when the XFactors on – it’ll probably be more entertaining!

TRACK BOOK - Keeps you focused, shows your progress, helps you keep a reference for future weeks, you can use the ‘good weeks’ time and time again. I only lose weight if I track, my brain choices not to store PP if I’ve used my allowance, it goes into selective overdraft!

COOK BOOK - Keeps your menu varied, spices up your meal times, introduces you to new meals and good habits, portion size correct, entertain friends.  I love my cooking and find lots of ideas in these books.

MAGAZINE - Helps motivations; gives great tips and advices, lots of success stories to keep you focused. Recipes and menu plans for the week.  Great articles in Novembers issue, there’s even a 0-5k training plan!

CALCULATOR - Portable, easy to carry in your bag; ProPoints on the go; track your daily allowance.

WEEK ONE FILE – the programme material is packed with information and ProPoints: Enjoy book, with lots of food idea’s and recipes.   Use it, don’t just leave it on the side.

8/ PEDOMETER – or WINEOMETER as I call it, We discussed this in meetings two weeks ago, it’s a great motivator. Makes you increase your activity, a cheap personal trainer.

And don’t forget Esource, that’s invaluable to keep you engaged in the programme in-between your meetings because lets not forget Weight Watchers works because of the group support and I love how my members are all supporting each other, it’s lovely not just watching you all lose weight but seeing new friendships form too.   Weight Watchers to lots of people is just a diet club, to me it's so much more. Not only does it provide my salary whilst I do something I really truly enjoy but through it I have met some of the best friends I could ever have wished for, friends old and new, two of which I’m going to New York with soon and one that gets me into trouble every week now, she’s the one that got me running and then makes me eat the activity ProPoints every Friday lunchtime, although it’ll be Saturday night for a change this week.

Yes I have much more than my weight loss to thank Weight Watchers for.

I’m smiling now so I’m going to sign off and wish you all a fabulous Friday.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

a good old-fashioned tea break...

27th October 2011

If you don't have the time to do something right, where are you going to find the time to fix it?

Busy, busy, busy still at the moment but I’m working on the solution and yesterday I even decided to do something I haven’t done in a very, very long time – I had a 15 minutes afternoon break and sat reading my Weight Watchers magazine whilst driving a cup of WW cappuccino and eating a WW toffee bar and it was lovely to slow down and stop for a while.

I haven’t had a Weight Watchers Toffee Bar for so long and I’d forgotten how good they are, I even managed to just have the one because it was so satisfying, so that’s going to be my new practice, every afternoon a 10-15 minutes break with a cuppa and a treat to have a little bit of me time.   That way my box will last me the working week ;D YAY, it’s like having a proper job and everything!

I had grey peas and bacon for my lunch yesterday, they were out of the freezer and delicious and I was so glad I’ve cooked a huge batch of them as I’ll be able to eat them over the next few weeks.  Today I’m making Spanish cod & chorizo from the cooking for two book mmm, proper food, I haven’t had chorizo for a while and me and Alfie loves it.

I also bought a butternut squash from Lidls for 69p and I’m going to cook the cheesy baked squash recipe from out of last weeks YOUR WEEk which looks delicious too and only 5pp per serving. 

I’ve really missed cooking meals from scratch so need to get back into it, I enjoy cooking when I have the time so I’m going to somehow find that time again.

I’m loving my meetings this week, my members make it so worthwhile, I love listening to them chatting and sharing ideas whilst I’m weighing, and you can’t beat having a job where you get to have a giggle with the customers can you really.  How lucky am I?  I’m enjoying planning next weeks meeting too because it’s right up my street, positive thinking, I always enjoy that top.

Busy day today with five meetings but I’m still going to cook inbetween, even if it means doing the paperwork tomorrow, I’m in no rush tomorrow as we’re not doing lunch, we’re having a curry on Saturday instead because we’re doing the Twilight Walk for Compton Hospice from 9pm.  I’ve still got my 49 weeklies saved to enjoy my curry so looking forward to that. 

