To reach her weight loss goal, Jen set herself a Slimming World challenge, to try out the diet and share her (very honest!) results.
Here, she documents her highs and lows, and shares some brilliant Slimming World tips along the way!
My Slimming World challenge
Week one - Getting started!I've always been a pear shape. I did learn to love my curves once, but then fast forward to two kids later and I'm a time-poor, working mum of two with a mum tum - a pear with a muffin *screams*! (They never feature that body shape in the fashion pages). I also don't have much time to fit in exercise, so the pounds have naturally crept up on me.
After my second baby, I successfully shed a stone on the 5:2 diet. I was on maternity leave, walking every day with the buggy and generally free to cook from scratch and eat healthily.
I tried again and again to 5:2 it back in the office, with limited success. You see, on one day I can be sent three or more delicious new foods and drinks to try, or I'm in the test kitchen cooking up lovely recipes for Essentials. Food is EVERYWHERE and temptation is hard to resist when you're hungry.
So why Slimming World?I met up with my lovely (and slim) friend Helen for a pub Sunday lunch. She looked amazing. She'd been on Slimming World and was happily losing 1½lbs each week. She ordered a roast and breezily told me how many Syns she would put down - in Slimming World speak, it's a way to keep track of more fattening foods and you're allowed between 5-15 a day. I was sold. I borrowed the books, but after another week of failing to feel happy in my sunny day clothes (I hate all my clothes!), I decided to go to 'group' to give it a proper go.
Plus, I was safe in the knowledge that our website, GoodtoKnow, had plenty of delicious Slimming World recipes to choose from to keep me going!
Slimming World's hot dogs recipe
'Group'I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous. Starting a new thing is always daunting. I arrived a little early, pretended to tie my shoelace for a bit, then braved it and walked up to the door. The first people I saw gave me huge beaming smiles and said, 'is it your first week?'. Then I met Gemma, our Slimming World group leader, who took me to one side and made me a cuppa. She talked me through the diet and club values and left me feeling positive and ready to tackle the scales. The number was a little worse than I had feared, but this only made me feel better about being there. We discussed my target (I explained my weight in dress sizes - as for me it is all about wearing a pretty summer frock or jeans without a baggy top) and Gemma put down a goal weight.
Looking round the room, I realised everyone is in the same boat, and everyone looked different. Some were young with kids or a baby buggy in tow, some older, some fit and trim and other women who were much larger... this is diet club after all.
Going to 'group' will be hard, but I feel determined. I have so many lovely events to look forward to this year, including being a bridesmaid for my BF, that I don't want to regret not dieting when I see the photos. I'm not going to tell you what the scales said, because really I don't want to know what they said myself, but I will share my ups and downs each week (I know you'll understand about the weight thing).
I left week one with a spring in my step, new books to read and a PIN number to get stuck into the recipes and Syns online.
My highs and lows this week
This chilli con carne was ace on baked sweet potatoes. So yummy and full of flavour, a real diet bonus.
TIP Add baked beans instead of kidney beans to make the sauce thicker and richer.
Got me through a sticky snacking moment after a couple of glasses of wine.
TIP No tahini, no oil - just chickpeas blitzed with lemon, 0% yogurt, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika and water.
I had a couple of hours at home on Sunday and got a whole chicken, double batch of Slimming World spag bol sauce and carrot and cumin soup cooked up and ready to go. This will help me stay on track midweek *crosses fingers*.
I tucked into a seriously delicious roast beef on Sunday - fat cut off, of course - and counted Syns for the gravy, oil for the veggies and roasties (oh, and a glass of red). I felt v happy!
LOWSWhere are my carbs?
I'm a huge bowl of cereal or two pieces of toast kinda girl... Breakfast is going to be tough. I need to embrace eggs, apparently, but who's got the time in the morning on the school run?!
Next week, I'll be trying some of these healthy breakfast recipes and for the weekend, this Slimming World eggs Benedict recipe.
I now realise that wine is my weakness. It's on my radar, so hoping I can cut back to stay on plan.
Just because you can eat all the Sliming World pasta you want, doesn't mean I should. Stuffed!
I do like a drizzle of olive oil on a salad or in my cooking or butter on my toast. I will work out what I can live without and use my Syns for those times I simply can't do without.
I started craving it this week! That and olives. Typical brain of a dieter.
Friday beer and a bag of crisps :-(
I did feel pretty glum, as couldn't really afford the Syns. I made supper early - a big bowl of pasta, topped with my cheese allowance, which happily cheered me up.
Tuesday will now be know as... Weigh Day
I've been OK on the diet overall. There have been 2 days when alcohol has tipped the Syns...so I'm not sure what the scales will say. I do feel less bloated around the middle and I hope this translates to a loss.
