Google+ Forget dieting forever: October 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.

Monday, 31 October 2011

WOW for the spicy parsnip soup

I just HAVE to post this.  This has to be the easiest soup we have ever attempted.  We've just made over one whole litre of curried parsnip soup and blended it.  It is thick, creamy and very very moreish.  The parsnips cost 58p - last of the big spenders.  It was simplicity itself and took no effort at all.  I used just a small teaspoon of curry powder, and I feel that's enough for us - but it will all depend on what curry powder you use.  It's best to put less in to start with. 

We are both very pleasantly surprised at the result and can't wait to eat it tomorrow.  The milk and water/stock was perfect ie 1 part milk to 2 parts water/stock.  It has blended perfectly, and tastes very very creamy.  I may add a bit more water to it tomorrow.  For us that's a bonus, we didn't need to use cream as some recipes suggest, and our weight loss will be quicker.  I think the soup will be well served with some toast - something crunchy to balance out the creamy texture, maybe croutons if you fancy. 

The ready made soup would set you back at least £3 for this amount of soup, whereas this soup is way under £1.  The whole soup amounted to approx 480 calories and serves 4 good portions - that's a very tasty 120 calories per portion, however, eat half of it (if you can) and that's 240 calories of low fat, nutritious warmth.

Spicy soups to warm us through

We enjoyed our home made carrot and coriander soup at lunch time today, with a small cheese sandwich.  Tomorrow we are going to have spicy parsnip soup - a new one for us, but relatively easy to prepare and very very cheap.  I'm not sure what it'll taste like but it took us just 10 minutes to put together and is sitting nicely on the cooker, simmering away at the moment.

Ingredients for 4 good portions

1 onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon of curry powder (or garam masala)
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
small 1/2" piece of ginger (if you have some)
milk and water/stock to cover the chopped parsnips (1 part milk to 2 parts water/stock)
400-500g parsnips
salt/pepper

Using a little oil and butter - fry the onions until soft.  Add the garlic and ginger.  Place these in a large saucepan with milk/stock (about 1 litre in total should be enough) the curry powder, add the chopped parsnips, a little salt and pepper for now, and bring to the boil.  Then simmer with the lid on, for around 30 minutes or until parsnips are soft.  How easy and quick is that!

I've cooked mine this evening, so the mixture will have plenty of time to cool down before I whizz up in the blender.  I'll check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.   I generally know if I need more salt because with too little salt I feel there is very little taste.  It's up to you of course.  If the soup is too thick, just add some water.  If it's too thin, then boil uncovered for a short while to thicken it up.

I'm hoping this will make for a tasty warming soup and will let you know tomorrow lunch time.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Next week

With the weather turning colder, and the idea of salads less appealing, we are going to have a week of eating soup for lunch.  Home made soups with some really fresh bread and maybe a bit of cheese.

We already have a carrot and coriander soup ready to go as we made some last week and froze it.  It's funny how flavoursome and fresh your own soup can taste, compared to the manufactured soup.  The thing is, soup is so easy to make and more importantly - very nutritious.  It's also extremely cheap.  I took Mum a portion of the carrot and coriander, and she said it was very tasty and strong flavoured.  I suspect it was too powerful a flavour for her, as she usually buys hers, although she didn't say.  I said we probably put more coriander in than required, but our tastebuds liked that.  So, whatever recipe you follow, don't follow religiously - alter according to your own taste.

So our week will go something like this - porridge with golden or maple syrup for breakfast, soup and warm rolls for lunch.  It's only the dinners that need to be decided.

We've got some smoked haddock in the freezer, so one of the soups will be "cullen skink" and I'm really looking forward to that.  I'll post the recipe we use along with a photo.  We may make a spicy butternut squash soup too, taking advantage of cut price squash (hopefully) after Halloween.

Sunday's plan

Following a Saturday of eating - where we surpassed ourselves (and quite possibly our calorie intake), we are going to take Sunday easy.  It's another full calorie allowance for us, and as it's one of our "rules" we will still eat well, but we will have less meat.

