Drink of The Week: Hendrick’s Gin with Cucumber

hendricks-cucumberMy previously reported education in the delights of gin continues to go well.

This week’s lesson comes courtesy of a bottle of Hendrick’s Gin from one lovely friend, and the suggestion to serve that particular gin with cucumber from the equally lovely friend who got me in to gin in the first place.

Delicious, smooth and refreshing, I poured the gin over the ice and cucumber before topping with Fever Tree Indian Tonic and muddling gently for 3sp per serving for a single, or 5sp for a double.

Mr FFF and my mum have also confirmed that this is indeed delicious.

Week in Review – Week 4

I can’t believe that tonight was my last weigh-in for January!

Despite not having the best week tracking-wise and having two social events, I’ve lost 0.5 lb and I’m happy with that all things considered.  I’ve now got 1.5lb to go to reach my first mini-goal of 7lb.pakorn

The Good

I’ve had two social events this week.  The first was a curry for my dad’s birthday on Thursday night.  I didn’t feel like having a ‘healthier’ option dish so instead I had curry and split a portion of rice and a naan bread with Mr FFF.  But I pointed (sort of – more about that later) what I had and didn’t finish it all.  The result was that I went home feeling satisfied but not feeling as though I was about to burst.  I also chose to drive rather than have a couple of drinks as I thought that this would be a good way of balancing out the food choices a little bit.

On Saturday, Mr FFF and I were at a property investment seminar all day.  It was one of a series we have been going to and I know from previous experience that it is wall-to-wall buffet food.  I prepared myself for this mentally in advance and told myself that I wasn’t going to deny myself all the good stuff but that I also didn’t want to come away feeling bloated and like I’d blown my chances at losing weight for the week.  As a result, I did have a little of everything but just chose larger portions of the healthier salads and fruits and smaller portions of the less-healthy cakes and biscuits than I’d normally have.

Having had such a good time at Zumba last Sunday, and knowing that I’d got two social events coming up, I decided to go to another Zumba class on Friday night.  I took my kit to work with me so I could go straight from there (note to self, don’t leave gym kit in boot during sub-zero temperatures).  As the clock ticked towards 5pm, I didn’t feel much like going but I knew that once I got there and got started it wouldn’t be that bad.  As it turned out, I enjoyed it even more than I had done on the Sunday and I’m planning on going again this week.

The Bad What I’ve learned

I’ve been continuing to work on developing my mindset this week and one of the ways I’ve done this is to listen to another podcast.  This time the topic was about how focusing on the things we do do wrong or the ways in which we fail leaves us stuck in the rut we are trying to get out of rather than helping us to find a solution to our problems.  You can listen to it here if you’re interested.

This really resonated with me.  Often, in the past, I’ve become really hung up on all the things I’ve ‘failed at’ in regards to my weight loss: not tracking accurately; having a binge; not going to the gym etcetera, etcetera ad infinitum.  The result is that I feel bad about myself, berate myself for my failings, feel even worse about myself and then decide that the only thing that can comfort me is diving mouth first at a large bar of chocolate.

But listening to this podcast, I realised that I’ve probably been going about this all wrong.  So I’m trying to accept the blips in my weight loss journey in a non-judgemental way (hence the renaming of this section of the post).

Last week I said I was going to aim to track all week again.  This went out of the window somewhere during mid-morning of day 1!! As I’ve said before, I’m currently finding staying on track to be a mental challenge.  I think this week my mind was thinking, “I’ve got 2 social events coming up this week with loads of food involved so I can use them as my excuse not to track.”  It was also my mind being a self-saboteur and doing it’s habitual ‘I can’t stay on track for more than a week at a time’ routine.

Previously I might have viewed this as a failure and given myself a hard time about this leading to a negative, self-sabotaging cycle (see above).  But instead, I thought back to the message in this podcast, acknowledged that this was simply a habitual way of thinking and decided that I would still try to track the next time I put something in my mouth.

The result was that I physically tracked some things this week and I mentally tracked most things.  It has also helped me learn that not tracking for one meal does not mean I have to throw in the towel completely for the week.  It has also highlighted the fact that when I physically track rather than just tracking in my head, I have more chance of losing more weight.  I’m going to try to remind myself of this as I go through this week.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

What ‘failures’ do you dwell on and how can you try to turn these into positives to learn from?

 

 

Drink of The Week: Sipsmiths Gin with Elderflower & Lime

sipsmith-fever-tree-elderflower-limeAs I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve recently been getting into gin.

My first ever home-poured G&T, I decided to go with a classic flavour that I love and chose Fever Tree Tonic with Elderflower as my mixer and lime as my garnish.

