Disqus for Where Are My Knees

Gemma's 'Must have' items to stay on track

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I've been following the Weight Watchers plan for just under two years now and I'm in a pretty good routine when it comes to what I eat. I know exactly what to avoid in the shops because they are far too high in points and I've always got my freezer stocked up with all the essentials I need to create a filling and healthy meal.

Here are my items that I just can't live without:

1.Weight Watcher Toffee Popcorn bar and porridge sachets.
I always carry these around in my handbag as I like to be prepared for any occasion. If I meet friends for coffee and cake I can have one of these bars for just 2 propoints instead of the insane 14 propoints that a muffin from somewhere like Costa would be. The porridge sachets are also great for me if I stay at someones house so I don't indulge in buttery toast.

2. Low Low cheese slices.
One thing I really miss on Weight Watchers is cheese. I could eat my own body weight in cheese every day but now I don't keep any in the house. These Low Low slices are only 1 propoint each and are great with nimble bread, slice of ham and some onion to make a speedy but tasty toastie for lunch. I get a little taste of cheese that is already portioned out for me so I don't lose control.

3. Weetabix and a banana

I have this for breakfast on most days. I find it hard to eat in the morning, I get a little queasy but weetabix are plain and filling so perfect for me. I eat the banana on the commute to work and find that I'm full until my tea break or lunch. I love that I don't need to weigh weetabix like you would have to with other cereal, it's all about convenience for me.

4. Fry light spray

A must have for all dieters, great to use when frying or to spray veg if you are roasting them. Be careful though, one spray is 0 point but four sprays are 1 propoint.

5. Soup

I always have soup in the fridge. I take it to work for lunch because all the salads and sandwiches available in the work cafe are super high in points. I also eat a small bowl when I get in from work before I make my main meal so I don't pick while preparing it.

6. Ready Baked Jacket Potato

Again, these are just so convenient. I don't need to weigh them, they are always 5 pro points.Great to have when I get in from work because they only take five minutes and I  can eat them with a huge salad and tuna for a low point meal.

7. My Weight Watcher cookbooks

These stop me from going off track due to boredom with the plan. I try and make a new dish every week and keep things exciting. These are designed with the Weight Watcher plan in mind so I don't need to adapt any of them like I do when using recipes from the Good Food website.

8.Light creme fraiche
I used this to make all my delicious creamy sauces for things like cabonara, it still feels really indulgent but for a fraction of the points. I also use this with fruit and meringues to make a low point dessert and I always have a tub in the fridge.

9. Frozen Meals
I know its lazy but sometimes I just don't want to cook. I have a long commute and don't get home until 7pm. When I get in I just want to see my dog and catch up on trashy TV. The Weight watcher ones are so low in points and I top them up with loads of fresh vegetables to make them into a filling meal.

What are your essential store cupboard items that help you stay on track?

Sunday Summary 75

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Rosie - I was thrilled to discover when I stepped on the scales yesterday and found that I have lost 3lbs this week.  My target is to be at 129 lbs by the end of our 10 week challenge (I am a short person so that would make me a 10-12) and I'm currently at 133 lbs so well on the way! This week was another week of lots of healthy eating and a few early morning runs - very much looking forward to the lighter mornings now the clocks have gone back; running in the pitch black is not fun!

Lauren - I lost another 1lb this week which I'm really pleased about. I've had a few rubbish days since weigh-in on Thursday so now its all about eating properly again. I'm away from Tuesday-Saturday this week but staying with a friend who also does Weight Watchers so I know food won't be as huge an issue as it would if I was staying with someone else! I'm hoping to stay the same at weigh-in this week as I'll be weighing in two days earlier. I really need to focus on upping the exercise now too - I had a free personal trainer taster session at the gym and the trainer worked up a program for me to really focus on toning up and building strength so I'm looking forward to getting started on that.

Gemma - I couldn't attend class this week, my brother had an interview and I'm dependant on him for lifts. I weighed at home and had maintained weight but I'm pretty sure I will get better results at the scales this week. I'm not doing as well with the 10 week pledge as I would like but it's going in the right direction. I have so many events coming up in the next few weeks it is going to be important to be as good as I can in the day so I can enjoy the bubbly and nibbles at the events. I'm going to Manchester with my best friend next week and that is going to be one big three day bender of eating cake and drinking cocktails. I'm a little worried but I'm taking my Weight Watcher Eating Out Guide with me so I can make good choices.

Guest Post - Elinor from You Haven't Failed Until You Quit Trying

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Today's guest post comes from the lovely Elinor of You Haven't Failed Until You Quit Trying. Pop on over and say hello :)

First of all can I just say how lovely it was to have been asked to guest post for Where Are My Knees? :)
I'm Elle and I'm a 21 year old graduate (still in denial I'm no longer a student!), weight watchers lover & half marathon runner!! Too date I've currently lost 80.5lbs (5st 10lbs).