Breakfast is going to be porridge.  We are trying out porridge to see if it has any effect on our weight loss.  Too early to report, but swapping our usual full fat plain greek yoghurt with its delicious toppings, for tasty large organic oats drizzled with golden syrup - is easy.  Both are equally enjoyable.  I'm now concentrating on having slightly smaller portions than my partner, as I am smaller and obviously need to eat less!

Another good bout of exercise will help our weight loss, and we are thinking of walking for a good hour and a half. Sounds a lot, but once you get going, if the weather is good, it's an enjoyable experience.  One hour walking equates to around 300 calories burned (that's your bar of chocolate if you fancy).  We aim to "collect" calories and add them to our "calorie bank" hoping to achieve 3,600 spare ones over the week which should equate to around 1 lb in weight loss.

Lunch will be a simple affair - probably an omelette and salad, with dinner along the lines of a jacket potato.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Revving up for a Saturday night feast

Before we set off on our long cycle ride, we ate a simple but filling breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, beans and sausages.  It certainly kept us going all day.  After a couple of hours good cycling which equate to around 600-800 calories, we think we have compensated for the breakfast.  Back to nil calories before our evening meal, we feel virtuous and ready to reward ourselves once again with some great nosh. 
We're having a cheese platter with a few good cheeses to nibble on with some grapes and figs.  The amount of cheese will be just enough to help replace the salt lost during exercise, without filling us up too much before our steak and chips later.
We've been a bit decadent and treated ourselves to a nice piece of fillet steak.  Unbelieveably fillet steak is higher in calories than sirloin!  I've created a simple peppercorn sauce too.   If I remember I'll take a pic.  Then there "could" be some home made chocolate souffle to follow - only my partner insists on trying this recipe out, so I can't really refuse can I.  Hopefully it'll turn out a treat and I will take a photo to boast his culinary skills..... I'm sure boosting our intake over the weekend was never meant to stretch quite this far, but we will have to make up for it tomorrow with a bit more exercise....




Our Saturday plan

The weather is glorious, sunshine with that autumn chill to keep you nice and cool.  Perfect cycling weather for us.  We're going to cycle into town along the old disused railway line.  It's out of the way of the traffic and should be a pleasant ride for us as it's easy cycling with very few hills.  To start the day we're going to have a bacon and eggs with lots of toast and some beans.  We've learned from previous longs walks, that eating a meal with plenty of salt and carbs really helps keep us going.  The bacon will be fried until as much of the fat has been drawn out as is possible, and the eggs will be fried in a little olive oil. 

It's Saturday and another day when we eat a normal calorie allowance, boosting our metabolism and really helping kick start another weight loss week on Monday. 

There has been much talk in the news of people ruining their bodies through starvation and silly diets in an effort to lose weight.  Eating everything in moderation can surely only help improve your health?  I've seen people lose weight so fast, yet look so drawn and ill from doing so.  Losing weight doesn't have to be like that.  Eating our way is proof you can lose weight eating sensibly.  Eating everything.  We are getting so many comments now about our weight loss - but more noticeably people are saying we look really healthy and well. 

Friday, 28 October 2011

Delightful Friday lunch

This lunch was perfect, and filling enough to take me through the afternoon.  I made a beef bolognese sauce and poured this onto some pasta, grated some tasty cheddar and parmesan and put in the oven.  It was a very welcome warm lunch, with around 450 to 500 calories. (picture removed)

Delicious.

We're off out to the pub tonight, and before we go we're going to have a small sandwich.  On return we will have a jacket potato with some home made curry.  It's all about being prepared.  Our intake for today (being Friday - and we get to eat a full quota of calories) has been varied and we have eaten from all the food groups. A few beers / wine with friends, is the perfect way to round off the week.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Weekly weigh in

Another fabulous week for my partner, who has lost another 1 lb.  On the other hand I have stayed the same. I had lost about 3/4 lb but on my weigh in, this had disappeared.  I'm not sure why, but suspect this has not been helped by the fact it's been pouring with rain and I've walked less lately.

