If any of you know me, you will know that I have a keen passion for healthy eating and lifestyle.
With the current situation, it can be very challenging to eat well or exercise or in fact do a bit of both!
As a member of Slimming World for over 3 years I have learnt a few trick along the way, that said, the last couple of weeks have really been difficult for me too so I have had to re-evaluate my own lifestyle.
When you go to work every day, you will have a routine of when you will eat and when you will eat it. Some people will have breakfast before leaving home, others will take it with them. Lunch is usually something you made the night before or a quick run to Tesco in your lunch break. What ever it is, you had a structure and with the exception of the work biscuit tin, you had it all under control.
Now you are working from home, suddenly everything has changed. Not least because the supermarket shopping has been a bit like playing bingo. It is times of change like this that can have a dramatic impact on our eating habits. This in turn can impact our health and well being. So what can we do about it? Here are a few tips that I find work for me:-
Plan – Even though you are at home, still plan when you are going to eat and what you are going to eat. If possible, keep to a structure – eating at specific times. The night before plan all your meals for the next day. If you can, why not prepare them then too. It will stop you deviating from what you planned. Just because you are at home, doesn’t mean you can’t still make up your pack lunch!
Stop – It is a known fact that people who sit at the table with no distractions such as computers or TV eat less. Use mealtimes as family time, or time to relax. You will find you will enjoy your food a lot more.
Water – Water is vital throughout the day. Sometimes hunger is actually thirst. Have a glass of water with your meals. You will feel full quicker.
Creative – Be creative with your cooking. I know that with the limited fresh food available recently I’ve really had to be creative with some of my meals. It is a great way to bring new ingredients to your table. Don’t be afraid to try different things. Ask friends and family for ideas. I have a little book that I keep and when something springs into my mind I write it down. I then work on that to come up with new recipes. It doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time to prepare. If it fails there is always beans on toast!
One of my favourite programmes was Ready Steady Cook. I watched every episode and have all their recipe magazines – and there were lots. This is what gave me the inspiration to cook. If you haven’t seen the programme it is on again now, or try and get it on catch up. It might inspire you too.
Snacking – I’m not going to say don’t do it because that would be unrealistic. However, I will ask you to carefully think about why you are snacking? Is it boredom? Are you lonely? Sometimes, snacking is to replace something that we are missing. If you fancy a snack give yourself 15 minutes. Try to distract yourself with something. If you still want it then, then have it, but in moderation. If you want chocolate only have a square then wait another 15 minutes! Better still, don’t have it in the house or choose healthy snacks such as fruit. Boring I know but you will be glad of it after a few weeks of working at home!
The next thing to consider is exercise. With the current restrictions of only being about to go out for an hour once a day, I am sure many of you have suddenly found your steps have dramatically reduced.
Exercise not only helps us regulate our weight it is also good for our health especially our lungs and heart.
Plan into your day 1 hour of exercise. It can be just walking the dog, or taking the kids for a stroll around the estate. It doesn’t matter what it is, just getting outside will make you feel a whole lot better.
When you are back at home, try and be active as much as possible. Have a little jig when cooking dinner or brushing your teeth. Put some music on and dance around the room! Instead of going up and down the stairs with your hands full, take one item at a time. You will be amazed at how many more steps you will get in that way.
We don’t know how long these restrictions will go on for. However long they last, make sure you are looking after yourself inside and out.
If you want some help with ideas for recipes I am more than happy to help.
Wow, what great weather we had this weekend! So who has a Braai? Ok BBQ? Yep it has the be done.
We went the whole hog and had 2! First one Friday night and another last night. You have to love eating outside.
Last nights Braai was all about using the leftovers. It’s amazing what you can create with a bit of imagination.
Saturday temperatures reached over 34 degrees for us! Not that I sat out in it myself! Oh no! We had friends round on the evening so first things first I needed to catch up on the housework! It has to be done especially with 2 malting dogs!
Talking of malting dogs, they do struggle when it’s so warm! Fido thankfully knows how to cool down. He stands in the shower waiting for someone to turn the taps in for him!!
Anyway, back to the friends coming for dinner. As it was going to be such a lovely day I decided the menu needed to reflect that.
Hubby offered to make his prawn soup! It’s light but very tasty. Perfect for a hot summer evening.
For main, I opted for pineapple and salmon kebabs with Jerk seasoning, with home grown new potatoes and a pomegranate and feta salad. As a salad dressing I made a Dijon mustard dressing. So far all free on Slimming World, but still tasty.
Now, this is where it got interesting. For dessert, I decided on an ice cream cake. Well why wouldn’t you!
The cake requires 2 layers of ice cream and a raspberry coulis, topped with a ginger biscuit layer! Sounds fab doesn’t it! And it was apparently (I made a syn free version for me).
The problem I had was the weather! I mean, when it’s over 34 degrees outside, how are you supposed to stop the layers melting while constructing them!
It was a case of moving very quickly and having a hubby on hand to open freezer doors for you!
I published a video of it here!
I had to laugh when I watched it back. I looked quite fresh at the start of it! By the end I was definitely wilting !!
The main thing is the food went down a treat! Note to myself though! Don’t try it again unless it’s about 10 degrees cooler!
I’m not complaining though! I love it when it’s hot hot hot !
Do you ever read a magazine or see something on TV that gets your creative juices going? Over the years I have!
In previous years it’s been Jamie’s 15 minute meals, The Hairy Bikers and of course not forgetting, Ready Steady Cook.
My current favourite has to be The Pioneer Women. I’m totally hooked. I’ve even series linked all her episodes.
So who is The Pioneer Women? Ree Drummond! I love her nick name Ree. Her real name is Ann Marie. My own name is Maria but have always been known as Marie to my family. As a kid my nickname was Me Me. My nieces still call me it. Ree is such a great nickname for Marie!
Ree seems to have an amazing life, living on a ranch in Oklahoma in America. She is married to a real cowboy – Ladd – and has 4 children. How romantic does that sound?
Her cooking is every day cooking from dinners to desserts, to things that keep the kids happy!
She always starts the programme with the phrase ‘welcome to my frontier’.
Ree started off blogging about her time on the ranch back in 2006. Her blogs have even won awards.
In 2011 The Food Network awarded her her own Series called what else – The Pioneer Women!
She prepares every day meals from chicken pie, pork ribs, chicken dinner, pork chops to easy desserts and cakes in her lodge. I think she is now up to series 20!
What I love about her is that she showcases her food in such a way that you can easily transfer that to your own kitchen. She doesn’t use fancy gadgets, just everyday pots and pans like we have.
You have to sometimes translate some of the ingredients as we call some things a different name here in the UK.
I love sitting down in the evening and catching up on an episode. Last night she did a beef stroganoff. I haven’t done one for ages. It’s definitely something I’m planning for next week now.
Now when I say she inspires me, that is exactly what she does. I wouldn’t cook her meals exactly to her recipe as she uses ingredients I wouldn’t, because I’m on Slimming World. Don’t get me wrong, her cooking is amazing and my hubby would eat them just as they are. I just need to shift a few pounds as you know, so a tweak would be needed for me.
She uses cream, butter, oil and salt. All things I wouldn’t use. This is where the inspiration comes in! I look at what she makes and try to work out how I can do it for me on Slimming World. Most things can of course be changed. There are some things she makes though that you definately wouldn’t want to mess with, like her chocolate episode! Marshmallows covered in chocolate and cookie pieces! I think my nieces would have a great time making those.
On the whole though, her recipes easily transfer into syn free versions. This is what I love about cooking. Taking great ideas and making them your own.
I’d love to cook alongside Ree and create great meals together that taste good but work for Slimming World too. Obviously that isn’t her cooking style or requirement. I should image with the work they do on the ranch, they soon burn off any calories.
Ree is such a natural presenter. It’s like a friend showing you how they cooked dinner tonight. She is so easy to watch and I’m also loving following her life on the ranch. Watching her children growing up and going off to college!
If you haven’t seen her programme before, go along to The Food Network and check her out! Maybe she will inspire you to get into the kitchen too!
So today I’d planned the topic of my blog out! It was supposed to be titled ‘The Sun is out, the sky is blue!’. Well the sun is definitely not out and the sky is a grubby shade of grey!
The weather reports have been promising us a heatwave. Europe is steeped in temperatures in the 40’s. We were not going to get those type of temperatures, but in the 20’s is still good for me!
Yesterday was a horrible day. It did start off around 18 degrees and humid, but oh boy did it rain. I really considered not taking the dogs out, but then that wouldn’t be fair. Being Border Collies they have so much energy. If you don’t exercise them you know about it! Especially Lola who is currently going through the terrible 2’s!
So I popped on a pair of shorts and raincoat. Yes you heard right, shorts. I figured that wet legs would be more comfortable than wet trousers or jeans! And I was right!
By the time we got back the 3 of us were dripping wet. I was able to jump into the hot shower but the dogs had to settle for a rub-a-dub-dub! In normal speak, a towel dry!
The downside to wet dogs is that smell! Eek! Lots of Scentsy wax warmers were needed. I tried opening windows but the rain was just heavy!
Thankfully it finally stopped late afternoon, but not before it had dropped around 50mm of rain! I know that as I bought my hubby a weather station for Christmas. It’s great for keeping a check on what the weather really did in our area.
Working at home yesterday meant I had time to be creative in the kitchen last night. I do love having that extra hour our so. I’ve posted one of my videos from that session here:
Tomorrow I will publish my gorgeous breakfast cakes.
After an amazing dinner it was time to relax, in anticipation of the heatwave today!
I woke up all excited this morning. I dressed in shorts and a fleece!
As I stepped out of the house it dawned on me. Instead of sun it was raining. That was not forecast!
We had a drizzly walk. Quite cool too! I’m not loving this.
It’s nearly July and I can count on 1 hand the sunny days we have had this year! I’m so disappointed.
I’m praying now that this is just a blip! Tomorrow I’m going to be swamped in that heatwave.
