Monthly Archives: May 2009

Short but sweet

Just a quick post today. We are going away on Friday for the weekend and I have spent half the evening ironing ready for the weekend. I won’t get a chance to post from Friday to Monday but I will take lots of pics and will do a mammoth post when I get home!

So back to today:

Breakfast – 

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M&S strawberry yogurt, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cereal. When I got to work I combined the whole lot in the bowl and mixed it all together. It made a nice change from the greek yogurt I have been eating recently and I enjoyed the change of flavour. This was very successful at keeping me satisfied. I had a latte in my meeting at 11 and didn’t eat again until 1pm. 

I had left over chicken in my sandwich today – I love leftovers!

DSC00220Chicken, lettuce, cucumber and mayonnaise on multigrain bread. I followed this with a leftover cereal bar which I found in the back of my desk drawer

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I managed to get invited to another meeting in the afternoon which had coffee provided so another latte – I’m all coffee-ed out!!

For some reason my dinner pics didn’t come out but I had macaroni cheese. After a mountain of ironing I treated myself to another Alpro Soya Dessert

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This time vanilla. It was sweet and smooth with a nice vanilla flavour. I think I preferred the chocolate from last night but I did enjoy this too. Just finished watching The Apprentice – I love the shopping channel task, its so funny!

Have a good evening 🙂

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Summer = Summer Fruits

😦 Why is the first day back at work after a Bank Holiday so difficult! Getting out of bed this morning was not a pleasant experience!!

I have seen a few people in the blog world talking about doing a Crap Free Week. I am seriously thinking about doing it as I need a challenge to keep me on the straight and narrow. I am going to give some thought to what guidelines I want to use for the challenge. I think I want to focus on clean eating and ditch the processed foods but I’ll post when I decide in a few days.  Thanks to Lara for the idea! 

Now to food!! 🙂

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Breakfast:

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Good old Total 0%, cereal, honey and some of the mixed berries that I got yesterday, all washed down with a lemon green tea. Yummy 🙂 My favourite thing about summer is the abundance of summer fruits. Expect to see berries featuring more and more through the summer.

My mid morning snack was the apple from this pic. The cherries were eaten with lunch.

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Speaking of lunch I had a tuna, lettuce and cucumber sandwich on Morrisons Multiseed bread. Here is a pic of H2B making the sandwich for me this morning! I love that he makes my lunch for me in the mornings as it gives me longer to spend on my hair!!

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Mid afternoon I had a small portion of Lemon & Coriander Hummous with breadsticks for dipping. Somehow they missed the camera this morning when I was packing my food 😦

H2B had his guitar lesson after work so I had longer than usual to cook dinner. I decided to do the roast dinner that I had planned for yesterday. This is truly the most delicious meal in the world – Roast Chicken, sausagemeat stuffing balls, new potatoes, roasted bns cubes, carrots and green beans. And of course chicken bisto gravy too!

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That was so good and worth all the washing up it created!! 

Just settled down to watch Britains Got Talent and I have a sweet treat to eat.

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This is new product for me to try. Dark Chocolate Alpro Soya dessert. It was absolutely delicious. Really thick and creamy with a really strong dark chocolate flavour – yum! Each dessert has 115 calories and 2.8g fat. I wonder sometimes whether I should reduce the amount of dairy in my diet – I think it can have a bad effect on my stomach sometimes and I’ve also seen links to skin problems which I suffer from. I will do some more research on this and may try a dairy free week soon. Anyway, this is a great dairy free treat that I can enjoy. 

For anyone watching Britains Got Talent, what is going on with the couple doing the flower arranging and opera singing???? Bizarre!!! 

Enjoy your evening!

Bank Holiday fun!

Hiya everybody. I can’t believe it has been two days since I posted. Such a lot has happened this weekend but I’m afraid I have been bad at taking pictures. So a quick recap of the weekend:

Saturday: We ordered our wedding rings!!!!! We looked in a few shops last week but one stood out and we have been talking about the rings we found all week! So on Saturday we went back to the shop and ordered them – I’m so relieved to have them sorted. Hopefully they will only take 2-3 weeks to arrive. I can’t believe I can’t wear it until September 😦

We also spent some time with the future in-laws on Saturday night. We ate stir fry and watched Britains Got Talent – it was a great night!

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Sunday: Sunday morning we did a lot of work in the front garden which has started to get over-run. We cleared a lot of ground and left the garden ready to be graveled later. We plan to keep it low maintenance by putting gravel down instead of flower beds and adding some pots for a bit of colour.

The sun was really hot so we worked until midday and then went indoors to shower and cool down. I think we may have spent too long in the sun though as through the afternoon h2b started to feel unwell and was ill all afternoon and night 😦 Poor thing. Thankfully he is feeling a lot better today.  

