Disqus for Where Are My Knees

Maxitone - Thank You Protein

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Maxitone are running a fab competition where you can win the chance to become the face of Maxitone 2013 along with other fab prizes such as a years membership at your local LA Fitness gym, full details can be found on the Thank You Protein page.  To celebrate this launch Maxitone have put together a great kit to help towards my goal.

My thank you has to go to several people.  Firstly my husband who helps keep me on track by not bringing my favourite foods into the house and making sure that when we go out to eat it's somewhere diet friendly, a massive help for me.  Secondly to Team WAMK and you guys, our readers.  You lot have helped me with motivation and have shared my journey.  Thank you for all your comments and tweets that have kept me going!

I still have a long way to go however I am proud of my achievements so far this year, I know that it's cliche but the start of a new year really was what I needed to get back my mojo.  I don't think I will quite make losing a stone in 31 days (2nd Feb) but I won't be too far off and am certainly not disappointed seeing as it's my birthday month. 

I have yet to add exercise to my current regime and know that if I want my weight loss to continue at the same rate I will need to think about exercise very soon.  I have a few DVDs to try and thanks to Maxitone I now have some small equipment to help with both cardio and toning.  I was sent The Firm Power Ball kit and The Firm Cardio To Go Kit.  I still can't face the gym especially as the one closest to me is over £60 a month! Crazy prices.  I have tried running and it's not for me so am planning to combine DVD's with evening walks as soon as the evenings get a little lighter, it's not much fun walking in the dark.

The kit also contains some lovely Sanctuary products to help relax after a good work out and an iTunes voucher to get some good tunes going - this is where I need your help.  Recommend me some songs to download that are great for working out to.  I am an indie girl through and through and absolutely hate dance music or anything similar.

An iTunes voucher to get some good tunes going - this is where I need your help.  Recommend me some songs to download that are great for working out to.  I am an indie girl through and through and absolutely hate dance music or anything similar.

I also have some Maxitone Definity Toning Protein Shake, a box of Maxitone Definity Crisp Bars with Cranberries and a Maxitone Shaker.  The shakes and bars are designed to provide much needed protein to help support body toning.  They are not intended as a meal replacement.

Spinach & Bacon Gnocchi

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

I've got another Weight Watchers recipe for you today! I got this off the app, but when I came to make it, realised there were no instructions listed! It's since come off the app though so I think they realised their mistake. I improvised, anyway. And added more veg - the WW recipes on the app are so light on vegetables, which baffles me! They're no propoints, load up on them!

According to the app this makes 2 servings, which is what I've totted it up to below. However, I made this again last night with different cheese and split it into 3 servings - MORE than enough. So if it's 3 servings, it's a really low point dinner.

Spinach & Bacon Gnocchi


200g Fresh Gnocchi - 8PP
4 sprays Frylight – 0PP
125g bacon medallions - 4PP
125g gorgonzola - 10PP
8 tbsp semi skimmed milk (roughly) - 2PP
200g spinach – 0PP
Half an onion – 0PP
Package of shiitake mushrooms – 0PP (normal ones are fine too)
= 24PP (12PP per serving if 2, 8PP per serving if 3)

To reduce points - bulk out with more vegetables and use less Gnocchi, reduce the gorgonzola, reduce the bacon, use skimmed milk

1 - Boil the gnocchi as per the package instructions
2 - Chop the bacon into little pieces and then in a big frying pan or a wok (I seriously recommend using a wok), fry in Frylight until cooked
3 - Chuck in the mushrooms and onions (and any other veggies you fancy) until cooked
4 - In a small pan, heat up the milk with the gorgonzola (chop into little pieces so it melts faster)
5 - Put the spinach in the wok with the bacon and vegetables and steam with the lid on for 1 minute until it starts to wilt. It'll look like loads, but it reduces massively
6 - Throw the the cooked gnocchi in with the bacon and vegetables and mix together well
7 - Pour the gorgonzola sauce into the wok and mix together so it is all covered in the sauce and add any seasoning you fancy (garlic, oregano etc)
8 - Serve! YUM.

Why everyone should train to be strong

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Hello everyone.  Rosie here again with your Tuesday offering of advice from Charis, who runs Louca Personal Training.  He's going to give us some advice today about strength training.  When I was taking Charis's guidance last year he got me really into strength training and I loved the Body Pump and Kettlebell classes I was doing at the gym. At the moment I'm trying to do more exercise at home and I recently bought a kettlebell from Sainsbury's and have been doing a kettlebell exercise DVD in the mornings which is really hard but makes me feel ridiculously good.  Here's a little bit of inspiration before we start...

Okay, over to Charis....

How many people do you know that got to the gym on and off for years, and yet still don’t have the physique they have always wanted? They run, they row, they go on the crosstrainer, they do yoga, but still they aren’t happy with their abilities and what the mirror is showing them. They need to build muscle and strength to achieve what they want, but they are reluctant to do so for a variety of reasons, or simply don’t know enough about it. This article aims to clear some of these things up and hopefully help some folks out with their health and fitness goals.

What is strength training?

Strength training is everything we do in order to build stronger bodies. This can be done by using weights (barbells, kettlebells, dumbells etc), resistance bands, other implements (flipping tyres, pushing cars) or with your own bodyweight (calisthenics). If there is an external resistance of some kind, you will get stronger. The bigger external resistance you overcome in the training movements you are doing, the stronger you will get. The beauty of it is that it can be achieved with a multitude of ways and the results are literally life changing for anyone who hasn’t done it before.

For everyone!

