Other People’s Opinions

When you’re dieting, other people can be really helpful. They can provide inspiration, advice, motivation, a little friendly competition or just the occasional push in the right direction when you’re stood in front of the cake counter.

However, they can also be the complete opposite.

This week’s post is inspired by a monthly event in my office known as Cake Friday. You hand over a pound coin, and it magically turns into all manner of baked delights from Costco, several of which I used to cram into my face with a mix of guilt and glee. Since I am still officially Being Good, I went to the tea room to torture myself by looking at what was there even though I wasn’t going to have any of it (apparently that’s a more empowering way to phrase things than ‘couldn’t have it’ or ‘wasn’t allowed’). This resulted in members of my team saying things like “go on, you can just have one”. “Just have this little one!” “Have one cake today and then no more until next month”. At one point the box of cookies was held up right under my nose, at which point I decided the best course of action was to be dramatic and run from the room yelling ‘Noooooooooo!!!!’

So this brings me to the main two types of Well Meaning Unhelpful People that I have encountered.

1) Go On, Just Have One

2) You Don’t Need To Diet, You Look Fine.

Number 1 are not trying to make life hard on purpose. It feels good to share. It makes them feel good about themselves when the treats they have brought in are appreciated by lots of happy people. And they want you to be a happy person too. When you reject their offering, maybe that feels bad to them. They know you’re not being ungrateful or rude, but they still want you to join in. And let’s be honest, people on diets can be boring. I sure can be. Not to mention grumpy when I’m adjusting to eating less food and it’s making me super hungry. However, there’s no questioning the fact that their good intentions make setting foot in the tea room suck. If anyone has any tips on how to politely decline these offerings without resorting to actual running away, that would be super. On the plus side, it feels good to come out of the other side without having given in – I feel like my willpower is that little bit stronger than in was last year and I don’t really feel like I’ve missed out on anything at all.

So onto number 2. Again, all of the people who say these things are lovely, but they don’t seem to realise that in saying “why are you losing weight?” or “oh, are you on that silly diet again?” that they are not being as nice as they think they are. I had a few people questioning why I was dieting when I first (re)joined Slimming World back around August. At that point, I weighed 10 stone 10 pounds and was over half a stone over weight. I had a pair of shorts in size 14 because I could no longer buy a 12 that fit. The fact is, if you haven’t seen your friend naked then you probably don’t know how much weight they’re carrying as it can be easy to hide a little extra by careful fashion choices. I’m also yet to come up with a good reply to this, but when I get down to my target I think I will put before/after underwear pictures on Facebook with a title along the lines of ‘For everyone who said I didn’t need to lose weight’.

Anyway, that’s enough complaining about that.

This week has been alright, I’m getting used to the amount that I eat but I am getting really bored of the same breakfast every day. My daily diet is along the lines of:

Breakfast: Warburton Thin (sort of like a mini sandwich thing) filled with a Dairylea triangle (or whatever the Aldi equivalent is called, ’cause I’m dead poor) and some prepackaged cooked chicken pieces [about 230 kcals]

Lunch: Low-fat microwave meal, usually Weight Watchers or Asda or Co Op diet brands [up to 400 kcals]

Drinks: 1 litre sugar free squash [20 kcals]

Snacks, if it’s a gym day: 1 Lucozade Sport [50 kcals], some more sandwich chicken or a bag of Fridge Raiders [120 kcals]

Dinner: Whatever I can find to make 400-600 kcals, depending on how much else I’ve had. One day I had a chicken breast with sauce made from 1/4 tub Philadelphia Light cheese and mushrooms with sweet potato wedges (probably about 1/2 – 1/3 of the sweet potato, the boyfriend got the rest). Last night was stir fried steak, mushrooms and onions with a 1/2 packet of black bean sauce. I also had half a pizza and some wedges for 600 kcal, which is a big bonus of calorie counting over other type of diet as I can still eat what I want, as long as I don’t go overboard.

