Monday, 25 February 2013

Monday roundup #1

I've decided I am going to do weekly Monday roundups! I wonder how many weeks this will last before I give up, but whatever.

This week I lost 2.9lbs, woo! I am still basically back to where I started because of my constant yo-yoing putting weight on and losing it again, but I am determined that this week will NOT be a gain week.

At the weekend I booked a holiday to Rome in May! I am so excited. I'm going with one of my female friends which is going to be ace as I've never actually been on holiday with a friend before. Anyway, I really want to go to Rome looking vaguely non-fat, classy and Italian so my motivation is back on track!

Perhaps even more importantly, I'm merely weeks away now from my sister's 18th birthday weekend in April. She is coming to stay with me in London and we have got SO MUCH amazing stuff planned. There will be loads of photos and I want to remember myself as looking good, not fat! So more more motivation. 

Last week I was pretty good but not angelic - had a night out which I didn't strictly track, oops, so this week I've got to be super angelic so it doesn't all catch up with me. Last week I tried a couple of new classes at Frame - Pilates and 80's Aerobics. I enjoyed 80's Aerobics but the time of the class wasn't the most convenient for me so I won't be making it weekly, and Pilates just wasn't my cup of tea unfortunately (I just do not seem to have as flexible knees as normal people?!). I'm going for Commercial Hip Hop this week, I just hope I don't look like an idiot as I can't dance but dancing is just so much fun!

I am becoming a little addicted to cardio and obsessed with becoming better and not going more than a couple of days without exercising in case my fitness drops again. This is obviously a good thing and I will try to keep it up! The second the clock hits April I am seriously on this couch to 5k hard!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Learn to cook

I read an interesting article about why it's so important for kids to learn how to cook in the Guardian, written by Esther Walker, who writes THE BEST FOOD BLOG ON THE INTERNET, Recipe Rifle, which I strongly suggest you add to your blogroll if you enjoy cooking or actually if you have ever gone through a bit of a negative time mentally. I had a dark couple of months early last year and reading Esther's blog really made me feel better as it helped me realise I wasn't the only person in the world who ever felt like that. And you don't normally get that from food blogs, so there you go.

ANYWAY. It got me thinking about how and why I learned how to cook and how rewarding it was to my life.

Despite leaving home in 2008, I didn't really ever cook anything until I turned 22 in August 2012. I lived off ready meals, takeaways, eating out when I could afford it, sometimes just not eating, sometimes eating Mini Eggs instead of dinner, my glamorous rollcall of jobs in the catering industry meaning I occasionally got free meals at work, so on, so on. Once when I was in my parents' house alone I set pasta on fire and my friend had to come and sort it out. Seriously. I was fat. I had bad skin. I gained a lot of weight and lost a lot of money. I became very seriously anaemic. It was not good. I moved in with my boyfriend in 2011, but he did most of the cooking or we would continue down the ready meals and takeaways route. For a long time we didn't even have an oven (seriously).

Then I decided to lose some weight and although Josh was not as overweight as me he decided to join in. We first did this in the WORST POSSIBLE WAY YOU CAN EVER LOSE WEIGHT, by low calorie ready meals. These meals will not satisfy you. They are not filling. They taste 10% as nice as food you cook yourself. They have salt and artificial sweetener and all kinds of crazy additives and chemicals burning holes in your insides. There's every chance you'll eat a disease-carrying horse hoof by accident.You will lose weight but it is not worth it.

It was Weight Watchers that convinced me down the cooking route. As you probably know, on Weight Watchers all fruit and most vegetables are zero points and you can eat as much as you like. I began reading Weight Watchers magazine and realising I could cook exactly the same meals I was eating but add loads of vegetables and stuff and have much bigger portions. I began to realise that there was no reason not to look forward to what I was having for dinner on a daily basis. And then I taught myself how to cook.

It wasn't easy. Many a dinner I have served Josh and he has tasted it then quietly shaken his head. Many a tantrum I have thrown as a result of this. But I have kept going and I have now mastered quite a few 'dishes' in my repertoire. I love cooking. *ANTI-FEMINISM KLAXON* There's something very, very satisfying about able to make a tasty meal for my boyfriend to be served as he gets in from work and I love that it is now me that does all the cooking. I love cooking for my parents and for my friends and for my biggest fan my sister. Cooking in the evening is my quiet time - a time for just me, and I don't understand people who can't be bothered to cook as it's something I seriously look forward to all day.

