Slimming World – 5 Weeks In

So I haven’t blogged in like a month. I fell off the blogging wagon. However, I have very much been on the diet wagon!

I’ve been at Slimming World for 6 weeks now and I’m very pleased to report I received my 1/2 stone award on Tuesday after an astonishing 2.5lbs loss, for a grand total of 7.5 lbs lost on Slimming World, and 9 lbs lost since the start of the year!

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Woo!

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Ben has also lost an incredible 10lbs! We’re absolutely chuffed to bits and determined to carry on. I hate to sound like a massive loser but I really am enjoying it. I’m loving the support network I’ve found via Instagram, I enjoy going to group and listening to everyones stories, I’m LOVING the food and don’t feel like I’ve been on a diet at all which is pretty impressive. As I’ve said before, I hate boring food and I’d be so depressed if I had to count calories or felt restricted in any way. Seriously, if we haven’t been shopping for a while and my work lunch consists of a sad collection of vegetables and yogurt or something, it actually ruins my day. We’ve started doing a smaller, weekly shop so we can get all the fresh veg and fruit you need ridiculous amounts of on SW, and this is working really well for us.

So, some of the food I’ve been eating! My photos aren’t the best as I take them with my phone instead of doing the right thing and getting my SLR out – in my defence I’m always too hungry (food blogger fail) but I hope I can show that you really cn eat some lovely, exciting food on SW! I do find it slightly upsetting sitting at group and some of the ladies are talking about their dinners like “I’ve had tuna and rice, chicken and boiled veg, lots of Muller Lights…” THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO LIFE!!

Breakfasts

I’m still obsessed with porridge. Literally cannot get enough. It fills me up, it’s super low calorie, I don’t have to use any milk…it’s AMAZING. I use the ‘whipped banana’ method as described on KathEats and no, I don’t sun the banana. I’d be eating the banana anyway and it’s way more enjoyable chopped up and mixed into the porridge to create a huge, frothy bowl of banana-ry goodness. Mmm! I have also recently discovered something that has, quite honestly, changed my porridge life. PB2 is a powder made from de-fatted peanuts (?) that tastes exactly like peanut butter with MUCH better stats. Just to give you an idea, a level tbsp of peanut butter is 4 syns. If you mix 2 tbsp of PB2 powder with a little bit of water, it’s 2.5 syns. TWO POINT FIVE SYNS. That’s just over half the syns, for twice the amount. Awesome times. I bought both the regular and chocolate versions from Amazon and I can’t recommend them enough if you’re a peanut butter fiend.

Porridge with PB2…not the most photogenic combination, but definitely a delicious one.

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On days when I want to save my HEXB for a wholemeal roll or pitta bread at dinner, I normally just have chopped fruit with a yogurt. Sometimes though, when it’s cold (which it always seems to be!) I fancy something a bit more substantial. Last week I experimented with a version of the magic pancakes, made even more magic by removing the oats! So it was just an egg. I whipped the white separately, folded in the yolk and some sweetener, and cooked them in a pan with some Frylight. The verdict? Actually okay! They would have been better if I hadn’t been in a massive rush to get to work and accidentally burned them, but definitely something I’d make again at the weekends if I wanted a treat without using my HEXB. Recommended!

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On the weekends, I can afford to be a little more extravagant with my breakfasts:

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Lunch

Lunches are usually leftovers with fruit, tinned spaghetti or tuna salads. Gripping stuff. However, this week I made the pea and ham soup from the SW website and loved it! It was so easy to make too, I couldn’t believe it! It’s done me for 3 lunches and it tastes delicious.

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Dinner

Dinner is the highlight of the day and a chance for us to really experiment and have something a bit more exciting.

This was slow-cooker pulled pork in a BBQ sauce (diet coke added, totally makes it!) with a wholemeal roll, sweet potato chips and syn-free coleslaw. So good!

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Last Wednesday I randomly decided to make chicken tikka masala from the Fakeaways book (such a great book.) It was a really good recipe, if slightly faffy for a school night, but then that was my own fault. I also made Ben a vegetarian version, which added to the faff (he offered to make his own curry but I wanted to make him this one…schoolboy error) and I also sponatenouslty decided to make SW onion bhajis. So yeah, it was a good 2 hours worth of kitchen time…but it was worth it!

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I won’t post the recipe because it’s in the book, but here is a gratuitous shot of the meaty and veggie versions simultaneously grilling in the tikka/yoghurt sauce. I probably wouldn’t bother with this step next time as it was crazy amounts of effort and I don’t feel it added a huge amount to the final taste.