My story began when I joined Weight Watchers back in May 2009 weighing 16stone 12.5lbs and a size 20-22. Having always struggled with my weight, seeing dietitians, and half heartedly attempting to lose weight, something on that Monday clicked in my head. It was time to lose weight for good & more than anything I'd be doing it for myself. If I was to give anyone some advice it would be that losing weight has to be for you, you can't be pressured into it because you'll try it for 2 weeks and then give up. 
I knew the Weight Watchers plan and knew that it would fit in with student lifestyle; although I never imagined I'd be where I am today. My first week I lost 3lbs as was amazed [I still didn't think that I'd ever get to the point that goal would be in reach], I hadn't been hungry, hadn't done much exercise and had still been out getting drunk with my friends! The weight started dropping off & before I knew it people were commenting on how well I was looking. These comments are things that keep you going when you feel like throwing in the towel! Which trust me I have done, a million times!
When you get to a certain point in your weight loss journey the inevitable plateau hits, it's times like this that I just wanted to give up, and to be "normal" and not have to care about what I was eating; resisting a dominoes take away when that's what everyone is eating is SO hard! But then friends & family around me would remind me just how far I'd come, how good I was looking and remind me that the cycle of gaining & losing the same 2lbs would eventually break and that those small gains were nothing compared to what I had lost. Surrounding yourself with friends and family who will encourage & support you is another thing that will keep you going. 
Exercise, unfortunately becomes a must in order to keep up your weight loss, and also to tone up. But I've found once I get into a routine I can actually start to like exercise, although I will never love it. People that do are just a bit strange! But yet I found myself, with 2 friends,signing up to Bristol Half Marathon  Running is great because it's free, you can do it at your own pace and build it up depending on your own abilities. However if you're anything like myself I used to hate, actually despise, running in public! Convinced people were always staring at me because I was the fat person who was attempting to run. Yup even after losing almost 6 stone I still see myself as fat. But I soon got over that fear of everyone watching me and learnt to enjoy running, it gave me so much more energy, was a great de-stresser and having signed up for the half marathon I had something to aim for so I couldn't just stop! I'm not going to lie there were days where it would take me a good couple of hours to convince myself that going for a run would make me feel better, and once I'd got out there I felt so much better. The feeling once I'd got back of how much I'd pushed myself & looking back at how far I'd come was such a confidence booster! 

The half marathon itself was such an emotional day! The nervousness before starting of thinking "oh god I've got to run 13.1 miles" but yet the anticipation of crossing the finishing line knowing how far I'd come is something that kept me going, especially around miles 10-11 when I almost cried! Not sure if it was due to pain in my legs or realising that I didn't have far left to go! Seeing 2 of my best friends at the side of the road shouting our names was such a boost and exactly what I needed! And yes I had a small tear in my eye as I crossed the line! My official time came in as 2:19:41 and I've already signed up to my next half! I'm not going to preach about how you should all go out and sign up for a half marathon but if you want to build exercise into your life then I would definatley recommend running! 
Something it took me a while to get my head around is that losing weight isn't just about the number on the scales. And something you should all bear in mind when having a bad week or a STS or a gain. Taking your measurements is a vital ingredient to monitoring weight loss & something I would advise you all to do if you don't already. I have photo's of myself that are only abut a 5-7lb difference but I'm wearing 2 totally different size clothes in them, just because I've been exercising & losing inches rather than pounds!
Support comes from anywhere whether it be friends, family, facebook, twitter, blogging or weight watchers boards. There have been days where everything is going wrong but someone will say something and you'll re focus on why you are doing this. I still have days where I eat everything & anything in sight (sometimes my inner fat girl just wins!) but the next day I'll draw a line. There's a quote that I often see floating around something like "you wouldn't smash your phone up having dropped it, so why let one bad day ruin a good week". I would also recommend comparing pictures of yourself; I do this quite regularly & I'm sure my Facebook friends & twitter followers get fed up of it sometimes but seeing the comments and encouragement from people is sometimes the boost you need to get your head back in it.
Joining Weight Watchers was the best thing I have ever done, whilst I've physically lost so much, I have also gained so much in terms of confidence in myself, pride in who I and my abilities and some fabulous friends along the way! To date I am 11st 2lbs and a size 10-12! It still shocks me that I have achieved this, but have faith in yourself and confidence in how far you can go.
"You haven't failed until you quit trying" - A quote that keeps me going at times I want to throw in the towel, I may not be at goal yet but I am still working on my journey!
Lots of Love 

Chinese Prawns and Broccoli

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

This recipe is from the Weight Watchers Cooking for One recipe book that Gem, Sarah and I were lucky enough to receive in our latest hamper. I've made this a couple of times already - its really quick and easy and perfect for the nights when the rest of the family are doing their own thing and I'm left to fend for myself. I tweaked the recipe the second time I made it and it was just as nice.