I did manage to fit in a 5k run yesterday too, it was a gorgeous day for it, I’m not getting any faster though and the last weeks felt like it’s getting harder but its still doing what I set out for it to do, quick activity with lots of additional ProPoints earned, I ended the day on 12 activity ProPoints on my pedometer yesterday, 6 from running and 6 from walking, and I enjoyed them too, 2pp for toffee bar, 1pp for ww cappuccino, 4pp walkers crisps and a couple of sneaky rum and cokes 6pp to be on safe side.  Why am I drinking rum you ask?  Because it’s been a week since I bought wine and I have to say my house feels so empty ;-)

I’ll treat myself to a bottle this weekend?  What you going to treat yourself too?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Hurry, Hurry, Hurry now - quick, quick, quick!

26th October 2011

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.  Henry Ward Beecher
I made a duff beef casserole yesterday the spuds just wouldn’t cook properly, they were edible but didn’t taste too good at all, so today I’m going to get the spuds out of what’s left and make a plate of steaming hot mash to go with the beef and veggies that weren’t ok :D where there’s a will there’s a way. 

Meetings are great this week, I love that the moms are still coming despite it being half term, it’s a way for them to escape and have some ‘me’ time too whilst they’ve got the kids for the rest of the week and in fairness the kids are well behaved sitting there with their handheld things playing some game or other.
There are not enough hours in the day!

How many times do you say or think that?  Since I was taken on in July as an employee I’ve had to keep a time sheet and now know that I’m working on average a 50 hour week, so being organised is essential.  I’m still struggling to get it all done so I’m rethinking how much work I do and I’ve decided something’s got to give, I’m in the process of sorting that out this week.  I love my job passionately, however I also love my life and when you’ve not got the balance right then it’s time to make some serious decisions.  I enjoy cooking but lately I haven’t had so much time for that because I’m out and about so much.  I literally spent 10 minutes getting a casserole in the oven yesterday, no wonder it didn’t taste so good, some one had suggested I should have parboiled the potatoes – I didn’t have time to do that ;(  I want to spend more time taking my dog for walks and playing up the garden with him, I want to not be falling asleep at 8pm on a Friday because I’m shattered.  Yes we are only on this planet once (as far as we know), so as much as I love what I do to pay my bills, something’s got to give and that may mean a pay cut which in the current climate isn’t fabulous however my health and happiness is much more important to me than money plus  if I had more time to shop I wouldn’t spend so much on food anyway thus saving me pounds ;D I saw my credit card statement yesterday, I spend a lot of money on food – that’s my next task cutting down the cost of eating!  Watch this space!
So unless someone starts a 26-hour day initiative, there's not much we can do. Or is there?
I know most of my members struggle with time issues, so I’ve just found an article on Weight Watchers esource http://www.weightwatchers.co.uk/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=1&art_id=45621&sc=3045 with lots of suggestions on how to save time, here a selected few of them.

Work Out in the Morning
If your body reacts well to working out in the morning, do it. "Hit the gym first thing, and then you only have to take one shower that day. You're sure to get the workout in and you save time," says Jeff Davidson, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Things Done.
Make Your Wardrobe Work for You
Deciding what to wear the night before is an obvious time-saver in the morning, but that still takes time out of your night. For that reason, think about having a few classic outfits on hand at all times.

Label Folders Clearly
When labelling a new file folder, ask yourself, "Where would I look for this if I need it?" instead of "Where should I file this?" If you can't find a file within 15 seconds, it's filed in the wrong place.
This one is helpful for your food, mark the ProPoints on it when you are in the supermarket with a marker pen, saves time later.

Keep Like with Like
Zone your kitchen — and other parts of your house — so that all related supplies are together. If you keep all of your breakfast items together, you'll see what you have and you'll be more likely to make healthy choices. It'll also save you some excruciating time searching for that can of tomatoes you know is around somewhere.

