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Great weightspectations

With the big day just around the corner I’ve been having a rethink about my weight loss goals. All year I’ve wanted to be at my ‘goal weight’ for Christmas, but I forgot what December can be like when it comes to festive occasions dominated by copious amounts of food and drink. So should I keep aiming to reach my target by Christmas or cut myself some slack and postpone my ‘goal weight’ dreams until the New Year?

Option 1 – Lose weight and get to goal by Christmas

The positive side of me says forget about all the hoo-ha of Christmas piss ups and foodie feasts – enjoy the lot but keep aiming to lose what I can by Christmas – especially as I’m so close to my goal. However, I’m nervous that putting pressure on myself to reach my goal over such a busy foodie time of year will only leave me feeling disappointed if I don’t achieve it. Plus, when I set this goal originally it was on the basis of losing 1-2lbs a week. With a few unplanned blips, I would actually need to lose over 2lbs a week to reach my goal in time for Christmas. So, as much as I would love to reach my goal by December 25th, I feel as though I’m setting myself up to fail. Or am I being pessimistic?

Option 2 – Maintain my current weight until the New Year

I feel like maintaining my current weight is more of a realistic goal for this time of year. I would still aim to lose a few pounds, but having a ‘maintenance’ goal as my aim feels a lot more achievable and something that I would feel happy about once Christmas has passed. I could enjoy all the events I’ve got coming up but I’d try to not go overboard with food and drink like I have done in previous years.

Option 3 – Gain weight

I definitely don’t want to do this. I’ve been known to put on 7lbs+ just over Christmas week! So, I will continue to exercise, plan what I eat, fill up on healthy stuff and attempt to have treats in moderation… until Christmas Day itself that is!

P.S
The mince pies in the photo have been in my house for 3 days now, and I’ve not eaten them – winning!

31 Christmas weight loss tips

Losing weight over Christmas can be really tricky, and while Christmas shouldn’t be just about food and drink – it does seem to dominate December. With that in mind, here’s a little round up of healthy Christmas weight loss tips I’ve picked up, read or heard over the years and I hope these can help you (and me) stay on track over the festive season.