If you are a member of Slimming World you will know there are so many recipe books out there. I think I have most of them.
Every so often, if you buy a 12 week countdown you get one for free!
I must be honest, recently I’ve been a little bit negative about them producing another book. What else could they come up with. I mean, they have the BBQ, Soups, One Pot, Meals for One, meals using 5 ingredients, desserts, the list goes on!
The recent one is called SP Sensations. I received mine as part of a 12 week countdown a few weeks ago!
I took it home expecting it to go into my recipe book cupboard, never to see the light of day!
That evening as I ate dinner I flicked through. Suddenly I found myself leaving markers of things I liked! Oh wow, this book truly was different and amazing.
Suddenly I had an increased urge to be more creative in the kitchen. I got my groceries app out and started my weekly shopping list!
Turkey with Chorizo, Tuna Niscose are my first dishes. Hubby tasted them and was amazed at the flavours!
Another dish was cinnamon prawns! I think I actually got ‘you have excelled yourself’ from hubby on this one!
Even where I haven’t used the recipe exactly, it’s inspired other dishes.
The other night I made the Gong Bao Chicken. The recipe is for 4. As I only needed it for 2 I still made up the oyster sauce mix for 4, so I could use the left over to create a dish last night. Which I have to say was amazing. I will be posting that dish on my YouTube channel on Friday!
Suddenly dinner times are exciting again. I’m no longer tired or bored of having to think of meals every night to cook. I can’t wait to get home and produce something amazing.
When you have only 2 hours every evening to cook, prepare breakfast and lunch for the next day, eat and do everything else that you need to do before going to bed to start the day again the next day, it’s easy to get into a rut. This new book has completely reenergised me!
So if you are able, go get this book. If you can’t, then make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel to see my creations, as I share them with you!
Have you ever had a taste for a specific dish, or seen something on the TV or in a magazine but you don’t have a recipe?
This happens to me all the time. The other one I get from my hubby is ‘my mum used to make ……’. When asked how she made it, of course he never has a clue!
This week when at my Slimming World group, we were given a sneak preview to a new cookery book which feature meals for Extra Easy SP meals.
I’ll be honest, when I heard there would be another recipe book, I’d decided not to buy it without even seeing it. I have so many already which I don’t use all the time. I also couldn’t think what else they could bring out that would be worth me buying another time one!
As I flicked through, there were so many recipes I loved. It’s not on sale yet as it will be part of a 12 week countdown. As I’m so close to target It won’t be worth me buying one. Well I keep telling myself that! I’ve been messing about for 18 months now trying to get into my target range again!
For me, the motivation has slightly gone as everyone especially hubby doesn’t want me to lose that 7lb again, but I do!
Anyway back to the book! I know it will be a couple of months before I’ll be able to buy it.
There was one specific recipe that really caught my eye! Moroccan Lamb! Now if you know me, you will know I don’t eat lamb, but I thought it would be great with chicken!
I tried to memorise it in my head!
The next day I planned to make it! I couldn’t however remember what liquid was required. It certainly wasn’t in the ingredients so maybe it was in the instructions which I hadn’t really read!
I contacted my consultant who kindly sent me a photo.
So last night I set about to make the dish I’d been dreaming of all day!
I got all the ingredients ready from what I had remembered. I grabbed my phone to check them against the pictures my consultant had sent!
As I looked at my phone the colour drained! I’d somehow deleted the message! Can you believe it!
I was not going to be put off! I decided I would make it anyway using my memory of the recipe and my own cooking knowledge.
Here is what I did:
I love experimenting with food! I never let not having the recipe stop me being creative!
If it doesn’t turn out quite right first time, try it again a different way! It might not taste exactly like the one on TV or in that magazine, but who cares! If you like it, then that is all that matters.
So what you waiting for? Get into the kitchen and start being creative! You will be amazed at what you will come up with. It will also bring variety back into you mealtimes.
As with most things in life, if you do something long enough you can get into a rut!
I have been on Slimming World now for over 2 years, and food is no exception to that. Don’t get me wrong, just joining Slimming World opened up a whole new array of goods. Who knew about quark before Slimming World? I didn’t. And now I have it every day. I absolutely love it! It is fair to say, I think it has transformed my life. I use it for breakfast, sauces, desserts, dips etc. You name it, I’ve probably used it for something. Its also a free food on the plan. Bonus!
Another new food for me was Grapenuts. Great to add into yoghurts and are a HEB. That was 2 years ago, and I have since kept to the same sort of food groups. Don’t get me wrong, I am very good at making different recipes up, and being creative as my Youtube Channel will show, but as my weight has sort of settled down, I wanted to try and see if I could find other food items out there!
The best place to find new things is certainly by staying to group, but also social media is a good place to look.
The last 2 months, I decided to start pushing myself to try something new every few weeks.
The first one was by complete accident. My mum bought a health bar but didn’t want it, so gave it to me. It had been sitting in my bag for a few weeks! With SW you can have up to 15 syns a day, but I always try to avoid syns. The only time I really allow myself to have them is at the weekend for my @slimlinewine. At 3.5 syns for 125 ml, I can enjoy a good quality wine, and still protect my weight!
I had been looking at this bar in my bag but too nervous to eat it! It was going to be so high in syns wasn’t it! I was hungry one day at work, but was avoiding the biscuits and chocolate. I decided to have a look on the SW App to see the syns of this bar. It was 11 syns! I decided I should go for it. It sounded a lot, but it was in my syns so why not! I’m so glad I did, as it was absolutely delicious. Packed full of nuts, it really filled me up for the rest of the day until dinner!
It got me thinking about what other snacks were out there that would fill me up, but not break the syns bank. 11 syns is very high for me, but surely there must be other foods out there not so high that I could enjoy.
I was looking through Facebook the other day and came across an advert for Missfits. @Missfitsnutrition they sell protein snacks and shakes, which are also suitable for vegans. I decided to have a look on their site. They were formed in 2016 by a group of ladies who felt there wasn’t much out there for ladies looking for protein items.
They were offering a taster pack for £3 from £11.99. I thought this was too good an opportunity not to explore. I looked on the SW App for their syns, but couldn’t find them. I decided to buy them anyway. I could work out the syns when I get them!
Now I have to say, the service from start to finish has been absolutely excellent! When I put my order in, it wouldn’t allow me to put in my discount code (Taste3), so I was charged the full price. When I contacted them, they immediately refunded me the difference!
Their products have no refined sugar and all natural ingredients. Delivery was free and quick. The pack arrived yesterday and I was so excited to see what was in it.
I received: 2x Chocolate Vegan Protein Multitasker (25g), 2x Vanilla Vegan Protein Multitasker (25g), 2 x Cacao Orange Protein Wonderballs (35g), 2 x Coconut Protein Wonderballs (35g)
I was so excited to try them, but first of all checked out the syn value on the SW Syn Calculator. The shakes were 4 syns whilst the coconut wonderballs 6 and orange 5. I was really impressed.
Obviously it would be rude not to sample both flavours of wonderballs wouldn’t it! Wow, they were both delicious.
The orange flavour is a cross between a truffle and a chocolate orange, while the coconut tastes like one of my favourite childhood sweets, coconut mushrooms! I had to finish the opened bag of coconut ones last night! I was tempted to finish the orange bag too, but decided they are just too good to rush!
I haven’t tried the shakes yet, but I will be very soon. I’m planning to have them after a gym session one day!
They help you overcome your sugar craving without breaking the syn bank. Because they are high in protein, they fill you up longer too!
I was absolutely blown away by this product. If you are in the market for protein or vegan snacks or shakes, you seriously have to visit this website:
I’m not vegan, but these are still high on my list of must haves. I’m going to be ordering more. I’m especially interested in trying the salted caramel and cocoa ones.
I’m looking forward to getting home this evening to enjoy my orange wonderballs! I doubt the other 2 packs will be around by the end of next week. I am certainly hiding them from hubby! They are too nice to share!
So guys, for 5-6 syns you could have a really healthy, delicious, nutritious, high protein snack. Why would you use your syns on chocolate when you can have a bag of Missfits?
Give them a go with their taster pack and don’t forget to use the code to buy them for £3. You won’t regret it, I promise!
I’m on my way home now after an amazing weekend with friends!
Our friends live in Bridgend in Wales. After feeling very guilty about how long it’s been since we last visited them, we put a date in our diaries!
So yesterday we drove the 2 1/2 hours to see them. Now if you know me, Wales and I just don’t get on when it comes to the weather! For some reason it always rains on me! This weekend however it was kind! The sun came out. A little bit chilly, but still it was a beautiful spring day.
After arriving our friends took us out to 2 amazing beaches. The first one was in Ogmore-by-sea. So beautiful. The dogs would have loved it.
Next was Dunraven Bay – Southerndown. Again the dogs would have loved this beach, but what was stunning was the rock formations!
Both beaches are absolutely worth a visit. There is something magical about walking along the beach. Listening to the waves. I just love it. Great way to get exercise too.
We headed back to their home and enjoyed a few drinks in the garden in the spring sun. A nice Cedars gin and tonic was perfect ! Followed by a Slim Wine!
As the sun set the braai (BBQ) was lit! Steak, South African sausage were cooked to perfection by our host.
The salads to go with it were amazing. Slimming world friendly pasta dishes and salad. Even a @promise roll for garlic bread. Delicious!
It was a lovely evening catching up.
This morning after a cooked breakfast we headed home via Caerphilly Castle.
Wow, we were totally blown away by it! If you have never been I highly recommend it! I’ll post some pictures on my YouTube channel. In its prime it must have been magnificent! The entrance fee is £8.90 for adults, but well worth it!
Eventually it was time to head home.
We have had such an amazing weekend. Thank you to our hosts Derek and Michelle.
Sometimes just a night away can really recharge your batteries, and getting to visit new places is fantastic.
Here is a fuller insight to my weekend
We will certainly not be leaving it so long next time!