Stop Ironing
Buy crease-free shirts and trousers that don't need to be ironed.
Buy in Bulk
Keep an ongoing shopping list and hit the supermarket every two weeks instead of once a week. Stock up on items you use a lot and try to anticipate what you'll need in the coming weeks to avoid making another trip to the shops. If you don't enjoy going to the supermarket anyway then try internet shopping to save even more time.

Get some Rest
People can get by on as little as four hours of sleep but that doesn't mean it's recommended. Make sure you get the rest that you know your body needs. If you're tired in the morning, you'll start to lose control of your time, fall behind in your projects and then be stressed while lying in bed at night, starting the cycle all over.
For all the other suggestions log on to the Weight Watchers site.

No matter how busy I am today, I’m going to make time for a walk with Alfie and a run on my own, what are you going to make time for?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

I can’t get no satisfaction!

25th October 2011

We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are. Anais Nin

Most of us have heard the song, “I can’t get no satisfaction!” although I’m sure he wasn’t talking about food but if he had’ve been, maybe he was making the wrong choices.  This week I’ve decided to try the Simply Filling plan as it’s the first week in a long time when I won’t be out Friday for lunch, although I will be out Saturday night, I can save my weeklies for that. 

What’s Simply Filling?  It’s in the red Live book that you got in week two, and I didn’t start yesterday morning intending to following it I was just going to eat more fitting and healthy foods and have a good healthy week.

On the ProPoints plan there are foods that come under the ‘filling and healthy’ section, that will guarantee satisfaction and they are easy to identify because they are always highlighted in green. A lot of my members think filling and healthy foods only include fruit and vegetables, but this isn’t the case, that mushroom omelette I was going to have for my breakfast yesterday was filling and healthy, the eggs on toast (low calorie bread) with baked beans and mushrooms I had instead was also F&H, the cod and the cannellini beans I plan to use in my cod and chorizo dish I want to cook next week ( cooking for two recipe book) were both filling and healthy foods. It’s not just about carrots and bananas, it’s the good food that’ll fill you up day in day out leaving you extra ProPoints for the treats.

If you think about it, Weight Watchers have took the hard choices away, by highlighting everything in green, it takes the guesswork away and helps us make wiser choices.

As I said initially I’d planned to just add and ProPoint as much of the F&H foods as possible, but instead I’ve decided to try a Simply Filling week, one because I don’t have to ProPoint anything that’s on the F&H list and two because I’m curious to see if I have learned to recognise when I’m full.  This is something I think we all struggle with, recognising when we’re full or satisfied is more important, I’m going to practice to see if I can tell when I’m ‘just right’. 

Yesterday I started the day with 2 boiled eggs on 2 slices of WW bread, 2 tbsp baked beans and mushrooms, it was delicious, then I made chicken and broccoli in pasta for lunch, I did use ½ jar of WW parmesan and pesto sauce to lubricate it which meant I had to take 1pp from my weeklies, and I was amazed that I left half of it, I just got bored eating it so decided I couldn’t be hungry.  By teatime I was ready for something so I had 2 WW tortilla wraps (ordinary ones are not on the F&H list and when I checked the label it’s because of the high fat content in them, WW has removed it from theirs) with lots of salad, chicken breast and a bit of mustard.  I also had some mixed fruit and when I’d finished I was still peckish and knew if I didn’t have more of something I was going to have a bag of crisps, so I had a third wrap and boiled ham with the last bit of salad leaves.

Now if I’d been ProPointing all that which I wasn’t, I’m guessing it would’ve been more than my usual daily allowance, so it will be interesting next week to see if I do lose anything and if I don’t it will prove I still haven’t got my appetite and my off switch under control.  I’d stayed the same on the scales this week which I’m happy with.

Mmm what shall I have for breakfast today, I’m planning on making a beef casserole for later mmm, just off to check out the recipes on the Weight Watchers website.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Time for breakfast...

24th October 2011

So many languages in the world, and a smile speaks them all.

