Posts tagged eat
There are many things that make losing weight difficult. Motivation to eat healthily and exercise more comes and goes for all of us for many reasons. Sometimes it’s the weather – how hard is it to say no to a big baked potato at lunch time or a massive hot chocolate in the afternoon with our current climate? Sometimes it’s our lifestyle – it is more difficult to make good food and drink choices when you are busy and overtired. And sometimes it is the very fact that you are surrounded by food and drink all the time – it’s not easy to give into temptation when you can smell the chocolate!
For me and hundreds and thousands of people, what we do for a living hampers our weight loss efforts. Well unless you are a chocolate taster or a professional fast food eater your actual work isn’t the problem, it is the nature of what we do. Sitting at a computer for eight hours a day is a recipe for snacking, for drinking high sugar drinks, for giving in to temptation without even realising it. Especially when you work in an office with lovely people who provide cakes, biscuits and sweets weekly if not daily to help make everyone smile. And then there is the commuting. Not a problem I have any more as I’m only a short drive (or a long walk) from my office, but I admit there are always sweets in the car to help make journeys more bearable!
I mean, just look at this totally amazing cake… yes… look… drool… wish… want…
…I can confirm that this was quite possibly the nicest chocolate cake I have ever tasted. It was moist, had chocolate butter cream inside and on top, and of course Maltesers topping it off. So good. It was made by a colleague’s partner for our Red Nose Day bake sale (we raised just under £150 by the way!). An extreme example of how work can lead to over eating for sure (unfortunately the fact that calories consumed for charity don’t count is a myth), but there are often cakes in our office and when they are home made it is incredibly hard to say no. The fact is when someone brings in a home made cake I don’t want to say no, I want to eat it.
It’s not really the odd slice of cake that’s the problem, though (so colleagues, if you’re reading this, please continue to bake bake bake!) – we have weekly Weight Watchers Pro Points and Activity Pro Points that we can use to treat ourselves on occasional naughtiness like that. Not a problem, it is a lovely thing to share tea and cake with friends and I shall continue to do so when I fancy something that I’m offered. But it’s the fact that we’re sat on our bums moving little more than our fingers, that it’s too easy to not go out for a walk at lunch time thanks to a combination of the amount of work and the weather, that when we’re at work we eat for the sake of it. It’s the extra cereal bars, chocolate bars, cans of coke, full-fat lattes.
So what can we do? The best thing, of course, is to take all the food for the day to work with you. That should include a nice healthy but filling lunch and some healthy snacks for those grazing moments. Easier said than done and something I’ve been really bad at recently – getting into the habit of taking a packed lunch is key. And when you don’t have time or there’s nothing in the house? There are lots of healthy choices around, you just have to make the right decisions. This was an absolutely gorgeous Rainbow Salad from M&S with some honey and lime dressing – really tasty, I’d choose that one again. And thin cuppa soups are a brilliant way to “eat” without adding too many calories or Pro Points to your daily total – I always have some of those in my desk drawer.
I also try to keep a supply of healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, low calorie cereal bars and that sort of thing in my desk drawer – keeping snacks like that close to hand makes it easier to say no when someone offers to get you something from the corner shop.
The only way to lose weight successfully is to take in fewer calories than you burn off, so moving around is an absolute necessity. There’s not much chance of me getting a stand-up desk at work (not that I’ve asked), but I’m trying to see what things I can get done stood up, such as reading through reports and other documents. Organising any meetings away from my own desk also forces me to walk about, and of course making sure I take my hour for lunch and go out for a walk into town (without going into the cafes and coffee shops!) is great.
So now I’m after some inspiration. What should I keep in the house to create lovely things for midday eating in the office? What are the best healthy choices if you need to buy lunch? And what other things do you do to help curb your office over eating? Feel free to comment below.
I’ve been following the Weight Watchers Pro Points plan for a week now. I have been doing my best to keep within my daily points allowance, keeping those weekly points for extra things like treats and eating out. It worked just about ok – even with a couple of meals out (when I really didn’t watch what I ate!) I didn’t go over the combined total of my daily and weekly Pro Points, in fact I had three left over.