You will need:
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper (I added quite a bit more, but then I like spicy food)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 100g raw peeled tiger or king prawns
  • low fat cooking spray
  • 25g unsalted cashews (I didn't use these the second time I made it as they account for half the total ProPoints value of the total recipe...they're yummy, but they're not that yummy)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh root ginger
  • 100g broccoli, trimmed
  • 50g mushrooms (the recipe calls for shiitake but I couldn't get them so I used chestnut)
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 spring onion, sliced finely at an angle

  • Mix together the cornflour, cayenne pepper and soy sauce. Add the prawns and mix well. Set aside in the fridge for half an hour.
  • Heat a non stick frying pan or wok until hot and spray with cooking spray. Add the cashews and stir fry for about 30 seconds, or until they start to colour, then remove and set aside. If you're not using cashews then skip this step. Obviously.
  • Spray the pan again and add the garlic and ginger. Cook for a few seconds and then add the broccoli and mushrooms. Stir fry over a high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the rice wine or sherry, the prawns and 5 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes until the prawns turn pink. Add the cashews (if thats you're thing) and half the spring onion and cook for another minute or so.
  • Sprinkle over the remaining spring onion. The ProPoints value for this recipe is 8, but without the cashew nuts its 4. Serve with 150g cooked white rice or fresh egg noodles for an additional 6 ProPoints. (I was low on points, so I had stir fried peppers, onion and baby corn instead for an extra ProPoints value of 0)


Sunday Summary 74

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Rosie - Another week of hard work for me - sticking to no junk food and lots of meat and veggies and I also started running in the mornings again.  I'm really chuffed to say that I'm another 1.5 lbs down this week, meaning I am only 7lbs away from my 10lb in 10 weeks goal! Just got to keep up the good work now!

Lauren - I've been really good for most of this week. I've gone back to basics with tracking and pointing everything and I managed to get in a couple of good gym sessions wearing my snazzy new HotPants as well. I was unsure whether last weekends boozy/foody couple of days and Tuesday's accidental trip to TGI's (!!) were going to derail my efforts but I'm pleased to say I lost 3.5lbs this week! This puts me over a week ahead of schedule for the Ten Week Pledge so I'm absolutely thrilled. I've got a quiet week coming up so I'm planning to get my head down in the gym and be really good food-wise and hopefully I'll see another decent loss this week.

Gemma - I lost 1lb at weigh in this week which I was happy with, back on track and 1lb down into my 10lbs in 10 weekend challenge. I had a very good week, planned all my lunches in work and tried hard to cut out snacks and eat larger and more filling meals. I've probably gone over my points in alcohol this weekend but I'm hoping all my good work in the week won't go to waste. I've got a lot of parties and events coming up in the next few weeks which I'm worried about. Hopefully I can say no to nibbles and champers.

Sunday Summary 73

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Another week gone by already! All of Team WAMK are hugely excited to get started with our 10 Week Pledges - if you haven't pledged already then check out our post and let us know what you want to achieve by Christmas Eve - you could even win some Zaggora 2.0 HotPants in the process!

Rosie - This was my first week of really getting stuck into what I would call 'clean eating' - lots of healthy foods, protein and veggies and no junk food! I planned out my meals at the beginning of the week and only allowed myself sugar free jellies and Nakd bars when I felt like I needed a snack.  Even though I only managed a couple of dog walks as exercise I'm chuffed to say I've lost a lb and a half so I'm making good headway towards my 10 week pledge! I also got up this morning and took the dog out for a 3.5 mile walk/jog today so feeling really good about that!

Gemma - I had a really good week and got back on track with Weight Watchers. I went to London yesterday and had cake for breakfast and huge burger and courgette fries... no good. I'm hoping that my good behaviour before London and a bit of exercise and eating well for the next two days before weigh in will mean I don't gain at weigh in this week. I'm feeling positive about next week and starting my 10 week challenge. 10 lbs is a lot to lose but I'm determined to do it!

Chris - this week I declared war on my stomach. I lost a lot of weight very quickly last year so I have some toning up to do in that respect - so this week I managed three Body Pump sessions as well as three half hours in the gym, doing a mix of running and rowing - and hello 3lbs loss! On the downside, my favourite jeans are now a little bit big for me - so if anyone wants to buy me an early Christmas present, I'll have a new pair of Vans V66s, please.