I had a great day yesterday; we did a charity 5k run (Stroke Association), I even got a medal for finishing, we then went for an amazing 3 course meal at a place called Rosado’s in Bromsgrove close to where we did the run, wow really good food and not too much of it either, I like it when the portions are perfect so you come away satisfied not stuffed.  The we finished the day off with a trip to the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton to see “Mr Stink” and what a fabulous kids show it was, I enjoyed it too of course, real good all round family fun. 

I didn’t become a Weight Watcher leader by accident, it appealed to me for all different reasons, it encompasses many things that interest me including of course food ;D eating it, cooking it and understanding how it affects our bodies.

We all know we shouldn’t skip breakfast but how do you choose what to eat, here are some suggestions together with reasons why you might want to pick them.

Eggs for your brain! Not only is a boiled egg a mere 2pp it also contains essential omega-3 fatty acid, eggs can help your brain, eyes and skin. They’re also a sourse of choline which is a nutrient that can help foetal brain development and could result in your child developing a better memory and a higher IQ. Mmm not sure about that one – we had egg and chips all the time and my memory sucks!

Baked Bean for strong bones. Yep they are packed with protein, calcium, fibre and iron, baked beans are among the healthiest food you can eat. Did you know we need 700mg of calcium a day to keep our bones, muscles and joints healthy. A large slice of wholemeal toast with 150g baked beans provides 20% of this amount.

Believe it or not – Butter for keeping bones strong and boosting immunity. Most people wouldn’t even contemplate butter, because it contains the dreaded saturated fat, but it’s not all bad news. It also has vitamin D, which helps to keep your bones strong, as well as essential fatty acids and vitamin A, which both help keep your immune system healthy. Just don’t eat too much of it.

Milk – a study has shown that a pint of skimmed milk a day could reduce your risk of having breast cancer by 20-30%. There is also evident to suggest that milk reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Plus it’s an excellent source of calcium and essential for a good mug of tea.

Oats to help lower your cholesterol. There’s nothing better than a piping hot bowl of porridge to start the day on a cold, dark morning. Oats are also full of potassium, folate, omega-3 fatty acid and beta glucan, a dietary fibre – which all help to lower cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of developing heart disease.

Mushrooms – there’s research that a few mushrooms may help protect against breast cancer, so why not add a few to your cooked breakfast,.

Honey, if you suffer from stomach problems, drizzling some honey on your toast or oats may help, researchers have found that honey contains properties that help balance the healthy bacteria in the colon and intestines, and reduce the number of toxins. Just one tablespoon a day is enough.

Berries – it doesn’t matter what kid you choose, they’re all high in cancer-fighting antioxidants, these work by neutralising the effect of molecules called free radicals. Left unchecked, free radicals can damage your cells, leading to illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Berries also contain phytochemicals, which have been shown to limit the growth of cancer cells in the body and also help the body to heal and repair itself.

WOW see foods not just about what tastes nice, it’s about your healthy and energy levels too.

So what you having for brekkie, I’m opting for mushroom omelette I think.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Getting all souped up...

23rd October 2011
is not the cards you are dealt but what you do with them that counts.
Well I had all sorts of plans for yesterday and ended up sitting watching tv, whilst catching up on some work stuff at the same time using the pc. I enjoyed it though.
I’ve decided I’m gonna get all souped up next week because I’ve been reading that soup can help you slim. How? Because soup is full of nutrients. There’s a theory that overeating may be caused by your body not getting enough nutrients. It then sends signals that it needs more vitamins and minerals and so you continue to eat – usually the wrong type of food.
The thinking is that the more nutrient-rich food you eat, the less hungry you’ll feel. Soup can be an excellent way for you to get lots of vitamins and minerals and therefore curb your appetite.
It also makes you feel satisfied, scientific research shows that people feel fuller for longer if they have soup rather than solid food and water at mealtimes. This is because the stomach digests soup more slowly due to its texture. If your stomach is full, you won’t feel hungry and be tempted to snack or overeat.
So time to make some home-made soup (loads of recipes on WW esource) I think, the best kinds contains vegetables and protein such as fish, chicken, beans or lentils. You don’t need to add starchy carbs, such as rich or pasta because the protein will make the soup more filling. It’s always good to make in bulk and freeze; you can defrost a tub, pop it in a flask in the morning and take to work for a super quick lunch.
If you haven’t got time to make it, then of course buy some, just be careful of which you buy, obviously check the ProPoints value, but also check the salt content, per 100g you’re aiming for a maximum of 0.6g or sodium 0.2g.
As it’s almost Halloween and there are pumpkins everywhere why not try this recipe;
Tuscan Pumpkin-Bean Soup
ProPoints® Value: 4, Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 12 min, Cooking Time: 26 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
This soup has a delicious and complex taste, that's perfect for Halloween. It will perk up sleepy cold-weather taste buds!

