Wednesday, March 20, 2013

RIP Laptop

It's blue screened it's last.

Have hijacked the husbeast's PC to update the blog, although I have the app on my phone,
I HATE IT. And refuse to use it.

It's been a busy/tiring/full week.

Thursday was a fairly easy going day. I tracked, bleached and dyed my hairs, ran and went to kettlebells to further stretch out my bum muscles. Being March 14th, we had steak. Tuna steak recipe from those hairy dieters went down REALLY well. Husbeast was off work for the day, it was a GOOD DAY.
My mile for Thursday was run partly downhill, and so I managed it in 9:26 - even with waiting for traffic while crossing the road.
The only crappy point came as I walked home after kettlegirls, I managed to fall down the kerb as I stepped back away from a turning car, and skineed/bruised my ankle. Ouch.

Friday I was okayish. Felt hungry and wanted to munch all day long. Felt really crash-y all day. Craving sugar and feeling totally shattered. Towards late afternoon I went very weak on my right side, and my vision was wobbly. Realised I had a migraine coming, and started panicking. LOTS. I had plans set for the next 3 days that couldn't be moved and I *needed* to be well for.
Came back 'up' again fairly quickly, on Saturday afternoon. Meant that I'd missed getting to the big bang fair, and I was gutted. Think the trigger was the ammonia in the bleach on the Thursday. It'd been 3 months since I last bleached, and I'd gotten some on my skin. Guh.
The violet grrrrl is back. And brought pain with her.
Gorgeous starbaby
Sunday morning we were all up and out by 7.30am to get up to Bermondsey for a special celebration. We dodged the rain quite well, and got to church in time to see my friends' little girl get baptised, and to have the INCREDIBLE honour of standing by them as they gave thanks for their youngest son.

I'd made the rice salad from the Hairy Dieters book to take with. Made loads of the stuff, excited to be able to use it for the shared lunch. Sam had tried some the night before and said it was good. I trusted him, all the recipes have tasted lovely.

It was GRIM. Seriously nasty. I nearly cried for my poor mouth when I ate some. Totally hilarious cooking FAIL. The shame!

Got home, ate chocolate on the way back as we were all tired and cold. My feet were dying in my New Rock boots. My blister plaster came off and I had no spare, my ankle was re-shredded and I could barely hobble by the time we got home. 

Monday morning I woke up ready to spend the day getting prepared for my module validation at Beavers that night. Didn't go to weight in as I wanted to spare my feet the pain! I had prepared the activity for the evening, wrote out instructions/plans for the other leaders, learnt the policy, fundamentals resource lists of by heart. Got down to the hut an hour early to set up, and had everything ready to go for when the kids arrived.

The session went really well - even my boys, who'd spent the week watching me try the experiments over and over for best results, enjoyed it.

The discussion/questions after were so much less formal/scary than I'd feared, and I was home and validated on the essential modules before I knew it.

Yesterday I went to the gym, and felt good for it. Spent the day catching up on housework a bit, and washing up. Dishwasher has died again, and almost every single thing in the kitchen was used. Yuck.

Spinning 15m 7km

Shoulder press 25kg 3x6
Fly  55kg 3x6
Pulldown 50kg 3x6

Russian twists w/medicine ball 16 taps in all 3 sets
Reverse curls 3x16
Plank 3x45s
Renegade rows 3x16
Tricep Dips 3x16

Today I'm feeling lots better, my cold is nearly gone. The kitchen is clean. I've hoovered and cleaned out the reptiles, am back on top of the housework. Have nothing hanging over my head freaking me out. My eating has not been great, but it's not been terrible. I need to get back to things. Again. Still, I'm good. My feet are healing up, and I'm aiming to get on with the 10k training this weekend.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Snow and Butterflies

After weighing in and facing the gain on Monday, and deciding that the worst of the rye gas had blown, I went out in the snow with the girls, and ran 2 miles to make up for the missed day before. Running in wind and snow is FUN and HARD. The girls did really well - it's bang on a mile to Sainsbury's cutting across the village green, so we ran there and back with a 5 minute break to buy Breaking Dawn part 2 in the middle!