Sarah - I am going back on plan tomorrow and in preparation for this I have been eating one slice of cake a day instead of two and am pleased to say I have lost a pound this week! I won't be cutting out the cake, that would make for one miserable Sarah, but I will be mostly eating weightwatchers blueberry slices. Tiny bits of heaven!  I am going to be as good as possible this coming week but it will be really hard as I have a blogger night out, afternoon tea and a burger with some babes planned and to be honest that is way more satisfying for me than an extra pound off the scale :)

Lauren - I was up 1.5lbs at weigh-in on Thursday after a week of curry, chinese food, pizza and various other goodies, not to mention that delightful monthly treat that only us ladies have the joy of experiencing! I was expecting a slightly bigger gain so 1.5lbs is ok. That puts me back up to 13st 13lbs and I am so ready to attack our upcoming 10-week challenge and get rid of these last few pesky lbs! I've just got back from a lovely weekend in Canterbury visiting uni friends and while we did enjoy a few glasses of vino and a delicious meal out (if anyone ever goes to Canterbury I literally cannot recommend Cafe Du Soleils paella enough) we didn't go completely crazy so I'm hoping the scales will be kind come Thursday. I already have four gym sessions planned this week and there is some 0pt soup simmering away in the kitchen for my lunch tomorrow . 10 Week Pledge, lets be having you!

How did you guys get on this week?

The ten week pledge

Friday, 12 October 2012

This coming Monday (15th) marks ten weeks until Christmas Eve.  If you're anything like me, the calendar really fills up around Christmas with various social events - work Christmas parties, Christmas Eve outings with old friends and of course New Year's' Eve.  Personally, this means at least a couple of new outfits and wanting to look your best; especially if you're the sort of person where Christmas brings together your whole friendship group and often means seeing people you might not have seen since last Christmas.

One of the challenges this brings is that Autumn and Winter do not lend themselves to preparing yourself to slip into glitzy outfits.  For me at least, Autumn and Winter lend themselves to mugs of hot chocolate, lolling on the sofa and wearing down the snooze button on your alarm clock when you look out at yet another dark, rainy morning.

But take a second to think of how amazing it would feel to feel confident about putting on your gladrags and getting out there this Christmas.  Imagine how proud of yourself you'd feel if you worked hard until then, and it paid off with some 'You look great' comments from friends, or just looking in the mirror and knowing that you've earned those roast potatoes on Christmas Day.

Here at Where Are My Knees we've come up with a fun idea to get you inspired and motivated over the next 10 weeks.  From Monday we'll all be getting started on a 10 week pledge, and we want you to join in too.  The good news is that not only is there feelings of personal pride and achievement in the pipeline for you, there's also two pairs of the new Zaggora Hotpants (2.0) up for grabs too.

Here are the pledges we've all signed up to that we'll be updating you on over the next 10 weeks.

Rosie - Lose 10lbs before Christmas Eve. (Currently 139lbs - would love to be 129 and fit into a size 10 dress on Christmas Eve! 129 lbs is also bang in the middle of healthy weight for my height.)

Gemma - Lose 10lbs before Christmas Eve. Currently 13 stone 11.5. If I can lose 12lbs and break under that 13 stone barrier that would be great but there are going to be lots of parties and trips away before Christmas so I'm going to be realistic.

Sarah - I would just like to get back on track and actually have time to follow a plan.  I have so much coming up before Christmas that if I stop and think about it my head hurts but I don't want this to get in the way of achieving my weight loss goals.  I would love to lose a stone before Christmas but being realistic I am going to set a target of 7lbs.

Lauren - Lose 15lbs before Christmas Eve. This is a big ask what with parties and all the yummy food that has already started appearing at home and in the office, but I'm hoping this pledge will keep me motivated at the gym and make me think about what - and how much - I'm putting in my mouth. As of this week's weigh-in I am 13st 13lbs - I was 12st 12lbs at my dad's 50th birthday party in April (which you can see here) and it'd be amazing to get back to that in time for Christmas. I definitely think 1.5lbs per week is do-able, even if it is a tall order!

Chris - I'd like to be able to run 5k in less than 25 minutes. This probably doesn't sound like much, but I'm not a very good runner - in fact, my first pledge should probably be to actually go and buy some running shoes! At the moment I'm hitting 4.5k in about 30 mins, so I've got some distance to go.

What would your 10 week pledge be? Remember it doesn't have to be a weight loss, it could be 20 trips to the gym, be able to run 5k by Christmas, giving up chocolate for 10 weeks, walking 10,000 steps a day or  making sure you have healthy breakfasts.  It has to be personal and achievable to you, or it won't work.