If you follow my vlogs you will know that after 4 weeks of maintaining the same weight, I decided to do a week of Extra Easy SP on Slimming World.
For those who don’t know, EESP is a way to give your weightloss a kick start. You focus on foods that are classed as ‘Speed’ – your body burns the calories quicker, or ‘Protein’ which keeps you fuller for longer!
Basically, you don’t eat potatoes, pasta, rice, bananas, grapes and anything else that isn’t classed as speed or protein.
For me, I only had a few pounds to get within my target range. My motivation to get there isn’t what it used to be as everyone I know, including my hubby, parents and friends didn’t like me at my target range. They said I looked too thin. I don’t agree, so still strive to get there. I’m also not going to drop a dress size if I get back down to my target range!
So I embarked on an EESP week. I had originally planned to just have a normal ‘on plan’ day on the Sunday, as I really enjoy my Sunday roast, which includes the roast potatoes, but the other 6 days, I would be strict!
Every day, you are entitled to have up to 10 syns. As I usually don’t really have my syns, this wasn’t going to be a problem!
I was extremely good all week. I kept to my EESP plan every day. I recorded in on my vlog as an added incentive.
Follow my week here:
Come the weekend, I usually enjoy a glass of wine! I decided I would use my syns for this on Slim Zero wine. At only 3.5 syns for 125 ml, I could have 357 ml of wine each day. To make sure I didn’t go over, I weighed out my wine! Yes you heard me right, I weighed out my wine!
Come Sunday, I was so focused, I decided I didn’t need my roast potatoes. One week without them wouldn’t hurt. The feeling of getting to my target range was more important, so it was roast butternut for me instead!
I went to the gym everyday, and walked the dogs twice a day to make sure I had plenty of body magic!
Come Wednesday for my weigh in, I was soooo excited as I stepped on the scales.
I cannot begin to describe how I felt when I looked at the number in front of me! 1lb off! 1lb off! I couldn’t believe it. All that effort, commitment and focus for 1lb off! I was gutted.
Now, I don’t know why I was so surprised. Historically EESP hasn’t never been great for me. The norm is that the following week I see a greater loss. I’m not sure if it is because I work out so much that my body craves the carbs or what it is, but the following week is always better. What I should have done is kept this in my head and gone home refocused. Instead, I went home extremely deflated and just lost my way!
I decided to have a glass of wine with my dinner. That is ok on SW as you can normally have 15 syns a day! I should have gone for my Slim Zero wine? Or measured it out! But no, instead I poured myself a very large glass of normal white wine. With 10 syns for 250 ml, the second glass definately wasn’t on plan and so neither was the chocolate I ate!
The next day was no better! Don’t get me wrong, all my meals were planned and in plan! It was the biscuit here and there, and the large glass of wine with my meal that weren’t! Come Friday, we decided to go to the Fish and Chip shop for dinner! Normally this isn’t an issue as I would have chicken meat and salad! Not this Friday! Oh no. It was chicken meat, salad and a small portion of chips. Now that in itself would have been ok, if I hadn’t then had a bottle of full sugar wine and some more chocolate!
Saturday I woke up with good intentions again! It was all going so well, until the crisps came out as nibbles! Initially I went for the baked ones – well they are healthier, but as the evening started I hit the full fat ones. On a good note, I was drinking slim wine, just too much of it to be in my syns! Then my hubby got the biscuits out! That was Saturday completely out of my syns!
Sunday was Mothers Day. I had booked to take my parents out for a meal. It was a set meal and normally this wouldn’t be a problem as I would ask the pub to change it for me. Not Sunday, I went full on! Starter was ok as it was scallops. Main was turkey roast with all the trimmings, including pinching a couple of my dads onion rings! The final course was a cheese board which was huge! All enjoyed with a bottle of white wine.
When we got home, a further bottle was enjoyed!
By Monday I decided to draw a line. I had stepped on my scales and seen the damage! I was putting a stop to this!
As usual, I had planned my meals and they were all on plan!
For days now I had been craving Jammie Dodgers. Now I really had to have them! So on the way home, I called into Tesco and grabbed a packet! My hubby and I shared them on the train journey home!
By the time I got home something clicked. If I had actually given in to my craving last week when I wanted the Jammie Dodgers maybe I wouldn’t have gone so far off the rails! Maybe, if I had stayed within my syns, my weight would have come down. Maybe, I needed to remember why I am doing this!
I decided there and then enough was enough! I had to get my syns back under control!
It is a bit late for this weeks weigh in, but you have to start somewhere!
I’m know I am going to get a gain this week and I completely deserve it! I am going to buy a 6 week plan and give myself a strict target each week.
I know I can do this, and I will.
Sometimes, when you don’t have the same motivation and drive it is hard, but with a little bit of commitment you can. I’m going to ignore everyone telling me I don’t need to lose anymore, or I look good as I am. I know I won’t go down another dress size when I’m at my chosen weight, but I know how much better I will feel, and that is the most important thing!
So whatever you goal is, don’t let others sabotage it. They may not mean to, but mentally it can effect you! As does a bad week on the scales!
Take a step back, focus on what you want and put in place everything you can to help you get there!
Well today, I have officially launched my Ready Steady Lets Cook Slim challenge.
Although I am a keen Slimming World member, and I will be looking to make dishes that fit that programme, I also want to be able to open it out to anyone who is looking to eat more healthily.
I’ve done Weight Watchers in the past, but don’t know how the points are done now. I anyone would like to send me anything to help me give them their points equivalent for Weight Watchers please to do so.
I want this challenge to be inclusive of everyone, whether you are vegetarian, vegan, dairy free etc also.
So what are the rules?
Each week, I will be inviting my followers on YouTube and my Blog to put forward virtual bags. Each virtual bag will have a maximum budget. I will pick at random each week 1 bag.
After I have chosen the virtual bag, I will go shopping for those ingredients. I will then create dishes based on those ingredients and store cupboard staples. So what will those store cupboard staples be?
Store Cupboard Staples
Anything from the Spice Rack
Vinegar – all varieties
Salt & Pepper
Stock cubes, bouillon powder or stock pots
Fat Free Dressings
Low Calorie Cooking Spray such as Frylight
Thai Fish Sauce
All other ingredients will need to be part of the bag.
The Virtual Bags
Budget Bag – Maximum Value £3.50
Classic Bag – Maximum Value £5.00
Bistro Bag – Maximum Value £7.50
Gourmet Bag – Maximum Value £10.00
What can you put into the virtual bags
You can put anything you like in the bags as long as it can be bought at most supermarkets.
If the value of your items doesn’t reach the maximum value and you want some additional ideas, you can give me the remaining balance as a wild card. This wild card will allow me to spend the remaining budget on any other ingredients I feel may enhance the dish.
You may tell me if you have any special dietary requirements for the dishes. You can also say if you are looking for specific meal time ideas such as dinner, lunch or breakfast or a mixture!
I will cook the dishes and publish them each week on my YouTube channel. I will let you know how they were made, how many they serve and anything else you might need to know to help you replicate it yourself at home!
To ensure I provide you with the best food options possible and have the chance to go shopping, I will be looking for the virtual bags by 5.00 pm on the Tuesday each week.
I’m really looking forward to this challenge and I hope you are too.
So start thinking about your virtual bags and leave a comment on my YouTube video here.
It is with deep regret that I find myself writing this letter!
We have been together for many years now! You have always been a trusted friend. We have seen some highs and lows. You have always been honest with me. You have never hidden the truth from me, regardless of how bad it has been!
You have ensured my clothes on a Wednesday don’t exceed 0.3kg! You have even made sure I have never exceeded my baggage allowance when I went on holiday!
We have fond memories of my puppies when we checked how much they were growing! It was lovely to see them grow week on week.
You have been such a huge part of my life.
It saddens me now that you have suddenly changed towards me! I don’t understand why! There seems to be no explanation!
I’m doing everything I can for you. I’m eating well, I’m going to the gym. I’ve even done dry January ! What more do you want from me!
I really don’t want us to part company but this attitude towards me has to change!
I hope this letter will clear the air between us.
I look forward to seeing the changes in you when I see you again soon!
So, from 1 January I have been trying to shift a stone in weight, which I had put on last year.
I decided, as well as getting back fully into my healthy eating, I would also do dry January. Anyone who knows me, will know that I love my wine. Especially Slim Wine, and in particular their sparkling wine!
So when I suggested I would do dry January, everyone laughed, and said there was no way I would do it! Now if you know me, you never say things like that to me, because if you do, I will make sure I prove you wrong!
27 days into January, I am still going strong. Even an opened bottle of fizz in my fridge has not bothered me!
I honestly thought that not drinking alcohol would really help me lose that stone quickly! The plan was that I could lose 3.5lbs per week for the 4 weeks of January.
I started again writing what I was eating each day in my journal. I ensured I planned every meal. I have completely stayed on plan every day. I am allowed 15 syns a day with Slimming World, but gave myself a 12 syn allowance each day. Most days I have had less that 3 syns a day!
Everything was in place for a fantastic month.
The first week I lost 3.5lbs Woo hoo. I then went down with the flu. This meant, that I went from planning to go to the gym 4 times a week and doing 17,000 steps a day, to doing only about 1500 steps!
On top of that, my asthma flared up! After a visit to the doctors, I was given steroids! That week I dreaded the scales, but was over the moon to see another 3.5lbs off! Happy days.
After 2 weeks off, I eventually returned to work. I had continued to eat so well, I was sure that now I had increased my walking, I would achieve the 3.5lb again if not more! I was so disappointed when the scales said only 1.5lbs!
I could easily have fallen off the wagon, but I didn’t. I have a goal in my head, and I want it more than anything.
When I started this journey, I measured myself. Today, I revisited those measurements. I may not have seen the scales moving in my favour, but the inches had. I was so pleased to see 1.75 inches off my bum and an inch off my waist.
