My go to food:Ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

After speaking to a range of people, it’s clear that a lot of us struggle with ideas of what to eat. I know from personal experience that I am more likely to ‘give-up’ on my diet lifestyle change when I get bored of eating the same thing. It is nice to have some variety and enjoy your food even if you are watching the calories.

So here are some of my go to ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What are your go to meals? Please share your recipes and ideas in the comments, so we can all try something new.

Breakfast:

Porridge – I love it so that helps! I add anything I fancy to it in the morning. Fresh fruit, baked apple and cinnamon, a little honey or plain.

Greek Yoghurt – I tend to use either FAGE 0% Fat or Yeo Valley 0% Fat. I top with either a banana, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, honey, or about 30g of plain gluten free granola (or home-made when I’ve had the time to make it!) I sometimes switch up my yoghurts and get some flavoured ones (cherry/strawberry etc.) I get the healthiest ones I can find by comparing all the labels!!

Poached egg, grilled bacon, fried in coconut oil (my oil of choice, substitute for your choice* olive oil, fry-lite etc.) half a tin of baked beans and a slice of wholemeal toast (I try not to use spread on my toast but occasionally I do!)

Fruit

Egg Muffins *Recipe here.

At the weekends, we’ll have something like a bacon sandwich or banana pancakes as a treat. Mix it up just stick within your plan and don’t go mad. Cheat days don’t mean everything you eat is a treat – I’ve done this – then felt guilty for days and gone into starvation mode – then eat everything in sight mode – one week later I’m back on track haha! If you want to go out for breakfast do it, just don’t also have a takeaway in the evening unless you’ve done some serious exercise.

Lunch:

75g wholewheat pasta with tuna.

Tinned tuna salad with sesame seed ryvittas.

A big salad – add anything you fancy.

Homemade veggie soup.

Chicken breast and vegetables.

 

Dinner:

Homemade clean spaghetti bolognaise (I never use jars – just a personal choice, I prefer to home make everything where possible), with either whole-wheat spaghetti or spirilised courgettes.

Chicken, vegtables, with a small jacket potato or sweet potato.

Home-made oven baked sweet potato chips and clean home-made burgers.

Steak and mushrooms, green beans.

Roast – chicken, sweet potato mash, carrots, veg etc.

Jacket Potato

Home-made Stew/Casserole (I make in the slow cooker using only stock and herbs to flavour.)

Stir-Frys

Sweet Potato topped cottage pie.

Snacks – fruits, frozen grapes (10 per portion though as the natural sugars are high!), hummus with carrot or cucumber sticks, salad, vegetables or for the sweet tooth, dark choc chips and chuppa chup mini lollipops (only 5 cals in each lolly!!).

Drinks – water, green tea, decaf tea, sugar free squash.

 

If you have any healthy recipes on your blog share the link in the comments.

Taking the scenic route.

Taking the scenic route.

by Gem Zammit 
I have never been skinny. Growing up looking different and getting bullied for it, was just something else to contend with and my self confidence always took the brunt of it. In July 1998, I met Ray at work. He was unbelievably shy so I had to do all the chasing. We bought our home together, moved in the following June and married in July 2000. I was happy, secure and content and the weight literally piled on.

I had a few attempts at losing weight after getting married and lost around 1 and a half stone, but it soon went back on and more. Fifteen years of becoming comfortable and content with life had seen me gain over 5 and a half stone from the point when I first met Ray. In August 2014, 1 week exactly before my 37th birthday I decided enough was enough, only I had the power to do something about the way I now looked and felt, I was desperately unhappy in myself  so I asked Ray for a 3 month subscription to Slimming World online for my birthday present.

The following picture shows me as  I began my journey weighing in at 16 stone 2lbs (226 lbs). I weighed in on my birthday a week later with a  4 lb loss and so it began.

© Gem Zammit

© Gem Zammit

In November 2014 I started a more physical role at work and by Christmas December 2014 I had lost 2 stone (24 lbs)

My entire relationship with food was changing. Instead of skipping breakfast and sometimes lunch, then getting in from work and snacking on biscuits, sugary coffee, tea and multiple bags of crisps, all before sitting down to dinner or a takeaway and an unimaginable amount of full fat Coke.  I was now eating healthily and regularly, filling myself  up in between meals with fruit. People were beginning to notice and this spurred me on even more. I began jogging, bought an exercise bike and was clocking up 9-12 miles a night walking at work.