Next to the horses field, just 5 minutes up the road there was huge snow drift where the wind had pushed the snow over the empty field onto the roadside. It was up past my knees and blowing into our faces. Considering, I thought 2 miles in 25 minutes was pretty good, especially for the teeny legged two.

Beavers was good and busy, though the walk down was really cold. Felt very tired out physically by the time I got home.

Tuesday morning I had wanted to get out and run, but my bed was too warm and body too tired to get up before 8am. Spent the slow morning planning for my Beavers activities next week, revising modules, and getting meal planning and some cooking done. Asda shop arrived and I got on with making up compote, granola, some soup and chewy fruit slices. Feeling back on track a bit after 2 days together eating well and running again. Did my mile just before the girls' bedtime, meaning they came with me again. They've both run 5 miles in the last 5 days!

This morning I got up and out early to start humpday with a gym visit.

Xtrainer 15min l8 2.10km

Shoulder press 27.5kg 3x5
Fly  55kg 3x5
Pulldown 50kg 3x5

Plank 45sx3
Russian twists w/medicine ball 3kg 16 taps in all 3 sets
Reverse curls 3x16
Renegade rows 3x16

I saved my legs, as I'm hoping to get a long run in tonight, and then have run and kettlegirls tomorrow evening.

Day One

Got home to exciting post - my caterpillars have arrived! A few short weeks and we'll have raised some butterflies!!! I'm extremely excited, and amazed at how tiny the caterpillars are right now.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fresh Fruit Compote with Home-Made Granola

I don't like plums. Am a bit scared of them, won't eat them. Leftover fussy eater symptom from only having been offered banana, apple and grapes as 'fruit' as a child. I remember vividly my first try of a strawberry, aged 9 years old. That was very exotic.

Obviously I've managed to broaden my fruit eating a bit - I like berries lots, and like a bit of kiwi and some citrus. But compared to my kids (who've eaten mango, pineapple, and two types of melon today) I'm very much stuck in a fruit rut.

So, I was excited and a bit scared to make the fruit compote today.

SO yummy! And there's more in the fridge for tomorrow. Whooot!!

Home-made granola
300ml apple juice (we prefer the cloudy type)
150g jumbo porridge oats
15g flaked almonds
50g mixed dried fruit
Fruit compote
2 Bramley cooking apples (about 150g each)
4 fresh ripe plums, stoned and
cut into quarters
75g golden caster sugar
200g strawberries, hulled
200g raspberries
200g blackberries
6 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt (optional)

1 To make the granola, preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
2 Pour the apple juice into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Continue boiling until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds and is syrupy. It’s really important to get this bit right, as the apple syrup needs to be thick enough to lightly coat the oats.
3 Add the oats and almonds to the pan with the apple syrup and stir until well combined. Tip everything on to the baking tray and spread out thinly. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes.
4 Take the tray out of the oven and scatter the dried fruit over the top. Turn and mix everything with a spatula or spoon and put the tray back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until the oats are crisp and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray, then tip the granola into an airtight tin or jar. This mixture is best eaten within 2 weeks.
6 To make the compote, preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Remove the cores and slice the apples thinly. Put the apples with the plums and half the sugar in a shallow ovenproof dish – a lasagne dish is ideal. Cover loosely with a sheet of foil and bake for 30 minutes.
7 Take the dish out of the oven and add the whole berry fruits to the dish. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and toss lightly together. Cover with foil and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes or until the fruit is soft and juicy but still holding its shape – it will continue to cook once you’ve taken it out of the oven.
8 Leave te compote to cool, then tip it into a bowl and cover with cling film. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
9 Serve the compote in bowls, topped with a couple of spoonfuls of the granola and some low-fat yoghurt if you like.


Tasted so good, I really wanted more, even though it was very filling. Not too sweet, and absolutely bursting with flavours. I'm drooling at the thought of more for breakfast tomorrow.

The granola was 25 ProPoints for 6 servings, and the Compote 8 (extra for yoghurt).

With yoghurt it worked out at 6 ProPoints for a HEALTHY, FILLING, SWEET breakfast. Totally non-guilty pleasure.

Golden Vegetable Soup

I love my zero point butternut squash soup, but it can taste a bit bland, and I often end up adding bacon to taste. This soup is lovely, just 1 ProPoint a bowl and tastes good all on its own.

