How I did this week…

No video this week, as I’m busy, busy, busy, but here’s my update.

I had a pretty darned good week – I’d say I was about 95% on-plan and I got a lot of activity in with the kids, but I’m definitely feeling hormonal and bloated at the moment, so I wasn’t surprised to step on the scales and find I’d gained half a pound. Ah well, it happens, right?

I won’t be weighing in next week, as I’m away – off to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the day, so there’ll be plenty of walking involved from venue to venue, as we’ll take in four or five different shows all in one day – exhausting, but amazing! I won’t be in complete control of the food that day, but I’ll make the most sensible choices I can, and the food I take with me will all be on-plan too.

Also off to Aberdeen for a few days to visit family. Again, I won’t have complete control over all the food, but I’ll do the best I can and I’m taking some food with me to help with that situation!

And to finish off, my consultant, Andy, was asking for before and after pics to promote the group. Now, I still have quite a way to go, but I thought I’d dig out some before pics and post some “in progress” ones to compare and show how far I’ve come. The difference is quite obvious, I think!

And a very last extra bit, I thought I’d share some pics of the beautiful place I hiked to with the kids this week – we were out nearly all day, walking to this beautiful little spot, and having a picnic (all on plan!). We’ll definitely go again, because it was stunning and so peaceful!



What I ate this week…

As posting my food log worked so well for me last week, I thought I’d do the same again this week to see if I could get another great result…

OMGs I look totally insane in the still that YouTube chose for this. I tried to change it to another thumbnail but it won’t let me – LOL!

And for those who are interested, here’s what I ate this week…

HEA: 350mls skimmed milk
HEB: 2 x HiFi Light bars

BREAKFAST: 1 HiFi Light bar (half B)
LUNCH: Batchelors Cheese and Leek Pasta n Sauce (1), made with milk (part A) and a butter bud (0.5), with added onion, mushroom, cauliflower, and broccoli (S)
SNACK: HiFi Light bar (half B)
DINNER: Chicken Jalfrezi (F), with rice (F), and added onion, mushrooms, and courgette (S)
TREAT: 3 Kallo dark chocolate rice cakes (12)

I forgot to take breakfast with me to group, so I grabbed a HiFi Light bar to tide me over till lunch time. We do all our grocery shopping on Friday afternoon, so we did a load of walking all around the various shops we visit to get our supplies.

HEA: 175mls skimmed milk & 32g reduced fat feta
HEB: 2 x HiFi Light bars

BREAKFAST: Yoghurt (F) and passion fruit (S)
LUNCH: Pearl barley (F), reduced fat feta (part A), cucumber, strawberries (S)
DINNER: Pulled pork and veg
Pork loin (P), herbs and spices, potatoes (F), onion, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower (S), butter bud (0.5)
TREATS: Dinky Donut (3), 2 x HiFi Light bars (HEB)

We were at a music festival down at the beach from lunchtime onwards (so we took a picnic lunch), and went for a HUGE long walk along the beach, then back into town afterwards. The little’uns were a bit tired after all that walking, so we hopped on the bus to get home. I wasn’t sure of the syns for the Dinky Donut, as I couldn’t find it on the app. I estimated it, but then decided to lay off syns for the rest of the day, just in case I was wrong!

HEA: 230mls skimmed milk & 1 Babybel Light
HEB: 60g wholemeal bread bun

BREAKFAST: Poached eggs, bacon medallions (P), griddled asparagus (S)
LUNCH: Wholemeal bun (B), pulled pork and onions (SP), carrot sticks (S), 1tbsp reduced fat houmous (2), Babybel Light (part A), strawberries (S)
DINNER: 2 x SW Italian style sausages, egg (P), potatoes (F), onion, courgette, mushrooms, pepper (S)
TREATS: 17 x Mikado sticks (8.5), Options mint hot chocolate (1.5)

Today we went to Woodhorn Museum, and took a picnic lunch with us again. Afterwards, we took a walk from the museum along the side of the lake to QEII Country Park, and back again. There’s a little steam train that runs between the two, but we thought it would be nice to walk for a change. There were loads of different kinds of butterflies and hundreds of dazzling blue dragonflies!