Here is our lunch today.  The only problem with this, was the quiche was cut into thirds - leaving one third left over .... guess where that went (not in the bin).  This reminds me to be realistic about what WILL get eaten.  If there is something more-ish and is still hanging around, it is more than likely going to be eaten at some point.  So either don't buy it, or be honest, and count in what you know you are really going to eat (and stop kidding yourself).  The quiche was around 320 calories, and the salad and potatoes added another 150 or so.  We rarely have pastry now, but this was lurking in the freezer...

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Soups and stews

With the nip in the air, we've set about making our favourite dishes that warm us up.  Today I have prepared a slow cooked beef casserole.  I picked some rosemary, thyme and bayleaves to add flavour.  I'm going to make some dumplings to go with it.  The dish is great for reheating later, and once this is cooked, it'll be left overnight so the flavours can develop.  To help thicken the dish without too much flour, I've very finely diced some of the vegetables so they will break down while cooking.  I've also added about 100g of red lentils. 

We also prepared a carrot and coriander soup last night.  This was so easy, just take a bag of carrots and place in a saucepan, cover with water and add some vegetable stock (powder or cubes).  While simmering away, finely dice a couple of small onions and garlic then gently fry in a little olive oil.  Put everything into a blender, test for seasoning - adding salt/pepper to taste, then add some fresh coriander.  Add the coriander bit by bit, tasting as you go along.  Then simply blend everything together.  Wonderful with a chunk of bread.  Or even better still, we have recently started buying the half baked baguettes, if you like hot, crispy bread. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Searching for healthy foods

Being away from home and away from our kitchen where we could prepare our own food was a bit of a challenge.  With deep fried everything on offer we were not exactly stunned with the choice available.  We did stick to our main rule - not to eat snacks, and ensured when we did eat, it was a full and proper meal.  We walked a lot, preferring to soak up the very late sunshine and warmth which was unusual for October.  After a long weekend with our family and friends, of cocktails and eating out (and eating lots), we suspect our weight will have something to say about that.  I think the size of the portions was enormous, and found myself leaving food, which seemed such a waste.  Still, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and certainly did not hold back on anything.  We hope this temporary boost to our metabolism (sounds so much better than over-eating) will work in our favour.  A few days of fresh ingredients, and lighter meals should help too. 

Today our meals are going to be fresh and simple.  For breakfast I'm going to have porridge, and I've chosen to buy some organic / large oats, as the taste and texture is so much better.  For lunch we are having a small portion of lamb chops with new potatoes and parmesan/rocket salad.  Dinner will be a roast chicken, which I am going to cook in my clay brick.  I haven't cooked a chicken this way for years, and can only recall succulent and crispy chicken, so we are looking forward to this.  I'll be making a beef casserole with dumplings for later in the week, as the weather cools down, these casseroles are such a healthy choice.  There are also going to be plenty of salads to enjoy. 

A few reminders of our London trip, here's one of me trying to catch the moon above St Paul's cathedral on my iphone:

 

And Tower Bridge looked as grand as ever shimmering in the water:


Friday, 14 October 2011

A long weekend away

We will be away for 4 days in London.  It's going to be interesting and we are looking forward to seeing friends and family.  We will be eating our way around the City and hopefully able to make some wise choices from the food on offer.  With plenty of walking on the cards, this will add more calories to our daily allowance. 

To get us off to a good start, we are going to have a brunch of bacon, eggs, sausage, beans and toast.  We can then relax on the train knowing that hunger pangs won't creep up on us.   I was chatting to a friend yesterday, he said he could not understand his weight gain.  He only ate one very large meal per day, and that was it, he said.  He was always on the go and didn't have time to stop and eat all day.  So, what about the snacks?  Yes, after a little persuasion, it emerged he did snack.  In fact, he snacked all day - and finally he admitted he knew this, but chose to not think about it as it never really registered as "food".  This is why we are eating a good old brunch this morning.  It will be filling, nutritious and will stop us snacking until we next sit down and enjoy a good meal, with friends and family in the City.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Moroccan stew - a picture of happiness....

