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Teething tired

Everything seems worse at night doesn’t it… and for my little girl her emerging teeth are a serious pain when the lights go out – for her, me and my husband.

She seems to have four coming through at the same time and whilst she’s a playful angel during the day, at night she’s a screaming mess and pulls at her gums, ears and hair. Drool soaks everything around her and she doesn’t seem to like lying down. Calpol, Nurofen, Dentinox, Bongela, teething sachets – I’m using them all!

I feel so awful for her being in pain and so awful that I can’t seem to help her feel comfortable. Plus, with the lack of sleep I’m starting to feel – and I know this will sound dramatic – emotional, depressed, unsure of myself, hopeless and a bad mother. Then I feel even worse because I start thinking how am I going to work and function on this little sleep, or have the energy to entertain her? Then I feel even worse because I start thinking about my weight loss and how I want keep up the exercise and have the energy to go for a run or to cook a healthy meal.

Anyone else talk like this to themselves and feel guilty for thinking about 101 other things whilst trying to comfort your baby?

My husband returned home from work the other day with a gorgeous bunch of flowers as a thank you for looking after our little one and handling the lack of sleep so well – his words, not mine. I was so shocked and touched that he thought to get me something – and having the tiredness acknowledged made feel tons better. I needed those flowers but I owe him a huge bunch too as he’s been up through the night as well, and heading off to work super early on top of no sleep. I also showed him this post before sharing it and completely left out that fact – I’m sorry, you do so much too!

That’s all…

A weight loss friendly peanut butter curry recipe – this is delicious!

I wanted to share a curry I’ve been making for a while that is absolutely delicious, full of healthy stuff and best of all does keep you feeling full! Warning: this recipe contains nuts (the clue is in the title, after-all).

Peanut Butter Curry
This little number is a popular West African curry and it was made a lot by my family when I was growing up – whether at my house, my auntie and uncles, or around family friends’ houses. Traditional West African or Caribbean curry recipes of this kind can include a few more spices, butters and oils than my version – which do taste great – but this version is super quick to make and (if you’re following Weight Watchers like myself) is lower in SmartPoints values than some versions of this curry.

Before I start – I apologise in advance to great cooks out there who may see this recipe and think “ahhh you’ve destroyed a beautiful dish you evil woman!” Recipe writing is also much harder than I’ve ever appreciated (shout out to all those I’ve worked with previously who have been responsible for writing top notch recipes). I’m a little nervous I’ve forgotten some key ingredients, as I’m so used to just chucking this curry together quickly after a long day.

I’ve included a rough guide of the quantities I use, but you can easily add more or less of everything and it will still work. For those on Weight Watchers, this recipe comes to around 8 SmartPoints values and is totally worth every single point – calculate the exact value of your version and track it too for weight loss success.

Be warned, this is moreish!

Peanut butter curry
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • Pack of diced chicken
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Chopped onion
  • Crushed onion glove or 2
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (I use smooth)
  • Tablespoon of curry powder
  • Teaspoon or two of coriander
  • Teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional if you don’t like spice)
  • Coconut oil (or your usual cooking oil/oil sprayer)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Teaspoon of agave syrup, honey or brown sugar (I tend to use agave but this is also optional)

*If you want to add veg to this recipe, you could include peas, beans or sweet potato to this curry. Diced pepper or spinach just about works, but I like it plain or with beans and peas best.

* Serve with rice (I tend to have wholegrain in the cupboard, but it works great with whatever you usually eat or jollof rice).

Method

  • Fry the onions and garlic in your chosen oil
  • After a few minutes add the curry powder and coriander
  • Add the chicken and cook for 5 mins or so; or until you’ve browned all of the pieces – stir frequently
  • Add tinned tomatoes, peanut butter and cayenne pepper
  • Stir thoroughly, bring to boil then simmer for 15/20 mins or until the chicken is fully cooked
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Plate up with some rice and voila!

Enjoy and do post a comment below if you try this recipe and like it.

You can eat out and lose weight!

I love eating out and it always make me feel sad when people think you can’t eat out and follow a weight loss plan – you can! Below are a few tips I’ve found helpful when choosing what to eat, when eating out – and a lesson I’ve learnt the hard way!

Tips for eating out and losing weight

Go for lean meat or fish
These options will keep you feeling full and are generally lower in calories and SmartPoints (if you’re following Weight Watchers like me).