Strength training is for absolutely everyone regardless of age, sex, athletic background or existing abilities. It doesn’t matter where you start, you improve from there. Some people are naturally strong, others are not, but without exception everyone can see a positive impact on their health and lives in general from strength training. From the naturally athletic teenager who excels in any sport they try, to the middle aged woman who has a back ache a lot of the time to the mid-20s guy who wants to look good on the beach, strength training methods can benefit everyone.

Women & Strength?

There is a common misconception that if a woman starts lifting weights or training in the same way most men do, they will turn into a hulking behemoth who breathes fire and has a hairy back. The Olympic Games this last summer should set aside some of these fallacies, as the female athletes are in fantastic shape, train with weights the year round and are very obviously feminine. Female Crossfit athletes also train predominantly with weights and Olympic weightlifting movements, yet aren’t muscular hulks.  They are fit, strong, healthy women. 

Good for your health!

Strength training increases your bone density, joint, tendon and ligament strength and improves almost all athletic output. You are less prone to injuries in sports, or even aches and pains in day to day life.  For the majority of people it will increase flexibility and mobility in all the major joints, and improve quality of life overall, just like Ben & Jerry’s.

No more skinnyfat bodies!

“Skinnyfat” is a term used for people that although they have a low bodyweight and are not overweight, do not look in shape and most of the time feel fat or just can’t get rid of stubborn fat in certain areas. These people need to train for strength, build some muscle and change their body composition. If there is no muscle on somebody’s frame, then it doesn’t matter how much weight they lose, they will always look and feel out of shape. 

Burn more fat!

While training to get stronger, muscle is built. This may not be obvious at first, but there will be a body composition change over time. If someone has more muscle tissue, their body burns more fat due to an elevated metabolism. This means that the more muscular you are, the leaner you are. Again this doesn’t mean that you have to have legs the size of tree trunks and no neck – that would take decades of dedicated work to achieve, if that were your goal. If it is not, then have no illusions that this will ever happen. If you do not want to be a bodybuilder, you will not become one overnight. If you want to be strong and in excellent physical condition, then strength training is the best way.

No gym? No problem!

Strength training is versatile and can be done almost anywhere. For those who do not have access to a properly equipped gym, or in some cases simply do not want to train in a commercial gym weight room for any reason (50:1 male:female ratio scores high on this list), you can train at home with something as simple as a kettlebell and a couple of resistance bands. For beginners, this will last quite a while, until they need to increase the external stimulus.

Example plan:

There are plenty of strength training routines and coaches available online to help pin down the specifics to fit into your lifestyle! An example of a simple plan if you have access to just a kettlebell is:

Kettlebell snatch x 5 reps each arm
Kettlebell swings x 10 reps both arms
Kettlebell squats x 15 reps
Repeat that for 5 sets each. For an extra metabolic boost, perform this as a nonstop circuit, taking no more than 2-3 minutes rest between circuits. This simple little circuit will get you stronger in all the major muscle groups and also get you fitter. 

Good luck! Feel free to leave questions in the comments or contact me as below!

Are you someone who wants to make a positive lifestyle change? Or maybe you are an active person who wants guidance to take your results to the next level, or even a competitive athlete wanting to finish on the podium at your next competition? Then contact me at www.loucapersonaltraining.com or Twitter @LoucaPT with any questions you may have! 10% discount for clients through Where Are My Knees, just give it a mention in your query!

A Day In The Life of Me

Routine and planning are important when it comes to the Weight Watchers plan. I like to plan my day the evening before when I'm watching TV and prepare my lunch for the next day in adavnce. I know if I'm prepared I can cope with the overloaded food environement that I'm faced with everyday. If I have a flask of tea or bottle of water in my bag I'm less likely to be tempted by my favourite latte in Costa which can come in at over 6 ProPoints. If I know I'm going to the cinema I will take low ProPoint value snacks with me so I'm not tempted to tuck into the popcorn or buy something and regret it later when I work out the points back at home.

I always take my own lunch into work because I can only estimate the points values in the food available at the canteen in work. I few points wrong each day and too much estimation can lead to disappointment on the scales so weighing my food and being accurate is important. Taking my own lunch in is also good for my bank balance, meal deals are about £4 a day!

I track all my food in my diary every day which also has space for me to stick in recipes and inspirational quotes/photos. I use the Weight Watchers app to look up points values or to work out the value of foods using the calculator. I prefer to track in my diary and then add it to the website later on rather than logging in and out all day.

Milk  - 3 ProPoints (for cereal and tea)
Weetabix - 3 ProPoints
Babybel light - 1 ProPoint

Mid morning snack
Yogurt - 2 ProPoint

Chicken and sweetcorn soup - 5 ProPoints
Bread roll - 3 ProPoints
Apple - O ProPoints

Weight Watchers Lasagne and vegetables - 8 ProPoints

Fanta - 3 ProPoints
Curly Wurly - 3 Pro Points

31/31 ProPoints

If you want to take a look at more typical days on the Weight Watchers plan you can view my other 'Day in the life of' posts or for more meal inspiration check out the #wwfooddiary tag on twitter and instagram.

Sunday Summary 84

Sunday, 27 January 2013

We're now nearly a month into 2013 and the month when talk of goals, losing weight and getting fit is unavoidable is now behind us.  February is 'make or break' time for those New Year's promises and it definitely takes hard work to make sure the motivation we got from seeing the scales after a week of indulgence at Christmas doesn't wane.  What changes have you made as part of New Year's Resolutions or goals? Are you keeping them up?

