Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Four Simple Steps to Achieve Your Goals in 2012

Goals Quote with Butterfly


Christmas, and the usual Christmas indulgences, have passed by now, and the new year is almost upon us. Whether you ate healthily over the holidays or over-indulged, chances are, you are looking at the approaching 2012 and deciding on what you want from the new year ahead.

Are you going to wait until Januaury 1st to begin trying to reach those goals? Or, instead of procrastinating, are you going to start aiming for those goals now?

Achieving you goals takes just four simple steps.

1 - Decide what you want to achieve in 2012.

2 - Now make a list of what steps you need to take to achieve those goals.

3 - Start taking those steps now.

4 - Continue taking the steps it takes to achieve your goals.

Simple, right?

Friday, 23 December 2011

Healthy Ideas For Fun & Gift-Giving For The Holidays

I wrote this last year and it was originally published in the December 2010 issue of Bevery Hills Child Magazine.

Christmas Tree 2011


The coming holiday season doesn't have to mean gaining weight for you or your family. Here are some easy ways to make your holidays healthier and to show your children how to have a fun and healthy time while celebrating without adding any additional calories and fat to your daily life.

1. Make cookies and cakes healthier. Baking cookies and cakes for the holidays is seen as a holiday tradition for most people. An easy way to make healthier versions of cakes and cookies is to eliminate the oil and butter used in most recipes and replace them with yogurt. You can also replace sugar with sweetener.

Here’s a recipe for Snickerdoodle Balls that kids will love making. They will love the mixing and kneading it takes to make these cinnamon flavoured treats!

Snickerdoodle Balls

Ingredients

6oz self-raising flour
3oz low-fat margarine
12 tbsp sweetener
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 egg yolk

Directions

-Preheat the oven to 350F.

-Mix the sweetener, flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the margarine and rub it in using your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

-Stir in the yogurt and the egg yolk. Knead the mixture with your hands until it forms a soft dough.

-Divide the mixture into 24 small balls. Place the dough balls on a baking tray sprayed with Pam or other low calorie oil spray. Bake these in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Cool before serving.

2. Make cracker and cream cheese houses. Instead of the traditional gingerbread houses, get out some square crackers, and let children use fat-free cream cheese to stick them together, building a house. Cut up carrots and bell peppers for your children to use to decorate their houses.

3. Make “snow sleds” out of cardboard boxes. You only need a cardboard box and some paints for this craft. Your child will love painting the cardboard box to turn it into their pretend sled.

4. Make pick-a-gift jars. Your child can recycle glass jars and paint them with festive colors and pictures. Let your child write down, on colorful pieces of paper, things he will do as gifts, such as mowing the lawn, walking the dog, washing the car, drawing a picture, etc. Fill the jar with these “gifts”, and whomever he chooses to give this gift to can choose one for your child to do until the choices run out. Just make sure the “gifts” your child lists in the jar are age appropriate.

5. Make meringue Christmas trees. Here’s where a little sugar can go a long way. These meringues do not hold a lot of calories as they are very small, and you can make them healthier by using sweetener in pace of sugar in the recipe.

Christmas Tree Meringues

Ingredients

3 large eggs, whites only
2 ½oz powdered sugar
3 ½oz caster sugar or 3 ½ oz sweetener
green food coloring

Directions

-Preheat the oven to 260F Fan.

- Mix together caster sugar and icing sugar/sweetener.

-Put 3 large eggs whites in a clean bowl, add a few drops of green food coloring and whisk until the mixture forms stiff glossy peaks.

-Add the sugar mixture, one spoonful at a time, whisking until stiff again between each addition.

-Spoon the mixture into a freezer bag and snip the corner and make a hole. Line the baking tray with wax paper and pipe out the meringue to make blobs that get narrower as they go up with the peaks at the top.

-Decorate the meringue tree with silver balls all over it.

6. Serve up a healthy lasagna. This is great because you can make several of these, your child can have fun helping you layer the ingredients, and the lasagne can be frozen to be cooked whenever it is needed. Use disposable foil pans. Let your child join you as you take a lasagna to someone you know could use the helping hand for the holidays this year.

7. Volunteer. Volunteering, and not only letting your child see you volunteering, but letting your child volunteer too, is a great way to teach good values to your child. You can volunteer with your child at a soup kitchen or a food bank. You can help wrap gifts for one of the many charities that deliver toys to children in need over the holidays. There are many ways that you and your child can volunteer and help make the world a little brighter for someone else during this holiday season.

8. Make colourful paper chains and Christmas bows out of ribbon to decorate around the house. Your child will have fun being creative with these kids of simple projects. Let her decide where to decorate.

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You can even make tiny bell ornaments out of egg cartons, pipe ceaners, paint and bells. Just cut the bumps out of the egg cartons, poke a hole through the top of each one, and, using pipe cleaners, create loops through the “bells” to hang them from your Christmas tree, sliding jingle bells through the loops on the inside of the egg carton “bells.” Your child can make these or you can make them and your child can paint and decorate them.

9. Make do-it-yourself healthy trail mix snacks. Use granola, raisins, yogurt covered dried strawberries, whole grain Cheerios, mini (unsalted) pretzels and cashews or peanuts. Put everything out and give your child a small sandwich bag. Let your child choose which of the ingredients he wishes to add to his bag and then he can shake it all up inside the bag. Then he can either eat it or tie a ribbon around it to give as a gift.

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10. Make your own ornaments out of homemade clay using cookie cutters and acrylic paints. You can make homemade clay using flour, salt and water. Roll it out until it is about ½ inch thick. Get out cookie cutters, preferably Christmas-themed, and your child can cut make as many as they can fit onto the surface. Using a sharp pencil, poke a small hole through the top of each one. Once these are done baking until they are hardened, paint them all white on both sides using white acrylic paint. When the paint dries, your child can use different colors of acrylic paints to make each ornament colourful and unique. When the ornaments are dried, put a tiny ribbon or string through the holes in the top of each one and tie it into a loop. Now the ornaments are ready to either be hung on the tree or to be wrapped as presents.

Salt Clay

Ingredients

2 cups plain flour
1 cup salt
1 to 1 ½ cups cold water
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions

-Stir ingredients together. Knead it together well until it forms a soft ball.

-Cut out the cookie shapes.

-Bake in the oven at 300F for an hour or until hard.

Whatever you choose to do for the holidays, just remember that the holidays can be fun and healthy for you and your children. Happy holidays!



