Yearly Archives: 2011

How to survive Xmas Tip no 5 – Dont panic!!

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 5:
Don’t panic! You always have January to deal with any extra festive weight.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Even if you follow all these tips you may still end up putting on SOME extra weight. It’s pretty inevitable if you eat or drink more than usual, you eat different foods and do less exercise. So don’t beat yourself up or give yourself a hard time; accept it’s inevitable and decide that you will deal with it in January. BUT MAKE SURE YOU DO! Research suggests that most people don’t lose the weight they gain over Christmas – and year on year that could add up.

From just cutting things out through to a full-on diet
For some people, all they will need to do to get back to normal is to cut out the extras they’ve been having – such as cakes, chocolates, take-aways or even alcohol – for a few weeks.

Other people may need to go a bit further and cut out foods like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice for a few weeks. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. A bolognaise sauce or a chilli can be just as good on a bed of salad leaves as on pasta or rice. Just swapping your morning toast for a bowl of porridge may be easier than you think, and it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you do have carbs such as bread, pasta or rice, always keep them brown as wholegrains don’t turn to fat in the same way as refined carbs.

You may decide you need to go on a formal diet. Research shows that people who follow a recognised programme where they are part of a group or structured programme do better than those who try to go it alone. Remember there are loads of different diets and different ones suit different people. So think about the diet you choose carefully and whether it is one that will suit you. If you try one and it’s not for you, look at others rather than totally just giving up; there’s bound to be one that suits you.

Go to rule no 4 -Dont slump – find ways to be active

Surviving Christmas & manage your weight – Rule no 4

 

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 4:
Don’t slump – still try and keep active.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

It’s just too tempting to be a couch potato over the holiday period. We’re often indoors for longer and our usual routines go out of the window. So be conscious of this and try and find ways to get as active as you can during the holiday period.

  • Try to avoid internet shopping – going to the supermarket uses up calories. See filling your shopping trolley as a workout and enjoy! Can you make shopping for presents a day out? Go by public transport, walk round loads of shops, carry bags and enjoy!
  • Go for family walks. Wrap up warm and all go out together and make it a lovely social occasion. Make it a part of your holiday.
  • Play games with the kids and get as active as possible – really go for it on the Wii. Choose active games rather than sitting watching the TV.
  • If you go to parties,  be the king or queen of the dance-floor. Boogie on down all night and burn off those calories.
  • Find other little ways to be as active as possible – if you’re on holiday from work,  you have more time – so use it! Park your car a bit away when you go out. Do small shops at local shops and walk. Use public transport as much as you can. Keep things upstairs so you have to keep running up stairs to get them. Get amorous! Having sex is a great way to burn off calories.

Go to rule no 3 – Plan, plan, plan!

Surviving Christmas & manage your weight – Rule no 3!

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 3:
Plan, plan, plan. Plan all your meals and food throughout the festive season, including the days after Christmas. Balance sugary, fatty high calorie food and drink with other low fat, high protein, high fibre fat burning meals.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Do a meal plan for the whole festive season, including after Christmas. Think about your meals across a day and week so that if you know you’ll be at parties and/or eating out and eating high-calorie, sugary, or fatty food you can balance these against other meals which are fat-burning and slow-release. You can download a Festive Season Meal Planner here.

Remember that not all calories are equal. Some foods turn to fat more quickly than others (such as refined, fatty, sugary and many processed foods) and should be avoided. But others, like low GI foods and fat-burning foods keep you feeling fuller for longer, help boost your metabolism or take more energy to digest. So you need to fill up with these foods and plan meals that include:

  • Loads of fruit and vegetables – try to fill over half your plate with vegetables.
  • Lean protein – lean meat or veggie alternatives such as soya, quorn, pulses and nuts.
  • High-fibre – go for brown over white. Avoid all refined carbs such as white pasta, rice, flour, bread etc and instead choose brown pasta, rice, bread etc. Use oats and oatmeal in food where you can – it’s often easy to swap flour for oatmeal.
  • Low-fat dairy – such as skimmed milk or fat-free yoghurt.
  • Use as little fat as you can – choose virgin olive or coconut oil when you need oil.

