Tag Archives: diet

My Fantasy Food Team

I stepped on the scales this morning – I actually don’t do this very often, as I find it can sometimes have a detrimental effect on how you behave for the rest of the day/week/month if you don’t like what you see. According to my (cheap, old, not very accurate) scales, I now weigh in at 139.5lbs. The half pound is very important because that makes me UNDER 10 stone, that is NINE STONE something. A loss of OVER five stone. Good times.

Anywho, I’ve noticed recently, that a lot of people I know are passing comment on my weightloss (something that actually creeps me out a bit!) & then asking how I’ve done it. Well, there’s no special secret, trick or magic spell. The answer is simple:

Eat better. Move more.

You’ll notice that I’ve said “eat better“, not “eat less“. Whilst limiting calories is an age-old, time-tested way to certainly reduce weight, it is actually more important to make sure that you are eating the right things first. For example, you could calorie count a 1500kcal diet & eat low fat crisps, low fat cheese, and sugar-free sweets till the cal counter tells you you’re done. You’ll have sunk your daily intake, but likely feel hungry, tired, a bit crabby as you are being ‘punished’ on your diet. You’ll also be far more likely to crave more food & make further poor choices.

I’m a huge advocate of snacking. Little healthier snacks between meals will stop you from sugar-crashing & craving a quick fix, like chocolate. Choose things that are full of either proteins or complex carbs, as these will help you to feel fuller for longer.

By eating better – choosing fruits, vegetables, healthy snacks AND the odd treat, you will find that you will not be so hungry, nor as likely to delve in to a huge bar of chocolate. You won’t feel so ‘punished’ if you are full. You won’t feel so terrible if you actually allow yourself an occasional treat*

*a giant bar of chocolate, giant bag of crisps, 3 bottles of wine isn’t a treat – try a small bar of chocolate, a bag of baked crisps or a glass (maybe 2) of wine.

I thought I’d share my food staples with you. These are foods that I eat at least 2/3 times a week. Foods that help me to feel full and that feel like a treat in themselves, when really, they’re all pretty healthy! They might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but give some of them a go:

  • Nakd & Trek Bars – I’ve mentioned these in a previous post. They are still delicious, sweet & sticky – perfect for sweet cravings. They have also just released a Christmas Pud flavour & it is out of this world.
  • Quest Bars – These aren’t for everyone. I spend quite a bit of time doing exercise, both cardio & weights. I am aiming to build strength, build muscle. These delicious protein bars come in heaps of different flavours and feel like a real treat. They are low in carbs, low in cals and high in protein. They are a bit on the £££ side of the snack world, but for me, they are totally worth it & they are a MILLION times better than a yucky protein shake!
  • Yoghurts – Either plain, fat free greek yoghurt (I like fage total the best), or, Danio fruit minis, or Liberte fruit layers. All low in fat and low in cals, but thick & creamy, so quite filling.
  • Fruit – I eat heaps of fruit. If I’m feeling lazy (and likely to reach for something worse), I’ll get the pre-prep packs from the shops, but most of the time, I’ll prepare it myself. Try freezing grapes as a great sub for sweets. Eat alongside other foods to make it go further & fill you up even more. Grab up a sack of clementines – seasonal & the perfect size for snacking on. A good ol’ banana is a powerhouse!
  • Marks and Spencer’s Guilt-Free Snack Range – The crisps that these guys sell are great, mostly around or under 100kcals per pack. Huge range of flavours. My faves are the sour cream and chilli lentil curls & the little bacon lentil tubes. Also a great pesto chickpea shell flavour available too. Perfect substitute for ‘normal’ crisps.
  • Popcorn – Amazing stuff. My fave brands are metcalfes (the sweet & salt and the  heat & sweet are to die for). Also try portlebay – the lemon sherbert flavour is unbelievable! Popcorn is relatively low in cals and the flavoured varieties make it feel like a special treat.
  • Rice-cakes – These are a bit of a new revelation for me. My faves at the mo are made by Kallo. There is a great kiddy range that are strawberry yoghurt & come pre-packed in 2s. Also give their dark choc and orange flavour a go!
  • Quorn – low fat, low cal, protein source & really reasonably priced. The family ‘chicken’ roast is so good & ridiculously good value!
  • Ryvita – great source of fibre, low in fat, low in cals and perfect for topping with delicious stuff. My fave topping is cottage cheese, ham, fig and basil.
  • Warburtons Wholemeal Pitta Halves – I don’t eat much bread, but these are high in fibre and relatively low cal. Great to eat with soup.
  • Low Fat Cottage cheese – great source of protein and low in fat & cals. Great as a topping, or as a replacement for mayo. Chuck in on crackers, mix in to tuna, blob it on soup, spread on ham and add a gherkin for a roll-up snack, use it in cooking & baking too.
  • Protein powders – these are great for whipping up great snacks. I’ve got the protein powder cookbook & the banana bread & vanilla blueberry muffins are super delicious and quick to make. Most of the recipes are low carb, low fat, high protein & made with great stuff like coconut flour.
  • Oats – I eat these mostly as porridge (made with skimmed milk), but also use them in lots of recipes
  • Soup – the days are getting colder and darker & soup is great for lunch. Make your own where possible, but for those of you with limited time or without the inclination to make it, there are some very good pre-prepped stuff in supermarkets now. Just try to avoid aby that have cheese or bacon/chorizo in, as these will be higher in fat and therefore, higher in cals too.
  • Vegetables – A bit of a no-brainer, but eating loads of veg will help to fill you up. Eat it raw, steamed, boiled, roasted. As a quick side dish, I like to chop loads of crunchy veggies up and chuck in a spoon of plain greek yoghurt, some lemon juice and some herbs & seasoning – perfect speedy sort-of coleslaw!
  • Veg chips – some days only chips will do – unless you can make veg chips! I like to make veg chips using carrot, parsnip, sweet potato and sometimes bog-standard normal potatoes. A teeny bit of oil, a good non-stick baking tray, hot hot hot oven and a great seasoning mix (I use semolina, for crunch, a little sea salt and some paprika and cumin). So good, give them a try!
  • Hognuts Nutbutters – A relatively new find for me. So delicious, loads of gorgeous flavours of nut butter – all hand blended & high in protein. Great toast topper, awesome stirred in to oats, or baked in to a protein cookie!

This isn’t an exhaustive list, by any means, but they are certainly favourites of mine. I try to avoid full fat cheeses and fatty meats such as salami or sausages. I don’t eat very much bread or pasta, but when I do, I eat wholemeal, where possible. I limit my alcohol intake and don’t drink at all during the week. I generally have a day of ‘relaxed’ eating at the weekend, especially if there’s a birthday or if friends are over. I do still put everything in to myfitnesspal though – even if it is wayyyyyyy over what I should have had – I find that by doing this, it does make you think & ask yourself whether you should really have that extra slice of cake or not – the answer is usually not! 😉

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My Top 10 Tips for Fitness and Weightloss

I’m no expert, or fitness/nutrition professional (so, clearly, these are just my opinions & observations of my own journey), but I have managed to shed over 4stone and drop almost 4 dress sizes, since January – and you know what, it really hasn’t been that difficult!

Here are my top 10 tips on how to get fit and lose/maintain weightloss:

  1. Get in the ‘zone’;

There is absolutely no point you reading any further if you are not 100% ready to do this. You need to look at your end goals and how you want to achieve them. If you want to starve yourself for 3 days and hope that it works, it won’t, you’re doing it wrong.

Look at yourself like a car – you need fuel to function, so starving or heavily restricting your diet is rubbish, you will just eat away at any muscle you have & store fat, so it’s a lose lose situation. Work out why you want to lose weight. For me, I was fed up of looking like a lard meatball, a flabby, unrecognisable heap of my former self (for the record, I have NEVER been ‘skinny, but I could at least shop in the high street stores before!).

