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.

Pick your own speed food…

15.08.15 - Fruit Picking 2Today I went to a pick your own fruit farm with my eldest son (he’s almost 7 years old), my big sister, and my niece (who’s 14).

Despite feeling a little under the weather, it was lovely to get out in the sunshine and pick our own fruit. We filled our baskets with the sweetest most delicious strawberries and raspberries (and more than a few were eaten while picking, as those jewel-like beauties were just too hard to resist!), and got in a little exercise at the same time – all good!

Our resultant haul was a lot cheaper and far tastier than we would have got from any shop, and we had fun doing it too.

Definitely a worthwhile endeavour.

15.08.15 - Fruit Picking 3It’s worth mentioning, when we got there, the sign said the strawberries and raspberries were “extremely limited”. I have to say their idea of limited wildly differs from mine, as there were loads to be had and we didn’t even have to look very hard – they were right there and easy to find.

If you have a pick your own fruit farm nearby, I highly recommend going along and doing a little Body Magic while you bag yourself some delicious speed food!

Week 16 Weigh In

keep-calm-its-weigh-in-daySixteen weeks. That’s essentially four months. That’s how long I’ve been on the Slimming World plan, and during that time I’ve shed 23.5lbs. That averages at just shy of 1.5lbs per week.

Yes, there have been weeks when I gained a little (last week, for example), but most weeks I have lost a few, and I am very happy with how the plan works for me.

I like that Slimming World keeps me focused. I like that it encourages healthy eating choices without the quick-fix nonsense that would mean the weight piling back on the moment I started eating normally again, because I am eating normally. Nothing is off-limits, and that makes it so much easier to keep going in the long term.

11834791_10155798249900386_4763760192562777944_oThis week I got my Platinum Body Magic award and I am ludicrously proud of this. Although I’ve been a regular at my gym since mid-February, there were weeks where I wasn’t active every day, but since starting the Slimming World plan, I found that working towards the Body Magic awards made sure I did something, even if only a little, every day – and that has to be a good thing.

I’ve also started doing the Body Magic distance challenges (as of 1st August), and this morning I completed the first one (walk around Central Park – 9.7km), and started on the second (swim the English Channel – 34km). I love having these goals to aim for and keep me on the right track!

At New Year, I set myself a “realistic” goal of shedding a stone (14lbs) by the end of the year. Since that time, I have shed a grand total of 44lbs (3 stones 2lbs). I love that I’ve smashed my expectations, and I will continue to shred them!

There are 20 weigh-ins between now and Xmas. If I can lose a pound a week during that time, I could be almost a stone and a half lighter again!

In the meantime, I’m going to a wedding in November. It’s in 13 weeks time, so if I can lose another stone by then, I’d be very happy indeed!