Leave us your 10 week pledges in the comments and we'll pick two at random on the 26th October to win the hotpants.  But we really want you all to get stuck into this - you can tweet about it using #wamkpledge, comment and tell us the links if you've blogged about it, and we'll keep you updated on our own progress in the Sunday summaries and other posts.  Remember, your journey to a confident Christmas starts on Monday! We've even made you a little badge you can use to show you're getting involved.

You are of course welcome to get involved in the ten week pledge without entering the giveaway, but if you'd like to enter you can do so below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

myvitamins review

Thursday, 11 October 2012

About six weeks ago the Where Are My Knees gang (as it was then) were contacted by myvitamins, a new website launched in the summer which offers vitamins and minerals online.  We were all really interested in finding out more and they prepared us each a different set of 'plans', with the four plans being Weight Loss, Immune Boosting, Detox and Relax and Rejunvenation.  Within the plans we all had four or five different vitamins/minerals to take regularly.  I chose relax and rejuvenation and received Acai Berries, Vitamin C, Omega 3, Complete Immune and Complete Sleep.

Many people have strong feelings about whether you should or shouldn't take vitamins and minerals to supplement your diet.  Personally I do - I believe that whilst most people can get all of the vitamins and minerals they need from eating a balanced, varied diet, this is not always easy, and for a lot of people, not achievable on an every day basis.  For example, I don't eat a great deal of meat so I know my iron intake is sometimes low, so when I'm going through a period where I'm feeling excessively tired I'll take an iron supplement to make me feel better.  Researchers are also finding that some vitamins and minerals that are protective against disease are difficult to obtain just by eating alone, so there is definitely some evidence that they can be beneficial for your health.  However, taking too many supplements can be bad for you, so it's important to read up on advice and speak to your GP if you're not sure.

Personally I tried all of the vitamins but spaced it out so I was taking one at a time so I could see any difference and be able to attribute it to which I was taking.  The first I tried (and my favourite of them) was Complete Sleep.  I took two of these before I went to bed on nights when I thought I might have difficulty sleeping or was particularly tired and wanted to guarantee a good sleep.  I definitely found they helped me sleep better and I woke feeling more refreshed in the morning.  The other four supplements I had were focused around support for your immune system, and then Omega 3 for eye brain and heart health.  It's difficult to say with certainty whether these had an impact on my general well-being but one thing I would say is that I often tend to get poorly on holiday, particularly immediately after a flight (all those germs flying around, yuck!) - before and during my holiday in Florida I started taking Complete Immune and I was absolutely fine throughout it and also haven't picked up the dreaded cold that seems to be going around my friendship group (touching lots of wood here) so there's a high possibility it has given my immune system a boost.

I (Gemma) was supplied with a mixture of tablets to help boost my immune system. Like Rosie I took Complete Immune and I think these are something I would continue to take. I work odd hours, I'm always going on weekends away and have little time to myself so an illness can really stop me in my tracks. I just don't have the time to come down with the flu so capsules that contain a mixture of vitamins and essential minerals are the perfect way for me to look after myself with minimum effort. I also took vitamin C and D capsules, I'm not sure these are entirely essential as I already eat a lot of foods that are high in vitamins and the Complete Immune tablets contain both of these. I really despise the taste of green tea but love all the benefits it can give so I was keen to try out the Green Tea Extract tablets. Studies have shown that it can boost your metabolism, lower cholesterol and much more. I haven't finished the course of these yet and wont see immediate results but I'm interested in seeing the long term benefits of taking green tea supplements.
You need to be careful when taking any supplements like these. I can't take them the same time of day that I take my acne tablets that are perscribed by my GP so make sure you read the labels carefully.

One thing we all agreed on (slightly superficial I know!) is that we loved the packaging and presentation of the products - they are much more appealing than the boring labelled pots you usually get.  Their website is also really easy to use, with free delivery and three for two across their whole range of products.  Personally I'll definitely be using them from now on to buy the vitamins I take regularly.

Sunday Summary 72

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Gemma- It feels like a long time since I wrote a proper Sunday Summary. I've managed to lose the 7lbs I put on over the summer from all the drinking I did at festivals and the vast amounts of cheese I ate in Paris. 7lbs is quite a lot to put on in a couple of months but I feel that if I wasn't a Weight Watchers member it could have been so much more. Drinking pre WW would have involved beers and cider, not rum and diet mixer and I wouldn't have been good in the days leading up to the festival. I've really enjoyed going back to class again and I've been busy cooking recipes from the WW magazine and trying to get back on track. There was an unfortunate incident at Burger King last night after a few drinks where I managed to eat a Chicken Royale but we all slip up sometimes!

