Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Week 21 Non Weigh In

Confession time today - I didn't weigh in this morning. I knew it would be bad, and I didn't want to make myself feel miserable by seeing a gain. Last week was mostly spent eating. On Tuesday I had a work's team building event in the afternoon, which involved a sausage supper from the chip van. Thursday night, I was so exhausted that I broke my no takeaway rule and ordered an Indian.

The weekend then went from bad to worse. On Friday, I was out for a friend's birthday and we were at an Italian. Whilst I made good choices for the starter and main course, I couldn't resist the pudding menu and had two scoops of delicious ice cream, and then a bag of chips on the way home! Saturday began with a fry up (although it was at least done on the George Foreman without oil!), and the event I was at again ended up with an order being put in to the chippie, and another sausage supper for Laura! Later on in the evening, I also had some buffet food - sausage rolls, cheese straws, crisps etc. All in all it was bad! And because I was in the way of eating badly, Sunday and yesterday weren't brilliant either (although were at least a bit better!).

With all that there is no way I've avoided a gain this week. However, I'm feeling really motivated to get right back on track today, and I'm going to try a few Success Express days to try and quickly get whatever I gained off. I deliberately avoided the scales as I know that putting a figure to the gain is only going to demotivate me. I'll be back on them next week, hopefully with a loss.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Confidence & Compliments

Last Tuesday I was at a team building event with my new work. I was chatting to some of my new team members, and one of them described me as small. Being 5ft 1" I initially took this to mean that I was short, however he then clarified his remark by saying that yes, whilst I was short, he also meant that I was slim. I was thrilled! Because I've just started this job, my colleagues haven't seen me bigger, so to actually be called slim felt amazing.

I've also started feeling far more confident since losing this weight. I can actually look at myself in the mirror, and feel relatively happy with how I look and my size. Yesterday I was at an event which had karaoke at night, something I always want to do, but always end up chickening out because I'm worried about people looking at me as I'm singing and judging - not for my voice (I know that's rubbish!), but what I look like. Last night I did a few songs up there, and had a great time. I'm finally starting to feel happy with myself again, and losing weight has given me the confidence and freedom that I need to stop hiding in the background.

I've still got further to go on my weight loss journey - I'd like to lose at least another stone, but I know I'm getting there and the hard work so far is paying off.

Week 20 Weigh In

I'm a bit late blogging this week, as it's almost Tuesday morning and this is the first chance I've had to sit down in front of the computer! I wasn't sure how last week's weigh in was going to go - I'd been very good all week, until the weekend arrived. It was my nephew's birthday party last Saturday and we all went to the bowling alley. Part of our deal involved some food - from a very limited, and very unhealthy menu. I had a cheeseburger and chips! Afterwards, we stayed at my sister's house and had curry, so all in all Saturday was a bad day!

Being off plan one day lead to being off plan for two days - on Sunday I enjoyed a bacon roll, another roll for lunch with thick chunks of cheese and proper butter, plus a bag of crisps to go with it! Then in the evening, I gave into my sausage and mash craving, and had proper sausages and buttery mash. It was all delicious but I was worried about Tuesday so did manage to get back on track on Monday, even turning down a meal out in favour of a superspeed food bonanza at home!

It worked - I managed to lose half a pound, which meant that I'd finally got to the stone and a half mark!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

RECIPE - Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Pasta

I came up with this recipe on Friday evening as I was on a green day, and also had quite a lot of veggies in the fridge that needed using up. Normally when I make pasta, it tends to me my favourite Penne Arrabiatta but I wanted to try something different. This was a major success - the sauce was incredibly tasty, and will definitely be repeated. It's syn free on Extra Easy or Green, and not spicy, so would be suitable for the whole family. I've listed the ingredients I used below, but I'm sure it would work well with other veg, depending on what you have in the fridge.

2 red onions, peeled and quartered
2 peppers (colours of your choice), roughly chopped
6 shallots, peeled and left whole
4 cloves garlic, left whole and in their skins
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sweetener
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 chicken stock cube
150g pasta of your choice
Salt & Pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 and spray a baking tray with frylight. Add the onion, pepper, shallots and garlic cloves, spray again with frylight and drizzle over the balsamic vinegar.
  2. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove the garlic cloves from the roasted veg. Squeeze out the garlic, which will now be sweet and sticky. Finely chop this.
  4. Add the tomatoes, garlic, stock and roasted veg to a saucepan. Season with salt & pepper, and add the paprika and sweetener. Cook for 15 minutes, over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions. Drain, and reserve a small cup of the cooking water.
  6. Add a splash of the pasta cooking water to the sauce, along with the drained pasta. Stir through, and continue to cook over a low heat for a further minute.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Week 19 Weigh In

Last week involved quite a few meals out. My team at my new work organised a team lunch to welcome me to the office, my fiance also took me out for dinner one night to congratulate me on getting the new job, and after my new office flooded last Thursday, I ended up having a surprise day off on Friday which turned into a three course lunch with my mum. Friday's lunch also involved a slip up on my no-alcohol challenge, as we ordered a bottle of wine with lunch. However, I did stop at my 2 glasses, and didn't have any more for the rest of the day - something which I probably wouldn't have done had I not been doing the challenge. On Monday I had also come down with a migraine, which meant that the last thing I wanted to do was cook - so dinner ended up being a full fat Tesco Lasagne.