It was delicious – refreshing and zingy with a hint of sweetness from the elderflower – and works out at just 3sp per serving for a single, or 5sp for a double.

Drink of the Week: An Introduction (starting with Gin)

Not only do I like food, I also like a nice drink.

You know how some people have a particular drink that they always order?  I’m not one of those people.  For me, what I choose to drink depends very much on the mood I’m in, and if it’s to accompany or begin a meal, what I’m going to be eating.

As with food, I love to try different drinks and experiment with different flavour combinations – unless I’m in the mood for something in particular, you can pretty much guarantee that I’m going to pick something off a cocktail menu or wine list that I haven’t tried before to see what it’s like.

As drink is so often consumed before, with or after food, I thought it might be interesting to share some of the things I try with you.

We’ll be starting with gin

A dear friend of mine has been introducing me to gin over the past few years.  She’s a big fan and I wasn’t.  But when we first went to the BBC Good Food Show together a few years ago, I joined her in tasting all of the samples on offer.  I must admit, I wasn’t keen at first (although I drank them anyway) but a few years on, I’d started to get quite a taste for it.  So I asked for her advice on which to buy.  She suggested several, and in the end, I went for Sipsmiths as they had a 35cl bottle available at Asda for £14.50 and I thought this would be a good place to start. I’ve since acquired a bottle of Hendricks from another kind friend and I’ve been trying different mixers and garnishes out over the past couple of weeks.

I look forward to sharing my drinks with you in the coming weeks.  If you’ve got any favourites you think I should try, please let me know.

Week in Review – Week 3

Weigh-in number 3 tonight and after last week’s little blip, I’m pleased to report that I lost 2lb – thereby proving my theory that when you stick to the plan and track, it works.

That brings my total loss to 5lb now and leaves me only 2lb from achieving my mini-goal of losing 7lb.  My aim is to reach that goal in the next two weeks.  For this week, I’m just going to try sticking to the plan for another week to make it two weeks in a row.

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The Good

Last week I set myself the goal of tracking everything for 4 days.  I’m pleased to be able to say that I did in fact track everything for the whole week!  I feel really pleased with myself for that.

I went to my yoga class on Wednesday and found that it had been cancelled.  I was really disappointed but rather than going home and flaking out on the sofa, I went home and put on an old Davina workout dvd and did 30 mins of pilates instead.  It wasn’t as good as an hour of yoga but at least it was something.

After last weekend’s disrupted exercise plans, I decided to take charge of things again.  I invited my sister to come and do some kind of exercise on Sunday as I haven’t seen her in a couple of weeks.  I suggested Zumba or swimming but she wasn’t up for either of these options and suggested a walk instead.  I checked the weather and it was forecast to be dry so we agreed to go nice and early.  However, my sister unfortunately had a slight personal emergency (nothing serious and everything is fine now) so messaged me to say that she wouldn’t be able to go after all and suggested that I go to Zumba instead.  So I did.  It was hard, sweaty and I looked something like a baby giraffe throwing my somewhat gangly self around the exercise studio, but it was great fun and I plan on going back again next week.

Mr FFF took me to the cinema on Saturday night to see Split which was a great, if disturbing, film with a fantastic performance by James McAvoy.  He decided to eat at the cinema but I’m not keen on their offerings in terms of the low ratio of food satisfaction and quality to Smart Points and nutritional values.  So I ate at home before we went – tuna sandwich with red onions and peppers served with homemade potato wedges.  We also decided to take our own popcorn with us as we always find the stuff on sale at the cinema tastes stale.  This helped me to control my portion size as the bag we got was smaller than the box I would’ve had otherwise.  And it was tastier.  We also got some sweets (Mr FFF was a bad influence, although it didn’t take much any persuasion to lead me astray) but I let Mr FFF eat most of them and I pointed what I had.

 

The Bad

I feel bad about not having done any yoga this week – maybe I’ll look at some routines on youtube or something so that should my class be cancelled again in the future, I’ll be able to keep up my practise.

I didn’t get/make chance to plan my meals this week before going shopping.  I decided I had 3 options:

  1. Just get stuff for that day and the following day then go shopping a couple of other times in the week.  I thought I probably wouldn’t have time to plan meals and go shopping during the week and that this option would lead to a reliance on takeaways.
  2. Just get a load of ready meals.  This would have been fine in terms of allowing a certain number of points per meal but I still want to steer clear of as much processed food as possible and I know that ready meals don’t really fill me up very much.
  3. Plan in my head as I went round the supermarket.  This was the option I went for.  It was a little bit disorganised but I was able to use my knowledge of which foods to go for and which to avoid to help me plan simple meals that will see me through the week.