Preparation time - 10 minutes
Cooking time - 45 minutes
Serves 6

  • 1 small butternut squash (850g)
  • 4 medium carrots (375g)
  • 2 medium parsnips (325g)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 litre boiled water
  • 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • low-fat natural yoghurt and chives, to serve (optional)
  1. Peel the squash, cut it in half, then scoop out the seeds. Chuck the seeds away and cut the squash flesh into rough 3cm chunks. Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut them into 2cm slices. Peel and roughly chop the onion and the garlic.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic for 10 minutes until softened and lightly coloured, stirring occasionally. Stir in the squash, carrots and parsnips. Pour over the just-boiled water, crumble the stock cube on top and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer the vegetables for 25-30 minutes or until they are completely tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and blitz the soup with a stick blender until smooth - or leave it a little chunky if you prefer. Warm the soup through, then ladle it into warmed bowls. Season with some black pepper and top with a swirl of yoghurt and a few chives if you want.

I used spray oil again, to take the ProPoints down to 7 for the whole recipe. 1 ProPoint a bowl with fat-free yoghurt. Yum.

Prawn and Chive Omelette

WHY had I not chucked prawns in an omelette before now? And the chives? Om nom nom nom.

Preparation time - 10 minutes
Cooking time - 10 minutes
Serves 1

  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 tbsp chives
  • 100g prawns
  • 1/2 tsp sunflower oil 
  • flaked sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them with a large metal whisk. Season with a little salt and pepper, then stir in the chives. Drain the prawns in a sieve, then tip them on to some kitchen paper to soak up any excess moisture.
  2. Brush a small non-stick frying pan with enough oil to lightly coat the base and place it over a medium heat. Pour the eggs into the frying pan. As the eggs begin to set, use a wooden spoon to draw the cooked egg toward the centre. Do this 5 or 6 times, working your way around the pan. As the cooked egg is moved, the uncooked egg will run into the gaps and begin to cook.
  3. Scatter the prawns over the omelette and cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until the eggs are just set. Season with a little more pepper then carefully loosen the sides with a heatproof palette knife and fold the omelette over. Slide it onto a warmed plate and serve with a large, lightly dressed salad.

I used spray oil to save a ProPoint, meaning this *lush* brekkie was 7 ProPoints. Yummy.

Monday, March 11, 2013

a pound of rye...

Hardly surprised to see a gain today. Although considering how much time I've spent in the bathroom, it's scary that I'm bloated enough to *still* have a gain. :s

previous weight - 173 BMI 29.7
current weight - 174 BMI 29.9
gain - 1lb
% gain - 0.6%

The snow meant no gym first thing, my bloating and rye cramping on top of the period cramps I've had already meant I hid in bed and sulked until late. Given that I'm still smelling like a dead farm animal, I chose NOT to go to weightwatchers meeting.

Have stuck to my planned food for breakfast, which is a start. Hoping to get out for a run in a bit, in the snow. Need to make up for yesterday's mile too!

I want 5lb off this week, take me back under the lowest weight I've managed so far, and it'll mean that with a 2lb loss the next week, I'll be out of the 12 stones for Easter. Not the milestone I wanted, but I'll take it.

Have a busy weekend coming up, and I need to spend some time this week preparing for my module validation for Beavers next Monday. I do not need to be in pain because of what I've eaten, or feeling crabby or tired. I know how good I feel when I eat right, and I know that this 'blip' in motivation or willpower is something that won't last forever, I can ride it out.

Rye-bloat for Mother's Day

I missed my run today - I have run a mile for the last 2 nights, with both girls. After cooking a big Mother's Day meal for the in-laws, I realised that my Mum's Day present (wheat-free cakes) contained enough rye to leave me gassy, running to the loo every 10 minutes, and in pain. :( Stayed up until midnight before sending myself to bed.

Had a good weekend otherwise, found a local Forest School for Seth and I to join on Monday mornings. Means more local HE connections for Seth (and me), and more time spent outdoors, being active. I've offered myself as parent helper, as Monday is my 'free' day (as far as having Sam about for the other children) Being every other week, it means I could only be at meetings every other week, so I really need to get back on track and stop messing about.