Week two - The weigh in!12 weeks until August - this was the first thing that caught my eye - wow 12 weeks could easily equal 12lbs and apparently that's a dress size. I paid my Slimming World subs (£4.95 each week), then queued up for the scales. The woman in front of me was pretty disappointed with her result and she looked gutted. I took my shoes off (and anything else I could decently) and stood on the scales. I had secretly hoped I'd lost a good amount and when I saw I'd lost 5lbs I couldn't hide my big grinning face! *punches the air*
We sat around on the chairs and waited for everyone to finish weighing in... I hadn't noticed last week that there were men at group. There were also two new members sitting in Slimming World Gemma's corner. Gemma worked around the room chatting to each of us (a bit like Deal or No Deal) about how well we had done on the scales, she 'bigged up' how well others had done so far and I was shocked to hear how much people had been losing. There was a lot of clapping, by way of support. I was glad I stayed (you don't have to).
The common themes this week were cake and alcohol... people had had a lot of it. There was lots of recipe sharing (particularly for the lovely lady who'd had a disappointing week) and everyone got really animated about the Slimming World recipes they'd made. I realised the recipes are going to be a key part of the Slimming World plan and they really do help you feel happy. Throughout the week I use GoodtoKnow's Slimming World recipes to plan my meals.
We also chatted a lot about the best value places to buy fruit, veg and meat (these are all pretty much free foods on the Slimming World Extra Easy plan). Any tips on budgeting is brilliant for those of us feeding the five thousand. I found mummy blogger Anneliese Giggins' 8 budgeting tips every mum should know really helpful.
My highs and lows this week
HIGHSGet me - posh suppers
I ate a lot of meat in week one so I've been checking out new fishy options. I was sent some scallops to try from Sainsbury's and cooked them up (with Fry light - my new fave) and served them with lots of griddled asparagus, lemon and a bit of home-made carrot soup as a sauce.
Bacon - happy days!
A BLT, even with my skinny bread, is amazing for diet food. TIP Grill the tomatoes so they're really juicy and you won't need the mayo (or just a tiny squidge) and buy tasty lettuce like Romaine.
Ok they're not my favourite, but last week I felt really hungry so I tried the Leon poached egg pots on the way in to work. They're so tasty it inspired me to make my own version at the weekend.
TIP Mix some chopped tomatoes into baked beans to make them more tomatoey and add a good few splashes of Worcestshire sauce. Poach (or microwave) an egg and put in a ramekin, then top with grilled bacon and the heated saucey beans. Yum!
Slimming World curry!
Yes - you read that right. I've been eating curry. I got the Slimming World Fake Away book and there are so many delicious ones to try. Try this Slimming World chicken and potato curry for starters.
Even if I don't lose much weight this week *crosses fingers* I reckon I'm getting much more veg into my diet. My energy levels are also much better at the end of the day (which equals feeling much less ravenous and ratty when I get in from collecting the kids).
The pink trousers
I bought these after I lost weight in 2013, so I felt chuffed to be wearing them again this summer. A few more pounds and I can lose the baggy cardigan!
I forgot to do mine. Will dig out the tape measure and scribble them in my book.
Getting a tad bored of cottage cheese and celery sticks... need to try some of those heathy veg crisps using my new favourite staple Fry Light. Anyone got any other good snacks? Next week I will start working through these low-calorie snack ideas.
It wasn't fun, saying no to cake and burgers, all day at my son's school fair at the weekend. Grrr. But, I packed up a Warburton's thin with loads of ham, English mustard and lettuce so I wasn't hungry.
Next time there's a BBQ I will take these amazing Slimming World burgers.
The girls in the office think this statement is funny... but in the last 2 weeks the diet has made me such a lightweight! I went to a party on Saturday and didn't fill up on the nibbles - I paid the price the next day :-(
Friday beer and a bag of crisps II
I got a text from Slimming World Gemma on Friday eve (I think she remembered this was a tough diet time for me). It's a great advantage of Slimming Word that you get the extra support. And it did give me a boost.
I haven't managed to fit in much exercise (on Slimming World there's an incentive to up your activity levels). Although, I did walk to school with the kids and we went for a big walk in the woods. Losing even a few pounds has made me feel more up for the exercise. Looking at joining a local yoga class.
Week three - The holiday!
I wasn't sure if I would stay for group this week, and took the view that if I'd had another massive loss I would go home (and eat something as a reward) and if it wasn't so good I would stay.