You also need to move to keep working. Think of the last time you saw a car that has been parked up for an age – rusty, bits fallen off, won’t start – yup, you want to avoid that scenario where possible! My goal has never been to be ‘thin’ it is to be healthy, and that is where the difference lies.

2. Be time efficient;

“I don’t have time to exercise”

“I’m too busy”

“It’s too hot/too cold”

“I’m tired”

I definitely used to say these, there was always a good ‘reason’ as to why I was fat and why I didn’t do any exercise. Well, here is the answer to those ‘reasons’:

“Those that really want to do something find a way; those that don’t, find an excuse”

Occasionally, I find myself trying to think of excuses to get out of running, doing a workout or cycling, but you know what? Nothing is MAKING me do any of it, I CHOSE to do it, so I don’t have to get up and move my ass, but if I don’t, what would make me get up the next time? I find that excuses lead to excuses. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to have rest days, you don’t have to kill yourself every day, but think of even walking to the shops as a mini workout – just get moving a bit every day.

Get up half an hour earlier and do a workout. Do a mini workout whilst watching the TV in the evening. Do some weights or squats when you’ve got 5minutes spare (& yes, EVERYONE has at least 5 spare minutes in a day – even ‘very busy’ people). Ride a stationary bike whilst reading a book.

Find. The. Time.

3. Fuel yourself;

It is so important to eat right if you want to change & if you want to see any kind of results. I do do quite a bit of exercise now (you wouldn’t have read that from me last year!!), but if I was still drinking a bottle of wine a night and eating take out every day, I wouldn’t see much change. You need to take a holistic approach to it, so food and fitness go together.

Don’t restrict your foods or calories drastically, you will fail, or make yourself ill. The biggest annoyance for me is when people say, “oooh, which diet are you on?!” – well, I’m not on any diet. I can eat whatever I want, I just eat less & I try to make good food choices, for example:

WANT CRISPS – have some popcorn

WANT CHOCOLATE – have a cocoa nakd bar

WANT WINE – have sparkling water

WANT CHIPS – make carrot chips, or, just have a half portion of chips if you really really want them.

I also give myself ‘cheat days’ – typically at the weekend, because we usually see friends or family, so I can have wine, I can eat chips, I can have dessert, I can have cocktails and cheese, but you know what, I just eat less than I would have done when I was bigger and I try to offset it with exercise.

I also try to really focus on eating more protein – I’d rather have 2 helpings of protein and then either none or a half helping of carbs – I’m not on a low carb scheme or anything, but I KNOW that protein will help to keep me full and will help with building and retaining muscle tone, in combination with exercise. (I ADORE QUEST & CLIF BARS!!)

4. Gear yourself up;

If you are totally serious about getting fit, then there are a few things that I would totally recommend buying or downloading:

  • myfitnesspal app (free) – allows really easy tracking of foods and nutrition, tailored to your weight and goals
  • fitbit (£) – I have a flex, it is BRILLIANT – read my review here
  • 30 day shred DVD (£) – I CANNOT recommend this highly enough
  • freeletics app (free version) – for when you have been working out for a little while!!
  • a piece of gym equipment (£) – I have a stationary bike and a crosstrainer. I would totally recommend getting a little fold up exercise bike, not too costly (especially if you grab it in a sale, or secondhand)
  • get some hand weights (£) – you’ll need these for 30 day shred anyway, but you can use them independently, you know, for your 5minute workout.
  • enter a race (£) – set yourself a real challenge. Race for life is a good starting point. I completed my first last month – read about it here.

5. Hydrate;

Water. Just drink lots of water. You don’t need energy drinks, you need good food & lots of water (and sometimes a berocca tablet!).

6. Dump the Car and Move it;

Quit driving everywhere. Use your legs to walk. Walk to the shops, carry your shopping back in a rucksack!

