Meal Planning Monday w/c 21st of January

(forgive me for still using the old image, blogger is being an arse and won't let me upload new images!)

It's a snowy Monday for a lot of people today and its times like this which remind me why I like meal planning. If I can't get out of the house for any reason I know we can all get fed! (and for how many days, in my case about 10 days if my freezer is anything to go by)

I lost a pound last week, which I'm pleased with, as I've worked out I need to go for a pound a week (I wrote about it here) So let's go for another one this week, with the following meal plan

Roast Pork, cornish roasted potato, parsnip, carrot and swede
Left over pork casserole with pasta and vegetables
Stir fry with noodles
Sweet potatoe curry and rice
Stuffed baked peppers, wedges and salad
Baked potato with beans and ham
Homemade burgers, salsa and SW chips

Looking at that, all Syn free meals, which leave me plenty to play around with for lunches and breakfast. Still going with a combination of eggs and beans for breakfast, as I like a large breakfast. Have just discovered Mug Shots which have some Syn free flavours, ideal for quick fill ups on cold days. There are also on offer at Tesco, 5 for £3 so that's lunch sorted.

What have you got planned? Check out At Home with Mrs M for other plans and link up your too!

I'm not going to let another year pass me by

This is my entry for the ‘Get Fit Feel Epic competition hosted by Kate on Thin Ice

Two years running I've had plans on how to make it a great year. And two years running I've been thwarted by serious illness. It would be easy to think I won't plan anything this year, that way I won't be disappointed (or tempting fate!) But I'm not going to let another year pass me by.

I've a couple of things I want to achieve this year but the one which fits with the theme for this competition is to lose 2 stone.

I started losing weight in 2011 with the help of Slimming World and since then I've managed to lose four stone. That 56 pounds, which is one, two three........... ummmm,  a lot of bags of sugar!!

Last year I lost a kidney and a gallbladder and gained an interest in all things to do with kidney cancer and cancer in general but also lost the impetus to carry on with the weight loss. Keeping me mentally well was more important than losing weight and it took a back seat for a while.

But 2013 is the year to bring it back to the table

So the facts, the bullet points, the all important numbers
  • I started in 2011 at 19 stone 4 pounds
  • I hit 15 stone 4 pounds in February 2012
  • When I weighed after Christmas I was 16 stone 8 pounds (eeek! Most of that weight did go on over Christmas)
  • Since I started eating mindfully last week, I've lost 7 pounds which brings me to 16 stone 1 pounds, so just 11 pounds to lose before I can comfortably think I'm starting on 2013 weight loss goal
So 39 pounds to lose this year, that's a steady pound a week; which I think is doable.

How am I going to do it?

I will eat mindfully; that is think about what I'm eating, why am I eating, is there an alternative? Slimming World has taught me to make choices. I don't have to stop eating all the foods I like and enjoy, I can cook them differently or find alternatives.
I'll also keep busy to stop boredom eating! Lots of craft projects to pick up and do to stop me eating just because I can.

Which leads me onto following the Slimming World healthy eating plan. It's taught me to how to cook tasty, healthy, low fat meals. I can still have chicken and chips with coleslaw. It's just roasted without the skin, chips aren't fried but baked and coleslaw is homemade and lower in fat. Winner!

Meal planning is key to eating well. I know what I have in my cupboards and the meals I can cook from it. Knowing what I can cook stops me from impulse eating. You know, the 'sod it, I can't be bothered to cook today, let's have a takeaway' feeling. If I know there's a quick and easy meal I can do, or I've already got that killer casserole cooking in the slow cooker, I'm less likely to go off plan. The added benefit is it's saves money too!

I'll increase my exercise in line with my ability to sustain it. I'm still getting treatment which makes me tired and give me very sore feet. I love walking but that's very difficult when you feel like its through glass! So I'll be exploring some other things, with less impact on my feet. Watch this space

And lastly I'm going to be kind to myself. If the plan needs to change, it will without feeling I've failed. This is a plan, it'll work now, but who's to say it'll be feasible in a couple of months time if my health changes. It can change, goals can change, everything can be changed (if nothing else over the last couple of years I've learnt that!)
I've a tendency to be hard on myself if things don't go to plan, generally over stuff I have little control over. So the plan is to be fluid, go with the flow, follow the guidelines and alter it as and when needed.

So come on 2013, I'm ready for you. I'm not going to let another year pass me by

Kate on Thin Ice is currently running a competition over on her blog in association with MoneySupermarket, Get Fit, Feel Epic. If you'd like to join in click the link here. It's open to all UK residents over the age of 18 and closes at midnight on 31st January 2013.

Meal Planning Monday w/c 14th January #mealplanningmonday

I meant to start posting my meal planning last week, but I let a silly thing like blogger not uploading photo's stop me. But today I'm determined, driven on by the fact I lost 7lb's last week, all because I was mindful and planned.

(Don't forget to check out At Home with Mrs M who host's this linky to see lots of different menu's to inspire)

Onto my menu though, very Slimming World friendly. I'm aiming for at least a pound lost this week!

Beef Stew and dumplings (6 Syns)
Lasagne and salad
Mince and onions (plus loads of vegetables), cauliflower cheese and sprouts (2 syns)
Lentil curry
KFC type chicken, chips and salad
Vegetable curry and rice
Baked potato and beans

The KFC style chicken is a new recipe for me. You skin the chicken, dunk in egg then coat with instant mash which has been well seasoned and flavoured (I'm going to use garlic and praprika as I don't know the secret recipe) It's then browned in a pan before roasting. Will let you know how it turns out!