I stayed. I did lose 1 1/2 lbs, though, which is pretty good, particularly as I felt hungry this week (plus the alcohol ;-/). I just felt slightly disappointed not to lose more. I think you get a bit over excited when you hear about all the big losses - one woman reached her Slimming World target, in just 47 weeks she'd lost 4 stone!
Slimming World's fish and chips
The other topic this week was the dreaded TOTM for us women. It does effect some women's weight loss massively, and there's actually a wee button Gemma can press to note it down during your weigh in (a bit like a sick note for PE). This might have kicked off the massive chat about chocolate and sweet treats. I might look for some low cal bakes to make for me and the kids this week.
25 lower-fat cake recipes to try
Again budgeting was still a hot topic and we shared a lot of savvy supermarket shopping tips... online shopping seems to be the best idea as you can avoid temptation and overall make a saving. One woman who worked on a checkout laughed at how a woman came in for a pack of chicken and left spending 200 quid, but forgot the chicken - sound familiar?
I've got my holiday this week in Cornwall, so there's no way I missing out on a proper pasty or fancy fish and chips. So no weigh in this Tuesday, but I will be using the online restaurant tool to check my Slimming World Syns. One bloke had been on an all-inclusive to the Caribbean and managed to put on 7lbs... he was back on it this week though, still smiling! So to keep myself in the game I will write everything down - good, bad or ugly. I don't want to slip back into all my bad habits.
My highs and lows this week
I lost another 1 1/2 lbs *fist bump*
Fish and chips :-)
This is the best news... if you don't eat the batter and have mushy peas instead of the chips you can visit the chippy Syn free!
Holiday food isn't so bad for you when you're by the seaside. There are plenty of tasty fish and shellfish dishes to enjoy and I had an amazing rib-eye steak at the Mariners in Rock - and I ordered it with no chips (this is a first for me). I did enjoy a bit of illegal bearnaise, though. Sssh don't tell...
Peter Kay's Car share
Watched the last one on iplayer and got a little boost when Kayleigh said she was saving her Syns for a big fry up! Love her.
Missing a few of my favourite treats... Kids and DH are tucking into cake and crisps, and I am being v strong. I made some skinny oven-baked potatoes and have taken the leftovers with crudités to dip into Syn free houmous. Not quite the same...
Pasties are just too many syns! I do need to save a few for my holiday wine...cheers!
Whoops thank you for pointing out these are not in fact a healthy extra, but 5 1/2 Syns!
Week four - Romilly's 3rd birthdayWeighing in after a holiday is a weird feeling, it's so hard to gauge how you've done. Last week in Cornwall I'm sure I'd lost, but no weigh in to show for it. The second part of the holiday went uphill in enjoyment (nice meals out of the house!!), but downhill for the diet - puds, booze and a birthday party! Basically, I'm hoping by some miracle I've lost...
The result is I'm happy! :-)
My friend Helen came this week to group. She lost 3lbs and was really chuffed as she didn't weigh the week before either. We both stayed and joined in the chat. We discussed all the usual ups and downs, but people's social lives were the hot topic. Everyone is getting so busy with weddings and parties, so there was more chat about reaching personal Slimming World targets. I've been feeling so much better with a few pounds off that I actually forgot what my target was. Mine is 25lbs. So 8 down...
My highs and lows this week
My lovely girl turned three on Sunday and we had a house full of family and friends. I baked a lot of yummy scones and chocolate cake, but didn't crumble and eat any of it. I did make sure I didn't put out any salt 'n' vinegar you-know-what's so my only nibbles were a smoked salmon sarnie and a chipolata (and a touch of white wine).
I kept on plan on the long car journey down to Cornwall by stocking up on sushi and edamame from Waitrose. It really filled me up and I forgot how much the kids like those edamame beans in the pods. Pricey, but worth it.
Getting out in the fresh air this week has given me a healthy boost. I've noticed my nails and skin are glowing from all the fresh fruit and veg I've been tucking into, too.
So I mentioned I wanted to wear summer frocks this year and that is exactly what I did this week. The healthy choices are paying off and just getting off those few pounds has made all the difference to how confident I feel. I even wore my cozzie in the pool!
I've discovered the best recipes for me on Slimming World are strongly spiced. You can vary the heat if you're serving the same food to the kids, but my two love tomatoey paprika flavours like this Slimming World recipe for Mexican Chilli Chicken Cups.
New in my shopping basket this week are Syn-free Mug Shot Soups for a handy fill-a-hole snack. That and I finally worked out that I could eat these yummy 0% fruity Activia yogurts.
Not a social life low, but it should count as a diet low as I well and truly ditched it! Me and the DH had a delicious three-course dinner at Watergate Bay starting with this whipped butter with sea salt, slathered over my illegal crusty rye sourdough - saying no to good bread and butter is sooo much harder for me than cake! The kids were safely tucked up in the kids zone for the evening and I enjoyed every mouthful!