Friday, 25 November 2011

What Does It Take?

What it takes to live a healthy lifestyle:

1. Making the right food choices and sometimes saying "no" to something you want.

2. Giving up an hour or so of your day to commit to exercise.


What it takes to continue living an unhealthy lifestyle:

1. Living with health related illesses (if not now, then later), such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma and more.

2. Feeling fatigued and having no energy most of the time.

3. Living with physical pain and breathlessness. Being overweight can cause conditions such as plantar fasciitis (chronically inflamed heels), lack of being able to breathe properly when doing simple things like climbing the stairs in your home, sleep apnea (stopping breathing for moments at a time during your sleep which can be potentially very dangerous), and worse.

4. Living with being teased about your weight, your looks or your lack of physical fitness.

5. Low self-esteem. Being overweight can often correspond with a low self-esteem.

6. Living with not being able to fit into your favorite style of clothes or not being able to shop in the regular-sized clothing stores.

7. Having embarrassing moments such as having to ask for seat belt extenders when on a plane or not fitting onto a roller coaster ride or being uncomfortable sitting in a chair that has arms because the arms squeeze into you.

8. Feeling self-conscious when eating in public. Although it is doubtful anyone is sitting in judgment, it is not always the way things play out in our minds.

The list could be longer, but I will stop here. I know which of the lists I prefer. Do you?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Number One Tip For Making Your Dreams Come True

Persistence


I once was very overweight. The medical term was "morbidly obese." The term "morbidly" implied that I was putting my life at risk by being as overweight as I was at the time. I had health problems and lived with pain every single day.

I dreamed that I would someday be slim and healthy again. But dreaming about it wasn't enough. Dreaming about it kept my dream off in the distance somewhere as something that would happen someday.

Now my weight puts me in a healthy BMI. I don't have any pain other than the occasional temporary muscle aches from a new form of exercise. And I am wearing clothes that my teenagers fit into. I have been described as "tiny" and "diddy." I have energy and I have my health back. I lost over half my body weight.

So how did I do it? What is the number one tip I can give you for making your dream, whatever that dream might be, come true?

I was persistent. Persistence is the one thing you need to achieve any goal you have set for yourself. How did I do it? I didn't give up. I kept at it. I didn't let anything stand in my way. I made my goal a priority in my life and I worked hard at it.

Some days it was easier than others. On other days, it was a struggle and a battle the entire day. But I never gave up. I was focused and persistent and I never lost sight of what I wanted and of what I needed to do to get it.

Now I am on a different journey. I have a new goal. I want my children's stories and my novels to be published. For my novels, that means I have to finish them, edit them, and edit them some more. That's why I am participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year. I'm writing 50,000 words or more in 30 days.

And that's why I might not post as often during the month of November. I won't be gone though, and I will try and still update from time to time, or I will share interesting news I find on Skinny Dreaming's Facebook page.

I am giving this goal the same persistence that I gave to losing weight and getting healthy. It's only day 8 of the challenge and I have already written 28,546 words. (This novel might be a bit longer than a mere 50,000 words by the time it is finished.)

If you have a goal, a dream you want to achieve, stop dreaming about it and start reaching for it!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Seven Tips For Eating Healthy On Halloween

Happy Halloween Conjuring Fairies


For those of us trying to keep an eye on our waistlines, Halloween can be a real nightmare. We are expected to buy lots of Halloween sweets and treats to hand out. Hopefully, we have enough trick-or-treaters to hand it all out and not be stuck with a bunch of extra temptation in the house, but if we have kids of our own, chances are that they will be bringing home buckets of sugary loot too. How are we supposed to eat healthy while surrounded by so much sweet temptation?

1. Hand out something other than sweets. You could hand out toothbrushes, but that might not be nearly as fun for kids. You could hand out coloring books, crayons, pencils, spider rings, or other Halloween party favors. You could hand out magnets or buttons. These are things that kids will enjoy without rotting their teeth, and there won't be any sweets left calling to your sweet tooth.

Halloween ghost magnet


2. Throw yourself into decorating for the holiday. Keep yourself busy with making decoratons, hanging decorations and making your home look spooky to keep your mind off of the treats in your house. Bonus, you might be burning off some calories while clmibing laddders, reaching to hang things and pulling fake cobwebs across the ceiling.

3. Keep the sweets out of sight until you need them to hand out. Also keep the loot your children bring home out of sight until they have worked their way through it. Out of sight, out of mind, hopefully. Your kids don't need candy any more than you do, so try and limit how much they eat a time. Maybe give them a piece or two in their lunchboxes until it is gone.

4. Keep a lot of healthy snack food on hand. Chopped carrots or celery with a healthy dip is a quick and easy thing to have available when you get the urge to munch. In order to battle a craving for something sweet, have some fresh strawberries or raspberries available.

5. Drink plenty of water. Sometimes thirst can cause us to mistakenly think we are hungry, so make sure you are full up with water in order to prevent this from happening.

6. Have a healthy and filling dinner before all of the trick-or-treaters start arriving. Again, if you feel full and well satisfied, you are less likely to give in to the urge for one of those candy temptations.

7. Give in a tiny bit to temptation. Sometimes, giving yourself a taste of what you want will help to satisfy the craving. A small treat once in a while is not going to be the end of your healthy eating and is not likely to cause any weight gain, as long as it doesn't become something you do often.

Relax and enjoy the holiday day and have a happy Halloween!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Guest Posting at "Where Are My Knees?"

SW Becky before & after twirling


Today I have a guest post over at the blog Where Are My Knees? I tell my story again and also give some advice for those of you who are still struggling to lose weight. The ladies over at Where Are My Knees have a great blog full of inspirational stories, recipes and advice, so go and check them out!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Why You Shouldn't Wait For Motivation

Since losing over 10 stone, I often hear people say, "I wish I had your motivation." Often, I read a lament on Facebook about how someone "can't get motivated." Over and over, people claim they are waiting for motivation before losing weight, and I just have to speak up.

Stop waiting for motivation! If you really want to lose weight, then lose it! If you are tired of being overweight, then take the steps necessary to become healthier and lose your excess fat. And stop moaning about your lack of motivation!

None of us lack motivation. Motivation is just a combination of the reasons you have for losing weight. It is the rewards you expect to gain when you lose the weight.