HEA: 230mls skimmed milk and 1 x Babybel Light
HEB: 2 x HiFi Light bars

BREAKFAST: 2 x HiFi Light bars (B)
LUNCH: Pulled pork and salad
Pork (P), onion, mixed salad, cucumber, beetroot, radish (S)
DINNER: Cajun salmon and veg
Salmon (P), potatoes, Cajun spice (F), carrots, baby corn, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts (S), Butter Bud (0.5)
TREATS:  Sunbites sweet and salt popcorn (3), Peperami (4), Mint Options hot chocolate (1.5), lolipop (1.5), Babybel Light (part A)

The kids were back at school today, and I had an appointment in the morning, so it was all a mad rush (I should have set up some overnight oats last night!). Also had my Mum adjusting a dress for me to wear at my gig this coming weekend – it needed darts put in to make it fit properly on the top half. Now it looks awesome and I’m really looking forward to wearing it – it’s 50s style, and I have big net underskirts to wear with it.

HEA: 200mls Alpro coconut; 115mls skimmed milk; and
13g reduced fat cheddar
HEB: 30g chia seeds

BREAKFAST: Chocolate chia with raspberries
30g chia seeds (B), 200mls Alpro coconut (part A), 2tsp cocoa powder (2), vanilla essence (F), raspberries (S)
LUNCH: Mixed salad, beetroot, apple, radish (S), tuna (P)
DINNER: Meatballs and pasta
<5% fat beef mince (P), onion, garlic, passata, peppers, courgette, mushrooms (S), pasta, herbs and spices (F), 13g reduced fat cheddar (part A)
TREATS: Crisps (6.5), Peperami (4), lollipop (1.5)

I prepped breakfast the night before – it’s so easy to mix up the ingredients and just leave them in the fridge overnight, and if, like me, you’re a chocolate addict, you’ll love chocolate chia! It’s made exactly the same way as vanilla chia, but you pop a couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder in too. I also doubled up on the milk element, as I was using my HEA choice and wanted that coconut hit. As for my homemade meatballs, well, they always go down well, and I made enough to have a portion to have another time.

HEA: 115mls skimmed milk, 200mls Alpro coconut milk,
1 Babybel Light
HEB1: 40g <5% sugar pat Cheerios
HEB2: 2 x HiFi Light bars

BREAKFAST: Cheerios (B1), Alpro coconut milk (part A), Options mint hot chocolate (1.5)
LUNCH: Ham and pease pudding roll ups (P), beetroot, Apple, carrot sticks (S), 2 tbsp reduced fat houmous (4)
DINNER: Meatballs and butternut squash noodles
<5% fat beef mince (P), onion, garlic, passata, peppers, courgette, mushrooms, butternut squash (S), herbs and spices (F), 1 x Babybel Light (part A)

TREATS: 2 HiFi Light bars (B2)

I had leftover meatballs in sauce from yesterday, but with “boodles” (spiralized butternut squash), which I steamed for a few minutes, and then stir fried. The <5% sugar Oat Cheerios are awesome – you get 40g of them as a HEB (you only get 25g of the regular kind!). I love having them with Alpro coconut milk – it adds a lovely flavour. I would usually have added some fruit to the top, but I discovered, just before serving, that the strawberries I’d planned on having had gone fuzzy, so I had to do without!

HEA: 175mls skimmed milk and 300mls Alpro coconut milk
HEB1: 60g whomemeal bread roll
HEB2: 2 x HiFi Light bars

BREAKFAST: Lemon and lime curd with raspberries
Quark, eggs (P), zest and juice of lemon and lime, raspberries (S), sweetener (F)
LUNCH: Chickpea and chorizo soup with ham and pease pudding sandwich
Onion, garlic, pepper, passata (S), chickpeas, Slimming World chorizo style sausages, ham, pease pudding (P), stock cube, herbs, spices (F), 60g wholemeal bread roll (B1)
DINNER: Cajun salmon and BNS chips
Salmon (P), butternut squash (S), spices, FryLight (F)
Options salted caramel hot chocolate (1.5), 2 x Kallo dark chocolate rice cakes (8), 2 x HiFi Light bars (B2)

Had to throw dinner together quickly today, as I went to get my hair done in the afternoon, and only had a small window of time to cook and eat before I had to head out to rehearsal, so I just grabbed a salmon fillet and chopped up some butternut squash, chucked some Cajun spices on them both, and bunged them in the oven to cook while I got ready to go. Quick, but super tasty!