Planning your meals will also mean you’re less likely to end up having take-aways. It’s easy to think they are quicker, cheaper and easier, but in fact I don’t think they are any of those things. They are also more likely to make you put on weight. So when you plan your meals, plan a number of really quick easy meals for the times you can’t be bothered – such as stir-fry, pasta or quick rice dishes like chilli. Another good hint is to make extra when you do cook and freeze it, so all you need to do is pop into the microwave.

Manage your sugar rushes
Remember that when you have a lot of sugar it brings on sugar rushes which means you are more likely to crave more sugary food. So on Boxing Day and the days after Christmas, plan to eat as much slow-release Low GI and fat-burning food as possible. This will help you manage your blood sugar and help to reduce sugar cravings. Get Low GI and Fat Burning foods here.

Go to rule no 2 – Christmas is a social time.

Surviving Christmas & manage your weight – Rule no 2!

 

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 2:
Christmas is a social time – so think about how you will deal with people who you know find it hard when you are careful about your food and drink. Just because others are eating and drinking doesn’t mean you have to.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Unfortunately we all know someone who finds it hard to accept other people’s decisions about food and drink. For example people who want you to eat loads – like Mrs Doyle in Father Ted (Go on, go on, you will, you will, you will!) This can be really hard if you are staying with others over Christmas and you feel you have to follow their food and drink habits.

So remember that mostly, this is THEIR issue, not yours. Think about anyone in your life with whom, when you spend time with them, you find it hard to keep to your food and drink decisions. Have a think about why this is and try to talk to them BEFORE the holiday period about why you want to make certain food and drink choices, about how important this is to you, and ask them to help you keep to these decisions. Offer to sort out your own food if this will make it easier. How about asking for this as your Christmas present! Remember, just because other people eat or drink to excess this doesn’t mean you have to.

Go to rule no 1 – Christmas dinner is not the problem.

How to survive Christmas and keep weight off! Rule No 1.

Peg Alexander worried about XmasAre you dreaming of a Lite Christmas? How not to be the Christmas pudding!

Christmas is the hardest time of year for many when it comes to watching your weight or keeping weight off. And if you are dieting you may as well forget it! Putting it bluntly, many people will put on weight over the festive season (studies suggest an average of around 4lb with some saying up to 10lb!). So is it possible to still have a brilliant Christmas and New Year without becoming the Christmas pudding yourself? Can you indulge without the budge?

Of course it is!!!!
So how do you make sure you don’t become the Christmas pudding but don’t feel like you are missing out on everything? I recommend following my Five Golden Rules of Christmas….

You can hear a lighthearted short radio interview about the Five Golden Rules by clicking here.
You can also check out a more factual interview by clicking here.

So what are the Five Golden Rules of Christmas?

Well over the next few days I’ll be sharing a Golden Rule each day….. in writing and on video. So here goes.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 1:
Christmas dinner is not the problem – it’s all the parties, events, mince pies, chocolates, alcohol and extras that happen during the festive season.

Click here to watch the video.

In the weeks running up to Christmas and between Christmas and New Year it’s party time! But that means nibbles, buffet food, mince pies, cakes, sweets and chocolates – and loads of extra alcohol.

So you have to think about how are you going to deal with this. Staying at home is not an option. Instead work out which of these things you can’t do without, and then make deals with yourself about what – and how much – you’ll have. So for example I’m not bothered about crisps or buffet food but I find it hard to resist chocolate and cake. So I’ll allow myself one or two per party and not eat the stuff I don’t really want just because it’s there. And when I do have cakes and chocs, I really enjoy them!! And fill up with low fat food before you go to parties so you are less tempted to pick.

Are mince pies a problem for you?
If so, accept it and work round it. Many shop-bought mince pies have high levels of sugar and fat. Processed food is more likely to turn into fat on you than home-made. So if you love mince pies, make your own and take them with you to parties. Click here for a quick and scrummy no fat or sugar added recipe. Then you can still have them – but manage your weight. You might make yourself popular with your host as well!

You really need to watch alcohol intake
Alcohol represents empty calories. It has no nutritional value at all but contains plenty of calories. It’s very easy to drink too much over the festive period. So monitor how much you are drinking and think of ways to cut down. Alternate between alcohol and soft drinks – just watch out how much sugar there is in some fruit drinks.