By the time we departed for our fortnight’s holiday in May to Egypt this year I was 4 stone lighter. One of my proudest moments was putting on the seat belt on the plane, just 1 year before the belt was right at the end of it’s length, this time however I had around 10+ inches still spare! This next picture shows a comparison, me on the same holiday 12 months apart. I had gone from a size 22-24 to a size 14-16.

© Gem Zammit

© Gem Zammit

2 weeks all-inclusive was kind to me. I ate and drank what I wanted of the evening, but made healthy choices for both breakfast and lunch, gaining just 4lbs overall. I felt confident walking around the pool in my swim suit, instead of hiding under t-shirts and sarongs. I was not slim, but I was definitely heading in the right direction.

Upon our return I struggled to get back on plan properly and after not seeing the losses I wanted I began to beat myself up and basically gave in altogether.

In August this year I decided I needed to get back to it before I lost all control. Not content with just trying to lose the weight I had re-gained (around 14 lbs since May) I decided I would give up smoking as well! A few weeks later I joined a local Slimming World group as I decided I could no longer do it alone. I weighed back in at group 2 days after my 38th birthday at 13 stone 4lbs, almost a year to the day, but still just under 3 stone lighter than before. I quickly reached my ½ stone award and managed to get back down to 12 stone 8lbs, but then again I began to struggle and the old doubts began to resurface. The last few weeks have been difficult, this time of year is such a hard time when you are trying to be good with get togethers and parties and I have had 3 gains in 3 weeks. I have been really good this week determined to get a loss at group this Monday even though I dare say with 3 days off plan decided for Christmas itself I will get another small gain the week after.

2016 is going to be the year I shift the remaining 26 lbs, I will get to my target. I might not get there as quick as others do or have done. Weight loss is a journey, as the lbs disappear you unveil more about you. Here’s me right about now, at the works Christmas Movie Theme Party as Darla from Finding Nemo.

© Gem Zammit

© Gem Zammit

As I say to those who are new to my slimming world group and at the beginning of their journey, If I can do this anyone can! Honestly.

The real you is inside somewhere no matter what. If you want to do it then you will, but you need to do it for you, and you alone. The real me was there all along. I just needed to shed 50 lbs to see her again. I am so much happier in myself.  I am far from perfect and never will be, but I will be happy in the skin I have. I’m just taking the scenic route to get there.

 

 

(This is a guest piece written by Gem Zammit not Sarah Woodside.)

Fat List

My Fat List

Instead of a bucket list this is a list of things I will do when I have lost weight. It is a mix of things I physically cannot do any more and also things I’m too embarrassed to do.

This cheeky little list is a wonderful motivational tool, seeing all the things you can’t or won’t do because of your size gives the extra motivation to lose weight so you can do those things.


So here goes… here is my list:

1) Go to Alton Towers – I loved theme parks as a kid but there is no point in me going now as I highly doubt my big boobs, belly and bum will be secure or even fit in!

2) Go swimming with my niece and nephews – This is confidence, I have this irrational fear that friends of the little people will see me and thus tease them so no swimming in public before I’m confident that I won’t embarrass anyone but myself!

3) Skydive – This is a standard bucket list activity however currently I am way way way too porky to even contemplate it!

4) Bungee Jump – As above.

5) Buy an item of clothing from Topshop – Not because I love Topshop clothes but because currently they don’t even have pants that would go around my bum!

6) Have babies – I could do this now (not that the boyfriend or parents would be impressed) but let’s be honest it would be hard everything now – hard to conceive, hard pregnancy and poor midwives helping with the hard labour! I want to be able to run in the park, play football and not look like a tomato or fear I may collapse!

7) Wear whatever I bloody well want – I do this now but within reason there are certain items of clothing I wouldn’t even contemplate buying because I know I am too big to pull it off!

8) Go horse riding – without fearing I’ll break the horses back.

9) Buy some sexy underwear (sorry dad if you read this) I am lucky that I have found a wonderful man who loves me for me but wouldn’t it be a nice treat for him if I got smaller and then flaunted around in a lace camisole or basque?!

10) Wear heels!! If i’m honest I don’t like heels much anyway however they hurt sooooo much currently with all this weight on the balls of my feet that I refuse to wear them! Wore heels for my sisters wedding ceremony and switched to flats as soon as I got to the reception! So it’s time to last a night out in heels with minimum moans and no changing shoes!!!

11) And finally go travelling – this is something I wouldn’t do chubby – I want to be able to grab every opportunity that comes my way and I have more of a chance if I am smaller! Could you imagine my chubster self doing a rainforest trek now? Or building houses in Africa? I think not!