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Monday: As yesterday went of track for us we decided to make the most of today. As h2b was feeling much better he wanted to eat(!) so much of the day centred around food 🙂

We headed out to Darts Farm, a local farm shop and restaurant, for breakfast. I had 2 poached eggs on granary toast (no spread) and grilled tomatoes. I also had a cup of tea. It was delicious, the eggs were just as I like them with bright yellow runny yolks.  

 

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From there we headed off to Morrisons for some supermarked shopping. We don’t have a Morrisons in Exeter so we drove to Tiverton. We stocked up on all the usuals plus a few treats we had not seen before. I’m sure you will be seeing them as I use them this week! 

The produce aisle is was brilliant and I picked up some colourful fruits; cherries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and apples. Doesn’t it look pretty!

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By the time we got home it was nearly 2pm and we wanted a quick lunch so we had these square crumpets with a little Flora Buttery and raspberry jam. 

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As the sun was shining we decided to make the most of the weather and head down to the quay for a walk. We love going down there when the sun is shining!

We parked up and went on a 1.5 mile walk along the river. We met up with some friends at a pub down on the quay and I enjoyed a vodka, lime and lemonade while watching the boats on the water. After a couple of hours we walked back the 1.5 miles to the car. 

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By this point it was about 7pm and too late to cook the meal we had planned so we decided to carry on the fun and head to a restaurant for dinner. The tea we had planned will probably feature tomorrow! We drove to a pub in the city centre, the White Hart, and ordered food. I went for the grilled goats cheese salad. I had a thick slice of goats cheese on toasted ciabatta over a bed of lettuce, onion, cucumber and tomato with a balsamic reduction. You can see h2b’s chicken melt and chips in the background and we shared the onion rings too! Yum yum 🙂

DSC00195Off to iron some clothes ready for work tomorrow. We are going away for the weekend to Weymouth in Dorset with family so our evenings this week will be spent getting ready.

Hope you had a great Bank Holiday too 🙂

Jo xx

 

Fabulous Friday!

I am in a good mood today! Reasons to be cheerful:

  • The sun is shining (and its actually warm 🙂 )
  • Dress down day at work (pay a £1 to charity and wear your casual clothes!)
  • Last day of work before a 3 day weekend – I love Bank Holidays

Focusing on the good things really puts me in a positive mood! I will try and do this more often I think 🙂

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Thanks for the questions you sent yesterday – keep them coming. There was one quick question though that I wanted to answer right now for Erin and Sandy which was:

What does a stone equal in weight?

Great question! Us Brits tend to deal mainly in stone when talking about body weights but I forget that this isn’t the case in other places. The stone is part of the Imperial system of weights and measures and is primarily only used in the UK.

1 stone = 14lbs or 6.35kg

So my 4 stone weight loss is equivalent to 56lbs or 25.4kg!

Great question ladies, thanks!

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I knew I didn’t want to get caught out again with no breakfast so I followed Kaths lead and prepared some overnight oats to take to work which I had with a green tea.

In the mix last night was ½ cup oats and ½ cup soy milk. This morning I added a small sliced banana, 1 chopped dried apricot and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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I didn’t add anything for sweetness as the soy milk wasn’t the unsweetened variety. It was my first taste of this particular soy milk and I found it very creamy tasting (but I am used to skimmed milk normally).

I really enjoyed the mix and found it very filling. A perfect summery breakfast!

Oh and I also managed to avoid a charity cake sale at work today – I donated my 50p instead (even though the cakes looked amazing!) and felt really good about it.

Breakfast kept me full until around 11.40 so I had two caramel flavour rice cake thins which held me until 1pm.

Lunch was two small wholemeal rolls with turkey, sweet chilli sauce and lettuce. The afternoon flew by with meetings so I didn’t even think about food until I got home at 4.30. I had a small piece of dark chocolate to hold me over til dinner.

Lidl Dark Chocolate

OH was very late home tonight due to a last minute crisis at work so we abandoned our plans and decided to have an Indian takeaway to celebrate payday. I ordered two starters, Chicken Tikka pieces and Tandoori King Prawns and shared some rice and bread with him.

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Sorry for the poor picture, I should have thought that red food on a red plate wasn’t a great idea! Also on the plate you can see tandoori sauce, mint sauce and a spoonful of sauce from his Chicken Makhani. I went back for seconds after this. I love the sweet onions that you get on Chicken Tikka! Any yes, the Becks is mine too 🙂

Thats me done for the day. Nicely full and contented 🙂

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Competitions!!!

Check out Zestys blog for a chance to win a Zesty Blog Makeover! I would love this prize!!

