New Year, New Start v20.17

And in the words of Coldplay, “I’m going back to the start”.

Wow! Where did 2016 go?  Looking back at my blog now, it has been almost a full year since I last published a post.Empty road to upcoming 2017 against the big cloud

There are many reasons for this that I won’t bore you with now but, in a nutshell, 2016 has been a bit of roller-coaster year for me:  I took the plunge of leaving a job with working conditions that were making me miserable.  After a brief career change, I’m back working in the same career but in a different place and I’m much happier for it.

The upshot of my turbulent 2016 is that my weight loss efforts took a nose-dive and my weight has crept up pretty much to where it was when I first walked through the door of Weight Watchers over 13 years ago.  I spent some of 2016 giving myself a hard time about this before realising how pointless that was.  I’ve been doing a lot of work around personal development and being more accepting of myself and I came to realise that I simply wasn’t in the right frame of mind to focus on losing weight for the majority of 2016.

Thankfully, I’m in a much better place now and I feel ready to take the bull by the horns and get my body to where I want it to be.  Whilst the numbers on the scales and my reflection in the mirror may suggest that I’ve gone right back to the start of my weight loss journey, I realise that this isn’t actually the case.  I’ve got a lot more of the tools and skills that I need to lose weight than I did when I first started out on my journey – I’ve just wandered off course slightly.

As I’ve been glancing through my previous ’new year’ posts (here & here), I’ve asked myself “What is different this time around?”  I’m not sure I know the answer exactly, but I do know that I’m really looking forward to getting back on course this time round, which is a bit of a strange feeling.  I feel as though I’m really ready to make sustainable changes this time.  This has got me thinking about seeing the whole ‘back to my start weight’ as a positive:  I’ve been thinking back to how successful I was when I first stepped on to the Weight Watchers scales and how I acheived that success.  This has given me the reassurance that I can do it.

With this in mind, as strange as it may sound, I’m quite looking forward to stepping on to the scales at my weigh in tomorrow.  I know I’ll have put on weight over the Christmas period, but there’s no point in berating myself for.  What’s done is done.  The thing I’m really looking forward to though, is marking my successes over the coming weeks and months as I work to make my body fitter, healthier and stronger.  I can remember how fantastic that feels, and I’m keen to feel that way again.

I’ll let you know how I get on tomorrow and what my plan of attack for the week is.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

How are you feeling about your weight loss journey as we head in to the new year?

“I will not find comfort in food.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love food.

Woman meditating

Image courtesy of Marin at FeeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Sometimes this is a good thing – I love cooking fresh meals from scratch and planning healthy menus.

But sometimes, it’s not such a good thing and I find myself using food to deal with my emotions.  That’s right, my name’s Fat Fighting Foodie and I’m a comfort eater.

In the past, I have let this emotional reliance on food sabotage my goals to become fitter, healthier and more comfortable with my body. But I’m currently making a big effort to address this.

If I’m honest, comfort eating has probably been both my best excuse and my worst enemy in my weight loss battle.  Time and time and time again, I’ve dealt with being stressed or bored by scoffing bars of chocolate (usually family sized) and slabs of cheesecake to make myself feel better.  Ironically, it’s only ever made me feel worse as I’ve usually crammed it down my neck at lightening speed (I swear I could break world records) rather than taking the time to enjoy it and have then felt guilty at having lost control.  I would usually then conclude that I’d ‘blown’ my healthy eating for the week and so I’d eat rubbish vowing to ‘get back on track’ following my next weigh in.

So what’s different this time around?

As I mentioned previously, I’ve got a new mantra that I stole from the TV show ‘Fat: The Fight of My Life’:

“The purpose of food is to nourish my body and mind.  I will not find comfort in food.”