Sometimes, you also need to look at the non scale victories to see how well you are doing.
I have 6 more days on dry January. I have 3 opportunities to go to the gym before month end!
I may not be at the target I want on 1 February, but I will certainly be closer to it than I was on 1 January.
So what ever you have to lose, whilst it is good to set yourself a goal, don’t give up if you don’t reach it when you planned to!
Our bodies are funny things! Sometimes, they take a bit longer to catch up with us.
I’m going to hit that target, I know I will. Why? Because I want it!
If you have read my previous post, you will know that this week I have been suffering from the worst flu I have ever had!
Thankfully for me, I had planned my weekly meals.
One of these meals was lunch to take to work! Monday and Tuesday was a rice dish. The next 3 days was soup!
I find most shop bought soups don’t fill me up. I need my soup to be chunky and full of textures, so making my own is the perfect option.
On Tuesday evening, I had a Tesco delivery coming. With it was the key ingredient for my soup! Tesco does an amazing bag of chopped vegetable for soup. It is packed with chopped carrots, swedes, potatoes, onions and parsley. I know you can chop your own up, and it maybe slightly cheaper, but when you work full time, sometimes it’s worth taking a little shortcut.
The bag contains 720g, so makes 3 generous portions.
I pop this into my slow cooker along with a mug of dried red lentils, 1 pint vegetable stock, tin of chopped tomatoes and some ground pepper. I then leave it on low overnight. It is as simple as that!
If you like your soup smoother, just pop it into a blender. If you like it wetter, add more water ! It is really that easy!
Waking up Wednesday feeling as poorly as I did to such an easy tasty soup was heaven.
The plan was to spoon it into 3 microwaveable dishes for the week ahead, to put in my daily lunch boxes . Whilst I was no longer going to work, knowing I had 3 ready made, healthy lunches in my fridge, was a life saver!
This is one of the easiest, tastiest soups you will ever make. It took me seconds to throw it into the slow cooker, but will give me 3 days of lunches!
If that doesn’t get you running for your slow cooker how about the cost? This pot did 3 portions at around 60p a serving! The average chunky soup in a can costs from 75p to over £1!
Still not convinced? Ok! This is one of the easiest, tastiest soups you will ever make. How about it being totally free on Slimming World, compared to 5.5 syns and above for tinned chunky soups!
I read quite a lot that doing Slimming World is expensive. It doesn’t have to be! It also doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen!
Give it a try! Experiment with ingredients! You won’t regret it!
So 2018 is almost over! I still can’t believe how quickly this year has gone.
I am now like millions of other people! I’m sitting here planning what changes I am going to make for next year!
First one – lose weight! This year, I have really struggled to maintain my ideal weight. I think a big part was to do with my hubby, family and friends constantly telling me I was too thin! I decided that the odd pound on didn’t matter then! Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there!
Over Christmas, I feel I have just eaten rubbish. I am not having the balanced meals I would normally have. I am actually craving fruit and salad!
So from 1 January, I am back on Slimming World properly. I’m also going to put one of my temptations out of my way! I am going to do Dry January!
My hubby couldn’t stop laughing when I said this! Ok, I fully understand why. I mean, I do like to have a glass or 2 of wine at the weekend, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go without it too! Slimming World have dropped down the syns you can have daily. You can now only have 12 per day, so with Slimline Wine, that is only 3 small glasses. I know I could stick to this, but I want to be able maximise my weight loss by having the minimum of syns possible.
By not drinking, I can save my syns for other things like the odd piece of chocolate or hot chocolate!
I plan to get fitter too! Don’ get me wrong, I’m not unfit. I already do a lot of walking and go to the gym around 4 times a week, but this year, I want to see if I can start running again. If not running (I’m not sure my knees could stand it), power walking!
I’ve also stopped doing my 100 sit-ups a day. I used to have quite a toned stomach. I need to start making sure I do it every night while watching my soaps.
So what else to I plan to do? Well I’m going to keep telling the stories of Lola through my blog – The Adventures of Lola, as well as building on my website and Youtube channel. I’m still a novice on Youtube, but it has been fun doing it and trying to improve.
I’m also going to hit a certain birthday in 2019! I have a list of things I want to achieve during the year. I will share that list with you in a later blog!
The main thing for me is to be happy and healthy! Life is too short to waste it!
Whatever next year has ahead for you, make sure you enjoy it!
Is anyone else feeling like they have eaten and drunk far too much over the last few days?
I laid in bed last night and my stomach felt so heavy. I feel like I’ve eaten a months food in just a couple of days! The scales said the same this morning too!
I’m a bit surprised that I felt like that, as I didn’t think I’d been that bad! I know I have been running around so much prior to Christmas. I even had a few days where I never actually sat down, until bedtime. Surely that must have helped me? Exercise burns calories, right?
Christmas day and Boxing day, I had only a light breakfast, consisting of a roll from my HEB and a ‘free’ filling. So why do I feel like a beached whale?
Well, as today is my weigh in day, It’s a good time to be honest with myself! I might have made some really good choices, but portion control? Who can say honestly, they kept their portion of Christmas Dinner to a minimum? It’s so difficult. When you think about what you serve up, there is no way I had portion control.
I cooked the dinner this year, so I know how everything was cooked. We had roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, pigs in blankets, turkey, gammon, prunes wrapped in bacon, butternut squash, cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts with bacon, carrots, parsnips, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, bread sauce and of course the cranberry sauce. I missed out the mashed potato and the 2 sauces, but the rest were all on my plate!! Even if I had on a spoonful of each veg, that is a lot of food!
Starter was healthy. A prawn cocktail with freshly made bread! Again, I made the bread so I knew what was in it! Ok, it might be healthy, but i’d already had my HEB for breakfast!
Dessert was a challenge too. Why is it, even though you are really full, you decide you can still manage a small pudding! This year the options were Christmas pudding (which I hate!), my mums homemade trifle and apple pie, chocolate Yule log and custard or cream. I opted for the yule log, but to be good I didn’t have the custard or cream!
Then of course, we had champagne. It’s Christmas after all!
Boxing day, I had a wholemeal roll with turkey and poached egg for breakfast. A good start!
I didn’t start finishing the 2 open bottles of wine in the fridge until the evening, so that was good. I wasn’t bothered about drinking last night, but as the wine was bubbles, it would have ended up being poured down the sink, which was a waste!
I have so much left over food, I decide to make a turkey and ham pie for dinner! I only had a pastry lid, to help keep the calories down! I didn’t have pudding.
I’m finally on the sofa relaxing, before I have to go to bed, as I have an early start tomorrow as I have to get up for work. Ooh look, some Galaxy chocolates. I’ve been good all day, so a couple won’t hurt!
So now I’m lying in bed feeling awful. I can’t even think about food or drink. I feel like a beached whale! I really don’t understand why!
WHO AM I KIDDING!!
I know exactly why I feel this way! Today, I’m back to work. It’s time to start again! Today is another day! I’m going to group tonight. I’m going to make a commitment to myself! I’m going to do this!
I know what I need to do, and I’m going to do it! I don’t need that chocolate! I don’t even really enjoy it! I have a goal, and I’m going to achieve it!
Last week I got a text from a delivery company to say the wine I’d ordered from Slimline Wine was being delivered ! I was so excited ! As I left work I had a smile on my face.
As I started my walk to the train station, I passed my first homeless person!
I see many homeless everyday on my walk to and from the train station. It is so sad to see so many of them. Mostly men, but sometimes women too.
It goes through my mind every time I see them, why are they here? Some, I know have mental health problems, other have fallen on hard times. But what is the story for the others.
I’m going home to a lovely warm house, food on the table (well when I cook it there will be), and my latest wine order! When did these people last have that?
As the temperature drops, I can’t believe they would choose this to a home indoors ? Who would, so why are they here?
I do try to support them as much as I can. The odd £1 here, a sandwich or cup of tea there. I do try to avoid giving money, as I know some would use it for drugs or alcohol, but not all. If I am popping into a shop and I see one of them outside, I will add something extra to my shopping, to give them.
As I pass them each day, I wonder how many of them feel invisible? How many people have walked past them that day and not even acknowledged them?
On this particular day, I’m rushing home to get my train. Suddenly, I stop myself in my tracks. I know, on my journey home, I am going to see some people who won’t have that luxury of a bottle of nice wine tonight. They probably won’t even have a bed. I feel very selfish. I turn around and head to the local Tesco shop by where I work.
Inside I look around. There are still a good amount of sandwiches available. I decide to pick out a few packs.
On the way to the station, as I pass a homeless person I offer them a sandwich. The first ones got a choice. You can’t imagine the excitement of the first man, when he saw the tuna sandwich. It made me feel so humble.
As I continued my journey, I passed out sandwiches. As I reached the station I still had 1 pack left. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Then I saw a pile in a door way which obviously belonged to a homeless person. I gently placed the last sandwich down on an old sleeping back. It should be a nice surprise for when they return.
I appreciate that not everyone is able to do what I did. I certainly couldn’t afford to do it every day. There are far too many homeless people around to make an impact on my own. What is important though, is that we do what we can. It doesn’t have to cost us anything. A simple hello or smile is free.
We might not realise it, but that simple acknowledgement could mean everything for that person.
I also try and give them items of warm clothing, hats and gloves. Rather than put in a charity bags, I like to know I’m making a direct difference to someone.
If you are trying to lose weight and have chocolate or biscuits you don’t want, why not pass it on to them? They would appreciate anything. Everyone I have spoken to, or helped has been so grateful and polite.
A couple of years ago I got to know a lovely young man and his dog, who were homeless. He never wanted money, but was always so grateful for a cup of tea or something to eat.
He was partially blind. He couldn’t get a job because he didn’t have an address !
One day, someone decided to set up a ‘Just Giving’ page for him. The aim was to get enough money together to get him a little place to live. People donated as much as they could afford . Others provided donations such as old plates etc. The smallest of donation all added up.
