Disqus for Where Are My Knees

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!

Guest Post - Siobhan from Faux Leatherette

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Hi my name is Siobhan from Faux Leatherette and I am here to tell you how I lost 3 stone in 3 months on the Dukan Diet!

I had never tried a diet before I tried the Dukan. Since about the age of 9, I have always been on the "chubbier" side of life due to lack of exercise and bad eating habits. This meant by the age of 21 I was big! I've never had a problem with being bigger and my health never really suffered probably because I was young. But after realising suddenly I was a size 24 (no really how did that happen!) I decided I needed to look at my diet.

It was around this point my mum then found the Dukan Diet. Being larger herself she wanted to try it, and unlike all her other previous attempts at diets I thought, why not join her. The first thing I did was check out what my "true weight" was online (you can do this here: http://www.dukandiet.co.uk/) and this also tells you how long your attack stage should be! The attack stage is the first stage of the four included in the Dukan Diet.

Attack Stage:
This is a short period of time, I think the maximum is 6 days, where you just eat lean proteins. This means eggs, chicken, fish, ham etc and nothing else. This may seem like an alien concept, but you can eat as much of these proteins as you wish, there are no limits. At first it was hard, but when I saw the weight dropping off, it seemed worth it.

Cruise Stage:
After the few days you spend in Attack, you move onto the cruise stage. Vegetables are introduced to your diet, and a lot more food options are available to you. There are a lot of websites now that have Dukan recipes that can help you if perhaps you are feeling unmotivated or uninspired. In the cruise stage you steadily loose weight, about 2lbs a week for myself. It advises you to also go on walks, and drink plenty of water! I personally added a few little extras that weren't "allowed" on the diet, but for example I had Options hot chocolate some evenings if I wanted the taste of something sweet. Kept in moderation this did not affect my weightloss and also made me feel like I wasn't missing out.

Consolidation Stage:
Now I must be honest, I never really got to this point officially, because when I returned to university I stopped following the diet and therefore stopped losing weight. But because my eating habits changed during the 3 or so months I was on the Dukan, I haven't put weight on either after stopping the Dukan Diet a year ago. So perhaps I did my own version of the consolidation stage! The consolidation stage is followed by the stabilization stage, but I never even got close!

Followed correctly (or even incorrectly!), you can loose an amazing amount of weight in a safe amount of time. My mum who has been more or less following the diet has lost an amazing 6 stone over a year and she looks fabulous. She has more motivation than me though!

I have recently started swimming again, as I really realise the importance of exercise alongside a healthy diet now and I am seriously considering starting the Dukan Diet fresh (hopefully losing another 3 stone!) alongside my swimming. My original goal was to loose 6-7 stone, and to be around a size 14 (I'm tall and broad so nope hope of me ever being a size 8). I am currently around a size 18, sometimes 20, so I have a couple of dress sizes to go.

The Dukan Diet is not for everyone, as vegetarians may find it difficult because it is so centred around lean protein. I would recommend reading the book if you are interested, it can tell you a lot more than me about the ins and outs, I am sure I have forgotten some crucial things! It is available on Amazon for £5.

Sunday Summary #31

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Happy Sunday everyone! How's your week been?

Sarah V - I'm cross. I gained 2lbs in my weekly weigh-in and I really shouldn't have. I went for a team lunch at Harvester the day of my Rosemary Conley class and even though I was really quite good (no chips!) it showed on the scales in the evening. The next morning I hopped on our digital scales and they showed a loss. CROSS. But it's actually reignited my motivation. I've had two lots of zumba this week, and even though I'm away next week visiting friends, I am plotting ways to keep myself on the diet straight and narrow. I've even found a zumba class close to where I'm staying! Madness. I'll let you know how I get on next week...

Charlene - ARGH! I've completely fallen off the wagon this week. It started well, but as I realised just how busy I was I let the 30 Day Shred slip (I feel so guilty that I've failed the challenge that I set us all!!)

Gemma- I lost 1.5lbs this week which I am rather pleased with. I had a bloggers meet up on Wednesday and had a muffin, krispy kreme and loads of lovely buffet food after the event so I was happy for a loss. I was good for the rest of the week so it proves you can still have fun on a diet. I want to lose another 1.5-2 this week as it is my last weigh in before the Cosmo Blog Awards and I would love to reach -50lbs before I go. My average weight loss per week has dropped from 1.4lbs to 1.3 lbs and I want to reverse this trend. I would like my average loss to be 1.7 a week so I need to step it up after my trip to London in a couple of weeks time.