Rosie - I have mixed feelings about this week.  It started off great with lots of healthy meals and getting up early to do exercise DVDs and throw around kettlebells.  I try and follow the 80/20 rule of being good 80% of the time and my naughty 20% involved fish and chips at a pub on Thursday night, which unfortunately resulted in hideous stomach cramps for the next 48 hours.  Has anyone else had something similar when eating oily batter after a period of healthy eating? I also went out on my first night out in ages on Friday night and indulged in a few Orchard Pig ciders and some pre-drinking pizza to line the stomach.  On the plus-side, despite Thursday and Friday night I've managed to lose 2lbs this week and I ran a very picturesque 10k along country roads in the sunshine this morning.  Here's to a perfect week this week!

Sarah V - As you might have seen on Wednesday, I'm back on the Where Are My Knees team. After several months of having zero interest in dieting and exercise, I had a bit of a wake up call when I got on the scales after Christmas and am newly motivated and on the Weight Watchers train! So far I have lost 6lbs and my next weigh-in is tomorrow - am really hoping to have lost at least 1lb to have done my first half a stone! I'm still being really good on Weight Watchers. I haven't had a week where I've used all my 49 weeklies yet, even though I've had a few 'wine nights' and even some meals out, I've kept WW in mind and tracked and pointed absolutely everything. Nando's is my new favourite place, it's so WW friendly!

Gemma - 1lb off this week, slowly getting there! I've had another naughty weekend and had far too much wine and hangover carbohydrates but you're only young once right? I'm going to try and behave this week because I'm off to Paris next weekend and can't promise I wont indulge in a little cheese and pastry. I seem to be having problems with saying no to alcohol on nights out and it really isn't helping me to lose weight, I'm thinking of trying a month without the wine.

Sarah - well I am going to have to work extra hard next week if I want to lose a stone in a month, I stayed the same this week.  BUT it was to be expected so I am fine with that.  I stayed 100% on plan apart from two occasions this week - both of which were pretty special.  I went to the National Television Awards on Wednesday and had a bit of sugar and refined carbs along with a glass of wine.  It was my birthday yesterday so I had one meal off plan last night and again had a glass of wine and had a slice of cake today.  It only happens once a year after all!  I have decided that I am going to drop the alcohol again til I get to target, it made me feel really dehydrated even though I only had one glass on both occasions.  Just not worth it right now.  I have also found that I am intolerant to both hard cheese and cream, even the lactofree versions.  I can however eat halluomi and paneer with no problems so yay to silver clouds! Definitely going to add paneer to my spinach curry next week.  Recipe to follow on here asap.

How did you get on this week?

Stuffed Mushrooms & Sweet Potato Mash

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Hiya! I'm Sarah from essbeevee - you might remember me as one of the founding members of Where Are My Knees - well, I'm back on the team after a bit of a break. I'm newly motivated and I've just joined Weight Watchers (I've lost 6lbs in my first two weeks). Since I joined Weight Watchers, I've really got back into cooking. Last year, I fell into a trap of ready meals and takeaways - uh oh! But now I'm motivated to eat healthily, I'm also motivated to cook properly.

I've been making a few Weight Watchers-friendly recipes lately, some from the WW app or magazine and others of my own invention, so I thought where else better to share them?

At 12PP, this isn't the lowest ProPoints meal but there are ways in which you can make little changes to improve it which I'll let you know below. It's also CRAZY filling. I had this two days in a row and it was awesome.

Stuffed Mushrooms & Sweet Potato Mash

2 portobello mushrooms - 0PP
2 tbsp garlic & herb Philadelphia Light - 2PP
2 tbsp caramelised onion chutney - 2PP
1 medium sweet potato (150g) - 4PP
50g Reduced Fat Cheese (I used Tesco Healthy Living) - 3PP
1 teaspoon light butter (I used Lurpak Lighter) - 1PP
2 sprays Frylight - 0PP
Salad - 0PP
= 12PP

To reduce points - cut out butter, use less cheese (or no cheese), just have one mushroom.

1 - Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C
2 - Prepare your sweet potatoes and boil them for 20-30 minutes (I made double the amount so I'd have some for the next day)
3 - Whilst they are boiling prepare your mushrooms. Spritz both with Frylight and place in a baking tin
3 - Add the toppings by smearing them over the inside of the mushroom. There's no exact art to this - you can layer the cream cheese and the caramelised onion, mix together, or smear half on each side. They'll merge together in the cooking, so don't fret too much
4 - Add low fat cheese to each and anything else you wish (I threw in some cherry tomatoes, and popped some sliced peppers into the baking tin)
5 - Pop in the oven for 20 minutes
6 - When the sweet potatoes are boiled, drain them, mash them, add the butter
7 - Get the mushrooms out the oven (don't worry if they have gone all oozy and messy, they're still tasty) and serve with the mash and the salad!

A clean and healthy diet | Clean eating

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Happy Tuesday! Rosie here.  If you've been following our Sunday Summaries or seen my 2012 Round Up you'll know that I don't follow a specific 'diet' - I just 'eat clean' and make healthy choices.  By doing this, along with regular exercise, I lost a stone in a couple of months at the end of last year.  This was with a lot of help from Charis, who runs 'Louca Personal Training'.  Charis has kindly offered to write some posts for Where Are My Knees and we have some great posts lined up from him about strength training and the importance of goals.  His first post is about a clean and healthy diet.  Over to you Charis...

