Google+ Forget dieting forever: August 2011

If you love cooking and experimenting with new recipes - you've come to the right place! Not only do we have delicious recipes - we also share our SUCCESSFUL WEIGHT LOSS story.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Goat's cheese toast salad

As promised, here is one of our favourite salads. It is about 350 calories per person and costs about £1.20 each... We were ravenous after a longer walk, and this was quite quick to put together, and didn't last long on the plate!


Take a roll (log) of goats cheese, which comes pre-packed. Cut this into 8 slices each about 1cm depth, you could cut it thinner if you like. We used a pastry cutter to cut out 8 rounds of bread (use white or brown), and toasted one side then put the goats cheese on the other side. I put the cheese toasts next to the grill so they would soften a little, while I was preparing the salad. Choose your favourite salad leaves and ingredients, and toss in olive oil - don't forget to put on some salt and pepper. Finally, put the cheese/toasts under the grill to brown slightly.

Place the cheese/toasts on the salad, add some red onion marmalade, and pour on some balsamic syrup (or balsamic vinegar) and you have a wonderful, colourful and very tasty quick salad.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A very interesting weigh in

After a mediocre week or two of weight loss, we were finally rewarded. We haven’t done any extra walking or eaten any less than usual, but it seems as if our bodies have at last registered the work put in during August. After a few short holiday breaks, involving lots of eating away from home (and some of it not as healthy as we usually eat), our weight loss had slowed a little. But, even then we NEVER gained weight.

This morning my partner can report a whole 2 lb weight loss and myself 1 ¼ lb weight loss since our last recorded weight last Wednesday. This is so encouraging, and as I mentioned before, we KNOW we have been good and yet the scales have been fickle. So finally our reward is here.

Yesterday I ate cereals for breakfast, a mozzarella salad with ciabatta and a beef steak salad wrap for dinner with salad. We both had a couple of drinks in the evening and I had some biscuits. We didn’t get to go for a walk.

Today we are going to eat cereals for breakfast, a goats cheese salad for lunch (which I will take a picture of) and for dinner we are going to have some sausages, egg, beans and tomatoes. We intend going for a 3 mile walk if we can fit it in.

As reported previously, we get these large drops in weight once the body finally lets go. We know the drop is coming our way, as we begin to get a large swing in weight. The scales will be up or down as much as 3 lbs, then this fluctuation will narrow down to a much smaller amount, which (to us) indicates a large drop in weight. Once again this has proved to have happened today. We always suspect our weekends of eating lots and NOT restricting ourselves, fools the body. Take this weekend – we cooked shoulder of lamb and had roast potatoes and veg – a good old Sunday roast. Monday we ate the same again for dinner. I’m really pleased our weight has consolidated downwards. We have been doing this for 7 months now and my partner has exceeded 1 lb weight loss per week. I’m just under that, but love the new body that is emerging, and have found this way of losing weight so easy. We are both closer to our healthy BMI – just one and a bit points away from it now. That is just to get into the top of the range, so there is still a way to go. I would imagine we will both see another 14 lbs weight loss bringing us into the middle of the range, where we will decide if that is enough. It’s been a very interesting journey of discovery so far.

Monday, 22 August 2011

So what is a good day?

For breakfast I had cereal and milk (200 calories). Lunch is a hot flaked smoked salmon (178 calories) with a salad and homemade warm potato salad (160 calories). Using up the last of the tomatoes in the greenhouse – which have been so delicious. Together with teas/coffee my calorie intake so far is around 600 calories.
Dinner will see us having left over Sunday roast (shoulder of lamb) with new potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower and carrots (600 calories). With the odd snack in between, our food will easily be under 1500 calories today. If the weather permits we will be going for a 3 mile walk this evening and this will be added to our Calorie Bank.

After the weekend....

Our weigh in day is Wednesday. Today will give us some indication of how well we are doing with the weight loss. After a weekend of eating a normal calorie allowance, it’s back to our 4 days of being good. We didn’t get to eat cauliflower cheese with our Sunday roast, as I didn’t have time. Yesterday was another hot day, and we decided to spend about an hour in the garden. I enjoyed the bending and stretching, and it made a change from our usual walking.