Sarah - I went cold turkey from hotpants this week and I maintained.  I kept an eye on my measures this week too and I am happy to report that they are still the same so the effects of wearing hotpants isn't reversed the moment you stop wearing them.  Can't wait to get them back on and start losing again, keep your fingers crossed for me!  There is still time to enter our hotpants giveaway - what are you waiting for?!

Just a reminder that voting for the Cosmo Blog Awards ends tomorrow morning so you still have time to vote.
If you wanted to vote for Where Are My Knees? in the Health, Diet and Fitness category we would really appreciate it :)

Guest Post - Alex from Odd Socks

Saturday, 15 October 2011

This weeks guest post was written by Alex from Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks

Alex gave us a choice of before & after photos and we went with the risque version... you're looking hot & it deserves to be shared!

Let me start at the beginning.  I've never been slim. I was always a chubby kid who preferred sitting around reading to running around outside and climbing trees. I seem to remember thinking I was massive when I was in my mid teens but as I was quite happy to go clubbing in satin trousers and a crop top (good old 90s fashion eh?), I can't have been that bad! I suppose it was just a gradual case of weight gain. I wasn't the lucky type that loses weight at uni. It went on and it went on going on. Big can certainly be beautiful but for me it never was. I didn't suit it and I was miserable.

I think ostrich syndrome just developed at some point. I hated how I looked but it seemed too overwhelming to do anything about so I just buried my head in the sand and ignored it. Not so difficult to do really - you just don't look in mirrors, ignore people who shout "fat bitch" at you as you walk down the street and don't care too much about clothes because nothing fits or looks nice.  And I didn't get in front of a camera for about 6 years.  There are very few photos of me from the end of uni onwards.

So why am I fashion blogging and regularly prancing round in front of a camera now?  I got my arse into gear.  Simple as that.  No faddy diets, no organisations, no paying someone £5 a week to tell me what the scales said.  Just me and a lot of willpower.

I will stand by this wholeheartedly: diets are not difficult.  They are boring.  Oh my god, they are boring.  1200 calories a day for a year?  That is dull.  Saying no all the time?  Really dull.  But please don't let that put you off.  It's do-able, it really is.  I don't think I have anything outstanding in the way of willpower but my mind was made up when I started and I was *not* going to give up. I didn't do anything faddy or stupid, just kept a limit on the calories and made sure it was all good, healthy, home cooked food, then started to exercise.   Again, nothing special - just walking and swimming.

There's got to be something stuck in the back of your mind that spurs you on.  Once you start seeing results then that just makes it easier.  Kate Moss gets so much stick for that "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" line but I must admit that I sort of agree with her in a way.  I don't want to be skinny per se, but you have to have that bottom line of "do I want this giant bag of chips or would I rather stick to my guns and keep on losing weight?"  Stick to it and it will work.

I'm not going to reveal exact weight figures because christ, they're depressing reading.  Suffice to say that I've lost 8 stone over the course of about 18 months.  8 stone!  Not to blow my own trumpet or anything but that's practically a whole person!  I still have an inner "woah" moment every now and then when I think about it.  I stepped back a bit after a year on the diet and went into my version of phase two which was basically just increasing the cals and treats a bit and working them into an ongoing lifestyle, rather the diet mode I'd been in.  The weight still came off, just a bit more slowly, and that's exactly what I wanted.  I know I was very strict for that first phase but that's just what worked for me - I had a LOT of weight to lose. 

So the process is boring but the results are FUN. Not so fun for my bank balance as I've had to buy an entire new wardrobe but even for a girl that doesn't really enjoy shopping that much, I've found it really enjoyable. The sensation of fitting into something that I never thought in my wildest dreams would ever fit is something that will always bring a big grin to my face.  I feel so much better.  I'm so much more confident.  I don't hide away from things because I'm fat anymore.

It can be done.  I'm nothing special, honestly.  Just someone who stuck to it.

Creamy Beef Goulash

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Slimming World have just released another amazing cookery book.  If you follow Slimming World I really recommend you purchase a few of their cook books.  They are well priced (this one is just £4.99) and packed full of tasty recipes. 

After flicking the pages and drooling over most of the pictures I settled on creamy beef goulash as the first recipe to try from this book.  It looks amazing!!