If you cook your food from fresh ingredients you can save money, have much better tasting food, and most importantly of all for weight loss, know exactly what has gone into it. I always cook every meal from fresh now (except for leftovers which are God by the way) and haven't had a ready meal for months. Even that was in exceptional circumstances. You and your body deserve better, learn to cook!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Spaghetti Carbonara

Here is a recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara. Yum! This originated as a Weight Watchers recipe, but I've adapted it loads and made it lower in points and in my humble opinion tastier. But there you go.

Spaghetti Carbonara - 11 points

Ingredients (to serve 5)
300g Spaghetti/Linguine. I used Tripoline, but only because I always seek adventure in my life, and what better way to be more adventurous than buy a new type of pasta? :|
1 pepper, chopped
Half a pack of mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 rashers of bacon, chopped
300g Philadelphia with Garlic and Herbs (yes, this is a whole family pack!)
1 egg
30g Parmesan cheese


1. Boil some water, stick it in a pan and put the pasta in it. Cook for 8-10 minutes.

2. MEANWHILE.... fry the bacon, pepper, mushrooms and garlic for about 7-8 minutes until it is looking cooked.

3. MEANWHILE..... Beat your egg, Parmesan and Philadelphia together. This was really hard to do when the Philadelphia is straight out of the fridge so I would suggest you have your Philadelphia at room temperature first.

4. Once the bacon mixture is cooked, mix it in with the egg and Philadelphia.

5. Once the pasta is cooked, drain that and then mix everything all up together over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes.

All done! Divide into your portions. Yum!

This is really tasty and properly filling. You could use 375g of pasta between the 5 of you if you're properly hungry and then it would be 13 points each! 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Life to the fullest.

Just to confirm that I am still here and still trying to lose weight. I in fact had my most impressive weight loss yet last Monday of 3lb(!) but haven't really felt much like writing. Nothing personal to any of you I promise, just felt a bit disconnected from the blogosphere, but am now back and ready to attack etc etc.

I have been thinking a lot recently about how every second of every day it is an absolute miracle that all our cells and organs and the like are all working and that we are all even alive. I have decided that I am going to take the miracle that is my existence as a human and make the most of it and try to be healthy. I am not going to lie to any of you, I have never once particularly cared about being healthy. Even when I started this blog, health was seriously not at all the aim, I didn't really care if I was so unhealthy that I cried fat instead of tears as long as I was thinner (Well, what's the point in lying?). But I've really had a change of heart.

Over the past 7-9 months my fitness has really improved. It is still awful, but  I am trying to think of where I once was. I once really struggled to run for 60 seconds without stopping, and this is no exaggeration. I went to a gym induction in August 2011 where my fitness was tested. It was beyond awful. I couldn't even walk at a fast pace for a long time, could not cycle for more than two minutes, could not lift the lightest weight. I came home and I cried and cried. I'm sure many of us have been there. But now I am much better. I can make it through an hour's fitness class and remain alive. I can run for about 8-9 minutes without stopping (I know that sounds like NOTHING but anyone who has started from zero should understand that achievement). I am stronger and I am fitter. So why stop here? I want to be the best and most healthy I can be.

This applies to food as well. If I bought myself a Mulberry handbag (WHICH I WILL ONE DAY) I would not pour fat into it with a jug, so why do I essentially do the same to my body, which is believe it or not worth so much more than a Mulberry handbag?

I'm 22 years old, and should be at the prime of my physical health and fitness. I do not want to waste it anymore. I don't want to be the woman who died as she ate too much and then the paramedics had to cut her off the sofa. I don't want them to have to siphon off the lard before they can do the post-mortem. I want to be able to run a 5k, I want to have good skin, I want to be able to carry the shopping up the stairs. I want to one day be wizened and old and sharing my top tips with the local newspaper.

I don't want to give up and one day regret it, even if it's in decades time.

Weight loss is undoubtedly also important. My new goal not to waste a second of any day is about so much more than just my health. I'm not a yes woman and I'm probably never going to do anything that's particularly going to inspire anyone but you don't have to be doing things that are 'Exciting' not to waste a second. Maybe it's the type of person I am, but I'd rather have lots of memories of drinking wine with my family, nights in cooking for my boyfriend, Nando's with my friends, and just well-deserved and well-appreciated time to myself than "LOOK!!!!1111 I'M IN SOUTH EAST ASIA!!!111" (No disrespect to anyone who has been travelling to South East Asia, I'm sure it's lovely). Anyway, I don't want to waste any of this time with low self-esteem or having to worry about how I look in any particular outfit.  I want to be confident about my appearance. And also, I've already banged on for ages about being healthy and having a healthy BMI is no doubt an offshoot of that.