Also check Whats For Dinner and KathEats for a chance to win a cool blogging charm necklace! They are so cute!

Have a good Friday night everyone!

Friendly Advice

I felt really hungry all day today. I seriously think I could have eaten non stop and not felt satisfied 😦 How does that fit in with Intuitive Eating – should I have let myself keep eating or does it indicate I was eating the wrong things? Or more likely that I am not interpreting my bodies signals correctly and it was not true hunger I was feeling? Either way I knew I was starting off on the wrong foot as we ran late this morning and I didn’t have time to make breakfast to bring. I know I know, I need to get more organised so that I don’t leave myself in this position!!.

So for breakfast I was at the mercy of the work canteen – never a good thing. There were no yogurts this morning and the fresh fruit looked awful. I listened to my stomach and went for a bacon roll as I knew it would keep me full for most of the morning.

Well that was the plan. At around 11am I grabbed a couple of biscuits with a cup of tea in my meeting. I guess the two biscuits came in at around 150cals and it didn’t sustain me for long.

By the time 1pm came and it was time for lunch I was starving! One cheese and pickle sandwich and a packet of Snack a Jacks Salt and Vinegar popcorn later and the hunger had subsided for a while.

Mid afternoon I resisted the lure of the chocolate machine and snacked on a handful of yogurt coated raisins.

Dinner tonight was a freezer special – frozen bolognaise sauce over wholewheat pasta with salad leaves and avocado. A touch of parmesan cheese and some black pepper finished it off. Mmmmm that was tasty!

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We needed some bits from Tesco so after dinner we decided to walk over. Its about a 15 minute walk from home and the added bonus is that we can’t buy more than we can carry home! It was a lovely evening with the sun shining and we enjoyed the walk.

While we were there we picked up pudding. I got this chocolate desert.

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It was nice and felt very indulgent!

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Thats me done for the day. Nicely full now!

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I had an interesting conversation with a friend today about dieting. She wants to lose weight but has tried all the usual diets before and found only short term success. She was asking me for advice on how to go about losing weight. I found it quite difficult to offer advice as I have pretty much rejected the idea of dieting in favour of ‘balanced healthy eating’. But although I have rejected the popular diets at this stage in my journey I don’t think that I would be where I am now without having learnt some basic lessons from them.

What did I learn from popular diets which I find useful today? Firstly portion control. I tried WW, Slimming World, Rosemary Conley and calorie counting in my weight loss past but something they all had in common was portion control. I remember being amazed when I weighed out a ‘portion’ of pasta when I joined WW for the first time. It must have been half the size of the portions I was dishing up for myself normally. You know that thing where you put a couple of handfuls of pasta in a pan and then think “That doesn’t look like much, I’ll add another handful to be safe”. Then it cooks, swells up to fill the pan but you still manage to dish it up and eat it between two of you!! I learnt to read the portion sizes on packets and stick to them (ever compared the 35g portion of cereal on the box to the mound you would pour straight from the pack?). Although I no longer weigh all my food I keep in mind these guidelines and every now and then weigh a portion to compare to the recommended pack size.

Secondly, I learnt to balance my plate to keep the calories/points or whatever I was counting low. What I mean by this is that there is no problem with having a slice of meaty cheesey pizza for dinner once in a while if that is what you really want, but as it is high in calories/points you need to balance this with low calorie/point sides. So instead of eating half a pizza which would blow the point ‘budget’ I would have one slice with a large salad on the side and fruit for desert so that while the pizza may be ‘expensive’ on its own, the whole dinner can come out at a reasonable point ‘cost’. Basic concepts really I know but an important point in my healthy eating education. There is nothing wrong with eating these types of food but if it can be contained within a balanced eating plan it doesn’t have to stop you losing weight.

So what advice to give a friend who I suspect has not had the experiences to teach her these lessons yet? I gave her the benefits of a calorie counting plan combined with upping the intake of veggies and salads and giving preference to foods which are filling. Advised her to cook from scratch and focus on healthy fresh ingredients with occasional treats (I wish I was following my own advice at the moment!). I will collect a selection of my favourite recipes to give her tomorrow for ideas and recommend some good recipe idea sites for inspiration!

What advice would you offer to a friend trying to lose weight?

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While I was reading the news online over lunchtime I came across this article

I thought the story was amazing and emphasises the ability of the mind to control the body. How incredible that she could be convinced that she was full after a small meal when in reality she had the same capacity to eat as before. Thankfully I have never needed to consider a gastric band but I know people who have and there are some scary risks involved so I think this could be a really interesting idea.