Think about what else you will be eating
Try to fill up at breakfast with a bowl of home-cooked porridge with fruit and nuts (avoiding quick cooking oats). If you go to a lunch or tea-time party and there are loads of snacks but you know you’ll probably end up going out to eat that night, then avoid the snacks. And when you go out to eat, think carefully about what you choose. Click here to some advice about what to choose.

Don’t be scared to ask for your own version of the Christmas menu
If you go to a party with a set menu think carefully about what you choose, by using the eating-out guide. Even if you have to chose from a set Christmas menu don’t be afraid to ask for your meal to be adapted so its lower-fat. Choose a low fat option for your starter and pudding (or at least one of them, such as salad without dressing to start or fruit for pudding).

On average, people consume 4000 calories on Christmas day
On Christmas day we drink lots and eat endless snacks, sweets – plus the big dinner. Just a few small chocolates add up – there are between 40 and 60 calories in many individual chocolates, so keep a count of how many you munch; it’s just too easy to pop them in your mouth without thinking. I keep them out of reach, for example in a cupboard. That way you have to think about everyone single one you have.

Make your Christmas meal that bit kinder too
It will always help if think about the calories of your Christmas dinner and to try and reduce the impact of your Christmas meal. Some handy tips for stuffing the turkey, not you, include…..

  • Turkey is a fat-burning food. Avoid the skin and fill up your plate with turkey breast and veggies.
  • If you are vegetarian think about a low-fat alternative, such as quorn or soya. If you have nut roast, watch how much butter you put in and use wholemeal bread crumbs.
  • Think about mixing roast potatoes with lower GI boiled new potatoes or sweet potatoes. You can roast potatoes using low-fat spray. Always avoid potatoes cooked in goose fat.
  • Don’t put butter on your veggies even if everyone else is having them.
  • Cook some extra stuffing outside of the turkey so it’s not soaked with turkey fat.
  • Avoid sausage stuffing and also cut back on the sausages and pigs in blankets.
  • Make some low-fat gravy for yourself. Or if you have gravy made from the turkey juice, reduce the fat by putting it in the fridge and removing the fat.
  • Make your Christmas pudding lower fat – avoid beef suet and use extra fruit instead.
  • Think about the sauces you have on your pudding. Can you swap your normal custard for low-fat? Try yogurt rather than cream or ice-cream or only a small amount of brandy butter or even brandy custard.

And finally – remember just because there are certain foods and drinks around, it doesn’t mean you have to consume them!

Keep checking to see the other five Golden Rules.

Love mince pies? Then make your own!

mince pie muffins cookedOne of the many lovely things about Christmas is mince pies. They are scrummy. And very plentiful. From now on there may well be mince pies at meetings, at gatherings, when you go for a cup of tea or coffee at a friends. But sadly, many will be very fattening and will turn to fat on you! It really is the case that one mince pie could hurt. Indeed, you may need to walk about 4 miles to walk off just one mince pie! So if you are watching your weight then you need to think carefully about how many you can eat this festive season.

Many mince pies will be shop bought, and most shop bought goods come with more calories which turn more quickly to fat than home-made or unprocessed food. But as we know Christmas is not a time to deny yourself everything. So here is my solution. If you love mince pies, make your own, and take them to places where you know there will be.

This is just one suggestion from my new 5 Golden Rules of Christmas which I’ll be sending out in coming days. In the meantime, here is a lovely, quick, easy and lower fat/sugar free mince pie recipe.

So enjoy!

Low fat and sugar mince pies

For the mincemeat:
500g apples (use cooking apples if you can)
900g mixed dried fruit
3 tsp mixed spice
600ml cider
2 tbsp brandy, whisky or rum.

For the pastry:
1 packets of filo pastry sheets

 

To make the mincemeat:

mincemeat1. Grate the apple and put into a pan with the mixed dried fruit. Add the mixed spice and cider and stir well.

2. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has almost gone and the mixture is soft and pulpy.

3. Stir in the brandy, whisky or rum and leave to cool.

 

To make into mince pies:
You can either use a small muffin tray to make open pies or you can make parcels.

Using a muffin tray:

mince pie muffin with filo pastry1. Spray with some fry light.

2. Cut the filo pastry into squares. Then use 2 or 3 squares depending on the size of your muffin cases. Place the first square over a cup and mould. Then take the second and put at an angle to the first and again mould. Do the same with any third sheet.