Rosie- This week has been all about trying to get out of the bad habits I picked up during my time in Florida and at the festival (chocolate and crisps seem to have re-entered my life!).  In the last two weeks I've lost the few pounds I put on during that time so I'm back down to the weight I was before I went, but the coming weeks are all about getting back into good habits so I can start blasting off the weight again and seeing the pounds drop off.  I'm committing to two runs and a couple of exercise DVD sessions next week to get me back into exercise and I've planned my eating for the coming week (breakfasts, lunches and dinners) so I don't have any slip ups this time! Going to be really strict with myself but looking forward to seeing the results.

Chris- This week I've managed to get to Body Pump twice, which is fairly impressive considering last week I only went once, and was in so much pain as a result I couldn't go for the rest of the week! I had a wedding to go on Friday and did enjoy the food somewhat, but we've been fairly active otherwise (including spending Saturday walking around Liverpool - meaning I'm maintaining nicely. Next week I'm planning on doing body pump twice, as well as getting back into my daily half hour session at the gym every day after work - as well as trying a few new recipes because, frankly, I'm bored of what we've been eating recently.

Lauren - I am now (finally) well and truly back into the Weight Watchers groove after losing 6.5lb over the last couple of weeks. I think the time away from the plan did me the world of good - I was beginning to resent it but after a couple of months away (and a few lbs on) I'm ready to embrace the discipline again! I've had an insanely busy couple of weeks but things have really quietened down now so I'm looking forward to getting back into the gym a few times a week. I've only been managing a workout here and there for weeks now but once I'm back into a routine I know I'll feel a million times better! I'd like to average 1.5lb a week off between now and the end of the year, which I know is a tall order what with the impending C-word (I'm already looking forward to mince pies and brandy cream) but I definitely think its achievable.

Sarah - Reading the comments from the others is really motivating but I am not sure I am in the right head space at the moment to get back on track.  I have well and truly fallen off the diet wagon and appear to have landed smack bang in the middle of the dessert trolley.  I have been so busy recently that I haven't had time to really think about what I am eating it's more of a case of grab and go.  Saying this like Gemma if I hadn't of re-educated myself with various diet plans I would be in a lot more trouble right now, I still rarely drink calories and have cut most junk out of my diet with the exception of cake which I have at least a couple of times a week.  I also think I am more realistic about my end goal, I am not bothered about how long it takes me to get there as long as I eventually get there.  And it's more about being comfortable with my body than conforming to a certain weight/size, looking at old photos of 9 stone me has made me realise it's just too low for me & I just look gaunt.  

How has your week been?

Guest Post - Aimee from Jog On Aimee

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Today's guest post

It all started at the pub… I got a text from the Virgin London Marathon telling me that the ballot results had been released.  I shrugged, assumed that I wasn’t “lucky” enough to be one of the 30,000 who got a place and started my third (fourth, fifth?) glass of wine.
Later, when I stumbled through my door, probably with a takeaway in tow, I slipped on a plastic-encased magazine that was sitting on my doormat.  I picked it up and stared at the two smiling, green lycra clad runners who were on the front cover.  It took me a few seconds to notice the “CONGRATULATIONS! You’re running the Virgin London Marathon” note at the bottom.
It took a while to sink in.  The shock was soon replaced with determination.  The next day I began researching training plans but unfortunately I got injured soon after.  Shin splints are my nemesis.  However, I resolved to complete the 26.2 mile course eventually so I deferred to 2012.
It came around quickly!  Trust me. 

I’m not a natural runner.  In fact, I’m not a natural athlete.  Anything that involves exercise or even general movement of my body is not natural for me.  The whole training process wasn’t easy.  I remember the first time I ran 2 miles and it was awful.  No other word for it! 

I stuck with it though; my training plan consisted of 3 smaller runs during the week starting with 2 or 3 miles and then a longer run at the weekend.  My first “long” run was six miles.  It was the furthest I had ever run and, you guessed it, it was hard.  When I finally reached my front door I felt like I was going to throw up.  I had to lie on my bed for the rest of the day I felt so sick!
My point?  Anyone can start running. 