I truly believe that your mind can influence your body in an amazing way. I have always been reluctant to take medicines unless I really need to but a few years ago I had a phase where I got a lot of headaches and I tried to resist taking painkillers for them. Instead when I felt the start of a headache I would go to a quiet room, draw the curtains and lie down. For 5-10 minutes I would breathe deeply and consciously, and visualise relaxing locations. In every case the headache disappeared within this time and left me feeling calm and relaxed. If I had taken some pills and carried on rushing about I am sure the effect would not have been the same! I still do this, when I feel pain (headache or other) I take this quiet time to focus my way past it. I really believe in the benefits of meditation and plan to do some more reading and posting on this.

What is Healthy Balance?

I have been thinking a bit lately about my blog and what I plan to do with it. To start I thought I would let you know some of the thinking behind the name, Seeking Healthy Balance.

When I started my blog I wanted to choose a name which conveyed the journey I was on. I wanted to attract readers on similar journeys and with similar interests. So what was that journey?

Its not easy to explain in a catchy title as it covers a range of issues:

  • Weightloss – continuing to lose weight in a healthy way and at a healthy pace
  • Healthy eating – Increasing the fruit and veg I eat, choosing whole grains where possible, making more of my food from scratch etc
  • Understanding my bodies signals – Intuitive Eating, listening to and understanding cravings
  • Increasing exercise – committing to regular exercise, finding ways to be more active in everyday life.
  • Recognising and respecting my feelings – learning to live with my occasional depressive episodes, seeing and reacting to the warning signs
  • Making time for activities I enjoy and not wasting time on those I don’t
  • Making time for the people who mean a lot to me and not wasting time on those who don’t make me feel good.

Wow, that’s quite a list. How could I convey all of that in my title!! I thought about this for some time. The words I came up with didn’t quite sound right. Then I hit upon ‘BALANCE’. All of the thoughts above relate to achieving balance in my life. Keeping my life on track, not swinging from one extreme to the other. Overeat for a whole weekend then spend the rest of the week afraid to eat to make up for it. Or spending all my spare time on chores or wedding planning and then feeling drained and depressed due to the stress. Not finding the time to spend with those who mean a lot to me, and then feeling guilty about it. I could go through examples all day!

So far I think I have focussed a lot of my blogging on food but I want to ensure I cover all the issues above and more. I plan to write some mini articles on these topics over the next few weeks and mix in a few product reviews too.

There have been a few days lately where I have not blogged my food intake for the day. That is because I have felt that I have eaten badly and I have felt ashamed to post it. Well not anymore. In writing this I want to emphasise that I am SEEKING Healthy Balance – I’m not there yet. Maybe I will never fully achieve the balance I strive for but I am not ashamed of the steps I will take to get there.

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Call for questions:

If there are any questions you have for me or issues that you think would be good to discuss please email me at seekinghealthybalance@gmail.com or comment on a post and I promise to answer them. Let me know what issues and topics interest you!

Journey to the Bottom of the Freezer – Episode 1

After last nights post I indulged in a little sweet treat! I had a baby portion of Jamaican Ginger Cake warmed in the microwave with a spoonful of custard.

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Notice that this was a small portion (the spoon is just a teaspoon) but it was just enough to feel content without blowing the calories! I had that and a cup of tea while watching a documentary about the funniest sitcom ever on Gold – Fawlty Towers. There were so many funny clips that had us in stitches all night!

What is your favourite classic tv comedy?

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Today I made a pact with myself not to spend any money at work on food or drinks and I managed it!

Breakfast:

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Yogurt, honey and cereal at my desk. As usual I had this with a Green Tea with Lemon.

I took a selection of food to eat today, all fresh and healthy

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Mid morning snack – Baby banana

Lunch – tuna and lettuce 1/2 baguette with cucumber slices plus a small handful of yogurt coated raisins/sunflower seeds (not pictured)

Mid afternoon snack – Apple

When I got home from work I had a light Baby Bel to keep me going until dinner

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We sat down yesterday to make our meal plan for the week. I get paid at the end of this week and our bank account is looking very bare so we realised we needed to spend as little as possible on food (and everything else!) this week.

Therefore I introduce to you…….

Journey to the Bottom of the Freezer 🙂

We have plenty of food in the house to last us the week but it will involve being a little creative with the supplies we have so watch out for some odd combinations! I have no idea what the meals will look like by the end of the week!

Tonight:

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Birds Eye Salmon Fish Fingers – bought on offer a couple of months ago and sat in the freezer ever since!

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Served with the last potato croquettes and the end of a bag of peas and a bag of green beans with a spoonful of tartare sauce to finish it off! The Salmon fish fingers were quite tasty with a nice crispy coating. Yum yum!

Tonight we are doing some wedding tasks together. I expect I will have a sweet treat later on, maybe involving the Ginger Cake again 🙂

Jo x