Where’s The Elation?

So the weight loss has continued for another week. This week I dropped another 2.5 pounds to take me to grand total of 18 pounds lost over 6 weeks of dieting (this week was weigh-in number 7).

That’s great and I didn’t anticipate seeing the scales move so quickly. Not only that but I’ve been kept going with a steady stream of non-scale victories. I’ve had women at the gym comment on my weight loss and I’ve had my friend say she can see my face is much slimmer. I’ve had to give up on one of my larger pairs of jeans because they’ll no longer stay up and the smaller pair of jeans that were a struggle to fasten 6 weeks ago can now be pulled up and down without being unzipped or having the button loosened. The joggers I wear to the gym are now so large that I have to tie them just to keep them up and today I managed to get into a gym top that I’ve had since the summer and never worn since it was skin tight and it was ever so slightly baggy today.

I go to the same Zumba class every week and this week I noticed a huge difference in my physical fitness. I’ve always managed to get through the class relatively easily as I have tried to keep up some cardio even when I was at my fattest and regularly go to Body Attack and other cardio-intensive classes. I’d say on a scale of 1 to 10, I usually find the Zumba class to be around a 5 or a 6 with the more intense tracks that we do but today I felt it was more like a 4 or a 5. This should be a big deal for me as I’ve always been really motivated to lose weight for the increases in physical fitness just as strongly as I’d like to lose weight for aesthetic reasons and loved, in the past, being much, much fitter at a lighter weight.

So I’m seeing results both on and off the scales.

I should be super pumped at my achievements and seeing things change and I really was initially. The first couple of weeks felt awesome but now I’m feeling a little bit more ‘meh’ about it. I’m just not feeling excited about what I’m achieving for some reason. Maybe it is all becoming a habit now and the novelty of going to get weighed is wearing off a bit but I’m not getting bored by the actual dieting, as such, just feeling underwhelmed by my achievements.

However, I’m just going to keep on keeping on. I think the big psychological leap for me will come as I get closer to 11 stones (I’m currently 11 stone 13) as in the past I felt comfortable at 11 stones and never really managed to nudge under it. Hopefully I can smash through it this time and see how good I can feel at an even lower weight!

Advertisements

Just Keep Swimming…Just Keep Swimming!

I didn’t get a chance to blog last week (pesky life getting in the way) but I did manage a 2.5lb loss, taking me to a stone lost in total.

The losses continued this week with an additional 1.5lbs.

I’m sure all dieters are aware of how deflating a small loss can be. I was happy with 1.5lbs but would have been happier with 2 but the rational part of my brain told me not to be disheartened. I had been good and kept well within my points for the week but I have lost over a stone now and I have to be prepared for weight loss to start slowing down a bit.

However, I was about to be brought to earth with a bump when I phoned my mum to tell her what I’d lost. Her response? “Well that’s not very much, is it? You must not have been trying very hard. I knew you hadn’t lost much….you still look fat.”

Wow. Just wow. Talk about support?!

It is particularly frustrating as I still live at home and my mum fills the house with snacky junk food which is, as she knows, my weakness. I’m relatively good at eating well at meal times. I’ve never been someone who has particularly struggled with portion control but if there’s chocolate or crisps in the house, I can find myself being tempted in the evenings. So having a house filled with junk is a constant temptation. It almost seems to be that she is deliberately trying to sabotage me as she seems to be more inclined to buy lots of my favourite things when she knows I’m watching what I’m eating.

I’ve been on this road for 6 weeks now and have been fastidious. I’ve never went over my points for the week once and usually finish the week with lots of my weeklies left over. I’m obsessed with tracking and track literally ever morsel that goes in my mouth whether that be a teaspoon of olive oil I’ve used for cooking or a squirt of ketchup. I weigh everything so I’m accurately recording what I’m consuming and I exercise. In addition, even though I drive and have a car, I walk almost everywhere by choice. If I lose a pound and a half, it isn’t for lack of trying and to lose a pound and a half is a healthy amount of weight to lose in a week.

