Some Ideas for Sticking with It

I’m glad to report that my second weigh-in was successful – down another 2.4 pounds for 7.4 to date! I’m feeling better physically, my clothes are not so tight, and I’ve had my first compliment on looking thinner. All of these are very motivating!

I’m finding it much easier this time around, partly because of all you supportive people! Also, the program that I’m following now steers you towards filling foods — high protein or fruits and vegetables, meaning that I don’t get too hungry.

Something else that’s useful is that I’ve synced the Apple Health app on my iPhone to my Weight Watchers app. It tracks the number of steps I take and converts them to activity points, meaning that I have a couple more points in my day to play with. No, I never did get to the gym before my trial run expired. Oh well.

I’m totally a creature of habit, and it helps me to have some standard meal and snack choices:

  • Breakfast biscuits — I tend to eat in the car on my way to work, so the Belvita biscuits (2 for 4 points) are easy. They probably have more sugar than is ideal, but along with my milk-based iced espresso drink, they keep me full until lunch.
  • 0%-fat, plain Greek yoghurt with fruit (0 points) — I actually don’t like the taste of regular yoghurt, but I do like Greek yoghurt and it has the added bonus of being high in protein and very filling. For sweetness I’ve added blueberries or blackberries or, my new favourite, kiwi cut into chunks.
  • An apple or a zucchini (0 points) — Cut into wedges and sprinkled with salt, these make a crunchy satisfying snack to eat in front of the TV.
  • Store-bought salty or sweet snacks that are low in points (ie. low in calories, saturated fat, and sugar, and high in protein if possible) — Sometimes, I really want something other than those healthier snacks! By studying the labels (and using the bar code scanner on the WW app), I’ve found a small vanilla iced-yoghurt bar partially dipped in chocolate for 4 points. There’s also a mini “ice cream” sandwich, made from coconut milk for 4 points. And when I want something salty, I’ve found a brand of oven-baked thin corn crackers (that are a good substitute for chips) with 18 crackers for 2 points.
  • Water variations — It feels like you are drinking something more special when you add ice and a squirt of lemon juice. You can also buy carbonated water with natural flavouring (no sugar), but you have to watch the sodium content. Also, I prefer to dilute them because the bubbles can make you feel bloated. I’ve also got a jug with a fruit infuser in the centre… I need to get that out again!
  • The lunch wrap suggested by Guylty — My base is a small corn tortilla (2 points) and a wedge of herb and garlic Laughing Cow cream cheese (1 point). The meat can be chicken or turkey and then any vegetables can be added (0 points for the protein and the veg). Last week I discovered a delicious new variation — pea shoots, prawns (cold, as in a prawn cocktail), and a drizzle of cocktail sauce.

What helps you to stick with your healthy-eating or weight-loss program?

You know, I really should have taken a picture of my prawn wrap, but I have been so distracted by the new ultra-blue-eyed Armitage selfie that I completely forgot!

RA Valentines Selfie 2018

I’m nuts for nuts!

In the course of the diet, another obsession has come to my attention. Judging by my previous posts, I am an addictive personality. If I find something I like, I can’t get enough of it. Zero point pancakes? I’ll eat them every day! Lunch time wraps? Every day. Tall, dark, handsome Brit actor? No escape – only Richard.

Ok, obligatory RA reference out of the way, let’s get to the nuts and bolts of this post. The latest obsession are… cashew nuts. I have always liked them, whether roasted and salted on their own, or unsalted in a mixed bag with dried cranberries, or as the best bits in a big bag of Bombay Mix. I love the crunchy yet soft nuttiness of them. Looking a bit more at nutrition since the start of my diet, I had become concerned about my cholesterol levels (due to my pancake penchant, see above). I was thrilled to find out that cashews are not only cholesterol-free, but also actively help fight cardiovascular diseases because they contain acids that strengthen the lining of the arteries. Nuts like cashews contain “good” fats and proteins that are perfect for battling the snacking reflex.