Week 83 Weigh In / Recipe: Corned Beef Stew

Hello, and welcome back for this week’s weigh in update video!

This week’s challenge was to have fish four times, which I did. It was kind of an odd one for me, because I don’t usually eat much fish, but I did it anyway. Next week’s challenge is to do 30 minutes of Body Magic (i.e. exercise) every day – this one will be a doddle, because I am ALWAYS on the go – actually, I picked up another Platinum Body Magic certificate in group today (yup, that’s the top Body Magic award, and I have multiple!).

Anyway, here’s the video, so you can see how I did this week…

The recipe for the lemon curd/pudding I mentioned in the video can be found HERE.


F = Free food (eat as much as you like)
S = Speed food (these should make up at least a third of your meal)
P = Protein free food (eat as much of these as you like!)
HEa = Healthy Extra A (a daily allowance of dairy produce)
HEb = Healthy Extra B (a daily allowance of a product with fibre)
# = a number denotes roughly how many syns are in foods used

15095502_10157631215120386_3608130670568288673_nCORNED BEEF STEW
1 – 1.5 syns per portion

Amounts depend on how many portions you want to make

  • Prince’s Reduced Fat Corned Beef (3 syns per can)
  • Potatoes (F)
  • Swede (S)
  • Carrot (S)
  • Onion (S)
  • Beef Oxo cubes (F)
  • Water (F)
  • Smash – optional (F)


  • Chop up the veg and the corned beef, and chuck it all in the slow cooker.
  • Add enough water to just cover everything.
  • Crumble a couple of beef Oxo cubes into the slow cooker, and give everything a good stir.
  • Switch on your slow cooker and leave it all day (if starting it in the morning ready for your evening meal).
  • If you want it a little thicker, add a spoonful or two of Smash and stir it through before serving.

I serve mine with extra speed veg – usually broccoli, cauliflower, baby corn, and brussel sprouts, but you can just as easily eat it as it is, for a hearty, warming meal.

One can of Prince’s reduced fat corned beef is three syns, so if you use one can for two portions, they’ll be 1.5 syns each, or if you stretch it to three portions, they’ll be 1 syn each. I tend to make it with more swede, carrot, and onion than potato, just to keep the speed element high, in case I don’t have time to add extra veg on the side.


Keeping track…

I thought I’d share how I keep track of what I’m eating. I’ve been keeping a food diary pretty much the whole time I’ve been doing Slimming World. I used to just put everything into the online tracker, but I find it easier to plan things out in advance and be able to add things to my tracker even when I can’t get online, so I use a book. Frankly, it’s become more than just a food log – these days it’s more a journal of my journey – a place to keep track of not just my food choices, but all my little successes too!

I picked up this A5 journal from Wilkinsons for £1.75. I divide up the pages into various sections – I do this a few pages at a time, so I have them ready. I started my third one this morning, so I decided to take pictures while it was still all neat and shiny and new, so I could show it here.

The top right corner is my menu planner, with a line each for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and supper/snack. This isn’t set in stone, but it gives me a guide to follow – it can be changed if the circumstances of my day change. I sometimes plan out a whole week in advance, so I complete the plan on each day for the whole week when I do that, so I can look ahead and see what I’m having later in the week. Directly underneath that section is my syns log – everything is listed individually with the number of syns next to it, then I keep a running tally throughout the day down the side.

On top left side, I list all my free and protein foods, and directly under that is where I list my speed foods. I also pop a tiny letter next to each of them to indicated whether it was eaten at breakfast, lunch, dinner, or supper. Sometimes there is more than one letter, as some things get eaten at more than one meal, for example, if there is carrot in my lunchtime salad, and also on my plate at dinner time, there would be “L/D”.

At the bottom left corner, I keep a running tally of how many drinks I have through the day – this is tea, coffee, water, and sugar-free squash etc – all the syn-free drinks. At the bottom right corner, I log my Healthy Extra A and B choices for the day.

I don’t tend to plan out all my syns in advance, unless they’re part of a meal, or I’m taking something along with me, or have a night out (when I might syn an alcoholic drink or two). If I plan something and end up not eating it, I strike a line through it and adjust the running total appropriately. And if I change my meal plan, I strike a line through those and write in what I actually have instead (although that doesn’t happen very often).