In addition to that I earned 23 Activity Pro Points during the week – it was nice to have time to get out and about for some decent length walks up hills and along the beach.
And I lost 3lb.
I’m pretty happy with that. Actually I’m very happy. I know that the first week of a diet is the easiest – you are motivated, it’s a new challenge, changes in eating habits have more of an effect – but I’ll take 3lb. And that’s including scoffing (in a very ladylike manner) chicken burger and chips at a pub by the sea, and a generous helping of chicken korma, pilau rice, garlic naan and vegetable bhaji. Oh I love eating!
Having said that, and apart from those two meals out, the reason for my success is probably down to having the time and energy to cook properly. I tried three new-to-me recipes from the Weight Watchers cook book I was given when I agreed to be a Blog Ambassador, and thoroughly enjoyed them. I also had time to properly prepare nice lunches full of salad and fruit, and sit and eat them in the comfort of my own living room. My week was relaxed, I was happy, and healthy eating and exercise fitted in nicely to that.
This week will be different. I’m back at work, where I sit a desk in an office where there is always a plethora of sweets and cake to be tempted by. The building I’m in has gained a lovely coffee shop serving Starbucks coffee and locally made cupcakes over the Christmas break. And let’s face it, when I am at work sitting at my desk it’s so very easy to give into temptation and snack, snack, snack. I managed to avoid everything on offer yesterday except a small piece of Thornton’s Special Toffee which I made last ages. Today I haven’t been so good – it’s impossible when there is lemon curd Swiss roll on offer, even the pineapple chunks, apple, grapes and bolognaise leftovers for lunch couldn’t stop me. It was delicious.
This week’s Blogger Ambassador challenge is to start a once-a-week menu planning habit. Last week I mentioned that I had started to do that again, so I am one step ahead this time, and last night I sat down to plan out what we would be eating this week. Being back at work and actually with a very busy week ahead, I’ve not got time to labour over new recipes, butt I have planned week night meals that are pretty ok and should keep me on track. Having said that as I write this there are oven chips cooking for LincsGeek to have with his fish – one or two won’t hurt will they?! Ok I’ve totally planned to have a small number with my meal. Oh and of course going back to work means my time for achieving Activity Pro Points by walking miles and miles is very limited. I could cycle to work. Maybe another time.
I go on holiday on Sunday for a week so I am hereby announcing that I will be suspending my diet so I don’t have to think about (or track) my food intake whilst away. I am skiing so there will be plenty of exercise done, but even so it’s too miserable to be dieting when on holiday. I will stop tracking on Sunday and start again the following weekend, meaning there will two weeks before my next weigh in and therefore my next Weight Watchers post. I don’t intend to go nuts or anything, but I shan’t be replacing chips with salad every day. I assume other people suspend their diets when on holiday? Diets are for pre and post holidays right?!
Until then, though, I will be continuing to track my food and attempt to keep within the numbers of Pro Points. I need to find ways of getting into good habits at work; I have already discovered it’s going to take more than having lots of fruit ready to eat.
It’s 1st January 2013 and so the start of a brand new year. You already know my New Year’s resolution is about being true to myself. Part of that will absolutely be about being more healthy – eating better, exercising more, you know the sort of thing. So the fact that I’m a Weight Watchers Blog Ambassador starting this very day will come in quite handy!
As I mentioned in this post back in December, I have been given a three month subscription to the Weight Watchers website, including the iPhone/iPad app, so I can give the new approach to Pro Points a go. I have input all my details and have started tracking my weight and food. It should be interesting to say the least!!
Part of being a Weight Watchers Blog Ambassador involves weekly challenges that should help keep me motivated, and this week we have been asked to sort out our fridges. As soon as I got the email yesterday I opened my fridge and took a snap of what was inside… not bad I don’t think. There are apples and grapes, vegetables and salad, no sugar drinks, water, semi-skimmed milk, low fat bits and bobs, left over turkey and gammon (now all gone). It’s not exactly full – it is the end of Christmas week after all – but it could have been a lot worse. Phew.
