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Guest Post - Rachel from RachelPhipps.com

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Today's guest blog was written by Rachel from Rachel Phipps.

I find it absolutely impossible to diet. That is a fact. Another, unfortunate fact is I'm not one of those lucky people who can eat whatever they want and not put on any weight. Trust me, I put on the weight! Aside from the eating well and exercising (we all know that by now!) one of the biggest changes I have made to my lifestyle is changing what I have to drink. And I'm not talking about cutting down on alcohol consumption (though I have done that, less beer more wine, only drinking on weekends.)

I used to be a total juice and smoothie junkie. I drank them all day, and had juice with absolutely every meal. This actually is quite expensive, so for financial reasons I decided to cut down. I stopped having smoothies in the house, and limited myself to only drinking juice at breakfast. A few weeks later I discovered fruit and herbal teas and in the end I only drank tea and water every day.

The different was incredible, I notably lost weight. You may think that juice and smoothies are healthy because they are all natural, and they are. But what you don't realise is that they are packed full of natural sugars (and sometimes nastily added sugars), which can still cause you to put on weight.

You don't have to cut juice and smoothes from your diet like I have, sometimes I still treat myself. However, cutting down a bit will do you a world of good!


We are always looking for new guest bloggers. If you're interested in writing a post for Where Are my Knees? please send us an email with a rough idea of what you'd like to write to wherearemyknees@gmail.com.

Royal Wedding / British Inspired Foods

Friday, 29 April 2011

Hello everyone! Apologies for the lack of posts this week, we've all been rather busy enjoying the sunny weather (and perhaps a few cheeky chocolate easter eggs too!) so haven't been able to post as often as usual. A few people I know are hosting Royal Wedding parties with plenty of cakes, fatty foods and plenty of alcohol today so I thought I'd put together a little menu of foods fit for a king that fit in with a British theme and won't sabotage your diets!


Whilst everyone eats their neatly-cut-but-carb-ridden cucumber or egg mayo crustless sandwich fingers you can tuck into a delicious Ryvita cracker with a whole range of toppings. There are literally hundreds of recipe ideas (and a lot of royal wedding recipe ideas too!) on the Ryvita website, although my personal favourite has to be cream cheese and cucumber. I've also heard that adding some salmon or ham is delicious, if you're not vegetarian! The cream cheese feels so naughty, but as I'll be using the low fat version it's not too bad.

Philadelphia Light - 47 calories per 30g.
Ryvita Pumpkin Seed & Oats Crispbread - 45 calories per slice.
Cucumber - something ridiculous like 8 calories for every 50g.
TOTAL: (approx) 73 calories.


Okay so it's not quite the same as a crumbly scone loaded with clotted cream and strawberry jam, but it's almost as good and less than half the calories! Sarah actually posted a recipe using meringue here but this one is much quicker to put together as it uses pre-made meringue nests! As an extra treat you can also add a little bit of cream if you like, or maybe Lucy's suggestion of using some Total Greek yoghurt with a few extra ingredients instead of cream (as discussed in this post) would be better if you're being really strict?

Tescos meringue nests - 55 calories per nest.
Fresh strawberries - approx 5 calories each.
Double Cream - 140 calories per 30ml.
TOTAL: 150 calories.


And you can wash everything down with a great big British glass of fruity Pimms and lemonade. Sarah V touched on the issue of which alcoholic drinks are better than others in this post, and generally spirits with mixers (especially diet mixers) are the best option for keeping within your calorie count.

Pimms - 25 ml will have 40 calories
300ml can of Diet Schweppes Lemonade will have 5 calories
330ml can Full Fat Schweppes Lemonade will have 90 calories
TOTAL: 45 calories with diet mixer, 130 with full fat mixer.

Whether you're celebrating the Royal Wedding or trying to ignore it completely I hope you have a lovely day! We'll be back on Sunday with our weekly Summaries, and we've got a new guest post lined up for tomorrow!

Potato and Chickpea Curry

Monday, 25 April 2011

I found this lovely recipe on the Total Greek Yoghurt website and knew that I had to give it a go.  I love curry and chickpeas and potatoes make for the perfect combination.  I have altered the recipe to make it lower in syns and have added potatoes as they are amazing in a curry. 

My total life savers since starting Slimming World are both used in this recipe.  They are:

150g TOTAL 0% Greek Yoghurt 
2 sprays of frylight
1 small onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbs Madras curry paste
2 tins of chick peas, drained
200ml of tin chopped tomatoes
200ml vegetable stock (use a cube they are really good these days)
Half a bunch of coriander roughly chopped
2 Potatoes cubed and par boiled
Peel and dice a couple of small potatoes and par boil them.

Dispense a couple of sprays of oil and heat in a thick bottomed pan.

Add the chopped onions and fry until soft but not coloured, add the crushed garlic and curry paste.

Cook for a further 2 minutes then add chickpeas, par boiled potatoes, tomatoes, Total Greek Yoghurt and vegetable stock.

Simmer for 30 minutes, until reduced and a creamy sauce has been achieved.  I also added some chilli powder to give it a kick.

I cooked some wholegrain basmati rice and allowed it to cool.  I then added a few sprays of frylight to a frying pan and fried the rice along with an egg.

Yum, yum, yum!

All the ingredients used are free on a green day except for the Madras paste which is 2 syns per tablespoon.  I used 3 tablespoons which equates to 6 syns for the total recipe and just 2 syns per portion.  I had the leftovers for lunch the next day, bonus!

Sunday Summary #6

Sunday, 24 April 2011

How many Easter Eggs are you all going to tuck into today?! If you've been good you deserve at least one!

Sarah - I've been loving Slimming World this week. For the first time in ages I am getting more than my five a day and am loving it. The only downside for me is to join online I had to enter my weight. I have given in and bought some scales but am keeping them in the boot of my boyfriends car so I can only weigh myself once a week. I know how obsessive I have gotten in the past over scales and I am determined not to let that happen again. I am going to weigh myself every Sunday and this week I have lost 4lbs! Very proud of that :)

Gemma - I lost another 1.5 lb this week which is great but I'm concerned that for someone my size 1- 1.5 lbs a week isn't much of a weight loss. I spoke to my Weight Watchers leader and she suggested that I drop 1 point a day and try and do an extra 30 mins of exercise a week and to see what success I have at my next weigh in. I have not eaten any Easter eggs this week but I did have a few bottles of beer last night so hopefully I wont be too disappointed when I step on the scales on Tuesday.

Sarah V - I've given myself a bit of a break! I didn't get weighed this week due to various other commitments, and haven't done much exercise either... also, as this is a holiday weekend, and also a holiday revolving around chocolate, well, damnit, I'm letting myself have some chocolate! It's a little dangerous re-introducing it to my diet as I've been off it for quite a few weeks now, but I'm determined to get back to it after Easter. I'm off all next week, and my plan is to factor in as much exercise as possible - which will hopefully counteract any badness!