Next week I think I might see if I can find something else for breakfast, maybe a cereal bar or something. I’m also thinking of buying a couple of sandwiches for lunches as a ham sandwich from Boots is only 199 kcal. I’ve been naughty today and had one of those for dinner, along with a 300 kcal flapjack. But on the other hand, in diet terms it isn’t naughty as it is all counted, it just doesn’t offer much nutritional value.

At weigh in on Thursday I’d lost another 1.5 lb, so still a bit frustrating but I’m generally happy with that. Two lb to go and I’ll have lost my first stone since starting in August.

I’m going to lunch with a friend on Sunday and thinking I might let myself have a dessert – if so I’ll avoid eating much in the evening and keep my fingers crossed.

Achievement Unlocked

No recipes for you this week as I haven’t made anything exciting. I also haven’t really been following Slimming World either – I gave calorie counting a try instead. I’ve been trying to keep below 1,300 kcal, but I think I’ve worked out from MyFitnessPal that I need to stay below 1,200 in order to lose 2 lb a week.

At my weigh in on Thursday I’d lost 1.5 lb, which I was a bit disappointed by as I need to lose 2 per week if I want to get to target by my birthday in late April.

I’m going to try another two weeks or so of calorie counting, and if I don’t lose more than I would by sticking to Slimming World properly then I will switch back. SW would be preferable as it allows you to eat as much as you like of things like meat and pasta, so there’s no going hungry. I have been pretty hungry this week as I’ve cut my portions down a lot and cut out all snacks aside from something protein based before the gym and a bottle of Lucozade Sport when I’m there.

So, on to my achievements: on Friday I ran my first treadmill 5 k. It took 39 minutes, and I ran ten, walked two, ran ten, walked three and then ran the rest (14 inutes or so). I wasn’t really planning to try a 5 k when I started, I was tired and only planned to run for twenty minutes and then go home. Sometimes I just seem to be able to run a lot better than others – the previous two times I’d been at the gym I’d only managed five or ten minutes before giving up. I’m not holding my breath about being able to do it again anytime soon but I guess we’ll find out.

I also had my first trapeze class on Tuesday, that was fun but very painful. I probably won’t get much chance to take more classes unless I pay for privates, as it clashes with silks. I pretty much suck at silks though, so I might give up after my current term. It’s a great arm workout though, so it’s a tough decision.

Other news… I had a professional photoshoot with one of my aerial hoop instructors today, that was superfun and I should get the photos back in a couple of weeks. Some of them are terrible but I got some nice ones and I’d like to do it again when I lose some more weight and learn some new tricks.

Yesterday’s excitement was finally getting my hands on a faux fur coat. I’ve wanted one for ages and the one I’ve been searching for since I first saw it in Topshop before Chritmas finally appeared in the sale so I snapped it up and didn’t look back. I super duper love it and that is the end of my news for the week!

Recipe Of The Week – 10 Syn Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta Pie

I’ve made a few meals based on Pinterest recipes this week, and the biggest success was based on this pie from Diethood. I didn’t get any pictures, so head over there to see it!
http://diethood.com/butternut-squash-spinach-pie/

I made this on Sunday, but put it in the fridge before the final cooking stage so that I just had to put it in the oven on Monday. It was really nice, and I will definitely make it again. It contains lots of superfree, so depending on your appetite you don’t need to eat anything else on the side. I ate it on its own for dinner, and reheated another portion in the microwave for lunch the next day. I think it would be just as nice without the squash, too.

Syns

It needs a few tweaks to make it Slimming World friendly, which brings it in at 10 syns for a quarter of the pie on Extra Easy if you use some of the feta as your Healthy Extra A. Otherwise it will be 16 syns per quarter. If you want to divide it up differently, the whole thing is 64 syns so just divide by the number of servings you want. There is no meat, so you could use this one a Green day too. I’m not sure about Original as the pastry may syn differently. Also please note that I calculated syns based on using Jus Rol pastry, which is 123 syns per sheet, and that this is not an official Slimming World recipe so you will have to trust my judgement or calculate your own values to check!

I know some people might think that 10 syns is a lot, but I think it is worth it for this delicious cheesey pie, and I prefer to include my syns in my meals rather than as extra snacks.