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This was also my first experience making cauliflower rice, and I loved it! I bought frozen cauliflower (much cheaper than fresh and lasts longer) thawed it for a bit, grated it using my cheese grater, and sautéed it in a pan with garlic and coriander. It was very rice-like and actually I think I preferred it. Definitely good if you feel like you’ve OD’d a bit on carbs (a common occurrence on Slimming World) although obviously I added chips just to make sure I got those carbs back in.

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The onion bhajis were really lovely too! They were just mashed chickpeas, sliced onions, curry powder, cumin and coriander, shaped into balls and baked! Definitely recommend if you’re like me and like your Indian Fakeaway to have a bit of everything.

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Some nights, only pasta will do. This was a godsend; after a busy day at work I was able to reheat a batch of beef in red wine I’d frozen a couple of weeks earlier, roast some veggies, pile it onto spaghetti and top with my HEXA of cheese.

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This was creamy tomato pasta bake with chicken and bacon. I much prefer creamy, ‘Alfredo’ style pasta dishes over tomato based so this is a good compromise. I just stir in a few spoonfuls of Quark right at the end of cooking and it adds a lovely creamy flavour. Not as good as actual cream obviously, but if that was the case we’d all be thin and Slimming World wouldn’t exist.

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One night I came home to a beautiful meal cooked for me by Mr Ben, homemade SW falafel! Served in a wholemeal pitta bread (the WeightWatchers ones are a HEXB!) with loads of salad, garlicky yogurt, hummus, homemade ketchup and SW chips. This type of food lends itself really well to Food Optimising and we’ll be having it a lot more often now I know Ben can make it!! I’m joking, he loves cooking and would cook more often if I wasn’t such a kitchen nazi and enjoyed it so much myself.

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My favourite meal of the last few weeks was a wonderful risotto stuffed butternut squash, a meal that deserves its own post so watch out for it this week!

To my fellow slimmers, good luck on your journey this week. To everyone else, happy eating!

Slimming World – Week 1

Gather round boys and girls, it’s Wednesday, which means yesterday was WEIGH-IN day! I went to group at 5.30, all nervous and jittery to face the scales after not weighing myself ALL WEEK, a huge achievement for me 🙂

The verdict?

A slightly underwhelming 1.5lbs off. Hmmm. I was disappointed 😦 I’ve been 100% on plan this week, something which has never happened before on any diet I’ve undertaken haha and I just feel I did everything I could to lose weight. However, I haven’t got a huge amount to lose (1.5 stone, maybe 2 depending on how it goes) so I’m not expecting to see huge losses each week. I guess I just thought for the first week, I’d see 2 or 3. Never mind! Onwards and upwards! One thing that was good is when I got home after group, I didn’t feel a mad urge to drink wine and eat chocolate and treat (cheat!) myself to make up for my disappointing loss. I simply made an on-plan dinner like every other night, and enjoyed it whilst watching Dr Christian Jessen chastise overweight people on Channel 4. Does anyone else LOVE TV shows about diets and weight loss? I’m all over them like a rash, especially this time of year!

So I’m going to carry on this week as I’ve been doing, introducing more speed foods where I can and making sure 1/3rd of my plate is always speed. Hopefully I’ll see a bigger loss next week 🙂 In other news, my fiancé lost an incredible SIX POUNDS this week! He was absolutely chuffed and I’m so, so proud of him. Go Benj!

I have made some delicious meals over the past few days, something I am going to continue this coming week. I love trying new recipes and I find it keeps me interested and on-plan.

Here’s a brief round up (“Woody’s rounnndddd-upppp…” you’ll get that if you’re a Toy Story fan. If you aren’t, soz) of my eats over the past few days. Breakfasts have been porridge and water every day which surprisingly hasn’t got boring, with splenda, cinnamon and a chopped up banana. Still loving this combo!

On Sunday I cooked us a massive ‘grill-up’ – Tesco meat-free Lincolnshire sausages, sautéed potatoes, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and fried eggs. All cooked in fry-light, all FREE! Well, until I googled the sausages and discovered they were 1.5 syns EACH. EACH!! So this was actually 3 syns 😦 Don’t buy those sausages. Unfortunately, I bought 2 bags, so we’ll be eating them for a good while yet.

Breakfasts this week will continue to be porridge or fruit and yogurt when I need to save my HEXB for later in the day. I always thought fruit and yogurt was a bit of a boring, wishy washy standard SW meal (something I strive to avoid in my own Food Optimising journey) but actually, it’s quite nice. I use fat free natural yogurt, sliced banana and pear, and a WeightWatchers Dessert yogurt on top. These have nice flavours like Raspberry Tart and Lemon Tart, and they just make the bowl way more exciting. These are FREE, but obvi Slimming World won’t be shouting this from the rooftops as WW are their Rivals.