Charlene - I've had an awful week. I received some scarily bad news on Monday which resulted in a week full of stressing, comfort eating and not much exercise. I've gained 1lb which I'm disappointed about, but it could be worse I suppose. I really need to give myself a kick up the backside and get myself back into a healthy routine as I feel like I'm letting myself (and everyone who reads) at the moment :(

Lucy - I'm pretty much the same as last week, I am not eating loads but am not paying attention to what I am eating so my weight is staying the same.  I cannot wait until I hand in my dissertation and can concentrate on my goal and getting ready for Australia.  I have been a good girl though and opted for money instead of Easter Eggs so make sure you enjoy an extra one for me!

So how did you get on this week chicks?

Guest Post - Danielle from A Blog From Blackpool

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Today's guest blog is written by Danielle from A Blog From Blackpool.

My Life In Diets

For as long as I can remember I have been dieting or meaning to diet. When I was a baby I didn’t eat, my mum went backwards and forwards to the doctors but I refused all solids. My mum would spend hours trying to get me to eat and a successful meal would be minuscule, but as soon as I started school, I began to eat normally almost overnight – my mum was thrilled and relived. I could eat what I liked and I was constantly praised for eating and during primary school I went from skinny to chubby.

I started high school very aware I was bigger than most, by the time I was 12 I was 5”5 with 34C boobs and a size 12-14. Yes I was bigger than most of my friends, I wasn’t huge but I felt like an utter elephant. Instead of dieting sensibly I crash dieted. I spent the rest of my high school year’s starving and binging. My weight crept up. Outwardly, it was never an issue I was good at sport and I had lots of friends, but inside I always felt a bit rubbish. By the end of high school I ran on autopilot. Starving myself in the week and binging on alcohol and junk at the weekends. I went through phases of only eating 100 calories a day or only eating protein. Sometimes I would pretend I didn’t care and go for weeks eating the things I usually denied and sometimes I would be wracked with guilt after every bite. I thought I could control my weight but in reality I was gradually gaining and forming habits that have been difficult to break.

At college my diet got worse, I would eat greasy hangover cures in the day and go out 3 or 4 times a week drinking and I would stop off at a takeaway on the journey home. I wanted to be the life and soul of the party I longed to recapture the popularity I had experienced at high school and always being up for a night out was part of that.

Then a few things changed. I left college and hadn’t done as well as I should have. The relationships I had at college dissipated and I was left looking at an exhausted mess in the mirror and I hated what I saw. I realised that everything I didn’t like was mostly my own fault. I started Slimming World in my gap year and lost 2 stone.

When I started University, I tried to stick to the Slimming World way but I struggled. I didn’t like spending my money on food and returned to my high school ways of starving and binging. I lost another 9lbs during that year but it was mostly down to stress, illness and stopping drinking almost completely.

The next year and a half my weight fluctuated but stayed around the same mark. I moved back
home and the stability stopped my starving/binging cycle. I was thankful I hadn’t gained all the
weight I had tried so hard to lose.

My new year’s resolution was to lose weight. I started counting calories but when I am faced with a choice between a banana or a milky way I will always chose the milky way. I could see my old habits returning for me if I know I have 1500 calories a day it’s just too tempting to not eat all day in favour of a tub of ice-cream in the evening. Not very healthy. In February my mum suggested we return to Slimming World and I jumped at the chance. We go together on a Monday I am building a positive relationship with food once again. Last time I let University get in the way but this time, I have determination by the bucket load. Slimming World is a really healthy diet and I’m having steady losses of 1-3 lbs per week. I am still allowed treats and a portion of Ben and Jerrys at the end of the day doesn’t mean I have to starve the next, but I will no longer let people lead me a stray or use circumstances as excuses for self sabotage. This is what I want and now I am on the right track, nothing can stop me.

Danielle xx

The importance of warming up and cooling down

Thursday, 21 April 2011

I'll be the first to admit that I never used to do any sort of warm up or cooling down before exercising. I've actually, to this day, never seen anyone else warm up or do any stretches in the gym so I would have felt really uncomfortable strutting in and doing some stretches but the truth is - I'd rather look crazy (actually, I probably wouldn't look crazy at all…) than have achey muscles or worse, end up with an injury.

So, I've been reading up on warm ups and cool downs and thought I'd share what I've started doing with you guys as I'm sure there are at least a few people reading who don't warm up properly either.

The Warm Up Session

A warm up should consist of a few minutes of stretching to warm up and stretch out your muscles, followed by some low impact aerobic exercises to increase your heart rate. A warm up should last anywhere between 5-15 minutes depending on how intense your work out will be.

The benefits of doing a warm up include:
  • Stretches your muscles and reduces risk of injury.
  • Gradually prepares your body for your work-out and reduces the risk of stress being placed on the heart.
  • Gets your body ready for a tough work out - this means you're more likely to work out for longer and benefit more from your session.

    Personally, for my warm up, I've been doing most of the stretches shown in this video and then following that with a 5 minute walk at a medium-to-high pace or some low-impact cycling at the gym. If I'm using weights I always start off with lower weights for the first few sets and then gradually build up to the highest weight I can manage.

    The Cooling Down Session

    Cooling down does exactly what it says on the tin - it cools your body down to the state it was in before exercising. Cooling down is said to be done in three different stages - gentle exercise, stretches and refuelling.

    The benefits of cooling down include:
  • Releasing toxins such as lactic acid which have built up throughout your exercise. These release strain from your muscles and help prevent the ache you get the day after exercising.
  • Reduces your heart back to it's normal rate.
  • Provides nourishment to help build muscles and rehydrate.

    My two main forms of exercise - gym and running - both mean that my work out session ends with cardio so what I do to cool down is just gradually slow down whatever I'm doing. If I'm running, I slow down to a jog and then gradually slow down to a walking pace and walk for 5-10 minutes. If I'm at the gym I'll cycle/run/row slower and gradually reduce the resistance until I come to a stop. Afterwards I do some more stretches, as shown in the video linked above. I make sure to drink lots of water to rehydrate following my exercise. It's also recommended to eat a light snack/meal containing carbs and protein within 45 minutes of working out - I'd usually just eat some nuts and seeds or a fruit salad.

    Now I need to point out that I am definitely not qualified in any of what I've wrote here - it's just what I've read throughout some research, so what I've said may not be 100% correct or even the best way to warm up and cool down, but it has been helping me. I don't seem to be quite as sore after work outs, and I've never had a work out related injury.