Talk about frustrated! Luckily my friend who goes to Weight Watchers with me was there to tell me I was doing well and to ignore my mother but it’s still really brushed me up the wrong way!

The Politics of Weight Loss

So another week, another loss (thankfully). A three and a half pound loss this week took me to a total of 11 and a half pounds and meant I hit and surpassed my 5% weight loss target. Woohoo!

I’d had a funny ol’ week where I felt quite snacky all week and gave in to my snacking desires as long as I was within my points. This meant I had decimated my weekly points by about Day 5 this week which was unusual for me (week one I didn’t touch them and week two I only used a few of them) but I had a bigger loss this week than last week so maybe I should try to eat them all in future.

Aside from that, however, I had a slightly odd experience. My weigh in is at 6pm and so I usually have a very light day on the eating front until my weigh in is over and then go home for dinner. This usually means that on weigh in day I don’t always use all my points as I’ll maybe only be using 4 or 5 of them before weigh in and will be going home to a dinner of about 10 points. Since I have 26 points for a day, this means I’ve usually got 11 or 12 going spare. This week, I’d spoken about it to my friend and we’d decided that we’d pop to the shop before weigh in and buy a chocolate treat each to use some of those extra points on.

Now, when I say chocolate treat, I don’t mean a giant bar or multiple chocolate items. I’m talking about one individual sized chocolate portion. I opted for a bag of Maltesers, my friend opted for a Twix. We were both well within our points for the day (in fact, even had some left over). I am a chocolate fiend and can’t get enough of the stuff but four weeks into being a WW member, I have only had two squares of a chocolate bar that my parents brought home round about the second week mark and then these Maltesers.

Class starts at 6 but the building is usually open around 5:30. My friend and I usually weigh in at 5:30 and then hang around while everyone else filters in and weighs in. The group leader usually starts to finish weighing in and lead the group at about 6:30. The plan was to weigh in and then have a chat while we ate our treat.

However, while we were eating, another class member started talking about the irony of us coming to Weight Watchers and eating chocolate. At first she was pretty jovial about it and I’m always quick to laugh at myself so laughed it off but then she seemed to become genuinely annoyed. She seemed to think we were being selfish eating chocolate in front of other people who would also like to eat chocolate but were trying to lose weight.

I couldn’t help but wonder how she coped in normal life where people at her work/home/local park/high street may well be indulging in chocolate/cake/fast food round about her. Furthermore, I couldn’t help but think that she could be having the chocolate too if she really wanted it…all she needed to do was budget for it in her calories/points.

Anyway, as the class continued, it transpired that during the week she had given in to her cravings and had a massive chocolate binge. Perhaps she was still reeling from this and took it out on us but I also seen another class member giving us looks when we were eating.

Either this is a case of ‘fat shaming’ of the rather ironic kind or else we really were being selfish in eating the chocolate that we’d planned for in front of others who might not have planned for a treat. I really don’t know. I live in a household with my parents. My dad is a bit of a food lover and would eat until he burst if he had the chance and my mum is seriously underweight after a prolonged illness and has been told by doctors to try to get her weight up as quickly as possible. This means that I’m dieting in a house that is constantly filled with junk food/calorie dense food and I’m constantly surrounded by people eating that food. If I was going to take a strop every time someone ate something I’d like to eat, but couldn’t, in front of me….well, I’d be taking A LOT of strops!

Either way, the whole situation has made me feel a bit uncomfortable about attending the class. However, it was satisfying when the group leader pointed out to the class that I’d lost 11.5 pounds in 4 weeks. I felt like looking at the Malteser Joy Stealer and making a face that said, “See, I don’t eat Maltesers all the time…..they were a rare treat!” Next week, I think I’ll be popping in for my weigh in and then straight back out without staying for the class, however.

The Great Vegetable War

I’ve never been a huge fan of the veggies and I often wish my parents had been a bit stricter on me as a child instead of just giving in and never putting them on my plate. The result being that I entered adulthood only really happy to eat peas and sweetcorn (and even peas were a struggle if they were garden peas and not processed peas).