Ingredients

Six sheets of Filo pastry (I used one whole pack of frozen Jus Rol filo), defrosted if frozen

Half a butternut squash (peel, cut in half above the fat seeded section, slice the top half down the middle and then into 0.5 mm half moon slices – you can then use the bottom half for another recipe or to make chips)

One or two onions, finely chopped

Three cloves of garlic, chopped

One egg

One 200 g pack of feta, cut into little cubes about 1cm 

Two bags of fresh spinach (trust me, you’ll need a lot!)

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon thyme

Buttery Frylite spray

Method

Take the filo out of the freezer ahead of time, and make sure your work surfaces are clean as you will need to unravel them and lay them out later. Preheat your oven if it is as slow to heat up as mine!

Lay out the butternut squash on a tray, spray with Frylite and cook in the oven at 190 C for 20 – 30 minutes, until soft (you can poke them with a fork to check, I just went ahead and bit one to check the texture!)

While the squash is cooking, fry up the onions and garlic until soft in Frylite, and then add in the spinach until wilted to about half the original size (don’t leave it in the pan too long as it will dissappear like magic). You may need to do the spinach in a few batches, adding more as it shrinks. When ready, scoop this into a large mixing bowl.

Add in the feta, nutmeg, thyme and garlic to the bowl, and crack the egg on to the top of the mixture. Then take a wooden spoon and mix it all together so that there is a nice even distribution of everything. If the squash is still cooking, pop the bowl in the fridge while you wait. Leave the oven on at 190 C when removing the squash, as you will want it preheated for the pie.

Unroll the filo carefully, and lay out the slices flat. Don’t worry too much about small tears, as you will be using multiple layers so they won’t be a problem.

Spray the dish with buttery Frylite, and then add three sheets of filo, spraying the top of each one. Lay the squash slices evenly on top, and then cover with the feta and spinach mixture. Lay the remaining three sheets on top, again spraying each one as you go. I ended up folding the second two sheets in half to make them fit the dish better, but just make sure that the filling is covered. I didn’t want the edges hanging out of the dish to burn, so I folded all the excess inwards onto the top of the pie.

Now the pie is ready to go into the oven for around 40 minutes, or until brown on top and hot inside. You could also pop the uncooked pie into the fridge (covered with clingfilm) to cook the next day.

When ready, cut into quarters and serve. You could add Slimming World chips, or a salad, or whatever you want on the side, but I ate mine on its own.

Enjoy!

Off to a good start

Hello readers!

Welcome to my blog, I promise it will be super fun and witty and not at all narcissistic.

Yesterday was my first weigh in since before Christmas, and it was a positive start to the year since I managed to lose a pound despite having spent the previous two weeks making my way through a shocking amount of chocolate and biscuits, courtesy of my very generous mother.

My work out schedule this week was:

Saturday – 1 hour private hoop class

Sunday – Gym (including 3 km run in 30 min, leg press, stretches with aim to eventually get into splits)

Monday – Gym (2 km run in 15 min, stretches, assisted pull ups and assisted tricep dips)

Tuesday – Swimming (750 m)

Wednesday – Gym (3.5 km run in 30 min, ab work, leg press)

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Gym (abs, pull ups, triceps, leg press, rope pull)

I really hate running, but am working towards running 5 km. Currently I can only manage about 20 mins without stopping, and at the speed I go a 5k would take me almost 40 minutes. My other main fitness goals are to learn to do the splits, and to squat 100 kg on the leg press machine (so, I guess more like 40 kg when body weight is factored in).

I’ve also worked on cutting out snacking, and only eating when really hungry. This has been a challenge and I’ve been pretty grumpy, but I’m pleased with how I’ve done. I haven’t recorded my meals, but I’ll post them next week so that I can at least pretend that this blog could be vaguely useful to someone else. I ordered a food diary from Amazon that should last me for about three months – recording what I eat is pretty important for me in making good choices. The best thing I made this week was a spinach and feta pie – I’ll post a recipe up here soon.

So I guess that’s it for my first post. Happy new year everyone!