    Do you always warm up and cool down, or are you the same I was and skip it? What do you do as your warm up/cool down routine?
  • Strawberries and "cream"

    Wednesday, 20 April 2011

    Now, I don't know about anyone else but one of my favourite summertime deserts is strawberries with lashings of cream and unfortunately, I know as well as the next person, how calorific cream is but Jo left a comment on Sarah's Slimming World post informing us an alternative which is just as good, perhaps even better than regular cream. I tried out this idea last night and I'm currently tucking into another bowl of strawberries and "cream" right now, and LOOK HOW TASTY THEY BOTH LOOKED:

    The first picture is strawberries, greek yoghurt mixed with a splash of vanilla essence and mixed with Options white hot chocolate powder topped with strawberry compote (from one of these yoghurts - more on those in a future post!) and finished with a sprinkling of plain chocolate shavings.

    The second is essentially the same but this time I mixed in a regular milk chocolate Options hot chocolate powder and vanilla essence. So good! There's a load of other flavours of Options hot chocolate available too so it's worth trying other flavours to see what happens, plus it makes use of all the powder I currently have in my cupboards seeing as though this recent weather isn't making me want hot drinks!

    It's such a good idea and it definitely satisfies that chocolate craving that I tend to get all the time! Obviously the plain chocolate shavings aren't that good but plain chocolate is better than milk, right?!

    Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache

    Tuesday, 19 April 2011

    There are a lot of things I miss when I’m dieting. After not eating them for a couple of weeks, you stop craving them as much, but it doesn’t mean you don’t still MISS them. I’m not going to lie, you guys, I could totally go for a KFC right now. I don’t care if it’s ostensibly deep fried cardboard – YUM.

    Another thing that I miss is cake. The problem is, good cakes involve butter. LOTS of butter. I went to Paris last year and ate a lot of cake, and the reason all the cake was so amazing was BUTTER. It’s so hard to make a healthy cake.


    I have got hold of a book which changes all that! Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache by Cook Yourself Thin’s Harry Eastwood is described as ‘The ultimate feel-good book of natural cakes that taste naughty’. And it is ace. Harry makes low fat cakes that taste yummy by adding vegetables – I know, I know, this sounds crazy suspicious but I have just two words for you: CARROT. CAKE. Back on board? Thought so.

    I tried out her chocolate cake for my friend’s birthday, as we were both watching our figures. I carefully didn’t say anything until people had eaten it and then burst out ‘IT IS LOW FAT!!’ No one had guessed. That’s the true test, right? It was super moist and full of flavour. This recipe uses a LOT of butternut squash – which, yes, you have to grate yourself. It does take ages. But, hey, surely that burns calories? Unlike carrot cake, though, you cannot tell it's there in the texture.

    I played around with the recipe a bit, substituting plain flour for rice flour, and low fat cream cheese for mascarpone. I also got fed up with the icing technique and just added extra cream cheese to loosen it up!

    "Light Chocolate Cake"

    3 eggs
    160g sugar
    200g peeled and grated butternut squash
    120g plain flour
    3 tbsp cocoa powder
    80g ground almonds
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    125ml buttermilk

    50g unsalted butter, softened
    200g icing sugar, sifted
    50g mascarpone / low fat cream cheese
    4 tsp cocoa powder

    1 - Preheat the oven to 180c / 350f. Line the tins with baking parchment and brush a little vegetable oil over the base and sides.
    2 - Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl for 4 full minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in the grated butternut squash, followed by the flour, cocoa powder, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add the buttermilk before beating again one last time to make sure that all the ingredients are well introduced to one another.
    3 - Pour the mixture evenly into both tins, then place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.
    4 - Once cooked, remove the cakes from the oven, unmould, peel off the baking parchment and leave them to cool down completely on a wire rack.
    5 - You can make the icing whilst the cakes are cooking, as long as you don't ice them until they are completely cold, otherwise the icing wil run off. Beat the butter with 100g of the sugar in a large mixing bowl. You will need to work them together patiently, using the back of a wooden spoon. It will seem like an impossible task at first, but they will eventually turn into a lovely rich paste.
    6 - Once you reach this stage, beat vigorously for 10 seconds to loosen the butter even further. Add the mascarpone, cocoa powder and the remaining sugar. Beat once again to combine.
    7 - Refrigerate the icing for 15 minutes. Give it a good beating with your wooden spoon before icing the middle and top of the cold cake. Decorate as you fancy!

    With Easter coming up, and various Royal Wedding parties and Baby Showers and all sorts of other things, I’m looking forward to trying out some of Harry’s other recipes. I’ll be sure to post my results. If you’re intrigued, check out the book – or, friend of the Knees girls, Helen, has posted about this too!

    A day in the life of... Slimming World

    Monday, 18 April 2011

    I started Slimming World last week and am slowly getting to grips with it.  I haven't joined as I already had already bought the 2010 books from eBay last year and I really cannot face going to the cheesy classes.  I know they are great support and motivation for some people but they are just not for me.  I am toying with joining online and am going to see how I get on this week before deciding.  You can find an overview of the Slimming World plan here.  I thought I would share with you all the kind of food I eat on a daily basis.  I mostly follow 'green' days with the occasional extra easy thrown in.  I am too much of a carb junkie to opt for red days!


    I have gotten over my fear of breakfast and more importantly fruit for breakfast.  Fruit normally gives me stomach ache if I eat it on an empty tummy but I have found that by adding a few spoonfuls of Total Greek yoghurt I avoid the stomach ache.  Both the fruit and the yoghurt are free foods.


    I split two of my healthy extras up and treat them as snacks.  Three mini babybel lights equal one healthy extra A.  I usually have a couple with my breakfast and the third as a mid morning snack.  Two alpen light bars equal one healthy extra B again I usually have one as a mid morning snack and then save the other as an afternoon treat.  The alpen bars have been a life saver so far as they really are a little treat.  I slipped one in my bag when I was out with friends on Saturday and had it with a cup of green tea whilst everyone else had a cake and coffee and didn't feel deprived.

    I take a big box of mixed fruits to work each day to snack on.  I seriously feel like I do not stop eating.  I try and mix up the fruit that I eat and add tinned fruit too.  How good are tinned pears!

    EDIT: Tinned fruit is not free, 100g of tinned pears in juice is 2 syns.


    Yum, yum, yum! I love jacket potatoes.  I normally have them plain with heaps of butter and salt and they are so good.  I don't want to waste syns on butter though so have them without and go for good old baked beans instead, I don't normally end up with quite this many beans though!  Both the potato and the beans are free foods.


    Slimming World chips are amazing.  Seriously good.  I cannot thank Helen enough for sharing these with me!! They are free on a green day along with the salad.  85g of ham is my final healthy extra b and after all this I am fit to pop.  

    I am trying to get by without using any syns each day but if I do fancy a malteser bunny they are 8 syns and I can have up to 15 syns in a day so I can have one and not feel guilty.  Isn't this a total turn around from how I usually eat?! I am really enjoying the food and as we are coming up to summer I am hoping I can actually stop eating like a child and want to eat lots of scrummy fresh food with copious amounts of Slimming World chips!