As the dated pages are all on the right hand side, and the left age is set out in a patterned grid, I use the left-hand page to jot down any recipe I need for that day. In the example shown in the photo, I’ve jotted down the ingredients for beef kofta curry (one of my favourite meals!) to make sure I remember which spices in which quantities go into the kofta, and which go in the sauce. I’ve also jotted down the recipe, temperature, and timings for baked oats, in case I don’t have enough milk at the end of the day left over from my allowance to make regular porridge – I’ll make baked oats instead (I always have a contingency plan!).

You can see in the spread below, I’ve planned out my whole day, but at this point I haven’t eaten anything – I was having a cuppa while I wrote everything in. Once I eat, I pop a little tick next to whatever I’ve had, to indicate that yes, I had that already. This comes in handy if I plan my syns – if I decide against having something after all, a line goes through it, but if I don’t tick it off, I might forget and have another one – I’d be kicking myself later on when I remembered!

I also sometimes note my body magic on the left-hand page, whether it’s walking, doing vigorous housework, swimming, cycling, or doing an exercise DVD or class – it helps remind me to keep track of how well I’m doing and keeps me getting those Body Magic awards, which help keep me focused and motivated to do well. Non-scales victories, such as slipping into a smaller size of clothing, or getting a compliment from someone are also often popped into my log – it’s always nice to remember. To be honest, by the end of the day, my left-hand page is often something of a jumble, with all the info I jot down there, but at the start of the day, it’s nice and neat.

So, that’s how I do it. I find it really helps me to stick the plan if I can plan ahead and see, at a glance, what what I’m having each day. Some days I don’t log (but those are few and far between), and sometimes I do go off-plan, despite planning ahead, but I can still look back and see what I did right and where I went wrong. Sometimes I’ll jot an extra note on the left-hand page saying how I was feeling that day, or something that happened to send me into a spiral, or that helped me stay on track, so I have a note of that too. When I stick to the plan 100%, I draw a big smiley face somewhere on the page (usually in the syns section, as I often have space left there).

I’ve been doing it for a long time now, so this all comes as second nature and only takes a few minutes each day. I figure it’s worth spending a few minutes of time if it’s going to help me get where I want to be!

Do you use a food log? What does yours look like? How does it help you to stick to the plan? I’d love to know, so please leave a comment below!

Tough Love…

There’s been a lot of chatter on the internet about an ex-drill instructor ranting about fat people in a video. This is the video:

There’s been a whole lot of anger from people, saying he’s out of line, that he’s fat-shaming and that he hurts people’s feelings.

Well, I’m a fat person, and here’s my take on it.

At the start of the year, I was at my heaviest weight ever. I was incredibly unhappy with myself and I finally resolved to do something about it.

By the time I’d lost just over three stones, and was stalling a little, I was wondering if it was worth keeping on, or if I should just accept that I was going to be fat forever.

Then I saw that video and I felt terrible. It really hurt my feelings.

Do you know why it hurt my feelings? Because everything he said was TRUE! I was fat and lazy for years and didn’t do anything to stop it. I sat on my butt and didn’t exercise. I made excuse after excuse:

  • I’m too busy, I don’t have the time to work out.
  • I’m too tired to work out.
  • The weather is horrible, so I can’t go out.
  • I like nice things to eat and don’t want to feel deprived.

Those were just a few of the excuses I fed to myself (along with too much of all the wrong food!) as I sat on my backside and got fatter and fatter and fatter.

The thing is, this guy has been bigger, and he worked his butt off to get back in shape (and he looks awesome now!). He acknowledges that there are medical conditions that can mean you gain weight or find it hard to lose extra weight, but he’s right on the nose when he says that in most cases, we’ve done this to ourselves and it’s up to us to get up and make the change for ourselves. We have to have enough respect and love for ourselves to want to do something about it, and then to actually do it!

So, yes, a lot of people are angry and upset and hurt, but personally, from a fat person trying to make the change, I think John Burke is amazing, motivational, and inspirational! It’s tough love, but sometimes that’s what it takes.

Maybe we should all take a leaf out of his book and give ourselves a good talking to? Maybe it’s time we all just stopped making excuses and being all nicey-nicey for fear of upsetting people. Maybe we need some tough love from an ex-drill sergeant who makes a video telling us that we are abusing ourselves and letting ourselves down; that we’re lazy and making ourselves sick; that we could be and do so much more! Maybe it’s time we admitted to ourselves that we’re to blame, and if that upsets us, it’s because sometimes the truth hurts.