Very soon he was off the streets and safe!
Unfortunately, not everyone on the street is so lucky .
So the next time you see someone who is homeless, don’t put your head down and ignore them. Say hello. Give them a smile.
The small things in life can make a huge difference.
I’ve recently had to spend time at my local hospital for various reasons, thankfully none to do with me directly.
I have been amazed and so disappointed in the food options available to visitors!
This is an NHS hospital. We hear so much about how much obesity is costing them, yet their choices for healthy eating are where ?
Now, before I go into my full rant, I have to say, they do have a cafe there. The food on offer may be very good. Unfortunately, I am unable to confirm that as every time I’ve been there, it is closed.
I’m not talking late at night. No! I’ve been there after 3 pm! At this time your food choices are vending machines and Costa!
I avoid vending machines straight off as there is too much temptation. So that leaves Costa.
My heading to the blog says it all! Not only is it very expensive, but it is also not great for the health conscious!
On my last trip, I went to get my dad a sandwich. He had just had a procedure so hadn’t eaten since breakfast!
My dads in his early 70’s and likes what I would call ‘normal’ sandwiches! Not your wraps or panini!
So first of all, I’m battling through what is on the shelf. There are many different types of wraps, sandwiches and rolls etc. All with very different fillings. I eventually find a cheese and ham sandwich. That is the only thing on the whole display that isn’t some creative filling.
Now, come on Costa! £3.95 for a boring ham and cheese sandwich! Really! It didn’t even have any lettuce on it !
This is an NHS hospital. Do they really think that everyone who goes there can afford to spend that on something so basic ?
Of course I bought it for Dad, but I did feel very ripped off!
Then it was time to look for Mum and I! Mum had said she had had some lunch, but for various reasons, I’d not eaten since breakfast. I knew I wouldn’t be home until after 8 pm, so needed something !
I’m very open to most things. The only thing for me is that it has to be healthy . So now I’m checking calories and fat content.
Again, for an NHS location, the healthy options are extremely limited. Well I say limited, but if you are on Slimming World, they don’t exist !
Let me show you what I mean ! Below are some of their low calorie options which they advertise:-
I ended up finding a Mediterranean chicken roll, which was the best of a bad lot. I shared it with Mum to help reduce the syns further !
What happened to salad bowls or pots of fruit? Even protein pots with boiled eggs would have been great! They do say they offer them on the Slimming World site, but I didn’t find 1 of them in cafe when I was in there. If they had, I think I would have preferred one of the following options:
Chicken Salad – 6 Syns
Tuna Nicoise Salad – 4.5 Syns
Green Feta & Sun Dried Tomato Salad – 10 Syns
Fruit Salad – Free
If I had gone to another hospital locally, I would have had a choice of Subway, M&S, their cafe, or even a fruit and veg stand !
Why doesn’t the NHS have a policy that there has to be healthy affordable foods on offer to visitors to their hospitals. It doesn’t have you be all salads, but it should give people a choice!
Costa have a captive audience at this hospital, so can also charge what they like ! There isn’t anywhere else in the direct vicinity you could go to. By the time you have bought a drink and sandwich, you won’t get much change out of £10. And that’s a takeaway ! Never mind the extra inches on the waistline!
Whilst that’s ok for some, what about pensioners, or people of low incomes. It’s bad enough paying the large Parking charges. For some a trip to hospital is now a very expensive experience!
It’s not always possible to pack a picnic before you go, like I did the first trip I took there!
So come on NHS. Think about what is being offered next time you tender for a franchise!
Recently, I have had cause to go into McDonalds, and I have to say, I have been quite disappointed.
I don’t have take away such as this very often, unless I am on the road, and I can now see why.
I hate being late for anything, so when I am travelling, I tend to give myself plenty of time. Recently, McDonalds has been the closest place for me to kill time or grab some lunch.
On my last 2 visits, it was early in the morning. I went in wanting a drink only. I don’t like milk or coffee. I tend to drink peppermint or green tea. I looked at the menu and was so disappointed to see the options available to someone who doesn’t drink coffee.
If you drink coffee you can have 8 options. Mind you, I am glad I don’t drink coffee when you see some of the syns!
Flat White – 4.5 Syns Millionaire’s Latte – 12 Syns Toffee Latte – 9 Syns Black Coffee – Free White Coffee – 4.5 Syns Latte – 7 Syns Cappuccino – 4.5 Syns Double Espresso – Free if black
If you don’t drink coffee you can have:
Tea Hot Chocolate
Now, if you are on Slimming World, the hot chocolate is 8.5 syns. As you can only have 15 in a day, that is more than half your syns gone on just a drink!
I was so disappointed, I wrote to them asking why they can’t offer other options for non coffee drinkers. How difficult would it be for them to offer green or herbal teas as an option? They have said they are sending my email to the correct department, lets wait and see.
Then I move on to the food options!
McDonalds are very proud that they are now offering lower calorie options, but if you are on Slimming World, what does that mean to you? Let’s have a look!
McDonalds have breakfast bundles, which they boast are under 400 calories. Ok, one of my favourite go to breakfasts is porridge, or baked/overnight oats. McDonalds has porridge on its menu! Yey! They also have Bagels and the egg and cheese McMuffin, all coming in for under 400 calories! Actually,don’t get excited. Here is a selection of their best breakfast options:-
Oats So Simple with Apple & Cherry (per pot) – 11 Syns Oats So Simple (per pot) – 9 Syns Egg and Cheese McMuffin – 15 Syns Bagel, not topping – 10.5 Syns Bacon & Egg snack wrap with Brown Sauce – 14 Syns Egg & Cheese Snack Wrap with Brown Sauce – 13 Syns Egg & Cheese Snack Wrap with Ketchup – 12.5 Syns
So, when you have only 15 syns a day, you could almost eat those, with your first meal of the day!
What about their new under 600 calorie daytime menu then? Well, you will be equally surprised:
The Garlic Mayo Chicken One Grilled Wrap – 17.5 Syns The Sweet Chilli Chicken One – Grilled Wrap – 17 Syns Grilled Chicken & Bacon Salad – No Dressing – 1.5 Syns 6 Chicken Nuggets – 8.5 Syns Fillet O Fish – 16.5 Syns Crispy Chicken & Bacon Salad – No Dressing – 8 Syns Chicken Legend with BBQ Sauce – 24 Syns Spicy Vegetable Deluxe – 20.5 Syns
If like me, you will probably be quite shocked. If you throw in a portion of chips (8.5 syns for small, 12 for medium and 17 for large), you could really be putting your weight loss at risk!
I’ve had quite a few of their salads over the last couple of years. They are not my first choice, however, when I’m on the road, this is sometimes the only option available. They are not filling, but do fill a gap until I can get something else to eat. I have diet coke with it as that is free too. I would however love to be able to have a green tea!
So next time you are looking to buy something from a takeway such as McDonalds, don’t just look at their calories. Check out the syns on Slimming Worlds App. Without knowing it, you could be damaging your weight loss journey.
McDonalds, if you are reading this, please please think about your lower calorie options. Are they really a healthy option?
This week Slimming World announced that it was going to be increasing its Healthy Extra A (HEA) portions.
For those not on Slimming World, HEA is a diary product, such as milk or cheese. Currently, you can only have 1 portion a day. This will also depend on what you are having, as to how much of it you can have. For example, you could have 30 g of full fat cheese, or 175 ml of full fat milk each day, but not both.
Under the new changes, we will be able to have 2 portions of HEA per day.
We all know that dairy products are a good source of calcium. This is particularly important for women and children.
A single glass of milk can contain a third of your recommended intake of calcium each day.
Calcium is needed in young children to help their bones grow strong. In adults, there are conflicting reports on the benefits. Human’s are the only adults that drink milk in adulthood.
Dairy products are supposed to help increase your metabolism due to them containing calcium and protein, however there is a warning here! Most dairy products contain high levels of fat, so if you eat too many full fat dairy products, you could increase your weight. Aim for fat free or low fat alternatives.
Calcium is needed to build strong bones in childhood and adolescence and helps maintain bone strength in adults, to prevent osteoporosis. Although 50 per cent of the adult skeleton is formed during the teenage years, but its not only children and teenagers who need calcium. We lose it from our bodies every day, so it needs to be replaced on a daily basis. Milk and dairy products are the main sources of calcium in the British diet although later on, I will explain that it isn’t the only way of getting it.
Teeth need calcium too. Did you know, cheese can be particularly good for teeth when eaten after a meal, as the calcium and protein it contains helps to neutralise acids in the mouth. My dentist told me to eat it after things like grapes, tomatoes, fizzy drinks etc. Again, you need to be careful how much you eat as you could add the calories up very quickly!
Dairy products are also said to reduce blood pressure, risk of colon cancer, heart disease and strokes.
I have to admit, I am absolutely rubbish at making sure I eat food rich in calcium. I had a dairy intolerance many years ago. It developed after a failed pregnancy. For 10 years, I suffered terribly if I ate anything with dairy in it! Thankfully its reversed itself, however it will flare up if I eat it in any volumes.
I no longer can eat things like butter or cream, and struggle with milk. Cheese and yoghurts are really the only things dairy I now have, and in moderation.
Some people become Lactose intolerant. This is completely different from dairy free!
The main carbohydrate in dairy is lactose, a milk sugar composed of the two simple sugars, glucose and galactose.
As an infant, your body produced a digestive enzyme called lactase, which broke down lactose from your mother’s milk. However, many people lose the ability to break down lactose in adulthood. This is known as lactose intolerance. About 75% of the worlds population is reported to suffer from it. Although that said, it is rare in North America, Europe and Australia, but very common in Africa, Asia and South America.
People who are lactose intolerant have digestive symptoms when they consume dairy products. This includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and related symptoms.
Good Sources of Calcium
You don’t have to drink a pint of milk a day to get your allowance of calcium. There are so many other food items that will do the job as well. So how can you get your recommended daily allowance?