Say yes to veggies
Opting for a dish full of veggies will also help you to feel full, contribute to your 5-a-day and will lead you to feeling a little smug that you’ve ordered something healthy out!

Look at the menu before you go
You’re more likely to stick to a healthy choice if you make the decision in advance. That goes for how many courses you may like as well. I’ll often order a starter because other people are, but I’m never that fussed by starters and end up thinking why did I bother eating that? I’d much rather have a pudding!

Ask for sauce on the side
Sauces can be laden with a high number of calories or SmartPoints – ask for it on the side so that you can be in control of how little or much you smother your food in.

Go for a sorbet or share a pud
I love a pudding but out of all the choices on a menu, these are often the most troublesome for someone wanting to make healthy choices and lose weight. That said, most places will offer a lighter fruity option or sorbet. Or, simply share the pudding you want the most with a friend!

For Weight Watchers members
Check to see if the Weight Watchers app or Eat out book has the SmartPoints value of the dishes available at your chosen restaurant. Then track it! On too many occasions I’ve picked a meal, eaten it and then checked it’s SmartPoints values after. More often than not I’m shocked by what the meal has cost me and wished I had done my research before eating. On special occasions a high SmartsPoints meal doesn’t bother me too much, but sometimes I might be eating out 3 times in week and then I’ve already used up all weekly allowance on the first outing!

Black mum, white baby – I’m not the nanny

I was sitting in a cafe with my daughter when two ladies started talking to me. They were very friendly and explained how they were nannies and how many children they both looked after. It was a pleasant chit chat until I realised that they thought I was a nanny too and asked if I only looked after one child. I was mortified.

My dad is from Ghana and my mum is British – I am mixed race. My husband is white from Wales. We both have dark hair and a parent on each side with blonde hair and blue eyes (my mum and his dad). Our little girl has very blonde hair, very blue eyes and white skin.

I like to think I have a sense of humour, and I have giggled more than a few times about her blondness and bright blue eyes. Her colourings couldn’t be any more different from mine – aren’t genetics incredible? Of course, none of this matters to me. She is my gorgeous girl and I’m proud of my heritage.

However, when I’m mistaken for the nanny it deeply hurts. This is my little girl, no one else’s. I’ve brought her up and I’m so proud of her – I want people to know I’m responsible for this little cutie. Plus, I went through quite some pain to bring her into the world – so I want credit for it!

What’s even more astonishing to me is that people close to me say how my daughter looks exactly like me, just with fair features. So how someone else can’t see that we’re related still shocks me.

I’m not alone, since having my little one I’ve met so many mixed raced mums with white other halves whose babies are fair. It’s lovely to bump into these families and feel I’m not alone. I only hope that more people start to understand how it is possible for a black woman to have a white baby – and vice versa.

7 ways to stop stealing food from your baby

On far too many occasions I’ve found myself devouring food I’ve prepared especially for my daughter. If she’s too slow to gobble up a spoonful of food, it goes in my mouth. If she pauses for more than 10 seconds, it goes in my mouth; and if she turns her head just once, i’ll take that as a go ahead to eat everything left on her plate.

With that in mind I’ve pulled together a few tips for fellow baby-food-eating-parents like me who may also be on a weight loss journey and want to sort it out! These tips were compiled during a 15 minute window of feeling strong and in the persona of a mother who would never steal food from her baby’s mouth. Things later declined quite rapidly as you’ll find out but stay with me…

How to stop eating your baby’s food – 7 top tips!
(Aka a piggy’s guide on how to leave your baby’s food alone and let them eat!)

1. Prepare actual baby size portions
Don’t kid yourself by loading their plate up high and really thinking they will eat it all. You know that extra dollop has your name on it.

2. Eat your meals with your baby
If you feel as though you may be overeating at times, give yourself a separate plate and eat meals with your baby. That way you will be enjoying mealtimes together instead of feeling guilty about having the extra food you’ve consumed and literally stolen from your child’s mouth!

3. Add plenty of fruit and veg to your little ones dishes
That way it’ll never be that bad if you do finish their leftovers.

4. Save leftovers for another meal
Make life easy for yourself and keep those leftovers for another meal, like lunch the next day. Freeze it, don’t eat it!

5. Keep baby foods in a different cupboard
If you have specific items just for your baby, like Rusks (why are they so moreish), keep them in a separate cupboard from the ‘adult’ food, or in obvious baby Tupperware (I’ve got a few boxes with kittens on them!). For some reason this has helped me leave baby items alone for the majority of the day.

