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New Year, New You – How’s that going?

New Year, New You – so, it’s the first week of 2018 and I suspect most of us are bursting with new resolutions, hopes, dreams, determination for a NEW US, as well as holiday food and booze.

The fact that we have mostly stopped quaffing and scoffing the ‘finer’ things in life, sadly does not mean we are not still wearing them snugly around our waists/hips/busts – sod it, everywhere we can conceivably carry on our persons this excess of ‘fineness’.

Fear not though, we know the problem and we know the solution! We are determined on regular visits to the gym (full of machines we have no idea how to use). We have committed to a brisk daily walk.  A thrice weekly swim.  A dance class, maybe boxing.  Whatever, we have a plan and we are going to stick with it, aren’t we?  Just like last year, so um, maybe not.

Most of our wonderfully planned New Year, New Us, resolutions are over by 3rd January.  Mine, to stop eating mince pies, was over on the 2nd when I found all my favourite brand pies reduced to 10p in Sainsbury’s, yes, just 10p from £2.50 – heaven came knocking on my door again.

I bought 12 (as you do) for the freezer to enjoy every now and then throughout the year with a coffee in front of the TV.  Except that I had eaten them all 2 days later!  Of course I had.  Thank goodness the shop has now sold out otherwise I would eating out of date mince pies until, well, the store ran dry. Oh God!

From the above total failure to stick with my resolution, you might have concluded that I am weeping in a corner, having jumped from the size of a small terraced house to the size of say, Downton Abbey.  I am not.  And, whilst  I have possibly added a small ‘extension’ to my frame, I won’t be imposing rules and limitations on myself (aka, New Year’s Resolutions), to dismantle it.

I know that by making hard, inflexibly strict rules I am setting myself up for failure, for disappointment, for feelings of cravings and deprivation.  I would be preparing myself to be miserable. Heck no!  Instead, I acknowledge my weight gain, go back to my normal eating habits, move a little bit more and give thanks for the wonderfully, happy Christmas and New Year I have been allowed to enjoy with my loved ones.

I will move forward with my health & weight goals by being consistent in my helpful, healthy food and lifestyle choices, and by consigning the unhelpful, unhealthier ones to celebratory occasions such as birthday’s, weddings etc that crop up during the year.

By remaining calm about any weight changes that have occurred over the holidays, and by making good food and movement choices without being frantic and panicky, my weight and health will easily re-balance and I will look and feel exactly how I want to feel without punishing myself physically or emotionally.  I am not useless, or a failure and my world won’t come crashing down because my jeans are a little (actually, quite a lot), tighter for a few weeks.

To give you a boost, here are my top 10 tips to get you back on track. Let’s go smash this New Year thing. Here’s to 2018!! xx

  • Eat breakfast – include a protein to keep you fuller longer, egg/oats/chicken
  • Limit caffeine to 1 – 2 cups a day.  Switch to herbal teas, give your over worked body and brain a rest from stimulants.
  • Drink WATER throughout the day – the first sign of dehydration is hunger. Drink first, wait, then eat only if you are still hungry
  • Keep small snacks with you, palmful of nuts (healthy fats), small banana, apple, oatcakes
  • Eat lunch – make a huge salad filled with a wide variety of colours and textures and portion up each day. Add a tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil and squeeze of lemon.  Or make a big pot of homemade veggie soup to portion out.
  • Whole foods only. Packed with fibre and nutrients these will get you slim and glowing in no time.  If it comes packaged with a list of ingredients, its not a whole food.
  • Dinner – fill your plate with 2/3 with steamed veg, add a protein – baked salmon or chicken in foil is soooo easy.
  • Use smaller plates – invest in some cheap smaller dinner plates and put the bigger ones out of sight. You will not notice the reduction in food that way.
  • Avoid sugary sweets/snacks – these and alcohol are the ultimate diet saboteurs.
  • MOVE – walk a little more every day. Use a phone app and count your steps, aim for a minimum of 10,000.  Buddy up and have a competition to see who can complete the most in a day.  Loser buys the coffee!
  • Think positive. Your weight at any one time is just a snapshot.  It is not your ‘for ever’ weight unless you choose it to be!
veggies

Veggies, The Not So Secret Answer to Great Health & Weight

Veggies can sound like the dullest part of a meal.  However, there is so much we can do to literally spice them up, and in terms of weight loss and great health, they are heaven sent. To kick start your weight loss, try for one week portioning your plate out like this – you won’t regret it.

½ Veggies or Salad – make it colourful and fill this portion of your plate FIRST!

¼ Protein

¼ Healthy carbs!  Healthy carbs are not white or fluffy or overly sweet.  They include WHOLEMEAL (not brown) everything.