Milk and milk productsMilk, yoghurt, cheese and buttermilk. One cup of milk, a 200 g tub of yoghurt or 200 ml of calcium-fortified soy milk provides around 300 mg calcium. Calcium-fortified milks can provide larger amounts of calcium in a smaller volume of milk – ranging from 280 mg to 400 mg per 200 ml milk.
Leafy green vegetablesBroccoli, bok choy, Chinese cabbage and spinach. One cup of cooked spinach contains 100 mg, although only five per cent of this may be absorbed. This is due to the high concentration of oxalate, a compound in spinach that reduces calcium absorption. By contrast, one cup of cooked broccoli contains about 45 mg of calcium, but the absorption from broccoli is much higher at around 50–60 per cent.
Soy and tofuTofu (depending on type) or tempeh and calcium fortified soy drinks
FishSardines and salmon (with bones). Even canned salmon! Half a cup of contains 402 mg of calcium
Nuts and seedsBrazil nuts (milk chocolate coated ones don’t add to it!), almonds and sesame seed paste (tahini). Fifteen almonds contain about 40 mg of calcium.
This include breakfast cereals (watch out for sugar content though), fruit juices and bread. One cup of calcium-fortified breakfast cereal (40 g) contains up to 200 mg of calcium. ½ cup of calcium-fortified orange juice (100 ml) contains up to 80 mg of calcium, and two slices of bread (30 g) provides 200 mg of calcium.
How much calcium you need varies too. According to the Better Health Channel the following is the RDI:-
Babies 0–6 months
approx. 210 mg (if breastfed)
approx. 350 mg (if formula fed)
Babies 7–12 months
Children 1–3 years
Children 4–8 years
Children 9–11 years
Adolescents 12–18 years (including pregnant and breastfeeding young women)
Women 19–50 (including pregnant and breastfeeding women)
Adults over 70
As with everything, its all about variety and moderation.
If you eat a well balanced diet you should be absolutely fine!
So this weekend sees the clocks going back! That means one thing for me! Shorter days!
It’s not my favourite time of year. Ok, the sunny autumn days are beautiful. The red and gold tones of the leaves against a clear blue sky, are a photographers dream. None of this takes away the fact that I am now going to be leaving home in the dark, and coming home in the dark!
The temperature is dropping, so more layers, hats and gloves are coming out of the wardrobe!
The route I take for my dogs, when I am on my own, now has to change, as I don’t feel comfortable going down the alley in the dark!
The other big thing that changes, is my food! Those light salads no longer do it for me! I might get away with them for lunch after the gym, but after a walk in the cold or wet with the dogs, I’m going to be craving hot, stodgy food and snacks. These are my danger zones for weight loss.
If I plan, I can actually have all my favourite foods without gaining the pounds. So what do I go for?
Overnight oats are still a firm favourite. I enjoy them all seasons, as they are filling and tasty.
If I’m looking for something hot, it has to be an omelette, topped with baked beans. For work, I will do it in a mug the night before and just warm it up in the microwave when I’m in the office. This is my recipe.
If you are at home, then you can easily make it in your omelette maker, or in a non stick frying pan. See how I make mine.
Again the omelettes are a great choice, but if you have had them for breakfast, you will want something a little bit different!
Pasta is a very quick and easy dish to make, and you can make a few portions up at a time, and leave in fridge.
For my basic recipe, I will just cook wholemeal pasta, add a tin of chopped tomatoes, chopped peppers, mushrooms and onion.
I will then separate that into separate air tight containers. Rather than having the exact same every day for 3 or 4 days, I vary what I then add to it. Some days it will be chopped ham, another boiled eggs, another tuna or mixed beans! Top off with a bit of grated cheese just before you microwave it and you have a hot, healthy lunch. Don’t worry if you don’t have a microwave as it is delicious cold too!
Have you ever melted Dairylee Light triangles into pasta with mushrooms? Delicious and so so quick and easy. Add a bit of ham for extra protein!
Rice salads can be done just the same.
Don’t forget last nights left overs warmed up too! Perfect the next day, and I think some meals such as lasagne and curry taste better the next day!
Jacket potatoes with baked beans, chilli or dairylee triangles are a good hearty lunch. Bake them in over the night before with your evening meal, then reheat the next day!
My slow cooker is my absolute best friend during the whole year, but this time of year, it is even more valuable. You can literally throw anything into it, put it on low before you go to work, and then you walk in to a ready dinner.
Mexican chicken is a real favourite. You can make it as hot and spicy as you like, or mild for the kids.
Lemon chicken is perfect for week days and weekends. Imagine walking in after a nice autumn Sunday afternoon walk to the smell of this dish. Just add potatoes and veg and you have a perfect Sunday dinner!
Don’t forget the family favourite – Lasagne. This is perfect to bulk cook, divide into containers and freeze. You can then take it out when you are in a rush. Its also good to take to work for your lunch!
Keeping it Healthy
It is so easy during the winter months to hit the chips! Don’t get me wrong, if you want to lose weight, you can still enjoy a trip to the chip shop, but it must be factored in. Normal fish and chips from the chippie for 220g serving is around 14 syns, 100g is only 6.5 syns. If you take the batter off, the fish becomes free! Even if you don’t take the batter off, with 15 syns a day you can still have them! And don’t forget that mushy peas are free food too!
One of the great things about this time of year, is the increased number of vegetables on offer! Pumpkin, sprouts, parsnips and many many more root vegetables. You can make great tasty meals quickly and easily.
If you chop a selection of root vegetables up and place in a slow cooker, with a tin of tomatoes or passata, add a few herbs and spices, you have a great base for soups, casseroles and sauces.
If I have vegetables coming to the end of their life, this is a perfect way to use them up! Its perfect to freeze too! I can then defrost it and add any left over cooked meat from the night before, to make a quick and easy meal.
Tinned of mixed beans with tinned tomatoes, chilli powder and less than 5% beef mince, in the slow cooker is quick and easy. Serve with rice or over jacket potatoes! Yummy.
Winter can be a really great time to experiment in the kitchen. Don’t be afraid to play around. I’m always making up different recipes from left overs, or whatever is in the fridge.
I even do this when friends come to dinner. This was quick, easy and perfect for a light lunch this time of year or as a starter, as I used it.
So you want a glass of wine. You look into the cupboard and see 2 glasses ! A champagne flute and a large wine glass! Which do you choose ?
Recently I have been using the champagne flute ! I want a glass of wine, but I don’t want lots of calories ! In my head, using this glass, I feel I’m still drinking, just a little less ! If I want more, I have to physically walk back to kitchen to fill it up ! It should slow down the drinking and burn calories in steps ! I’ve got it all sorted !
Tonight, my hubby poured me a large glass of wine ! I need to be good, so I fetch the champagne flute out of the cupboard! I start to decanter the large glass into my champagne flute ! Hubby is looking on! I don’t think either of us were expecting what happened next ! The large glass full of wine fitted into my champagne flute !
This is a massive lesson! Size certainly does matter ! Just because something looks bigger or smaller than something else, it doesn’t mean it actually is !
This is such an important lesson in making sure you measure everything ! How often have you said ‘I’ve been so good this week. How have I put weight on?’.
Calories can easily creep into our lives without us knowing it !
If you are serious about losing weight, or even not putting it on, you really need to have your eyes wide open!
Is that really a teaspoon full of food? Or is it an actual tablespoon ?
Don’t get caught into that trap! Weigh everything!
Success will come if you let it !
If you are unsure, do the same test ! I guarantee you will be as shocked as we were !
Taking the Line to Latrigg is another walk from our AA walking book of the Lake District.
I was so happy this morning! The first bark from the dogs next door wasn’t until 7.13 am! An improvement on the previous days! Even better, Lola only managed a weak bark, then went back to sleep!
Just after 7.30 am Lola then did her usual attention seeking bark, as she needed to loo! Obviously, she must have been lying there wondering if she had the energy to get up or not! Eventually, her bladder won! I didn’t mind then as I was already awake. I took them both out and came back to make the usual cups of tea for hubby and I.
As he was still sleepy I returned the favour from yesterday, and let him sleep, while I came down and sorted dogs out. I wanted to catch up on the news anyway so I didn’t mind. I do miss that hour of the news in the morning. It also gave me time to sort the picnic out for the day.
Today we were going to try and do a lighter walk. After yesterday we felt we, and the dogs needed it.
We decided on a walk from Keswick, along a disused railway line. The line was used regularly from 1864 until it was closed in 1972.
The walk according to our AA walking book would take around 2 hours,over 8 km!
To get to the starting point, we had to drive over Wrynose Pass again! Thankfully hubby offered to drive today. I wasn’t going to argue. Although I’m not sure if being a passenger is worse. At least when you are driving you are more in control! At least I got to take some photos and videos on the way! Check out my Youtube channel to see them!
The walk starts at a car park outside what used to be the old railway station. It’s now a hotel, but I’m pleased to say they haven’t changed the look of it from the outside.
As we started our walk we saw a few signs talking about a bridge being closed. As we had walked over 2 bridges, which took you over the River Greta, we didn’t think they related to us. In fact, we thought they were signs that hadn’t been taken down! Well, that was until we reached the reached the bridge that was actually closed!
A flood in 2015 damaged a lot of the old railway track path, as well as taking out the bridge across the river! We thought our walk had ended before it started! Have no fear, we found a signpost just back down the path, and decided to take it!
As luck would happen, although this was quite uphill and with a few nervous drops to our right, on some thin paths, it actually took us back onto the path we wanted.
After a long climb, we eventually came to a view point at Latrigg, which gave spectacular views over Keswick. It was extremely windy, but the sun did try and come out! At the top, I remembered that I had been here a few years earlier. We had been to the Lakes with my mother, brother and sister in law. My mother and sister in law were over from South Africa for a holiday, so my hubby, stepdaughter and I had a week together with them in a log cabin in the Lakes, along with my brother in law who also lives in England now.