5 spray(s) Cooking Spray, Calorie Controlled, or enough to coat pot
1 medium Onion, All Types, coarsely chopped
375 g Pumpkin, cut into chunks
850 ml Chicken Stock, Fresh
400 g Beans, Cannellini, Cooked or Canned, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoons Oregano, dried (as purchased)
1/8 teaspoons Salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoons Pepper, Black (Whole, Cracked or Ground) (ground)
6 tablespoons Cheese, Parmesan, grated
Coat a large soup pot with cooking spray and set over medium-low heat. Add onion, cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
Stir in pumpkin, stock, beans and oregano; simmer 15-20 minutes.
In a blender, process soup in batches until smooth. Return soup to pot and reheat; season with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top each with 1 tablespoon of grated cheese.
Or if you want a zero ProPoint option why not give this a go;
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
ProPoints® Value: 0
Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 60 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
This velvety soup is simple enough for a weekday meal, but sophisticated enough for a special occasion.
1 portion(s) Butternut Squash, peeled, de-seeded and diced into 1 inch cubes (large)
2 medium Onion, All Types, quartered
2 cube(s) Stock Cube, Vegetable, vegetable, make up to 2 pints with hot water
1 1/2 teaspoons Curry Powder
1 pinch Salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoons Pepper, Black (Whole, Cracked or Ground) (ground)
2 medium Spring Onions, thinly sliced, to garnish
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 7/220°C/425°F. Place squash and onion in a large roasting pan or baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, until squash is tender. Don't worry if some of the pieces get a bit browned - this will add to the roasted flavour of the soup.
Remove from oven. Tip into saucepan and add stock. Bring up to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool about 15 minutes - do not pour hot soup directly into food processor, or you risk it exploding. Purée in batches in blender or food processor.
Toast curry powder in a small frying pan over low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes - be careful not to burn it. Stir into puréed soup. Season to taste and divide between six bowls. Garnish with spring onions and serve.

I’m in for a busy day, 5km run this morning with my mate followed by lunch then we’re taking her kids to see Mr Stink at the Grand Theatre – yay, lots of fun.
Enjoy your day too. xx

Saturday, 22 October 2011

I went to bed crying last night...

22 October 2011

The secret to a long and healthy life is to be stress-free. Be grateful for everything you have, stay away from people who are negative, stay smiling and keep running.  Fauja Singh, 100-yr-old Marathoner

I spent yesterday at an all day training session with Weight Watchers and although it was ‘work’, I had a really good day, we had a giggle on our table and I got to have a quick sneaky drink with my mates after work, something you don’t get to do really when you work alone as a leader.  So even though it means I have to do some work today to catch up, I don’t mind because giggling like school girls yesterday afternoon was worth it.  I hope I never grow up!
Its also got me remotivated with my diet too, I’ve let things slide the last couple of days, so today I’m getting my books out and I’m going to do some meal planning, I’m feeling lots of stews and one pot meals coming on.  I might even get my slow cooker out, now I’ve found it.