Although I wouldn’t want to shop this way every week, this showed me that it is possible to stay on plan even if I haven’t been able to plan ahead as I would like to.

I haven’t dedicated as much time to working on my mindset as I wanted to this week although I have done a little bit.

I’m going to keep the same targets for this coming week, but I’m going to up the tracking goal to tracking for the whole week.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

What do you do to help develop a positive mindset to making healthier choices when it comes to food?

 

 

Week in Review – Week 2

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphoto.net

Weigh-in number 2 tonight.  I wasn’t expecting good things this week as, although I’d planned my meals carefully and followed my plan, I didn’t track snacks or extras so I have no idea whether I stayed in my overall budget or not.  The result is, I’ve put on half a pound.  It’s not the worst thing in the world, although I am pretty peeved with myself about it.  But, I’m drawing a line under it and moving on.

The Good

I went to my yoga class again this week.  I’d also arranged to play badminton on Sunday instead of going swimming.  This wasn’t my idea but I enjoy badminton and thought it would be fun.  I was astounded to find that I was extremely annoyed when the person whose idea it was cancelled it on Sunday morning.  By that point it was too late for me to go swimming and I was annoyed that someone else had been able to ruin my exercise plans.  Mr FFF suggested that we could do some circuits in the garden but a) it was persisting down with rain and b) I don’t enjoy circuits at the best of times.  I must admit to feeling sorry for myself for about five minutes before deciding to go for a walk and to do some yoga at home.  This turned out well in the end as I was able to listen to a motivational podcast whilst on my walk.

I’ve been eating plenty of freshly cooked foods with a good amount of fruits and vegetables and very limited amounts of processed foods.

I had a takeaway on Friday night that was unplanned but I convinced Mr FFF that we didn’t need to order enough for 4 people (as we usually do) and pointed what I had.

I replaced some one chocolate-based after-work snack with fruit.  Ok it was only once, but that’s a small step towards developing a healthier lifestyle right there.  Admittedly, a very small step, but still.

 

The Bad

As I mentioned earlier – I didn’t track my snacks and treats this week and I still had quite a bit of chocolate.  Why did I do this?  The simple answer is, I don’t know.  I really do want to eat more healthily and lose weight.  What went wrong?

As I sat down to write this post, I initially gave myself quite a hard time about this.  I berated myself for the fact that I’m only on the second week of my renewed efforts to lose weight and yet I’ve already veered off track.

It was at this point that I got the phone call to say that my badminton session had been cancelled.  So, I decided to take a break and go for that walk.  The podcast I was listening to was titled Your Eating Habits: What They Are, How You Get Them, and How to Change Them and I thought I might be able to get something useful out of it. 

Previously, I’ve always thought of habits to be based around actions (having a biscuit with a cup of tea; always putting grated cheese on pasta dishes etc) and I’ve done quite a bit to change several habits over the course of my weight loss journey so far.  Interestingly, this podcast also talked about habitual thought patterns and I realised that this is exactly what applies to me in terms of my mindset to staying on track – it’s become a habit for me to think that I can’t keep up my motivation beyond the first week of an attempt to live more healthily.

This reflection made me realise that I have neglected my mindset development over the past couple of weeks so I’m resolving to make that a big focus this week.

The Plan for Next Week

I’m going to begin work on breaking my habit of thinking I can’t maintain the motivation needed to develop a more healthy lifestyle.  I’ve set myself 2 small goals in relation to this:

  • to track EVERYTHING I eat for 4 days
  • to read something or listen to a podcast to develop a motivational mindset every day for 4 days

I’m still working on replacing some chocolate-based snacks and treats as well.  As the idea of replacing chocolate with fruit last week wasn’t really doing it for me – there’s no comparison really is there! – I’m taking a different tack this week.  My trigger times for chocolate, biscuits and other sweet treats are when I get in from work and in the evening after dinner.

When I get in from work, I’m going to try a totally different routine.  I’ve examined this habit (as suggested in the podcast I mentioned earlier) and determined that the reason I eat chocolate then is to relax after a busy day.  So, what I’m going to do instead is have a cup of fruit tea (I got some delicious ones for Christmas and they spoil the taste of chocolate and biscuits) and read for 20 minutes before I get on with making the dinner and other household chores.

With my evening trigger, I’m going to replace the chocolate and biscuits with yogurt, honey, granola and seeds.  This is something I wouldn’t normally choose because of its high points value (no low fat yogurt for me!) but because of this it still seems like an indulgence but at least has a slightly higher nutritional value than chocolate.

Thanks for reading.

FFF

How have you successfully ditched bad habits and created new ones? – all advice gratefully received.