    Sunday Summary #5

    Sunday, 17 April 2011

    Five weeks in! How's your week been?

    Sarah V - Really GOOD, actually. I had my weigh-in on Tuesday and have lost another 2lbs. I can't believe how quickly it's coming off! It's a testament to how badly I must have been eating before I started dieting - since March 1st I have lost 11lbs! Only 3lbs left and I'll have done a stone! However, I'm not convinced I'll get there this week. Gave into temptation a few times this weekend and had takeaway pizza and thai food... and a far few drinks last night! I'm out and about this week, plus I'm not sure I'll make it to my Fat Club either - two things that always make it harder to stay good, so my goal this week is just to TRY. If I maintain this weight, I'll be happy.

    Sarah - I had a few days of only being able to eat mush but my mouth is healing fast and I can chew again! I've decided to give Slimming World a go and have been getting lots of advice from Helen, thank you lovely! I have been doing it since Wednesday and I have to say my main concern at the moment is how I am going to eat so much food!! I have felt like I haven't stopped eating since I started it but it's all really healthy food and I can already feel my tummy shrinking. I am going to do a mixture of Green and Extra Easy days so if you have any scrummy recipes please send them my way.

    Gemma - It's been a great week for me, I lost another 1 lb this week but I had a sneaky little weigh today before my official weigh in on Tuesday and it's looking good. I've been very organised and taken lots of nice things in to work with me this week so I avoided all the fair trade goodies we have in the staff room, I'm about 11-12 weeks in to my diet and it's going very well.
    I'm moving to a new house soon and I've found out that there are keep fit, yoga and zumba classes held in the hall opposite my house, so I won't have any excuses not to go and do some exercise! I've also found a few dresses that I would like to wear to a wedding in the summer, I might buy one in a size smaller than I am now and aim for it to fit by the time of the wedding.

    Charlene - I haven't lost any more weight since last week, but I haven't gained either. I feel like I'm getting back on track and haven't been slacking much. I turned down free pizza and only ate 1 cupcake out of a batch of 16 that I baked. I really need to up my exercising too, I plan to go to the gym 3 times this week, and hopefully get some running in too if the rain continues to stay away.

    Lucy - I'm seriously letting the team down here, I've had ANOTHER bad week. Well, when I say bad it's not like I'm eating loads, I'm just not eating good stuff. I'm still slaving away day in, day out at my dissertation (deadline is two weeks on Wednesday!) so I'm just kind of eating as and when I get hungry and just having stuff that's quick to make. I've only lost a total of 4lbs since we started this blog, which I'm aware is rubbish compared to everybody else, but I guess a positive out of a negative is that I'm hovering around the weight I'm at and I'm not putting anything on. I'm hoping that once May 4th is over and out of the way then I'll be able to concentrate fully, plus when I'm interning that'll give me some stability too in terms of what I eat because I'll have a ROUTINE. Lack of routine is not the one!

    Tell us how YOU are all doing xx

    Guest Post - Jen from Jen's Thoughts

    Saturday, 16 April 2011

    Today's guest blog was written by Jen from Jen's Thoughts

    source: britmillfit.com

    I’ve always enjoyed exercise (although my unused gym membership last year would say otherwise) and so when I found out about British Military Fitness (BMF) I was intrigued. Luckily two of my friends were also up for trying out a new way to keep fit and so I wasn’t on my own when I turned up at my local park one evening for a taster session. Donning our blue bibs (the beginners colour),we were encouraged by one of the instructors to give the class our best efforts before starting with a not-too-strenuous warm up. There were moments, as we staggered to the nearest tree ( a popular command is to touch a certain number of trees, obviously this isn’t that difficult when in a park!), when I wondered what I had got myself into but we all left the class feeling pleased with ourselves and ready for more.

    The company’s website says: “BMF is the largest and longest running provider of outdoor fitness classes in the UK”. Each hour long session varies however it’s typically a mixture of strengthening exercises (think of a legs, bums and tums class outside!) broken up with lots of running. If the thought of this leaves you feeling a little apprehensive then rest assured you won’t be forced to sprint your way through your first session. The different levels mean you can choose a pace that suits you and your goals. The instructors, who all have army experience, aim to keep each class fun and so don’t be surprised if you suddenly feel like you’re back at a school PE lesson (a recent session had us giving each other piggy backs and one night even involved glow sticks).

    Seven months later and I’ve progressed to reds (intermediate) and have even dabbled in the advanced class (okay just the once before promptly realising it wasn’t for me!). I’ve definitely seen a massive increase in my fitness and I’m positive it made a big difference when it came to running my first half marathon a couple of weeks ago. I can’t claim to have lost weight through signing up however that’s more down to my love of cake as opposed to the effectiveness of a class! I guess you could say it’s stopped me from looking quite as a big as I should given my daily calorie intake and, as I’ve said, I certainly feel a lot fitter.

    I understand that BMF can sound a little hard core but don’t let this put you off. Yes, you will get muddy and possibly yelled at (in a motivational way!) but that’s all part of the fun. BMF membership isn’t limited to the super fit and you’re bound to find some fellow beginners whenever you start. Forget intimidating gyms and lonely morning jogs, there is such a supportive atmosphere at classes and it’s great to be surrounded by other people, especially when the weather isn’t at its most inspiring. Plus the fact that winter sessions are likely to be in the dark brings the added bonus of not being quite as ‘on show' as you would be in a brightly lit aerobics class!

    Of course it’s never easy to keep up a new exercise regime. I’m no longer accompanied each week by my friends and so exercise isn’t really the social occasion it once was (there’s nothing like discussing what you’re having for dinner that night as you cool down after a challenging class). There are also weeks when I really can’t face venturing out after a long day at work however I usually end up feeling so much better after a class that it’s worth the effort.

    BMF has been just what I needed to kick start a desire to keep fit. I love the ‘adventure’ element of it and would much rather exercise outside than plod along on a treadmill. Some people I know are under the (mistaken) impression that I’m some kind of fitness freak and find my tales of press ups in the park quite impressive however I don’t think they realise how much more motivation a trip to the gym would require of me. With BMF all I need to do is turn up and follow instructions rather than worry about setting my own exercise programme.

    If you’re looking for a new way to exercise that’s effective and doesn’t leave you bored then I would definitely recommend BMF. It gives you a chance to really push yourself which is a brilliant confidence boost, particularly if you’ve feeling a bit low or unmotivated. Plus, once you’ve exercised outside in the snow any other workout will be a breeze!

    For more information on British Military Fitness check out their website: http://www.britmilfit.com/about-bmf/


    We are always looking for new guest bloggers. If you're interested in writing a post for Where Are my Knees? please send us an email with a rough idea of what you'd like to write to wherearemyknees@gmail.com.