Here is my moroccan stew. It was fantastic, and so low in calories.  We went out tonight and met a few friends in the pub.....stayed a bit longer than anticipated and came back to this wonderful meal.

I topped the wonderful dish with some full fat greek plain yoghurt.  If we had time, we may have added some mint to the yoghurt, and possibly some cucumber, but you know what it's like when you get back from the pub in a ravenous state!!  No Michelin star tonight, but I say the flavours are worth waiting for, and all I did was add the finishing touches to my earlier recipe - spinach and pitta bread.  Absolutely fantastic hot and spicy meal at under 500 calories. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Wednesday weight

Everything is looking good.  We have both managed to lose weight over the week, with my partner losing another 1 lb and myself losing about 1/2 lb.  My BMI and fat content are both down slightly, with my muscle content up over the week.

We eat really good food, and enjoy our own choice of food.  Our main exercise has been walking, although recently we have cycled instead of walking.  The exercise is casual and not too aerobic, and therefore stays at that important "fat burning" rate.  We think this is key to losing weight.  So many people go to the gym, and work at an intensity that doesn't burn fat.  We like to use the calories burnt towards treats, for example, we may have a couple of beers before dinner.  Or this week, we are saving them towards a long weekend away.  You have to remember we are trying to eat as normally as possible while still losing weight.  Walking for me is a fantastic way to burn 100 calories per mile - if you are heavier than me you may burn a few more.  It's my calorie "bank" and I use these additional calories in whatever way I choose.  I'm also surprised at how quickly a few steps here and there really add up.  Why take up a more strenuous exercise with all the health benefits walking can give us?

My partner is now in his final stone of weight loss.  It's a weight he said he can never recall.  He looks good and feels healthier. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A warm and tasty dinner for me tonight...

Today I used up ALL of our weekend veggies.  I've made this meal before, but today we are going to have a vegetarian meal.  Carrots, cauli, spinach, potatoes and red pepper.  To this I added a large tin of butter beans, 100g mixed lentils, a handful of sultanas and a handful of flaked almonds.  When using my slow cooker, I like to fry the onions first, then eventually add all the ingredients to the frying pan just to warm everything through.  Here's my oversized frying pan with all the vegetables ready to go into the pot for a few hours before adding the potato, cauli and any other veg.  I'll finish it off with some spinace and a dollop of full fat plain yoghurt:




The thing about our way of eating is that it has to be satisfying. This casserole can be as spicy as you want, and is very warm and comforting. It can be eaten with or without rice, with a pitta or just some crusty bread. I can't recall the total number of calories for the base sauce, but if you add say - 100g of chicken per portion, the whole dish will contain just around 350 calories.

The dish contains quite a few spices, and I fiddle around with them sometimes, especially if I want something hotter.

1 tablespoon GROUND CORIANDER
2 teaspoons each TURMERIC & PAPRIKA
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
440g tin chopped tomatoes
Small or large tin butter beans (or haricot etc if you prefer)
100g red lentils (pre-boiled for a minute or two first)
Small piece of ginger
Handful of sultanas
Handful of almonds
About 3 cloves of garlic - use less if you don't like it or leave out
Couple of medium sized onions
2 WHOLE red chillies (whole dried will do)
1 stock cube - veg/chicken/lamb, whatever you have
Bag of fresh spinach (if you like)

Fry the onions in small amount of oil until softened. I use olive oil, as it is supposed to be healthier, and the only oil I have to hand anyway. Add the spices, garlic and ginger. Fry this gently for a couple of minutes. DO NOT add the whole chillies to the frying pan, as these go into the pot in one piece and they are removed at the end of cooking.

Put the fried mix into a pot. Add the stock cube which has been mixed with around 1/2 pint of water. Add the tin of tomatoes, pre-cooked lentils, butter beans and finally the sultanas and almond flakes. Then pop in the WHOLE chillies, which are there to permeate the dish and give a slow lingering gentle heat.