When I was 10 stone overweight, I had plenty of motivation to lose the weight. It hurt to walk. I had health problems developing. I had seven children who relied on me and needed me to be healthy and energetic for them. I lacked energy. I hated the way I looked. And this list of motivators goes on. And yet, all of this motivation to lose weight did not start me losing weight. I was morbidly obese for over a decade.

It wasn't until I began taking the steps towards losing the weight (like joining Slimming World, keeping a food diary and exercising) and going through the necessary actions that any of my drive to lose weight started coming into play. The more I ate healthy and exercised, the more weight I started to lose, the more drive I found to continue with it.

So stop moaning about your lack of motivation. If you really want to lose weight, then you will do something about it. No more saying you just can't do it because you can't find the motivation. If it's important to you, you are capable of making it happen.


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Treading Water

Wondering why I called this post "Treading Water?" Am I going to be writing about a new swimming exercise or some fascinating aspect of water that helps with weight loss. Well, no.

Treading water is, metaphorically speaking, what I am doing right now. You know what I mean, right? You do the same thing over and over, and even though it is the same thing that you do so easily in the beginning, it begins to get harder and more difficult to keep doing it. Currently, that's me.

I am still eating healthy, and I am still exercising a lot, but my results are not coming as easily. It seems to be getting more difficult to maintain my weight loss. I am not binge eating. I am not having lots of fatty and unhealthy fare. I am not eating out. I am cooking healthy nutritious meals. I have even started watching my portions.

But despite all of this, my weight has been creeping upwards. I am up about ten pounds and it doesn't seem to want to come off. I have no idea what changes I need to make to bring my weight back down because I am doing everything I am supposed to do. I am staying focused.

I am not giving up because it is not in my nature to give up, but I am frustrated.

Of course, this was all something I could have posted about last week. This week, I actually haven't been eating enough, not because I thought it would help me lose weight or anything daft like that but because I had a toothache and eating anything at all caused me a lot of pain. I've been to the dentist now, and my tooth pain should be gone in a few days.

But not eating enough over this week of pain has caused my weight to go up a few more pounds. I feel like crying, but I'll get over it.

Reebok has said that they will replace my crosstrainer and even give me an upgrade, as my case is such a special one, to a crosstrainer that has not had any complaints. It won't be here for another two weeks though. Maybe getting my crosstrainer back will help with my weight. I hope so (mainly because I am oh-so-tired of running up and down the stairs of my three story house while carrying handweights. I am not graceful, so I will be lucky if I don't end up breaking something while doing this particular exercise!)

I am not feeling sorry for myself (okay, maybe a little). I know the added pounds will eventually come back off. I'm frustrated and fairly angry at my body right now though. (Who knew my body had a mind of its own and was as stubborn as, well, me?)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Another Broken Elliptical Crosstrainer & A Challenge To The Manufacturers

My elliptical crosstrainer BROKE again! This is number EIGHT! I've had this one since April. I can now officially say that I do NOT recommend Reebok crosstrainers. I do not believe that companies build them to last for people who actually use them, and I challenge any company to prove me wrong.

The challenge is this: If you believe that your elliptical crosstrainer is of a sufficient construction to hold up with regular daily use (an hour to two hours of use a day, everyday), then send it to me. I will use it and do an initial blog about the features of it that I like and or don't like. I will do another blog post on it after 6 months, if it makes it that long without breaking down, to update everyone on how well it is or isn't holding up. I will do another blog post after a year, if it lasts that long. I will even do a third blog post after two years' time, if it is still functioning at that time.

However, if it is as weak and breakable as all of the rest that I have used, I will lambast it in my blog as a useless piece of rubbish.

I like machines that tell me calories burned based on my weight, distance covered, and that allow me to increase or decrease the resistance.

I am not a large person. I weigh, on any given day, between 125 and 135 lbs. I am 5' 2" tall, and my weight and size should not have an adverse effect on how well or poorly the machine works.

I am really just fed up with my exercise machine breaking down. Reebok has been good enough to replace them as they break, but I end up having to go weeks, and once a whole month, without a working machine in the meantime. And on top of that, each replacement machine has to be ASSEMBLED, which I hate doing.


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Inspirational Quotes for Reaching Your Weight Loss Goals

I have assembled some inspirational quotes about achieving our dreams, reaching for our goals and succeeding at weight loss, including some quotes from my own blog posts, here to help you when you need a bit of a boost in your motivation. Enjoy!

Pink Rose 9th June 2011


"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." ~Harriet Tubman

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snow flake” - M.B. Ray

"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal." ~Pamela Vaull Starr

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." ~Henry David Thoreau

"Next time you hear the voice of your inner critic, remember that your inner critic LIES, and try replacing that inner voice with a new one, one that encourages you and helps you to believe in your own worth." ~Rebecca Fyfe

"There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other." ~Douglas Everett

"So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key." ~Lyrics from Already Gone, peformed by the Eagles for their 1974 On the Border album

"You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one." ~Henry D. Thoreau

"Today is the day to choose. Choose to live longer. Choose to have more energy. Choose the be strong and capable. Choose to stop putting things off. Choose to be healthy." ~Rebecca Fyfe

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

"Commitment leads to action. Action brings your dream closer." ~Marcia Wieder

"The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up." ~Paul Valery

"#1 excuse for not following your dream -"I don't have time." Suggestion: Look at the unecessary things that do take up your time and replace them with things that help your dream. Never give up!" ~Rebecca Fyfe

"Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will." ~Jawaharal Nehru

"Believe with all of your heart that you will do what you were made to do." ~Orison Swett Marden

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Anything is possible is you are willing to take the necessary steps to make it happen. Focus on your goals and you can make them real!" ~Rebecca Fyfe

"We are still masters of our fate. We are still captains of our souls." ~Winston Churchill

""We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action." ~Frank Tibolt

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” ~Ashley Smith

"The only things that stand in the way of your dreams becoming a reality are the limits you place on yourself." ~Rebecca Fyfe

"Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded." ~Johann Goethe

"Believe - even when it is not rational and good things will happen." ~anonymous

"If you have a dream, you have to believe, with every fiber of your being, that you can achieve it, and then you have to do the work it takes to make it a reality." ~Rebecca Fyfe

"We have the power to shrink our dreams to fit reality or the power to stretch our reality to fit our dreams." ~anonymous

"There is no authentic goal you can set for yourself that can't be reached, no dream that can't be realized. It's just a matter of learning HOW to achieve what you want." ~Jillian Michaels