Lost the plot
I didn't really stick to the plan and I stopped jotting down the Syns this week. I will get back on track this week - my goal is to lose 2lbs. *fingers crossed*. My idea was to swap red wine for gin & slim.
I'm getting stuck in a jacket spud rut... I need to switch up my trolley for some noodles and cous cous to make a tasty base for salad lunches. I'm going to try this Slimming World recipe for Minted Lamb Cous Cous Salad next week.
Week five - Fun and parties!
It's been a fun week, seeing family and friends and I've been feeling good about wearing less cover-all clothes. It sounds silly, but I'm going to complain about losing 1.5lbs this week, I know it's better than putting it on or not losing anything at all, but at Slimming World it's all about the big losers, people who regularly shed 4-5lbs a week. I'm pretty relaxed on a couple of days a week and have got into a bit of a groove.
I would really like to get a big boost again, but I'm not sure this week will be it. Too many fun things in the calendar!
Now I've started losing regularly - 9.5lbs so far!! - I need to up the exercise and start toning up for summer. I said I was going to join a yoga class, but I didn't actually get round to it. I've heard about a good boot camp where I live and now the weather is better and we have lighter nights there's no excuse! Will report back - lycra, me...well possibly!
My friend Helen reached target this week. She got a lovely shiny sticker and target badge. She was over moon and now her focus is staying within 3lbs of that agreed weight (you don't have to pay to weigh in when you stay in this range, so it's a good incentive to keep an eye on things.) I'm still about stone off my target, so I need to keep focused.
My highs and lows this week
We've got new recipes to try this week on the site from the Slimming World Little Book of Summer including these fab blueberry lime prosecco jellies
I got in touch with Hollie from Hollie's Slimming World Blog a Facebook community where she shares her fun ideas for stretching Syns to get her sweet fix. I love this pic of her 12 Syn cuppa and bowl of treats. I've started to notice a Slimming World obsession for Curly Wurlys, too. Just 6 Syns and they seem to last a long time. I'm going to try and melt them down into some sort of dessert ...
Mine and Hollie's fave thing about the Slimming World plan is 'being able to enjoy yourself and still lose weight'. Go us!
Go glam, girl!
Putting on my VE Day party clothes was so much more fun without the extra weight on my tummy. Shirt dress, heels and victory rolls in my hair. When my little girl told me I looked pretty it made my heart melt - all the saying no to cake and biccies was suddenly worth it.
To switch up the amount of canned tomatoes I've been using, I tried making this delish chicken stew with blitzed fresh tomatoes and basil. I topped it with my latest addiction, capers and added a few sliced pitted olives. It's great with pasta!
TIP Add a squeeze of lemon or balsamic vinegar if your tomatoes are a little tart. I also poached the chicken in stock for extra succulence and flavour to compensate for no added oil.
This is my go-to dish when I've been a bit naughty over the weekend. I now call it my Slimming World noodles.
TIP Leftover salmon or chicken tastes brilliant with soy and ginger with lots of fresh coriander and chilli to boost the flavour - and for no Syns! Cook in stock or for 2 Syns use a pack of miso soup.
After drinking bargain champagne at the VE day fundraiser party I must say I woke up feeling pretty rubbish on the Sunday. Hangover breakfasts of bacon and eggs and filling up on stodgy pasta is OK on Slimming World, but I made rice pud for the family with clotted cream and tortured myself with it all day!!
The girls came round to mine this time. We read Never Far From Nowhere, by Andrea Levy - it had mixed reviews...but we ate yummy cherry tomatoes stuffed with crab and smoked salmon and dill pate from the new Slimming World Little Book of Summer. The main course of lamb and salads without the olive oil would have been pretty good, but I think it was the crème brûlée that did me in for the Syns!
Week six - Oops, be careful what you complain about!
So, I knew I wouldn't necessarily get a big loss this week, but just 1/2 lbs off... Oops, be careful what you complain about! That 1.5lbs now looks pretty brilliant! Basically, what I think happened was the partying (or should I say brûlée) caught up with me. But as everyone at Slimming World says, it's a loss however big or small.
The good news for my diet this week is tomatoes - I've been cooking with lots of them - small ones, juicy ones, fat ones, green ones! At work it can be so tricky to stick to a diet because of the food we get sent in to try or what we've been making in the test kitchen. You can't exactly wax on about a recipe you haven't tried yourself. So I was really pleased to be given a tomato feature to test. I love 'em.