Unfortunately, I’m currently having a stressful time at work and a week or so ago I had a particularly hard and emotional couple of days.  I had to nip in to the supermarket on my way home from work for some cat food (for my cat – I’m not that extreme in my efforts to curb my emotional eating that I have substituted chocolate for pet food).  It was cold and dark and I knew that Mr FFF wasn’t going to be home for a few hours so I’d be going home to a cold, dark house.  As I walked through the doors of the supermarket, the urge to head to the bakery section was strong.  I could almost taste a chocolate-covered donut.  I reasoned with myself that I could work it into my points,but knew that, in reality, I wouldn’t – that’s not how comfort eating works for me, there’s no point if I’m not going to try to cheat myself; the guilt’s just not the same.  So I dug deep and reminded myself of my mantra.  I thought really carefully about the donut, and all the other stuff in the bakery section.  Would they nourish my body? No.  Actually, they wouldn’t even taste that nice compared to home-baked stuff.  I decided it wasn’t worth it and would only set me back further on my weight loss journey.  I still needed comfort though.  So I thought about what I could treat myself to that would be comforting but wasn’t food.  The result: I bought myself a nice, new pair of pyjamas.

When I got home, instead of sitting on the sofa, mindlessly stuffing my face, I ran myself a nice bath then got cosy in my new pjs and caught up with Mr Selfridge.  And do you know what?  I actually felt a lot better for having done that.  It might seem pretty obvious, but I’m so used to the cycle of feeling fed up–>comfort eating–>feeling worse that it actually felt really empowering to not comfort eat.

So for me, so far, that mantra is working and I hope it continues.  It’s going to be tricky as work is likely to be stressful for a good few months, but I’m hoping that the more I practise saying no to comfort eating, the easier it will get.

Now, I can’t rely on buying pyjamas every time I want to comfort eat as I’d soon be bankrupt (although I suppose it would be good for the textiles industry) so I’ve been trying to think of other sources of comfort.  So far I’ve come up with:

  • adult colouring whilst listening to music
  • having a bath
  • playing a computer game
  • watching some tv
  • working on my blog
  • reading other blogs

I reckon I’m going to get quite a bit of practise at resisting comfort eating over the next few months though, so if you have any other ideas for alternative sources of comfort, please let me know.

 

Thanks for reading

FFF 

 

 

Menu Planning: KISS It!

As the name of my blog suggest, I LOVE food.  I love cooking it, reading about it, shopping for it, watching programs about it and most of all, eating it!KISS

My love of food often serves me well.  But when it comes to menu planning and staying on track, it can sometimes become a bit of a hindrance:  In my efforts to avoid getting stuck in the rut of having the same things to eat week in, week out, it can take me ages to plan what to have as I scour my numerous cookbooks (51 at last count.  And that was after a massive cull!) for inspiration.  Having spent a lot of time and effort planning what to eat and having shopped in advance for ingredients for the week, I often find myself in the situation where I can’t be bothered to spend an hour in the kitchen after getting in from work.

So I’m trying to address this issue by taking a different approach to my menu planning.  I’ve decided to taking the KISS approach: Keep It Simple Stupid.  My thinking is that if I plan to have meals that are simple to make in the week,

  • I’ll save myself time in the planning & cooking stages,
  • I’m more likely to stay on track rather than ordering a takeaway
  • I’ll throw less food away
  • I’ll take more pleasure in cooking fancier dishes when I’ve got the time to take my time and enjoy it.

What I’m eating

So, over the past week or so, I’ve enjoyed: a salmon stir-fry; jacket potatoes with various fillings; Tuna & Pesto Pasta (simple recipe coming soon); Bacon, Mushroom & Tomato Pasta; cheese on toast; beans on toast; bagels with soft cheese; and a variety of soups that I’ve made in batches and frozen to take to work for my lunches.

So far, I’m finding that it’s making it easier to plan meals and to stick to my plan in the week.

I also used the KISS strategy when out shopping at the weekend: I hadn’t had chance to plan the meals for the week but I knew the kind of things to buy so that I’d be able to work the points in.  I nearly came unstuck when my husband said that he wanted shepherds pie for Sunday dinner.  He was happy with a ready made one but I knew that would work out to more points than I’d be happy to spend and I didn’t have the time (or inclination) to make one from scratch.  So instead, I got myself some pork chops and had one of those with some potatoes, veg and gravy for 8 Smart Points.  Simple

What are your go to KISS meals?  I’m always looking for new inspiration.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

 

PS The link in this post is to an old recipe with Pro Points values, it will still work out well on Smart Points as you only need to count the bacon and pasta (and oil unless using spray oil).  I hope to get round to updating my recipes to show Smart Points values soon.

