Disqus for Where Are My Knees

Weight Watchers - The Complete Kitchen Cookbook Review and One Pan Fry-Up Recipe

Saturday, 31 December 2011

I was pretty excited to receive a copy of the new Weight Watchers cookbook to review because I was such a fan of the Simply Enjoy cookbook I received previously and I have bought most of the Weight Watchers cookbooks that feature the new Pro Points recipes. Rather than having a narrow theme like some of their other publications e.g Oriental Express Cookbook and One Pot Meals, this is a one stop guide to all the recipes you would need to follow the Weight Watcher plan and not get bored.

It is great for someone who is a novice in the kitchen because it has a helpful section on how to make basics like bread, stock and white sauce, general cooking tips like browning meat and making breadcrumbs and a glossary of cooking terms.
It has over 145 new recipes, 70 of which are vegetarian and many vegetarian alternatives which makes The Complete Cookbook suitable for all tastes. I really like the Pro Points value index which makes it easy to figure out what to have for dinner when you only have a certain number of points left.

The sections which I found most appealing were the Kitchen Basics and Everyday Value because I will be using these a lot to make meals for the whole family on a budget. This cookbook doesn't feature a lot of expensive or obscure ingredients which suits me but it does feature some gorgeous desserts and impressive mains like Tiger Prawn Tagliatelle and Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes.

I would have liked the book to feature more photos of the finished products and preparation methods as I tend to have some kitchen disasters and love to see what it is supposed to look like. I would also like to  have seen a few more 0 point recipes like soup but those are my only real criticisms.

This book is available to buy on January 1st from Weight Watchers classes all over the UK and from the Weight Watchers website.

I have a great recipe to share with you from the new book. I have been cooking this a lot over the festive period because I haven't had to go to work in the morning. With only one pot to wash this would make a great weekend breakfast to share leaving you plenty of time to relax.

One Pan Fry-Up

11 Pro Points per recipe
20 minutes in total to make
Serves 2

You will need:

Calorie controlled cooking spray
250g potatoes peeled an cut into 2cm dice
3 bacon medallions chopped
150g chestnut or button mushrooms, sliced thickly
2 eggs
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Spray a lidded non stick frying pan lightly with cooking spray. Stir-fry the potatoes for 3-4 minutes over a high heat until starting to brown at the edges. Season with pepper, add 3 tablespoons of water and cover the pan. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes over a low heat, stirring once or twice, until the potatoes are almost cooked through.

2. Remove the lid, add the bacon and increase the heat under the pan to medium. Cook for 2 minutes , then add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

3. Make two spaces in the potato mixture and break an egg into each gap. Cover the pan again and cook gently for 2 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Serve on warmed plates.

Veggie Tip- Replace the bacon with 50g of Quorn Deli Bacon Style Rashers chopped. They need less cooking than bacon so add them to the mixture just before adding the eggs to the pan. The Pro Points value will be the same.

Have you tried any of the Weight Watcher cookbooks? What are your favourite cookbooks to use when you are on a diet?

I will feature another recipe from the book next week but what would you like to see? A veggie option, dessert, or a main?

New year, new resolutions

Friday, 30 December 2011

Start diet today

With the 1st of January fast approaching, the majority of us will be thinking up a new set of New Year Resolutions to stick to throughout the coming year and I don't think I'm wrong when I say that the majority of us will be setting a goal to lose some weight! It might only be the couple of lbs you've gained throughout the festive period, it might be more, or you might just want to be more healthy, exercise more and become fitter. We're all in the same boat.

It takes a lot of hard work and motivation to stick to your goal and lose weight so we'd love to hear what your goals are, and how you plan to stick to them. Here's our own goals to start off...

Charlene - I'll admit that I've been a complete failure when it comes to losing weight this past year and I've definitely put some on. I think I need routine, in the form of planned meals or a set diet, to make this work. Living at home with parents and not being the one doing the weekly food shop is difficult. I also need to rejoin the gym and I'm going to keep a diary of food, exercise and inch/weight loss. The thing I struggle most with is my sweet tooth so I need to think of ideas to keep that satisfied in the healthiest possible way and the other biggie is that I also need to learn to say NO to the free takeaways, cakes and sweets at work every day.

Sarah - I am really pleased with my progress in 2011.  I felt like a million dollars on my wedding day and that was my main aim.  I have since had five weeks off, a week in the run up to the wedding, two weeks on honeymoon, a crazy week of work followed by Christmas and now New Year.  I have gained 7.5lbs of the 25lbs I managed to lose but I am fine with this... you only get married once after all!! My goal for 2012 is to get back on plan and lose about a stone and a half.  I need to stick to Slimming World 100% and wear my hotpants more often!  I think I will be happy when I get to my current goal weight but can always lower it if not.  I am still mostly fitting into a size 10 so it's just a case of feeling as good when not wearing ultra flattering clothes.  I have also done something I swore I would never do again and joined a gym! 2012 will be the year that I not only get to target but also get fit in the progress.

Sarah V - I charted a graph of my weight losses and gains this year and it looks like a heart rate monitor - up and down, up and down! I've fluctuated a lot and am currently the exact same weight now as I was when we started this blog, which is frustrating as I made such a good start in the Spring and lost nearly a stone. I make way too many excuses and allow myself to be swayed by holidays, special occasions, parties and friends and that's why I haven't been able to stick to a diet for more than a few weeks at a time. I have a big birthday in July and my goal is to feel good about my body by the time I get to that landmark age. So overall I resolve to conquer some of my food issues and get to a point where I am eating healthily, but not obsessing and overeating the moment I'm 'off-diet'. So rather than fixating on weight loss, I am going to focus on living healthily instead.

Lucy - so, hello. It's been a while. I think I've been avoiding reality since I returned from Australia, ignoring the fact that I've been eating everything in sight and not wanting to do anything about it. I really need to have a sit down and think about what I'm going to do for 2012, I need to stop saying I'll do things and then just... not follow them through. I'm miserable and I'm fed up, not just with my weight but with my life in general at the minute; I 100% know that if I even just lost a stone I would be so much happier within myself but it's just making myself start. I need to have some willpower, I need to discipline myself and I need to learn to say no. Things have got to change.

Gem -I'm really happy with my 2011 weight loss and want to continue this in 2012. I lost over 4 stone this year but after three weeks of indulgence over the festive period I have put about 5-6lbs back on. My first aim is to shed all the Christmas weight by following the Weight Watcher plan perfectly and keeping an accurate food diary and weighing all my food. I want to lose at least another 20lbs this year to reach my ideal size and then maintain the weight with a mixture of Weight Watchers and exercise. As Christmas shows, I can't maintain weight loss on my own and go off the rails if I don't regularly weigh in. I hope to become a 'Gold Member' of Weight Watchers and successfully keep the weight off, wish me luck!

Let us know what yours are!

Sunday Summary #39

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Sorry for missing Sunday Summary last week!

Gemma- Well I lost 0.5 lb last week which was to be expected after all the cocktails and champagne, not too bad at all. I couldn't attend class this week because I went to the Bristol meet up but I weighed at home and I had put about 1lb on. After a few weeks of excess I'm fine with that. I'm going to have a few weeks off the diet. I'm not going to go mad, I will keep a food diary but wont say no to everything at Christmas parties. Christmas only comes once a year and I really miss cheese! How are you planning to cope with Christmas?