I've discovered I prefer a large breakfast. If I go with just cereal I'm starving my 11am and then can't satisfy my hunger for the rest of the day. Breakfasts will be a combination of eggs, beans and bread, whatever combination I fancy. Can do a lot with just three ingredients (beans or eggs on toast, omlette with or without beans, scrambled eggs with or without beans or get the picture)

As usual lunches will be leftovers from the night before or a large chicken salad with rice or noodles. Snacks are fruit during the day and a fat free yogurt in the evenings. I've also enjoyed every evening an options hot chocolate. At just 2 syns it helps with the sweet cravings.

Check back next week and see if I've lost any weight, fingers crossed

Email from my brother

Hi Fay,

How's it going? Good New Years Eve I hope, lots of partying and staying up to see in 2013? We celebrated the New Year by camping in the garden. It was a sort of dry run for when/if we decide to go camping in far off places. We've got a six man tent which if you know anything about tents means the manufacturers supply those plan diagrams showing something like it's the 18th century British Slave Ship Brookes with the six people sleeping head to foot and no other room for anything. So in reality this means that we had enough room to fit one double air mattress and one single air mattress in it with the idea that I'd sleep on the single and Juliette and the kids would sleep on the double. All good so far. All set for a great night's camping. All tickety boo.

Now the sticking point in the plan was always going to be Sam because Sam needs total darkness to go to sleep and one thing tents aren't very good at is keeping the light out when the sun's up. No one ever goes into a tent when it's daylight and says "I can't see a thing it's so dark in here!". So we all "pretend" to settle in for the night at quarter to seven in the hopes that Sam would get all sleepy and then we could all squeeze out again when he's off in the land of nod. Alas come seven o'clock Sam is running around bouncing off the insides of the tent like psyched up WWF wrestler bouncing off the ropes in a wrestling ring. Me, Juliette and Eva were on the air beds in the middle just watching him go back and forth, up and down, back and forth. The tipping moment came however when he stopped running around, crouched in the corner of the tent and silently crapped in his nappy. We're like "Sam are you doing poo poos?" and he's wide eyed, his shoulders hunched up around his ears, red faced, you could hear the straining in his voice as he say "Er, no?". That's when we decided to abandon all of us camping and get Sam back into the familiar routine of sleeping in his own bed. Changing a poo-ey nappy is risky at the best of times but when everywhere poo could go is your bed then it's time to relocate. Eva was so disappointed that I said that she should go to sleep in her bed for now and then when I went to bed I'd carry her out to the tent and she and I would camp instead. So that's what we did.

So I'm not staying up till midnight because we've got little kids and they don't give a sh*t about sleep ins as you know. Ten O'clock rolls around and I go and get the sleeping bag to wrap Eva up in. I wake her up; she's sleepy but excited and I take her single duvet cover for me to sleep in. I get us out to the tent where summer now appeared to have left us as the temperature is now in the nippy region. It may because it's been up in the 28/29 degree area for the past week but that night the temperature had dropped down to 8/9 degrees so it felt colder - a lot colder than that temperature had any right being. I wrap Eva up in the sleeping bag and tuck myself in with the single duvet next to her on the double air mattress. Snug as a bug in rug. But Eva doesn't go to sleep because she's too hot in the sleeping bag so I unzip it and let her sleep on top. Five minutes later she's too cold. Repeat. So to cut a long story short we end up sharing the single duvet with the associated problem that someone is not going to get some covers. That someone is obviously me because I'm the dad and if Eva is cold she's going to be waking me up anyway. Why didn't I use the sleeping bag? Because the air mattress was cold too and the sleeping bag was now keeping the warmth from being leeched into the cold rubber. So we settle in for a good nights sleep ...

Tom the cat is an excellent rat catcher as I've mentioned before which is curious because he's very loud when he's moving around at night. I mean it's not long until he starts meowing and stalking us in the tent. Proper yowling meowing. It's like cat talk for "Hey! I'm coming to getcha!", pause, louder meow, "I'm get really close now dude!", pause, louder still, "I'm right behind you! Wooo!". I don't know how he knew which way we were sleeping or that we were in there in the first place but in the end it resulted in Tom dabbing my head through the lycra like tent wall. Dab, dab, dab. You've got to be kidding me. So because I'm laying down I moved my fist past my pillow like Superman doing his flying pose and punched him. Problem solved.

Another issue was the Waikato Hunt Kennels or rather the Hound of the Baskervilles, Cujo, Cerberus and co. that live at the Waikato Hunt Kennels over the hill. We usually hear them howling at feeding time around 4pm. It's a little bit disconcerting if you don't know that someone hasn't actually opened up a gateway to hell what with all the noise that sounds like the screaming souls of the dead but once you know what it is everything is good. I think it was because it was New Years and the dogs were spooked but they started howling like it was a new moon or something. They didn't really let up until the last of the far off fireworks and the popping of champagne corks finished sometime after midnight. So I didn't plan to be awake at midnight but I was. Happy New Year!

An hour or two later ... dab, dab, dab, f*ck off Tom, Superman punch.

Eva woke up at half five in the morning and pretty much wanted to spring out of bed like she'd had the best night's sleep ever. I crawled out with her and she managed to watch all of the film of "Despicable Me" (runtime 95 minutes) before Juliette and Sam stumbled into the living room at half seven or so. I went back to bed of course for an hour because I'd done my parental duty. Dad of the Year 2013 - back of the net! I'm thinking of slacking off for the rest of the year because I reckon I've peaked too early. Right, I'm off to find out where Tom's sleeping and dab his head until he tries to Superman punch me.

Take care,
Love Mark xxx