As we experienced earlier in the week, hot weather affected our weight. I felt I was holding more water, and once again I think I was guilty of not drinking enough water. I decided to step on the scales before going to bed to check my weight, and was quite shocked. I was a bit nervous about stepping back on the scales this morning, but I shouldn’t have worried. Both our weights are down, and we are looking forward to a very good weight being recorded on Wednesday. I like to weigh often, and the constant fluctuations are interesting – it is my way of understanding how my body works and reacts to food and exercise.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Lazy Sunday

Breakfast was delicious full fat greek yoghurt and strawberries with a drizzle of honey. It was very filling and we try and avoid low fat yoghurts because they would not be as filling. Also, low fat fruit flavoured yoghurts tend to have a lot more sugar.

We are going to slowly cook a shoulder of lamb today. The slow cooking draws out most of the fat, leaving tender and juicy meat. We will eat this with mint sauce, gravy, roast potatoes, cabbage, carrots and cauliflower. I may make a cauliflower cheese if I have time - and the recipe I use has been adapted to give a flavoursome and not so fatty result, so look out for this later.

While the lamb is cooking, we are hopefully going for a long walk in the countryside. One mile can result in 100 calories towards our weight loss. We walk about 3mph, so it's quite leisurely. We think we will walk about an hour and a half or around 5 miles. This walk will allow us to eat more if we wish. I imagine our lunch will be around 700 calories, which is quite a large meal, and not something we do all the time. But, we have a balanced diet, and today is one of our higher calorie days – and I can eat around 2000 calories (my normal daily allowance). Breakfast and lunch together will be less than 1000 calories, just half of what I am allowed to eat. If the weather does hold out and we do get to walk 5 miles, I can add 500 calories to my 2000 allowance! I doubt I will be able to eat 2500 calories – and that is including the large roast dinner.

Our weight is sneaking down again, and we are looking forward to a good weigh in next week.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Today's lunch

So - back to eating fantastic fresh food on one of our good days, here is my lunch - chicken, bacon and coleslaw salad (350 calories at the most):


The coleslaw is NOT low fat - it is the full fat variety. We don't believe in low fat food as it doesn't fill us up. Eating all the salad is "low fat" enough, so for us, it needs bulking out with other ingredients that will increase its ability to satisfy. We always put olive oil on the salad too.

Junk food

Our last few days away were sprinkled with junk food and bread. This is far removed from our normal way of eating. We had little choice sometimes, and here is a list of what I ate:

Scampi and chips
Fish, chips and mushy peas
Sandwiches
Wraps
Fried chicken and chips
Chocolate milk
Chocolate
Beer and wine

In fact, I imagine our food was not disimilar to most people going on holiday at a seaside town with children. We were definitely not fine dining, and neither were we really restricting ourselves.

On our return we weighed about the same (partner lost 1/2 lb), but one day later we were touching our all time low. My body actually feels different today. I can't explain it, but I know I have reached a new shift in weight, and I know there is more to come.

It's as if by eating lots and lots of whatever we want for a few days has tricked the body once again. That is our ONE philosophy - eat whatever we want for 3 days of the week (usually at weekends) then eat really good for 4 days (for me that's around 1500 calories). Add a bit of walking here and there and that's it. This constant swing in food intake has given us fantastic results, and it feels effortless.

Fluids

Both my partner and myself are really happy this morning. We have both weighed in at our all time low! We thought we were dehydrated the last couple of days before our weigh in yesterday. And our weigh in was a little disappointing because we knew we had exercised. OK we ate a takeaway on Tuesday and bread products, but we didn't massively over eat.

So what caused the water retention? It must have been water retention, because it has magically disappeared and to lose weight that quickly it must be water retention. We know we were dehydrated. Yesterday we had a good day eating, but we also drank much much more. It may be that the salads which contain a lot of natural water may have helped.

Whatever is happening, we are pleased. We know the fat is shifting, and without following any specific diet, we are losing the weight gradually and surely.

Thursday's meals

I've half prepared the chilli con carne. I think this will make 8 portions, and give us a good stock for the freezer.