Lunch with the inlaws was good. I made a huge batch of the Hairy Dieter's chicken stew, and a few swiss rolls with popping candy chocolate filler, served with custard. Halfway through cooking the door went, and my present arrived - a pair of PURPLE New Rock boots. LOVE!

Later on my parents came over for coffee, and so we could give my mum her card too. Spent the hour sat feeling very glad I was wearing a dress, felt like I was puffing up like a balloon! I felt bloated and cross, and know eating 'treats' is to blame.

Trying to beat the laundry monster into submission, I went through my cupboards again, and found anything size 16 and bigger to sell/donate. On a whim I pulled out some size 12 jeans to see how far I had to go, expecting them to be an inch or two away from doing up.

They fit! It's been 3.5 years since I last got these on.

Sure, they are tight, and bending over I get a lovely muffin top effect. But to know that in a few lbs time I can chuck out the 2 pairs of size 14s I'm currently wearing to death is such a boost.

With the waistband of those jeans digging into my rye-bloat tummy, I'm tracking and planning all my foods for the next week. Determined to get out of the 170s, and stay out. My goals for being a healthy weight by the beginning of May are *really* pushing it now, but I CAN aim to be around 150, with these jeans so baggy they're near falling down.

Planning a gym trip first thing in the morning, and hoping this nasty toxic gas has all gone by then, or I'm going to be alone working out.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Happy International Women's Day!

Hadn't realised until this morning that it was, so have nothing planned to do 'for' it. I did listen to (and buy) the song 'One Woman' from UNWoman though, and I have pledged to participate in a Protest at the end of the month, for Independent Midwives. I do appreciate the work being done for women's freedom and choice, even though it's sad it's still necessary.


Did go to the gym again Wednesday night, and took it s-l-o-w, did a gentle cycle/elliptical, and some leg work.

Spinning L10 10min - 3.65km
Elliptical 10 min - 1km

Leg press 105kg 3x5
Leg extension 65kg 3x5
Adductor 42kg 3x5
Abductor 63kg 3x5

3 assisted pull ups. 35kg

Woke up yesterday ready to go for my run, but my legs just would.not.go. Got about 0.2 miles in and stopped dead. Decided I would attempt to get to the gym early for kettlebells, and force a mile out on the treadmill then.

Which I did. Ugh. Slow and hard and head totally bashing me. Then the level 2 class full of LUNGES. Ouch.

Today I am tired and have used all my weekly ProPoints (not just today.. but so far) and just want to hibernate with a cuppa and a book. Trying to figure out if running a long run tonight would be sensible, before tomorrow when the DOMs could hit. Really do feel ok though, and only used a 5kg weight, so hoping I can get away with a 1 miler tonight, before doing the bridge training tomorrow/Sunday.

So, tired. And overeaten. And ugh. Feeling stuck a bit in a cycle of maintaining, gaining, losing these same few lbs. But then, trying to not get bogged by the scale, and keep the bigger picture in mind. I've lost 4 stone, I'm doing well with the gym, running, etc. The eating I am doing is not total junk, but it is sugar a lot of the time. Need to plan out all of next week, buy ONLY what I need to make the meals planned, and avoid baking!!

But, good things! The post arrived, and with it our tickets for The Big Bang Fair next weekend.

We'd booked to go Sunday, but now cannot go that day so booked on Saturday as well, but meant we had tickets to booked out events we couldn't attend. I posted on Facebook and found a friend going as a party of 6, who was very glad to take them all. Yay!

Our Insect Lore butterfly raising kit arrived too! Looked it over quickly with 4 very excited smalls, and ordered our caterpillars to arrive next Wednesday. :) We should have butterflies to release at the end of April. Another of my 30by30 items getting done. (I'll have to check, but I believe that it's looking like they'll all be done for September, pretty bloody good for a procrastinator).

Got the kids caught up with their Nature Detectives challenges (well worth joining up if you have kids - £20 for a year for up to 6 children, lots of resources/ideas for nature/based activities) after they got the bug back now we've been outdoors a bit more. We've been for a muddy stomp and written about it, dyed daffodils, and are pressing flowers to make a big wall print/collage thing.