  • Choose a wide variety of veggies and steam them lightly to keep as much of the nutrients as possible.
  • Be brave and try new ones. Keep them colourful.  The greater the variety in colour, the wider the variety of nutrients eaten.
  • Low carb veggies include broccoli, cabbage, aubergine, pumpkin, courgette, asparagus, and butternut squash. All veggies are nutrient powerhouses!  Be creative with your veggies.
  • Add chilli flakes or sauté with garlic and onion or cherry tomatoes.
  • Add spices such as fennel or turmeric.
  • Dress with a very small amount of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Toast some pine nuts and toss in.
  • A small sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on any veggies is delicious, but keep this small and occasionally.

See how many options you already have?  Try these two fabulous alternatives to pasta and just look at the calories.

Courgetti

Ingredients

280g Courgettes

Method

Use a spiralizer – I used the finer noodle attachment – or a julienne peeler to create courgette noodles.

Toss in a pan with one teaspoon of olive oil for 30 seconds.  Done!

Serves 4, per 71g serving

Cal 25, Fat 1.3g, Carbs 1.2g, Fibre 1.4g, Protein 1.3g, Salt 0g

Butternut Squash Noodles

Ingredients

600g Butternut Squash

2 teaspoons Olive Oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 200. Lightly spray two large baking trays with oil.

Trim the top portion of the butternut.  This is the only part that can be spiralized (reserving the bottom for another recipe).

Trim the top off and peel the skin off. Cut the butternut in 2 pieces so it’s easier to handle, then spiralize using the thickest noodle setting of your spiralizer.

Cut into 6 inch lengths so it’s easy to eat.

Transfer to the prepared baking sheets and drizzle each with 1 teaspoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Roast until soft, 7 to 10 minutes.

Serves 4, per 152g serving

Cal 78, Fat 2.1g, Carbs 11.2g Fibre 3g, Protein 1.7g Salt 0.02g

 

 

 

 

food

Food Swaps Made Smart & Easy For Successful Weight Loss

Food and recipes – we all have our favourite’s.  The ones we have maybe grown up with, that our families and friends love us to make and the ones we are best at and like to show off, or is that just me…..?

Anyway, when it comes to shifting our excess weight, the last thing we want to have to do is abandon all our tried and tested and much loved recipes and replace them with foods we hope to learn to love but don’t initially have the same appeal.  Can you imagine your family asking for the “lovely raw veggies and low fat dressing”?  or the response you would get to the “Mum, I’m starving, what’s for dinner?”  and you reply chicken breast with salad……Not good I suspect.

So, what to do to keep all family members happy and you on your weight loss track?   I have the answer.  Food swaps.  I do this all the time and no-one even notices and often if they do, they love them for a number of reasons, such as the food swap is less heavy so they feel less sluggish afterwards and certainly has less sugar so there is no sugar crash shortly after eating and the subsequent hunger, and sometimes they just love the change of taste or texture within the recipe.

The easiest examples I use are these.

  • Out with the Spaghetti, in with the Courgetti and Butternut noodles mixed – you don’t have to go the whole hog and cut out the spaghetti altogether, just mix a smaller amount of the pasta with a larger amount of the veggie noodles – this also looks so lovely and colourful and tempting on a plate.
  • Out with the Cheese sauces in lasagne, bakes etc, in with the half fat crème fraiche with a pinch of nutmeg and a grating of cheese.  No butter, no flour, no milk and a much smaller amount of cheese.
  • Out with the sheet pasta in with the wholemeal tortillas in all instances.  My family love lasagne and cannelloni with wholemeal tortilla.  Pizzas with whole meal tortilla are also a massive hit.
  • Out with minced beef (5 to 15% fat and the 5% is much more expensive), in with minced Turkey (4 – 7% fat at a much lower price).  Every single recipe that requires beef can be swapped with turkey.  You don’t have to do this very time, but even if you alternate between beef and turkey you will save so many calories and a big reduction in fat.
  • Out with tomato sauces in jars (a total sugar and additive fest!), in with homemade sauces.  This is so, so easy.  When I have very little time, I put a can of tinned tomatoes, garlic cloves, onion, chilli, basil – basically whatever I fancy in my blender, whiz up and tip on anything that needs a sauce. Voila!
  • Out with the sour cream as dips, in with the 0% Greek yoghurt – not Greek Style Yoghurt – topped with herbs.  Think of the calories saved in this one small change alone!

Look around you and be creative.  Use herbs and spices – there is always recommendations as to which foods they work well with on the labels. Keep it simple and definitely keep it stress free.  Eat your favourite family meals plus add in some new ones and you will achieve your weight loss goals painlessly and keep the family happy.