Well I had a late night for me anyway, 10.30 before I went to bed and I went with a headache from crying and a head full of pressure!  WHY?  Because I watched a really moving film, called “My name is Khan”, it made me angry and sad and laugh and cry, almost every emotion you can name, I felt in the two and a half hour film.  If you haven’t seen it, you should, it’s about a muslim man with Asperger's syndrome and there’s no need to get you anymore, it’s just very thought provoking and moving and the one thing he said in the film that stuck in my mind was, there are only two types of people, good people and bad people. 

I don’t read papers nor watch the news because I get very emotional about it all, I don’t see the point of adding the doom and gloom to my life, so I steer clear.  I’m generally a happy person and any moods or negativity are short lived and I have a knack of acknowledging them and telling myself they are not staying and it will soon be gone.  But emotions can rule peoples lives can’t they, for example with the dark nights arriving, lots of people start to feel a little down, some actually get the recognised condition, Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) but to be honest I think we all get a mild form of it, the winter blues.  Lots of people these days seem to constantly be struggling to find true happiness, sometimes because they don’t actually know what it is or where it comes from.  Then if you are happy in your world, life can send you a situation to send you on an emotional rollercoaster of a journey.  Let’s be honest life’s not always easy, and it’s also not fair at times either. 

Sometimes when we feel like everything is getting on top of us, the best answer can be a break from it all but let’s be honest we can’t all afford to jump on a plane can we, but maybe you can find an hour to have a nice long walk and take a breather, or even just grab a moment to stop and to enjoy the sunrise or set, it’s amazing this morning.  Or how about an hour to grab lunch with a friend so you can talk over your problems and maybe even have a giggle by the end of it.  I manage to have lunch in person with one of my friends on a weekly basis, but we also have daily lunch conversations thanks to the power of the pc.

When everything feels like its getting on top of me, I write, I get a pad and write down all my thoughts on paper, if it’s a time issue that’s my problem I use the pad to make a ‘to do’ list, or even a ‘to don’t’ list, where I try and work out what really doesn’t matter if it doesn’t get done. Try it next time you’re stressed out and have no time or loads of problems, don’t hold anything back. Use colored pens. The different colors often depict the emotions you are feeling. Releasing anxiety through let’s call it a rant book shall we, it’s a great way to be honest with yourself.   It could even benefit you later to go back and read your book after you’ve got everything sorted and back on track.

Also if you’re really struggling for time, shut the computer off and stay away from the social media for a while. Yes you can do this! With so much vying for your attention, unplugging for a time will help you invest in other things like friends, family and yourself.

I have the whole of today to get all those things done I’ve been putting off for weeks or I haven’t had time to do, I’ll walk Alfie and take him to the vets first, then I’m sorting my office (again!) and then moving onto the kitchen and if I don’t get fed up I may even make it as far as my bedroom, but I don’t want to overdo things! 

However busy you are today, stop for a minute and take a deep breathe, and remind yourself the world will still be turning when we’re long gone, we’re just fortunate to be walking this planet for a short while.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Weight loss does not a beautiful person make! She's already there x

21st October 2011

The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have. Leonard Nemoy
Normally on a Friday I’ve got a nice lunch planned with me mate and maybe a run, today however I have an all day training session with Weight Watchers, so busy this morning getting everything done.  I do have a free day without plans tomorrow though for the first time in a long time, and apart from a trip to the vets I’m going to spend the day catching up on house stuff and I’m sadly looking forward to it!
Had a delicious lunch yesterday used one of those cook in the bag things, ‘Maggi, So Juicy’ the mixed herbs for chicken flavour, it was really simple and saved on the mess, I threw chicken fillets, carrot, leek and pepper in the bag and in 40 minutes I had lunch, served with a jacket potato, very nice indeed.

Tomorrow because I’m at home I’m going to cook from one of the Weight Watcher cook books, the cooking for two one I think it is, making a cod and chorizo dish because I bought some cod last week from the reduced counter in the Tesco garage, the recipe looks delicious.