Looking forward to more sunshine and warmer days to spend out, walking and finding places, and not staying home and baking myself into temptation every week!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Masala-Marinated Chicken with Minted Yoghurt Sauce

I have never cooked a whole chicken before. Ever. Sam always does a roast here. Before I lived with Sam, I was vegetarian. Before that I was something like 10 years old, and the most vivid thing I remember about cooking a bird was seeing my dad boil a carcass for broth.

So I was a little nervous.

Vegetarian-me was very squeamish when preparing the thing. Felt a little better for having bought a free-range chicken, and it certainly tasted good.

Overnightpreparation time

30 mins to 1 hourcooking time

Serves 4-5


For the marinade
For the chicken
For the minted yoghurt sauce

Preparation method

  1. To make the marinade, split the cardamom pods and remove the seeds. Put the cardamom seeds in a dry non-stick frying pan and discard the husks. Add the cumin and coriander seeds, cloves and black peppercorns and place the pan over a medium heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring regularly until the spices are lightly toasted – you know they’re ready when you can smell the spicy aroma.
  2. Tip the toasted spices into a pestle and mortar, or an electric spice grinder, and pound to a fine powder. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the fenugreek, turmeric, paprika, chilli powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the garlic, ginger and yoghurt, then mix well and leave to stand while you prepare the chicken.
  3. Place the chicken on its breast on a sturdy chopping board and cut carefully either side of the backbone with good scissors or poultry shears. Chuck out the bone and cut off the foot joints and wing tips.
  4. Strip all the skin off the bird apart from the ends of the wings (which are easier to remove after cooking). You’ll find this simpler to do if you snip the membrane between the skin and the chicken flesh as you go. Cut off and discard any obvious fat – it will be a creamy white colour. Open out the chicken and place it on the board so the breast side is facing upwards.
  5. Press down heavily with the palms of your hands to break the breastbone and flatten the chicken as evenly as possible. This will help it cook more quickly. Slash the meat with a knife through the thickest parts of the legs and breast. Place the chicken in a shallow non-metallic dish – a lasagne dish is ideal – and tuck in the legs and wings.
  6. Spoon over the marinade and really massage it into the chicken on both sides, ensuring that every bit of bird is well coated – get your hands in there and really go for it. Cover the dish with cling film and put the chicken in the fridge to marinate for at least four hours or ideally overnight.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Take the chicken out of the dish and place it on a rack inside a large baking tray, breast-side up. Squeeze over some juice from the lime and season with ground black pepper.
  8. Roast for 1-1¼ hours until the chicken is lightly browned and cooked throughout, tossing the lime quarters on to the rack for the last 20 minutes to cook alongside the chicken. They’ll be good for squeezing over the meat later. The juices should run clear when the thickest part of one of the thighs is pierced with a skewer. Cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  9. While the chicken is resting, make the sauce. Spoon the yoghurt into a serving bowl and stir in the mint sauce until thoroughly combined. Transfer the chicken to a plate or wooden board and carve into slices, discarding any skin. Serve with the sauce and some watercress or salad and enjoy!

Worked out the ProPoints to be 56 for the chicken I had, and another 4 ProPoints for the yoghurt used. I took the skin off, so the values are probably lower by a fair bit, but I'm struggling to find the correct nutritional information for a whole skinless chicken. So I'll point it as if it's with skin (and next time I will just leave the skin on because it's LUSH and it'll save my hands getting covered in dead chicken membrane!!

Had good fun using the new pestle and mortar Sam bought me this week. Good arm workout getting those roasted seeds powdered down!!

After spending the night in the fridge marinating, the chicken only needed a squeeze of lime, and 50 minutes in the oven to be done! Deffo a good recipe to remember for family - if I can do most of the work the day before, it makes cooking for 12 + in my little flat much easier!

10 ProPoints for a 1/4 chicken with some minty, creamy sauce. Erm. YES. Best part is, there's another 3 servings in the fridge. Wahey!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Hump Day

This was me first thing -

Actually, that's not really true. After 5 days running, and gym and back on track eating, I felt sore, but not tired..

I just did not want to get out of bed at 6.30am and head to the gym for more.

Of course, once I'd been to the bathroom, I had an understanding of why my legs felt so knackered. How does the month come around that fast?! Decided to be kind to my poor self, and aside from the mile run needed, I'd leave my legs alone today.