On the positive side, I'd still managed to stay away from the dreaded takeaway, and those 2 glasses of wine were the only alcohol to pass my lips. Even with all the meals out, I had made sensible Slimming World choices, and felt I had been within my syns (Monday excepted!). But then on the negative side, exercise had fallen by the wayside. Starting a new job, and having to learn a lot of new things, had left me shattered, and after starting well with walking the 4.2 miles home on Monday and Tuesday, sleep and rest became my priority for the rest of the week.

All in all I wasn't sure how Tuesday morning's weigh in would go, but I had managed to lose 1lb, taking my total to 20.5lbs - just a pesky half pound short of the stone and a half mark! It was disappointing that I didn't get the extra half pound, but I was still pleased with the loss, and hopefully I'll break through that barrier next Tuesday morning.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

More Sugar & Spice

Regular readers of my blog will know that I'm a fan of the Spice Kits created by Diane Prince. Since I blogged about the first kit I tried (Andhra Chilli Chicken), I've had the opportunity to try quite a few more of the kits, so wanted to give some of those tried a mention! I've not listed everyone that I've tried, but in general, they have all been brilliant. The instructions on the pack are always clear and easy to follow (although I do confess that sometimes I tweak them a little to suit my tastes and what's in the fridge - plus I rarely ever follow a recipe in its entirety!). The results are always delicious.

Cochifrito - I'd never heard of this before seeing Diane's list of kits, but it was described as a Spanish smoked lamb casserole, so I thought I would try it. This is now one of my absolute favourite dinners. It's a delicious stew, that tastes really rich and smokey. I've served it with both mash and pasta, and found it works brilliantly with either.

Jamaican Casserole - This is a newly available kit, which I tried on Friday evening using beef. Again, this was delicious. I'm a big fan of beef stews, but tend to keep them quite British tasting normally, and use herbs such as rosemary and bay. This stew had completely different flavours, but was equally delicious, and only half a syn per serving!

Beef Madras - I'll start by saying I did this with chicken, as on the day I used it I had some chicken needing used up! However, this is one of the beauties of Diane's kits - whilst the kits may be for one type of meat, you can change this is you wish. Madras is one of my favourite curries, but something I'd never been able to get quite right before, but this kit did what it needed.

Kheema Curry - Despite being a huge curry fan, I only discovered this curry earlier this year when out at an Indian Tapas. It was very different to the curries I was used to but I really enjoyed the curried mince and wanted to try it at home. This kit gave me the opportunity to do so, and again was fantastic. It felt like there was a real depth of flavours with this one.

Chicken Biryani - This one deserves a mention simply because it is delicious both hot and cold! It's an easy one pot dish that contains chicken, veg and rice, all cooked together, which means that all the flavours combine perfectly. When I had this, I had leftovers for the next day, to which I added more salad-style items such as red onions and tomatoes, and it was amazing as a filling lunchtime cold salad.

Southern Fried Chicken - This is a must! With this kit, you get a bag full of the spice mixture but only need 1 tsp per use, so the bag will last a while. It is designed to just be sprinkled on chicken and then roasted, grilled or stir-fried. I will admit to being sceptical about this one at first - as it doesn't seem like you're adding a lot - but the flavour contained within that tiny amount is incredible. The first time I used it, I just sprinkled it over the chicken and cooked it in the oven. This was easy and very nice. The second time I used it I decided to experiment a bit more, and stir-fried it with chicken, pepper strips, chili, garlic and onions. I then added a small amount of passata to make it a southern fried sauce. This was incredible. It got some extra superfree vegetables involved, and my fiance wouldn't stop going on about how amazing the sauce was.

Given the number of kits I have now tried, I can honestly say that they have become a staple in my cupboard. They are great value and easy to use. It is also obvious the Diane has put a lot of time and effort into getting the blend of herbs and spices perfected for each kit, so that it really does feel like you're having a delicious takeaway without all the unnecessary calories and fat. If you haven't tried any of Diane's kits yet, I would urge you to give them a go! The full list of kits available can be found on the Sugar & Spice facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Sugar-and-Spice/186323524735312?sk=info

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Week 18 Weigh In

Tuesday morning was my first weigh in after leaving class, and I was thrilled that I lost 2.5lbs. This takes my total to 19.5lbs, and I'm just 1.5lbs away from the stone and a half mark. Whilst I'm not getting stickers anymore, I still intend to celebrate each half stone as an achievement, so hopefully I will get there next week.

I had been good last week - I think doing 3 different challenges meant that there was very little I could spend my syns on, so I found it easy to stick to the diet all week. It obviously pays off, so I need to try and focus on that so that I get another few good losses this month.