    Keeping a food diary

    Friday, 15 April 2011

    Keeping a food and activity diary is a great way to help you lose weight and to highlight any problems. It’s a really important part of the Weight Watchers plan and I do it every day, once you get into the habit it’s pretty easy. They can give you a basis from which to plan changes and set goals.

    A food and activity diary will also encourage you to make conscious choices about what you eat and do - writing things down can make you think twice before eating. This is one of the most useful things you can do to help you gain control your weight. Eating a couple of biscuits might seem like a good plan at the time but you might regret it when you don’t have enough points, syns or calories left to go for a glass of wine after work. I find that my tracker helps me to plan my week, I pencil in any nights out I might have that week and plan my eating and activities around that.
    To keep a successful diary you will need to:

    Write down everything you eat and drink over the day.

    I found this fab form that you can print off or put similar headings into a small notebook to carry with you. It's hard to remember what you've eaten at the end of the day, so try to record things as you go.
    I also note if a meal was satisfying and how I felt after eating sometimes. This can help you keep binge eating under control and understand your bad eating habits.

    It’s also important that you keep note of any exercise you do because if you are exercising a lot you will need to take in more calories.

    The more honest you are, the more it will help you. It can take a little while to get used to and seem like a hassle but it's worth the effort.

    If you want to successfully lose weight and keep it off monitoring what you eat is so important! You need to find out what works best for you, an app, diary or online tracker are all great ways to help you reach your goal.
    Do you keep a diary or track what you eat? What do you use?

    Vegetarian nutrition

    Thursday, 14 April 2011

    I've been a vegetarian since I was 14, but it's only been the past year or so that I've actually paid any attention to what nutrients are needed. I think for myself, iron is the big one to watch (I would always get turned away at blood donor session as I was anaemic) but there are 5 essential nutrients that any vegetarian should try and incorporate into their diet. People who eat a lot of meat and fish are usually not deficient in these nutrients, but vegetarians are because the nutrients are either not found within vegetables or it's just easier to absorb them from meat and fish.

    Vitamin D
    Vitamin D is what you need to keep your teeth and bones healthy, it helps to absorb calcium. Now the good news is that a lot of your vitamin D can be sourced simply by just sitting out in the garden and soaking up the rays. However for those of us stuck in the office all day, or for throughout the winter months, there are other ways of making sure you get enough Vitamin D. Whilst carnivores can eat oily fish, vegetarians are advised to eat eggs, margarine and breakfast cereals. Kellogg's are great at labelling their cereals and a lot of them, such as Bran Flakes and Corn Flakes, are great for vitamin D.

    Vitamins B12 and B2
    Vitamin B12 is what you need to create red blood cells and help keep your nervous system healthy. It also plays a big part in releasing energy from the food we eat, and if you don't get enough vitamin B12 you could be suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency, which makes you tired all the time. Vitamin B12 isn't found in foods such as fruit, vegetables and grains so it's usually vegans who struggle to get enough. Virtually all meat products have a source of vitamin B12, but again fortified breakfast cereals, eggs, milk and cheese are all good sources for vegetarians.

    Vitamin B2 is also needed to keep your nervous system healthy, aswell as keeping your skin and eyes in tip top condition. Yep, you guessed it - breakfast cereals prove to be a good source, aswell as dairy products like eggs and milk. Love them or hate them, mushrooms are also packed full of B2. Sunlight actually destroys vitamin B2 so it's advised to keep these products out of direct sunlight.

    Iron is the big one that everyone always goes on about. If you don't get enough iron in your bloodstream, you'll develop anaemia. Most vegetarians (myself included) probably have anaemia and aren't even aware of it. To get enough iron you should be eating a lot of green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and kale. The bad news is that tea stops you absorbing iron, so it's important that you don't drink tea around the same time you eat if you want to benefit from all those vegetables. Instead, you should have some vitamin C, such as a glass of orange juice, at the same time as eating because this actually helps your body absorb iron.

    Nuts 1612

    I'm going to be honest and say that selenium is something I had never heard of before I started reading up on nutrition. It's what helps you have a strong immune system - something which I definitely don't have. Selenium can be found in nuts, mainly brazil nuts, so I've requested more nuts in my Graze boxes. Bread and eggs also provide some selenium, but from what I've heard nuts are the best thing to be eating.

    Omega-3 fatty acids
    It is said that omega-3 reduces the risk of heart disease, aswell as helping with depression. It also helps your brain perform efficiently. I'm sure you've all been told that "fish makes you smarter" at some point, and this is where that quote originates from. For people like me, who really don't want to eat fish but would still like a healthy brain, things like avocado, walnuts, tofu and pumpkin seeds are just what we need.

    Now I am obviously not a doctor or a nutrionist but this is just some basic information that I've found useful in making sure I have a healthy diet. I also take Vegetarian Multivitamins (and have noticed a real different in the condition of my nails, and quite possibly higher energy levels sine starting to take them a few weeks ago) but you should always try and get as much of your nutritional intake from your diet as possible.


    Wednesday, 13 April 2011

    I hope everyone is having a good week so far? How's it going? Thanks millions to everyone who has pledged so far, all this support is so encouraging for us all!

    Just a quick post today - we had an email proposing we start a Twitter hashtag so we've decided to implement it. If you're tweeting about weightloss for the week, a picture of a healthy meal, going to do some exercise... anything Where Are My Knees? related then put in the hashtag '#wherearemyknees' so we can keep track of them all in one place. I know a lot of people put '@wherearemyknees' at the end or beginning of tweets too - that's still fine but this is just another way for people to let us know how you're all getting on! We do also try and retweet you all as much as we can, so keep 'em coming :)

    Have a good rest of the week and if you have any questions or anything, feel free to drop us an email on wherearemyknees@gmail.com and one of us lovely ladies will be sure to get back to you :) xx

    Dark Chocolate and Orange Mousse

    Monday, 11 April 2011

    I made this for some non-dieting friends and it's seems so induldgent that they had no idea it was only 139 calories per serving!

    Serves 4
    139 calories per serving

    75g good quality plain chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
    Splash of orange juice
    2 medium eggs
    1 teaspoon caster sugar

    Melt the chocolate in a bowl over bowling water.  Stir the oranges juice into the melted chocolate and remove from the heat.

    Separate the eggs.  Whisk the whites into stiff peaks in a clean bowl, then fold in the sugar

    Beat the egg yolks and mix them into the chocolate

    Fold the egg whites into this mixture very gently

    Place the mixture into individual ramekins and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

    Savour every single mouthful.  Mmmmm.

    Sunday Summary #4

    Sunday, 10 April 2011

    Sunday again! How's everyone's week been?