Anyhow, after that essay am slightly ashamed to say it's been a poor week, Valentines' Day was a bit of a write off and it's not gone on well from there. However, onwards and 'downwards' -  one day I will get off the couch and run that London Marathon, just got to get fitter and get there........ I will start with 3 Frame classes in 3 consecutive days next week, eek!

x x x

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

1 point chocolate meringues

Josh and I love meringues. They only occurred to me to have when I was trying to think of a low-point dessert for a barbecue last summer, but they do taste so nice, like a proper dessert, and only 1 point for a meringue nest! You  can buy packs of meringue nests everywhere, but if you love baking like me you will have a craving to make your own.

I love baking but it is the ultimate trigger for me. I have never binged so much and with so much free abandon as post-baking session. Some of the darkest moments of my life have involved icing sugar, and I am not just saying that for addeed hilarity. Anyhow, on a positive note, I have cheerfully banned myself from baking cupcakes, cakes, cookies etc for the near future - but why not meringues? They're super tasty, don't involve icing and you can't even eat the raw mix! Yay!

Chocolate Meringues - Serves 8 at one point each

Laziness rating: About 10 minutes work but then dead easy especially for the pay off!
Time: 10 minutes of 'doing things' + one hour extra for baking.

2 egg whites
100g caster sugar
One teaspoon of cocoa powder

You will need
One perfectly clean big bowl
A baking tray & greaseproof baking paper
One little-ish bowl
An electric whisk


1. Line your baking tray with greaseproof baking paper and preheat the oven to 150 degrees.

2. Separate your eggs and put your egg whites in a bowl. It took me ages to learn how to separate eggs properly, I think it's a little bit of a knack and also just blind confidence - smash your egg right down sharply to get a nice crack so you can slide your yolk from eggshell half to eggshell half until all your white is in the bowl. (If that makes any sense??)

3. Start whisking with your electric whisk. Have a go with a hand whisk if you're feeling brave but BE WARNED this will take you bloody forever. I attempted meringues 4 times with a hand whisk and only once they worked properly and I pretty much nearly lost my arm in the process. Whisk slowly then gradually get faster. You know what you're looking for - STIFF PEAKS.

4. In a separate bowl measure out your caster sugar and mix with the teaspoon of cocoa powder. 


5. Whisk it in one tablespoon at a time on medium speed.

6. Spoon onto your baking tray into 8 nest things. Make them pretty if you want or if you are like me just take them as they come...

Yes yes get your immature comments out of the way now. Done?

7. Bake for 40 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave in the oven for a further 20 minutes.

8. Serve! Serving Suggestion:

Meringue (1)
20g of Light Anchor UHT Cream (1)
Fruit salad (0)

Yum yum!!!

These meringues are great for low point treats for yourself during the week that really feel like you've had a nice dessert. Also you would be surprised but they actually can impress others from time to time as a lot of people forget how nice meringue actually is!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Horrific weigh in, yet again

So I gained a pound. NO! Now I have 30lbs to lose. NO! I am officially, more than ever, going backwards. NO!

Still though, I can't say I'm surprised - it was an awful week for food last week stuck here on my own. Now I am feeling a renewed sense of positivity and productivity. Sort of.

I've decided I'm going to stick to 29 points a day. My dailies have gone up to 28 but I'm going to treat them as if they're 29 - this is a much more sustainable day for me and means that I can pretty much avoid being hungry (always a danger zone). As I will be using one weekly per day on this then that means I will have 42 weeklies left. The rules are that I can use these whenever I want but only if I am with someone else who is also having whatever I am having. E.g. if I am meeting my friend for coffee, I can get a coffee as well and use my weeklies for it. If I am out for a drink, I can have a glass of wine when my friend has a glass of wine. On Saturday I'm cooking my parents dinner, so I will eat what they are having. Etc.

I think this is the best way as I am forever wasting weeklies on sitting in on my own doing nothing/coffees on the way to work/ etc so I am going to take a stand and try to be less of a sad sad eater and more of a normal person. Etc.

Hopefully this will work. In terms of budgeting I went hilariously £17 over budget last week (!) but duly transferred twice that into my savings account like a good person. This was for a good reason though - I am going to see B*Witched, Five, Atomic Kitten et. al. at the end of February! BRING. IT. ON.