 

Shaksuka

A flavoursome dish that works for any time of the shaksukaday.

Serves: 2

Smart Points: 8

No Count (substitute the flatbread for Weight Watchers pitta bread)

Cooking time: 2 mins prep

10 mins cooking

Ingredients

  • 1tsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch chilli flakes
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g tinned, chopped tomatoes
  • 4 handfuls of spinach
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 individual seeded flatbread

 

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for 2-3mins until softened and beginning to brown.
  2. Add the cumin, smoked paprika, chilli flakes and tomato purree.  Stir and cook for another 1 minute.
  3. Add the tinned tomatoes and spinach and stir well until the spinach has wilted.
  4. Make 4 holes in the mixture and tip an egg into each one.
  5. Cover and cook for approximately 3 minutes until the whites of the eggs are cooked but the yolks are still runny.
  6. Serve with the toasted flatbread.

 

Week in Review – Week 1

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So, tonight I had my first weigh-in since getting back on track and I was delighted to find that I’ve shed 3.5lbs!

I’m really pleased as I’ve put a lot of effort into making healthier choices with food and exercise this week.  I think the real test will be this week though.  In recent months, whenever I’ve had a ‘getting back on track’ phase, I’ve struggled to last much past the first week.

However, I’m still feeling different and more committed to making changes this time around.  I’m also taking inspiration from one of my fellow Weight Watchers this week.  She has lost 83lb in 9 months and said in our meeting tonight that once she got started on her journey, it got easier and easier as she was seeing results and her momentum picked up like a snowball rolling down a hill.  That made me remember feeling a similar way during my first round of weight loss with Weight Watchers.  I really want to feel like that again so thanks to that member for reminding me of it.

So, what has worked and what could have been better this week?

The Good

Planning out my meals and shopping in advance has helped me to stay on track with my meals this week and I’ve repeated this for next week.

I went to both my yoga class and swimming this week.  I was pleased to see that I’ve somehow mainted a good level of flexibility in the yoga class.

I have eaten quite a bit of chocolate this week, but I’ve pointed it all.

 

The Bad

Although I’ve pointed all of the chocolate I’ve eaten, I have eaten quite a bit of it and I know that this is not the healthiest choice I can make.  With this in mind, I’m going to conciously try to make better choices when it comes to snacks.

 

The Plan for Next Week

My small weekly goal is to get rid of some more weight again.  I’m not setting a figure on how much – given my recent track record, I’m happy with every ounce I shift!

The slightly bigger goal I’m aiming for is to get rid of 7lb in total to earn a Silver 7 sticker – I haven’t seen one of those bad boys for a while .  When I achieve this, I’m going to treat myself to some new earrings that I’ve seen.

To help me achieve these goals, this week I have again planned all of my meals, shopped for the necessary ingredients and I’ve prepared my lunches to take to work for the week in advance.  I’ve also booked in time to go to my yoga class and to go swimming again.

I’ve got no real social engagements planned for this week so staying on track should hopefully be relatively easy.

 

I’ll let you know how I get on.

FFF

How did your weight loss journey progress this week? 

Let’s Get This Party Started!

The results of my first weigh-in of 2017 and what I’m going to do about it.personal-record-cover

Start Weight: 13st 12.5lbs

Goal Weight: 10st 12.5lbs

Pounds to get rid of: 42

Mini-goal: Lose weight this week!

So I had the ‘dreaded’ first post-Christmas weigh-in.  I say, dreaded, but actually, I was looking forward to it.  As I explained in my earlier post, this year, I’ve been really excited to get back to focusing on where I want my body to be.

Despite that, I must admit I was still a bit apprehensive about stepping on to the scales to find out what I’m currently weighing in at.  I can’t say I’m happy with my weight, but, importantly, I’ve decided not to give myself a hard time about it.  There’s no point.  What’s done is done.  I can’t go back and change it.  But what I can do, is change what I do from now on.

I’d like to lose about 3st.  As it’s been a long time since I was down near this kind of weight, this is only a loose target at this stage.  As I get closer to it, I’ll reassess my goal.  I’ve decided to think about it in terms of ‘pounds to get rid of’ rather than ‘stones to lose’ for 2 reasons:

1) I don’t want to lose weight – psychologically, I might try to find it again! (as my good friend Darren at Team Achieve explained in one of his blogs some time ago)

2) I don’t know why but 3st seems to be a lot more unwieldy to me that its equivalent in pounds.

As I restart my weight loss journey, I’m going to be focusing on 3 main areas each week to help me lose weight: eating healthily, moving more and developing a positive mindset.