Sarah V - Like Gemma, I'm letting myself have a few weeks off. My weight has really fluctuated over the last 6 months but currently I'm about 7lbs less than I was when we started WAMK so at least if I do gain over Christmas, I've got a 'head start', as it were. The hardest thing about being 'off diet' is not eating for the sake of it so I'm trying to stick to my soup for lunch when I can... but next week I have about six meals out so I fear it will all fall by the wayside! I'm just not going to worry too much and then really hit the diet full on in January when there's a lot less temptation around!

Sarah - I'm back after an amazing honeymoon and although I haven't been officially weighed yet I think I have put 7lbs on.  Like the other girls I am not going to worry about it over Christmas and am just going to try and get thru the festive period without any further gains.  It's going to be tough as all I want to eat at the moment is junk food :(

We are going to take a little break from Sunday summaries over the festive period but we will report back on our progress in the new year!

Guest Post - Dressing to Flatter your Shape this Party Season - Simmi from Cafe La Moda

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Contributed by Saisha Potts, who writes for Café La Moda, the social space for fashion tips and beauty advice.

It’s that time of year again when even the most socially-retiring among us put on our glad rags and head out for some festive fun - be it the office party or just a night on the town; and we all want to look… well, if not traffic-stopping then at least reasonably gorgeous. We all know that different colours and styles suit different folks (and we don’t want to get all Trinny and Susannah on you), but we thought we’d put together a brief guide to looking your best for the party season.

1. Be comfortable

There’s nothing worse than being at a party in a dress that’s too tight, which rides up, or rides down, or itches, or otherwise makes life difficult. So rule number one is, buy clothes that don’t fight back: they should be the right size (even if you don’t like the number on the label, better that it fit you than fight you), and be fabrics that you can wear for an evening without wrestling with. If you try it on and it misbehaves, chances are it’s not going to be any easier to control after a couple of glasses of wine, so give it a miss, and go instead for a dress that feels like it belongs on you.

2. Know your body shape

Okay, so maybe it’s sounding a bit Trinny & Susannah again, but there’s a lot to be gained from knowing in advance which styles will look good on you and which will be disastrous – it may just keep you from falling in love with that totally unflattering frock. Observant friends are good for this: one who’s not afraid to say “won’t suit you” the minute you stray towards anything unsuitable. If you don’t already know whether you’re an apple or an hourglass, try one of the websites that will tell you (http://www.channel4.com/4beauty/style-me/bodyshapefinder)

3. Dress according to what suits you

The key here is making the most of the parts of you that you’re happy with, and not letting the other parts make you feel less confident. So if you carry a little weight round the middle, the bandeau dress is not your friend…. but a wraparound or empire-waist dress, on the other hand, will flatter you much more. The pear-shaped among us (slimline top half and curvier bottom half) can make the most of their slim top halves by going for strappy dresses while A-line skirts show off your waist while skimming over curvier hips.

4. Don’t be afraid to be different

Knowing what works with your figure, and what doesn’t, will help you make the right choices for party-wear this season – and if the current high street trends don’t suit you, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere for something that does. Try different high street shops than you would normally go for, or check out vintage clothing stores – or even re-accessorise something you already own but know looks stunning on you – you’ll look and feel more like a million dollars in an unusual vintage-store dress that really suits you than the bang-on-trend high street one that doesn’t.

5. Go forth and enjoy!

Remember, both the party season and fashion should be fun; and looking great should be just a stepping stone to feeling great. So if you find yourself in front of the mirror picking out all your perceived faults, either give yourself a pep talk or find someone else who will. Finding the perfect party dress is a nice quest, but it’s no substitute for being happy with who you are.

Festive Fruit Pavlova

Friday, 16 December 2011

5 pro points per serving
29 pro points per recipe
Serves 6

I made this recipe in the summer and I loved it so much I thought I would make it again but with a festive twist. The only thing festive about my alterations are the colours  because I hate most Christmas food like mince pies and Christmas pudding. Don't want any spices or alcohol in my dessert, yuk!  I think this would make a great light dessert on Christmas day as it is only about 220 calories per serving.

Here is the original recipe but I used kiwi fruit and pomegranate because of the colours.. You could use any fruit you like. Pile the fruit on too, it is all 0 points on the Weight Watchers plan!
I have to admit that I bought the base, way to busy (lazy) to make it myself. Christmas should be stress free and fun right? no need to make it all yourself.


4 egg whites
200g caster sugar
175g fresh pineapple
2 passion fruit
170g 0% fat Greek Yogurt
100g Weight Watchers reduced fat think cream (or elmlea light)
30g pomegranate seeds


1. Preheat the oven to 150C or 130C fan and line a baking sheet with parchment.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Whisk in the sugar 1 tbsp at a time, beating well between each addition to make a stiff, glossy meringue. Spread the mixture in a 25cm circle on the parchment  lifting the edges slightly to make a rim. Place in the oven and turn it down to 140C/120C fan.
Cook for an hour until firm to the touch. Turn off the oven and leave in there to cool completely.

3. When ready to serve peel the parchment away and place on a serving plate or leave it on the shop bought tray like I did which will save on the washing up. I really am lazy... Mix all the fruit together. Combine the cream and yogurt and then spread on the meringue, then top with fruit.


Will you be trying this and what are your favourite festive desserts?

Weight Watchers Weight Loss Goal -50

Thursday, 8 December 2011

I have now lost 57.5lbs which is 4 stone 1.5 lbs!

My weight loss has been slow and I've had a few slip ups (like my birthday) but I'm really happy with what I have achieved this year. I will enter 2012 a much happier and healthier person.

I wasn't unhappy with my life before but I really love my dresses and became so disheartened that most stores didn't stock my size and people have noticed a big difference in my behaviour. I recently bought a dress from River Island and I've not been able to do that for about four years. It may seem like a small thing but I couldn't stop smiling all day. I'm also a lot less shy now, anyone who has met me knows I don't shut up.

Joining Weight Watchers made me realise that I previously had no discipline in my eating habits. I would often eat on the go which meant grabbing the nearest unhealthy snack – and comfort eat as a way of coping with stress. These had all combined to result in my increasing size. I can't say I've struggled or that it has been hard because it hasn't. I'm surprised at how easy it has been, the Weight Watchers plan means that I can eat what I like as long as I plan ahead. I really think about the value of my food now and fill up on low point options rather than snacking on high point food.

Here are some photos of my progress-

You can follow all my weekly updates, recipes and Weight Watcher tips by clicking on the Gemma or Weight Watcher tag on the right hand side.

I want to lose another 20-30lbs so I hope there will be another post like this in the not too distant future.

Sunday Summary #38

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Gemma- I lost 1lb this week, not amazing but still a loss. I'm hoping for a loss of 1lb or 0.5 this week because I have two events which will include cocktails, canapes, bubbly and a pizza. I plan on having just two cocktails and drinking soft drinks in between and then going for a Leggera at Pizza Express which will be about 15 pro points. I have started to plan ahead for Christmas and buy a few things that I will be able to eat without feeling guilty and banned my mother from buying huge tins of Roses and shortbread. I anticipate a 3lb gain over Christmas but I refuse to put any more on!

Sarah V - I couldn't make it to my weigh in this week but I hopped on the scales this morning and it looks like I'm down 2lbs! It's getting harder and harder to resist temptation now that Christmas is drawing ever closer, and I know that I'll let myself have more treats over the break, I'm just trying to stick with my soups and salads in the meantime so that I minimise the damage!

Charlene - My Zaggora hotpants arrived this week and I'm looking forward to trying them out after Sarah gave them a good review a few months ago. Ate and drank a bit too much this week, I'm such a slacker. :(

How was your week?