 

Progress Report: Slow & Steady Wins the Race

A week or so ago, I wrote my first blog post of 2016 (and my first for quite some time)
about how I was getting back on track and was determined to keep up with the blogging.  Then nothing.  Well, nothing blog-wise anyway.

Although I may have been quiet on the blog front, I am pleased to say that I have been keeping my new year’s promises to myself so far.

I’ve promised myself that I’m going to be kinder to myself.  In that vein, over the couple of weeks I have been for a makeover (although I’ve yet to practise applying my new make-up for myself – here’s hoping I don’t look like Coco The Clown!), enjoyed a bath with one of my favourite Lush products and spent a little bit of time playing The Sims – a game I love but usually can’t find time for.

I’ve also promised to prioritise things that are important to me and so I’ve found myself making sure that I leave work a bit earlier on the nights I’ve arranged to go running, convincing my husband that it wasn’t too late or too wet for us to go running last Tuesday evening and choosing a healthier option when we were unexpectedly invited out for a curry last Friday.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t say I’m made a lightening start to the year, but I’ve made some small changes that I’m hoping to be able to keep up and build on. Weeks 1 & 2 So far I’m winning at the scales too: I’m two weigh-ins in to 2016 and I’ve lost 2.5lb.  Again, it’s nothing incredible, but slow and steady wins the race.

This week, I want to try to prioritise my blog.  I’ve got a couple of posts that I’m looking forward to sharing with you so watch this space (hopefully you won’t be watching for so long this time!).

Thanks for reading,

FFF

What are you doing to be kinder to yourself this year?

 

My New Year’s Promise

Happy New Year!

Image courtesy of Heavypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Heavypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been away from blogging for quite a while now but it’s already starting to feel as though I’ve never been away.

As we are already half way through the second week in January, it feels a little bit weird to be saying ‘Happy New Year’ still but I think I’ll keep things a bit traditional for my first post of 2016.

The reason for the delay is that I’ve been given a LOT of thought about the theme of my first post.  Last year, I spoke about not wanting to make resolutions because they’ve previously left me feeling like a failure.  But clearly that didn’t have the intended effect and I sit here around the same weight as I was last year, if not a few ponds heavier, and I’m still unhappy with my body and fitness levels.

So what went wrong and what am I going to do differently?

Firstly, I let too many things get in the way of me achieving my goals last year.  Some of these things I had control over and some I didn’t.  To cut a long story short, last year was Hectic (and yes, that IS Hectic with a capital H) and looking after myself pushed off my priorities list.

So this year I’m making myself a couple of ‘promises’ as I think this sounds a little bit more positive than making some resolutions:

  1. I promise to be kinder to myself
  2. I promise to prioritise the things I actually want to spend time on rather than the things I think I should be spending time on

That’s it.  Short and sweet.

This week, I was back to work after a two week break for Christmas.  In order to keep my promises to myself, I made sure that I left work at a reasonable time each night.  My plan was that I would go for a walk in the evenings to make sure that I clocked up 10,000 steps each day.  I did this on every day except for Saturday (when I forgot due to it not being a work day and by the time I remembered, it was raining so heavily that I think I would have drowned if I’d gone out in it – note to self, check weather forecast in advance in future!) and I even found myself agreeing to restart the Couch to 5K training plan which I did on Thursday & this morning.  I must admit I was a little bit nervous at first as I can’t remember the last time I ran, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought and I felt really good after doing it.

Although I was back to Weight Watchers for my first weigh in of the new year last Monday, I haven’t been very focused on my food this week.  However, I have made up 6 batches of different soups to take to work for my lunch each day and my goal for this week is to be more focused on my food choices.  I’m not going to promise myself that I’m going to stay on track 100% for the entire week but I’m going to aim for that.  If I can track for 5 out of the 7 days I’ll be happy with that.