"Whatever stage you are at in your weight loss goals, whether you are just starting out, halfway there or already at your goal weight, know that you are beautiful NOW." ~Rebecca Fyfe

"Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it." ~Johann Goethe

"My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time." ~Charles Dickens

"Weight loss is ALL about figuring out your weaknesses, modifying and rolling with the punches. If you stumble, get back up and dust yourself off." ~Kayecee Spain

"Diet schmiet. Feed it good food, give it fun and exercise, & your body loves you." ~Barbara Mack

"The difference between a successful person & others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will." ~ V.Lombardi

"Losing weight is not your life’s work. Your life’s work is to love, to serve, to be honest, to develop personal integrity, to be kind, to raise healthy children, to grow spiritually, to adore yourself. Which is not to say you can’t choose to shed some excess baggage. You’ll just do it with a sense of perspective." ~Lisa Turner

"Impossible" is just an opinion." ~ Paulo Coelho

"Get rid of that negative little voice in your head that whispers to you that you can’t do it, you’re not strong enough, it’s too hard and all of the other negative words. Just ignore it. You know, deep down, that you can achieve your dreams, so follow that deeper inner voice and believe in yourself." ~Rebecca Fyfe





Wednesday, 3 August 2011

We Need To Be Healthy For Our Kids

I wrote this for Beverly Hills Child Magazine and it was originally published in the January 2011 issue.

Fathers Love


There are many benefits to being healthy and physically fit. Most of us are aware of how our being healthy benefits ourselves. We know that exercise helps to keep our heart strong and prevent heart disease. We know that weight bearing exercise helps to strengthen our muscles and that more muscle mass increases our metabolism. We know that maintaining a healthy body mass index and not letting ourselves get overweight helps prevent diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure and a host of other health problems. We know that strong bones help our posture and that strong stomach muscles can help prevent back pain. We know that being physically fit means we will have more energy than if we were heavy or out of shape. We know that eating healthy food like vegetables and other fresh produce helps prevent certain cancers.

There are a myriad of health benefits to maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and getting a moderate amount of daily exercise. And we know about these benefits. Newspaper headlines shout about these benefits to us regularly. Television newscasts inform us of these benefits almost daily. We already know.

But parents are busy people, and often we ignore these warnings about diseases that being overweight can cause. Often we ignore the headlines that tell us to eat fresh produce every day. What some of us don’t understand is that when we ignore these articles, like the ones that tell us we should exercise to help prevent heart disease, we are being completely selfish.

Selfish sounds like such a harsh word. But it fits. Letting ourselves be overweight and unfit, eating fatty, sugar-laden food, sitting watching television instead of going out for a walk, all of those things are selfish acts for parents to do. How is it that doing something that is normally seen as only harmful to ourselves can be called selfish? It’s selfish because our lives are no longer our own once we have children.

By not taking care of our bodies, all kinds of things can happen. We can become more prone to injuries and illnesses. Our children need us to be able to take care of them, and that is very difficult to do if we’ve got injuries that keep us from walking easily, or keep getting sick and have trouble getting out of bed.

We can develop chronic diseases. These can be really frightening for our children to see in us, their parents. If Daddy goes into a diabetic coma, his daughter is going to cry and worry and miss him until he is okay, and then she will continue to worry that it might happen again. If Mommy faints because her blood pressure is too high, her son is going to cry and worry and miss her until she is okay, and then he will continue to worry that it might happen again. The safety he once felt will be gone.

We will have less energy. Anyone with small children knows how difficult it can be to keep up with them when all you want to do is sleep. We need all the energy we can find to keep up with our children and to have the patience that they so often require from us. Many of us will have less patience when we are tired. And many of us will be less able to concentrate when we are tired. And children are incredibly inventive at getting into trouble when parents are too tired to be patient or to concentrate fully.

We can die. It is silly to think that playing fire with our health will only affect ourselves. Any child who has lost a parent will tell you that he was never the same again. Our children need us to be in their lives. They need us to give them love and hugs. They need us to help them with homework. They need us to encourage them, to teach them, to listen to them, to talk to them, to just be there for them, always. They need us to live.

We also need to be an example for our children. Our children need to see us being healthy. They learn more from what we do than from what we say. If they see us eating fast food and sitting in front of the television most of the time, then that is what they will learn to do. If instead, they see us eating fresh fruit and going for a walk every day, then they will learn that from us.

It is selfish of us to live an unhealthy lifestyle. By living an unhealthy lifestyle, by letting ourselves remain overweight and unfit, we are harming our children. This is a new year, a time for new beginnings. So let’s start this new year by making a promise to make sure that we are living a healthy lifestyle for our children. We owe it to them.



Wednesday, 13 July 2011

11 Weight Loss Tips

I have posted tips for weight loss before, so I may be repeating things I have said before, but this is just off the top of my head (in answer to someone who asked me for some tips). I thought, since I was typing up some quick tips anyway, I would add them here too.

1 - Limit your breads and cereals.

2 - Switch to whole grain breads, pastas, rices and such.

3 - Make sure your meats are lean. If frying, "dry fry" using Fry Light or some other low-calorie oil spray.

4 - Eat lots and lots and lots of fruit and vegetables throughout the day and with meals. Make sure that you dinner plate is 1/3 full of vegetables with each meal.

5 - Snack on things like fat-free yogurt, eggs, and fruit salad.

6 - Limit your "treats" to somewhere between 200 and 300 calories a day.

7 - Find time to exercise. Maybe it's walking while your baby is being pushed in the stroller, or maybe it's working out to an exercise video when your child naps or after your partner gets home - but find the time.

8 - Avoid high sugar drinks such as soda (diet is okay) and fruit juice.

9 - Most of your recipes that call for sugar can have the amount of sugar cut by 1/3 without affecting the taste.

10 - Replace sugar with sweetener when possible.

11 - Don't give up! You can do it! Just believe in yourself!

And, for an extra tip - You could always join Slimming World like I did.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Hiking Up The Wrong Mountain

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You might think that the above title of this post is a metaphor, and I'm sure I could come up with some profound post using it as such. But it's not. Today, my husband Robert, my daughter Angelica and I really did hike up the wrong mountain.

To be fair, I didn't know, at the beginning of the walk, that I was even going to be hiking up any mountain, let alone the wrong mountain. My husband suggested we walk our dog Mercury to a park with a lake that was only about 2 miles away. I should have realized that there would be more to our walk than that though, because he bought me some new hiking shoes just a couple of days ago.