The other good news is all the healthy recipes we've been working on for Essentials and GoodtoKnow. My Slimming World knowledge has really helped me to see how to cut the cals and not the flavour. Here's a link to where you can find other healthy ideas we've been working on.
My highs and lows this week
You know what, lean lamb sliced and tossed with roasted cauli, spices and salady stuff is pretty tasty with a good squeeze of fresh lemon. Happy :-)
I stayed on plan last Saturday night and cooked up a steak and Slimming World chips dinner, with some of those lovely tomatoes I had leftover. Oh and a large glass of red, or 2 ;-)
TIP: Rub steak with paprika and chilli powder to give a savoury crust, spray with Fry Light and cook on a griddle for a couple of mins each side. I also magic'd Quark into a steak sauce with Dijon mustard, tarragon, and plenty of seasoning and fresh lemon juice.
Mum went to Iceland
Get down there... I stocked up on their brilliant new range of Slimming World ready meals! Brilliant when its just you.
I haven't been able to stay to group the last couple of weeks, basically because I've had to get home for the kids. But how sweet that Gemma noticed and sent me this lovely text.
Day at the school fair
Smelling the BBQ blazing all day was tough for my resolve, but luckily there were plenty of fresh strawberries on sale to keep me out of the hefty Syn zone.
Husband trying the diet
I'm not being funny, but when my other half starts a diet all it means is loads of text messages asking me what he can eat - ALL DAY! Good for him, but it's annoying he gets to eat up to 20 Syns!
Week seven - Another 1lb bites the dust!I only lost a measly 0.5lbs last week, so this week I planned in a good Slimming World grocery haul to sort out my fridge and cupboards with lots of 0 Syn treats.
It's one of the best bits about Slimming World - there are so many foods that you can enjoy guilt-free that you could just pile up the basket endlessly. My top buys this week were some frozen hake fillets to make skinny fish and chips and soya beans to put in my soupy noodles.
This week in group there were so many great recipes being shared. When you go to group you get to hear first hand what recipes other members have been trying and loving. It's barbecue season so there have been lots of yummy ideas for 0 Syn 'slaws' and even chicken marinated in sticky diet Fanta! I'm going to have to try that one!
My highs and lows this week
HIGHSBridesmaid dress shopping
We ordered the BM dresses for my friend Claire's wedding. I ordered mine in 2 sizes (to be on the safe side), but I ended up fitting in the smaller size - hurrah! Now that's what I call a feel-good moment.
I've been eating a lot of meat so this veggie salad was a tasty change. I roasted cauli with cumin and chilli powder (my fave thing) then tossed with a mixed grain pouch, fresh cucumber and tomatoes. I finished it off with a generous dollop of Syn-free cottage cheese.
TIP Sumac is a delicious seasoning made from sumac berries. They use it a lot in the Middle East to finish salads. It really perked up the cottage cheese - try it!
I was forced into a little body magic this week because I was without the car. The kids benefitted from walking to school, too, as it gave us all chance to wake up in the fresh air.
My eyes literally light up when friends say they're hosting a BBQ. As long as you're careful you can eat lots of filling grilled meat and salad, without anyone noticing the diet. Obviously, you know me, I had to save lots of my Syns for the wine ;-)
In magazine and website world it's Christmas in July. This is the time when we get to see a preview of all the gorgeous goodies that will be on sale at Christmas in the supermarkets. As you can imagine it's not a great time for the diet...did I mention I'm on the canapé section of research :-/
I do love this part of the job, so I will try and be careful and just try the one bite of each.
Well I shouldn't complain, as you know where that gets you, but next week there are more Christmas shows and my chocolate shoot for Ess mag... to be honest, I will be crossing my fingers not to not put on weight! I guess there are always going to be times where it is difficult to diet.
Week eight and nine - The result wasn't great...
I've missed my Tuesday Slimming World group for the last couple of weeks, due to some childcare logistics. You can take kids to 'Group', and other mums do, but I guess I used it as a bit of an excuse not to go and weigh-in.
Helen suggested I weighed at a different meeting, partly so I didn't have to pay for a missed week and partly so I didn't go too far off plan. I was in favour of denial and trying to have a super duper week to compensate... but, I was persuaded to go to a Saturday meeting. It's funny, going to a new group with new people, I felt like a newbie again!
The result wasn't great... and I was disappointed to see a maintain 'M' on the scales, only followed by a small loss the week after. I felt a bit glum for a while, but thinking about it fairly pre-Slimming World this would have been a prime time to pile on a good few extra lbs, just in time for the holidays. So I don't feel too disheartened. I haven't actually put on anything since I started.