Guest Post - Getting Ready for Christmas by Dawn

Saturday, 3 December 2011

f you’re trying to loose weight, Christmas can be a very challenging time. If you don’t want to see a big increase in the January Scales, then it’s worth doing some planning up front – and that means now.

Here are my top 10 tips for surviving Christmas without adding too many pounds.

1. Decide how much leeway you will give yourself now, before the madness starts. Will it be a disaster if you put on a pound? What about 7? What about 10? Decide what you are comfortable with as this will determine how strict you need to be.

2.Look at your commitments for the whole month ahead – how many parties, dinners, family meals etc do you have? If it’s only a few, then you can probably afford to relish all of them – but if it’s lots, then you’ll need to prioritise them in terms of how much you will allow yourself to consume at each.

3. On days that you don’t have festive engagements, try and stick to your normal diet, or be even stricter with yourself – that way you won’t compound any increases

4. Don’t stock up on Christmas treats early – unless you have superhuman willpower, that tin of chocolates or bottle of vodka will be gone by Christmas if you buy it by the end of November. If you want to spread the cost, get someone else to store your food. Mince pies with a best before date of Dec 15 are a definite no-no unless mince pies are included in your diet. If you want to buy early and don’t have someone to store things, buy things for the freezer – brandy cream, turkey crown, chestnut stuffing etc can all be frozen and aren’t as tempting as a bottle of Baileys.

5. Find non-foodie treats to enjoy – festive games, pampering treats, those huge bumper magazines and supplements you get at Christmas.

6.Try and plan in some fun exercise – you probably have extra time off work, so a long walk, sledging or even playing with the kids will all help burn off a few calories – but don’t eat more because you’re exercising – use this to burn off what you “had” to eat or drink at parties etc

7. Offer to drive and stay off the drink – you will be popular with everyone and won’t have added to your waistline by having “empty” calories. Make a deal that if you drive, they buy your drinks all night, and stick to low cal soft drinks.

8. Decide which festive treats you really like, and prioritise those. Which do you just eat because they are there? Can you do without them? I used to eat sausage rolls, but then realised that I didn’t really enjoy all that pastry, and so now I leave them, or just eat the sausage and leave the pastry.

9. Don’t worry about upsetting someone by saying “no” to offers of cake, sweets, food etc – it’s your body and you are the one responsible for its maintenance. You can tell them you’ve just eaten, you’re not hungry, you just don’t fancy it or that you’ve already eaten/drunk too much this Christmas – whatever you need to do. When you get on the scales in January, it will be you, not them, you will have to face up to.

10. Write your own list of goals and rules for the month ahead – things like: I will only drink on the following occasions – X, Y and Z, I will not aim to eat all the Christmas cake by New Year’s eve, I will not beat myself up about having more than 2,000 calories / 15 sins whatever, as long as I have fewer on other days, I will try and keep any weight gain to less than X lbs and I will do at least 3 30 min exercise sessions before New Year

So, everything in moderation – pig out some days, but then restrain yourself on others. But most of all, enjoy the break, find non-foodie treats and get at least a bit of exercise.

The importance of sports bras.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A few weeks ago, when I was changing for my weekly exercise class, I realised I'd forgotten my sports bra. Bit annoying, but I figured I'd just make do with what I had and exercise in a regular bra. I know, I know, you should always wear a sports bra when doing strenuous exercise, but what harm could just one session do, really?

The. Bra. BROKE.

One of the straps broke clean in two, with ten minutes to go before the end of my exercise class. It was mortifying. I had to spend the rest of the class with one of my arms clasped to my chest, doing all the exercises one-sided. I mean, I say mortifying – it was mostly just hilarious (my fitness teacher laughed for five solid minutes when I told her), but it also really freaked me out. We all know that we SHOULD wear sports bras, right? They’re better for your back, and all sorts. But this was a clear, tangible sign that some bras are physically not STRONG enough to support your bouncing boobies during exercise.

That’s a pretty extreme situation, but the ramifications of not wearing a sports bra are very real. If your boobs aren’t properly supported and are bouncing about all over the place (you’re loving the imagery, I hope), you’re actually making gradual, small tears in the tissue inside your breasts. This is permanent. You know those old ladies you see on the street with boobs down to their waistband? That’s most likely from a lifetime of never wearing a bra.

Until now I’ve been wearing a very cheap sports bra from Primark. It does the job, but the elastic is already stretchier than it was and I’ve been worrying that it wasn’t helping all that much. So when LingeriePlease offered to send me a Triumph bra to test-drive for Where Are My Knees, I obviously jumped at the chance.

I actually can’t recommend it enough. The bra is very well-fitted, but also not uncomfortable. In fact, I’m not really aware I’m wearing it at all. But it’s seen me through several very energetic Zumba classes, with hardly a bounce in sight (and I’m an E cup). I wore my older bra the other week and really noticed the difference – wearing a good bra made me realise how supported I wasn’t.

What about you? Are you wearing a good bra to exercise in? Or is it on your to do list?

Sunday Summary #37

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Gemma - I couldn't attend class this week because I had to work but I weighed at home and I have either maintained my weight or stayed the same (can't really tell with my scales) I have been really good all week and went to M&S to stock up on lots of lovely Count on Us food. They have all the Weight Watchers Pro Points written on them which is handy and are very filling and tasty. I also plan to make some more soups this week.
Anyone following the WW plan? What do you think of the changes?

Sarah V - A pound and a half off this week which I'm happy with! I really have been good lately - just trying to stick to it until all the Christmas socials start!

Charlene - There's always something that gets in the way! Was quite happily doing the 30 Day Shred when I went and hurt my ankle. I've still been doing some crunches and arm weights but haven't really seen any improvements like I would have if I had stuck to the shred. Hoping I'll be okay to restart it tomorrow!

Sarah got MARRIED yesterday and is off on her honeymoon! We are so excited for her and wish Sarah and her new Mr all the luck in the world for their life together as newlyweds!

Guest post - Sarah from She's Coming Undone

Saturday, 26 November 2011

This weeks guest  post is brought to you by the lovely Sarah from She's Coming Undone.