Serves 4-6
Free on original
Free on Extra Easy

Freezer friendly
Ready in 2 hours 10 minutes

400g can chopped tomatoes
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
300g chestnut mushrooms, sliced (I skipped these, yuck!)
2 red peppers, deseeded and diced
1kg lean braising steak, all visible fat removed, cut into thin strips
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
a pinch of marjoram
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
250g fat free natural fromage frais

Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas 2. Put the tomatoes and onion in a saucepan and place over a medium heat.  Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook gently for 10-12 minutes, until the onions have softened.

Stir in the mushrooms and peppers and cook for a further 6-8 minutes.

Place the steak in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle over the paprika, caraway seeds, bay leaf, marjoram and dried herbs.  Season well and pour over the tomato mixture.  Cover tightly and cook in the oven for 1½ hours or until the meat is tender.

Beat the fromage frais until smooth and pour over the casserole before serving,  Cabbage and carrots would make a perfect accompaniment.

This recipe would also work well with pork or lamb.

Unfortunately I was so excited I forgot to take a photo! Ooops.  I had my parents round for dinner the night I made this and they both loved it too, my Dad asked for the recipe as he couldn't believe it was diet food it was that tasty, thanks Slimming World!

Sunday Summary #30

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Wow, number 30 already! The weeks are flying by.

Sarah - I have been REALLY naughty this week so was very surprised when I stepped on the scales at WI and had lost 1lb :)  I have also lost another 1/2" off my waist, thank you hotpants!  To give you an idea of how naughty I have been since my last WI I have eaten: 1 x zinger tower burger, 1 x pub burger & chips, 2 pints of lager, jacket potato with full fat cheese, sweet & sour chicken balls & egg fried rice, 2 x cream scones, 1/3 of a massive millionaires cheesecake (amazing btw!), 100g salted peanuts, a twix, 1/2 tub ice cream, malteaser bunny, a billionaires shortbread bar, a couple of cupcakes that I made and a packet of crisps.  I wouldn't like to work out the total calories but it's a lot more than my 10-15 syns a day. I was also meant to be doing Charlene's 30 day shred challenge but embarrassingly I haven't started it. I've been both too busy and too lazy! I have made a pact with myself to show restraint and exercise this week so wish me luck!

Gemma- I lost 0.5lb this week which is great news, I was a little worried because I went to a wedding on Wednesday and had a roast dinner and dessert with clotted cream and bacon rolls in the night eek. I am now at -47 and I want to work hard to get my -50lb certificate. I'm hoping to lose about 1.5 this week. I have organised a Cardiff bloggers meet up which is on Wednesday, there are going to be free drinks and food so I will have to save up all my weekly points for that and try not to go too mad. It's been a long and busy week in work so I'm going to treat myself to some chow mein, curry and mushrooms tonight. (about 10 ProPoints)

Sarah V - I lost 1lb this week. I'm trying not to get disheartened as my weight IS going down, and since I went back to Rosemary Conley properly at the start of September, it's gone down steadily, week by week. But it's been a month now and I haven't lost a whole half a stone - when I went back in March I lost nearly a stone in my first month! There's a lot more I could be doing to step it up though so I just have to keep trying and factor in some more exercise. Every week since I've been back there's been something - normally just a day where I haven't been able to control my diet very well, or a meal out or something, and I think those days are making a big difference, even though I'm being really good the rest of the time.

Charlene - It's been quite a good week. Haven't weighed myself (feeling rather scared of the numbers to be honest) but the 30 day shred must be working because I feel a lot more confident about my body and think I'm looking more toned too! My diet hasn't been too bad lately either. I'm really starting to notice that eating my meals at odd times causes me to snack more or just skip a meal alltogether and end up filling up on junk instead so I've been trying to be a bit more organised!

Lucy - Is on her holidays in Australia now, lucky lady!

Have you entered our competition to win a pair of hotpants yet? Tell us all how your week has been!

Guest Post - Lotus and Pie

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Hi readers of Where are my Knees!

My name is Jenn and I “re-started” my healthy lifestyle back in March 2011.  I say, “re-started” as previous to 2007; my life had been fairly healthy.  I was an overly active teen at school, playing every sport there was and then progressed to elite fitness and kickboxing in my 20’s.