I've also missed a weigh in due to the first instalment of our summer hols. I'm back to Tuesday weigh in from next week, so I will let you know how I get on. A wedding in Germany (drinking beer!!) and a summer holiday in the Yorkshire Dales (massive pub portions for walkers and cyclists) are going to be interesting!
My highs and lows this week
A real weekend luxury on Slimming World is a no-fry fry up. Pile up your plate and enjoy each mouthful knowing you don't have to count any of it as Syns - hurrah!
Berries are really great value at the mo, so I tried these yummy meringues with fresh strawberries and rapsberries - delish!
Being away from the office has meant more food treats (ice creammmmm!) but I have done loads of walking, too. Including a trek up into the hills in Frieburg in Germany and another uphill trek (carrying Romilly piggy-back style) up the Dales way in Kettlewell.
Look at this enormous Gorgonzola at Sainsbury's press show - you know I'm a savoury Syn-ner, so this is a nightmare for my (lack of) willpower. Not sure this counted as my HE!!
I'm so nearly at one stone - I just need to keep at it. Annoyed I have reached a bit of a plateau.
Week 10 - I felt really on high for ages afterwards
I shouldn't really whoop with glee, not losing weight on a diet, but... I was so relieved to see the word 'maintain' written in my book again this week. I felt really on high for ages afterwards. As you know, I've been away on holiday so not to put on any weight was a huge relief! All that body magic (walking up hills) must have paid off.
I'm finding the Slimming World plan is becoming much easier to stick to now because I've really changed my diet. I never thought I could replace my love of bread, but I'm winning! My breakfasts are now under control and I love tucking into a massive salad or jacket potato. The fact that you can also eat pasta and rice on Extra Easy is a real bonus.
My goal this week is tot get a good loss. I'm going to Barcelona on a hen do next weekend and because we're hitting the beach I want to feel good. I can't see too many problems in the week ahead and I'm going to eat as much speed food as possible (the free foods that are packed with fibre and not too many cals). I'll let you know how I get on *crosses fingers*
My highs and lows this week
HIGHSNew jacket ideas
I've been loving jackets lately. I made this healthy slaw and grilled bacon and tomato combo this week. I used some Hellman's very light mayonnaise mixed with plenty of lemon juice to stop it tasting too lean!
Romilly and I headed down to a festival this weekend in our local town. We kept it healthy with noodles and Thai-style skewers from one of the food stalls. But I did choose a delicious scoop of blackcurrant ice cream as my Syn-ful treat for the day.
The weather turned really cold again so I dug out this yummy carrot and cumin soup from the freezer. I upped the speed foods even more by topping with chopped veg and a lovely spoonful of 0% Greek yogurt. It was so fresh and tasty!
Giles and I went to an open air play with friends at the weekend. I took a V healthy picnic including this tasty potato salad.
The reason it's on the lows column is because our friends opened up their not-so-healthy picnic full of Kettle Chips, full-fat dips and chocolate! Grrrr!
You know that time when all you need is chocolate... Anyway, I didn't give in, but I was rather drawn to these yummy looking choccy brownies.
Week 11 - Even a little loss makes you feel a million dollars
Yes, it worked! I knuckled down to some serious speed meals this week and the result... I lost 3.5lbs! That's my second biggest loss so far and I got my one stone award *Wahoo!*
The timing couldn't have been better, either, just ahead of the hen trip to Barcelona. I celebrated with a good slab of choccy cake and a trip to the shops to upgrade my beach attire to a bikini. I can't tell you how liberated I felt.
I got an extra boost of confidence from hanging out with nine other girlies and a good dose of sun and laughter is just what you need to get over any body issues. Although, I must confess I didn't exactly diet whilst I was away... If I put on next week, so be it - I had a ball!
My highs and lows this week
As we all know, we all have a bikini body we just need to put one on and hey presto! Girls, be confident. Even a little loss makes you feel a million dollars.
I love this Slimming World Paella. It's not quite as rich as the ones you get in Spain, but it hits the spot! It's also great with chicken or pork tenderloin.
I didn't have time to grab the stodge before my REALLY early flight so I grabbed a pot of porridge on the plane to tide me over. I felt pretty pleased that I dodged the bacon roll. It's the small wins...
Tee hee, remember how I was going on about being so over bread... well, that Spanish tomato bread - oops!
Too much good food!
Spain has too much delicious food to choose from, including this amazing Burrata and giant tomato at Bestial on the Saturday night.
We tucked into so many crisps and dips on our hen terrace at the apartment - such a weakness of mine particularly when I've been drinking!