3. Bake at gas mark 4 or 180c for 10 mins.

4. Spoon in the mincemeat.

5. Bake for a further 12 to 15 minutes. Keep checking to see when they are ready. If your muffin tin is large you may need to bake for a further 5 minutes.

 

To make parcels:

mincepie parcel uncooked1. Spray a non stick baking sheet with fry-light

2. Use 2 or 3 squares of file depending on how thick you would like your pastry.

3. Place a couple of spoonfuls of mincemeat in the centre of the square.

4. Bundle up into a nice parcel.

5. Bake at gas mark 3½ or 150c until the tops are brown but the bottoms of the parcels are also cooked. I baked them for around 20 minutes; larger parcels may need more time to bake the bottoms.

Hypno Gastric Band – does it make you lose weight?

 

As readers of my blog will know, although I keep weight off, I still have a small amount of weight I would like to lose; between half and a stone or around 10lb to be precise. This would mean I would be a small size 10 rather than the big size 10/small 12 I have been for the last year or two. I know I can go on a very low calorie diet and lose it and get down to size 8, but I keep putting this amount on again afterwards; it seems this size is just where my body naturally wants to stay. I eat an incredibly healthy diet and am pretty active but I have real trouble keeping to small portions and I eat huge amounts. I also want to be able to eat out a bit more than I do at the moment so when I read that Hypno Gastric Bands have an 80% success rate I decided I had to give it a go! Will a Hypno Gastric Band work?

They aren’t cheap and some hypnotherapists were advertising Hypno Gastric Bands at around £300. But when I received an offer of 3 sessions for £80 it seemed the signal it was time to give it a go.

Hypnosis works for me….
I know I am susceptible to hypnosis. I gave up smoking with hypnosis and I have used it since when I am very stressed about my weight or life. So I was really excited about it and convinced it would work for me. I set off for the first session full of anticipation looking forward to the hypnotist telling me my stomach had been made smaller and I would want to eat a lot less. I thought it would be that easy. Instead, at the first session the hypnotist was quite challenging to me and I wasn’t expecting that! One thing he challenged me about was a need to use scales. As you may know I don’t agree with using scales as the main way to check how you are getting on, rather I prefer judging by my clothes. But he told me I had to use the scales so I could lose my fear of them. He also challenged me about my saying I like eating cakes and chocolate too much and how I find it hard to control myself sometimes around cake. His view – it’s as easy as just deciding so to cut them out. Hmmm.  We finally did he hypnosis. I was disappointed – no mention of the gastric band. Just that I would be happier to eat less and want to eat healthily (which I already do!).

But being a compliant sort of person I did decide to weight myself. The next day I weighed in at 147lb.

Session 2 a week later was a bit easier, helped somewhat by the fact that despite me having been to a house party weekend abroad I had lost 3lb! The session was shorter and we got down to the hypnosis more quickly. Similar stuff to the week before. Again I was left feeling slightly miffed my ‘gastric band’ hadn’t been fitted and it was the same stuff I’ve heard a lot before in hypnosis.

Session 3 and I was on a role. Again I’d lost weight – I’d lost 0.6lb despite having eaten out a couple of time so I thought I was sorted. Clearly my portion sizes had gone down. This time he did ‘fit’ the band. Under hypnosis he took me through the process – from getting on the trolley, through to the operating theatre where he turned the lights off, and then imagining exactly how my stomach was being made smaller. It didn’t seem at all gory though! The hypnosis was quite quick though, I was in and out in 20 minutes. But if it worked I didn’t mind that I felt maybe I needed a bit more time.

So what has happened since?
Well it started off well. I decided I’d weigh myself once a week and the following week I’d lost even more weight and was down to 141.1lb. I was cock-a-hoop to say the least. I was eating more variety of food and the weight was dropping off. And my clothes were feeling looser which I always like.

But then it all went wrong. Another week on and I got on the scales. And …. in the space of a week I had put on over 5lb. Part of the hypnosis was to learn not to panic if I put on weight; to be able to just accept it and then decide to take action the following week. But as we know its not that easy and despite the hypnosis, I was in a bit of a tizz the day I went on the scales.

This is why I don’t like scales. Putting on 5lb of fat in a week with no major change in diet is just not possible, it must be something else (for example I’ve been ill during this time). That’s why I prefer clothes as my guide as they are a more realistic judge.