Yesterday I cubed 850g of beef. We picked a slow roast joint from our butcher. It was so soft and with very little sinew. I put the cubes in a plastic bag and sprinkled two tablespoons of plain flour over, seasoned with salt and pepper and shook the whole bag. Then I fried each piece in olive oil.

I cut one whole leek into very small pieces, and fried this together with 3 large onions. One of the onions was cut into tiny pieces as I want it to break down and thicken the casserole. The other 2 onions were cut into average sized chunks. Once the onions and leek were browning, I added two whole red chilli, including seeds, and 4 cloves of garlic. This mixture was added to the browned pieces of meat. Then I poured 2 glasses of red wine into the pan and turned up the heat. I deglazed the pan and poured this onto the mixture.

This has been marinating over night. Today I'll put it into a slow cooker and add the other ingredients after about 3 hours slow cooking: kidney beans, peppers and mushrooms.

For breakfast we are having yoghurt and cherries again. Lunch will be the leftover chicken strips from yesterday. (We had two good sized chicken breasts and these were cut into two good sized fillets, with the bits left over weighing about 120g). We'll have a hot chicken and bacon salad.

Dinner will be the chilli - which we'll have with rice, or may go for home made wedges? We'll see.

Being prepared is the main thing that helps our way of eating. You get into a good routine, and it becomes normal. OK there is a bit of shopping involved, but I'm now keeping track of our "frequent" shopping for fresh ingredients - and so far, I can honestly say, this is the CHEAPER option. No waste. Use everything. Very little - if anything - goes in the bin.

One day later

My scales have been very kind to me today. With just one day of eating fresh ingredients, that's yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, tuna salad and potatoes for lunch and cajun chicken with salad and potatoes for dinner, I am now down to my all time low again. With a couple of good days I think I will definitely see a new low.

It must take time for all the walking to kick in. Also, the day before I weighed we had eaten quite a bit of bread based products and a takeaway. I believed my fluid balance was not quite right too. So one day of putting that right, and I am at the weight I thought I should be. My clothes are all so loose now, and the view in the mirror tells me I've lost a lot of weight. It's taken longer for the weight loss to show on me than on my partner, so I'm really pleased I'm beginning to look the part now. We have both had to go out and buy smaller clothes too. Yesterday our bank balance took quite a bit of bashing due to the new shapes emerging. My partner is so excited because for the first time in his whole life, he is wearing the smallest ever pair of jeans. In fact, both of us had to pinch ourselves as we stepped out of the changing rooms in new size clothes. I know some shops are more generous, but in this shop we were both in sizes we have never been before. What a thrill.

I can now almost fit two fingers into the space left between my wrist and my watch strap. My face is also looking much thinner. All this vanity going on - but the real bonus is that we are both so much fitter, just through walking. No need for a gym here. We are powering up hills like athletes, ok not quite the olympics, but once upon a time we would have been out of breath. I can also feel the muscles that have developed in my legs, and my back. My partner just looks even better. He also feels and sounds much fitter, and I reckon we will be running soon, or doing something to increase the intensity of our exercising.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Meals today

Breakfast is going to be yoghurt and cherries. This is a lovely refreshing meal, and will give us a good start to what is going to be a good day. I've missed our lovely fresh food while we've been away.

Lunch will be a salad with new potatoes. We have got some salmon flakes, but we may have tuna? Not sure yet.

Dinner is going to be chicken breast - marinated in cajun seasoning and fried, with new potatoes and salad.

All relatively simple, but most importantly, all freshly made. I'm sure our bodies will instantly recognise we are back home. I'm also going to be making a large pot of chilli con carne today. I've got a kilo of slow roast beef which I can cut into cubes, and I intend to make enough to freeze several portions.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

It's holiday season

As we keep nipping away for a day or two here and there, my posts have dwindled. However, so has our weight! We both weigh less, even though we are enjoying our days out and eating as if we are eating for England.

We stepped up our walking, and basically aim to achieve enough exercise through walking to eliminate - at least - our lunches. That way we can enjoy more food in the evening.

Take today for instance, we had a yoghurt and fruit cocktail for breakfast and a bacon and egg sarni - on white bread of course - for lunch. We imagined our calorie intake took a bit of a bashing, so went out for a leisurely walk. Some 5 miles later and 500 calories lighter, we emerged feeling energised and stress free.