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As we passed the park, my husband said, "I fancy walking up there," and he pointed to what appeared to be a group of trees at the top of a very distant mountain. "It's Barbury Castle," he told Angelica and me. Seeing the look of apprehension cross my face, he tried to assure me, "It's not as far as it looks. You know that we always walk to places that look like they are a long way off and find out that they are not really that far."

I thought about my new shoes and how they were already rubbing my feet the wrong way (as new shoes tend to do), and then I thought about how many times in the past my husband had mentioned wanting to hike to Barbury Castle. I sighed internally and began the treck with my husband, my 18 year old daughter and our border collie.

The trip was all uphill and mostly in rough terrain, both dirt and long grass. And today was blisteringly hot. I had expected to be rained on and had not been prepared (meaning I hadn't put any sunblock on my fair skin) for the hot sun that shone on us during the entire hike.

We'd never hiked to Barbury Castle before. Angelica mentioned that she really would love to have a cold drink and something to eat, so Robert pointed to another little group of trees that were a short distance away from the place we were heading and told her that there was a cafeteria there where we would stop. We knew that Mercury would need some water by then too.

We saw lots of rabbits, horses, squirrels and other wildlife along the way. There were also fields of wheat. It really was a beautiful hike. I had my mobile phone with me, so I used it to take some pictures during our hike.

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When we finally reached the top of the mountain and the place where Barbury Castle should have been, we found out that we had hiked up the wrong mountain. We had, instead, reached the Liddington Castle hill fort. Barbury Castle was on another mountain. We could see it from where we stood. There was a dial showing us the different direction of the various local sights and it pointed out which direction Barbury Castle was from us. Angelica was not pleased.

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But we had her take some photos of us there at the top, and we took some of her too.

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We may not have been at the location of Barbury Castle, but there was a moat.

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There was no cafeteria for us to stop in at. There was no food for Angelica to fill her tummy with and no cold drinks for us. On our way back though, Mercury found a water trough for horses and drank his fill. At one point, we wound up stuck in a field surrounded by a barbed wire fence and had to carefully climb over it and then lift our dog over it too.

We got to see a horse with one blue eye and one brown eye.

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We did manage to stop at a gas station when we were most of the way home. I had a Diet Coke, Robert had a Cherry Coke and a Starbar, and Angelica had a Coke and a Starbar. (Robert bought me a Starbar too, but I brought mine home and tucked it away in my Syn Tin for eating when I have enough syns available.)

When we got home, we looked our hike up on Google maps and found out that, all in all, we had hiked 10.25 miles. I was sunburned and tired, but the walk had been an enjoyable one. It was good to know that I could do the hike. There was a time in my overweight past when a hike like today's would have been beyond my ability.

And there you have it; sometimes hiking up the wrong mountain can be a pleasant experience and can teach you something about yourself.

Of course, Robert still wants to hike to Barbury Castle.


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Body Image & Battling My Inner Critic

You would think that, after having spent years being morbidly obese and then finally, finally, being slim again, I would be thrilled with my new body and wouldn't have a complaint about any part of it. I mean, really, can't I be happy that I look and feel so much better now than I did when I weighed more than twice what I weigh now? Shouldn't losing 145 pounds make me feel really good about what I now see in the mirror?

But nothing is ever simple or easy, and even though I am an advocate of girls and women feeling good about themselves, believing in themsleves and in their own, natural beauty no matter what shape, size, age or color they may be, I still find myself being very critical of my own appearance.

I have been asked before about loose skin since losing so much weight, and I will answer honestly by saying, yes, there is some loose skin. It's not a lot of loose skin and it's not as bad as it was in the beginning. The more time I spend at or near my target weight, the more the loose skin firms up. But I still find myself looking at it and feeling unhappy with it. Loose skin in my belly area, boobs that have lost their fullness, and a bit of loose skin on my upper arms; it all makes me sometimes feel less than lovely.

Then there are the signs of age. I spent my 20s and most of my 30s being so overweight that any wrinkles that were beginning to appear were hidden in layers of fat. Now that the fat is gone, my crow's feet and laugh lines are showing. The skin on my neck is not as smooth as it once was. My forehead has creases that were not there before I gained all of that weight. My red hair is much thinner now than it used to be, and tiny strands of white are beginning to appear in it.

But I am trying and striving to silence that inner critic, the one that tells me I will never be pretty enough or thin enough or young enough. Because I used to hear her, that inner voice telling me I'm not good enough, all of those years ago when I was young and thin and had never been overweight, when my hair was thick and shiny without a strand of grey. She used to speak to me when I was a young girl and a teen, and strangely enough, despite my youth, despite the terrific figure I had back then, she still told me I wasn't pretty enough or good enough or thin enough. And this is how I know that my inner critic lies.

So I fight her. And there are beginning to be more and more days when I win against her, when I feel good about myself and even feel pretty. There are days when I don't fight her hard enough, but I am finding that, the older I get, the less I hear that voice. She's still there, whispering in my mind and hidden behind my own thoughts sometimes, but I am able to ignore her more often. I even find myself replacing her with a new voice, one that tells me I am more than good enough. And I am finding that I like this new inner voice much better.

Next time you hear the voice of your inner critic, remember that your inner critic lies, and try replacing her voice with a new one, one that encourages you and helps you to believe in your own worth.



Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Elliptical Crosstrainer Replacement AGAIN



Reebok is going to replace my broken elliptical finally. (This one only lasted about two months.) Robert and I worked out that this one was our 7th one that broke. I'm wondering how long the 8th one will last! Reebok would have saved money if they'd given us a gym-strength one from the beginning as, although we spent a lot of money on the machine, none of them seem to be made to last for people who actually use them.

The video above is what we had to show them in order to get a replacement. Robert had to take the side off in order to be able to show the damaged part. It is broken in the same place that the last one broke. I am worried that, if they replace it with the same model again, it will just break again in the same place. This is only the second time we have had this model as they stopped doing the previous model we used. I liked our previous one better, even though it too did not survive the test of daily use.

If this one breaks after a short while too, I will announce the make and model so you can all avoid buying one. If I ever get a quality machine that is built to last, I will happily write reviews about it every six months for the first two years just to show everyone that it is still going strong! But so far, after having seven machines fail on me and, of those seven machines, three different models that have failed, I am skeptical that any company bothers any more to make quality equipment.