Well, it’s not bad if you ignore the cheese – soft, goats, mature cheddar, Wensleydale; the Double Barrel Lincolnshire Poacher is particularly excellent. Mmmmm I love cheese. It is suggested that I put our cheese in an opaque container and hide them at the back of the fridge, but it’s ok, I can resist the temptation. I’m not the sort of person who will open the fridge and cut herself a lump of cheese just to nibble on. I might have some for lunch but I don’t just snack on it. And anyway, I’m not about to start hiding things – I know out of sight is out of mind and all that, and it certainly does help if you can’t see things – but I want to change my life and my habits not just temporarily forget them. So the cheese stays in the fridge door, I just have to learn to be good!
Apart from checking my fridge I’ve also been through all my food cupboards, chucked away anything that was out of date (which was an awful lot actually, shame on me), and so now I know exactly what I’ve got. I’ve made a shopping list full of healthy bits and bobs like yogurts and jellies and fruit, and worked out how many Pro Points there are in that stash of chocolate I have left over from Christmas… three chunks of Dairy Milk with Oreo is two points, I can work with that. Actually there is some help on the Weight Watchers website if you want to sort out your cupboards and fridge with healthier eating in mind – I’ve not been completely true to the list but it helped.
I’ve also planned my menu for the week. This is something I used to do all the time but laziness got in the way and I haven’t for a while now. I sat and looked through a Weight Watchers recipe book and picked out some things to try. Tonight I used up my slow cooked gammon in a risotto (no cream, no butter, lots of veg, I’ve worked it out as being worth 10 Pro Points per portion, mainly made up of the basmati rice). I am still planning on enjoying my food, especially the curry I shall eat on Saturday night, but I will track everything I eat and hopefully learn how to keep those calories down.
I should say that although I do need to lose a couple of stone to be my “ideal” weight, weight loss is not what this is all about. It’s about feeling good about myself, eating right and hopefully losing a couple of inches from my belly and butt. I have no intention of posting my weight here on my blog, but I will let you know how I’m getting on and post regularly with those challenges.
If you’re planning on sorting out your eating habits as one of your New Year resolutions then good luck!
It is finished. I completed my four week Jenny Craig free trial thanks to that blog competition. I will be honest and say I have definitely not been a model dieter. I’ve had days off, eaten starchy vegetables, had the odd slice of cake. But I have still found it very interesting and have learnt a lot about me and food and being healthy.
In the spirit of a proper experiment, this one being in willpower, there has to be results, conclusions, and a long list of things I’d do better if I did this again sometime. So here are some of the things I’ve found over the last 28 days.
- I love potato. It’s one of the things I really craved this month. Weird?! I know. Baked, mashed, chipped – I missed it. There was potato in some of the meals but it just wasn’t the same. I have learnt I don’t need as much though, I should choose smaller potatoes for me.
- I was right – my portion sizes are way too big. I probably eat twice as much at some meal times than I should, and that’s midweek. My appetite is massive because I’m used to eating so much; most of the time I’ve not been hungry doing this diet plan so I obviously don’t need the amount I’ve been consuming.
- I am most hungry when I am cold, low, tired or bored. If one of those things is obvious to me, I eat. Normally I reach for sweets, chocolate, cake, chips or similarly high in fat and sugar foods. I will try to reach for fruit but I can’t see that happening all the time. These are times when I am most vulnerable to overeating.
- I do enjoy my daily yoghurt. I always used to have them and forgot how much I enjoyed them. I have discovered Muller Greek Style Yogurt in coconut and lemon, very very nice and fat free too.
- I’ve also rediscovered fruit flavoured chewing gum. It’s perfect for a sweet fix with barely any calories (about 5 I think, so practically nothing).
- I need breakfast. On days where I’ve not bothered for one reason or another I have missed it. It doesn’t necessarily help me get through to lunch without snacking (that slogan “keeps hunger locked up til lunch” is rubbish!), but it does help with energy levels and helps suppress cravings for sugary foods in the mornings.