A few major changes occurred in my life and I slipped into the habit of not caring about myself, smoking, drinking and basically not providing my body with the right fuel or energy to have one day without feeling tired or lethargic.
I packed my bags and moved from Sydney to London in May 2010.  I worked in a pub as well as my 9-5pm job.  This caused me to gain a lot of weight as I was drinking cider after every shift while socialising and trying to make friends in a new country.

I soon realised that this was not the life I wanted to be living.  I never had before, so why should I start doing this to myself now?  I quit smoking in October 2010 and haven’t looked back.  It took a few more months to get myself settled into a healthier routine but once I was in a happier place, I knew it was time to work on changing my body to being better than what it was before.

March 5th 2010 is when I took my first progress picture.  I was disgusted with what I had let myself become and in all honesty, that was enough motivation for me to sort myself out. 

I bought a runners backpack and gave myself a challenge of being able to jog the route home from Camden to Shoreditch, which was about 3.5miles.  I also signed up to My Fitness Pal so I could see what nutrients I was putting into my body and educate myself as to what was good and what was bad.

Okay I won’t lie; the first day jogging I felt like someone had a harness attached to me, holding me back.  I couldn’t hop gracefully from the road to the footpath when needed and I had to stop frequently to walk and catch my breath.  However, before this first attempt was even half over, I was determined to kick my goals a**!

After 3 attempts I was able to jog the entire length of the hill up Pentonville Road from Kings Cross to Angel.  Believe me, the smile on my face when I ran to the top was huge!  Of course, since I had run the whole hill without stopping, I couldn’t let it beat me again.  Each time I ran; the hill was mine.  Before I knew it I had shaved 6mins off my trip home.

I had to make some pretty severe changes to my diet since I have a very active sweet tooth.  I stopped buying anything sugary. I saw it as a bad habit (like smoking) that needed to be kicked cold turkey.  I limited drinking alcohol for a while, knowing that my weakness for bourbon and coke was doing nothing for my sugar intake.  I do enjoy a vodka, fresh lime and soda though!

Each week I continued to take progress pictures. I felt the difference in my body; I couldn’t see it for some time.  I still felt as big as what I was the week before.  But you know what, after time, my clothes started to get baggy on me.  I tried on some old skinny jeans that I had only ever fit into once in Australia, and they fit me perfectly.  I was finally back to the size I was, when at my skinniest!

I hopped on the scales on June 9th and saw that I had lost close to 20lbs.  I had done it!

Now it is nearing October and I have maintained my current weight of 127.8lbs for the last 3months.  I exercise 5-6 times per week.  I eat 5 times per day.  I have kept up with running and ran my first Race for Life 10K in 47mins and 20seconds.  I am stronger than I have ever been before and I feel fantastic.  My life has started again and I feel I have been given a second chance.

I would like to give some advice to those of you who are just starting out on your healthy lifestyle journeys.
  1.  Don’t give up.  Just because the scales don’t show a change it doesn’t mean your body isn’t changing.

  2. Set yourself some mini goals just as I did. Being able to jog/cycle a certain distance in a certain time is a good one.  Or even sign up to a fun run and give yourself something to train and aim for.

  3.  If you have a sweet tooth, allow yourself a treat once in a while.  If you don’t you may end up going overboard one day and then feeling really down on yourself afterwards.  Then you will think, well I have ruined it, why should I keep going?  You have NOT ruined it.  A slice of cake, a jar of Nutella, a spoonful of icing sugar, a whole tub of Ben & Jerry’s never killed anyone.  I speak from experience.

  4.  Learn about and listen to your body.  Put the right fuel in to get the right result out.  Being healthy doesn’t mean eating raw veggies, fruit or boring bland meals.  If it was, I wouldn’t be telling this story now – I love my food way too much.

  5.  Finally, don’t be upset if you still have so far to go.  Be happy that you grabbed your life by the scruff of the neck and started this journey in the first place.  You’re trying and you will get there.

I am sorry this has turned into a long and involved essay for you to read. I think posting a “before and after” picture like mine deserves a bit of an explanation.  It can be done.  It is possible.  You will get there!  It doesn’t happen overnight, but with the right knowledge and determination, you can change your lifestyle in as little as 3 months.

Hotpants - A Giveaway! NOW CLOSED

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The lovely people at Zaggora have been in touch and offered us a pair of hotpants to giveaway to one lucky Where Are My Knees reader! 