I know that people tend to buy these things and after a few short workouts on them, they have a tendency to only use them as coat racks for the rest of the machine's time in their house. However that is no excuse for companies to allow them to be made so poorly and to let the quality to slip so far down in standards.

I am not overly rough on my elliptical crosstrainers. I spend an hour to an hour and a half a day on the machine, every day. Robert used to use it occasionally too, but he hasn't used either of the last two machines at all. I just run on them. I adjust the resistance as I run. But I don't do anything that should cause damage to the machine.

I am not a heavy person. I am well below the maximum weight allowed on these machines. And yet they keep breaking.

It is such a hassle to have to assemble the machines when they arrive, get to use them for a little while, then wait on delivery of the replacment machine (which has taken several weeks this time) and do without my usual exercise during that time. And then, of course, Robert or I will have to assemble the new one, again.

It is so much hassle that I am getting really, really annoyed with the whole process, but I keep hoping that the next one will last me for a decent amount of time.

Regardeless of my fears for how long this 8th elliptical crosstrainer will last, I am hopeful, and I am relieved that I will once again be able to work out on a crosstrainer again. It always helps me to maintain my weight, and since I have had a small gain during the weeks we were moving and the weeks I have been without my elliptical crosstrainer, I need to get back into my workouts.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Where Have I Been?

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately. We moved to a new house, and my husband canceled our Internet the week before we moved. What we didn't know at the time was that, because our house (and street) our newly built, they are not set up with the cables for us to be getting our broadband Internet, so we have now gone most of the month with no Internet connection. Robert just bought me a dongle for a small amount of wireless access, so I am taking advantage of it to try and let everyone know where I have been.

My elliptical crosstrainer broke AGAIN. This is our 6th or 7th one. The manufacturer wants us to send photos of it and then will let us know what they will do, if anything about it. They have replaced them all up until now, but I am getting really tired of always having to go without while it gets done and then the hassle of putting the machines together each time. I just want them to make the machines so that they actually work and last for someone who USES the machine regularly. *sigh*.

I feel fat. I have not been able to do my crosstrainer because it's broken and it was a big part of my daily exercise. The week we did our move, I did NOT eat well. We are still unpacking. We still have a lot of money to spend on this place as it still needs carpets in a lot of the rooms and many of us have no wardrobe closets or dresser drawers so we have those to buy. We definitely need more bookcases, and until we get them, our house will remain full of boxes. *sigh*

I know I put on a tiny bit of weight over the move (and some chocolate over Easter - oops!), and not being able to do my most helpful exercise is bothersome. I am trying to do even more walking than I was, but everything on me feels less firm at the moment.

Hopefully, I can work out something else to do until my machine is replaced.

In the meantime, I am spending about an hour and a half more on buses each day taking the kids to and from school, and my 16 year old brought home a new kitten. She's cute and playful, as all kittens are, but I occasionally have to run interference between her and our other cat.




Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Slimming World Photo Shoot

I had my photo shoot today. I wasn't too thrilled about traveling there and back (up at 5am, at the post office by 6am to pick up my tickets, then on to the train to London, then on the Underground twice, then on an overground train again and then in a taxi and that was just to get to the shoot. I had to do it all again to come home.) But everyone at the shoot was really nice.

The first person I met was Jan Lynegar, the Slimming World editorial assistant. She is a beautiful and tall blonde who looked like she should be strolling on a beach in California rather than standing in a small English house on a cloudy day. She was really nice and easy to talk with.

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I was a little unfair on Jan in taking a photo of her while we were all eating, so the photo doesn't really do her justice. In fact, none of the photos I took today are very good, but I was trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, so I wasn't really setting up my shots.

Next, I met Vicky Burdon, the Slimming World art editor. She was really sweet. She's a petite blonde who looks like she would fit right in with the Dallas Cowgirl Cheerleading squad. (She helped me find the right Underground trains to take on my way home, even going part of the way with me.) I'm not surprised that she and Jan were so sweet though as everyone I have ever met from Slimming World headquarters have been really great.

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This is Fay and Vicky. Again, I snapped the shot fo them while they were talking. If anyone I photographed today wants to send me a nicer photo of themselves for me to substitute for these shots, I will be happy to do so.)

I met a woman named Fay who was being photographed before me. She was great and appeared to be enjoying the photo shoot. They took some shots of her outside just before it started raining.

I got to have my make-up done twice (because it needed to match the color of my outfits). Liz Kitchiner, who did my make-up and hair, really knew what she was doing, because I hardly recognized myself by the time she was done. My hair was given two different styles. Liz even added some hair attachments underneath because my hair is a little on the thin side and she wanted to thicken it up. I got to wear it down with loose curls and also in a loose, low-lying ponytail to the side (also with loose curls).

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This is Liz in front of the table covered in her equipment. Her hand is on the hairspray that she used. Every time she used it on me, she apologized for spraying "poinson" at me (because of the fumes).

Rachel Fanconi was the stylist who helped pick out the outfits, jewelery and shoes for me. She was really nice and had a great eye for what would look good. I also got to wear four separate outfits (all dresses with shrugs/jackets, complete with matching earrings, rings and high-heeled shoes). I got to wear a white dress with a purple flowers print. I got to wear a pale blue and soft brown patterned dress that was soft and feminine. I got to wear a dress with a sort-of golden brown color to it. It wasn't a dress I would have normally picked out for myself but I had to admit that it looked good on me. It had an unusual neckline. I also got to wear a white dress with green and black print on it with a matching green jacket.

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This is Rachel amongst the clothes and going through some bags of jewelery.

We were all provided with sandwiches, fruit and diet coke/coffee/tea. The sandwiches were not Slimming World-friendly, but at least we had something for lunch. The fruit was really nice. There was a lot of sliced apple, some pineapples slices, strawberries, green grapes and more.

I didn't have to wear nylons because they rubbed a lotion all over my legs which turned them tan (temporarily). (I have some SERIOUSLY pale legs naturally!) It was fun to see the photos on the computer screen after they were taken and see how tan my legs looked compared to their natural look.

The photographer Paul Buller had a Canon and lots of equipment. Despite having to work with some not-so-great lighting conditions, he took some great photos. He gave me some instructions for my poses, and would have to pause in his shooting when either Liz would dash in front of me to fix my hair or make-up from time to time or Rachel would dash in front to straighten or adjust my clothes.

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This is Paul, a top London photographer, but Paul didn't work alone. His assistant is pictured below.