Low self-esteem is an issue that most young women and surprisingly a lot of men suffer from. I am one of those people. Low self-esteem has always been a problem for me ever since I started senior school I would say. There are many reasons for my low self-esteem, most being around issues with my weight and with bullying. I was bullied by a girl I went to school with from a very young age, mostly about my weight and my family’s weight as I come from a family full of obese people. I used to fear going to school and never walked home alone because of passing her house on the way. These fears led to more and more negative thoughts which in turn gave me lower and lower self-esteem. The bullying continued all the way through school up to an incident when we were 14 where she attacked me on the way home from a local shop with two of her friends which resulted in the police being involved.
Even now I still look out every time I walk past her parents’ house, even though she no longer lives there, it’s the fear and remembrance of one of the lowest points of my life. Through the low self-esteem I have become somewhat a social recluse, I struggle to make new friendships and often unintentionally sabotage the ones I currently have out of fear of what they will think of me, and how much I might get hurt.
Going to University was a turning point for me, I took a huge risk and moved into student halls of residence which placed me living with 5 other people every day and I have to say it was one of the best experiences of my life and one of best things I ever did for myself. It forced me out there to socialise with other people, I was still somewhat shy and reserved, but me and one of my flatmates constantly clicked and I would say she really helped me develop myself. It wasn’t a miraculous change, I still only spent time with people she or my other flatmates knew, I didn’t let very many people get close to me, but it was still progress in my eyes.
During my second year though I fell ill in the first week of term and I was off for the first 12 weeks of the semester right up to Christmas. This ruined our friendship, and I moved back home and since then I have to say I have returned to many of my old ways. I have lost contact with most of my friends from school and college and those I do know I still see little. I’ve returned to the old fears and thoughts and the cycle is very hard to break.
May this year I decided to do something about it, I was at probably my lowest point by then, I wasn’t going out at all other than for university and work. But having spent 4 weeks finishing my dissertation with now access to outside world I knew I was ready to change. So I started going to a self-esteem counselling group through the university. I almost backed out at the start but I am so glad I went, to meet and talk with other people and realise you are not the only person who has these thoughts and these fears was so relieving.  There were even people that were worse off than me in terms of self-esteem which made me realise I wasn’t ready to take a step back but needed to take one forward.
The group session wasn’t about talking about what the issues of your low self-esteem were, in fact it never even came up at all really, what it was about was small changes you could make to help improve your self-esteem. Each week we had a topic to talk about and then a small goal to set ourselves for the following week that was related to the topic we had discuss. So I thought I would share these with you.
  1.  Body Language/Gestures – This is the use of words like “I can’t”, “I don’t know how” or gestures such as turning away, avoiding eye contact
  2.  Assertiveness - this is mostly around the issue of yes and no. have you ever had someone ask you to do something and you want to say no, but you say yes because you’re worried about what they will think if you say no? This is one of the signs of low self-esteem. – So be assertive. Say no. Even just once and for something simple can be very empowering. 
  3.  Positive Thinking – are you a half full or half empty type of person? If you’re half empty it could be a sign of low self-esteem. Do you automatically assume the worst will happen? Do your thoughts constantly spiral from one negative thought to another? If something goes wrong is it the end of the world, does it feel like everything is going wrong? Changing our thought patterns from negative thoughts to even neutral ones can have a surprisingly positive effect on your self-esteem. Using words such as maybe, possibly instead of I can’t, I don’t know how. Not assuming the worst will happen and thinking, well I don’t know what’s going to happen.
  4. Stress Management – Stress is our perceived ability to handle a situation, so the lower your self-esteem the more stressed you will become as you will automatically assume you can’t cope with the situation you’re in or that’s arising. This can also lead to more negative thought processes as well. When you are stressed it’s important to take out time for yourself. Small things like taking care of yourself often get neglected. Make sure you do all the usual things you would do, shower, moisturise, and then do something a little more. Paint your nails, watch a movie, have a bath instead of a shower. Even 5 minutes to unwind is better than none at all.
With low self-esteem it’s so very easy to take a step backwards into the spiral of low self-esteem so it’s important to remember to keep making these small changes. Even a small change of thought or gesture can make a significant difference in your confidence and each small step forward is better than a step backwards. Even I have to keep reminding myself of this sometimes.

Why soup is super!

Friday, 25 November 2011

If you’re struggling to find an easy low-fat, low-cost lunch that’s going to be comforting and warming in the cold winter months, then may I suggest soup?

I used to think I hated soup, and then had a moment last winter when I really fancied it, so bought some and realised that I don’t hate it at ALL. I’m not that keen on how my mother makes it, sure, and I've got incredibly lazy and hardly cook any more, but the fresh pots that you can buy from supermarkets, Covent Garden Soup Co and Marks & Spencer are brilliant. They’re also an AMAZING lunch if you’re dieting, so if you work somewhere with access to a microwave, get some soup down you!

Here are some of the benefits of soup…

It keeps you fuller for longer.
Science has spoken! Tests were carried out on two groups of people – the first ate a meal with water, the second ate the same meal & water turned into soup. The second group took twice the time to get hungry.

This is because when you eat a meal with water, the water leaves your system first, taking your stomach from full to half-full. When you eat soup – which has a lot of water in it – your system is forced to process it differently. Because the water is combined it can’t just remove that instantly, so the body has to work harder to digest the entire meal at once – meaning that your stomach physically does stay fuller for longer. Here is an article about it!

It’s REALLY low calorie and low fat.
There are very few soups on offer in the supermarkets that are over 5% fat, and most are under 200 calories for half the carton. There are even some that are 200 calories for the whole carton – such as Covent Garden Leek & Potato which is really filling. So if you know you’re going to have a naughty dinner, or are making up for overeating the day before, it’s a brilliant, saintly lunch that still tastes good. It even has CREAM in it – and it still under 5% fat.

There are loads of varieties.
Flipping LOADS. My favourites are the soups with lots of bits in them – I love M&S Moroccan Chicken, Covent Garden’s Thai Chicken & Rice, Sainsbury’s Chicken Laksa. Look out for ones that include potatoes or other carbs as they’ll be thicker and more filling – Leek & Potato, Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash, etc.

It’s cheap!
A carton of soup typically costs around £2-3 which should cover lunch for two days. A lot of places do offers at this time of year – Covent Garden is £1 in some places, or 3 for 2. This basically means you can get lunch for the week sorted for less than a fiver. Bargain!

Soup is even cheaper to make, of course! Check out some of the recipes we've posted here in the past...

Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta Lasagne

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Pro Points: 8
Servings: 2
Cooking Time: 30 mins


450 g Butternut Squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1cm cubes   
4 sprays Cooking Spray, Calorie Controlled   
150 g Tomatoes, Cherry, halved   
225 g Spinach, washed   
3 sheets Lasagne Sheet, dried, 20 x 15cm, cut in half   
2 tablespoons (level) Pesto Sauce   
75 g Cheese, Feta, light   
1 pinch Salt   
1/2 teaspoons (ground) Pepper, Black (Whole, Cracked or Ground)   
1 tablespoons Basil, fresh, to garnish   


Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200°C/fan oven 180°C.

Put the butternut squash into a roasting pan and spray with the cooking spray, tossing to coat lightly. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the squash is just tender, then add the tomatoes and roast for 5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the spinach in a small amount of water for 2–3 minutes, until the leaves have wilted. Drain well, squeezing out the excess moisture with the back of a spoon. At the same time, bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the lasagne and cook for 3–4 minutes.

Remove the squash and tomatoes from the oven and stir the pesto sauce through them.

Drain the lasagne sheets well, and then layer them on to two warmed plates with the squash mixture and spinach. Sprinkle the feta cheese on top, drizzle with any remaining roasting juices, then serve, garnished with basil leaves.

This meal was very different to what I normally cook but it's good to change things up a little. If I made it again I would use more spinach and tomatoes and a little less squash as I found it a little sweet.

Irish Beef Stew

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

I have really been listening to what my leader has been saying in class the past few week. Processed food contains a lot of salt which is obviously bad for you but also means you retain water, not good for weight loss. She also said that people who have been on the Weight Watchers plan for a long time start to guess the points values of food and eat the same things resulting in smaller losses. I thought I would go back to basics and make some nice warming winter recipes, making sure I weighed all the ingredients. This stew recipe serves four and was pretty cheap to make it tastes really good too!

Irish Beef Stew

Serves 4
6 Pro Points per serving
Prep 20 mins
Cooking time 160 mins


5 sprays of Fry Light
1 large onion
500g of lean stewing beef
2 medium leeks
1 1/2 stock cubes (I used 1 beef and 1 veg for extra flavour, I didn't add any salt because stock contains a lot)
400g of potatoes cut into chunks
50g of peas, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons of parsley
Freshly gound black pepper


Heat cooking spray in a large suacepan then add the stewing steak a little at a time so it sears and browns.

Add the onion, carrots, leeks and stock. Season with pepper. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered for 2 hours. Check the level of liquid and add more stock if needed.