Thus, when the afternoon snack attack occurs, I have been grabbing a handful of cashews. 20 cashews equal about 2 SmartPoints – I always make sure to allocate 2 points per day for my snacking needs. Nevertheless, I go through a bag of salted cashews quite quickly (helped by my family), and it occurred to me to roast them myself. That has the added advantage of controlling the amount of salt that they are seasoned with, too. After incinerating a couple of batches of cashews, I have now found the perfect recipe for roasting your own. It’s simple and easy, and it is cheaper than buying the roasted, overly salty variety in the shop.

Roast-your-own Cashews

The secret to roasting the perfect cashew, is two-fold: First of all it is down to slow roasting at a low temperature. And secondly, best results are achieved when you soak them first! But other than that it can be done in your own, conventional oven at home. Here is my tried and tested recipe:

  1. In a bowl, mix 3 cups of lukewarm water with ½ tbsp of salt.
  2. Add 2 cups of cashews and let soak for 2 hours.
  3. Drain the cashews for at least 15 minutes. Then dry the bowl and put the cashews back in and mix with another ½ tbsp of salt. Let the salt/cashew mix sit for another 15 minutes.
  4. Spread the cashews on greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Roast in the oven at 150°C/300°F/gas mark 4 for 1 hour. Set a timer to stir the cashews every 20 minutes. By the end of the roasting session the nuts should be evenly brown and not wet anymore. Let them cool, and they will develop the typical crunch.

Home-roasted cashews are absolutely delicious. You may have to experiment with the right degree of saltiness – and possibly adjust the temperature to your own oven. Generally, it is better to roast them slowly at a lower temperature, than faster at higher temperatures. Believe me – I’ve tried rushing them, and they reacted by burning to crisps. But when you get it right, they are better than any shop-bought nut mix.


Pancake Tuesday!

Today is the day when you *must* 😉 try that zero points pancake recipe I posted in my breakfast post a while ago. Two eggs, one banana. In a blender. Then into the pan – make small, drop scone-size pancakes, otherwise it will be difficult to flip them.

Since I already posted the recipe before, here is my new addition to our info pool: I have just discovered peanut butter powder. And it is my absolute life saver. Because I love peanut butter. Reeces peanut butter cups are out for the next while, so I switched to rice or corn and quinoa cakes, thinly spread with peanut butter instead for my ‘elevenses’. And then I read on a WW site that there is this magic powder that gives you the peanut butter taste with only one third of the fat of real peanut butter. Two tablespoons of the powder mixed with 20ml of water and one drop of sweetener – and you have smooth peanut butter. Topped with some banana slices, this is my favourite mid-morning snack. No regrets.  The brand I buy is called PB fit – but I think PB2 is the same thing from a different brand.

As for the weighing day – today was the end of week 4 for me, and the last week was a tough one. Celebrating my recent pay rise with a restaurant dinner didn’t help, nor did the visit to a ‘hipster café’ with the kids (a running joke in our family), that resulted in a delicious lunch with a plate of falafel. Nevertheless, I managed to lose 800g (1.7 lbs) this week.

Lazy re-use of old manip…

I already crossed my first milestone last week. And just as an update in case anybody read my piece on motivation and rewards: As soon as I had weighed myself and passed the milestone, I went on that jewelry website to reward myself with the ring I had set my heart on. Click – in my shopping cart. Click – at the check-out. I was thrilled to be parting with 80$ in return for my reward – and then *crash*. Shopping cart abandoned. Turns out that the postage for 1 ring from the US to Europe was going to be 60$. I just can’t justify that kind of unnecessary spend on a luxury item, so for the moment, the jewelry rewards are off. I am disappointed, but I have told myself that I will revisit the site once I have reached my final goal, and if the jewelry is still available then, I might treat myself to the full set in one go. In *that* case, I *will* justify the massive postage cost to myself…

However, I did get a reward last week. I decided to go the opposite way: Instead of luxury jewelry shopping, I snooped around in a few charity shops and made a few finds. For the princely sum of €7 ($8.60) I bought five small vintage vases to feed my interior design needs. Sublimation of the highest order – more useless items to clog up the home, but at least the money was invested in non-food items. And going to a good cause. I consider that a win. Plus: Thrifting has become my latest replacement activity. It involves long walks to charity shops all over town. So I am practically *obliged* to go on thrift hauls.  There are still a few blank spaces on my charity shop map, but hey, still a few months left on my weight loss journey… At the end of it all, not only will I be beautiful (…), but my house, too 😂

Enjoy your pancakes today!