My 3 year old can walk pretty far now as we traipse about everywhere, plus, we get to have silly chats on the way.

If you have to drive to work, park further from the building, use the stairs. Get off the bus a few stops early etc etc. See everything as a possible challenge. Do it. Move it.

7. Donate or sell your ‘fat clothes’;

Every time I try on some clothing that is too big, I put it in a charity shop pile. When I get a nice little stack of clothes together, I take them round to our local charity shop. This takes away my safety blanket, I can’t get bigger again, because I’ll have no clothes & I really really don’t want to have to buy bigger sizes again. Plus, it’s always good to give to charity, much better than chucking them out or hoarding them in the loft! 😉

If they are fancy or expensive clothes, you could also try your hand at selling them, then using the money you make to buy new, smaller clothes.

8. Involve your friends and family;

It is much easier to stay on track with your new lifestyle, if everyone around you is involved. I’m not suggestion that you get Grandma up and running a marathon with you, but she might like a stroll (or push, if she is in a wheelchair) around the park.

Feed your family whatever you were planning to eat – my hardened carnivore of a husband, now actually likes ‘meat-free meat’ and tofu, my 3 year old will eat fruit and vegetables till the cow comes home!

Get outside as much as you can. See if your sister or brother want to come with you to a race, even if it is just to spectate.

The more you all move about, the easier and more natural it becomes 🙂

9. Don’t Beat Yourself Up;

Remember, YOU are the one that is choosing to do this, NO ONE is forcing you. If you choose to have a day off, then do. If you choose to eat an entire chocolate bar, then fine – your choice. But try to look at things in the long-run. If having a rest, or eating something a bit naughty & delicious will stop you from reaching your end goal completely, then don’t do it, but, hey, we’re all allowed a day off here and there.

This is a lifestyle, NOT a temporary diet.

Which leads me on to…

10. Never, ever, ever quit;

Progress is progress, no matter how slow. But quitting will stop you from reaching your goals, always.

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What’s Hiding in Lisa’s Food Cupboard?!

Here we have our first guest on our ‘In Your Cupboard’ section – where we take a nosey through the cupboards of the food-obsessed & awesome.

Today, I introduce to you, Lisa Long from More than Words. I got to know Lisa through our businesses & have met up with her at a couple of business conferences/meet ups/workshops. Not only is Lisa absolutely lovely, friendly and super helpful, she also looks amazing – here’s hoping that her cupboards hold the secret to looking good!

I’ll pass you over to Lisa now & see what she loves and recommends:

I love to try to stick to a non-processed, clean diet.  Obviously I have slip ups but as long as I stick to the 80/20 rule I’m happy with that.  I love fresh juices which I make as often as I can…we also have our own chickens so have an abundance of essential eggs!

lisa5lisa3At the moment I’m actually giving the 5:2 diet a go…more for the health benefits and to shift the last of the winter pounds.  500 calories two days a week then clean eating for the rest of the week.  Weekends I do have the odd drink and take away 😉 I work out 3 times a week, either running 5-6K or a fitness video such as Jillian Michaels (my favourite).  I’ve taken a break from the gym as I find it easier to juggle running my own business, two young boys and a workout if I do quick bursts from home or outside.

lisa2lisa4lisa

Wow, thanks Lisa, what an awesome selection of cupboard staples! A totally healthy way to approach a sensible diet with the 80/20 rule – by not absolutely denying yourself certain foods or drinks, you are much more likely to be able to stick with a plan, also, not beating yourself up about a few drinks or a takeaway is good too. Good nutrition is a lifelong plan, not a quick fix. Everything in moderation! I totally get the flexible exercising rather than hitting the gym – I do this too, so I can work it around everything. I’ve not tried the 5:2 diet yet, but have seen lots of people giving it a go recently & it really seems to work for them. Have any of you tried it out yet? How do you find it?