And how have I got on since?
Well since then I’ve started losing weight again – earlier this week I weighed in at 2.5lb less than 3 days before! But I’m also not giving up on hypnosis as I do think it can work. So to help me top up I’ve downloaded a weight hypnosis book and I’m listening to it once a day if I can. Plus I’m trying some metabolism boosters too and continuing to follow my ‘21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off’ as I know they have helped me stay a size 10. You see, I’ll try anything and am glad for anything that works. This morning the scales have again been kind and I’m back down to 141lb.

Bring it on…..!

Staying motivated when dieting or keeping weight off no 2 – Don’t give up even if you put on weight!

 

In a previous blog I talked about how to stay motivated when you keep weight off or when you are trying to lose weight. Thanks for the comments you sent about this being helpful. In that blog I talked about how you have to concentrate on any positives, even if your weight loss isn’t going to plan. But what do you do if worse than not losing weight, you end up putting it on? Well, that’s what’s happened to me in the last few weeks – I’ve put on weight despite being on a diet – so time for another blog post!

It is hard to stay motivated  …..
There’s no doubt its hard if you are denying yourself and keeping to a diet and then you don’t lose weight or worse put some on. A couple of weeks ago I got on the scales and, horror of horrors, I’d put on about a pound. And I have to be honest and say it’s sent me off-course. Seeing a higher number on the scales bought back the crooked thinking I have about me and weight and I started to catastrophize. I decided that as the diet I was doing ‘obviously wasn’t working’ I may as well give up. Of course, it wasn’t the truth that it wasn’t working as I was losing size, just not weight. But I didn’t see that. I wasn’t concentrating on the positives as I should have been. Old habits returned quickly – I’d been missing porridge for breakfast (not allowed on my diet) so I went straight back to that. Other food came back into my diet pretty quickly. I also went for an impromptu curry one evening, had a couple of cakes at an event one afternoon, and then had puddings every night whilst staying with my in-laws.

We all know it’s just too easy to go back to our normal habits. And what do you think has happened? Well I’ve put on a fair bit of weight in the last couple of weeks; my clothes are telling me this. But I haven’t weighed myself as there is no point in just adding to my misery.

But all is not lost; I’ve not given up…….
So, and I think this is the main point, that sometimes we all fall off the wagon. The point is how do we respond when we do?
I think a lot of the time we think if we have given in once or twice, or even for a couple of weeks, that that is that. It’s all over so we may as well give up on the diet and just go back to old ways. Well ….. WRONG!! Research shows that successful dieters and people who keep weight off don’t do this. When we go off track we accept it, don’t give ourselves a hard time about it. We pick ourselves up quite quickly, dust ourselves down and we just start searching for ways to get back on track.

That’s what I’m doing, and today I am going to try something new to help me eat less! (More of that to come in the future.)

Part of my getting on track involved one last blow out…..
One thing I did decide to do though whilst off the wagon was to allow myself a bit of a blow out and the chance to have some flavours, tastes and foods I don’t normally have. As a calculated decision I decided that having some of these foods on one occasion would help me get my motivation back for the longer term. So last Sunday me and my husband went to the ‘all you can eat international buffet’! Of course I eat loads and came back far too full if the truth be told. But I enjoyed every mouthful and it has helped me prepare for the new method I’ll be trying later today.

I didn’t totally let go though. Here’s some tips I used to still control even at the all you can eat buffet…

1. Quite a lot of the buffet was fried food. Try and avoid food like fried rice, deep fried starters etc. I did have a few prawn crackers and poppadums but kept them to a minimum.

2. Only put a small amount on your plate at a time. You can always go back for more. Use the smallest plate you can find. The puddings section may have smaller ones.

3. Have a break between plates. You may find you don’t want to have as many visits as you first thought you would!

4. Fill up with salads and fruit; most buffets have them. But watch the dressings as they can be really calorific and if you have fruit salad watch for sugar syrup.

5. If you know that puddings will be your weakness plan for this. Don’t have too much first course. Do some extra exercise and think about what else you eat that day. Top up puddings with fruit.

6. Beware of any sauces as they can be very fatty and full of sugar.

7. Drink plenty of water. I also ordered a green tea.

8. Prepare for the sugar rush and carb effect the next day. Have lots of fruit to hand so you can manage it.

9. If you know you are the kind of person who will keep going back for more even if you aren’t hungry, do some deals with yourself about how many times you will do this and stopping before you end up feeling sick!