I’ve completed 3 10km runs, 2 half marathons (almost! I’ve got the second at the end of October) and one marathon.  I’m also hoping to get a charity place for the London Marathon in 2013.
Look at me go!  This was taken at Virgin Active Triathlon where I completed the 10km run as part of a team.  My swimming is worse than my running so I couldn’t have completed a triathlon by myself… my doggy paddle just wouldn’t cut it!
Running isn’t a chore anymore, it’s fun and a massive stress reliever.  I do get the bad run, don’t get me wrong, but I’m pretty sure everyone who runs has a poor training session every now and then.  And, to be honest, hard runs are different now because I can push through them.  I rarely feel like I want to throw up any more!
Since starting running, I’ve lost 2 stone in weight and have toned up… I almost have abs!  I’m still not at my ideal weight but I’m getting there.  My runs have also got faster.  I previously averaged at around 11 minutes per mile.  During yesterday’s run my miles were under 9 minutes.  Boom!
I’m currently in training for a half marathon and this week my training plan looks like:
Monday – rest
Tuesday – 3 easy miles and core workout
Wednesday – 4 miles
Thursday – 1 mile jog warm up, 2 x 5 minute fast followed 5 minute recovery jog and core workout
Friday – 4 miles
Saturday – rest
Sunday – 10 miles slow
Generally, I try to mix up the pace of my runs.  Slow runs are important for recovery and my long run will always be a lot slower than my usual pace.  I always throw in some fast sessions during the week as this helps increase my overall fitness and makes me run faster (obviously!).
I couldn’t recommend taking up running enough.  It’s improved my confidence, happiness and energy levels.  Losing weight, increasing fitness and feeling fab is a bonus.  If I can do it, you can!  Here are my top ten tips for beginner runners:
  • Start sensibly.  Don't go too fast, speed will come.  Don't go too far, you can build up distances.  Start with 30 minutes sessions and walk if you need too but make sure you're moving for half an hour.
  • Make a note of your times and distances.  Watching yourself improve is brilliant for confidence and determination.
  • Once you improve, book yourself into a race so you have something additional to train for.  Start off with a 5km or 10km.  I book in races so I don't feel tempted to ease up on training.
  • Good shoes!  Go to a good running shop and get your gait tested.  A good sports bra is also essential for ladies!  I got my trainers from the London Marathon store and I always get my sports bras from Nike.
  • Don't stop.  It's easier to keep training than to stop and then start again from scratch.  I always tell myself that when I feel like giving up or having a break.
  • Make time for running.  I block out evenings during the week for runs.  Most of the time I stick to them but sometimes going out with some friends takes priority.  Adapt your life to fit running in but don’t stop your life from happening!
  • Rest days are important.  Sometimes you just need to rest.  In marathon training I overdid it a few times and got injured.  Your body strengthens and improves during rest days, not during training.  Listen to your body, not your mind.
  • Try some core strengthening exercises as you improve.  It'll make you a better runner.  You can see my core workout here.
  • Fuel right!  If I haven't fuelled properly, my longer runs are difficult.  It will take you a few attempts to work out what fuel is best for you.
  • Don't give up!  Sometimes I have difficult runs, sometimes I have to take a walking break and sometimes I don't hit the time or speed I was hoping for.  Sometimes I do.  It will be difficult every now and again but it's worth it.
Completing the London Marathon was the best experience because of all the training hours, knowing how far I had progressed and the day itself.  The buzz you get from complete strangers cheering you on is something I’ve never experienced before and probably will only experience if I complete the course again!  It was emotional and exhilarating experience which I’m now completely addicted to – I can’t stop booking in races!
Please ignore the silly face, I had a mouthful of sweets at the time!
I hope this post was reasonably useful for any potential beginner runners.  Feel free to drop me a line with any questions or come and say hello on my blog

Get Fit - Feel Epic!

Friday, 5 October 2012

As it's my first (proper) post here at Where Are My Knees, I thought I'd arrive with a bang, and also attempt to ingratiate myself with all of our readers - so as such, I come bearing gifts.

Ladies and gents, may I present to you... Get Fit, Feel Epic!

Get Fit, Feel Epic is a kind of collective term for a number of competitions and events I've been wanting to run all over the web in association with my day job, and WAMK feels like a great place to run one - not only have Sarah and the rest of the girls always been amazingly nice to me, but every single commenter and reader I've ever spoken to has also been absolutely awesome.

So, without further ado, let me tell you all about the competition and what you can win!

The Competition
The competition is called Get Fit, Feel Epic, and so it might not surprise you to learn that that's exactly what we want you to tell us about.

We know that keeping fit, losing weight and eating right are important to the community, so all we want you to do is write a quick blog post, telling us all about how getting fitter has changed your life for the better!

We know that losing weight and dieting can be a slog (hell, we've all been there), so sometimes it's nice to stop and think about what you have achieved - and be damn proud of it to!

The Prize
The prize is a pretty good one, especially if you're slightly nerdy like me - it's a Fitbit and a set of Smart Scales!

The Fitbit system is a hi-tech way of tracking your activity levels, weight, BMI, Body Fat and all those other exciting numbers that we care about on an online dashboard- The Zip just requires a quick sync to your computer, and the Aria scales do it all via WiFi - there's even a smartphone app for keeping an eye on your progress while you're out and about.