  1. Christmas is just one day, don’t eat mince pies for the whole of December!
  2. If you’re hosting Christmas parties, stock up as near to your event as possible, rather than bulk ordering weeks in advance. This will hopefully prevent pre-event eating and having to re-stock. Unless you have a second freezer that you can stay well away from!
  3. Plan your meals and activity in advance – there are a lot of days over the festive period you can still be healthy on.
  4. Practice safe/non-binge drinking. Alternative between alcoholic and soft drinks if you can on a night out and batch cook some healthy meals for the days/hungover that follow.
  5. Often find yourself right next to the buffet? Move away after you’ve enjoyed your food and get involved with some festive games or dancing!
  6. Keep your weight loss goals close to mind – write them down and carry them around as a little reminder when you feel like you may be over indulging. 
  7. Eat your greens and lean meat – roast dinner can be pretty healthy if you allow it to be.
  8. Experiment with new Christmassy recipes to impress friends and family. 
  9. Plan a few active days over the holidays instead of planting yourself in a pub for hours on end – visit Christmas markets and enjoy some Winter walks.
  10. Feel Christmassy with some lighter treats – mini mini pies, low calorie hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts… 
  11. Sign up to a charity run or event to keep yourself motivated during winter.
  12. And with that in mind, why not embrace some Winter sports – try indoor skiing, head to a dry slope or go sledging!
  13. Find yourself constantly grazing? Chew gum! 
  14. Are you a prosecco fiend? Stock up on low calorie options. Or perhaps a skinny lager is more your thing?
  15. Bake your own, healthy mince pies! Here’s a healthy mince pie recipe to whet your appetite!
  16. Love a Baileys? Buy the super tiny, bottles so you can enjoy the taste without the abundance of calories (or SmartPoints).
  17. Replace festive snacking to an indulgence of another kind – enjoy Christmas themed scented candles, bubble bath and take a good soak!
  18. Fancy a Christmas movie? Thankfully popcorn is quite fashionable these days and there are loads of options on the market to choose from – buy multi-packs of the skinny variety to stay in control of how much you munch during your favourite Santa flick.
  19. Out and about and fancy a hot chocolate? Why not! Ask for a skinny hot chocolate or feel just as Christmassy with a Chai tea instead.
  20. Paint your nails… that may keep you off the mince pies for a little bit! (Can you tell I’m craving a mince pie?)
  21. Make more time for your spuds over Christmas, and put them in the oven for longer to roast, rather than depending on lots of cooking oil or goose fat to crisp them up.
  22. Transform you everyday porridge, deserts or hot drinks into something festive with a sprinkle of cinnamon – plus, this little spice is really good for you.
  23. Read my blog for inspiration or to at least feel you are not alone if you’re plans, don’t go to plan!
  24. To help balance out any extra food or drink you might have, squeeze in a little more activity before or after any festive occasions you have booked.
  25. Create your own healthy hamper to have around the house for when you fancy a snack. I’m a big fan of Bounce Balls, Naked bars, and protein shakes.
  26. Buy yourself an early Christmas present – some new workout clothes, walking gear, or a pedometer so that you feel more motivated to keep moving while its cold outside.
  27. Download a food diary app and track what you eat before munching, you can then make an informed decision as to whether its worth the calories or SmartPoints (if you follow Weight Watchers like I do).
  28. Serve up some warming one pot meals. They can be super healthy and packed with loads of veggies.
  29. Decide if you’re happy to lose weight, maintain weight or gain a little weight over Christmas – this may help you navigate certain situations with more control.
  30. If you have a foodie event coming up it can sometimes be tempting to skip meals beforehand – unfortunately that can lead binge eating and reaching for high sugary and fat options. Eat as you would usually and enjoy a little indulgence if that happens. It’s Christmas after all!
  31. Most importantly, relax! Whatever happens, enjoy your Christmas and if you’re weight goes in a direction you’re not too happy with, then there’s always January to get back on track!

I hope you found some of these tips useful and please share any advice you may have in the comments box below.

Happy holidays! xx

Photo: This is a pic from an Ocado magazine I received – it contains mouth-watering pages.

Self-gifting: A new way to lose weight!

I’m starting to appreciate the positive effect being kind to yourself can have on weight loss. This does sound very cheesy but being able to say I’m not perfect but I’ll keep on going has (I think) enabled me to stick with Weight Watchers (and try to improve my eating habits) for longer than I have ever have done on any other weight loss plan. It’s about progress and not perfection – stolen from a meme I saw this morning!

Being positive and kind to yourself can help you recover quicker from a minor blip too. In the past if I felt as though I went off track, I’d write-off the whole week. Now, I might have a little pep talk with myself and start afresh there and then; or the next day at the very latest.

Being kind to yourself may also mean putting yourself first and being a little ‘selfish’ – be it making the time to cook healthy foods, going to a gym class you like or simply giving yourself a pat on the back once in a while.

I’ve had to remind myself of this lately, as I’ve had some set minor set backs in the last few weeks. You can probably guess what one of those is if you’ve read my last post and another was my local Weight Watchers meeting closing.

Finding another to go along to as proved way more difficult than I thought it would; and until it closed I hadn’t appreciated just how important it was to me and my weight loss success. It’s been a good month of trying to find times and venues that work and up until last week, my weight loss had pretty much stayed the same. This week however I was gutted to have put on 2lbs. On the flip side, I think I’ve found a new meeting to go to weekly, as it really helps me to stay focus, and the members were (as always) so lovely. In this meeting we talk about kindness how we’re often kinder to others than ourselves – which led on to jokes about buying ourselves gifts but I thought, why not! I definitely need to start doing that more, especially if it could help my weight loss! (And yes I’m aware that Christmas is just 6 weekends away and it’s probably not the most suitable time to be all for buying myself stuff.)