A lot of people think that getting a healthy, lean and good looking body is something extremely complicated, needing all sorts of expensive equipment, and someone to stand over you and make sure you hit the precise correct angle on your situps. Well, I’m here to tell you it is not – all it takes is some simple discipline and planning. Here are 5 tips to help you stick to a cleaner and healthier diet.

If you can’t find it in nature, don’t have it

A lot of food nowadays goes through various levels of processing to get it to the supermarket shelf. You must be able to recognise it and understand how far it is from its natural form in order to make educated and healthy choices. If something is so far gone from its natural state that you cannot directly relate it to something found in nature, then move on.  You want the absolute basics – vegetables, fruit, meat, poultry, eggs, limited and high quality unprocessed dairy (raw/unpasteurised products only), legumes and beans. Avoid all products with added sugar, sweeteners, all processed foods, most cereal, most bread, most prepared meals (unless you trust the source to use natural ingredients), and the majority of drinks except natural juices, water and green/white tea or variants without sugar or sweeteners (except honey, which is a far better alternative and natural).  Disregard the majority of products that are not 100% what they say on tin. For example peanut butter can be part of a healthy diet; as long as it is 100% natural peanut butter – not 80% peanut butter, 10% sugar and 10% hydrogenated fat.

Fat is your friend, sugar is not

Healthy fats have a myriad of health benefits, from healthier skin, to hormone balancing, to cholesterol control. Also, without good quality dietary fat, your body will not get rid of its own bodyfat. With an influx of carbohydrates and low fat intake, your body will use those as a primary source of energy and store what is not used as bodyfat. “Low fat” products remove the fat, along with all its precious nutrients and benefits, and replace it with sugar or derivatives of sugar. The better option is to have moderate amounts of natural, healthy fats throughout your diet and lower your carbohydrate intake, while completely removing all processed sugar products.

Empty your kitchen before you start

When you decide to clean up your diet, you must get rid of all the other bad foods and drinks you have in your kitchen. If you suddenly change your eating and drinking habits for the better, you will start to crave the things you used to enjoy but ultimately do you nothing but harm. By having these things around the house, it is far too easy to give it to the cravings and ruin your diet before you’ve even started. It takes about 10 days to kick bad food cravings. After that, they will be more sporadic, and you may well be able to have something you really miss and get away with it under the 80/20 rule (below).

Plan/ Cook in advance

In order to enjoy your cleaner diet, you must cook and plan in advance. The best way to help your diet fail is to put yourself in a position where the only option is no food or junk food.  You must prepare as much as possible in advance, and this requires a plan. With my clients I like to organise a weekly meal plan, review it at the weekend, and they can shop and cook accordingly as the week goes on. Without this plan, you are leaving things down to chance, as maybe you are delayed from work and slowly fading away from hunger, you have some errands to run or you just can’t be bothered to go to the effort of preparing and cooking something clean every single day, and would much rather prefer to get a frozen pizza instead to save time and effort. The easiest options are usually the worst, so plan in advance and make preparations. Cook larger portions of food, use leftovers intelligently, and prepare in good time, including healthy snacks – not just main meals.

80/20 rule

So you have stuck to your diet well and you are making good progress but it is your mum’s birthday next Friday. Her sister makes her a big chocolate cake every year, with choux pastries on top, and it is truly a sight to behold and a culinary delight. This is where the 80/20 rule comes in. If you have been eating clean and looking after yourself for 80% of your meals, you can afford to have something not quite so clean the other 20% of the time. I would prefer a 90/10 approach, but 80/20 is a good start and is much easier mentally for someone to agree to and sacrifice any other bad food opportunities that come up. It is like money in the bank. You can keep up with your savings (eating clean) by not spending all your money in the January sales (avoiding bad food), and then one day you can splash out on something you really want (get in great shape). Or, you can keep getting little items you don’t really want (snacking on biscuits, eating badly), and then after a few months you are wondering why your bank balance is really in the red (you’re out of shape).

And here’s a bonus 6th tip – BE PATIENT. Results are not overnight. It’s the months of focus that count, not the hours. Don’t weigh yourself every day and wonder why you haven’t lost a stone this week yet even though you’ve been really disciplined and gone to the gym twice since you started 4 days ago. Track progress every week or even two weeks, and there should be a pleasing result.

Good luck! Feel free to leave questions in the comments or contact me as below!

Are you someone who wants to make a positive lifestyle change? Or maybe you are an active person who wants guidance to take your results to the next level, or even a competitive athlete wanting to finish on the podium at your next competition? Then contact me at www.loucapersonaltraining.com or Twitter @LoucaPT with any questions you may have! 10% discount for clients through Where Are My Knees, just give it a mention in your query!

Sunday Summary 83

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Another week done! How have you been getting on so far this year?

Sarah - I moved onto Phase 2 of the Harcombe diet with a bit of a hiccup.  I reintroduced both cheese and cream at the same time and ended up with indigestion and feeling pretty rotten.  I had a feeling I am probably intolerant to cheese so cut them both out for 5 days and reintroduced cream with no issues yesterday.  Thankfully I didn't gain (if you eat food you're intolerant to it can cause you to gain a couple of pounds) though I do think it slowed down my progress.  I lost 2lbs this week bringing my total for 2013 to 9lb in 18 days of dieting, I am over the moon!  Wonder if I can make it to a stone in 31 days? Fingers crossed!!