    Sarah - Had another week of stopping in hotels and having to eat what I am served. Not good for the diet. I had two wisdom teeth taken out yesterday and can currently only eat little bits of mush so can see myself surviving on mash potato and porridge this week so hopefully that will help with the weight loss. The worse thing is all food has to be room temperature and I love my soup piping hot so even that is out of the window.

    Gemma- Only lost another 1/2 lb this week but I've tried lots of new foods and not cheated with my points, I've been very strict and written everything down. Working every day this week has had an impact on the amount of exercise I can do but I hope to pick it back up when I have some time off for Easter. Big challenge for me this week, I went out last night and my friends decided they wanted to go for a Chinese buffet, I looked at my Weight Watchers eating out guide before I went and chose the lowest point food. I stuck with boiled rice, curry and vegetables rather than sugary sauces like Sweet and Sour and fatty meats like duck and pork. I'm off out for my best friends birthday tonight and I can't promise I will behave and stick to my points but I will try my best :)

    Charlene - This has been my worse week yet, I'm actually embarrassed to update you all! I'm not sure what happened but I've been a total slacker. I've barely done any exercise and ate so much junk food. I was expecting to gain weight but the scales say I've lost 2.8lbs. I did get drunk last night though, so think the weightloss might just be down to dehydration, we'll find out in the next few days. I'm definitely going to try much harder this week to get back on track. Since the sun is out I think I'll go running again too.

    Sarah V - I feel like I'm so on track with the diet at the moment. My motivation is at a high - I'm finding it easy to resist naughty food! I had my weigh-in on Tuesday - first in 2 weeks - and had lost another 3.5lbs. That means I've lost 9lbs so far, since the beginning of March! Even more gratifyingly, several people have commented that I look like I've lost weight. I'm really hoping I can have a couple more good weeks and get another 5lbs off - then I'll have done a stone. I'm still LOVING Zumba, and am considering getting a DVD so I can do it at home. I've also walked to work every single day for the last 2 weeks (a mile each way) and did 9 miles of walking last weekend. And I've only drunk alcohol once in three weeks! In all, I'm feeling pretty damn virtuous! Next week, I just want to keep it up. I really need to blow the dust off the old Wii Fit, too...

    Lucy - This week has probably been my worst week so far and it's all been a bit of a blur to be quite honest, my food diary hasn't been filled out since Tuesday either. I haven't been eating well at all but I got on the scales this morning and I'd actually lost weight so I'm not quite sure what's going on there but I'm not going to complain. It was my last week of uni so had major work panic and have dived head-first into my dissertation too, something that will be continuing until May 4th, but I'm definitely going to get back on track as of tomorrow. I'll need to make up for not being able to walk far too because I have sustained a horrible drunken injury to both knees and they're both ridiculously swollen, how lovely. Here is to a better week as of tomorrow!

    Where Are My Knees? Pledge

    Where Are My Knees?

    We are still inviting people to sign up to the Where Are My Knees Pledge? This will give all of our readers the chance to join in and make a pledge to meet their weightloss and exercise goals.

    On the last Sunday of each month we will post a summary of our progress to date along with our goals for the following month. We would like to invite our pledgers to tell us about their month and goals too. Each month 3 pledgers will be contacted to write a paragraph to be featured in the main blog post and the other pledgers are able to leave comments on the post to update us with their progress and goals. To make this fair we will be working our way down the list of pledgers to make sure that everyone gets a turn.

    To sign up for the pledge all you have to do is:
    + Comment and tell us what your goal is, and leave a link to your blog.
    + Please also leave your email so that we can contact you to write up your paragraph. (You can email us this if you don't want to make it public in a comment)
    + You can also display our button on your blog. The code for that is here.

    We've updated our pledge page with all our pledgers so far, but we don't have anyones email address so please let us know them so that you can be involved.

    Guest Post - Gem from FromGemWithLove

    Saturday, 9 April 2011

    Today's guest blog was written by Gem from FromGemWithLove

    When I was a little girl my aunt would always say "You're so skinny, put on some weight, do you even eat!?" Which always used to bother me, because no offence to her and my cousins, but they were always bigger than me, and why was that my fault? Just because I was a slimmer girl doesn't mean I never ate, in fact I ate a lot, I ate whatever I wanted, maybe that's what annoyed them so much, because they couldn't? But I was young, and ran around always, I have always been tall and slim...well that was until last year.

    I went from being the girl that could eat anything, to recognising that I was in fact a 24 year old woman, who now had hips and what is this, a belly?? You can imagine how this sort of shocked me, but I went through a phase where I just didn't care about it at all, I wasn't un-healthy, so what if I wasn't a size 10 anymore, it's not the end of the world, right? I used to comment on blogs, telling people who were worried about eating an extra piece of cake, to go ahead and eat the damn cake, life is too short. That all changed when I could no longer fit in to my size 12 jeans, jeans suck anyway I have decided, but that is all I lived in, my size 12 skinny, Primark jeans, what was I going to do? I started doing what I always do, I moaned and moaned and MOANED, but I would still eat a whole bag of Doritos and dip to myself (not that much fat actually I have now found, BONUS!)

    But it was when my Mom got ill with Pancreatitis that everything changed, she was rushed to hospital, and they told her she would have to eat a low fat diet for the rest of her life. Something that was a big change for her, not because she was overweight, but because she loved all of the nice foods, paté, cake, CHEESE. So I moved in with her, to hep her convalesce, and had to cook her lots of healthy food, then one day I was getting un-dressed to try on a new outfit and she uttered those dreaded words "You need to lose some weight Gem" What?? I had been quite happy with my denial up until that point, my Mom had always told me that I looked good with a bit of weight on me, but she said, kindly mind, that I had put on a bit too much, "All those lovely meals out with Dale!" she said, true. I never believed that phrase 'it's contentment' but I think it's most certainly true now, but the thing is with my boyfriend, he would love me if I was 22 stone, and he would never tell me to lose weight, he would never call me...fat. But isn't there a point where you would want your boyfriend to have a little word? You know it could be when you are about to eat your fourth pork pie...or scraping the bottom of your salsa jar *hides in shame* if someone that close wouldn't/can't tell you, who is going to? Maybe it hits a nerve with Dale, because it was only two/three years ago that he was quite overweight, all of our friendship consisted of Dale consuming buckets of KFC. Now he is all slim and I'm the one crying in to my fry up. How did he do it? Smaller portions, he honestly believes that you can still eat all the things you like if you change the size of your plate.

    So this is the option I have adopted, there will be no rivita in my house anytime soon, I have no patience to diet, so I see this as my better option. I am also joining the gym next week, I know a lot of people might think that a size 14 isn't big at all, because well it's not is it, it's an incredibly healthy size. I just don't like those bits that wobble and don't fit in to my jeans anymore, and deep down if I don't change something now at 24, what will I be like at 34? I want to be a healthy adult, not the woman who has the Chinese on speed dial. Now I will leave you all with a good luck and go back to my tortellini...on my small plate.