If you're wondering what hotpants are check out our review from last week.  They may sound too good to be true but we got great results from them in our two week trial.

To enter 
Please leave a comment below and let us know what you would do in your hotpants if you won a pair!
Please 'like' hotpants on facebook. You can read reviews from hundreds of users on their wall too.
Please help us publicise our little competition by tweeting the following:

Get yourself over to @wherearemyknees for a chance to win a pair of @gethotpants http://wherearemyknees.blogspot.com/2011/10/hotpants-giveaway.html

The competition is open to UK readers only and closes on Thursday 20th October at 6pm.  The winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  The winner will need to supply their name and address along with their required size.

Good luck!

Fleetly Challenge (update)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

We're now onto Day 5 of our 30 Day Shred challenge - 16% complete! There were a few kinks to start with, but I think we've figured it out all out now and so far quite a few people have joined the challenge and started logging their workouts! If you missed our previous post on Fleetly and the Where Are My Knees? Fleetly challenge then you can click here to read it.

There was a bit of confusion over how to actually log the workouts, so I thought I'd put together a little guide of how it works. It's quite simple to use, I think the issues were simply because when I set it up I wasn't 100% sure how it was going to work until we started logging our exercises but Samer, one of the helpful staff members at Fleetly, has sorted everything out for us - thanks!

001. Sign up at Fleetly (you can simply link it to your Facebook in one click or create a stand alone login) and follow this link to the Where Are My Knees? Challenge. You can then click to join the challenge. A lot of us are friends over there so feel free to add us (you can see everyone taking part under 'competitors') as friends to liven up your timeline a little.

002. We've created 3 different work outs for the 30 Day Shred - Level 1, 2 and 3 - which you can see linked in blue in the image above. It's recommended to do each level for 10 days but there's no pressure to move up a level if you're not ready. All you need to do is click the workout for the level you've completed that day and the page you're directed to will have a bright orange 'log' button.

003. Next, select the date you wan't to log the exercise on, this is great if you can't get online one day - you can always backdate your exercises, and then select 'start logging'. You will see 'add' buttons next to the individual exercises, click these (you can fill in more detailed information such as how many reps you completed if you're aiming to gain points for your timeline but this won't affect the challenge) and then click the 'done' button at the top and you should see your points in the standings increase!

I hope that helps everyone! If you've got any more questions or suggestions on future Fleetly challenges then please let us know!

We'd also love to hear how you're getting on with the challenge so far! Have you stuck to it, or have you been naughty and skipped a day already? Personally my legs are BURNING! This usually passes by day 6 or 7 though so I'm going to push through it!

A Day in the Life of Weight Watchers #3

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

I always get asked the same questions- Is your diet boring? Do you miss chocolate? Are you always hungry? The answer to all of those is NO! I get to eat a very varied and filling diet by following the Weight Watchers plan and I still have the occasional bar of chocolate.

I have done a post about what I eat on an average day before which you can read here but the amount of points I now have per day has decreased as I have lost weight so I thought I would write another post to show you what I have been eating this summer.

2 x Weetabix - 4 points
Milk for cereal and tea - 2 points
Banana - 0 points

Tea break
Breakaway - 3 points
Nectarine - 0 points
Babybel light - 1 point
Options hot chocolate sachet - 1 point

Weight Watchers chicken noodle soup - 1 point
Bread roll- 4 points
Lights- 3 points
Weight Watchers fromage frais - 1 point
Plums- 0 points

Rocket and Broad Bean Linguine - 8 points
Low fat garlic and herb ciabatta - 6 points
Meringue, Weight Watchers cream and fruit - 3 points

Total 37/37

Are you following the Weight Watcher plan? What foods do you rely on and what do you have as a treat?

Great news! Where Are My Knees? has been nominated for a Wales Blog Award, to check out the other nominees and to vote click the image below.

Workout Clothing

Monday, 3 October 2011

Now I realise I may be alone in thinking like this but it's important to me that I feel good in the clothing I wear to exercise in.  Call me vain if you like but if I put something on and instantly feel fat/generally crap it makes me less inclined to actually bother to exercise in the first place.  I ALWAYS keep my upper arms covered,  I despise them, so am always on the look out for long sleeve tops that I won't get too hot in.  I used to stick to the Nike Studio range but it seems that they have discontinued it so I have been searching online for a suitable alternative and stumbled across Sweaty Betty.  Their items are a bit pricey but they are exactly what I am looking for and have great reviews:

 Long Sleeve Tee (I love the finger holes!)