Treadmill mile 11 mins

Shoulder press 27.5kg 3x5
Fly  55kg 3x5
Pulldown 50kg 3x5

Tricep dips 3x16

Russian twists w/medicine ball 16 taps in all 3 sets
Reverse curls 3x16
Renegade rows 3x16
Static plank 3x45 seconds

Those planks are getting less totally unbearable. I can begin to believe that I may recover my abdomen some day if I continue to work hard.

Spent the day pottering about, clearing the garden a bit so the kids could play out on the trampoline. Asda order arrived and made me smile. I like a full fridge and cupboards.

Got on and made up batches of flapjack (with banana in, and I left the mix alone, phew) Got a chicken marinating ready for later this week. Cooked up the thighs left from yesterday and made the Spanish Style Chicken Bake again, but with breast instead of thighs, and butternut squash rather than potato. Took the ProPoints from 37 to 18!

I've been offered another lift to the gym tonight, but what with my workout this morning, cramps and knowing I have to run first thing tomorrow (and then do kettlebells in the evening) I'm wondering if a night in might be a plan! I could, like, sit and read or something! ;)

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Running woes.. or the grump strikes

Good day yesterday. Sam weighed in at home and hit his 5% from his top weight. He's down 15.5lbs now, another 5.5lbs to be out of the obese bracket. Think he has another 4-5lbs to drop to hit 5% at meeting, but he should hit both that and the BMI < 30 for Easter. Whoot.

Gym yesterday, put the weights up and reps down again. Really felt those muscles work doing these, making sure I did them with proper form, and breathing. Need to stop those bad habits forming!

Treadmill - 1 mile 9:54

Shoulder press 30kg 3x5
Fly  55kg 3x5
Leg press 105kg 3x5
Leg extension 65kg 3x5
Adductor 42kg 3x5
Abductor 63kg 3x5
Pulldown 55kg 3x5

Static plank 3x 45 seconds
Russian twists w/medicine ball 16 taps in all 3 sets
Reverse curls 3x16 
Renegade rows 3x16

I'd realised the day before that I would have to do my run at the gym, and sulked about it. I hate running on the treadmill. So much.

But I did it. Set the pace to 9.7 km per hour, and put it up for the last minute, meaning that I did a mile in 9:54. Under 10 minutes, wahey! Getting there.

Had a busy night at Beavers, and was very ready for my bed when it got to 11pm. Need to be careful that I'm getting as much sleep as I can, pretty sure crappy late bedtimes and sluggish mornings have not been helping me the last couple months.

At 6.30am I was out to the gym again. Trying to see if earlier start and getting going first thing will work better for my body clock. Didn't do much cardio as I'm hoping to get out and do a longer run tonight, so warmed up with a 6kph 5 minute walk on an incline before doing the weights.

Treadmill - fit test vo2 35

Shoulder press 27.5kg 3x5
Fly  55kg 3x5
Leg press 105kg 3x5
Leg extension 65kg 3x5
Adductor 42kg 3x5
Abductor 63kg 3x5
Pulldown 50kg 3x5

Russian twists w/medicine ball 16 taps in all 3 sets
Reverse curls 3x16
Woodchops 3x16

The sun was SHINING, and outside felt ok, not too cold, could go without a hat even. We decided that meant we had to hit the park. Was so goos to spend 3 hours outdoors with the kids, we went over to the shops and grabbed bits for dinner tonight, and the freefrom stuff I need that Asda don't stock.

Once back home I did some meal planning for the next week. I noticed today that after starting the day with a workout I feel less hungry, want real food rather than 'treats' and feel more awake/less on edge. It could be a fluke, but I really think that morning workouts, as unlike 'me' as I think it would be, may be a plan. At the end of the day, the habits that made 'me', made me ill.

Knew that my run tonight had to be a longer one. I was so nervous. I've not run 5k in ages, and my last 10k training run was 2 weeks ago. Add to that the daily runs, gym workout this morning, and 6-8 mile walk today... I was ready for a night on the sofa with a book.

Then I saw this pop up on facebook. Reposted it, and chucked my gear on.