    Fatija risotto... thing

    Wednesday, 6 April 2011

    Sounds appealing, huh?! I had no idea what to title this post, or in fact this recipe, so that'll have to do I'm afraid!

    On Monday it took me absolutely ages to decide what I wanted to have for my dinner and with relatively few items in my cupboard, I made some sort of mish-mash thing of chicken with one of those Original BBQ Fajita mix powders, but it was SO GOOD. I have no idea how good it was calorie wise but I don't imagine it was too bad, there was nothing that unhealthy in it!

    enough rice for however many people you're cooking for (I am RUBBISH with rice portion sizes!)
    fajita powder mix sachet (you know the ones I mean, yes?)
    onions - I used 2, one white & one red
    chicken breast - chopped up however you like
    frozen, or fresh, peas
    can of sweetcorn
    peppers, chopped up small
    & any other vegetables you fancy, mushrooms would be quite nice added into the mix!

    Put the rice onto boil and while that's cooking, cook the chicken and the other ingredients in a seperate pan altogether. Once they're cooked, add the fajita mix - pretty much as you would when you're making actual fajitas! If the whole mixture goes a bit dry, add a splash of water to stop it from being too dry. Once the rice is cooked, drain it and add to the chicken mixture. Mix it all together and make sure it's hot before you serve it, and enjoy!

    It was literally so simple and it was just a case of throwing all the stuff together. It's the fajita mix that makes it taste so good and they're not high in calories at all (I don't think?!). If you're vegetarian you can make it without the meat (obviously) and it'll be just as good!

    Ps - sorry it might not be very easy to follow, I have no idea how to write methods so they're decent! Hopefully it makes sense though, if not just let me know :)

    Why is breakfast so important?

    Tuesday, 5 April 2011

    There is no doubt that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet up to a third of adults in the UK skip it.
    Your first meal provides energy for your day's activities and contributes to your intake of fibre and essential vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron and zinc.
    Breakfast is an important way to maintain a healthy weight; studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight. Studies have also shown that breakfast may help improve mental alertness and physical performance. So all of you doing the couch to 5k challenge should be eating a good breakfast!

    What makes a good breakfast?
    Breakfast should be a full meal and not just a snack. About 20% of your energy intake should be at breakfast which equates to 400 calories for women and 500 for men who want to maintain their weight. The Foods Standards Agency recommends at least one starchy food at breakfast e.g. cereal, porridge and bagels. Having a glass of juice in the morning equates to one of the recommended 5 portions of fruit and veg per day.
    Here are some breakfast ideas that will keep your energy levels high and help you to maintain a healthy weight.

    1. Porridge with dried fruits
    Serving size: 50g with 125ml of semi-skimmed milk.
    Health benefits: oats reduce cholesterol and are rich in fibre, which is good for digestion. Oats also release energy slowly, making you feel fuller for longer, and the milk in porridge contributes calcium.

    2. Muesli, fruit and yoghurt
    Serving size: 50g with 125ml of semi-skimmed milk.
    Health benefits: whole grains are rich in fibre, making you feel full and improving your digestion. By adding fruit, you're eating one of your five-a-day portions. Yoghurt provides calcium, protein and fat, making this a balanced way to start the day.

    3. Wholegrain breakfast cereal
    Serving size: 50g with 125ml of semi-skimmed milk.
    Health benefits: many breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals.

    4. Boiled eggs with wholemeal toast
    Serving size: two eggs and one slice of wholemeal toast.
    Health benefits: eggs are rich in protein, and vitamins A, D, B12 and E. They're also a rich source of zinc and calcium. There are nine types of essential amino acids that the body cannot make and has to get through food. Eggs are one of the few foods that contain all nine types of essential amino acids.

    5. Wholegrain bagel with smoked salmon and low-fat cream cheese
    Serving size: one bagel and one slice of smoked salmon.
    Health benefits: smoked salmon is rich in omega 3 and counts towards your weekly intake of oily fish. Smoked salmon is also rich in vitamin E.

    Check out simply breakfast for some great breakfast inspiration!

    I usually have 30g of cheerios and 125ml of skimmed milk for breakfast which is 4 pro points on the Weight Watchers plan and I try to eat a banana and some berries which have a points value of 0.
    What do you eat for breakfast?

    *all nutritional information was found on http://www.nhs.uk/

    Lemon Mess

    Monday, 4 April 2011

    The best bit about this recipe is if you are pushed for time you can cheat and buy ready made meringues and no one will know!!

    Serves 6
    266 calories per serving

    For the Meringue
    2 free-range eggs
    115g caster sugar

    For the lemon curd
    2 level tablespoons cornflour
    100g golden caster sugar
    juice of 5 lemons and the zest of 2
    2 free-range egg yolks

    For the last bit of white stuff
    120ml whipping cream

    Preheat the oven to 120°C / Fan 100°C

    First make the meringue by whipping the egg whites with a handheld whisk until quite stiff, the gradually whisk in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time.  Once you are satisfied that you have a feminine and glossy-looking mixture dollop six blobs onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and pop into the oven for 2 hours.

    To make the lemon curd put the cornflour, sugar, lemon juice (strain this in with a sieve to prevent lumps later) and the lemon zest into a small saucepan over a medium heat.  Stir roughly for 7 minutes until thickened.  Take the pan off the heat for 5 minutes in order to cool slightly.  Beat in the egg yolks with a balloon whisk until combined and set aside.

    Whip the cream with a handheld whisk until soft but not stiff.

    To assemble roughly crunch up the meringue so that you have  a mixture of different- sized chunks and textures.  Gently fold most of the lemon curd, followed by all of the cream (this is important to create the ripple effect( into the meringue before dividing the mess up.  Finish off by running the remaining curd in swirly whirlies over the mixture in the bowls.

    I substituted the sugar for fruit sugar to give the recipe a lower GI count and counteract the potential sugar rush.  I made it for a family lunch so doubled the quantities and served it in a big bowl.  It was lovely and tart and incredibly moreish.  Yum yum!

    Sunday Summary #3

    Sunday, 3 April 2011

    Well, it's week 3! How's your week been going everyone?

    Sarah - I've had a really tough week.  I have been working almost 20 hour days organising a conference and everything that goes with that.  I tried to be good but when the only choice is unhealthy or unhealthy it's really hard.  I tried eating less to compensate but that left me feeling totally zapped so in the end I gave in and indulged.   I feel utterly crap right now and knowing the same is coming this week I have very little motivation.  After Wednesday however I will be able to get back on track and hopefully I will still have time to lose that inch round my waist before the month is over.  Dresses are already fitting better so that helps me want to continue.  I am thinking of maybe trying Slimming World as I have been so impressed with everyones results but I have no idea where to start with it.  Anyone want to help me out?  I am not the kind of person that can go to a class, they actually demotivate me and I find them very americanised and annoying.  I bought some books from eBay last year but I couldn't get my head round it so didn't give it a fair go.  I would appreciate any help you can give, please email me if you want to offer some advice.