When the meat is tender add the potatoes and cook until tender for about 20 minutes. Stir the peas in and cook for a couple of minutes and sprinkle with parsley before you serve.

I was suprised about how much meat and potato was in the stew, very filling!
What are your favourite winter warming recipes?

Sunday Summary #36

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Another week down, have have you all been getting on with your goals? We'd love to hear from you!

Gemma- Another great week for me with a 2lb loss. I think all the cooking I have done has payed off. Going to make a huge effort to measure all my food and be strict with tracking what I eat so I lose 2lbs each week in the build up to Christmas. I just got a new job and I can't go to the same Weight Watcher class in the new year when my hours start. I will have to go back to my old class that I attended before I moved house. I really hope this change isn't going to hinder my weight loss.

Sarah V - I couldn't make my weigh-in this week so I don't know really how I've done. I think I've stayed about the same. I'm already starting to struggle with lots of pre-Christmas social occasions but am doing my best to stay on the straight and narrow... I did indulge in chips last night though, ooops!

Charlene - I'm back from working away in Newcastle and the reality is that despite making use of the gym I've still gained a few lbs. Too scared to get on the scales but I had a sudden surge of motivation last night and in my sleepy state completed the 30 day shred! Done it again today and I'm ready to shed some lbs and look fab in the dress I'm gonna buy for my works Christmas party on the 17th of December! BRING IT ON!

Guest Post - Dawn from Disappearing Dawn

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Arrrghh – what am I going to wear for that party?

Party season is fast approaching and it’s a time of year I normally dread. For years I’ve been very overweight (last Christmas I was a size 22) which isn’t great for party frocks, especially when all your mates are in skimpy skirts and fab dresses. Plus size retailers seem to specialise in sacks – generally in black with some sequins if you’re lucky. Although it’s getting better, it’s still harder to get (and feel) glamorous if you’re large, and I should know.

Back in 2007 I was 21 ½ stone, and about a size 30. Health problems meant that I had to lose some weight, so my first real diet was with Boots – using Orlistat (the drug that inhibits fat absorption). Over a year 1 lost 4 stone and was pretty pleased – but then I reached a plateau and just couldn’t move any more. A year with Slimming World saw just ½ stone come off, and I really lost my mojo. 2010 was a terrible year, illness and bereavement left me not really caring what I ate, and the pounds started creeping back on – so in April this year when my “trousers of truth” got too tight, I decided it was time to take action. I found out about a meal replacement and skin therapy program called Alizonne – a friend of my mum’s had just lost 5 stone and looked great – so I signed up and joined in!

7 months later, 6 stone lighter and not much excess skin to speak of, I feel like a new woman. I’m now in the process of “phasing off” – reintroducing foods one group at a time – and will be completely finished for Christmas. I feel healthier than I have done in years, have been eating more salad and veg than you can shake a stick at for the whole of the diet, plus a daily intake of  5 quite tasty foods made up from sachets (and they’re not all shakes or soup, which is nice).
So this year will be my first party season as a “normal” sized woman since I was 18 – I’m slimmer, healthier and embracing my size 12 and 14 dresses! 

I will see many friends I haven’t seen since last Christmas, and can’t wait to see their shocked faces. As well as smaller dresses, I’ll also be wearing higher heels – it’s surprising how comfy heels are when you’re not carrying all that weight. I don’t think I’ll be out dancing in my 4 ½ “ Dune platform stilettos yet though, I’m still holding onto the kitchen cupboards when I wear them at home.

But what to wear, that’s the question? After far too many years to remember of shopping in Evans and Ann Harvey, I really don’t know where to start. And what about all those lovely clothes I have from previous years?  And could I buy something second hand or borrow something to reduce the costs – this being a busy season financially too?

It was discussing this idea, and my husband’s frequent lament that I shouldn’t buy clothes but just rent them, as I’d been losing size so quickly, that led me to collaborate with the Wardrobe Angel on a style event for larger ladies. I could sell all my lovely clothes (some hardly worn, some still with tags on), she could do styling, and we could get some other people in to do pampering and stuff! If you like the sound of that, you should check out the details of what has become The Big Style Event on Nov 26th https://sites.google.com/site/bigstyleevent/
In the meantime, I’ve been shopping for this year’s party frock – with a hectic social calendar leading up to Christmas I’m sure I’ll get my wear out of the three outfits I’ve bought – and if you want to keep tabs on me, you can check out my blog for pics of the seasonal outfits http://disappearingdawn.blogspot.com/
I’ve tried to go for things that will multi-task. A black velvet pencil skirt from TKMAXX will be my mainstay – it’s elasticated with a wide waistband that can be turned over, so I can effectively change the length from floor skimming to mid calf. It will still fit if I lose a few more pounds, and can be worn with a wide variety of tops and evening jackets – dressed up for Hollywood glamour or dressed down for dinner with friends.

I’ve got quite a variety of evening jackets – and despite being much smaller they still all fit OK – in the main they are untailored, floaty material and have proved to be a good buy. Worn over an evening dress or top and skirt, they add a bit a movement and in some cases drama! The more kimono style ones can be worn belted for a different look too, and are very fashionable at the moment. I stuck with classic colours when I bought mine – black, silver and red – but that’s because I generally wore black underneath!
And then I have a more flirty, slinky wrap dress for livelier parties – it’s very plain, so I’ll be accessorising it with belts or jewellery depending on the party – have already worked out about 3 different looks for that one dress.

Finally, my investment piece for the season is a long red dress from Mango – I usually go to 2 or 3 black tie events a year, and this one will be good for all of them. It’s a very dramatic, Grecian style dress, but with no embellishments – so I can decorate it using jewellery, belts, shrugs, fur wraps etc to give it lots of different looks. 

In each case, I’ve picked the bit of me I like most (my waist which is now tiny!) and bought styles that accentuate that bit and play down the rest - covering or hiding bingo wings, disguising pear shaped hips and coping with being only 5 ft 4.

So, my top tips for Christmas style? Play to your strengths, buy things that accentuate your loveliest bit(s), buy things that are classic rather than fashionable, in simple styles that can be dressed in lots of different ways, and make the most of accessories – no matter how much weight you lose, a handbag will always fit!

Carrot and Ginger Soup

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The temperature in South Wales has plummeted recently so I'm on a big soup making mission. Sandwiches really aren't the best thing to take to work in the winter.  This carrot and ginger soup recipe was my favourite out of all the soups I made last week. It is only 1 Pro Point per serving so it is a Monday soup if you have indulged on the weekend, great as a starter before your main meal or a low point snack to keep you going in between meals.


1 medium onion
1 teaspoon of fresh or ground ginger
1 Vegetable stock cube, add 1 1/2 pints of water
350g of carrots
15g of soup pasta (I just broke up some normal pasta)
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper


Heat the onion and ginger in a covered pan, with about 6 tablespoons of the stock.

Add the carrots when the onion is soft.

Pour in the remaining stock and bring to the boil. Turn down and simmer and cook, covered for about 20 minutes.

Liquidise the soup or just use a potato masher to break up the carrots.

Add the pasta and season to taste.

Heat through for another 5 minutes until the pasta is soft.

What are your favourite combinations in soup?
Let me know if you make it and what you thought!

Sunday Summary #35

Monday, 14 November 2011

Gemma: -3lbs this week, hurrah! this takes me to -54.5. I would love to hit the -60 mark before early December and then try to maintain my weight over Christmas with a possibly 1-2lb gain. I think this weeks weight loss was a delayed reaction from last week rather than me being particularly good this week. I haven't got many events or nights out planned until December so no excuses not to do well.