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Yum!

Lunches have also been leftovers or a serving of the massive tuna sweetcorn pasta salad I made last night. I’d definitely recommend making one of these to nibble on through the week, I used Tesco extra light mayo which is only 1/2 sun per tablespoon and I used 3 for the whole lot 🙂

Onto dinners! Oooooh I had some lovely dinners over the weekend! Friday night was burger night in our household! And what a treat that was. We had Quorn burgers, onion, lettuce, HEXA reduced fat cheddar, HEXB wholemeal roll, and I added bacon. So good! I was absolutely stuffed after this! Definitely going to keep these as a weekend treat so we don’t get sick of them, I feel like I could eat them every night though!

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Saturday night I had rump steak with all the fat trimmed off, boulangerie potatoes (recipe here) and roasted veggies. I synned a tablespoon of the heavenly Creme de St Agur as a sauce for the steak. This was lovely!

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On Sunday I fancied something hearty and warming. Slimming World beef bourguignon fit the bill! I pretty much followed the recipe exactly apart from adding more garlic and chopped carrot, and leaving out the mushrooms. I also only had 250g of beef whereas the recipe called for 700g, so it was a much smaller portion! I served it over parpadelle pasta (free!) and sliced courgettes, with my HEXA of parmesan. You get a LOT of parmesan for your HEXA!

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Monday night was a bit of an gamble, but it turned out really well! I had planned to do cajun spiced chicken thighs but we didn’t have any cajun spice. I used a bit of southern fried potato seasoning that was kicking about in the cupboard instead, simply rubbing it onto the thighs after removing the skin and all visible fat. Served with roasted vegetables, sweetcorn, roasted sweet potato wedges and a garlic yoghurt dip, this was amazing! I love meals like this, with lots of different flavours and textures.

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Finally, after weigh in last night, I had fish and chips! This was from the Fakeaways book and involved whisking egg whites and folding a yolk in to create a batter for the fish. I’ll be honest, the batter wasn’t great. After being out of the oven for approximately 10 seconds it deflated and went a bit soggy, pretty much tasting like fish with omelette on. Not necessarily a bad thing, but definitely not what I signed up for. I was prepared for this though as I’d read another bloggers experience of making this dish, and she warned this would happen. It looked convincing though and I was pleased how batter-like it appeared! Next time I’ll skip the batter faff and just have the fish plain, as it was delicious anyway 🙂 This was also my first taste of mushy peas (I know, I’m 27 and need to get out more) and I loved them! I mixed in loads of salt, pepper and garlic powder as they were blander than bland to begin with, but after that they were damnnn good!

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So that was my week! Onwards and upwards to this new week! I’ll be doing our meal plan tonight and getting organised for the next few days 🙂 Good luck everyone else following SW!

First Few Slimming World Days

So, my first week of Slimming World! I started following the plan on Monday, weighed in to my new group on Tuesday, and it’s now Thursday night. We (me and the boy are both following the plan!) have been Food Optimising for 4 glorious days. It’s been really great! I already feel better, happier, calmer, and more in control. We pretty much spent 2 weeks over Christmas just eating whatever we wanted and to be honest, by the time we went back to work, I just felt so groggy and bloated. I felt like I’d eaten everything I could possibly have wanted over the Christmas period and I was ready to start eating fresh vegetables, smaller portions, and just generally food that was better for me.

Which coincided nicely with my return to Slimming World! My first weigh in was obviously not pleasant, but it won’t be going any higher than that now 🙂 The consultant was fab, the group was friendly, and it’s right down the road from where I live! Very convenient indeed. I optimistically bought a 6 week countdown and I’m feeling SO motivated and excited for the next 6 weeks! I really am going to try to be strict and not have any ‘treat’ or ‘cheat’ days; I hate to be a cliche but I’d only be cheating myself! As I did last time. But we won’t go into that.

So, my eats! I’ve been eating some lovely things so far, and we have even more yummies planned for the rest of the week!

For breakfasts, I’ve been having porridge. I’ve never really had it before but I don’t know why, it’s so lovely! i’ve been having it with splenda and cinnamon, and also ‘whipped’ with a banana! I slice the banana really thinly and whip it into the oats with a whisk as the oats cook. The banana melts away and creates a really creamy, fluffy texture that also increases the volume of the porridge. I end up with a huuuuge fluffy bowl of oats and it fills me up until lunch, perfect!