Add any meat at this stage - you could put in SKINNED chicken thighs (then remove bones later), or chicken breast, lean lamb or even sausages.
Bring to the boil then simmer for around an hour or so if cooking on the hob. If using a slow cooker like me, I will put this on and go off somewhere for 4 hours before looking at it again.  Add whatever vegetables you like towards the end of cooking so they keep their shape.

Oh do not forget to remove those 2 red chillies before dishing up!

As a final touch, I usually throw in a couple of handfuls of spinach. It looks lovely and tastes great.

The dish benefits from cooling down and reheating the next day. In fact I doubt you will be able to wait that long, as the smell is fantastic and you will be dipping into it way before then. I've even eaten it cold as it is just so tasty, and fits perfectly inside a warm pitta bread.

A beautiful spicy warm dish, much healthier because you have prepared it all yourself. Hope you enjoy. It certainly is one of my favourite dishes.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Monday lunch without the roasters

Using up all that wonderful juicy chicken from our Sunday lunch. Chicken and bacon salad with grated cheese and new potatoes. Don't forget to grate the cheese on the finest grater - it looks more. We like to use a strong flavoured cheddar, as a little goes a long way. Our salad should set us back no more than 450 calories.
Tonight we're going to have sausages, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes with toast.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Full Sunday roast

We had a wonderful roast dinner. The gravy was really tasty. We used a chicken from our local butchers, and although this is a bit more expensive, it's worth it. The chicken lost very little water, unlike some supermarket alternatives, so a smaller chicken will do. The main reason we buy from the butcher is flavour, and the chicken is particularly flavoursome. Now this Sunday roast will come to no more than 700 calories, which sounds a lot, but it is so filling that we tend to eat less food later.
The leftover chicken will make some nice salads and sandwiches. Once all the meat has been removed, we can boil the carcass to make a stock.
This was our new vegetable - the romanesco cauliflower. I thought it tasted quite nice, but wasn't really sure about the texture thing. My partner enjoyed it more than me. I'm thinking it may be a great addition to a vegetarian curry perhaps.

Sunday meals

The weather is moody and autumn is here. A good old Sunday roast is on the menu today, and that always brings a welcome cheer. This morning I have eaten full fat plain greek yoghurt with honey and some beautifully ripe mango. The mango has taken its time to ripen up, but it was worth the wait. If I feel hungry later, I'll have a slice of toast and peanut butter or marmalade. Lunch is roast chicken with all the trimmings - roast potatoes, honey roast parsnips and a variety of other vegetables. We are also going to try out a new vegetable - the lime green "romanesco" cauliflower. Apparently it is slightly sweeter than the white cauliflower. We enjoy boosting our calories over the weekend, and eating our full allowance. We are sure this boost to our metabolism is the reason our weight loss continues slowly but surely. It's also great to be eating normally with no finicky diet sheet in sight. The scales are already indicating a good weight loss is on the cards for next week. Recently our bodies seem to have enjoyed reshaping, with the fat disappearing quite nicely. I'm seeing definition where I can't remember ever seeing it before. It's a wonderful experience. I'm convinced that slow weight loss is best, unlike quick weight loss fixes which may just be "water". My partner really enjoyed the latest comment in the pub on Friday. It was from a friend he hadn't seen in 2 years who said "crumbs, you've lost some weight - you look 10 years younger".

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Letting off steam...

After a very very tasty bacon sandwich for lunch, we set out for a leisurely stroll. We drove out to an old railway path and were surprised at how busy it was with cyclists and walkers. Then we realised why - we heard the all too familiar sound first:
It's not every day you get to drop by a steam train and I scrambled for my phone to take a picture, and managed a few.
I was a bit excited and even got a wave from the drivers.
Our walk will allow us to add about 300 calories to our "calorie bank". Tonight's menu is pork tenderloin, and when my partner gets back I'll run through the recipe with him and post it later.