Are you food, nutrition, diet and fitness obsessed? Would you like to share your cupboard with us? Drop me a message using the contact form on the ‘about‘ page, or mail me on: info {at} cherrypielane.co.uk.

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On the road to better…

When I started my ‘new life’ in January, I was fully expecting to have given up and gone back to my old ways by March.

After having a baby in 2010 (and subsequently eating and drinking the world for 3 whole years), I rocketed from 10stone to 15, yes, FIFTEEN!! I had gone from a size 10 to almost a size 20 in just 3 years.

Whilst I spent a lot of this time trying to justify to myself that it was fine, because I was happy & I could eat and drink what I wanted. The reality was, that I was a bit miserable. I looked absolutely awful. Clothes didn’t sit right, I could no longer look thinner by trying to hold my stomach in. I had to live in black clothes to help disguise my figure. The awful, flabby, saggy, stretched sight that met me in the mirror every morning made me look like I was a pensioner, not the mere 30years that I was.

It really was a case of ‘enough is enough’. I was fed up with looking awful. With waking every morning feeling awful after too much wine the night before… every morning. I knew I had managed to diet successfully in the past. I’ve been a constant up and down with my weight since my early teens. But this, this was a challenge and a half. I had 5 stone to lose. I’m still not there yet.

I knew I had to approach this in a different way. From previous experience, I knew that I could cut out loads of food groups or types of food and cut way back on calories & lose a fair amount of weight quite quickly. But, I also know, from previous experience, that this makes me miserable. By denying myself things I really enjoy, I know that I’ll be grumpy & that the weight will fly back on as soon as I reached my target weight.

The plan this time was a lifestyle change. Something that I can actually stick to. Something that doesn’t put me in a food prison & make me miserable and snappy.

I chose to work with a personal trainer once a week. I use Emma Rogers Personal Training, who is fairly local to me. I also wanted to work with someone who wasn’t going to push me so hard that I give up, someone who would listen and be supportive.

Alongside once weekly PT sessions, I also used the 30 day shred DVD from Jillian Michaels. I know this seems to be a bit of a ‘marmite’ type of workout. People either love it or hate it. I knew it would be tough and figured I’d fall in to the hater category, but you know what? If you stick to it (I do it usually 2/3 mornings a week), you really really do see results. I have so much more tone than before. I can actually feel limbs changing. I love it.

I also bought a cheapy fold up exercise bike & have set myself a goal of doing 1200km this year – I’m currently set to go way over that, but I know I need to keep going till the end of the year!

On days that I’m not doing PT, the shred or cycling, I try to walk as much as I can. Luckily for me, it is impossible to park near my house, so I barely ever take the car anywhere – this forces me to walk to the supermarket & to carry all my shopping home.

I also recently scored a total bargain of a cross trainer on ebay  – but I’ll write about that another time – it is awesome!

I have also begun to really enjoy gardening – the end of our garden is a little allotment & it is bloomin’ hard work to keep that going – lots of digging, lifting, carrying. So, I’m not only growing lovely fresh, healthy food, but also burning a whole bunch of calories too.

My diet has become more focused. I don’t drink during the week now & I limit how much I can drink over the weekend. I am using myfitnesspal to help track my calories and also to check that I am eating the right amounts of carbs, fats and proteins. I have really concentrated on upping my proteins to help with all the additional exercise I am now doing… hence my very obvious addiction to all the protein snack bars I keep finding!

Anyway, I stepped on the scales this morning & I have just broken the 12stone barrier. I am now sitting at 166lbs, that’s 11stone 12lbs. Still a long way to go (1stone 12lbs), and I’m sure this will be the hardest and slowest bit of the loss so far. I am determined to reach 140lbs and to be able to comfortably wear size 12, or even, maybe size 10 clothes again.

I know I’m never going to look super hot, nor be able to strut about in a bikini – I have got totally ruined skin from pregnancy and breastfeeding – my stomach, chest and thighs are beyond gross, but I’ll be happy if I can at least look good in some nice clothes.