Have you seen any long sleeved alternatives that might fit the bill?  What do you wear to work out?  I really need to get some new kit now that I am going to a public zumba class... after all I can't get away with just wearing my sports bra and hotpants like I can at home!!

Sunday Summary #29

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Hey guys, how has your week been?

Gemma- I had a 2lb loss on Friday which I'm really happy about. I've got a wedding on Wednesday and I have a lovely dress and new shoes which I can't wait to wear. I don't think I would have been as excited about the wedding this time last year, I would have been trying to find a cover up/shrug for my arms and would have worn black tights to cover my legs. It is a lovely feeling not to be worried about how I look. I will be happy for a small loss or to stay the same this week. The wedding menu is leek and potato soup (will probs have cream in) roast beef dinner and strawberry and clotted cream torte, obviously more than my 37 pro points daily allowance. Trying to be saintly before and after the wedding to make up for it but you know what, my friend is only going to get married once (hopefully) so I'm going to make the most of it and have a few glasses of champers!

Charlene - Bit of a naughty week food-wise for me! I had a pizza to celebrate some good news but I've restarted the 30 Day Shred and today is day 2 so I'm not letting it bother me too much. I didn't weigh myself but I've taken measurements and will update after each level/10 days. Found out I'm going to be living in a hotel and eating out most nights for the next two months because I'm away with work. It's going to be difficult and it's worrying me slightly already (especially since the rest of my colleagues order takeaway food for dinner at work on almost every shift!) but I think I might have access to a gym! Lots of willpower will be required!

Sarah V - Not a bad one for me. I lost a pound and a half at my weekly weigh in, and apart from one cheeky burger on Friday night, have been really good - I even managed to do a night out without resorting to chips or fast food, and I went on a 3 mile walk even though it was boiling. I am really hoping to have a couple of weeks with more significant weight losses though - at the moment I am doing a pound or so a week, which is nice and steady and in the right direction, but I put on quite a lot of weight over the summer, and expected to ping back a bit faster than this. I've set myself a target of doing a further stone by Christmas, so we'll see how I get on!

Sarah - I've had an alright week this week.  If you have read my hotpants review you will already know that I've lost 0.5lb and 2" this week so I am a happy bunny!

Lucy - on her way to Australia so will be awol for a few weeks

Update us on your progress and don't forget you can join us on our 30 day shred challenge on Fleetly!

Guest Post - Mushroom Soup - Ariana from Fatale Fashion

Saturday, 1 October 2011

I'm Ariana, a 20-something working girl from New Jersey who determined to finally slim down and get fit! I've lost 15 pounds at this point and already feel stronger and slimmer, and will keep on going. Slow and steady wins the race! I blog about my weight loss journey at Labor of Loss, and about my clothing and style obsession at Fatale Fashion.
My diet plan:
I joined the Weight Watchers online program in May of 2011, and have slowly been dropping the pounds ever since. I also have a relatively relaxed workout regime, which is usually about two workouts a week, or three in a good week. I hope that by making this a lifestyle rather than using diet and extreme exercise as a means to an end, I will be able to lose all the weight (albeit slowly), and keep it off for good :)

Souper Low Fat Mushroom Soup

Get it?? Souper... super...

....well, I giggled!

Here's a recipe I made from Skinnytaste - creamy mushroom soup! This soup is so so so delicious, I'm still in disbelief that it's only ONE POINT for a 1 1/4 cups of soup!! And it's super easy to make! This soup has become a staple in my house.

Low Fat Creamy Mushroom Soup
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes 
Servings: 5 • Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup Old Points: 1 pts • ProPoints: 1 pts
Calories: 49 • Fat: 1.8 g Carb: 6.6 g Fibre: 1.1 g Protein: 3.2 g

  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes
  • 5 oz shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz baby bella, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, whole with leaves removed
  • 1 tbsp light butter

Place cold water and flour in a blender and blend until smooth, pour into a medium pot and set heat to medium. Add celery, mushrooms, chicken bullion and butter and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove celery and a cup of soup, blend, then return back to the pot.

Ta da!! Quick and easy and so tasty!! I didn't bother to blend the celery, my soup was creamy enough so I simply discarded the stalk and served. I had 2 cups for dinner, and plan on a cup for lunch to go with my salad :)