So what would be on your list, let me know.

Originally posted 18-09-2014

Building your body your way: Rachael Harper

Building your body your way, is a series of posts exploring weight loss success stories, looking at a range of people and what worked for them. The third instalment in the series is an article looking at the success of Rachael Harper, since this article was written Rachael has had a beautiful baby girl, a follow up to this original piece will be published in the new year.

 

Before and After © Rachael Harper used with permission

Before and After
© Rachael Harper used with permission

At her heaviest Rachael Harper weighed 25 stone 14lbs. After years of being unhappy and spending six years “lost in the system” trying to get weight loss surgery, she finally got the go ahead and 17 months later, 11 stone and eight dress sizes down Rachael was finally able to start living the life she always dreamed of.

Cornish born 25-year-old Rachael has struggled with her size for most of her life and states vanity was the main reason she wanted to lose weight: “I wanted to look in a mirror and think -yes you look nice. People think that is a rubbish reason but it is the truth.”

Rachael before surgery. © Rachael Harper used with permission.

Rachael before surgery.
© Rachael Harper used with permission.

At nearly 26 stone and a UK size 28-30 Rachael suffered none of the usual health complications that come with being obese but knew it wouldn’t stay that way forever. However, rather than her health being her biggest difficulty it was in fact people: “I lost count of the amount of times people made me cry,” Rachael said, “I always wanted to maintain a social life but was constantly worried about what people would say.”

 

 

Now she has slimmed her way down to a UK size 14 she feels more comfortable and confident: “People don’t tend to notice me, I blend in,” she added.

Rachael opted for a gastric bypass in order to lose weight after years of battling food demons. A gastric bypass is a process that works by making your stomach smaller and your digestive system shorter. The operation is typically done under general anaesthetic and usually takes between one and three hours.

To anyone with the pre conceived idea that weight loss surgery is the “easy way out” – let’s make it clear that it isn’t. It is a hard often life long process challenging you both physically and mentally. For Rachael the process took six years. It involved countless appointments with; a dietician, a fitness expert, a psychiatrist, surgeons as well as other health professionals.

An idea of meal size after Surgery. © Rachael Harper used with permission.

An idea of meal size after Surgery.
© Rachael Harper used with permission.

The process, she says, is made deliberately challenging to assess a person’s determination to go through with the surgery and change behaviour afterwards. In addition to this she also has to regularly attend support groups and had to lose two stone pre surgery.

There were of course, added risks surrounding the surgery because of Rachael’s size especially when receiving anaesthetic. “There were also risks that the joins of my stomach would leak/not heal,” she added in relation to additional possible complications.

Surgery is a drastic step but for someone who has struggled and battled on a daily basis it may be the best step to take. It is a lifestyle change, it isn’t a quick fix and no one will come along and wave a magic wand it will take determination and emotional stamina to be successful on this journey. Rachael said: “I’ve spent six years fighting for this and I’ve had to change my whole lifestyle. It’s not something that can be reversed and I will need to stick to this lifestyle forever. I appreciate it’s a drastic step but without it I can’t imagine where I’d be and what health complications I’d have.”

“My life has improved dramatically…I’ve never been happier.”

So after 17 months Rachael finally reached her goal but it wasn’t easy. Her advice to anyone on a journey: “You will have good weeks and bad weeks. Never give up – it only gets harder. Set little realistic goals and NEVER think of the total amount you have to lose.”

© Rachael Harper used with permission.

© Rachael Harper used with permission.

All the hard word, determination and struggle has paid off: “My life has improved dramatically. I’ve lost 11 stone in total and I’ve never been happier. I can now enjoy everything and be the person I always wanted to be.” Rachael also said it’s not just her reaping the benefits:

“I am a lot more positive now. I have more energy and I am a better person to be around. My confidence is at an all-time high. I believe I can do anything I set my mind to now and I’m not scared to try.”

 

 

For further information or if you are considering weight loss surgery contact you GP.

Tomato and Basil Chicken Courgetti

© Sarah Woodside

© Sarah Woodside Ingredients Used – Calorie information via MyFitnessPal

The only thing missing from the ingredients above is the fresh garlic and the basil.

  1. Fry onion in garlic.
  2. Then add the chicken, mushrooms and peppers.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked add half a tin of tomato, basil and season to taste.
  4. Then just before serving add the courgetti (courgette ribbons – instead of spaghetti) for a few minutes and then serve and enjoy.

I added cheese for a little naughty treat.

© Sarah Woodside

© Sarah Woodside