Week 12 - I knew I'd blown it on holiday with all that delicious French cheese and wine
I've been missing in Slimming World action for the last few weeks. After Barcelona we travelled to France for my family summer holiday part II, followed by a weekend in Helsinki for my brother's wedding. I have to confess the diet has gone out of the window ;-/. So, the damage: I put on 2lbs on the hen do; in France (self-catering, but swimming and playing tennis) I gained 1lb; then, the wedding weekend added another 1lb. That's a sneaky 4lbs in total!
I felt pretty fed up about the 1lb last week. I knew I'd blown it on holiday with all that delicious French cheese and wine, but I'd hoped to maintain after our trip to Helsinki. I don't have much wriggle room in my bridesmaid dress and now Claire's wedding is next weekend! I will have to try really hard to stick on plan this week to compensate.
So far, so good... apart from a killer hangover and another wedding(!). I am feeling more positive. Back at school a lot of the mums, who hadn't seen me for a while, noticed I'd lost weight. It gave me a much needed push in the right direction. I even talked one mum into joining Slimming World because it's SO easy - haha - I had better but my money where my mouth at this week's weigh-in!
My highs and lows this week
Here's a pic of me and my sister, Kathryn. Losing some weight has given me extra confidence to wear strong colours and I'm not sure dresses come much brighter than this hot pink number.
I love Thai flavours and I made a speedy rice stir fry with some fresh flavours, mixed with a pack of savoury rice and some storecupboard ingredients such as fish sauce and lemongrass paste. It's great when you want a filling meal in a hurry and there's no need to dial in.
Cottage cheese alert
Tesco sell a really good fat free cottage cheese and I love their pineapple version for snacking. (You'll only understand this high if you're on plan :-) !)
I gave my steak burger a Slimming World makeover with a zingy Asian slaw, corn and roasted courgette and aubergine. I wasn't sure on the Syn value of the burger, so I added 8 to be safe. Check out this Syn free recipe instead if you haven't got many to play with.
Oh my, I was so ill after a charity quiz at one of our locals. The only cure was fat coke and lots of salt vinegar crisps - not exactly on plan!
OK, so I blame this chocolate cafe, Fazer, handily positioned across from my hotel in Helsinki, for the extra lb!
Week 13 - It was my last weigh-in before wearing the bridesmaid dress and...
It was my last weigh-in before wearing the bridesmaid dress and ...I lost 3lbs! *fist-bump* I'm sure I lost more during the week, too, as my dress fitted me lovely on Claire's big day. I was a bit worried, as you know. Claire has also been on Slimming World for the wedding and looked amazing! Hopefully, she'll be indulging now on her honeymoon and enjoying a few treats.
This week I'm toying with the idea of not getting weighed until Saturday. The damage done by the wedding might lead to a disappointing weigh day and I'm still on a high from the fab day and party.
I've generally found it easy to get back into the Slimming World plan after each big event or holiday. Monday was a slow day (still recovering) but by Tuesday I got myself back down to the shops and stocked up on all the healthy Slimming World foods. In the basket is week are pink grapefruits, plums and Muller lights to make some tasty breakfast oats, smoked trout, mackerel and sliced meats for salads and some chicken and spinach to make a slimming world curry. Here goes.
My highs and lows this week
I tried Kellogg's new protein cereal this week. It makes a change from my usual bran flakes. Don't forget to pile on the fruit to fill you up and to up your speed foods.
In Waitrose this week cooked quails eggs were reduced so I grabbed a pack for Syn free snacking. They're really tasty dipped in the celery salt that comes in the pack, or add them to salads.
I made this curry from the Slimming World website. It was really creamy tasting from the yogurt, but I did find the spices a little bitter for my taste. Next time I might add a little sweetness to balance the flavour.
We've got a bumper crop on the tree this year, so I'm going to whizz up some apple purée to sweeten porridge, yogurt and to try out some baking recipes that use apple purée instead of sugar (watch this space!). Actually a spoonful in the curry would be nice...
I've won a months pass to the local fitness club, so I'm off to boot camp on Thursday! I'll do a selfie to prove it!
I had a few naughty days due to the wedding (and hangover), but I found the plan really easy to follow and I'm so pleased I got on with it. I've got 11lbs to go to reach target, and my next milestone will be my high school reunion in November! Yikes!
Week 14 - I've found this week tough going
I went to the Saturday Slimming World group this week, which was a bit of a cheat, because I knew I'd have put on if I weighed on Tuesday. Anyway, I got away with a maintain. I might have to do the same next week, too, to give myself a chance to loose something. Whilst I was waiting to get on the scales I noticed one of the women from this group is the Surrey Slimming World Woman of the Year. What an achievement to be voted let alone win and such an inspiration to new and existing members.