In the past, I’ve usually only focused on the eating and moving side of things but I’ve been ww-weekly-card-week-1doing a lot of work around mindset during the past 8 months or so and I’ve come to realise just how important it is to take care of this aspect of ourselves.  As I’d already decided to work on these three areas, I was pleased to find out at my meeting last night that Weight Watchers will also be focusing on all three of these areas during the coming months.

Eating Healthily

I know from my past successes that meal planning is a vital aspect of making healthy eating choices.  As I’ve been off work for two and a half weeks for Christmas, I thought this would be the ideal time to get back in to planning my meals.

However, unexpected things came up and I found that every time I scheduled some time to plan my meals for week 1, something happened that meant it got pushed down the list of priorities.  By 30th December, I was starting to panic about this slightly.  I’d decided that I wanted to shop on New Year’s Eve, so that I was ready to make healthier choices straightaway on January 1st, and I still hadn’t had chance to sit down and plan my meals.

Then I noticed an email in my inbox telling me about the BBC Good Food Healthy Diet Plan for January.  I had a quick look and, although I didn’t have time to sit and work out the Smart Points values for each of the meals, it was clearly all fresh, healthy food options with all recipes and even a shopping list provided.  Winner, winner, healthy dinner! And breakfast and lunch too!  So I printed the shopping list off and dragged Mr FFF round Asda feeling rather smug with my trolley full of curly kale as everyone else was stocking up with party food.

I didn’t fully stick to the plan on January 1st or yesterday – that had never been my bbc-good-food-amended-plannerintention – and I only got round to working out all the Smart Points values today.  What I’ve done is to work out the Smart Points values for each meal.  I then actually cut the meals out and rearranged them to better suit our schedule for the week.  As I didn’t use the lunches on day 1 or 2, I’ve also ‘bumped’ them to next week, so I’m already ahead of the game there.  Get in!

So far, all of the meals I’ve tried have been delicious.  I’ll definitely be making them again.  The only thing that tripped me up a bit is that I’ve had to work out the Smart Points using the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website rather than using the nutritional information provided with the recipes.  This is to take account of those foods which are ‘zero’ pointed (hence the scribbled out and re-written points values on my planner!).

 

Moving More

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of exercise.  I know it’s really important and really good for you both physically and mentally.  And I know that when I get into it, I do enjoy it.  But I’m definitely not a natural gym bunny.  I’ve had several periods in my life when the only contribution to my weight loss efforts that has been made by my gym membership is that I’ve had less money to spend on chocolate and wine!  However, I’m determined to move more.

I’ve learnt from experience, and the words of others much wiser than I, that, if I say I’m going to exercise every day, or even every other day, it ain’t gonna happen.  Not for much longer than the first week or so anyway!  So instead, I’m making a much smaller, easier to achieve commitment: I’m going to exercise twice a week.

I’m going to go to a yoga class and I’m going to go swimming.  I’ve chosen these activities because they are activities that I enjoy and I’m actually looking forward to going to.  I haven’t arranged to go with anyone as I know that the first time they can’t make it, I’ll use that as an excuse not to go myself.  I have mentioned my plans to a couple of friends who’ve said they want to exercise more but it’s a case of if they decide to tag along, great.  I’ve treated myself to a gorgeous new swimming costume and a new hoodless zip-up top.  Believe it or not, one of the things that has put me off going to yoga in the colder weather before is that all of my long-sleeved exercise tops had hoods which are extremely irritating when you’re trying to concentrate on your downward dog let me tell you!  So now I’ve got no excuses.

 

Positive Mindset

I’m going to continue reading a book I’ve begun using to help me to develop a more positive attitude to my weight loss efforts.  So far I’ve found it very enlightening but I’ll review it fully once I’ve finished it.

I’m also going to take time to interact with others on social media to share tips, experiences and motivation.  If you want to join in, please like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter using the links on the right.

I think I’ve rambled on more than enough for one post.  Sorry if it has been a bit long-winded today, but I’m honestly brimming with enthusiasm for getting back on track.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

What are you planning on doing to help you on your weight loss journey this week?

 

KISS: Banana Protein Pancake

7 Smart Pointsbanana-protein-pancake

  • Heat a drop of oil in a frying pan on a very low heat.
  • Mash 2/3 of a banana in a bowl.
  • Mix in 1/2 tbsp of chocolate flavour protein powder.
  • Beat in 1 egg.
  • Pour mixture into frying pan and cover the pan.
  • Fry for about 3 minutes until just set.
  • Carefully turn over and fry, covered, for another 1-2minutes.
  • Serve scattered with 3 chopped pecans, the rest of the banana and drizzled with 1 tsp of maple syrup.