Now, put down that plateful of food that’s no good for you and make yourself a healthy meal, then GET UP AND GET ACTIVE! Go on! I’ll be right there with you. You can do it – I can do it – we can ALL do it if we really want it.


Speed for free!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I’d gone fruit picking with my big sister, niece and eldest son (take a look HERE). On that occasion we paid for our speed food, but over the last few days I’ve managed to land some speed food absolutely free!

I recently got myself an allotment, but it’s nowhere near ready to plant yet, so there won’t be a harvest this season. My next door neighbour’s daughter, however, has her allotment up and running, and took bags full of fresh produce round for her Mum and Dad. They couldn’t possibly get through all of it themselves, so my lovely neighbour passed some of it over the back fence to me. I got a big bag of delicious-looking potatoes (with the dirt still on – proper potatoes!), a big bunch of carrots, some beetroot (going to have to find out what to do with those!), tomatoes, peppers and chillies, a cabbage, a cucumber, some broccoli, a cauliflower, a small squash, an enormous turnip, and a very fat courgette! I was over the moon, as I had been planning a top-up shop for extra veg the next morning, and now I didn’t have to do that. And there’s something lovely about knowing exactly where your food comes from.

The next day was sunny and warm, so after lunch, once Hubby was home, I left Choochie at home with Daddy, while Tadpole and I went out with a 6-litre tub to fill with wild blackberries.

01.09.15 - blackberryingWe’re very lucky in that there are hoards of wild blackberry bushes growing very near our home, so we just ambled over there and started filling our tub. As you can see, we got heaps! Not only that, but there are loads of berries still ripening, and the blushes are all still flowering too! At this rate, we could still be picking them in November!

Anyway, we got a wonderful haul in an hour and a half, so the boys will be getting their favourite blackberry crumble for pudding, and there will be plenty to freeze too, as well as enough to make some jam (blackberry jam is my favourite!).

So all in all, our haul of free speed food over the last few days has been great, and we’ve managed to get in a little body magic while we gathered half of it ourselves! Well worth the thorns in my thumb and the nettle rash on my arm!

A pound is a pound is a pound…

fat v muscleIf I were to ask you, which is heavier, a ton of feathers or a ton of bricks, what would you answer?

The clue is right there in the question – they both weigh the same – they both weigh a ton. The feathers are individually lighter than the bricks, so it’ll take more of them to make a ton, but they weigh the same.

Common sense, right?

So it puzzles me when I hear people asking is a pound of muscle is heavier than a pound of fat.

A pound is a pound, no matter what you’re weighing.

The difference is that muscle is more dense than fat, so it takes up less space. This means that you can be the same weight, or even heavier than you were, but be slimmer.

If I took two people of the same weight, height and overall body frame, but #1 had only 20% body fat, whereas #2 had 50% body fat, then #1 is going to look a lot slimmer than #2.

It’s also worth mentioning that when you exercise, your muscles retain water, which is one of the reasons it’s important to make sure you drink enough when you’re exercising. This, in turn, can mean you weigh in slightly heavier while at the same time, getting into a smaller size of clothing. On the other hand, you can still lose weight (and a lot of it, too!) while exercising.

You can do Slimming World and lose weight without exercising, but your body becomes more efficient at burning calories when it builds muscle.

So if you’re exercising, especially if you’re doing weights, don’t worry if the scales don’t show a lower number every week – they’re not the whole picture.

I go to the gym regularly (although this last two weeks I haven’t been due to holidays and illness), and have a comprehensive cardio and weights routine. I also swim regularly, occasionally go to an aquafit class, and during term time, go to a Latin American and ballroom dance class. I don’t drive, so I walk everywhere. I’m pretty active, running around after two small boys all day.

To date, I’ve shed 45.5lbs since the start of the year. Could I have lost more in that time? Of course I could, but part of my journey, and my main reason for wanting to lose weight in the first place, is to get healthy. So I exercise. I’ve gone down four dress sizes. I still have a long way to go, but I’m going to get there, and if I gain or maintain once in a while instead of losing, I won’t fret, because my body is changing and it will be whatever weight it is when I get to the size I want.