I’m amazed at how many people don’t use a photo of themselves on their facebook profile, although I do realise why.  Let’s face it, many of us suffer from a poor body image and in my line of work I see it more than most. No matter how much we diet, buy lots of clothes or indulge in creams and potions—we still feel bad about the way we look.  Well how about we stop!

Think about it, our bodies are gifts. Why not indulge in some of the marvelous things we can do with our bodies—run, jump, skip, dance, leap, walk, swim, cartwheel (be careful with this one, I tried it last year and it took me a week to get over it!), sing…you name it. How much more fun it is to use our bodies, than it is to think about our bodies. How much more energizing it is to engage with our bodies, instead of draining away our life force with petty obsessing over the slope of our stomach, the size of our breasts, the shape of our arms, and…you get the picture.
Unfortunately, just getting out there and using our bodies is not the magic tablet. Why?—because too often we are “using it” for the wrong reasons. We’re working out just to be thin, thinner, thinnest.  If all the workout is about is looking good in that new dress, we will never be satisfied. If instead we bring an intention to be healthy, in body, mind and spirit, we are ripe for happiness. The bonus—we will feel better about our bodies.  I’ve always loved to walk and I remember a long time ago buying a book about walking (yeah there is such a thing – just in case you don’t know how too!) and it said if you’re thinking about how many calories you’re burning as you walk – you’ve missed the whole point of a walk in the countryside.  How true!

Have you listened to yourself go on, in a WW meeting maybe it’s okay as you’re all there for the same reason but when you’re out with your mates - Yawn. Boring. No one really wants to listen to you list your flaws. Think about it. Really, do you like to listen to other people criticise how they look? No. Not to mention that such talk just reinforces those negative neural pathways in our brains.

And stop talking about other women’s bodies!  Double yawn, but worse, not nice. I’m not saying we ought to be nice girls all the time—there’s a time and place for not-niceness, I’m talking about the golden rule. We don’t feel good about ourselves, when we think that other women are sizing us up. And why do you think other women are doing so? Because you’re doing it right back at them. End the talk. It doesn’t do anyone any good.

Start focusing on what you like about your body. As the song goes, “you’ve got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.” When you look in the mirror, practice looking at what pleases you and ignoring what doesn’t.  Also start to notice the beauty in others, every time you offer another woman a genuine, authentic compliment, that positive energy will flow back to you.
Throw away those women’s magazines, which propagate the thin ideal, and embed insidious messages of inadequacy in our minds. There’s too much else worth reading to waste time on what undermines our self-image.

I read a suggestion that you should restrict your intake of mirror time. It went on to say, of course, you want to make sure you don’t have your shirt on inside out, and that nothing’s showing that ought not to be—tags, bra straps, t-bars; but other than that, try not lingering. Instead of scrutinizing how flat your stomach looks, or studying the curve of your bottom in your jeans, walk away. You will discover the inverse relationship between time spent looking in the mirror and how comfortable you feel in your clothing and ultimately in your body. More mirror time, more picking at your clothing and feeling not quite right. Less mirror time and you might even find yourself forgetting to think about the fit of your clothes, or the shape of your body. How much more mind space then to think about the things that really matter.  I feel slightly different about this I think you shouldn’t reduce the time you spend looking in the mirror you should change the way you look at yourself, start seeing the beautiful, gorgeous you, I’m 21 pounds heavier now than I was at my lightest through weight loss yet when I look in the mirror now I feel beautiful, I never did when I was 9 stone, I was never satisfied back then, now I love me and other seems to love me too so I must be ok. 
Think about that for a moment, if you have friends and family that love you, you must be okay and I bet they think you’re gorgeous too.
Enjoy your day. xx

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Skinny is NOT sexy!