That said, here’s to self-gifting and kindness; because we should be our own biggest fans and not our biggest critics.

My battle with binge eating

I often joke about my obsession food and my ability to eat a ridiculous amount in one sitting. However, from time to time it really isn’t a laughing matter. I’d like to share my experience and for anyone who may be able to relate to this, I’d like to offer a few tips that can help break the binge eating cycle – although I don’t have all the answers and I’m still learning to adopt these new habits myself.

Warning: This post isn’t the most uplifting but I’ll try to end of a high and write something a little more fun next time! No offence taken if you skip this one. In fact, I kind of want you to! There’s no filter here, this is a full on confession…

I’d like to cover this topic as a way for me to try and understand why I binge eat and I’m curious if anyone else has experienced this; and when I talk about binge eating, I mean to the point of feeling sick and in tears. (Wow that was really hard to admit and to see written).

My experience
Various circumstances can kick start a binge eating episode. Boredom sometimes, but I think the biggest catalyst for me is feeling upset, anxious or annoyed with myself. I like a plan too, and if a plan doesn’t go the way I hoped I tend to hit the kitchen and eat for hours (literally).

Over the years I’ve learnt to not have anything too unhealthy in the house in case I do eat to excess, but I can generally find some kind of sweet food to over indulged on. If that isn’t enough, I can make random meals out of anything I can find and I’ll usually have multiples of any item or dish. I’ve disgusted myself when I’ve noticed the time and realised I’ve not stopped eating for over 2-3 hours, probably longer on a few occasions. Once I stop eating I never feel better for it, so I’m not sure why I do it. I’ll often cry or get angry afterwards, and I’ll always feel sick. When I was younger my overeating would lead to being sick on a few occasions but thankfully that is in the very distant past.

Reading this makes me feel terribly guilty for people around the world who struggle to even get enough food to eat, and here I am woofing it down because I feel down. Plus, I’m a mum now and I would hate for my daughter to think of me in this way or to ever have this kind of relationship with food. (This is all so horrible to admit. Should I really post this?)

4 tips to break the binge eat cycle
There are a few tips I’ve picked up over the years to break that cycle of overeating and to try and combat why I’m eating in this way. Some of these tips can help during the moment and others need to be looked at once you’re out of that binge eating spell – I think that will make sense to anyone who has experienced something similar.

1. Stock your kitchen with healthy food
This is a practical one but it can help. If you surround yourself with healthy food, you’d hopefully feel full quicker than you would overeating on junk food (and therefore stop quicker); and you’ll be limiting the amount of weight you could put on from overeating. Even if you have some small treats lying around, hopefully what you may consume won’t be too bad in the grand scheme of things.

2. Ask yourself why you’re binge eating
Eating to the point of feeling sick isn’t going to make you feel happy. Instead, challenge yourself to confront whatever it is you’re really feeling. Write it down, confide in a friend – whatever your method try and ask yourself this in the moment. Move to a different room (away from the kitchen!) and work on what would change how you feel or how you could solve a problem in front of you. Talking to someone is great; going for a walk can clear your head; pamper yourself in some way to cheer yourself up can be fun; arrange something to do if you’re bored; or find a show you like on TV… just give yourself a few minutes to really think everything through.

3. Don’t restrict your diet – eat if you’re actually hungry and focus on being healthy
If you’re trying to lose weight, this one can be a bit tricky to master. My advice here is to not restrict your diet – even treats. Enjoy everything in moderation, focus on eating healthy foods and eat your favourite foods. The times I’ve said I’m only eating X amount of calories, or I’m going to skip a meal to try and lose weight, are the times that have often led to eating far too much because I’ve basically gorged on foods I told myself I can’t have. This leads to my next tip…

4. No one is perfect, don’t try to be
In the past when I’ve followed a diet, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to be absolutely perfect at it. I’ll usually succeed for a good few days and then I break; I break bad – very bad! Recently I’ve realised that if I’m ‘good’ 80% of the time (eating healthily and exercising) and a little off track the other 20% of the time is not a big deal; and chances are when I look at the complete picture, I’ve still made a lot of healthy choices.