So if you’ve fallen off the wagon don’t panic. Just get back on, no self re-criminations. And good luck!

Control your own food – even when away from home

Being away from home doesn’t mean you cannot still make good decisions with food, that you cannot watch your weight, keep weight off, or even diet and lose weight! This weekend I was away from home (again) at a conference. I’ve recently become an associate member of the Professional Speakers Association as I’m building up my speaking profile talking about weight, diets and obesity, food, body image and staying positive when life is, bluntly, challenging.

The conference was in a hotel but despite being away for 2 nights and 3 days I didn’t leave any of my food to chance. That’s not to say I didn’t partake of some of the food on offer; just that I was very deliberate about it and it was on my terms.

Of course, never leaving food to chance takes some planning. I’d been really busy this week I didn’t have much time. If you are organised it doesn’t have to be a massive job and I still managed to make a fat burning, low GI, sugar/fat free meal.  On Thursday night I quickly roasted some veg in balsamic vinegar and fry light, soaked some oil free sundried tomatoes and put on a pan of whole-wheat pasta at the same as cooking my evening meal. Before I went to bed I mixed it all together, added some cherry toms, fat free cottage cheese and some fresh black pepper. This meal will easily last for 48 hours even outside a fridge. I put it in an old tub I’d saved and left in the fridge ready to pick up the next morning.

A good cool bag and some planning and you can eat low fat low GI food on the move

Early the next morning all I had to do was pick up the some muesli and get the pasta and some tubs of fat free yogurt from the fridge, put in some cool bags and I was ready to go. On the way down to the conference I stopped at a motorway services M&S and bought my lunch for both days and a bottle of skimmed milk. With very little trouble I now had 3 of my meals.

Keeping cool….
I was staying in a budget hotel so I didn’t have a fridge in my room. For once I went by car. It’s autumn so my car boot doubled up as a fridge! If the weather had been warmer I would have asked the hotel to let me use one of their main fridges. I’ve never been turned down.

This was the buffet lunch. High fat, high sugar and all refined. Destined to make you put on weight

I just took the food out of my ‘fridge’ as needed. Good job I’d been organised. On the first night there was a buffet and all the food was pretty calorific. The buffet lunch on Saturday had not one single item of food which was fat burning, wholefood or good to eat if you are watching your weight. Even the salads were covered in mayo or loads of oil. I didn’t mind; I was too busy enjoying the salads I’d bought at M&S. My resolve was strong – until the pudding on Friday night when some Pecan and toffee cheesecakes were bought out! I have to say I just could not say no – it went down pretty nicely I can tell you. But I was the one making that choice.

Choosing which meal I would eat ….
All that was left was my evening meal on Saturday, a gala dinner. I knew this was going to be the big occasion of the weekend so I had decided in advance I would eat the meal. I did my usual rouse – I told them I am vegan (I am not, but that way I avoid food which is rich is cream and cheese). I was given a really lovely sweet potato and chickpea curry. Bit too much fat for me but it was really tasty. The only downside of the vegan ‘lie’ is when the pudding comes and you are given fruit salad. Luckily they got confused and I got given a lovely apple frangipani tart. Mmmmmm. You see – it was all on my terms. And I didn’t feel bad, I just enjoyed every mouthful.

When you eat high calorie food you need to be the one who choses

I hadn’t eaten high calorie food I didn’t want to eat because it was all that was there. I had mainly chosen food I wanted to eat and which was fat burning and low fat/sugar. But I enjoyed puddings and other food I had chosen to eat.

When keeping weight off its so so important to remember that you can still be in control of your food and make good food choices even when you are away from home. Be determined that when you do eat high calorie food it will be your decision, not someone else’s, and the food will be food you REALLY WANT TO EAT!

And when you do, enjoy every mouth full.

 

In a future blog I’ll be sharing a new lovely autumn pudding that I’ve been working on. A fat free, sugar free and flour free cakey pudding……….

Staying positive & motivated when your diet isn’t working!

Its one of the hardest things – staying motivated when you are dieting but not losing weight. I’ve become so expert at keeping weight off that this is what’s happening to me at the moment! I’m doing Slimming World Success Express and although I’m on week 5 I’ve lost no weight at all! Every Sunday morning my scales say the same thing; 142lb. I’ve even started taking Adios Plus tablets to try and speed up the loss!

