Progress Report – October 2019

I’ve decided to approach my progress reports slightly differently for the time being for a couple of reasons:

  1. I was finding writing weekly reports a bit tricky to keep on top of
  2. It’s probably not that interesting for you to read each week whether or not I’ve lost weight

So I’ve decided to try monthly updates instead. I think it’s important for my obliger nature to have the external accountability of letting you know how I’m doing, but hopefully it’ll be more manageable for me and less boring for you!

So, how’s my month been?

Weight – altogether in October, I’ve lost 5.5lb bringing me to a total of 1st 4.5lbs lost so far.

Inch loss – 12 inches lost in total and I’m delighted to see that my collarbone is beginning to reappear. I haven’t seen that for years!

Exercise – I’ve continued to maintain my exercise schedule, even when I went to visit my mum for the weekend, and I’m definitely seeing my endurance and strength improving:

Exercise Starting Point Current Performance
Plank 3x 1 min 3x 1min 15sec
Side Plank 3x 1min each side
Deadlift 3x 20 reps 16kg 5x 20 reps 24kg
Lunges 3x 10 reps 10kg 5x 12 reps 10kg
Chest Press 3x 20 reps 12.5kg 5x 18 reps 20kg
Bicep Rows 3x 20 reps 15kg 5x 18 reps 20kg
Upright Row 3x 20 reps 10kg 60sec recovery 5x 20 reps 10kg 30sec recovery
Lateral Raise 3x 20 reps 3kg 3x 20 reps 4kg
Lateral Pulldown 3x 20 reps 20kg 5x 18 reps 25kg

I’m really not a fan of having my photograph taken but I was pleasantly surprised to see the difference in a photo taken this time last year to one taken now.

My biggest challenge this month was having a 2 week holiday from work with the temptation to sit around eating biscuits and chocolate all day that that brings. Although I did indulge in a couple of treats, I generally made healthy food choices and rigorously stuck to my training plan and even added in a couple of walks.

Speaking of food choices, although I have generally been making healthy choices, I haven’t been tracking what I eat so that’s something I want to focus on in November as it’s very true that we often eat mindlessly and forget what we have actually consumed.

November is sure to bring with it some challenges as the nights get darker, we get closer to Christmas and it’s also my birthday month, but I’m just going to keep on trying to make healthier choices for the benefit of my future self and with the shorter term aim of looking as good as I can by the time my Christmas holiday comes arounds.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

Progress Report 1.10.19

Weigh-in Result: -2lb

What do you do when plans go awry? That’s how my healthy eating plans have felt this week. I’ve been trying to streamline my meal planning and shopping process to save me time but this is in the early stages and this week I ran into a few problems involving missing ingredients. In the past, my reaction would have been to throw any ideas of sticking to my plan out of the window as I headed to the chippy. But this time has been different. I’ve reminded myself of the progress I’ve made and how much better I’m feeling and I honestly haven’t wanted to resort to takeaway food.

I’ve been back in the kitchen baking along with the Great British Bake Off and this time it was the turn of my colleagues to ensure that I didn’t eat the entire cake!

This week was book club week and, as I mentioned last month, this would usually be an excuse for me to indulge in a glass of wine and a slice of cake without tracking either of them. Last time around I chose cake, this time, I opted for wine. It was actually the first glass of wine I’ve had since my summer cruise and it was nice to savour it whilst discussing this month’s read.

The weekend saw me visiting my parents in Wales. Previous visits have always had quite a boozy theme to them – although there are 9 pubs in the small town (population 2013) that she lives in, so it can’t really be helped! But this time around, my mum knows how focused Mr FFF and I are on improving our health and fitness so, rather than just getting us some drink in for our arrival on Friday after work, she asked us about it first and we politely declined.

We went out for dinner on Saturday night (almost all of the pubs serve delicious, home-cooked food) but I again stayed in control of my eating by having a light breakfast and lunch and only having two alcoholic drinks with dinner.

A warming bowl of cawl made a delicious lunch.

I continue to surprise myself with my attitude towards my fitness. Rather than seeing spending the weekend at my mum’s as an excuse not to exercise, I took my walking boots to Wales with me. Unfortunately, we were thwarted by the Welsh weather but we managed 20 minute walk and also walked to and from the pub! What I did notice was that climbing the steep hill on the way back from the pub no longer leaves me breathless.

I’d also booked an appointment with my PT for the Sunday afternoon when I got back and was delighted that I was able to tell him that I’d been gyming-it consistently whilst he’s been on holiday.

After a busy couple of weeks, I’m looking forward to a quieter time over the next couple of weeks.

Here’s hoping…

FFF

Review: Costa Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

I’m a BIG cheesecake fan. I’ve had it instead of a birthday cake a few times, I love baking them and I’ve even been known to eat them for breakfast! (You could do worse than trying my Breakfast Cheesecake recipe BTW)

However, I’m quite particular about my cheesecake so I don’t often order it when I’m out as the risk of disapointment is just too great.But every now and then, I will order one in the name of ‘research’.

On a recent visit to Costa, I did just that, ordering myself a slice of their Baked Vanilla Cheesecake. The cheese was dense, rich and creamy. It wasn’t quite claggy, but almost. The flavour was very vanillary – almost like white chocolate. The base was very thin, crisp and sweet. It tasted as though it had tiny pieces of crunchy caramel in it.

My overall opinion was that it was on the good side of ok. Not brilliant but enjoyable enough and I’ve certainly had worse. Personally I would’ve liked it to have a thicker base and for the cheese to be a bit more tangy.

A massive downside was the Smart Points value. At a staggering 19 points per slice, I’d say it wasn’t worth it and I won’t be ordering it again any time soon.

Do you have a favourite brand of cheesecake or a great cheesecake recipe? Let me know in the comments section.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

Drink of the Week: Cosmopolitan – 5 Smart Points

This week we’re back to one of the gorgeous cocktails I enjoyed on my cruise. This time, it’s the classic Cosmopolitan. As a fan of Sex and the City, this cocktail is always spiked with nostalgia for me. Taste-wise, I love the sharp tang of cranberry set off against the bittersweet tang of the orange rind.

What you’ll need:

  • 50ml mandarin or lemon vodka
  • 30ml cranberry juice
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • orange rind

What to do:

  1. Shake the liquid ingredients over ice then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  2. Garnish with a curl of orange rind.

Top tip: For an even tastier cosmo, hold a 3cm round piece of rind about 10cm above your drink. Carefully pass it over a flame, bending the outer side of the rind towards the flame to release the oils before dropping it into the drink.

What’s your favourite cocktail? Let me know in the comments section.

Drink of the Week: Malty Biscuit Brew – 0 Smart Points

It’s not all about the alcohol here on Drink of the Week!

I’m a BIG fan of tea and enjoy trying all different types and flavours. I also love to dunk biscuits into my tea but I don’t love the Smart Points values that come with them! So imagine my delight when I came across these bad boys whilst doing my weekly shop.

Now, my tea-purist relatives turned their noses up when I mentioned it to them, but, having tried a cup, many have been won over.

So what’s it like? Well, it’s just like tea and Rich Tea biscuits but without the sludge of crumbs that end up at the bottom of your mug when you dunk. Because it’s made by Taylors of Harrogate (the finest purveyors of English Breakfast tea IMHO), you also get a strong brew, which isn’t always the case with flavoured black teas. What’s more, if you make it using milk from an allotted allowance for the day as I do, it costs you 0 Smart Points! What’s not to love?

If you have any tea recommendations, please let me know. Mr FFF says I’ve got far too many varieties in the cupboard as it is, but what does he know?!

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?

 

 

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?