There you have it, the hardest post I’ve written to date. If you did make it to the end, thank you for reading. If you can identify with anything I mentioned I would love to hear from you. Plus, any tips or insight on the matter are very welcome.

 

15% Off Slumbersac!

A few weeks ago I posted a review of a Slumbersac sleeping bag. I shared it with the company and the lovely folks in head office have given me a unique discount code to share with my readers! I’m so chuffed! It gives you 15% off and is valid until December 24th 2016.

If you use the unique code below, I hope you’re as pleased with your sleeping bag as I was with mine. Simply enter the code below at the checkout for 15% off; and if you missed my review on the Slumbersac sleeping bag, click here to read it.

Diet Mum Feed Slubersac discount code: SBL07

Please note, the code is valid until December 24th 2016 and can’t be used in conjunction with any other offer. Enjoy!

Chocolate velvet post-workout protein shake recipe

This delicious smoothie recipe is inspired by The Body Coach; Weight Watchers; close friends of mine at www.echosupplements.com; a nutritionist at my local gym; and what I had in my kitchen. It tastes great and you’re sure to love it if you’re a chocolate fiend like me! I hope you enjoy it if you give it a whirl… or should I say blitz (poor attempt at getting in a blender reference).

The following recipe includes some of the ingredients The Body Coach uses in his post-workout recipes, but has been tailored to what I usually ‘spend’ SmartPoints* wise on breakfast. It also includes some sneaky fruit and vegetables (tip given to me by a nutritionist at my local gym) and a scoop of PHD diet whey protein powder. Lovely friends of mine who run www.echosupplements.com inadvertently introduced me to PHD diet whey protein bars and powders – during a catch up they shared one of the bars they had on them and it was so good. It completely sorted out my chocolate craving, actually filled me up and as a pleasant surprised had a low SmartPoints value too!

A Weight Watchers friendly Chocolate Post-Workout Protein Shake Recipe
Requires a blender
For Weight Watchers it works out at 5 SmartPoints

Ingredients
20g rolled oats
200ml of Oat milk (could used almond milk)
1 scoop of PHD chocolate diet whey powder
1 banana
Handful of spinach (frozen or fresh)
Handful of blueberries (frozen or fresh)diet-mum-feed-chocolate-protein-shake

Method
Chuck in a blender and whizz!

Do check out www.echosupplements.com or give them a call if you’re interested in trying PHD for yourself or want to know more about protein powders. They’re so knowledgeable and super friendly.

Enjoy the smoothie!

P.S I also noticed that the smoothie matched the colour of my nails, and so I thought I’d share that pic in this recipe too! haha.

 

* When you follow Weight Watchers – the counting method, as there is a no count method – every food and drink as a SmartPoints values

Pyscle London review – let’s do this

I’ve just experienced my first-time at Psycle – one of a few spinning studios that promises to offer you a full body workout on a bike and leave you feeling as though you have just been to a nightclub!

It takes inspiration from indoor cycling classes popular in the US, which are apparently adored by celebs such as David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Lena Dunham and many many more. There’s even been a reality TV show on E! about it all called Hollywood Cycle (everything on that channel is a guilty pleasure for me). I enjoy spinning so thought I would like it, but I was expecting to come away thinking it was all a bit gimmicky. However, I didn’t. Instead, I thought it was absolutely amazing and I might have fallen in love with the instructor just a little bit. She was incredible! Here’s what I loved…

The energy
The energy from staff and regular goers is infectious. People love the classes, so before entering the studio you already feel part of something special. (Yes, that sounds cheesy, but it’s true!) Then there’s the instructor and she was on a whole other level of positivity. Not only was she clearly superb at spinning, but she was actually managing to rock out on the bike like Beyoncé while giving directions and making you feel as though you’re doing the best job ever. She was so encouraging and full of life.