6. Opt for individually wrapped items
If you’re a cookie monster like me, it can also help to buy foods that are individually wrapped. You may have guessed that I find it very difficult to have Rusks in the house (poor child will never enjoy a full Rusk biscuit), however Ella’s Kitchen for example sell ‘grab me’ baby biscuits in a box and these are individually wrapped. I find it a lot less tempting to pick at these if I have to open a new packet to do so – although I have done this on a few occasions, but on those few occasions it tends to just be one biscuit instead of munching away the whole box!

Ironically when I got to number 5 in this list I found myself finishing off my daughter’s squished smoothie fruits pouch. After writing number 6 in the list I had one of the biggest binge eating episodes ever – what the hell! I’m sorry people, I promise that these tips do work but I guess number 7 in the list would be…

7. If all else fails, move on and don’t beat yourself up
You probably haven’t eaten that much – draw a line under it and start again. Eat healthy, enjoy meals with your baby, be a little more active and not only will you feel great, but if you do want to lose weight – this will happen as part of a healthy lifestyle.

I’m also delighted to share that after writing this post I attended my Weight Watchers meeting and I had lost 3lbs in a week! So, take that as my evidence that these tips can help!

New baby favs: 3 items I’d recommend to parents

I was asked the other day what products I would recommend to new mums and dads. A few items sprung to mind and so I’d like to share them with you now – and as a reminder to my future self if I ever have a second child!

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine
This is a bit of an expensive one to start my list with (and only applies if you choose not to or are unable to breastfeed), however I absolutely loved this gadget. This machine will help you make bottles of formula milk quickly. It heats water to a hot enough temperature to sterilise powdered formula baby milk and then tops it up with cool water so that you’re left with a bottle of milk that is the perfect temperature for your little one. Yes It’s essentially a kettle, but when you’re super tired, unsure what you’re doing and you have a crying baby in your ear, this bad boy is a godsend! I know lots of other parents who have purchased this and have all agreed it’s amazing.

A baby sleeping bag  
I wasn’t sold on these to start with but it’s an easy way to ensure your baby is warm and snug at night. I still use baby blankets and a large muslin from time to time, but a sleeping bag takes away the worry if you ever think you might not be tucking the blankets in well enough, or if your baby has a habit of kicking their covers off. You can buy them in all sorts of thicknesses to suit the season or your nursery temperature.  

A dummy 
Eek! This is a risky one to put in here, and I have read lots of literature on the cons of a dummy, however this really helped my little one to settle. I was in a bad place when I first used it, my little girl wouldn’t stop crying, I hadn’t slept in what felt like days (probably was days) and really didn’t know what else to do. I’m sure there are more experience mums, dads, nannies and so on out there who would of had another trick up their sleeve, but in the heat of the moment i’m so pleased I had a dummy in the house to try. All was calm once I whipped it out!

I’ll revisit this topic in the future, as I’m sure there are other items that have been life savers. If anyone would like more details on the items mentioned, please feel free to leave a comment below or add your own suggestions to the list!

Why everyone should learn to say NO!

I’m awful at saying no to people, and er food – yes it does talk to me. I’ll agree to anything even if it will leave me feeling exhausted or anxious. The same goes for food, I can be full and feeling all healthy and then I spot a cake and instead of just eating a little slice, I’ll scoff the lot. What the hell, it’s only cake – it’s not a big deal. Same with plans – you can’t do everything so just say no and move on. I have serious arguments with myself over my inability to say no.

A lovely friend of mine had noticed this trait and gave me a little exercise to do. She said, “imagine a colleague asks to lift share with you but there’s no way that it could work. I’m that person, now tell me no”… Okay weirdo, I can do that…

“Er, I’m really sorry I won’t be able to do that because I think you live in the other direction to me and it’s not on my way to work. If I picked you up then drove to work I’d have leave really early, and er I could leave really early I guess but er” I couldn’t actually say no! I was so embarrassed, even in a silly conversation while drinking a lot of red wine (hell yeah I was out at the time), I couldn’t say no!