Gemma - I stayed the same this week but I'm not too disappointed because I lost so much the week before and I've not really been able to get out and walk because of the weather. This weekend has been a complete disaster, I went to Las Iguanas and ate so much, had cocktails then went for a night out and have no idea how much I had to drink so don't know how much to count for it. I have a hangover today (not very clever at all, surely I should know better by the age of 25?) and I have eaten so many carbs. Oh well, I did have fun ;)

Lauren - I've finally managed to find a class that fits around my work schedule so as of last Monday I am back to weekly weigh-ins with Weight Watchers. I'm still finding my feet in terms of eating routines with my new job as its just so busy, but even when I've wavered from plans I've made healthy choices this week. I'm not sure if I'm going to get to WI tomorrow what with all the pesky white stuff everywhere, but the class is open all week so even if I don't make it tomorrow I can go on Tuesday. I'm hoping to see a loss this week but we'll have to see. I'm also planning to try to squeeze in some exercise before work every morning this week. It will mean some very early starts but hopefully when the days start getting longer I can go in the evenings instead.

Rosie - I weighed myself this morning and am still 4lbs heavier than at was just before Christmas.  It's frustrating but then, I did have four days away in Bath last weekend where I ate and drank whatever I wanted and I've already mentioned my indulgent Christmas! This weekend I tried to prepare some foods for the week as I know my failure points are when I don't have anything in the house or at work with me and I end up making bad choices at the supermarket or worse, the takeaway.  I cooked a gammon joint so I have gammon for lunches and I also made some oatmeal pancakes for me to heat and have with 0% greek yoghurt for breakfasts.  I've also bought all the ingredients for dinners this week, which will be falafel, steak and turkey burgers.  I'm feeling hungry just thinking about it! Along with carrying on 'eating clean' (look out for a post on eating clean here on Tuesday) I've also been on the exercise bike tonight and bought some kettlebells from Sainsbury's.  Sainsbury's actually have some amazing offers on gym stuff at the moment, I also picked up an exercise mat and was eyeing up a Pilates kit too! I tried running a couple of times this week but the cold really gets on my chest and it's too dangerous now with so much ice and snow on the pavements so I'll be doing exercise DVDs and more bike to keep my fitness up.

Chris - I've had another successful week at the gym - managing seven classes this week. (Body Pump x 3, One Body Combat, Two Body attacks and an Abs Blast, if you're keeping score) - and as such I feel great. I've had to but myself a Tubigrip to help support my left knee, however - it's very slightly weaker than the right, and 100-200 35 kilo squats a session are talking to take their toll on it.

As a result, I'm going to try wearing the support for the next few weeks and see if things improve - while being extremely care that I don't blow the damned thing out. I don't fancy a month (or more!) on crutches, thankyou very much.

Despite the above, to mark the new Pump release I've decided to up my weights for most of the session: I'd been at a sticking point for quite some time now, so I'm using what seems to be a slightly easier release to ease myself into some bigger plates.

I'm also strating to notice a difference in the cardio/aerobic classes I go to: I'm not the most co-ordinated person in the world, but after making an effort to do at least two a week since new year, I'm finding myself getting a little more nimble - although I admit I was pretty much a blank slate on that front.

Shake Up Your Mornings

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Lots of studies found that people who skip breakfast are disproportionately likely to have problems with concentration, metabolism, and weight. If you skip breakfast you could be hindering your chances of weight loss or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

I'm pretty boring when it comes to breakfast and I tend to stick to Weetabix with skimmed milk every morning. Weetabix are only 3 ProPoints for two, it doesn't get much lower than that for a cereal. I don't need to weigh anything because they come in portions and it gives me enough energy to keep me going until lunch time. I don't have much time in the morning so having a healthy breakfast needs to be something I can do quickly.

I've tried to vary what I was eating in the morning this week and I've managed to have some tasty but low ProPoint value foods. If I know I'm going out for lunch or there is a training course with a buffet in work I will opt for a low point breakfast like a yogurt and fruit so I can save points for later in the day. If I wake up late I grab a cereal bar and fruit to eat on the train or if it's the weekend I will make my favourite 'One Pan Fry Up' because I have more time and can dip into my weekly ProPoints budget.

I've also tried to decide what I'm having for breakfast the night before so I can track it all on the android phone app before I leave the house. Being organised has meant that I don't get bored of what I'm eating and helped me to stay more engaged with the Weight Watchers plan.

Do you skip breakfast? Have you got any low ProPoint value breakfast ideas?

Motivation Needed!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Its no secret that I'm not the biggest fan of exercise. When I first started trying to lose weight, the healthy eating fell into place fairly easily, albeit with a few slips off the wagon here and there. But I will always have to work super hard to keep up my motivation for exercise. Its not something that comes naturally to me at all. During my last term at university and for a while over the last few months I got myself into a good routine with going to the gym, but even then it was always something I had to really push myself to do - I never once thought to myself 'I can't wait to get to the gym'. Part of the reason that I made sure I went on a regular basis was because I didn't want to spend £40 a month on a gym membership that didn't get used enough! Its amazing how much of a motivation not wanting to waste money can be!

This was all very well and good, but I've recently changed my job, which means keeping my gym membership wasn't practical because there was no chance of it getting used enough. So now I am left with a dilemma...how am I going to motivate myself to exercise!? I have a couple of exercise DVDs, including the 30 Day Shred and an old Davina McCall one, which I'm planning to dig out of storage, and I was also lucky enough to be sent the Revoflex X-Treme Abs and Body Toning machine from XLS Medical which I'm looking forward to getting some use out of as my stomach is a real problem area for me. I would also like to start doing a bit more running once it starts getting lighter in the evenings - I was running at the gym but by the time I get home from work its far too dark and cold to pound any pavements. So all things considered, I am well equipped to get in some exercise that doesn't come in the form of the gym...the question now, is how to make sure I actually do it!?