I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the new Smart Points plan too.  I’m motivated by the way it seems tailored to encourage healthier food choices.  To help me, I’m stealing an affirmation that I’ve just seen on an episode of Fat: The Fight of My Life (I find these programs massively inspirational):

“The purpose of food is to nourish my body and mind.  I will not find comfort in food.”

I also aim to get my blogging mojo back this year.  I really enjoy it and I find it really motivating – I just need to make sure I prioritise it.

Now, in the interests of being kinder to myself, I’m off to enjoy a lovely, relaxing bath.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

 

P.S. Have you made any ‘promises’ to yourself this year? I’d love to hear how you’re getting on with them so far.

 

Easy Red Lentil Soup

An easy to make soup that’s perfect for autumn

Servings:    6

Smart Points:    2

No Count

Cooking time:    5mins prep + 30mins cooking

Ingredients

  • 1tsp healthy oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 250g carrots, finely chopped
  • 110g red lentils
  • 3 vegetable stock cubes made up with 1.7l boiling water
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and carrot and cook gently until soft, without browning.
  2. Add the stock and the lentils.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. When the lentils and vegetables are tender, blend until smooth.
  4. Reheat.  Season to taste and serve.

Fresh Start Statistics

So, I braved the scales last night for my post-holiday (which was 2 weeks at a Gourmet Inclusive hotel) weigh-in and I was astounded to find that I’d only put on 1.5lbs!  I nearly fell off the scales!

Whilst I’m not happy with having let my weight creep back up to its current reading, I’m not going to dwell on it – there’s no point: I can’t change the past.  What I can do is learn from it and move forward.

So here are the starting statistics for the next leg of my weight loss journey:

Current weight:    13st 5lbs

Waist:    36in

Hips:      44in

Bust:      42in

Arms:    13in

Thighs:  25in

These are the targets I’ve set based on my current weight:

Goal Amount  to lose Target Weight Date to be achieved by
Mini-goal

4lbs

13st 1lb

05/10/15 (loss of   1lb/week for 4 weeks)
5% of current weight

9.5lbs

12st 9.5lbs

16/11/15 (loss of   1lb/week for 9 weeks)
10% of current weight

19lbs

11st 13.5lb

25/01/16 (loss of   1lb/week for 19 weeks)
Goal Weight

40lbs

10st 7lb

20/06/16 (loss of   1lb/week for 40 weeks)

I have based the dates for each of my targets on a weight loss of 1lb per week which falls well within the Weight Watchers plan’s recommendations of between 05-2lb per week.  I’m sure there will be some weeks when I do better but I want my targets to be realistic and achievable.

As I achieve each of my small targets, I will be setting another one to help break my final goal down into more manageable chunks.

It was actually a bit disheartening to calculate how long it will take me to get to goal – 9 months!! However, I’m trying to view this in a positive way – I definitely don’t want it to take any longer than that so I need to stay focused.  And who knows, if I stick to the plan, I might even get there a bit quicker.  After all, I know from experience that when you stick to the plan, it works.

Here are my current pictures – taken on the last day of my holiday.  I plan to update these and my measurements every month or two to help show my progress.  Although in subsequent pictures, my skin is likely to be even pastier as, believe it or not, these show me with what is a pretty good tan for my Irish heritage, so apologies in advance for that!

Me, September 2015

Thanks for reading,

FFF

Minestrone Soup

A filling yet summery soup.Minestrone Soup

Servings:    4

Smart Points:    4

No Count   (if made with wholemeal pasta.  If made using white pasta, allow 1SP/serving)

Cooking time:    10mins prep + 35mins cooking

Ingredients

  • 1tsp healthy oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 small potato, diced
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 vegetable stock cube made up with 600ml boiling water
  • 2tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 30g soup pasta or macaroni
  • 200g tin baked beans
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and cook gently until soft, without browning.
  2. Add the leek and potato and cook gently for 5 mins.  Add a splash of stock if the vegetables begin to stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, stock, thyme and bay leaf.  Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20mins.
  4. Add the pasta and baked beans then simmer for a further 10mins until the pasta is just cooked.
  5. Season to taste, then serve.

Top Tip: Sprinkle with a tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan before serving for an extra 2SP per serving (dish will no longer be vegan).