However, I really need to sort it out. On a few occasions I’ve felt like such a bad mum as a result of not being able to say no, because it’s meant my daughter’s routine had been completely messed up because  I’m trying to do everything and please everyone – she was completely shattered (as was I). Other examples have been over unexpected foodie occasions when I’ve planned to catch up with someone thinking we’ll have have drinks and it’s turned into a real food fest. (I’m not anti food fests when the time is right, but sometimes i’m in the zone, I’ve eaten a healthy meal and I just want to sit with a beverage and save my Weight Watchers SmartPoints for a big dinner with pudding in the evening – it’s all about priorities!) Long story short, I’ll eat too and I’ll always end up eating way more than the other person once I get started. I’ll then return home feeling annoyed with myself and just pants.

So, I will try to say no more without being rude, ending up a complete bore, or leaving my daughter completely worn out by traipsing her around everywhere. If you’re like me, join me in my challenge to say no! It doesn’t make you a bad person, other people say no and I think we’re going to feel a lot better for it!

P.S.
I would like to confirm that I do enjoy food out – please don’t stop inviting me out for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Mum tum and stretchmarks – why I’m proud of these war wounds!

So, as you know I’m on a quest to lose a lot of the weight I put on during pregnancy. If you need a reminder as to how much that was, it’s a whopping 5st! (I’ve got super skills when it comes to putting on weight). It’s important to me to shift the weight so that I can run around with my little girl (and for anyone who knows my daughter, she literally runs everywhere and she’s only just got to grips with plain old walking); to feel confident in my own skin again; and to be able to wear all the size 12 clothes I splashed out on before getting pregnant!

However, I have to admit I’m not hating my stretchmarks or the ‘interesting’ (okay, it’s weird) way my stomach now looks. Is that strange? In fact, I feel kind of proud of them. If I do make it to my healthy goal weight and feel brave enough to wear a bikini (not that I was ever that confident to wear one before giving birth), I will be showing them off! I did giggle when my husband referred to them as my war wounds, and I don’t think that’s a bad description – after all they were 9 months in the making.

Why walk when I don’t have my Fitbit on!

I’m currently obsessed with my Fitbit, to the point that it pains me to walk anywhere if I’m not wearing it!

That’s a little bit wrong I know but at least when it is on, it’s motivating me to walk more than ever before!

In the early days of my wearing my Fitbit I would be lucky to reach 10,000 steps – the recommended number of steps each person should take in a day. Fast forward a few months and I’m clocking up way over 15,000 and have even walked more than 20,000 steps on several occasions!

If you have no idea what I’m going on about, then let me take a step back. Fitbit is a type of pedometer and there are quite a few on the market, but I’m a big fan of this little guy. You wear your Fitbit (I’ve got a wrist one – Charge HR to be specific – but there’s also one you can clip to your waist) and use the free app to sync all the data. Through the app you can find friends (via your contacts or by syncing with your various social media accounts) and join in on challenges with them, too. I’ve currently got a few of these challenges on the go, including ‘Workweek Hustle’ – a five day challenge to see who can walk the most steps from Monday to Friday!

I’m in second place as we speak, so let me get up and get walking! (I never knew I could be so competitive!)

Why does a broken routine lead to binge eating?

I’ve spent the last few weeks visiting family and celebrating some special occasions with friends. It’s been such a lovely time but in the back of my mind I’m constantly beating myself up over not being able to stay in control of my eating when I’m away.

It means so much to me to to lose the excess weight I’m carrying, yet the sight of cake, ice cream, home cooked pies and prosecco makes me forget all of that instantly!

Breaking bad
I have a habit of either being really ‘good’ when it comes to my diet or ‘really bad’. I try to plan treats into my day, but if I go off course I tend to think – “Oh i’ve ruined it now, so I might as well go crazy and eat everything in sight!”. If I just stopped after a few squares of chocolate for example, it really wouldn’t be the end of the world – or the end of my diet – but do I do that? On this occasion the answer is a big no! I eventually got back on track and had two healthy days before my Weight Watchers weigh-in and I exercised on both days. Amazingly I lost 1lb!

With the new Weight Watchers plan there’s a lot of literature on positive thinking. My personal favourite is the 80/20 rule – the idea being that you make healthy choices for 80% of the time – after all no one is perfect! In hindsight I think this is something I obviously need to remember a little more often, and not let one slip up lead to binge eating on foods that could sabotage my weight loss efforts.

My goal for the next few weeks is to be a little kinder to myself, allow for treats in moderation; and have a go at saying no when I’m offered a tempting and high-calorie food that I know will just leave me feeling gross and too full.

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