Here is what I want to know - what motivates you to get off the sofa and get moving? I know I am by no means the busiest person out there, and yet I still struggle to find the time to work out - what are your tips and tricks for getting in some activity? I know I need to incorporate more exercise into my lifestyle but finding the motivation is so difficult - tell me what works for you!


Sunday Summary 82

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Another week done!  How are you getting on guys?  Have you found new motivation to make this happen this year?

Sarah - I am happy to say I have lost 4lbs this week.  That's half a stone gone in just 10 days. AMAZING!!  I usually only manage a pound or two here or there and if I get a bigger number one week it is usually followed by maintaining the next so I am over the moon.  So happy I have finally found a plan I can stick to 100% without the temptation to cheat.  I went to Nandos for lunch yesterday and as my meal came with two sides I chose salad for me and more chips for Gray and happily scraped them off my plate onto his without wanting to steal at least one - unheard of!

Gemma - My first week on plan was a huge success and I lost 6lbs on Tuesday which is my weigh in day. I have already lost a couple more this week so I'm looking forward to seeing the final figure at my next weigh in. I'm finding that using all the online resources that come with Weight Watchers and planning my meals is helping me to stay on track. I was a little worried that I wouldn't stay on plan if I didn't attend a class but an online only subscription seems to be working just as well. I went to the cinema yesterday and took some low fat popcorn, blueberries and diet coke and didn't feel hard done by at all and I've managed to have a Cadbury's Creme Egg and some trifle this week and still stay on track. You really don't need to feel deprived if you're on a diet.

Rosie - Last week was my first week of getting back into clean eating and when I weighed myself on Friday I'd lost 2 of the pesky lbs I'd piled on over Christmas, which is a good start.  However, this weekend I was away in Bath from Friday until this afternoon and I allowed myself a few treats over the weekend as I wanted to really enjoy being away and eating out.  I'll be straight back on it tomorrow and I'm promising I'll start my week with my first run of the year, let's just hope I haven't set my fitness levels too far back with all that relaxing I've been doing!

Chris - Good news, everyone!

Ahem. Yes, good news. Today marks the day that I can honestly say that I have got rid of those pesky Christmas pounds, as Rosie called them - and I have the gym to thank for that.

Since last Sunday I have been to... *counts on fingers* seven classes at my gym - and have managed to mix up both cardio and weight classes too. The little biscuit baby that I grew over Christmas has retreated; no more does it poke at my t-shirts and jumpers and make me feel like a blimp slowly coming in to land at m desk in work - excellent news, I'm sure you'll agree.

I also seem to have developed "guns", as the kids call them nowadays - and quite by accident as well. When I started doing Body Pump, the aim was simply to tone up a bit - when you lose as much weight as I did as quickly as I did, your skin needs all the encouragement it can get to actually start fitting your body again - but  four months or so into doing Body Pump, I'm surprised at how big my arms have got.

I'm excited about the upcoming week as well - it's relaunch week at my gym, meaning that all the Les Mills classes (Body Pump, Body Attack, Body Combat and the rest) all get new songs and choreography to go with them - if you've never done a Les Mills class before, about now is a great time to start, because everyone is new to the routines.

Guest Post - Paul from Fat4Now

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Hello and welcome to the first guest post of 2013! Today's post comes from the lovely Paul of Fat4Now! You can also find him on twitter here.


My name is Paul and I'm a 42 year old from Newcastle. I'm probably older that most of the WAMK readers but Fat has no boundaries.

I was actually slim as a child and in my 20's.

It was my 30's when I had a bad football injury that set me off. Five a side 2 or 3 times a week and then couple of pints and a curry afterwards. After the Injury I couldn't so became the manager. Only difference now I wasn't running around but was still doing the pub and curry house.

I moved in with my ex and neither of us was much of a cook so it was meals out and takeaways in and then when we split I don't think I even attempted cooking. I felt myself getting fatter and unhealthier.

I was a heavy smoker (had been since school) and struggled to quit and also diet.One day on 1st January 2009 I took the plunge, quit the cigarettes and not worry about the diet for at least a year as quitting smoking was more important. I stayed off them and went back and forth to WeightWatchers but never had long term success as social life and shift work meant I couldn't commit to set meeting and stopped going
Then in mid 2011. I went out for a family meal. Couple of months later I saw the following pic and nearly died.

That was my light bulb moment and time to do something about it.The next day I joined a new meeting and weighed in at 21 st 09, my heaviest ever.

I got the info and lost a stone and a half but then a combination of work becoming hectic and the switch to ProPoints it slowed down as I didn't give the plan the time and respect it deserved. I had gone into the 19s but by the weigh in before Christmas I was back upto 20 st 05 on Christmas Day 2011.

Like most merry little WeightWatchers I was in stealth mode during January and February but eased off the gas in March and then by the time my birthday had arrived in July I had only lost 9 lbs in the first half of 2012. I went through all my books and started tracking properly again and lost a stone before my holidays the following month but 3 weeks of Spain meant by the time I got back in mid September I had put that back on.

This is when I realised something had to be done. So cleared my cupboards out and started the gym at work. I was only doing 20-30 mins cardio 3 or 4 times a week so nothing too intense but my heart didn't seem in. I was losing a couple, gaining a couple so then thats when I decided I needed a jolt. What was I eating too much of and spoiling everything? This wasn't a diet, it was a lifestyle change.