Sarah V - 2.5lbs off this week! I was hoping for 3lbs to make up for gaining it the week before, but at least it's almost there. With Christmas in sight, my motivation is 100% back and I've found myself making an extra effort to work exercise into my daily routine, and scrutinising the calorie and fat counts on labels when I grab a sandwich as a quick snack! I'm missing my usual Rosemary Conley class this week, but I'm going to make the effort to go to a different class so I stay on track.

Sarah -1.5lbs this week, like Sarah V I was hoping for more to make up for the previous two weeks gains.  I was 100% on plan so hopefully I will get a big loss this coming week although the wedding I went to yesterday may have scuppered that :(

Much better results for Team Where Are My Knees this week! How was your week?

Guest Post - Samantha from MinnyBites

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Hi there everyone!

For anyone who doesn’t know me (which is most of you) my name is Samantha and I’m from the blog MinnyBites where everything is delicious in a mini-bite. Now I must admit that I had a lot of trouble with this task because if you’ve ever read my blog you’ll notice that I adore butter. I worship at the alter of caster sugar and I bow down in front of full fat milk. For a long time I believed that dieting was a myth, and then I discovered Where Are My Knees? and I saw that dieting is a massive market. It’s a whole community of people striving to eat better and to feel better...so when Gemma suggested a guest spot, I was like “Oh hell yes”.

This recipe was inspired by my mother. She is a diabetic and normally can only comment on the look of my cupcakes and treats while she has to leave it to my father And myself to taste and enjoy the treats. So it meant a lot to me to produce something she could actually eat.
Let me explain that, depending on who you speak to, diabetics are allowed honey in moderation and a small amount of fat. In fact, my mother finds that a small amount of fat in her diet helps with the feeling in her feet and so this recipe was perfect for her!  I hope you like it too.

120g Flour
40g Low Fat Margarine or Butter
1 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Honey
1 Banana Crushed
1 Egg
120ml Semi or Skimmed Milk

1. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the margarine or butter and using either a handheld mixer or an electric mixer allow the ingredients to mix until you get a sandy consistency. If it starts to cream together then don’t panic, its just because the margarine is softer than a normal full fat butter. It’s real life. It happens.
3. In a separate bowl, mash the banana and add the honey. You don’t have to mix this up too well because it’s going to mix in the dry ingredients.
4. Slowly but gradually add the milk to the dry ingredients while mixing. It is important to beat at a medium speed to get everything combined at a good rate but don’t get too cocky, keep to a speed that you’re comfortable with. You need to be in control of your kitchen equipment.
5. Add the egg to your mixture while beating it.
6. Lastly, add the banana and honey to your mixture and beat until well combined.
7. Bake in cupcake cases at 170 degrees C for 12 – 15 minutes depending on your oven.

Right, now, I like to top these with whipped cream (hence the chat about the fat). You can either use single or double cream depending on what level of fat you’d like and if this is going to be a blow out treat or something a little more conservative. I also added a bit of cinnamon to the whipped cream to give it some flavour but you can also beat some mascapone or cream cheese to the cream. The topping can be your own completely.
I really hope you like this recipe and that it goes well for you too!

Samantha has a project called Let Them Eat Cake and if you would like to find out more about this click here.

Sunday Summary #34

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Another week down!

Gemma- I only lost 1lb this week, not too bad considering how off the rails I went last week and it is my first class back after London. I'm really missing staying for the whole class, I have to leave after weigh in to get to work on Friday mornings because I am covering a vacancy and I work on Monday evening when the other class is held. Only a few more weeks of covering the vacancy left, I really miss hearing other peoples weight loss stories and getting some inspiration from my class leader. I bought the Weight Watcher magazine this weekend and I'm going to get involved on the message boards on the WW website to see if I can get back on track and find some inspiration. I'm also going to make a progress chart and inspiration collage to go on my wall, will show you the results in the week.

Sarah V - I gained 3lbs at my weigh-in this week which was gutting. But I completely know why, I was poorly last week and dieting was the last thing from my mind. I've been really good for the rest of the week though and as of this morning, that 3lbs has gone. So hopefully I will have a good result next week. I'm determined to stop making excuses and actually have an impactful weight loss by Christmas!

Charlene - Not going to bother weighing myself this week. Went to the gym lots but just feel awful eating all this pub/restaurant food every single day. :( It's making me lose motivation and I didn't think twice about ordering chinese takeaway last night. Ugh!

Sarah - I gained 2lbs at weigh in this week :(  I have lost my dieting mojo recently so am being really really strict with myself in order to get it back.   I'm also getting extra help and motivation from some of my lovely twitter friends, you guys know who you are - thank you!!

Lucy is currently in the air flying back from her Australian adventures so will be back next week to update you all.

We're not doing that well at the moment, what top tips would you share with us to help us get back on track?  How have you done this week?

Guest Post - Chris from MoneySuperMarket.com

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Diet Boredom – How to Beat the Grind

I’ve been on this diet for about twenty three weeks now. That’s like… nearly half a year.

I’ll be honest, I’m getting a bit bored of it - every night I come home and I cook one of a few different
things, eat it, then I sod off and do some form of exercise.

Pfft, I think. I wish I could have this. I wish I could have that. Then I slump around the house, flinging
my arms around like they don’t have any bones or muscles in them, muttering things about Muller
light like some sort of Harry Enfield teenager that’s not allowed chocolate anymore.

It’s called diet boredom, and it comes to us all. But what can we do to beat it?

Well, there are actually a number of different ways you can do it – I’m going to tell you about what I
do, but please feel free to share your own.

Way number one is very simple: Let yourself have the thing you want. Depending on what it is,
you’ll likely find it doesn’t hurt your diet as much as you reckon – I still allow myself a sausage and
bacon bap once a week on really cold mornings, and so long as you’re well behaved either side of it,
going out for a big meal isn’t the ruinous event you might think it’ll be. Letting yourself having the
thing you want can often reset your appetite – after my sausage bap I’m no longer thinking about all
the “naughty” things I want; I’ve had my moment of devilry, and then I’m right back on the straight
and narrow, sated and determined.

Of course, this might not work for you; allowing yourself a treat might be the gateway to a whole
chocolatey mess of eating – but worry not, there are other things you can do.

I’ve found going to my girlfriend’s house for tea really helps out – her mum’s a great cook, and as
such being handed food you wouldn’t normally eat can really make a difference. My meals are based
around rice, pasta, chicken and peas, so being given stuffed sweet potatoes the other night was
fantastic; it’s not something I would have ever made, and it was absolutely delicious whilst being
pretty healthy (There’s a few syns in the Crème Fraiche and the Chilli Sauce, but not many) – It just
helps to break the monotony of eating the same things week in, week out. I’m not suggesting you
all pile round to my girlfriend’s mum’s, by the way, I’m just saying that if you can find someone else
who’s on a diet who’s prepared to chuck some stuff in a pan for you, you’d be amazed at some of
the great food you can eat and still stay on plan.

Of course, there’s always the other option: Allow yourself to go a little bit mad one week, and damn
whatever the scales say next week. If you’re someone like me who has lost 6 stone and the rest
(6 stone 4 now, thanks), then on an overall graph of your weightloss, one bad week is barely even
going to register – again, just so long as you get back on the diet horse afterwards…

Think about your diet objectively; if you’re normally eating 1500 calories a day, but one day you
crack and have, say, 1800, then over a week that’s a grand total of 10800, compared to 10500 – and
when you consider that there’s around 3500 calories in around a pound of weight, those extra few
calories barely even register.