Saturday menu ideas

If the weather stays fine, we'll be going for a bike ride through the countryside. This will boost our calories for the day. For dinner we have decided to make stuffed tenderloin of pork. Interestingly, the tenderloin is relatively cheap compared to other meat. We've got a few slices of good quality black pudding in the freezer, so will use this, mixed with fried onions and garlic to stuff the pork. We're not sure whether to serve this with a cider and sliced apple, or masala and figs? I'll put the recipe up later. I'm having cereals for breakfast and lunch will be a good old bacon sandwich. We'll need the fuel for our bike ride. It was interesting when we climbed up the Malvern Hills, we started out with a large cooked breakfast, and the hills seemed easier to climb and we didn't ache much afterwards. We think the carbs and salt in our breakfast are the key to feeling so good during exercise. Whereas in the Wye Valley, we didn't eat a huge breakfast, and found as the day progressed our energy dropped and my calf muscles were quite stiff the next day. We're not exercise fanatics, but this seems to be a bonus for our weight loss. In fact, we believe the less arduous exercise ie the steady walking at a slower pace is best to lose fat. This type of walking is great as it can be added to most people's day without anyone noticing. When we explain that all we've done is walk, a lot of people are intrigued - and our slimmer bodies are proof it works. One mile equates to around 100 calories.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Scrummy Friday lunch.....


Here's my lunch. I bought a packet of hot smoked salmon, and flaked about 75g onto my salad. The salmon was on offer and it is a really good way to get all your Omega 3 nutrients. There was no room for the potatoes on the plate, so I served these separately and ate about 150g coated lightly in butter and salt. The total meal would come to around 500 calories. As today is the first of three days of "normal" eating, I am allowed to eat 2000 calories today. 

Belated weigh in results

We are experiencing a big change in body shape at the moment. Our scales record the body fat % and muscle content as well as the BMI. Both our BMI's are sneaking downwards, and the BMI reading takes its time to reduce. We are both in sight of a normal BMI and this is our first goal. My muscle has increased this week and my fat content decreased. So our exercising is having quite an impact on our internal workings. My partner has lost 1lb over the week and I have lost 1/2 lb. We are both really pleased about this, as we know there is more happening than just what the scales report in weight. I've been cycling a bit more, and we have been walking. We both agree that it is the "easy" walking that really makes a difference. Having fat to lose, the walking at a steady pace (around 3 miles per hour) seems to be doing the trick. When we walked up the Malvern Hills last week, we found this tested our aerobic capacity, and our bodies reacted by initially holding onto fluids (and it felt as if at first we had put on weight). Yesterday, on the other hand, we took a long stroll through our village and surroundings, and enjoyed a good hour in the fresh air. This morning we are even lower in weight again - and once more, we have both hit a new all time low. I can see the fat around my stomach which is beginning to shift around, so I know it won't be long before it has disappeared. Our combination of walking, parking the car as far away from the shops as we can, eating "our" way, and generally not getting too het up about what we eat, seems to be working extremely well. Weight loss is continuing, slowly but surely. One thing is certain, and that's when we eat more on Fri/Sat/Sun - it spurs our bodies on to let go of the weight. We know of friends who are constantly on a diet of some sort, constantly never eating quite enough and constantly moaning about being unable to lose weight. Well if you let your body under eat for so long, it's bound to readjust, as it will be trying to preserve itself. So give your body a boost, give it fuel, go for a walk, eat well, as we have done, and lose weight. Choose the foods you love to eat. Work out how many calories are in them. KNOW what you are eating. It's a simple equation. If fuel in (food) = fuel out (energy), you will stay the same weight. Tweak that equation to lose weight, eating whatever you prefer to eat.