No excuses this time, it’s fit or fat. I’ve done fat & it sucks, so let’s go with fit.

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Best produce EVER!

And, the award for the best produce ever, goes to…

photo 5Sainburys, for their Tomberries.

Have you been under a rock and not noticed these amazing little guys? I first found them last year and was distraught that they are only about for what seems like 5minutes. This is a definite piece of total tomato genius.

The tomberry is a teeny tiny little tomato with teeny tiny little seeds inside. They are perfect for salads, snacks, dropping into cous cous, pasta, soups. I’ve found that a 3year old also thinks that they are “really cute” and will gobble them up faster than the speed of light. The real advantage of a tomberry over, say, a diced tomato, is that it doesn’t make everything wet.

You know when you make a great bean salad, but it gets a bit too juicy at the bottom as the chopped bits of tomato spill their juice over everything? Well, problem solved with these guys. Having a complete skin means no leaking of tomato juice and no soggy salads.

My personal favourite thing to do with these teeny delights, is to drop them in to a hot bowl of soup. They are small enough to just warm through and then ‘pop’ when you eat them. So good, like little jewels.

Mr Sainburys, I beg of you, please please find a way to keep these in stock all year round, they are just totally perfect!

*This is not a sponsored post, I just really really love them!*

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Rude Health Veg Bars

Beetroot? Pumpkin? Delicious snack bar? Oh yes!

rude health pumpkinI’m sure that most of you are familiar with the delicious products that Rude Health bring to us. My two current favourites are the vegetable snack bars – pumpkin and beetroot.

These are just brilliant, so delicious. Due to the veg content, they are not overly sweet, which is great for me. They are a sticky, slightly chewy, cakey type bar & perfect for a snack, or part of a meal – I love them with fruit and a yoghurt for breakfast.

The pumpkin bar has a hint of pumpkin pie about it. A classic combination of warm spices and pumpkin. Perfect with a cup of tea and as filling as a slice of cake too.

rude health beetrootThe beetroot is a deep red/purple colour, with a definite beetroot taste. More savoury than the pumpkin, but still sweet enough to make it feel like a treat. This is my favourite 4pm snack.

Both bars are totally natural, containing ingredients such as dates, almonds, beetroot, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, apple and apple juice, cinnamon, ginger, sunflower oil. They are also dairy free, gluten & wheat free, vegan and vegetarian.

Grab a couple of these up and give them a go, you won’t regret it – they are super yummy and at around 120kcals, they are the perfect between meal snack!

*This is not a sponsored post, I just really really love them!*

 

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Nakd Bars, My Saviour.

So, I get through A LOT of these. Really, a serious amount of them.

nakdIn a bid to shift 5 stone (yes, you read that right FIVE STONE) of post baby, cake and wine induced lard, I have taken to exercising and eating healthily. Read: no days of golden arches for every meal, washed down with 4bottles of wine and gin.

I tend to be very good at this healthy business for about 4 months & then it usually goes down the pan. This time, I have stuck at it since the start of the year & not really feeling like I’m missing out.

I reckon that nakd bars have been the secret.

These dudes come in every flavour ever – apple, rhubarb and custard, pecan pie, cocoa orange (heavenly), mint choc, berry etc. My new faves of theirs are the protein crunch bars – if you like the taste of banana, you HAVE to try the yellow variety, so so sooooo good.

Most bars come in at around 100-135Kcals, give or take, but they actually fill you up. There are no nasties hiding in there, they are dairy, wheat and gluten free, suitable for veggies too. They are just delicious sticks of squished dates, nuts and a few other bits and bobs.

Try also their delicious cola flavour raisins – if you like cola bottles, you are in for a (less than 70kcal) treat!

I follow their facebook page to get all the best deals and offers when they pop up & then order in bulk – wouldn’t wanna run out now, eh?!

*This is not a sponsored post, I just really really love them!*

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