So basically, what I’m saying is: Don’t be afraid to be a little bit naughty every now and then – we all
have our weaknesses, learn to accept them (but also to control them) and you’ll be fine…

Chris works for moneysupermarket.com as a life insurance blogger. As a result
of this, he’s always telling folks to get fit. After a long time of doing this he decided to start taking his
advice, and now he’s proud to purge his diet gland over the pages of WAMK.

Clothing Confession

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Have you looked into your wardrobe recently and noticed how many items you never wear?

I have clothes dating back to around 2003 in my wardrobe, lots of 'thin clothes' that I had when I was my smallest and working in Topshop and clothes that I bought in December last year when I was my biggest. I don't really want any of these clothes in my wardrobe anymore, my style has changed a lot since I was in college and most of my Topshop uniform was very fashionable at the time but it is all rather dated now.

The biggest change I need to make in my wardrobe is getting rid of all my clothes that are too big for me.
The clothes that range from a size 20-24 are holding me back, I don't want to be that size ever again and keeping those clothes means I can easily slip back into bad habits.
I also think it is equally important to get rid of old clothes that are too small for me. I don't want to look back, I want to work towards being the best I can be. I am the happiest I have been in a long time and have bags more confidence now so I'm going to have a fresh start with my wardrobe and hope that this spurs me on to reach my weight loss goals.

I want to wear a dress like this on my birthday next year-

This means hitting my goal of being about a size 12-14 and maintaining that weight. I've always wanted a Vivienne Westwood dress and I think losing around 6-7 stone is the perfect excuse to buy one.  I would rather have a few really nice pieces in my wardrobe that fit me properly than have piles of clothes that don't fit. It's time to fill those charity bags and get listing on eBay!

Getting rid of those unworn clothes and those that no longer fit can also benefit others...

Tommy’s are working with Weight Watchers to raise money through a Clothing Amnesty, encouraging supporters to donate their unwanted clothes – including those items they never wear – and raise £10 per bag, which goes directly to Tommy’s charity via the clothesforcash scheme. For those who aren’t quite ready to part with their wardrobe but would still like to help Tommy’s, there’s also a new ‘Clothing Confession’ Facebook app; users just need to visit the app and share what their clothing confession item is, and Weight Watchers will donate 10p per person to Tommy’s.
Celebrity stylist Louise Roe is also involved in the campaign, and talks about her involvement in this video. There’s also the chance for users to win selected items from Louise’s wardrobe via the app.

I've looked in to what Tommy's do and it is a really great charity. Evidence shows that women who smoke, have a poor diet or carry excessive weight during pregnancy are more likely to have poor pregnancy outcomes.Tommy's help to educate women so they can make healthier lifestyle choices for themselves and their babies. In the UK, one in four women will lose a baby as a result of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. Tommy's wants to help lower this alarming statistic.

Are you still holding on to clothes that don't fit properly? It's time to have a clear out!

Hotpants - The WINNER!!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Hey lovelies! Sorry it's taken us so long to announce the winner, we've been a little busy recently picking up a couple of awards :)

The winner has been chosen at random using random.org:

Which means the winner is:

Congratulations Lizi!! Please email us at wherearemyknees.gmail.com with your address and size and we will pass your info onto the hotpants people

Cosmo Blog Awards & Wales Blog Awards

Monday, 31 October 2011

Wow, it has been an exciting time for all of us here at Where Are My Knees?

On Wednesday, Gemma and the two Sarahs went to the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards ceremony in London where we were awarded Highly Commended in our category! This is a huge honour to be recognised by such a massive magazine, especially as our blog hasn't been running for that long.  It was an amazing night. Big congrats to Skinny Latte Strikes Back who came first in our category, too.


And if that wasn't enough, Where Are My Knees? also won an award for Best Lifestyle Blog at the Wales Blog Awards on Thursday night (Gemma is Welsh). We're so chuffed, we were up against some amazing blogs.

The full list of winners can be viewed here- walesblogawards.co.uk

We want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who reads Where Are My Knees? and to whoever nominated us and voted for us and to the judges of the Cosmo and Wales Blog Awards.

Gemma, Sarah, Charlene, Sarah and Lucy

PS - You can see more detailed posts on the Cosmo Awards by Gemma, Sarah V and Sarah on their personal blogs.

Sunday Summary #33

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Hey guys it's been a very busy week here at Where Are My Knees?

Gemma- This week has been a total diet disaster! Non stop eating cakes, pizza and M&S sandwiches on the go. I couldn't go to weigh in on Friday because I was in London to see Britney but I weighed at home this morning and I think I have put about 2lbs on.(Could also be the 'time of the month') I have until Friday to get it all back off, I've not put anything on at a weigh in since I started my diet and I wont let this week be the first time it happens. I have a few mornings off so I need to hit the gym or set up my cross trainer in the garage. I will be happy with 0.5lb loss this week and then I want a steady loss of 1.5-2 per week leading up to Christmas.

Charlene - I'm too scared to step on the scales but I think I've put weight on over the past two weeks. :( Eating out at a restaurant or bar every night is taking it's toll and the only healthy option for a vegetarian is a caesar salad minus the chicken (basically not very exciting, or very filling) gets boring after 2 nights. I only managed to go to the gym once last week because of horrid shifts but here's hoping I can go every day this week! I'd be happy to just remain the same weight at this point in time rather than continue to gain!

Sarah V - I'm actually stunned, after a week away eating whatever I liked, I somehow lost 1lb! It's been a mad week and I've been a bit off colour so I haven't really been thinking of dieting much, so I'm a bit dubious about what the scales will say on Tuesday. But I'm determined to put the excuses aside now and start seeing some serious results on the scales before Christmas!

Sarah - I weighed in on Thursday and have gained 2lbs this week.  But after a week of hen nights and awards I am actually okay with this!  I am trying to be good again now but can't really lose too much more in the run up to my wedding as that will mean I need to squeeze in another dress fitting!  I am craving junk really badly at the moment too, someone take the ice cream away from me...

Lucy is still in Australia, lucky lady!

How has your week been?  Any tips to share with us all?

Guest Post - Becky from Skinny Dreaming

Saturday, 29 October 2011

My name is Rebecca Fyfe (Becky) and I have lost more weight than I weigh. When I joined Slimming World, I weighed 19 stone 6 ½ pounds. I now weigh 9 stone 1 pound and have lost 10 stone 5 ½ lbs. I am a mom to seven kids, ages 19, 18, 17, 9, 6, 5 and 2.

At my highest weight, I developed an injury called plantar fasciitis, which is basically a chronic inflammation of my heels. It made walking excruciatingly painful. Just walking across a room caused me pain. I hobbled around, slowly, as if I was decades older than my age. My husband loved to hike and take long walks, but I was in too much pain to join him. Also diabetes and arthritis of the knees ran in my family, and I knew that, if I didn’t do anything about my weight , I wasn’t just heading towards diabetes and arthritis but I was heading towards an early grave. I have seven beautiful children, and I couldn’t do that to them, let them lose their mother at such young ages.

But still, I couldn’t seem to take those first steps toward getting healthy. In my 5th pregnancy, I developed high blood pressure and, during the delivery, it spiked so high that I almost died. Still, I remained overweight, and wound up hospitalized towards the end of my 6th pregnancy because of high blood pressure again. I told myself that, if I ever had another baby, I would get myself healthy before getting pregnant, but then I got pregnant with my seventh baby before I had lost any of the excess weight. I was morbidly obese and I knew that becoming healthy was a real necessity; I couldn’t wait any longer.