Luckily, I was quite happy to eat fruit and would quite happily eat some homemade soups as long as they were food processed and not left chunky so I did manage to get some degree of nutrition that way. However, I’ve spent my adult life being aware that this just isn’t good enough and making a conscious effort to retrain my tastebuds.

I am quite a fussy eater in general and it isn’t just veg I tended to avoid. There’s quite a lot of less healthy things that I can’t abide, either. For example, I never touch coffee, tea or alcohol. I’m also fussy with most meats. I’ll only really eat beef, pork, chicken and fish with beef and pork being only something I’m in the mood for now and again. Game and lamb are completely off the menu for me. I don’t really like sausages (although I am in the mood for them now and again), hate anything that tastes salty and so most tinned foods/pre-packaged ready meals etc. are a no-go for me and can’t really stand the taste of liquorice. This is not a comprehensive list of the things that I dislike but certainly will give you an idea how difficult eating can be!

Anyway, I’m not in a hurry to acquire a taste for alcohol or salt and am quite content to find them a bit revolting but the veggies definitely needed (and still need) some work!

After years of trying, I’m now in a place where I can eat quite a lot of veg and even enjoy some of it! I now much prefer garden peas to the processed kind and will happily eat mangetout, green beans, peppers (although I still haven’t quite managed to acquire a taste for green ones), corn, carrots, onions and plenty of other things that I would previously have turned my nose up at.

I still have a nemesis, though….anything green and leafy tends to freak me out! I would love to be able to delve into a salad, even if I was just able to endure it and not enjoy it, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to become immune to anything green and leafy.

Anyway, I was thinking about this today as I chopped up some broccoli for my pasta. Broccoli was green and leafy enough to be included in the no-go zone list but I decided to try some today. I chopped it up fine and mixed it in and couldn’t even taste it but this made me think that I should write a blog post about my veg aversion as I realise that it is quite common.

I realised quite early on in tackling my veg problem that at least part of the problem was psychological. I’d built it up to be a “big deal” and convinced myself I couldn’t possibly eat, or even try, most veggies. Chopping it up small was a way for me to get around this. I could convince myself to attempt some veg if it was cut so small as to be barely noticeable and mixed in with something else that I really enjoyed/that was strong tasting enough to mask the veg. I tried mixing chopped up veg with things like pasta sauces, in stir fries and, when I started to get a bit less freaked out by the veg I was trying, by putting it on top of pizzas.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t advise eating pizza every day just to try to get accustomed to a bit of veg but if you are having a pizza as a treat it can be something to try to gradually build up a tolerance.

The other thing I used to do was when I went out for a meal. I’d let myself order whatever it was that I wanted (and usually that wouldn’t be very healthy!) under the condition that I tried some veg with it. So, for example, if I ordered a burger and it came with tomato, lettuce and onion, I’d tell myself that I had to try at least one piece of veg. I’d cut up a bit of onion or tomato and eat it with a chip so it felt less intimidating than eating a chunk of veg by itself. In fact, this was exactly how I conquered my onion phobia. They were so strong tasting/smelling and turned my stomach but would have tiny pieces of onion alongside a chip or a bit of burger or something else that I really enjoyed when eating out. Eventually, I started to be able to endure them, even if I didn’t like them. Ironically enough, I now adore onion. Most main meals have onion or garlic or chives or some other onion relative as a feature in them and can quite happily eat raw onion mixed in with tuna on a sandwich.

Soup was also a winner for me. I’d be willing to try some veg in a soup that I wouldn’t be willing to try any other way and then, once you get over that psychological barrier of trying it in some form, it is always that bit easier to try it in solid form.

I’d love to know what methods other people have tried to conquer a veg phobia….particularly if they are useful in overcoming a dislike of veg of the leafy green variety!

Here We Go Round Again

So this week has been a bit of a toughie. I’m a lover of the ol’ scales. I find weighing frequently helps to keep me accountable to myself and keeps me on track but even I can admit that I have the tendency to overdo it. Recently I’ve been weighing in every day which is, arguably, not the best habit to get into. This week it was a particularly nasty habit because the scales just weren’t budging! I was eating well, keeping within my points/calories, exercising frequently but was weighing in at a consistent 12 stones and 7 pounds every single ruddy day!