It wasn't an easy run. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't easy either. And I ran the last 10 minutes uphill. Ugh. Or, rather, I ran/walked them. Still, managed 4.05 miles in 50 minutes (including 10 minutes walking) which works out at 5k in 35:26, so my pace wasn't worse than usual. My head can STFU!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Head down, powering through.

Asked Sam to take a photo of me last night, sitting in the same position as I am in my 'top weight' photo from last June. I've lost 4stone 5lb since then, and have another 4 stone that I'd like to lose, to hit a BMI of 20.1, and - mostly - to be 1/2 my original weight!
I still feel  like the top photo sometimes, especially when I see myself naked, or look in a mirror. I see bad posture, extra weight, joint pain. It's good to look at these photos and see that there is a real difference. Even slumping forward on purpose in the bottom pic, my back is so much better than it was. I can flex my feet without pain, I'm putting my arms in between my knees to copy the pose on top, not because that's the closest I can get before my belly gets in the way.

Spring in my step this moring, I headed out to weigh in ready to meet the new leader

previous weight - 180 BMI 30.9
current weight - 173 BMI 29.7
loss - 7lb
% loss - 3.9%

Happy with that, very happy. Going to stick to it this week and hope for another biggish loss, as I've only been on track for 4 days.

I reckon I can give myself a mini-goal of hitting 70lbs off for the 25th. That'll be my 5 stone, and into the 11 stones, both of which feel well over the 'halfway' mark when I think of them.

Sunday, March 03, 2013


Weekend of sticking to it. First time in a while too.

Saturday morning I got out to the gym early, was short on time and knew I had to whittle down my workout to fit into an hour - didn't get all my abs circuit done, but felt like I did a good work out considering my legs still felt iffy from Kettlebells on Thursday night. (NB self, do not take a break from training for a fortnight EVER again).

Decided that it's time to up weights/down reps after reading my Nerd Fitness email, Strength Training 101 - because while I don't mind getting some visible muscle going, I want to be STRONG. Not just look it.

Spin 5k - 100rpm

Shoulder press 25kg 3x8
Fly  50kg 3x8
Leg press 90kg 3x8 
Leg extension 47.5kg 3x8
Adductor 35kg 3x8
Abductor 56kg 3x8
Pulldown 50kg 3x8

Static plank 3x 45 seconds
Russian twists with medicine ball 16 taps in all 3 sets

Will up weight again next time, and down reps to 3. Am looking at the strength, power & bone density labels and wanting that Large Effect Scale!

Running in the back of my head is *INeedToBeAbleToDoAPull-upForTheSpartanRace*

Today Sam worked and I made muffins which I DID NOT EAT BUT SAVED FOR TOMORROW. Result.

Really did not want to run tonight, but pushed myself out the door for a mile. Felt slow and achey and wrong, then got some feedback that I was actually going at a decent pace, so shut the head off and just pushed. A mile in 10:05, my fastest mile yet. I am determined to break the 10 minute mark on the treadmill tomorrow. Ugh, I hate treadmills. Going faster means spending less time on the bloody thing.

Am hoping to have dropped the 7lbs I'd put on in my 10 day glutfest, though I know that's a lot to ask in 4 days, I *think* I might squeak it.

Aiming to hit 163lbs by the last weigh in this month. Put me back at needing to lose 3lbs a week to hit my goal for GetReadyForEddie. Need 9 weeks of focus, good clean eating and sweaty workouts.

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Vegetable Stew

Probably my favourite so far. And I don't like stews. Or cider. I am trying to work out how soon I can get away with doing this one again. And sure I need a proper hob/oven casserole dish in its honour.

Ok, wiping away the drool.

  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 4 rashers of smoked back bacon, cut into 1cm wide strips
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 500ml bottle of dry cider
  • 300ml chicken stock, made with 1 chicken stock cube
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400g Chanteney or other small fat carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • 2 slender leeks, trimmed and cut into 2cm slices
  • sea salt
  • ground pepper