Our meal last night

Catching up on my blog, and I realise I've missed a few things. Here is my meal last night - it was lamb chops with a rocket and parmesan salad, new potatoes in butter and sweetcorn. The sweetcorn was boiled, and is so crispy and sweet a it is in season. The lamb chops were from the supermarket and not too expensive. As far as calories go, the whole meal would not come to more than 500 calories, as I didn't eat all the fatty bits of the lamb.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

See what I had for lunch

After a cycle ride lasting 40 minutes and erasing 200 calories, I felt a good lunch was in order. My calorie allowance today (being one of my "good" days), is 1500. I've erased breakfast with my cycle ride, so I have 1500 calories to use up for lunch, dinner and any snacks. Lunch is around 400 calories, and was a goats cheese and parma ham salad. For one person - I sliced 4 pieces of french stick and toasted one side. Then placed a slice of goats cheese on each and grilled. I fried 30g of parma ham, and roasted half a pepper. The pepper went into an oven to cook, then placed in a plastic bag to steam enough so I could remove the skin. A mixed green salad well seasoned with oil, salt and pepper was the beginning of the final creation.
I think my eyes were bigger than my belly! I suppose I am just getting over a bit of flu too, but I couldn't eat all of this, and left about a quarter of the dish. The goats cheese is very rich when grilled. The whole dish amounts to around 400 calories -: Bread 220 calories Cheese 280 calories Parma ham 140 calories Red pepper 50 calories Salad 60 calories

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

New passion

Believe me, when we started our way of eating 9 months ago, we did not realise just how much we would progress with our fitness. If you have been reading this blog, you will know our main fitness regime is simply walking. 9 months later, we tend to walk longer and/or walk more hills. The results are amazing. Our legs are slimmer - particularly my ankles!! My partner's legs are just about all muscle. My lower torso is nicely toned too. We love the result. We started out walking around about 40 minutes, and would walk around the streets. This was about 3 to 4 times per week. When we go out, we park as far away from the supermarket as we can, so we have to walk further and carry bags for longer. All these little steps add up. Now we are physically fitter, and try to go for walks lasting over an hour. If we have the time that is. My partner kept asking me if I wanted to go for a bike ride, but I didn't want to. The last bike ride was over a year ago, and I came back huffing and puffing. I felt so unfit too. But, on Saturday, I relented and we went for an exhilarating bike ride. I loved it. I have a sneaky feeling this will be one of our main exercises now, and take precedence over walking (and I never thought I would have said that). I didn't realise just how fit I had emerged after 9 months of slow and steady walking. It's a wonderful feeling, and there is almost a liberation. It's taught me that walking DOES work, it does change our bodies. It is kind to the joints, and although it does take effort, it is worth it in the end. The extra calories burned can either be put towards a meal, or counted towards extra weightloss. Try it. Give the gym a miss, and start fat burning now by walking - anywhere. It all counts.

Comfort food

I think I'm getting a bit of a bug. My stomach is not too happy and I've got a bit of a cold. Feeling sorry for myself and not wanting to eat the full on salad that I had planned for today's lunch (my favourite food normally). I thought about what I really did fancy, and of all things, I fancied a chicken burger. With this thought planted firmly in my mind I decided to try out a home-made version, well a bit of cheating maybe, but I was after a lower calorie/fat substitute. I picked up some branded frozen southern fried chicken breasts and decided to make my own. One chicken fillet was 240 calories and 12g fat (which is much better than the takeaway version). It was oven cooked. A piece of fresh french stick, some salad leaves and a bit of mayo did the job. Let's say the whole thing came to around 500 calories. It was very filling, and very easy to digest. I haven't had a "ready meal" in ages, and was quite surprised at how nice it tasted. The salad I had prepared may get eaten tonight, but at the moment I still don't fancy it, so it's quite possible we may make a quick carrot and coriander soup to use up the large bag of carrots that are hanging around. We can use up the french stick with a bit of cheese maybe?