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It was a long day though. I got to the shoot at about 9:00am (I was early), and we weren't done until 5:00pm. I didn't get home until around 7:30pm. I left my overly glamorous make-up on for the trip home so that my kids could see it. I knew the girls would love to see their mom all made up. robert took a quick photo of me when I got home. (My hair was a mess by then though.)

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I looked a bit tired, the make-up was starting to wear off and the lighting was not ideal for the photo, but here I am.

All in all, it was a fun experience and kind of nice to get pampered. I will be sent a copy of the magazine when it goes out and also I will get copies of the photos. I have to admit that I am a little excited about geting to see the results!


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Our Moment On TV

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Robert, Cameron and I were on Daybreak this morning on ITV. If you are in the UK and missed it, you can view it here.

We arrived by train last night and we stayed at the Mint Hotel in Westminster. It had some beautiful views. We were treated to a meal in the restaurant and it was very enjoyable.

Our morning today started with an early wake up call. I'm glad we arranged for an early wake up call, because, although we were told we would be on at 8:30am and would be picked up from the hotel at 7:50am, we got a phone call at 6:45am telling us that our ride was already waiting. Apparently, there was a mix-up and we were supposed to be on at 7:15am instead.

We threw our clothes on and got Cameron dressed. And then we were on our way.

I realized when we got there that wearing a purple dress wasn't the best plan of mine, since the couches were also purple. We got our microphones put on and then I was informed that we were not supposed to mention Slimming World at all. And right after that, I was introduced and asked the question, "So how did you do it?" I tried to make it clear that I went to Slimming World without actually saying the word. I put emphasis on the word "Slimming" and spoke the word "club" very softly. And I mentioned that it was one that allowed me to join while pregnant (with doctor and midwife approval). I don't think there are any other weight loss clubs that allow pregnant women to join. I might be wrong though.

We were asked to stay on until the end, so we spent the rest of the time following Cameron as he ran up and down the halls and waved hello at people. At one point, he ran up behind the weather girl, Lucy Verasamy, who had just entered the hallway and he reached up with both hands and startled her by patting her bum a few times. (I apologized for him, the cheeky little monkey!)

While in the "green room" (where the guests wait to go on), Channing Tatum joined us for a little bit. I must admit, I wasn't sure who he was, but then Robert looked his name up on-line using his phone and we both realized that we had seen "Dear John" which he starred in.

We were brought back out to the couch at the end where everyone sat together.

Then we were taken back to the hotel, packed up our things and took the train home again.

When we got home, we watched the recording of the show. I immediately decided that I wore the wrong dress for it as it made my stomach look big and squishy (to my mind). And then I started critiquing other things about myself (my overbite, etc). Then I realized what I was doing and had to put a stop to it. Seriously, after all of the weight I have lost and all of the times I have worked on being confident and not letting that negative self-talk undermine me, I quickly had reverted back to it once I realized lots of others would see me on the tv. Old habits really do die hard, and it is something I will probably always be having to work through.

Still, it was a lovely day and a fun experience. I wish they'd asked Robert a few questions too though, as he has lost a lot of weight too.



Monday, 7 March 2011

I'm Going On Daybreak!

If you are in the UK, you may have watched ITV's morning show, from 6:00am until 9:00am, called Daybreak. Robert and I, along with our two year old Cameron, will be on the couch on the Daybreak show this Thursday morning to talk with the show's hosts!

I have no way to record the show, which is disappointing, but I'm still excited about appearing on it!

We'll be talking about our weight loss. I'm a bit nervous about how Cameron will behave. At two years old, he could act like a complete angel or he could choose to behave as a complete little devil. We'll have to wait and see.

If you have the time on Thursday morning, tune in to Daybreak and you'll see us there!

I'm In This Week's Take A Break Magazine

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I am featured on page 28 of this week's Take A Break magazine (10th March 2011, Issue 10)!

They got some of the details wrong though. For instance, it says that I had Connor by cesarean, but I have never had a c-section, though I was threatened with having one. It also states that Robert and I met in a chat room, and that I had gone on-line out of loneliness, which is all incorrect, although Robert and I did meet on-line. The general gist if the story is correct though, and I believe they tried to get the details right.

The thing that annoys me about the article though is that they name the street we live on. The article talks about my kids and large family. It even names my kids. It shows a picture of my whole family, kids included. And then, as irresponsible as it is, it mentions MY STREET ADDRESS! And the thing is, my street address was not even germaine to the story!

I am not overly worried about it though as we are moving within the month, but if we weren't I would have been fuming.

Either way, it's fun being featured, so if you are in the UK, go have a look at this week's Take A Break.



Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Happy Valentine's Day!

I know that some of you are worried that you will overindulge in chocolate or while eating a meal at a restaurant on this day, but I believe in moderation and in not having to give up anything completely. So go out and enjoy a light meal out, and let yourself have one or two chocolates. Enjoy your Valentine's Day, just don't let your eating get out of hand. And if you have not been as "good" as you think you should have been, you can always make up for it tomorrow.

Life has to be lived. Living for weight loss alone is not a life.


Friday, 4 February 2011

Healthy Cooking With Kids

This was previously posted in the November 2011 issue of Beverly Hills Child Magazine where I write monthly about ways to ensure we raise healthy children.

One of the best and simplest ways to get your kids to eat healthier is by letting them help you make family meals. Children love to help, and they are more likely to eat food that they have prepared with their own hands and by their own efforts.
The following are some simple snack and meal ideas that children can help make.

1. Kebabs – Cut chicken or lean beef into large chunks, chop up some bell peppers into large pieces, set out a bowl of cherry tomatoes, chop up some onions into large pieces and set everything out with some skewers. Let your child push the pieces of meat, peppers, onion and tomatoes onto the skewers in whatever order they choose to and then grill them yourself. It’s a great way to help your child feel pride in helping you make the meal and also to get your child to eat vegetables (bell pepper, onion and tomato).

2. Dips for vegetables– Chop up carrots into sticks. Clean and prepare mushrooms and celery. Chop bell peppers into strips. Wash and set out cherry tomatoes. Then let your child help you make some dips. Use fat-free fromage frais or plain yogurt in several separate bowls and let your child choose which spices and seasonings to add to each one. You could have a jalapeno and cheese dip, using finely diced jalapenos and grated low-fat cheese, or you could have onion and chive dip by adding chopped fresh chives and finely diced onion. You could make a garlic and onion dip using garlic powder and onion powder. Your child might prefer a taco dip which would just take some taco seasoning. You can also have some dry soup packets, such as Lipton’s Onion Soup and add those to the plain yogurt to make a delicious and healthy dip.