  1. Mix the flour and thyme with a good pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper in a large strong freezer bag. Strip the skin off the chicken legs and put them on a board. Break the joint of each leg by bending it in the opposite direction. You may hear a small crack. Cut each leg quarter in half with a sturdy knife to give 8 chicken portions. Using a good set of kitchen scissors, trim off any visible fat.
  2. Put the chicken portions in the freezer bag, a few at a time and shake well until they are evenly coated in the flour. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and fry the chicken, a few pieces at a time, until golden brown all over. As they are browned transfer the chicken pieces to a large flameproof casserole dish. Preheat the oven to 180/Fan 160/Gas 4.
  3. Put the bacon, onions and celery in the pan used for browning the chicken and fry for 4-5 minutes over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring often. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes more, then tip everything into the casserole dish with the chicken pieces. Sprinkle in any flour remaining in the freezer bag and stir well.
  4. Pour about half the cider into the frying pan and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to lift any sediment from the bottom. Simmer for a few seconds, then pour into the casserole. Add the rest of the cider and the stock, then stir in the carrots and bay leaves and bring to a simmer on the hob.
  5. Cover with a lid and cook in the centre of the oven for 1 hour, then remove the casserole from the oven and stir in the leeks. Pop the dish back into the oven for a further 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the sauce thickened. Serve with some green beans or spring greens.

I had chicken thighs in, and so used those instead - worked out at 37 ProPoints for the recipe, or 9 per portion. And WOW, it was worth it. So tasty.

Skinny Beef Lasagne

Lasagne. Good weekend food - made the Hairy Dieter's version yesterday, and did the kids a pasta bake. Kitchen smelt very, very good by the time I was done!!

Less than 30 minspreparation time

1 to 2 hourscooking time

Serves 6


Preparation method

  1. Trim the leeks until they are about the same width as your lasagne dish. Cut the leeks lengthways through to the middle but no further.
  2. Open out the leeks and remove five or six of the narrow leaves from the centre of each leek. Thinly slice these inner leaves. Separate the larger leaves – these will become your ‘lasagne’.
  3. Finely chop half the onion and cut the other half into wedges. Thinly slice the celery and dice the carrots.
  4. Put the minced beef in a large non-stick frying pan with the sliced leeks, chopped onion, celery, carrots and garlic.
  5. Place the pan over a medium-high heat and fry without added fat for about 10 minutes until lightly coloured. You’ll need to break up the mince with a couple of wooden spatulas or spoons as it cooks.
  6. Stir in the chopped mushrooms and cook for 2–3 minutes more. The pan should look fairly dry at this point.
  7. Sprinkle over the plain flour and stir it thoroughly into the mince and vegetables. Slowly stir in the red wine and beef stock. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato purée and dried oregano, then drop a bay leaf into the pan and bring it to a simmer. Season with lots of freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Turn down the heat slightly and leave the mince to simmer for 20–30 minutes until rich and thick, stirring occasionally.
  9. While the mince is cooking, put the onion wedges in a saucepan with the remaining bay leaf. In a small bowl mix three tablespoons of the milk with the cornflour.
  10. Pour the rest of the milk into the pan with the onion wedges and set it over a low heat. Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the milk to infuse for 10 minutes.
  11. Half fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the leek ‘lasagne’ and bring the water back to the boil.
  12. Cook the leeks for five minutes or until very tender. It is important that the leeks are tender or the lasagne will be tricky to cut later.
  13. Drain in a colander under running water until cold. Drain on kitchen paper or a clean tea towel.
  14. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  15. Remove the onion wedges and bay leaf from the infused milk with a slotted spoon, then return the pan to the heat. Give the cornflour and milk mixture a good stir until it is smooth once more and pour it into the pan with the infused milk.
  16. Bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce is smooth and thick.
  17. Season the sauce with a good grating of nutmeg to taste and plenty of ground black pepper.
  18. If the sauce is a little too thick to pour easily, whisk in a couple more tablespoons of milk.
  19. Spoon a third of the mince mixture into a 2.5 litre lasagne dish. Top with a layer of blanched leeks. Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with leeks. Pour the white sauce over the leeks and top with the sliced tomatoes. Mix the cheddar and parmesan cheese and sprinkle all over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden-brown and bubbling.
  20. Divide into portions with your sharpest knife. Serve with a freshly dressed green salad.

Swapped the flour for Gluten Free, and we're good to go! With extra lean beef mince, skimmed milk and weight watchers grated cheese, the ProPoints for the recipe came in at 42. 7 ProPoints a portion (big portion) and well worth it. Yum.