- I really enjoyed talking to a stranger about my eating habits. Rebecca, my Jenny Craig consultant, was fabulous. I was very dubious about having someone tell me over the phone what I should and shouldn’t be doing (and telling me off if I didn’t lose any weight), but it wasn’t at all like that. The consultancy part of the Jenny Craig plan is a really helpful element of it, Becca was motivating and knowledgable.
Ultimately, I wanted two things from this trial. One was to learn about portion control, which I have done. I still love my food and enjoy eating, but I will continue to try and keep my portions smaller. I will give the healthy plate idea a go – each meal should consist of half vegetables or salad, I love veg, that should be ok. The other thing I wanted was to lose a bit of weight to give me a bit of a kick start. And I did. Just shy of half a stone in four weeks will do me. And that’s even with all those days off.
It turns out that I do have will power. It’s just that most of the time I tend not to exercise it.
My Splodz Blogz review of the Jenny Craig diet plan? I’ve mentioned in previous posts that it has a lot going for it – the structure, the set menu, nutritious meals ready prepared, the consultancy calls that check up on your progress. But it is very expensive and makes life difficult if you still have to feed other members of your family. It is good as it works, but it is not for everyone. If you’re thinking of starting this programme then you have to really go for it – block out your diary, follow it properly, learn how to prepare loads of amazing vegetables, and make the most of every day (and every pound you are spending). You will absolutely get results, it works as a kick start, but your heart has to be in it.
An interesting experiment. One I don’t really want to repeat. But one that has done me some good.
I am one of many people who keep rabbits as pets… they are in fact one of the nation’s favourite domestic animals. Well they are soooo cute!
But like dogs and cats, the RSPCA are seeing a large number of pet rabbits end up in their care and needing treatment and foster homes – because many don’t understand how they should be kept. Apart from those that end up in one of the RSPCA centres, they also see thousands more in unhappily are often small hutches where the rabbits are kept all day with no company, and no opportunities to play, exercise or graze.
As part of a study the RSPCA discovered that people are unsure about what rabbits should eat. Nearly one in four people think a bunny should mainly eat pellets or museli from the pet shop. One in five people think a healthy bunny eats mostly carrots (I think Bugs Bunny is to blame for that!). But actually the bulk of a rabbit’s diet should be hay and grass – and less than one in ten people knew that.
The RSPCA have therefore launched a new campaign aimed at helping people care for their bunnies better… starting off with the Hay Fever campaign which encourages owners to feed their rabbits on mainly hay and grass.
Here’s some do’s and don’ts from the campaign:
A healthy rabbit diet should consist of:
- Mainly good quality hay which should be available at all times (a bundle of hay that’s as big as the rabbit every day) and ideally also access to grass for grazing.
- Fresh clean grass (growing or picked by hand).
- An adult rabbit-sized handful of washed dark leafy greens such as cabbage, broccoli, kale and herbs such as parsley.
- A small amount of good quality commercial rabbit pellets or nuggets (no more than 25g per kg of body weight).
- Constant access to fresh, clean water.
- Despite popular belief, a rabbit’s diet shouldn’t include too much lettuce. Iceberg lettuce is not suitable.
- Carrots and apples are high in sugar and should only be fed as an occasional treat.
- Fresh clean grass is great, but not lawnmower clippings! They can upset a rabbit’s digestive system and make them ill.
Thankfully I can say Chocolate and Ginger have a good diet thanks to their constant grazing on hay and opportunities to eat grass. They have fresh veg in the morning for breakfast (spring greens and brussel sprouts are their current favourites), a bowl of pellets to share in the evening for dinner, and the odd carrot or apple in between. They also love fresh parsley which I grow for them and go nuts when I pick dandelions from the lawn for them. Oh and they love those carrot and dandilion sticks you can hang from the top of the run (makes them stretch) and those bags of “herbal delight” which include dried bits and bobs I’ll sprinkle on their hay which gives them variety. I have to admit I have given them a handful or two of grass cuttings before but I’ll stop that, we’ve never had a poorly bunny as a result but I’ll not do it any more.
If you keep bunnies, or are planning too, please take a look at the RSPCA website for advice on how to look after them – as pet owners we can always learn something about caring for our animals even better than we do already.