I waited until my 12th week of pregnancy to get past the precarious first trimester (but before I had started gaining any pregnancy-related weight), and then I called up my sister-in-law. I had heard that she had lost over 5 stone and that she looked incredible. I hadn’t seen her in a long time, but I asked her if she would take me to one of her Slimming World meetings. When she picked me up for the meeting, I was amazed by how much different she looked with so much weight lost!

I wasn’t even sure, when I first started, if this was something I would stick to, but I knew I had to give it a try. And I lost weight the first week, despite being in my second trimester of pregnancy. My goal was to not gain any weight during the pregnancy, but instead, as of a day before my baby was born, I had already lost 3 stone 4 lbs. Within 2 ½ weeks of the baby’s birth, I dropped an additional 1 stone 5 lbs, for a total loss of 4 stone 9 lbs LOST during my pregnancy.

Within a year of joining Slimming World, I had lost 7 stone 2 lbs, which is equal to 100 pounds. I lost the final 37 pounds to reach my goal weight in the next 9 months. I lost 9 stone 11 ½ pounds in 1 year and 9 months. Over time, while at target, I lost a bit more and reached 10 stone 5 ½ lbs lost in total and changed my target to my new weight.

It has changed my life. My plantar fasciitis disappeared completely, despite the fact that I was told I would suffer with it for life. I have more energy. My blood pressure during my last pregnancy remained normal. I can play with my kids now, when before I never had the energy and it hurt too much. My husband and I walk everywhere. I exercise on the elliptical crosstrainer, by walking and also use the Wii Fit with hand weights. (We’ve even had our crosstrainer replaced eight times because they keep breaking on us! They apparently make them these days thinking that people don’t actually use them!) Needing a new challenge, my husband and I just started running outdoors about a week and a half ago. We are only able to run a mile in ten minutes right now (and it KILLS me!), but we’re planning on increasing that soon. I never thought I’d see the day when I would actually choose to run!

I love going to group meetings. I have made some of my best friends at my meetings. My husband and I both cook dishes to bring along for the “Food Tasting” nights, and the meetings are something I look forward too. Everyone there is so supportive and encouraging. My Slimming World consultant Sharon is wonderful. My husband joined with me, having lost some weight before joining just by eating what I was eating., and has lost a total of around 7 stone himself. My kids are all really proud of me and love the healthy food we cook and going for long nature walks with us.

I have family in the US, and my dad has been really struggling with his diabetes. He says I have inspired him and he has started losing weight too finally. He’s lost 1 stone 4 pounds so far, and my mom has lost 10 pounds. I have a neighbour who joined Slimming World. She said she kept seeing this lady walking by her window getting slimmer and slimmer and it made her want to lose weight too.

I have been blogging about my weight loss on Skinny Dreaming almost since the beginning, and the Facebook page for my blog has over 500 fans. I share recipes that I have come up with like a Garlic Pizza Crust made with Scan Bran.

Losing so much weight has helped me in other areas of my life too. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a writer, but somewhere along the way I lost confidence in myself and in my writing. Managing to lose so much weight has helped me gain my confidence back, not just in my appearance but in every aspect of my life. I’m writing again. I’ve written three children’s stories that I am trying to get published and I am working on a two novels. I also have several e-books coming out this year. I have been writing for a monthly magazine in California on the topic of helping our kids lead healthy lives.

I have seven kids, but I was able to make the time to exercise and cook healthy meals. There’s nothing overly special about me; I’m just like everyone else. The one thing I wish more people realized is that, if I can do this, anyone can!

If you are in the same boat I used to be in, if you have a huge amount of weight to lose and it looks like to mighty of a task for you to achieve, just take it one step at a time. Set up mini goals and focus on one mini goal at a time rather than looking at the bigger picture. I know that, with a huge amount of weight to lose, it can seem overwhelming, and it’s easy to tell yourself that you won’t be able to do it, so why even bother, but you can’t look at it this way. Take it one small goal at a time and eventually, you will start reaching those larger goals.
It’s important that you believe in yourself and in your ability to do this. Look at other people who have succeeded at weight loss. If they can do it, so can you. Quit waiting around for motivation. I had tons of motivation for losing the weight, but it took me years before i ever actually did anything about it. I had seven beautiful children and a loving husband who needed me to be healthy for them. I lacked energy. I was depressed and unhappy with my appearance. My health was failing. All of that sounds like pretty good motivation for wanting to change, but motivation can’t make you do the work to get you to your goals. Motivation gives you reasons to strive for those goals, but you still have to be willing to work towards them yourself.

Instead of waiting around for this magical “motivation” to appear and push you into doing what you need to do, treat your weight loss as though it just another part of your daily routine. You don’t shower each day just because you like to shower. You shower because it is necessary and part of your daily routine. Healthy eating and daily exercise should be treated the same way.
And because so many people have told me since I lost the weight, “I wish I could do what you have done,” I am going to stress this point: YOU CAN!!!!

Now go do it!

Sunday Summary #32

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Another week gone by already? Wow! How has everyone done with their goals this week? We'd love to hear from you!

Charlene - It was my first week of working away this week and I tried my hardest to eat well but being a vegetarian meant there wasn't many options (other than veggie burger with fries in the bar or cheese laden pastas and pizzas in the restaurant) available. I found out that there's a gym, swimming pool and also various classes including zumba available for free though so I will definitely be taking advantage of that this week. One of my colleagues is a bit of an expert when it comes to exercise and targeting problem areas so I will be taking advantange of his knowledge too! It's about a 20 minute walk - each way - to work and back to the hotel each day too and we've been walking quite quickly so that, combined with the gym each morning, should keep off the weight and hopefully help me tone up a bit!

Gemma- I lost 2 lbs this week which means I have now lost 50lbs all together! So happy to finally reach this target before I go to the Cosmo Blog Awards next week. I'm not holding out much hope for a loss next week. I have a cdfblogs meet up after work on Monday, I'm in London for three days Wed-Friday and I will be with friends eating cakes and drinking cocktails. I'm going to the ballet and for a meal on Saturday and drinks and a Patrick Wolf gig on Sunday. I will also be in London on my weigh in day so I will miss class this week. Hopefully I will stay the same or only put a lb or two on. I want to lose about 10 lbs before Christmas so I will have to work hard after this week.

Sarah V - I've been away all week and the diet has completely gone out the window! I did quite a lot of walking, but I didn't manage to do any exercise classes as originally planned. I weighed myself this morning and it looks like I've gained 4lbs which is really not good... but it could have been much worse! I'm back on the wagon now though and determined to have a loss recorded by my next weigh-in. Maybe I can even make a dent in that 4lbs by my Rosemary Conley class on Tuesday!

Lucy - Is still on holiday in Australia, we're jealous!

Sarah - This weekend Sarah celebrated her Hen Night. Our guess is that she's feeling slightly too hungover to update us all today. ;)
Haha! I have just about recovered from the celebrations and seeings as I was incredibly sick last night I am hoping that I haven't done too much damage to my weight loss... every cloud and all that!  I had lost another 2.5lbs at weigh in this week and am under the next stone bracket in the mornings for the first time, great feeling!!  I stopped wearing my hotpants for a total of 10 days and can report back that none of the inch or weight loss came back and as soon as I started wearing them again the losses picked back up :) 

If you entered our hotpants competition keep your eyes peeled as we will be announcing the winner tomorrow evening!