The darkness
Lights are turned down low for the class and when I say low I mean almost off and at times it was pitch black with a few strobe lights. Paired with the music, you really did feel like you were in a nightclub, but most importantly it hid the buckets of sweat pouring from everyone and all the red faces. I could see my silhouette in the mirrors in front of me, but not much else, and I’m thankful for that. I’m sure I looked like a monster but I could pretend I was a glamorous (sweaty) goddess riding the bike like a true athlete!

The music
Loud, it was so loud and a fantastic playlist of new songs and classic anthems and again, left you feeling like you were at a party – but also hid my horrendous panting from being out of breath!

The routine
This is a hardcore class, spinning plus aerobic moves and weights. If you don’t like anything else about this type of studio, you can not fault the actual spinning session you’ll receive.

The kit
There’s no need to bring towels or shoes with you to this class. On your bike in the studio is a towel waiting for you and after the class you can pick up a towel or two for the showers. Plus, at the door you’ll be given a pair of clip cycling shoes to wear. The changing rooms are also equipped with shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, GHD hair straighteners and even tampons if you need them! (I can only talk for the women’s changing rooms of course!) There are lockers to keep all your bits and pieces in and also the chance to buy water or healthy smoothies from the ‘Energy’ kitchen. 

All of which I give a huge thumbs up to, as the classes aren’t particular cheap* but worth the experience and all the little extras you get along with your actually spinning class. Thank you Psycle for a gorgeous ride and to my beautiful friend for inviting me along to experience it. I would definitely go again and would go regularly if the studio was close to where I live. Unfortunately it isn’t but I will definitely be up for making the trip again and I’ve already got some new recruits who would love to try it, after I shared my experience. I’m sure I saw they offer parties too… perhaps that’s how I can celebrate getting to my goal weight or my next birthday! 

Psycle London has two studios, one in Mortimer Street near Oxford Circus and another in Canary Wharf – this is the studio I attended and Alana was my instructor. *Classes are £20 a session but introductory and bundle offers are available.

Now to buy some ‘credits’ for the studio… 

Winter is coming and I’ve got a Slumbersac!

This week has felt like the middle of winter… runny noses, chest infection, the huge desire for comfort food and a reminder that my little girl’s room seems to enjoy making a cold night feel even colder! I’m sure it has its own micro-climate and isn’t it typical for the nursery to be the one room in the house that is either super hot in summer and super cold in winter. Unfortunately there’s not much we can do about changing rooms around, so instead we’ve had to come up with some easy ways to make it a lot more snug in there.

I thought I had the bedding situation sorted as I went extra big last winter when I stocked up on baby sleeping bags, but I was gutted to see that they are already to short for my toddler. My daughter is 18 months but she’s as tall as some 3-year-olds! So the hunt for another baby sleeping bag that would accommodate her longs legs began. I also wanted to see if there were any sleeping bags thicker than a 2.5 tog, as last year we ended putting blankets on top of the sleeping bag which I feel defeats the purpose.

The winner is a Slumbersac. I had a chuckle when I saw how long the Slumbersac is, but I’m very pleased that it has a good length on it. This is the only sleeping bag I’ve seen that I believe will last until the age it says it should on the label. The design allows you to fold the bottom half of the bag too, so that you can have it a little smaller while your baby grows into it. Plus, it’s extremely soft. I honestly wasn’t expecting to be wowed so much by a baby sleeping bag! I’ve got a 3.5 tog with sleeves which will be perfect for the depths of December and a lighter one for ‘autumn’.