3. Burgers – Finely dice onion and bell peppers. Let your child add the diced vegetables and whatever spices you wish to add to a bowl full of ground lean beef or ground turkey. Next, your child can use her hands to mash it all together and mix it up. Kids love the tactile sensations of getting messy while making this, and they will also enjoy patting the burgers into balls that they can then flatten onto a plate. Next, you grill the burgers and serve them on whole wheat buns with some lettuce and slices of tomato.

4. Peanut butter apple dip – This one is really easy to make. Let your child mix one 190g pot of fat-free vanilla or fat-free toffee yogurt to ½ cup of reduced fat and reduced sugar peanut butter. Once it is mixed until it’s smooth, give your child some apple slices to dip in it.

5. Healthy personal pizzas – Mix some tomato sauce with some oregano, a dash of salt, some garlic and a bit of pepper. Lay out some whole wheat pita breads. Prepare some low-fat grated cheese. Chop up some bell peppers and onion. Set everything out and let your child take a pita bread and top it to make his own pizza. Once he has added the toppings that he wants, just bake it for about 5 minutes at 250 degrees.

6. Fruit salad – Wash red grapes, green grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Chop up some cantaloupe and honeydew melon into bite-sized chunks. Let your child choose which of the types of fruit that she wants to add to her own bowl of fruit salad, and then let her pour an individual-sized pot of fat-free yogurt, in a flavour of her choice, over the fruit. Using a large bowl, let her make a fruit salad with all of the left-over fruit to serve to others.

7. Healthy Strawberries and cream – Wash and slice strawberries into a bowl. Let your child sprinkle a small amount of sweetener over his bowl of strawberries. Open an individual-sized pot of fat-free vanilla yogurt and let your child add two tablespoons of sweetener to it and mix it well. Then he can pour the yogurt and sweetener mixture over his strawberries and enjoy it!

8. Mexican meatballs – Finely dice some spring onions. Put one pound of lean ground pork into a large bowl. Let your child pour a packet of taco seasoning into the bowl and then add the diced spring onions to the bowl. Next, let your child mix it all together with their hands, letting it all squish between their fingers. Then your child can roll the mix into individual balls, small enough to make 15 meatballs. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 300 degrees.

9. Pasta – This is very simple and once you’ve boiled and drained the whole wheat pasta, your child should have no problems doing the rest. Your child will just need to add two heaped tablespoons of extra light mayonnaise , a bit of seasoning and about a handful of low-fat grated cheese. If these are added right away, the cheese melts and sticks in a tasty manner to the pasta. You do not have to add vegetables to the meal, but throwing in some peas or corn will add nutritional value to the meal.

10. Jacket potatoes – You will need to prepare some toppings for your child to choose from, such as tuna and mayonnaise, baked beans, low-fat grated cheese, or other toppings. Bake your jacket potatoes after piercing them several times with a fork and spraying them with a low calorie oil spray. One hour at 300 degrees should be enough time for the potatoes to bake. Once the potatoes are removed from the oven, let them sit for ten minutes, the put a potato on your child’s plate and slice it across in two cuts, one horizontal and one vertical. Place the potato on its plate in front of your child and let them choose how they wish to top their jacket potato.

There are many ways to serve healthy meals to your kids, but letting them help and be a part of the preparation is the best way to insure that they will want to, at least, try the food they are helping prepare. In all of the above suggestions, let your child be creative. He might come up with ideas of his own that will help improve or change the meal. It’s important to give your child choices but healthy ones, so that she can feel that she has some control over what she eats, and you can be assured that, whatever she chooses, it will be healthy.


Monday, 17 January 2011

Philips AirFryer Review

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I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to review the Philips AirFryer, something I have really wanted to try out.

The AirFryer makes it simple to give food a "deep fried" taste without using a lot of oil. The instructions say that, if you are using convenience food (like frozen chips (french fries) or chicken nuggets for frying), you don't need to add any oil to it at all. When using fresh, homemade ingredients, such as potatoes that you've peeled and sliced yourself, you need to add a very small amount of oil. For 500g of potatoes, you only need to add 1/2 a tablespoon of oil.

According to the materials that came with it, the Philips AirFryer will save you 80% of the fat in your "frying."

The Philips AirFryer arrived encased in a lot of packaging, but I was thankful to see that it didn't contain any styrofoam in its packaging.

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I was given this Philips AirFryer in exchange for my reviewing it, so I figured I had better try out both methods of cooking with it. First, I cooked up some "fry chips" from the freezer section of the grocery store.

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It was really easy to make them. First you set the temperature.

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Then you put the chips in the AirFryer.

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And then you set the timer.

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Halfway through the cooking, you take them out and shake them up and put them back in. It was a very simple process, and by the end, my kids had some delicious chips (french fries) that tasted, as my five year old kept telling me "absolutely delicious!" (She also told me that she really likes my new "thingy" that helped me make them.) Chicken nuggets and chips (french fries)ar enot the healthiest of foods, in general, but if you must serve them up, then cooking them without any added oil is a good thing. And the Philips AirFyer lets you do that while retaining that "deep fried" taste that you won't get from oven baking.

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Having made the chips for their dinner in just 13 minutes, I then added some chicken goujons to my AirFryer. The chicken goujons came out perfectly too, and they were just as easy to "fry".

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Having cooked convenience food in the AirFryer, I then had to see how well it worked with fresh food, so I peeled and sliced up some potatoes and went through the very simple process again. The chips (french fries) made with the AirFryer came out really well, although I may have cooked them a few minutes too long. They did have a taste very much like they had been fried, and I only had to use a fraction of the oil I would have had to use without it.

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After I'd done all of the food for the night, I realized that the machine had come with a metal divider to be used when cooking two things at once, so I could have "fried" the chips at the same time as the goujons.

The Philips AirFryer also came with a recipe book. I love recipe books, and this one had some great recipes in it! I found out I can even make brownies in the machine, but I will more likely use it to make some of the healthier recipes that the cookbook contained. It has recipes in it such as "fish and chips," "crispy curry potato cubes with coriander salsa," "feta triangles" and "meatballs with feta," just to name a few. All of the recipes in the recipe book contain the nutritional values of the dishes.

Overall, I am really happy with the Philips AirFryer, and I am looking forward to making many more meals using it.