Excitingly, I've been invited my the press office to try the new range of Slimming World foods in London. I can't wait to report back on what's good. I'm also waiting delivery on some new skinny sausages from Heck. I'll cook them up at the weekend and let you know how they taste.
My highs and lows this week
I made this yummy Caesar salad last weekend and we ate it outside in the sun- bliss! Instead of using oil mixed with the egg yolk I made the dressing with water and natural yogurt. Adding some garlic and chives and a squeeze of lemon really perked up the flavour. I also swapped Syn-ful croutons for crispy new potatoes.
I made a big batch of slow cooker ragu and the kids lapped it up. It's a great feeling knowing all the family can eat the same healthy food. We're trying this pie at the weekend - I can't believe it's free on Extra Easy.
It turns out you have to count apple purée in your Syns. Thank you to Megan for letting me know. Unlike homemade soups, fruit that's puréed and smoothies have to be counted as they don't fill you up for the amount of calories you consume.
After a bit of a spurge at the wedding I've found this week tough going. I've started slipping at kids meal times, too, partly because Romilly is leaving delicious things on her plate like cheese on toast - aargh!
Week 15 - Exciting news... Mum went to Iceland!
As you know, my incentive for weight loss was my friend Claire's wedding. Now that it's been and gone I'm finding it hard to keep motivated all the way through the week. I'm good some days... but, I'm not writing down the Syns (or free foods) and then I start to lose track.
I also haven't been to 'Group' for the last two weeks *slaps wrist*. I think I actually needed a little break. I've not gone OFF plan completely and I'm still eating plenty of healthy lean protein, fruit and veg; it's just the little treats here and there are creeping up and I need to get back on the scales.
Take this weekend, for example, I was racing around taking the kids to activities and I ended up grabbing a cheese sandwich and a bag of crisps for lunch. If I'd factored it into my week I would have been OK, but I sort of went off piste. Next was a pizza for supper with the rugby and Sunday lunch was pretty boozy and included a rather nice slice of Bakewell tart with cream!
So, this week two good things have happened to help me get back on it. First, our Slimming World group leader Gemma has been up to head office and is sending us all a boost via email. And secondly, and very excitingly, Iceland have just launched their new range of Slimming World ready meals! I went up to the press launch on Tuesday ahead of the store launch and tried them. WOW such tasty meals! Including gorgeous soups that taste just like homemade, an amazing curry and a superb chilli chicken (that actually tasted of chilli). I was really impressed.
I will be back at Group on Saturday to see how well I've done. Good or bad I'm going to have to get back on plan to reach that target.
My highs and lows this week
HIGHSLondon baby, yeah!
I work from home so a trip up to London to try all the new Slimming World products was a lovely day out of my 'office'. Also, a press launch where all the food is 'free' is pretty rare! I'm getting an online Iceland order booked in to stock up on the gorgeous sauces and meals.
This tasty fish supper cheered up a miserable Monday. DH loves the meals I cook on Slimming World. I often just sling a little butter through his veg or oil on his pasta so he doesn't feel too lean.
Have you tried Heck chicken sausages? At 1/2 Syn each they're a brilliant way to keep your dinners really low. They have two new flavours coming out soon. The Smoky Paprika Chicken flavour (340g/10 sausages per pack, £2.89 from Tesco and Asda) were full of flavour and tasty cold, too. Try them in pasta sauce.
TIP: I cooked mine on the tray with spray oil, but next time I'll put them on a sheet on nonstick baking paper, as they did stick a little (great if you like a crunch, though!).
Watching the Bake Off is terrible when you're on plan... all the family wants is homemade cakes. I had to stash this plum blondie in the freezer to stop me eating it!
The cupboard was bare...
When you want to be good, it's a real downer when you can't seem to satisfy your hunger with the food you've got left in the house. It's often when it's the end of the week or you just feel really hungry. I guess this is what batch cooking is all about so you have something tasty on standby.
Week 16 and 17 - How can you diet when you're ill?
I turned up to my Saturday Slimming World group, got back on the scales and the result... a slightly-wobbly-almost-went-up-half-a-pound maintain - hurrah! That was closely followed by a bit of not getting back on plan and then getting the lurgy :-(
How can you diet when you're ill? I emailed Gemma and asked for a holiday week, as I was too poorly to brave the outside world and getting weighed was just a step TOO far. I'd also paid up for my missing sessions last week and realised afterwards that I'd have been better rejoining! This missing weeks really racks up the costs. I'm feeling quite good about this week. Maybe because now I'm over the cold I've felt like eating healthily. Let see how I get on. Not too much to worry about food wise this week, but there may be booze ahead... oh, and leftover chocolate cake!