Life is all about the journey. But sometimes everyday life gets in the way of taking a specific path, however awesome it might sound.
I’m talking about the Visit England campaign to find someone to tour the country (all expenses paid) and blog/tweet/photograph/video it for 12 weeks this summer. The lucky traveller will get to follow the Olympic Torch as it makes its way through England, finding out what is so great about our fair land, and telling everyone about their experiences along the way. And it sounds incredible. I’d love it. The travelling, the writing, seeing different places, trying out different things, learning loads about this place where I was born. Look – http://enjoyengland.typepad.com/fan-in-a-van/2012/03/englands-biggest-fan.html - what a wonderful opportunity for someone who loves writing and wants to get a bit of adventure. It would be an amazing opportunity for me. It would be something never to forget.
But the fact is I’m not really what they’re looking for. They’re looking for someone who is not doing anything for 12 weeks from mid-May… someone young… someone willing to throw themselves into the task without a second glance behind them. Even the web address for applications is something to do with students. And of course as a 31 year old home-owning full-time-employed married hobby-blogging sensible person, I don’t fit into that. Several people have made suggestions such as taking a sabbatical, which I appreciate because it means people believe that I could do it, but it doesn’t help the fact that there is no way “all expenses paid” includes my mortgage. Or that I would actually miss my husband a great deal.
I sit and wonder what would happen if I felt confident enough to drop everything and go for that opportunity. Assuming I got through the selection process and was the one chosen to take the trip, I imagine myself in that camper van, driving through some of the best scenery the country has to offer. I would eat proper pasties in Helston, pork pies in Melton Mowbray, Bakewell Tarts in Bakewell, sausages in Lincoln. I would surf at Fistral Beach, jet wash an elephant at Longleat, ride Rita Queen of Speed at Alton Towers, take a trip in a boat along the Norfolk Broads. I’d visit Buckingham Palace, Dover Castle, St Michael’s Mount, Blackpool Tower. All the time telling the world about my fantastic journey. What an amazing three months it would be!
But I’m not. Risk taking can be very expensive – personally, professionally and financially. And while I most likely have a Type A personality, I’m not so far to that end of the scale I will go for things whatever the cost. Which is probably why I just plod through life enjoying the moment but never making a real statement. This experience has been designed for an undergraduate student wanting some fun for three months after their exams. Not for me.
I guess it’s the same as the old dream I have of becoming a Blue Peter presenter (I’d make an awesome Blue Peter presenter!). It just ain’t gonna happen. Because I’m too old and too sensible.
But… I do love adventure and experiencing new things. I just have to keep my plans a tad smaller than 12 weeks in a camper van. A few years ago I created my ultimate to do list – a long and ever-expanding list of little adventures I want to have. My bucket list if you like. Some are tiny – like eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; others are massive – like go on a motorbike tour across the West of the USA. Some are about learning things – like ice skating backwards; others are about raising money for charity – like taking part in a trek up Kilimanjaro or somewhere equally as challenging. Some are about travel – such as visiting Niagara Falls; others are all about adrenaline – like wing walking.
Since I wrote my list I’ve crossed loads of things off. I’ve done a tandem skydive, a bungee jump, walked several marathons, been in the audience of a TV show, had a photo published, done jet skiing (best thing so far!), learnt to surf and ski, completed a Masters degree, ridden a Harley-Davidson from John O’Groats to Land’s End (a number of things in one go there!), and loads more. I’ve blogged about many of those things. And the list is always growing, I’m always adding things, and am always planning when I can turn the next thing green.
I might be too old and too sensible for a massive “leave everything behind” kind of adventure, but I’m loving life with all my little challenges and experiences. And I hope you’ll still read my blog even if I’m not a full time blogger taking part in the adventure of a lifetime. Oh wait, I am taking part in the adventure of a lifetime – I am taking part in my own journey.
So thank you Visit England for giving me something to dream about. This particular thing might be unobtainable for me in my current situation, but it doesn’t stop me (or anyone else for that matter) living in the moment and doing unforgettable things.
Life is all about the journey. Bring on where ever it takes me next!