Monday, 3 October 2011

My summer fruit breakfast

Here's my breakfast. The mixed berry topping was actually frozen fruit, which I simmered with a small amount of sugar and allowed to cool. This morning I'm having a bowl of full fat greek yoghurt and a couple of spoonfuls of my berry mix.
This dish is around 120 calories. The yoghurt is particularly filling, but I find if I am hungry after this I will have a slice of toast. It's not good to feel hungry, and breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. The frozen fruit is so cheap and handy too. I'm going to get some more frozen raspberries and strawberries as they are a little sweeter. You don't have to wait until breakfast to enjoy this, as it will make a great dessert.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Frozen fruit

I was busy clearing out the freezer, when I came across some frozen summer fruit. Often when we stay away in hotels, the breakfast buffet has a fruit compot, and we put this on some plain yoghurt. So I decided to warm through the frozen fruit, add a small teaspoon of brown sugar to sweeten it up (as it had blackberries, red and blackcurrants and blueberries). I let the mixture cool down and spooned some on our breakfast yoghurt (full fat greek yoghurt). Wow - what a lovely mix, and if you are on a budget - this is perfect. The bags of mixed berries can be found in the supermarket at a cost of around £1.75 for 500g. The small amount left in our freezer amounted to no more than 200g and when heated through, produced quite a lot of juice. We've used about 50g each on our yoghurt. The taste was lovely and juicy, and not at all processed like some summer fruit compotes you can buy at twice the price. In fact, the flavour was intensified by the freezing process I suspect. We'll be using the other half of the berries on our yoghurt tomorrow. Virtually calorie free and something to wake our tastebuds up to.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Fitness levels

We are so amazed at how our fitness levels are increasing. This is not due to frantic exercising in a sweaty gym, aerobics or otherwise. It is purely through a steady and increased love of walking. Yes our walking does seem to take longer, but we feel a buzz of energy and naturally find ourselves walking longer distances. Not so much huffing and puffing either. Walking is a free exercise. But today, we decided to get our bikes out for the first since we started our "way of eating". I was a bit apprehensive as the last time I got on the bike I came back looking very red and unhealthy. Well, looking back - no wonder - with all that extra weight on board. We set out to ride on a dedicated cycle path which stretches some 20 miles as its a disused railway line. Before we knew it, we had zipped across the county and completed 7 miles. We rested and returned home with another 7 miles in the bag. I cannot believe our fitness and the ease in which we completed the journey. There were all sorts of people en-route - fitness fanatics, old, young, you name it. Out of our desire to increase our energy, we are finding ourselves actively looking forward to our exercise. Cycling must have accounted for our lunch, and at the moment we are doing a bbq. There's a 150g piece of steak and some sausages to be eaten later with fresh sweetcorn, new potatoes and rocket/parmesan salad. A few glasses of wine to complete a perfect saturday night.

Proof

When you have been losing weight so slowly it becomes the "norm", it's quite easy to lose sight of what is physically happening. We've got scales and shrinking waist bands that tell us all is looking good. But nothing can be more exciting and rewarding than meeting up with someone who hasn't seen us in a long time. Last night, at the pub, an old friend sought us out. It was interesting, as she kept commenting on how I (yes - me) had lost so much weight and how great I looked. She wanted to know how I had done it, and what the secret was. She looked at my partner as if he was an afterthought, and said "oh, you've lost some weight too". Now, it's usually the other way round! My partner has lost the most weight and I think it shows more on him. I think men are more likely to comment about his weight and realise that is what has been happening. Very few women say anything to me! Yet our good old friend was openly pleased for us, and very very complimentary to me in particular. Peculiar old world. So I am now spurred on to achieving my secret goal in time for the festive season. It's as if our friend's exuberant confirmation of our weight loss has incentivised us. It's good to get feedback, and if you are tackling a weight problem head on, like us, don't be downhearted if no one seems to notice. It's more likely that they DO notice, yet don't know how to tell you. We certainly welcomed the unexpected compliments last night, and they do make a difference. Breakfast is full fat greek yoghurt with honey and peaches and two cups of tea! Lunch is going to be a bacon and sausage sandwich. We aim to go for a 3 mile walk in the woodlands nearby, but only a flat walk to stretch out our muscles after all those hills. We'll be chilling out with a cool beer and bbq. Meat and salads. It's a full energy allowance today, so we won't be counting calories - just keeping a quick calculation is enough.
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