According to some research from the US this week it’s not so surprising. Researchers  say that the common expectation that reducing our intake by 500 calories a day, or upping our exercise, means we will lose about 1lb a week is too ambitious. They say that weight loss probably takes about 3 times as long as that.

So does this explain why I’m not losing weight? Or could my body just want to stabilise at my current weight? Once, when I was on Lighterlife and I was living off 550 calories a day I didn’t lose any weight 2 weeks in a row! I even put some on one week. Bodies are funny things.

Having to occasionally lose weight is just part of keeping weight off
As readers of my ’21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off’ know, I believe that when keeping weight off at times you need to actually diet. Every bit of research backs this up; everyone who keeps weight off has a way to monitor their weight and size on an on-going basis and takes action quickly when they know the pounds are starting to go back on. That’s what I’m doing at the moment so I can stay a size 10.

I don’t actually weigh myself normally; in fact I recommend ditching the scales. That’s because we all know our weight can fluctuate up and down various reasons – water retention, time of the month, building muscle etc. What does it matter if our weight goes up but we still like how we look and our clothes still fit? That’s why I recommend having a favourite outfit as your guide; when the outfit is too tight that’s when its time to take some action.

Not all doom and gloom though…
All is not lost though. Although I’m not losing weight at the moment, I am losing bulk. My favourite dress is certainly less tight around the hips than 5 weeks ago even if I know I still need to lose some more before I could wear it. Plus my tape measure is showing some improvement with at least one cm off each measurement.

 

So how do you stay motivated when the weight isn’t falling away?

It is hard to stay motivated when the weight isn’t falling off. That’s why on some occasions over the last few weeks I’ve not kept to the diet – the odd cake here, or a curry there, or crisps and biscuits at a mates house. If I’m honest it’s often been more than one; with one leading to another to another. But I have to face facts. All I am doing is making things harder for myself as at this rate I’ll be on this diet for months, not the weeks I originally expected.

So to get back on track I’m focusing on the positives. I keep reminding myself:

  •  That losing weight can be slow.
  • I am losing bulk as my green dress is getting that bit looser each week.
  • My measurements show I’ve lost some size over the last 5 weeks.
  • All my friends tell me I look great the size I am ; one even said I looked ‘perfect’ this size.
  • I actually don’t crave foods like cakes and chocolates when I cut them out all together so it’s easier to have none at all.
  • I have lost weight before; I can do it again.
  • There are still other options I can try if I decide this diet isn’t working; but I need to give it a few more weeks.

That’s what you need to do too if you are dieting and not getting the results you hoped for. Or if you are trying to keep weight off and putting some back on. Don’t let some slips push you totally off course. We are all humans so if you have a bad day or two don’t punish yourself. Instead, say today is another day, dust yourself down and just make some agreements with yourself that you’ll get back on course.

And to help me get back on course I’m making sure I cook food which feels comforting and lovely and is allowed by the diet. Here’s one of my favs – sweet and sour chicken/quorn. Its tasty, gooey and sweet, really quick but still hardly any calories. Brilliant.

Fat burning and low GI Sweet and Sour Chicken / Quorn

Ingredients:
3 shallots per person
½ to 1 bulb garlic per person for sweet and sour
Chicken breast cut into small slices or quorn pieces (defrosted)

For the sauce – each person:
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp passata
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar or wine vinegar
1 tbsp sweetener
Large pinch of hot chilli powder to taste.
If using quorn you may need some additional sauce per person – 1½ – 2 tbsp.  

Stir Fry Veg
1 bulb garlic
1 cm of ginger minced or chopped into small pieces
Prepared stir fry veg

Instructions:

  1. Chop the shallots finely. Fry in some fry light and little sherry if so inclined. Mince the garlic and add to the frying pan. Fry for about 5 minutes till nicely browned.
  2. In a bowl mix up the sauce.
  3. Add the chicken / quorn to the pan and fry for around 3 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  4. Add the sauce and allow to cook over a medium heat.
  5. Meanwhile spray a wok or large frying pan with fry light and add the remaining garlic and ginger. Fry for about 30 sections then add the stir fry veg. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add splash of soy sauce and cook for a further 1 minute.
  6. Serve together and enjoy!

 

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