In Short:
We're able to give away a Fitbit Zip (in a selection of colours) and a set of Aria scales to the person who can write the most interesting, exciting or unusual post about how getting fit has changed (or is changing) their lives. 

All you have to do is:
  • Write your post
  • Pop a link in it back to http://www.moneysupermarket.com (it makes things LOADS easier for me to track, believe me!)
  • Pop a comment below this post with a link to your entry.
The contest will run until Midnight on 31 October, and we'll announce the winner within the following week.

Good Luck!


Flying Fantastic

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A few weeks back (just after I was announced as a new member of WAMK, so quite a lot of weeks back to be fair) the girls and I were all invited along to try out a Flying Fantastic aerial fitness class. Unfortunately (for them) Gem, Sarah and Rosie all live too far away to be able to travel into London just for an evening, so I went it alone.

You guys, it was so much fun!

For those of you who have never heard of 'aerial fitness', it is exactly what it sounds like. A workout, up in the air. Flying Fantastic offers classes in both aerial silks and hoops, as well as slings and 'circus circuits'. I went along to an aerial silks class on last Tuesday to get a taste of what the class was all about and have a go on the silks. Naturally I was rubbish, but I had such a good time that it didn't even matter. The class was brilliantly structured, with six silks and one instructor for every three or so 'students'. We were grouped off at the beginning of the class in order of ability. As it was my first class I was in the beginners group, and obviously the only other beginner took to it like it to a duck to water, further highlighting my rubbishness! My instructor was Rachel and she was completely fantastic, explaining and demonstrating all the moves and helping out when we couldn't quite do it ourselves (by 'we', I mean 'I').

An example of one of the tricks that I couldn't do! They make it look so easy...it isn't!

I will admit to being dubious about the whole thing at first, but after just hour on the silks I can definitely see how and why its coming to be seen as the new 'hot' workout. Man, did I work. I can really see how going to classes regularly would massively increase your fitness and strength. Climbing the silks takes some real strength in both your arms and legs, and the flips, tucks and lord knows what else you can get up to really work your core muscles. I could barely do any of the 'tricks' that Rachel showed us and I was still aching three days later (says some pretty bad things about my fitness and strength, to be honest!).

Not only was the class a really good workout - it was good fun as well. There was a great atmosphere - all the instructors were friendly and helpful and the other students were really chatty and welcoming. I've been to classes before where you walk in as a newbie and get the stink-eye from all the hardcore old-timers at the front, so it was great to go in and have other students smiling and striking up conversation.

Flying Fantastic currently operates in Battersea and Farringdon and classes are £18 each. This may seem a little steep at first, but taking into consideration the unusual nature of the exercise, the number of instructors per class, the amount of one-on-one time each student receives with their instructor, and the length of the classes themselves (around 90 minutes), its actually very reasonable. All class information and contact details are available on the Flying Fantastic website, so if you fancy shaking up your workout regime or just going to see what all the fuss is about then head on over and drop them a line. As workouts go, it definitely beats slogging it out on the treadmill!

Introducing... Chris!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Bonjour! My name's Chris (I'm not French).

I am a digital marketing type and a bit of a geek, who spends his days coding and surfing the waves of social media (I'm so cool it hurts, honestly) and his evening in the gym, on a bike or... well, coding some more. Told you I was a geek.

I'm also WAMK's fifth and newest member, only beard-wearer, resident boy, pet bear and eye candy (I believe exactly three of those things to be true). You might remember me from a guest post I wrote about a year ago, where I talked about losing 100lbs (seven stone) over six months through Slimming World.

I have kept that weight off for very nearly a year now (I hit my target at the end of November) - and I've done so through the things Slimming World taught me, a whole heap of exercise, and despite my love of Pic 'n' Mix.

For those who are interested, I put my extra weight on during college, and then really piled it on afterwards when I was basically unemployed and had nothing to do but sit at home and eat out of boredom. I carried those extra pounds around with me for years (while convincing myself that I was just heavy set, and that clothes sizes were all wrong), before last year my life basically fell apart and I found myself fat, homeless and unhappy and decided to make a change for the better - a permanent one. I shed the weight so quickly due to dogged determination and the apparent advantage my chromosomes gave me, but I still understand how damned hard maintaining a diet can be, especially when all around you seems determined to throw you off course.

What can you expect from me here at WAMK? Well, I plan on covering Slimming World related stuff as well as recipes, gym chat and "the boy stuff", as Sarah described it (the one thing in the world I'm probably qualified to write about). I can be a little bit acerbic, a little bit cynical and a little bit grumpy, but I try to at least be funny with it - feel free to shout at me if I don't manage it. I won't mind.