Now, I wasn’t expecting miracles but I was expecting a loss, however slight. I tried to convince myself that it could be for a plethora of reasons and tried to remind myself that the number on the scale was not the only thing of prime importance but it was all very hard!

It is pretty funny how I can define myself by a number on a scale so easily. Despite anything I’ve previously achieved in life, despite what I can hope for in my future, despite the friendships I cherish, the people I love, the hobbies I commit to and the three-dimensional complexity that is me, that number seems to be worth more than all that lumped together.

Anyway, the scale finally started moving again in time for my weigh-in today and I dropped two pounds which leads me to a total weight loss of 8 pounds in two weeks. Of course, I’m pleased and was chuffed to bits with my shimmery, silver “7” sticker and my smiley face charm that I was given but I’ve also became aware that I really need to switch my emphasis away from the number on the scales a little more and, perhaps, stop being so obsessive over it. So, in that vein, I think I need to assess some of my non-scale victories for the week.

Firstly, I pulled my rather ample backside back to the gym. I’ve never really stopped going, as such, but I was going a lot less regularly than I had been before. Partly through other commitments eating away at my time, partly because the gym was being refurbished and there was limited access and partly because I was making excuses far too often. And by gosh, how much I’ve missed it! Now that I’m back in the swing of things, I realise how much I enjoy being there and love the buzz I get afterwards and also remember how hard I worked to get myself to that stage of loving it rather than dreading it. My gym has just finished a refurb and this has resulted in the gym itself reopening and the class schedule exploding. There’s now tonnes more classes than ever before in the seven or so years that I’ve been a member and I’m thrilled! There’s more old favourites that I love but also loads of new classes for me to experiment with and the new gym itself is pretty nice.

Secondly, I went to the cinema three times this week. This is a little unusual for me….I’ve hardly had a cinema trip in months and then I’m there three times in a week. I mentioned in my last blog going to see The Water Diviner (an awesome movie) after my weigh in. I had a hot dog but had planned for it as I hadn’t used my daily calories that day or any of my weeklies that week. I then went to see The Duff with a friend during the week and, finally, went to the regional premiere of The Avengers: Age of Ultron at Glasgow IMAX last night. Normally, I’m all about the sweet stuff. To be fair, I’m usually pretty good at avoiding eating at cinemas since my stinginess usually wins out over my sweet tooth and I refuse to pay cinema prices for snacks but I usually am vaguely tempted. I really wasn’t tempted at all and didn’t miss having something sweet to munch on during the movies.

Next there was my relative success when faced with takeaway temptation. My mum is pretty ill right now and struggles to eat but will suddenly take a notion for something once every few weeks. This week she took a notion for chip shop chips in curry sauce and asked my dad to bring some home from work. Normally, I’d be tempted to put in a wee cheeky order for myself and justify it to myself by telling myself it isn’t often that it happens but I refrained (although I was tempted)! Mum didn’t finish the chips and gave them to me to finish. The temptation was too much and I did eat them although I still had my Weekly points for the week so just scrubbed the whole 49 of them off the slate to account for it (I reckon I was over-estimating there but I’d rather over-estimate than under-estimate). I felt pretty awful afterwards and wondered why I’d done that. In the past, this would have led to self-sabotage and me writing off the rest of the evening, dipping into the biscuit barrel and generally drowning in self loathing. However, I was able to be rational, tell myself that I’d given into temptation but was still within my points for the week so that was no great loss and keep on track.

Finally, I was out and about today wearing a pair of jeans (the only pair of jeans that I still fit into, might I say)! I’ve had the jeans for years and so they’ve been with me through chubby periods, slimmer periods and are still hanging in there with me at the moment. I’ve hated wearing them recently because they’ve been clinging to my calves more than is comfy and I suddenly realised today that they were loose around the calves. When I’ve lost weight in the past, I’ve always found that the calves are the first place to lose it and so, although I might prefer it to come off my stomach, at least it shows it’s working and I’m getting somewhere. Also, the WW leader brought some weights to class today. One was a 7lb weight and I just need to remember how heavy it was to remind myself how substantial an eight pound weight loss is. I’m doing my joints a favour here!