The answer to that was easy enough. Pretty much everything. So i made the choice.
30 Days in November and 31 Days in December. For those 61 days I wouldnt consume

Fizzy Pop
TakeAways (inc McDonalds, Greggs, Sandwich shops, etc)

Basically I do a Food shop at Sainsburys on a Thursday and thats it.
Everything I eat or drink i make (or heat up) myself. 

So i went to my meeting on Thursday 1st November. Weighed in at same as July at a shocking 19 st 10.5. Told people about what I was going to give up for the rest of the year and got some very supportive comments and a couple of looks that people give when they have heard the same old broken record. It is fair in hindsight. Couldn't expect people to believe in me when I didn't myself.

After my meeting I went and done the weekly shop. I also got 1 pack of Walkers Extra Crunchy Salt n Vinegar crisps and a bar of Nestle Crunch chocolate to put away safely as a reward for completing my challenge.

Each week I stuck rigidly to the plan. I still had treats as my weeklies went on Alcohol or proper bread and I felt healthier as I wasn't scrimping on points to save points for junk. 
I was setting myself up for the day better and planning better. The weight loss was also clicking into place and the next 6 weigh ins resulted in the following losses...


That took me to a total of 47.5 lbs on the 6th December with 2 more weigh ins left before Christmas to get my 50 lbs certificate.  I was worried in case it was slowing down so I decided to step it up even more and cut out the Bread and the alcohol for the week.
I was no longer having sneaky peeks at the scales so hadn't a club when i went to WW on the 13th whether I had done it or not.
I actually closed my eyes. Hayley, my leader, said 3.5 off. You've done it. 51 lbs in total and I had got my certificate at last.

I was also now noticing the difference in my fitness and now the gym at work was 30-45 mins of cardio and weights 4 times a week. Also the different NSV were amazing. I'm a middle aged (old) man and girls at work were coming up to me saying how good my skin was looking. 7 weeks of no rubbish detox with plenty of water and 5 a day for good measure will do that. Or maybe they just meant it wasn't as yukky as it was in the past. I now had 1 final weigh in of the year (20th December) and with no pressure I just done my normal thing and managed to lose 4.5 lbs. This took me half a pound off 4 stone.

But I had one more minefield to overcome. My next weigh in isn't until 10th January so had to stay on track so even though I had got my 50 lbs certificate I was still going to stay off the junk - even over Christmas and New Year. My target when I left class was to return with a minimum of a half pound loss to get me that 4 stone. So I have tracked and stuck to plan over Christmas. I drank Christmas Eve and then had a couple of ciders with my Christmas Dinner.

Christmas Day 2011 (20st 5lbs) vs Christmas Day 2012 (17st 9.5lbs). Looking forward to Christmas Day 2013 to put alongside it. Maybe my sister will provide a new apron for the Dishwasher. 

Boxing day I just drank tea with the traditional Turkey and Chips dinner. I havent touched Alcohol since and also cut out the bread and stayed in New Years Eve.
This is me now.

I'm nearly 4 stone lighter but I still have 5 to go. Thats my 2013 plan. 100 lbs certificate and then goal.

On the 1st of January 2013 I had my bag of crisps, my WW rich toffee bar and a pint of Diet Cherry Coke. After 2 months without they were blooming lovely. I also toasted 4 years as a non smoker.
I am saving my chocolate for Thursday (new set of weeklies) After all I don't want to spoil myself. I am not even half way in my journey but I feel focussed and I know I will succeed.

Good luck and Happy New Year x


We at Where Are My Knees? want to say a massive thank you to Paul for sharing his story with us here today. We're always looking for people to guest post for us, so if you're interested then please do get in touch. Whether you're just starting out, halfway there or have already achieved your goals, we'd love to hear from you! You can email us at wherearemyknees@gmail.com, or drop us a tweet at @wherearemyknees.

Much love!

Plan your meals

Friday, 11 January 2013

It's week two of 2013 which means it's time for my second Weight Watchers challenge. This week I had to think about planning my meals and and I've also been thinking about how to overcome challenges such as takeaways and buffets.

I've been on the plan for over two years now and lost just under six stone. This journey has taught me some important lessons about my behaviour with food and how by following simple steps I can change my bad habits when it comes to over eating.

The main lesson the plan has taught me is the importance of planning my meals. Planning means I only buy what I need and there is less waste, I don't get bored of the plan and eat a variety of foods and I'm always prepared for any occasion. I try to take half an hour on a Sunday afternoon to plan the week ahead. I like to get all my Weight Watchers magazines out, recipe books and a notepad a jot down meal ideas and a shopping list.

My brother and I are both Weight Watchers members so I'm not just cooking for one. We both have the same problem where we want to eat as soon as we get in from work. Neither of us get home until about 7pm and will eat snacks and pick at things in the fridge before we have our meal. We both understand the importance of eating more filling and healthy food instead of snacks so I have come up with a plan to tackle this.

I have started to dedicate one evening to cooking most of my meals for the week and I make things like stew and casserole that taste great even after a few days of being in a tub in the fridge. Being able to pop these in the microwave when I get home means I'm snacking a lot less and have much more free time. WW members should check out the routines page on the site for some more ideas on this.

I always have a bit of a back up plan when it comes to takeaways and eating out. It always pays off to be prepared! I know the ProPoints values for my favourite coffee from Costa. I cook my own rice and weigh it if I have a Chinese takeaway and order low ProPoint foods like chow mein and mushroom dishes. This week I had a training day with a buffet lunch, this would normally fill me with dread but I held back while other people filled their plates, thought about what the best options for me were and went for lots of vegetables, chicken and prawns and avoided the bread and pastry.