There was a carpark to the right of this view point, which we drove to, then walked up to the viewpoint. It was windy that day too!
Many years ago, hubby and I were up in the lakes with our old dog Ember. We did a walk up Cat Bells. It was such an exhausting walk which took us about 7 hours in total. The views were stunning though. From the viewpoint at Latrigg you can see the same mountain. When you look at it, you can see why it was so tiring and long!
We really wanted to do this walk again on this holiday, however the weather has been against us!
We then descended down a track. The views on this trip were amazing. Wherever you look, there is always something to photograph! Thankfully we missed the rain, which after yesterday was a great bonus!
So, the walk was supposed to be 8 km. My app on the phone worked today! Ok, we do stop a lot to take photos, so it was always going to take longer. In fact for us, it was 2 hours 44 mins. How far did we walk? Over 11 km’s! That detour must have really added on the km’s. Not that I am complaining.
Another quiet night is required especially for 2 tired dogs!
Tomorrow is our last full day. I have clocked up over 130,000 steps in the last 7 days! Tomorrow, will no doubt be another good walk!
I’m ashamed to admit it but after reaching target last year, I lost the drive and motivation I had getting there!
To begin with, I would gain only a few pounds. I thought it was fine, especially as my hubby felt that my target weight was too low. I stayed to group every week and tried to pull it back. One week I would lose, the next week I would gain.
Then life just got really busy and stressful. I found that I didn’t have the time to stay to group. Working away, late trains, birthday meals etc, meant that I would run in and weigh, then leave. I thought just weighing in was enough. I had been doing Slimming World for over a year. I know what to do. Why did I need to stay? It won’t change what I am doing. Oh how wrong I was!
As I said, I have been doing Slimming World for over a year so I know about free and speed food, syns, and my Healthy Extra’s! I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, and never cook in oil, eat the fat off meat or the skin on the chicken! All said and done, my 3 main meals a day are on plan! Ok lets think about this. If all this is true, then why did I put over a stone back on?
The one main thing was breakfast. Because I was always tired or in a rush, I stopped weighing my HEB’s! I mean, we all know what 40 g of oats looks like don’t we? I got complacent. I thought I could guess how much I was having. Then the other day, I went to put granola into a bowl. There was hardly anything in the box left. I was just about to pour it into my bowl when I thought out of interest I would weigh it! It was 75g! Wow. That is more than double what I was allowed.
Lunch was always ok. I can be honest with that! I would have salad without dressings, using ham or roast skinless chicken and boiled eggs. Perfect!
Dinner again fine. Lots of fresh vegetables, lean meat and no sauces! Oh hang on, there was the pre-packed burgers from the supermarket. They were their finest range so must be healthier! Ah, and I had that chilli and rice dish the one day! We have had lots of Braai’s so there were those nibbles and garlic bread!
At work, everyone used to say how good I was as I never went for the biscuits or samosas. One day recently there was a big box of samosas for staff. One of my team was shocked when I asked her if she wanted one! As we both went to get one, I was then tempted to have a spring roll too. I even went back later that day for seconds!
My boss saw my staff member with the food and said to her she should have eaten it when I was at the gym so I didn’t know! She was shocked when told I also had one! If only she knew it was more than 1!
I might have prepared a healthy lunch, but I was now snacking during the day! It is amazing how the extras can add up!
The long hot summer also meant more wine! Whilst I was drinking mainly Slimline Wine, I was still having more syns than I am allowed! In my head I was drinking a low calorie wine so it didn’t count!
When I look back, no wonder I have put weight on! Going to weigh in was just to tick a box. I was no longer passionate about my journey.
The day I stepped on the scales and saw a number I did not like, I realised I had to put a stop to it. I decided staying to group had to happen. I needed my motivation back. I needed to listen to other peoples journeys and get ideas. More importantly, I need to take an hour out of my busy stressful life just for me.
So at my first week back to group, with a heavy heart and close to tears, I listened to the group. In previous sessions, I have been known to put food ideas onto my Tesco shopping app to try new recipes from the group. I started doing this again! I bought the magazine, and made a promise to myself to read it cover to cover!
I left group determined. I went home and planned my meals for the week ahead. I vowed not to have anything at work unless it was planned in. I would save my syns for the evenings, and then only have them if I really needed them.
I chose the gym rather than work lunches out! I cooked at home rather than a takeaway, even when time was limited and I was absolutely exhausted.
The following week, I walked back into group. I was hoping for a big loss! I know I have a long journey ahead of me to get back to how I was. I stepped on the scales and saw a 3.5lb loss. I was absolutely gutted. I wanted more!
I feel stupid now feeling like that. Most weeks I would have been overjoyed at that loss! I wanted more because I am so desperate to get back to my target weight. The reality is, it is going to take me a few weeks for that to happen.
I decided to buy myself a 12 week plan. That way, I could take the pressure off myself. I could give myself small loss targets per week. That way I won’t be disappointed. I can also give myself treats without feeling deprived.
I really want target again. When I get there I am also not going to fall back into the trap I am in now!
Nothing feels better than looking in the mirror and liking what you see. I know to achieve this, I need to keep going to group. I need to keep recipes ideas fresh. I need to take time out for myself.
The next 12 weeks will be a journey but I’m going to do it. I know I am because I know how much I really want it!
We all know the expression – do you remember where you were when President Kennedy was shot? Well I certainly remember where I was when I heard I was one of the lucky few invited by Slimline Wine, to see where and how their amazing wine was produced! The date was 5 March 2018 in the Novotel Hotel in Leeds!
A few weeks before, Slimline had announced 5 lucky winners who were going to be taken on a trip of a lifetime to Italy. I waited in anticipation as the names were called out! I was away with work in Darlington, so was sat on my bed praying it would be me! As the names came out one by one, Stu, Jac, Gaynor, Lisa and Sue, my heart sank. I was pleased for the winners but disappointed for me.
I still loved the wine and believed in the company, so continued to follow and support them.
They had now started doing a cooking show live of Facebook with Chef Andy. I loved this as it paired the wine up with some amazing meals. I would set my alarm on my phone each week to make sure I tuned in.
I was away with work again on 5 March. The Wi-Fi in my room was breaking up, so I was having difficulty in getting to watch that weeks cooking show properly. Eventually I managed to watch it back on catch up. To my complete surprise and joy, Miriam announced live that they wanted me to go too. If I said I was excited I would be underestimating how I felt!
A group chat was set up with all the winners, and over the next few weeks we would message each other daily. We were a group of strangers with one important thing in common. We all loved Slimline Wine!
We were all given the option to bring along a plus 1 on the trip. Sadly 1 of the group couldn’t make it. Another winner, Julia, though was added to the happy band of Slimline friends.
If you want to know more about the wine, check out my previous blog ‘Slimline Wine – So what is the fuss really all about!’ (https://bit.ly/2IfbP0A)
On Friday 15 June 2018 11 complete strangers met at Gatwick Airport along with 2 of Slimline Wines staff – Matthew Tanner and Simon Palmer. The only thing in common was the wine. We could absolutely hate each other or become lifelong friends!
One by one we arrived and introduced ourselves to each other. Straight away there was an ease about us all. It was like we had known each other for years!
We had time in the airport so took the opportunity of visiting the shops, before having a drink in the bar together.
We all boarded our 1 hour 45 minute flight, and travelled the 546 miles to Turin Airport. There, we boarded a large minibus and embarked on the 1 hour 30 minute drive to our Hotel in Calamandrana – the home of Slimline Wine.
Our hotel – Le Corte was absolutely beautiful. An old farm house, it oozed rustic charm. As I stepped off the bus, the views took my breath away! We walked into the courtyard to be greeted by a voice in the distance, inviting us to drop our bags off and to have a drink! None of us needed asking twice! The voice was from the one and only Paul Anthony Gidley. The man on the back of the bottle! The man who started the company and after a conversation with his partner Miriam, came up with the idea of a wine with lower calories.
We were greeted by Sam the waiter serving us a Slim Aperol Spritz. I’d never tried this before, but I will certainly be having it again. It’s a mix of Aperol, Slim white fizz and sparkling water. Perfect for a hot Italian evening and so much better than Pimms. This is the new summer drink!
This was our first chance to really sit down together as a group and get to know each other. More Slim followed until it was time to check into our rooms and change ready for dinner at 8 pm.
Our room was 204, the junior suite. It was absolutely stunning, with amazing views.
Dinner was a set menu, with of course Slimline Wine. The restaurant had, just like the whole of the hotel, dramatic views. We watched the sun set over the vineyards whilst sipping our Slimline Wine. The food was really tasty and plenty of it!
The staff at the hotel were so friendly. It was like everyone was part of the family.
It was a perfect first evening, and by the end of the night (ok early hours of the morning!), we were all truly good friends!
Considering it was a late night, we were all up early the next morning ready to start our tour of Slimline. Well ok, all except one of the group, who had forgotten to move her clock forward!
The first stop was the factory where the wine is made and bottled, in Calamandrana. There we met the other important man behind Slimline Wine, Dan Cusmano. (Photo above). Dan gave us a tour of the factory explaining how it was made, from the moment it leaves the vines, to when it is bottled.
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some videos of our tour on my Youtube channel so make sure you subscribe to it, so you don’t miss them!
What was evident was the passion both Dan and Paul had for their product. They had spent many months making sure they had the perfect grape, the perfect combination and conditions, to give us what we have today.
If any of you have tried the white fizz, you may have experienced problems getting some of the corks out! This was a great opportunity for me to ask Dan about this. He explained that in the early days, the focus was on creating the perfect wine. The cork wasn’t one of the main priorities. On learning our difficulties, they realised they needed to fix this, so new corks were produced. The new ones come out a lot easier!
The next stop was one of the vineyards. As you walk through the straight lines of vines, you can feel the love that has gone into planting them and making sure they grow into the perfect grape.