    Gemma- I've been going to Weight Watchers since the 25th of January and I'm getting a little lazy and bored. The past two weeks I've not tracked what I'm eating properly and I've not really eaten enough fruit and veg. I've been a little lazy and I'm worried I wont lose anything at the weigh in on Tuesday. I only lost 1lb this week which is a little disappointing but it wasn't a gain so I should be happy. I've only been able to weigh in at meetings and not attend the session after because I've had to dash off to work. I have really missed the support and inspiration that the meetings give me so I'm looking forward to my week off for Easter so I can attend the meeting and chat with the other WW members. I have been playing lots of Just Dance 2 this week and I'm going to try out the 'Just Sweat' mode this weekend. Hopefully I will be pleased at the scales this week.

    Charlene - I lost another 1lb this week, which I'm quite happy about as I feel as though I've been slacking a bit and allowing myself a few more treats than I should be. I did start couch to 5k and felt amazing afterwards but the combination of a cut on the back of my ankle (should have broke my new shoes in before running...) and torrential rain meant I went to the gym throughout the rest of the week instead of continuing with couch to 5k. Looking at myself I don't look like I've lost any weight but I'm already feeling a lot healthier and fitter which is a big part my goal. This week I'm going to aim to work out at least 4 times and hopefully move onto level 2 of the couch to 5k program.

    Sarah V - I've been sickly with something else this week, so missed my Rosemary Conley class. This means I haven't had my official weigh-in so have no clue how I've done! However, I've walked loads - managed to walk to work every day, except Tuesday as I was off - but I spent the day walking miles around London instead! I also did a five mile walk yesterday. I've also felt really in control of what I'm eating - I'm in good habits now, so am finding myself more inclined to eat some fruit instead of go at the chocolate, and it's getting easier and easier to resist the cakes table at work! Overall, I'm feeling quite positive.
    Next week, I want to continue doing what I'm doing - make it back to my class as I haven't done the exercise in 2 weeks, keep walking in to work, and attempt to fit in at least one workout DVD. I'm really hoping to have lost at least 1.5lbs since my last weigh in, which will take me up to half a stone - fingers crossed!

    Lucy - I didn't lose any weight last week which is a bit disappointing although I hadn't gained anything so I didn't feel as bad. I put in my little food diary 'must try harder' and this week I have. I've been eating a lot more fruit and factoring in more walking into my daily routine. I haven't been running though, I'm going to get into it properly in the next few weeks - promise! I've just had so much to do uni-wise what with various deadlines, presentations, essays and my dissertation to think about. I also really need to get out of the habit of weighing myself as much as I am doing, I need to be patient and just do it once a week! I'm starting to feel a lot healthier in myself which is a definite good sign though and so that's spurring me on a little bit! I also made Charlene's Crispy Greek Pie earlier in the week and that was AMAZING, it is so good and so easy to do - definite recommendation!

    How has your week been girls?  Please help motivate us by telling us how well you're doing!

    Guest Post - Lauren from LaurenFrench

    Saturday, 2 April 2011

    Today's guest blog was written by Lauren from LaurenFrench

    I'll be straight up and say I've been big my whole life, I wasn't really that bothered about my size. I was popular, had confidence, lots of friends and lived a pretty care free and fun existence. The following novel (sorry, it's long!) is what changed me.

    One day, just for a laugh and after a few glasses of wine, I applied for a BBC3 documentary about obesity. Then, I got an interview. Next thing I know I'm on a plane to Argentina with a camera shoved in my face living with a random family who spoke broken English in a slum. They also had weight problems, but the weight problem was not their fault.

    I went into this experience without knowing if this would change my perspective on my weight, or if I was lying to myself about being happy with my appearance, and the producers knew this too. I wasn't your stereotypical obese person who comfort ate (although I did occasionally, but it was more boredom binging) and cried into my ice cream. I had a life and was genuinely content with everything. The doctors would say my weight was damaging my health and I'd just ignore them and head straight down the pub afterwards. It just wasn't an issue for me, I could walk, dance, run (hesitantly) and if anyone called me fat I'd just laugh, thank you captain obvious. Simple right?

    When I was in Argentina, I had a Harajuku moment, a moment which tipped me over the metaphorical edge. I was talking to a woman who was obese, and her obese son. Her son was really overweight, but where the slums were filled with gangs, crime and violence, he couldn't go out and play. The house was around the size of my kitchen so he couldn't exactly run laps around the room. They couldn't afford healthy food, and the cheapest food to eat was fried, starchy and sugary foods. They had nothing but love, which usually satiates everyone's needs but accompanying love, to live a fulfilling life, you need your health.

    I was obese through choice. Drinking beer, eating too much crap and massive portions and this poor little boy would end up growing up with poor health and a premature death because of circumstances beyond his control and I'm not going to lie, I felt selfish and a complete failure as a human. It was that little boy that touched my soul, and I made a personal promise that I would honour everything I had learnt with these people and better my life. I lost 4 stone in 7 months following the Cambridge Diet followed by a low carb diet.

    My doctor said to me that low carb diets are particularly good, because you need to think of your body like a bank. Carbs are your current account, and fat is your savings. If you have money in your current account, you'll spend that first before your savings, and once there is no money left in your account, you use your savings. That's the same with your body, once there are little or no carbs in your system, your body will work on the fat. I no longer do The Cambridge Diet anymore (£200 a month!) but my diet consists of a lot of white fish and meat, green vegetables and salad. I try to stick below 30g of carbs a day and it does work, in two weeks I lost 12lbs.

    MY interim aim is to a size 16. I'm going to Ibiza with my two girlfriends and whilst I'm not too bothered about being the biggest girl out of the three, it gives me something to aim for. Another 10 inches to go...

    My diet secrets for low carbing are the following tips, and eating around 1000 calories a day:

    Shiritaki Noodles. You can see my blog post here on them, but these noodles have 6 calories per 150g and no other nutritional value. For this reason you must eat wholesome food with them otherwise your body will not like you! I tend to have them with tuna and a small amount of melted feta cheese, and some salad.

    Cauliflour Rice. The whole website is brilliant to be honest! It tastes amazing with a little bit of garlic mixed with a teaspoon of oil, chicken and spinach.

    Another thing to try and take on board is to avoid foods that are beige! Crisps, cake, bread, rice, pasta etc.

    Also try and sneak some fibre in there somewhere. You can use oats mixed in with fat free yoghurt for this, otherwise you er, get a big bunged up whilst on the low carb ride. Lovely. Remember to count those carbohydrates!