Onwards and upwards! Here’s to another good week!

Hello Fresh

Featured image

Before I’d decided to make the decision to join Weight Watchers, I spotted a Groupon for a discounted Hello Fresh box. If you are unfamiliar with what Hello Fresh does, it is basically a food subscription service. You can receive a box once a week that includes the ingredients and the recipes for various meals. I’d heard about it previously but had always been put off by the hefty price tag (normally £39 for the box I chose) but Groupon was offering a box for the much more reasonable £13.50 and so I decided that it was worth a shot.

What’s On Offer?

Currently Hello Fresh offers three different types of subscription box:

  • The Classic Box
  • The Veggie Box
  • The Family Box

You can choose whether you want three meals a week for 2, 3 or 4 people. There is also the option for a five meal per week box for 2 people. The Classic box starts at £39 per week for 3 meals for 2 people, the Veggie box starts at £36 and the Family box which provides 4 meals per week for 4-5 people is currently selling for £49. They deliver to most mainland UK destinations but charge a whopping £13 extra charge for delivery in Northern Ireland. They also offer a trial box which is a one-off order for £42.

The Meals

The meals are designed to reflect seasonal produce and vary. The meals available this week were:

  • Moroccan Spiced Salmon
  • Spring Time Crispy Chicken Parmigiana Salad
  • Garlic Day Pork Linguine
  • Chicken Yakitori (5 meal boxes only)
  • A Trendy Cauliflower and Lentil Panang Curry (5 meal boxes only)

There are also “swap” dishes provided in case a particular dish doesn’t tickle your fancy but these are not available for all box types. The swap dishes this week were:

  • Mexican “Dirty Rice”
  • Stuffed Peppers

I’m not a huge salmon fan and so I swapped it for the Dirty Rice dish. The swapping process was very easy and straightforward and could be done through My Account on the Hello Fresh website.

Ordering and Delivery

Ordering was very straightforward. The Groupon code was accepted without any issues and I was given a choice of delivery dates for my box. There is almost always someone at home here between the three of us and so delivery wasn’t an issue for me but I’m not sure how I’d feel about ordering if no one was going to be at home as the box contains fresh meat and I wouldn’t want it sitting outside. However, you can leave a delivery note specifying that you want it left outside if no one will be home and you’re comfortable with this. The cut off date for delivery for the next week is Wednesday night at midnight. I ordered my box on the Tuesday night and selected the Monday for delivery.

Delivery was by DHL. I had an email reminding me of the delivery and then had a text message on the day of delivery specifying a delivery time. The delivery actually came earlier than anticipated. The text message had informed me that it would arrive after 1pm and it came just after midday. Again, this wasn’t a problem for me as I was home anyway but I suppose it could have been problematic for some.

Packaging

The outer packaging was, as expected, a large cardboard box. The majority of ingredients inside were loose (for example, the veg) but the fiddly little things were packaged in a separate little cardboard box and the fresh meat was inside a large plastic bag, lined with wool and ice packs. I don’t like lots of additional packaging so I was quite glad that packaging was kept to a minimum and the welcome booklet inside lets you know that you can return used packaging to Hello Fresh for them to recycle. I was impressed!

The Food

Now onto the important part! The quality of the ingredients seemed to be impressive. The meals I’d chosen required chicken breast, chicken thighs, chorizo and Italian sausage. The chicken was lovely and didn’t look the sickly, pale way that some supermarket chicken appears. The sausage looked a little odd but I’ve never had Italian sausage before so it probably only looked odd due to my ignorance and my being too familiar with supermarket sausage!