The grapes won’t be ready for picking until September. We were invited to go back to help with this. I’d love to do this, however as I already have a holiday booked at this time, I sadly may have to decline this offer!
Lunch was at a beautiful family run restaurant in Loazzolo. The views from this place were amazing, as was the food. The lunch consisted of 5 courses! We weren’t expecting that much initially, so filled up on the bread! Big mistake! It was absolutely delicious. No Slimline wine was served, but we did get to try some other white and red wines of the region. Equally as good however with more calories!
After 5 courses, a walk was required, so we did a visit to a lovely town called Acqui Terme. In the square there was a fountain where natural hot spring water flowed.
It was then time to return to our hotel for quick dip in the pool before dinner!
Tonight’s dinner was being held at the home of Dan’s father Raymundo. His villa was just above the hotel. When I thought our views couldn’t be improved on, Raymundo’s balcony blew me away!
Raymundo personally cooked us a variety of meats and breads on his BBQ, served with fresh salads from his own garden. It was such a lovely gesture. We were so relaxed and had a great time. This was all washed down with Slimline wine and some great company!
We returned to our hotel to have a nightcap or 2, of more Slimline Wine!
Today was a going to be a little bit more relaxing!
After breakfast, we had a quick wander into the village of Calamandrana before heading off to Canelli. Here, we went on a tour of the wine cellars of Bosco who produce Asti Spumante. At the end of the tour, we got to try 3 of their products. I have to say, whilst I loved the tour, the wines are not a patch on Slimlines!
We then retired to a lovely bar in the square waiting for a classical concert to start. Sadly, by the time our transport back arrived, the concert hadn’t started!
On our return to the hotel, we headed to the pool. Whilst the boys had a dip, the girls relaxed and enjoyed more slimline wine. A lovely table of cheeses, hams and breads was laid on for us, with yes you guessed it, more Slimline wine.
This should have been our last day! Today we headed back to Turin Airport for our return flight home!
Unfortunately, due to an accident on route, we were held up in traffic and so we missed our flight home! Were we cross? No! We had had such an amazing time, we were all good friends, it was no-ones fault, so we did the only thing we could do! We worked together to make arrangements for alternative flights home.
This ended up being another trip to an airport hotel in Milan, with a flight booked for the next day!
That evening, we enjoyed a drink in the hotel bar, before heading off to a local restaurant. It was a lovely evening.
We all said our goodbyes and headed home.
Thank you Slimline Wine
We had the most amazing time thanks to everyone at Slimline Wine. We wanted for nothing during our time there.
Paul, Matthew and Simon were the perfect hosts. Slimline Wine was as amazing as ever, and now I know what has gone into making it, I will be enjoying it even more!
If you haven’t tried it yet, please do! Its only online at the moment, but will be coming to a Tesco store near you, very soon.
We drank a lot of the wine while we were there! I can promise you, I never woke up with a hangover once! The reduced sulphur is an added bonus!
Follow them on Facebook. You never know when they will be having another competition like this one. It really isn’t something you want to miss.
When I started drinking Slimline Wine, I never realised how it would change my life! I can now drink wine that doesn’t give me a hangover, is less calories and has helped me make friends with a great group of people!
What is not to like!
What does the future hold?
Slimline is going to keep growing. With smaller bottles planned already, you know there is more to come. Seriously, this is a company to keep a watch out for!
Get clicking on their Facebook page, and be one of the first to find out their new products and deals!
Hot off the press
On Sunday 24 June they are offering our first opportunity to buy their vintage fizz for £9.99 a bottle, with free delivery on 6 bottles ! Having the pleasure of being one of the first to try this in Italy, I would highly recommend it !
Get yours while stocks last ! Much better and cheaper than any champagne you will buy!
Check out my YouTube Channel to see more photos of the trip
Do you ever get one of those nights when you are exhausted, and can’t wait to get to bed. As soon as you lay your head on the pillow, zing, you are wide awake! Or you drop off, only to wake up an hour or so later, then that’s it for the rest of the night. Sound familiar? Its so frustrating isn’t it! That is what happened to me on Thursday night.
I was working on my laptop for most of the evening, but by 9 pm I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I get up just after 5 am each morning to walk the dogs, so to make sure I get my 8 hours in, this would be around my usual bedtime.
I slowly got myself ready for bed, settling down around 9.30 pm. I fell to sleep almost immediately, only to wake up around 11 pm. That was it for the rest of the night. By midnight I decided enough was enough and got up. I took the opportunity to put the dogs in the garden for a quick toilet break. I was tempted to make a cup of green tea, but decided against it. At this point, I thought I would be able to get back to sleep, so didn’t want to have to get up again to pop to the bathroom during the night!
Half an hour later, I go back to bed. Now here is a warning, don’t keep looking at the clock when you can’t sleep! It makes you even more frustrated! At 2 am I decide to play a bit of Candy Crush. At this point my husband wakes up. He tells me off for playing on my phone as he says it won’t help me get to sleep! I don’t know why, but this sends me into a fit of hysterics. Not helpful when you are trying to sleep, but it did stop me feeling as frustrated!
By 4 am, I finally dropped off, only to be woken at 5.22 am by Lola, who was wondering why we were not up getting ready to walk her! She really does like routine! My alarm goes off at 5.25 am which is my latest time I should be up to walk the dogs, and she knows it! In fact you don’t need an alarm clock with her around.
I am absolutely exhausted. I have a full day at work ahead. The only saving grace is that it’s a Friday, so tomorrow I know I can have a lie in!
The day was as busy as I expected. I even managed to get a session at the gym in. It was a good job that I was on the go, as the minute I stopped later in the evening, I was completely done in! I can understand why they used sleep deprivation as torture years again!
Why couldn’t I sleep? I really don’t know. I had been stressed out for the few weeks previous, but that had been resolved. Maybe without realising it I was still thinking about it, or maybe it was the fact that unlike other evenings where I would watch TV before bed, I had been working on my laptop! What I do know is that I need my sleep!
How much sleep do we need?
Most people need around 7-8 hours a day to properly function. Young children and especially teenagers need a lot more.
Some people can manage on a bit less than this, everyone is different. The key is to ensure that whatever your body feels comfortable at, you ensure you give yourself enough time to achieve it.
Some people are good at having a nap in the middle of the day. I personally can’t do this. On the rare occasion I do, I wake up more grumpy! I am better going to bed earlier and making up the time.
What happens if you don’t get enough sleep?
If you don’t get a good nights sleep, you will probably feel exhausted, even a little grumpy, as well as difficulty in concentrating.
The odd late night won’t hurt you, however if you continuously deprive yourself of sleep, this could effect your health. Potential conditions could be obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and anxiety. Your immune system will be low so you are more likely to catch colds and flu. Your body is less able to fight off any bugs flying around. Your sex drive drops and you may suffer reduced fertility. Not forgetting the risk of having an accident as you lose concentration.
Diabetes – Type 2 Diabetes is caused as your body struggles to process glucose (high energy carbohydrate which our bodies use for fuel).
Heart Disease – Increases in your heart rate, blood pressure and chemicals linked to inflammation, can put additional strain on your heart.
Sex Drive – Libidos drop in both men and women when they are tired. Lack of energy can reduce your interest in sex also.
Fertility – A reduction of the secretion of the reproductive hormones can impact on your ability to conceive.
Can lack of sleep make you put on weight?
You may be surprised to know that yes it can! Studies have shown that the less sleep you have, the more likely you are to be overweight. Why? It is thought that the less sleep you have, the more your leptin levels are reduced. Leptin is the chemical that makes you feel full. In comparison, your ghrelin levels increase. Ghrelin is a hunger stimulating hormone.
So how to I ensure I get enough sleep?
There are a few things you can do to help you get a good nights sleep:-
Get into a good routine – It sounds silly but by going to bed at the same time each night will help your body clock.
Relax – Make sure you are calm and relaxed before you go to bed. Have a soak in the bath, listen to music (obviously not heavy metal!), read a book or magazine or watch something on TV that helps you relax. Avoid having that argument just before bedtime!
Ban the mobile phone or laptop – Playing on your phone or computer in bed is thought to suppress the bodies production of melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep.
Cut out light – Having a dark room will help you sleep. Try blackout blinds or curtains, especially in the summer months.
Don’t drink alcohol & caffeine – These are two of the biggest culprits of you not sleeping! Caffeine is a stimulant. Great to help you stay awake, but terrible for getting you to sleep! Alcohol is a sedative which does make you feel tired, however it disrupts the quality of sleep you have. You should avoid alcohol for 3 hours before going to bed.
If you want a drink, go for herbal teas, milk or a glass of water. Be careful though! If you drink too much before bedtime, you will be up visiting the bathroom during the night, which will again impact on your sleep!
Get comfortable – Is your bed comfortable? If not, is it time for a new one or a new mattress? What is the temperature like? If like me you are going through the menopause, you could be having a lot of hot flushes! Or it could just be your room is too warm! Open the window, get a lower tog quilt.
Don’t forget about what you wear in bed! Make sure it is comfortable too!
Who is in bed with you? I am referring to our furry friends! Get them to sleep in their own beds. I know with my two dogs, given half the chance they would take up all the room, or sleep so close to us they are almost lying on us!
Go into the spare room! – I don’t know about you, but some nights I could seriously harm my husband with his snoring! Rather than that, take yourself off to the spare room, or send them to it if you can wake them up! Believe you me, you will be surprised at how many couples say the secret to their relationship is separate beds!
What do you do if you can’t sleep?
You would think that if you lie there long enough you will eventually fall asleep. This isn’t true though! If you haven’t dropped back off after 15-20 minutes, get up! Do something relaxing, then go back to bed and try again.
If something is on our mind, write it down. This may help you put it to the back of your mind until tomorrow.
If you continue to struggle with sleep, go and see your GP, just in case there is any other health condition stopping you sleeping. It may be a simple change needed in our lifestyle, medication or they can give you other strategies to help you.