My weekly meal plan doesn't change much. Breakfast on weekdays is weetabix with skimmed milk and with different fruit on top each day and I have a bit of a fry up on the weekend with lean bacon, poached egg and mushrooms. Lunch is usually a salad or soup dish with some fruit and a yogurt. Evening meals are where I try to mix it up and I try at least one new recipe a week. If you want to see some examples of what I eat you can look at me 'Day in the life of' posts.
Do you plan your meals? If you're following the Weight Watchers plan and blog about it please leave me your links, I would love to read them.

Sunday Summary 81

Sunday, 6 January 2013

How's your first week of the New Year been? Managed to stick to those resolutions?

Sarah - My sister's baby shower was yesterday and I had originally planned to start my new plan today rather than January 1st but instead I did three days of the plan, took yesterday off and am back to it today.  There will always be something that gets in the way so I am trying not to use them as an excuse this year.  I have decided to follow The Harcombe Diet.  I have an issue with sugar and carbs in general and am hoping that this can sort out my cravings once and for all and mean I find it much easier to stick to a plan 100%.  The first five days are hell.  No sugar, only 50g brown rice for carbs, nothing processed just lots of veg, meat, eggs and natural live yoghurt.  Oh and no caffeine I did three days this week and am so pleased to say I lost 3lbs.

Gemma - The whole month of December was a bit of a disaster and I didn't manage to stick to my ten week pledge. I put on about 10lbs over December and a weigh in today shows that I have already lost about 4lbs since getting back on the Weight Watchers plan this week. I have started to keep a photo diary of what I'm eating over on instagram (fatfrocks, if you want to take a look) and track all my food on the Weight Watchers app. I'm hoping that a combination of tracking and a new sense of optimism about 2013 will keep me heading towards my goal. I'm currently looking through old editions of the Weight Watchers magazine for a bit of recipe inspiration but if any of you have some great, low point recipes please share them with me.

Lauren - Like Gemma, I didn't meet my Ten Week Pledge target, and managed to put on quite a bit of weight over the month of December after overindulging a lot. You name it, I ate it. Or drank it. The festivities continued this week with a trip to visit one of my best friends, but I am now back on the wagon. My meeting isn't until Thursday but I got back on it today and am pleased to say that so far so good. I did have a sneaky peek on the scales this morning (and almost died of shock) so I know roughly where I'm at. I'd like to lost at least 2lbs before I weigh in, but I will see how it goes. I start my new job tomorrow (exciting times!) and will be going out for lunch with a colleague. I have a sneaking suspicion that staying on track will be rather easier at my new place of work, as the agency actually works with Weight Watchers! More motivation in the work place - can't be letting the side down now, can I!? Mum and I have also done a big Weight Watchers friendly food shop today and have drawn up an exercise plan, so fingers crossed for a straightforward first week back on the wagon!

Rosie - I managed to meet my ten week pledge and lost another 2lbs on top of the 10 I lost for that, however from the 22nd December I really relaxed into Christmas and didn't watch what I ate at all.  On top of that, I got my feet and shins tattooed (one session on the 18th and one session on the 27th) meaning I haven't been able to run or exercise since then (for a lot of it I could barely walk!) Of course the result of lots of chocolate and Bucks Fizz coupled with not moving much meant that when I weighed myself at the beginning of last week I saw that I'd put on 5 lbs in 10 days.  Although I feel frustrated with myself that I let myself go to that extent I at least feel happy that I know exactly how to get back to how I was before and I've already planned my meals for the week and done a food shop so I can get back into clean eating.  My feet are also healing nicely so I should be able to go for my first run of the year either tomorrow or Tuesday.

Sort Your Fridge

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The whole of December was a total write off for me as far as my diet was concerned. I was a little disheartened after putting over half a stone on but I am also rather excited. I am now a Weight Watchers blogger ambassador which means I get some support from fellow ambassadors and I will be set a little challenge or something to think about each week.

The first challenge was to sort out my fridge. It's hard enough to get back on track in January after all the excess of the festive period without having to see lots of lovely leftovers in the fridge. I was a bit mean and forced my family to eat all the nice things by the 1st of January but I made my intent clear and they now know that bad food in the fridge will not be tolerated! I WILL succeed in 2013.

There are still some treats in the fridge like chocolates but After Eights are just 1 ProPoint each so I don't mind those lingering on throughout January.

Here's a peek inside my fridge:

As you can see, I've made some simple swaps in my fridge to some low ProPoint value foods. All that lovely Cheddar and smoked cheese has been removed and replaced with some Babybel (just 1 ProPoint each) and low fat cheese spread. I've swapped my semi skimmed milk for skimmed which comes in at 3 ProPoints for half a pint instead of 4 and the fizzy drinks have been replaced with some 0 Points Weight Watcher drinks.

I'm going to do two main things when it comes to my fridge in January:

1.Do Some Prep Work

When you're really hungry, you don't want to peel a carrot if you can just open a bag of crisps.The trick is to make vegetables and fruit more convenient to eat by cutting them up so they're ready to go the next time you open the fridge. I have been cutting carrots, cleaning my fruit and chopping peppers so they are ready to snack on when the hunger sets in or I'm feeling peckish.

2. Make the most of my leftovers.

I've been using my recipe books and eSource to get some inspiration for this. I turned my veg into soup and used the leftover meat in curries and stews. All the leftovers have gone now and I feel like I'm making a fresh start.

I've now lost lost just under 6 stone on the plan (well after I get this Christmas gain off) and I know 2013 will be the year I reach my goal of -100lbs.