I’m delighted to share she had a very restful night’s sleep in it and it’s already part of the family, as a few days after receiving it her winter bug came out in full force and she was sick all over the thing. On the plus side, I was able to test it in our washer and dryer and it came out the same size and softness! Thumbs up! I love finding good baby products!

Exclusive discount code!
After publishing my review the Slumbersac very generously offered me a discount code to share with my readers. Click here to enjoy 15% off their sleeping bags!

Shake ya ass, but watch yourself!

Social sport adventures…

As much as I have certain weight and dress size goals, another huge milestone for me is getting my fitness back. The first run I went on after having a baby left me feeling as though I would never be physically fit again. That may sound a little over the top, but my body felt so alien to me – I could barely run for 5 minutes, whereas I had managed to jog for 5 miles at a time before having a baby.

I had to go back to basics and really build my muscle tone and cardio up from scratch. Having persevered with various exercise classes and routines, I finally feel as though I have my strength back – and it feels great.

Another welcomed bonus to feeling strong again is the ability to try out new sports for fun and make it into a proper social event. Recently I went skiing for the first time ever! I’ve always wanted to go but I’ve been a proper chicken about it. At school there was a ski trip but I didn’t go on it – I was too insecure  about my size (even then) and any sporting activity was not my strength – its haunted me ever since, why didn’t I just go! So, when a friend rallied a group of us to have a lesson on a dry slope I was so excited to finally give it a go – and to have got my fitness up to level where I felt like I could at least try – even if I was a bit pants!

I absolutely loved it, although I can not turn right! And, I loved being with my closest friends and having a laugh doing it. Which made me think how amazing it is to do something sporty as a way to catch up with friends and get fit!

There are a few new classes in my area that I’d like to try out with some pals to keep up the social sport adventures. One includes an aerobics class to 90’s music with glow sticks called ‘Clubbercise’!

Another lovely friend of mine even suggested doing a spin class together for our next catch up followed by lunch and a few drinks for a treat! I love that idea, especially as her spin classes sound like they’re way bigger than anything I go to – so I can not wait!

What else could I try? Perhaps a charity run? Ideas and friends are welcomed to join me!

P.S If you’re wondering why I called my post ‘shake ya ass, but watch yourself’ it’s simply because I’ve had this noughties song in my head for ages and thought it might catch your attention! Did it work?

A simple pasta sauce recipe

This is a short and sweet post to share a little recipe… tomato and butternut squash pasta sauce. It’s tasty, filling and goes well with lots of stuff like prawns, beef or chicken, alongside pasta and whatever veg you may like (such as peas, spinach or peppers).

Tomato & Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Tablespoon or so of tomato puree
  • Coconut oil (or your regular oil)
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • Butternut squash – I use a packet of the frozen stuff
  • Salt, pepper and oregano
  • Teaspoon of agave syrup

Method

  • Cook your butternut squash until soft (then leave to one side or while that’s cooking crack on with the below)
  • Slice and dice some onion and crush some garlic – fry the lot in your chosen oil – I like to use coconut oil.
    *You may want to use a pan larger than a frying pan for this as it’s going to contain the whole sauce shortly and it creates a decent amount!
  • Add your salt, pepper and oregano, followed by the puree and tinned tomatoes – stir it up.
    * If you want to add fish or meat to the sauce, you could add your chosen item to the pan at this point to cook.
  • Once the onion and garlic look nearly cooked, add your butternut squash and mash it all up.
  • Bring to boil, reduce to simmer for 10 or so minutes. Stir in a little olive oil and I like to add agave syrup for a bit of sweetness and voila!

It’s basically your standard tomato sauce with butternut squash! I may be slightly obsessed with butternut squash at the moment. I love it in this sauce though as it makes it super thick and delicious. Plus, on Weight Watchers its 0 SmartPoints, whoop whoop!

The photo shown is the sauce with prawns and peas, which was later mixed in with some wholewheat pasta.

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