Earlier this week we ate some wonderful meals and here is a pic of our lemon and thyme chicken. The flavour was amazing. We cut one whole chicken in half and made 2 meals from it - keeping costs down and calories low. We served this with new potatoes, sweetheart cabbage and our own broad beans (which had almost gone over and were so big that we squeezed the best bits out of the leathery jacket). For the gravy (or sauce) we simply added a little cornflour to thicken and adjusted the seasoning to taste. Simple. Cheap. Fresh. What can we say? The picture does not do justice to the powerful taste!!


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Tastebuds

I wonder if my tastebuds are changing? Or - am I back to my question about salt and the body's way of finding its own salt balance??

For lunch I had smoked salmon and scrambled egg with a slice of granary toast. All easy and simple to prepare. But, this is the second time the salmon has not hit the spot for me. I have loved this dish, but recently I'm finding it difficult to eat. Odd. It reminds me of how I've gone off olives, crisps and salami - once some of my favourite choices. Perhaps smoked salmon is now too salty for me too?

We are generally eating freshly prepared foods, adding our own salt to each dish. I've found that when exercising in particular, and with sweating, the loss of body salt can leave me to want salty food. But the more we cook from scratch, the less we crave salt.

I love salmon, and think I may stick to poached or roasted salmon rather than smoked salmon.

Frugal chicken for two (or three)

As there are normally just two of us eating, I decided to use just half a chicken. It's even cheaper if we buy a whole chicken and cut it in half. So today I've marinated the other half of a chicken so it's ready to pop in the oven tomorrow.

For my lemon and thyme chicken, I first made a herb mix. I took the lemon peel from one lemon, making sure I removed any white pith, and chopped this finely. I picked some thyme from the garden and chopped that finely (about a couple of large tablespoons). Then I added some finely chopped garlic. This was mixed together with a little lemon juice, about half an ounce of melted butter and a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with a good shake of salt and pepper.

Taking a sharp knife I pulled back the chicken skin and cut the inside membrane away so as to reveal a pocket for my herb mixture. I made a few slits in the chicken (not the skin) and rubbed in the herbs, and once added, I held the skin secure with a cocktail stick. The remaining juice of the lemon was sprinkled on the outside of the chicken. This was then seasoned with salt and pepper, and I made a couple of slits on top.

I'm marinating this over night, so hope the flavours get to mingle with the meat. I'll cook it in my lidded (dimpled dome) roasting tin tomorrow with a few chopped shallots/carrot/leeks in the bottom of the tin. It'll take around one hour with the lid on, and another half an hour with the lid off, or until it is nice and brown and crispy. I'll serve with some home grown broad beans, potatoes and cabbage. The gravy will be made from the juices.

This is a great way to make chicken go further, and gives us two hot meals - as we don't always want to use up leftover cold chicken. I should imagine the calories will be no more than 500 for the whole meal.

Partner's weigh in

I forgot to report his weight. Well, he is very happy. He is almost back to the low weight seen last Friday, and a bit closer to it than I was. His weight has dropped one pound. As we have made a couple of slight changes to what each of us is eating, and are eating slightly different things, this result is quite interesting.

We think there will be some good progress made for the rest of the week now.

I am looking to make a lemon and thyme chicken dish today, and having that with some fresh veg for dinner tonight. Recipe to follow.

Another weigh in day!

I'm trailing my new low, with another half pound weight loss. The amount of exercise these last few days doesn't seem to be reflected - once again - on the scales. Yet, when I look in the mirror I can clearly see the results of our exercise and eating plan.

Being away on a short hotel break doesn't help. Although I was looking forward to the hotel food, the experience was very very disappointing. On Sunday evening I had to send my main dish back to the kitchen as I couldn't cut through the meat. This is the first time I've ever had to do that. We left the restaurant and went out to find a shop, but it was a ghost town. So I had to make do with a sandwich.

On Monday we stopped at some beautiful woodlands and walked a total of around 5 miles. We picked up some sandwiches to take out to a beauty spot and eat for lunch.