The recipe cards are all very clear and concise. I’m very far from being a chef but can get by in the kitchen reasonably well. I was a bit worried that the dishes were going to be fussy and difficult to prepare but the recipes were quick, easy and not “cheffy”. The wonderful thing was that all the ingredients were provided and in exact quantities so there was no weighing or measuring needed.

I first attempted the Chicken Parmigiana. I had to bash the chicken into submission with a rolling pin which was good fun and then smother it with a layer of sour cream before topping it with some breadcrumbs, cheese and garlic salt. It was served with new potatoes and spinach coated in a sour cream and olive oil dressing. I felt pretty unsure about this one but was willing to give it a go and it was fantastic! It was really very tasty and I’m going to hang onto the recipe card for it.

The second dish I tried was the Garlic Day Pork Linguine. Again, it was a simple to follow recipe and relatively quick to cook. I used all the chilli flakes provided and thought that it had a nice kick but was a bit disappointed in the sausage. I seemed to find quite a few bits of gristle and there’s nothing that puts me off eating meat than that! The pasta and sauce were lovely, though, and it is a recipe that I’d definitely consider trying again with another type of sausage.

The Mexican Dirty Rice dish was the dish that I found most disappointing. Again, it was easy to follow and relatively quick to cook but I didn’t particularly enjoy the taste. However, my dad loved it and went back for a second helping so I think this was a matter of taste.

The Verdict

All in all, I was really impressed with Hello Fresh. I love how you are provided with everything you need and in exact quantities and I was impressed with the quality of the produce, too. I am quite a fussy eater and tend to stick to very plain, boring meals and so I expected to not like the food but really enjoyed it. However, it wasn’t healthy eating, as such with the calorie contents of the meals being quite high (the Parmigiana was around 700 cals per portion, the Mexican Dirty Rice around the 800 cal mark and the Garlic Day Pork Linguine was a whopping 1000). I cut my portion sizes down by quite a lot to ensure I wasn’t going over my calorie allowances for the day and had to cut back all day to allow for the ‘cost’ of my dinner that night. On the plus side, the Hello Fresh website does have all the nutritional information for their meals on the website so that you aren’t left guessing.

The major downside, for me, was the cost. I don’t think I would pay £39 a week for this. You do get quite a lot of food in each box and if you were buying all the ingredients at a supermarket you would, of course, have to buy full packs rather than the necessary amount and so you would probably pay more. However, it is easy to feed yourself relatively cheaply by not making elaborate meals.

I also found the meals quite filling and a little too heavy for me. It would be nice for one meal a week but to have to have three meals a week would be daunting if you were doing it on a weekly basis.

I would definitely consider ordering another box as a one-off treat or for a special occasion, though and would also consider signing up if they ever offered a 1 meal per week option.

The Moment of Truth!

So tonight was the night of my first weigh in. I was expecting a good result as I’d been fairly obsessive about keeping to my WW points/calorie goals and had taken the liberty of doing a few sneaky weigh ins at home.

The result was a 6 pound loss which I’m very pleased with although I keep reminding myself that the weight does tend to fly down in the first week and will start to slow down this week.

I hadn’t really had any treats this week and didn’t intend to treat myself tonight. However, I decided to go to the cinema to see The Water Diviner and since I had to leave straight from weigh in to make it on time, I decided I’d have a hot dog since I had most of my points for the day left and most of my extra ‘weekly’ points for the week that finishes today left to use. The hot dog was a bit of a disappointment but, on the plus side, the film was awesome and I highly recommend it. I am a bit of a Russell Crowe obsessive but I don’t think I’m being biased when I say that it is well worth a watching!

I’ve just came home and have planned out my meals for next week on my little paper tracker. I found this week fairly plain sailing but then the first week always is the easiest when you’re full of enthusiasm and excitement. Tomorrow will probably be a challenge as I plan to spend the whole day in the University library doing work on my PhD corrections. I always find that I’m tempted to go to get a bar of chocolate after being in the library for a few hours and so I reckon I’ll only take notes so I don’t have change to pop in the vending machine. I plan to also have a large lunch before I go as I’ll be there over dinner and just take some lighter snacky things to eat while I’m working.

Roll on Week 2!