Can You Believe This Is a 1-Point Dinner?

Last night I decided to try the recipe pictured on the front of the Weight Watchers Freestyle booklet, which looks so great in their skillet. I doubled it so it would feed four hungry people and ate two of the cutlets (=1 breast) myself. I added on corn-on-the-cob (which tastes surprisingly fine without butter) and fresh green beans to complete the meal. All for only 1 point for the olive oil! I saved so much in points that I had a 2 3/4 ounce glass of red wine for an extra 2 points! It was easy and quite delicious. Here’s the recipe:

Rosemary Chicken with Fresh Tomato-and-Balsamic Sauce

2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, divided
4 thin skinless, boneless chicken cutlets, 1/4 lb each (put your hand flat on a chicken breast and cut breast in half horizontally to make cutlets)
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
2 thinly sliced shallots
2 minced garlic cloves (although we like more garlic than this)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (we used grape tomatoes)
1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth
2 tsp drained capers
1 tbsp lemon zest (too lazy… we used the equivalence in lemon juice = 1/2 tbsp)

  1. Sprinkle cutlets with 1/2 tsp of rosemary, 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp of black pepper.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook just until browned and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to platter and keep warm.
  3. Add shallots and garlic to same skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan, until vinegar evaporates.
  5. Stir in tomatoes, broth, capers, lemon zest, 1 1/2 tsp rosemary, and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes are softened, about 3 minutes.
  6. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to skillet and heat through.

Serves 4 not very hungry people, with 1 cutlet and 1/2 cup sauce per serving.

Here’s how it turned out:

Rosemary Chicken

And here’s how astonished Richard was at the thought of only 1 point for dinner! (Sorry he’s a little blurry!)

Richard Very Surprised on Yahoo TV Dec 2016

Happy Monday!

Did we have a good weekend?

I was going to post an article about positive body image, however, this weekend in a fit of grrrrrr anger, I laid waste to not onE box, but TWO boxes of Samoias.

Ah yes, the Girl Scouts are pedaling their sugar drugs at every door of every store imaginable and I have absolutely NO self control!

Two boxes of chocolaty coconut fatty goodness.  I took cheating to a whole new level!

So today, I begin drinking an ocean of water to correct said weekend.

hmmm mmmmm

Thornton Face Palm

Yeah. I feel the same way.


7 days… 5 pounds!

Woo-hoo! At my one-week weigh-in on the Weight Watchers plan, I am 5 pounds down!

The first week was really tough emotionally, as I struggled with feeling miserable and angry that I couldn’t just eat what I wanted. And it’s a stressful time at work, which for sure doesn’t help. Not only that, but here are some of the eating challenges I faced over the week:

  • Cake in honour of someone who was leaving (in fact there’s another one tomorrow!)
  • Specially commissioned cookies hand-delivered to each office by that same co-worker
  • An evening where there was only time to get submarine sandwiches before driving my son to hockey
  • A potluck lunch that I had to attend at one of our locations
  • Being taken to by a supplier to a hockey game preceded by an amazing high-end buffet with roast beef, roast lamb, chicken thighs, scalloped potatoes, salads, pasta, prawn cocktail, desserts, and wine
  • Nachos with beef and all the fixings on Super Bowl Sunday
  • Tuesday morning meeting with a plate of blueberry danishes and pastries right in front of me

I somehow managed to make good choices, steering towards the zero-point foods and avoiding the worst excesses (although I still had a glass of wine on Saturday!)

One of the things that helped was trying a variation on Guylty’s lunchtime suggestion.

Turkey breast, stir fried peppers, and Laughing Cow herb and garlic cream cheese all on a small corn tortilla. 3 points and quite filling and tasty.

I also bought some 0% fat, plain Greek yoghurt. Mixed with sweet fresh blueberries, it makes a nice zero-point snack.

I’m feeling motivated to soldier on. How was your week?