Realising we had been eating quite a lot of bread based meals, we launched back into our usual routine when we arrived home. Yesterday we had a tuna salad and potatoes for lunch and a per-peri chicken salad and potatoes for dinner. It's always good to get back to eating fresh foods. I still feel a bit bloated from eating bread, but less so this morning. I'm just about to have some yoghurt and fresh peaches and apricots for breakfast. We picked up the fruit as it just looked so inviting (and cheap because it's in season).

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Hotel food

We are going to have dinner tonight at a wonderful hotel group. To prepare for this we have walked around 4 miles - not all in one go. We stopped off on the way, deliberately finding a spot where we could go for a short walk. When we arrived at our destination, we explored the area for around an hour with enthusiasm. Our total walking for the day reached around 4 miles and took about an hour and 20 minutes in total. Walking is becoming easier, hills are increasingly easy, and we know this gives us an additional 100 calories per mile to add to our daily energy allowance if we need or want it.

The hotel menu looks exciting, and we will have all we can eat without feeling guilty. I'll report back later to let you know what was eaten!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Saturday's menu

We are going out for a meal tomorrow night, so today will be quite simple. Lunch will be either an omelette using up the mushrooms and cheese, or cheese and tomatoes on toast. It will be something quick as we have quite a bit to do today.

Due to our busy schedule, we have decided to have fish and chips tonight. There is nothing quite like a freshly cooked piece of fish with crispy a deliciously light batter. It's even better when someone else cooks it. Because we buy a large piece of cod in batter, and share, there is less batter - and less fat. The chips are a standard portion, and as I've mentioned before, this usually weighs around 400g, so there will be more than enough for both of us. Sharing is also a great way to gain £s and lose lbs!

Relaxing and eating normally every weekend is another key strategy to our weight loss.

A busy and hot Friday

We’ve both been very busy, and in some ways that helps to stop the snacking! Our meals yesterday complimented the busy lifestyle. I had a takeaway salad of salmon, potatoes and green leaves at 400 calories. My partner went for a takeaway prawn sandwich at 360 calories, but NO crisps. He snacked on a small 100g pack of chicken breast. We both ate the left over pasta and meatballs with a little French bread in the evening before going out for a pint or two or three. Strangely enough, we didn’t feel hungry when we got back. We had decided that if we were hungry we would eat some cooked sausages and finish the French bread – but this was actually left uneaten. The only thing we wanted was crisps. We had been for a walk before going to the pub and then walked to the pub and back. Our total walk amounted to about 5 miles. It was humid and the pub was extremely hot. This may explain the need to replace salt that we must have lost from our bodies.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Body fat percentage

Our weight loss seems to have slowed down a bit. My partner however can reliably report that since eating the way we do, he has always recorded a weight loss or stayed the same EVERY week. We both know we are doing more walking and eating less, so the maths will add up in the end.

Talking of walking - we are definitely more toned and look slimmer. So I decided to check out my body fat %. There is a significant improvement and my body fat has dropped. So two things are happening, I am building muscle AND losing a bit more body fat. These scales are readily available these days, and the fat percentage reading gives us a clue what is going on inside our body. It confirms what we suspected. So pounds and kilos are not the only measurement to consider.

On double checking our calorie intake, we found a good website where we simply input height and current weight and it tells us how many calories we can eat without gaining weight. For example ny partner is 5' 10 and his normal eating allowance is 2500 calories per day. Mine is around 2000 calories. Knowing this figure is the starting point - it will put you in control. And like us, because we KNOW what we are eating, we KNOW it will all work out in the end.

We are both quite a way away from having the desired percentage of body fat, but we have already come a long way.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Another week

We have both weighed ourselves this morning (our new weigh in day) and both have lost another half pound. This is good news, but we were expecting better because of all the walking we've been up to. Our walking has increased, and the intensity of the walking has increased too.

I've looked up the guide to calorie consumption for men and women, and we are working with the correct number of calories.

The fluctuations in weight have been quite dramatic this week after a period where this seemed to settle down. We are also continuing with our food experiment.

Our dinner this evening has already been prepared, and the recipe is being constructed and will be posted soon. I can't wait to eat it later.
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