20th October 2011

Past experience should be a guide post, not a hitching post. D. W. Williams

I’ve mastered poached egg in the microwave saves all the mess, 30 seconds in a mug with a bit of water then onto some kitchen paper to get the water off – perfect.  So that was breakfast yesterday, lunch was a nice sweet and sour courtesy of a member with microwave rice and tea was a bit of a mitch motch, I did sliced white cabbage, spring onion and cherry tomatoes with some balsamic and had it with 2 toasted bread cobs from those microwave chicken burgers (Alfie had the chicken I wasn’t keen) and some cottage cheese, and weirdly I enjoyed it.

I know I tell you not to weigh yourselves at home but I know most of you ignore me, so I also ignore myself and I jumped on the scales yesterday morning - naked of course, after going to the toilet – well you’re never going to be any lighter than at that moment are you ;D and I weighed 10st 8.5lb that’s my lightest for a good year I’m sure, I know it’s not a true reading and as soon as I got dressed and ate it all changed but I don’t care it made me smile.  So did my new indents just below my ribs that weren’t there before, I’ve got myself a little two-pack going on ;D I’ve just got my little rounded tummy which may I add I’d quite like to keep, but this 2packs quite cute too.

It’s really important to remember whatever you’re size or shape, “it’s your body – be proud of it”, you interested your basic body shape, structure, metabolism and weight tendencies from your parents so yes on this occasion you can blame them.  Of course, you have control over your weight and muscle tone (so you can’t blame them there) but ultimately, you are what you are.  Look at your parents, your siblings or any of your relatives, you’ll notice certain features run in the family, I’ve got short, strong legs same as my brother.  You may have inherited full hips, or a large overall bone structure, you may be lucky and inherited a lovely pair of boobs or a perfect nose. 

Luckily nowadays I feel quite comfortable in my body, yes I’d be a couple of inches taller maybe or have longer legs if that were possible but it isn’t so I’ve learnt to love what I’ve got and realise the limitations in changing it.  So if you’re trying to change something that can’t be changed it’s time to throw your hands in the air and admit, “It’s genetics”.

Back to my little round tummy, and I’ve got a few dimples in my bum and thighs, I don’t mind anymore, women are supposed to have extra fat.  Have you noticed how we see fat as the enemy and yet it is essential to the proper functioning of the body, our nervous system in particular.  Did you know some fat pads inner organs and lets not forget it insulates us again the cold ;D  Women also store adipose tissue in their thighs, hips and breasts which helps nourish a baby if we become pregnant (no chance of that here, but it’s a good enough excuse for me).  Therefore to rail against body fat is in essence to deny your womanhood – time to be proud of it I reckon, it’s ok to be female, it’s ok to have big breasts and large hips, look at Sophia Loren, she was all curves, if you don’t know who she is – you’re too young ;D

So today stop focusing on the bits of your body you don’t like and try this: whenever you notice yourself getting critical of a part of you, shift your attention to a part of you that you do like, please tell me you have one!  I may have big short legs but they are also strong and powerful, that’s the new way I see them.  I measured them yesterday and no they haven’t got any smaller with the running my thighs are still a good 25 inches at their widest part and I find it amusing that some famous ladies waists are smaller, that’s a little crazy in my book, I’d rather have the odd doughnut (mmm doughnuts!) and be the size I am.

Who you trying to please with your body anyway?  When you attempt to achieve a certain standard that society tends to set, it only leaves you miserable, the women in the magazines they’re not the norm, take a look around, have a good look at your friends and strangers in the street, they don’t look like the photos in the magazines and trust me your friends, family and your partner love you, to them you are beautiful as you are.  Let their acceptance help you to accept yourself, because it is important you love you as you are. 
I’m not saying don’t lose weight but do it for the right reasons mainly health, don’t be obsessed with being slim be more concerned with being healthy, when you eat that way and watch the rubbish you eat, your weight drops anyway. 

Be honest skinny is not sexy, the next time you look in the mirror and think you’re too fat and you make it your mission to get skinny, instead of looking at supermodels and skinny birds that are gaunt in the face with bony arms and legs, find yourself a photo of a good healthy looking woman who’s worthy of admiring!   A fit body is a beautiful body.

We all come in different shapes and sizes – embrace yours. xx