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I made a big batch of tuna pasta salad on Tuesday and have been having it for lunch every day.

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It’s just pasta, extra light mayonnaise, sweetcorn and red onion. The EL mayo is 1 sun per level TBSP and there were 4 in the mix. 4 portions, 1 syn a portion! Yay! I’ve been having this with salad and fat free balsamic dressing, and occasionally a boiled egg if I really want to push the boat out. It is REALLY filling – on Monday I just had a salad and I felt all light-headed and horrible all afternoon which I think was a combination of not eating enough, and my poor body complaining that I wasn’t having any sugar or fat. We didn’t have the shopping delivered until Tuesday so Monday was slim pickings in the kitchen, hence the lame lunchtime salad.

Finally, onto dinners! The best meal because I have complete creative control in the kitchen and more importantly, TIME!

I believe that my first foray into Slimming World failed because, well, I gave up. But, before I gave up, I was trying to shoehorn my favourite food into the SW plan and it just wasn’t working. Some things work great cooked the SW way, some don’t. Creamy, fattening Italian sauces don’t work so well, simply because it’s hard to replicate creamy, buttery flavours without the calories. Natural yogurt has a funny twang IMO, as does Quark. I do love using Quark, but sometimes it splits even if you’re super careful with the heat, and then your dinner is ruined and you cry. Anyway, my point is, this time I am going to try to make new dishes that I wouldn’t have tried previously that work AMAZINGLY cooked the SW way, rather than trying to make pizza crust from Smash and feeling slightly dirty.

This week thus far, we have had a delicious tofu vegetable noodle dish on Monday (which I didn’t photograph 😦 ) a quick Quorn chill and baked potato on Tuesday:

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A rather experimental chicken korma on Wednesday:

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This I possibly wouldn’t recommend…I LOVE korma and I love it because of the buttery, creamy, coconutty, almondy flavours, all of which are tricky to replicate when you’re fat-restricted. The korma in the Fakeaways book (my new bible) didn’t mention coconut at all and to be honest I wasn’t having any of that. I popped to Co-Op on the hunt for a fat free coconut yogurt (fairly optimistic given the size of the shop) and unsurprisingly, they didn’t have any. They did, however, have a new ‘Pina Colada’ Mullerlight. Hmmmm….would that work?I was tired and hungry so decided it would, and bought one. I also randomly bought a tiny bottle of almond essence which I thought might be a good substitute for the almonds normally in korma.

It…wasn’t great. The yogurt was okay (I sieved out the pineapple…) but even half a cap of the almond essence was too much, and it just reminded me of a cherry bakewell. Don’t get me wrong, I ate it all, but it left a weird taste in my mouth. If you like curry, I’d recommend going with a tikka or jalfrezi or something more tomato based, which is better suited to the ingredients you’re allowed to use.

Finally, tonight was the inaugural outing of the pork pad thai recipe, again from the Fakeaways book:

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I’m happy to report this was a much more enjoyable experience! I made it as per the book, with twice the amount of garlic and chill as I like strong flavours. However, when I tried it, it was bland 😦 so I added more of each, more soy sauce, and a tablespoon of sesame oil (2 precious syns) to jazz it up a bit. It tasted a lot better after this, and a whole lime squeezed all over it completed the experience. I didn’t have any of the required veg in the recipe so I stir fried some veggies in a separate pan, and ate them alongside the pad thai to ensure I had my 1/3rd speed veggies.

I halved the recipe as I’m the solo meat-eater in the household, and I have over half left for another day 🙂 Success!

I don’t snack a huge amount but when I’ve been peckish, I’ve gone for apples and lean ham slices. Exciting stuff. My daily synage has been between 4-7 each day which i’m THRILLED with (I know it’s only Day 4 but humour me) because last year I pretty much always spent my daily 15 on silly things like condiments, wine and chocolate, which I don’t think was really helping my losses. So I’m chuffed with my restraint.

I’ll leave it there as I’m knackered and it’s been a long week at work. On tomorrows menu is CHEESEBURGERS, a meal that works insanely well cooked the SW way! We’ll have them with a boatload of free SW chips and I can’t wait. We’re staying in on Saturday night (January is a very frugal month for us, out of necessity!) and I’m planning to cook a lovely steak which always feels like a treat on SW. Sunday I fancy a nice winter warmer and I think I’ll do the Slimming World beef bourguignon mmmm!

Ooh I hope this happy, motivated attitude continues for the next 6 weeks! Wish me luck 🙂