Wednesday 31 December 2008


I have read the Twilight book series, and I took my daughter Kayla to see the movie yesterday.

Isn't fantasy great? I'd love Edward's abilities. To run without getting tired, winded or sweaty? Definitely a great thing! But then, he wouldn't need to run for exercise anyway as becoming a vampire makes you extra beautiful. Does that mean my fat would just melt away as soon as I turned into a vampire? Think of the weight lifting levels that could be achieved with that kind of strength!

But that is the world of fantasy. (I mean, really, teenagers who find true love within days of meeting each other?) And to really get my weight to melt off me is going to take (and has taken) a lot of work, will power and sweat. I get tired, winded and sweaty when I exercise. My face gets really red, sweat drips off me, I start breathing heavily, and it's really not a pretty sight to see.

And I have to turn down sweets and other snacks I enjoy sometimes, not because I am a vampire who no longer needs or desires normal food, but because turning it down is what is best for me despite how much I might really crave it.

And it's a good thing that I am not a vampire. Edward abstains from sucking the blood of Bella despite the fact that her blood smells like the greatest, tastiest thing ever to him. Me? If I was a vampire and a guy smelled as tasty to me as chocolate or ice cream or even Mexican food, I'd probably take a bite out of him!


On a side note, I have some designs in my shop for Twilight fans. Have a look: (There are only a few designs there right now, but look back by Friday of next week and there will be many more designs added.)

Wii Fit

We broke it already. Either that or the special battery that came with it has already gone dead. My 6 year old was on it when it suddenly had a disconnect from the board and told us to hit the power button on the board. We did, but nothing happened. The light doesn't even flash. We've only been using the board since about 4 days ago!

The hula hoop game on it is hilarious to watch others do, but when you do it yourself, you find that it is a really good workout! The jogging was a bit boring though. I tried a lot of the aerobic games on it yesterday and one of the weight training games. Some of the balance games are fun too, but I am really not very balanced.

I am going to recharge the batteries and stick some of our cheaper batteries in it to see if it's the batteries that are the problem.

New Year's Eve

It's New Year's Eve and many around the world are making resolutions for the new year. I plan on hitting my goal weight in 2009, but it's not really a new year's resolution. It's a plan, and one I made when I first started eating healthier, exercising and losing weight back in May.

What are your plans and goals for the new year?

Monday 29 December 2008

Slimmer Of The Month

I lost half a pound this week! I am really pleased to have lost half a pound during Christmas week!

I am still down 65 pounds, and I feel really motivated to keep at this. At the Slimming World meeting tonight, the club introduced a new, more flexible plan, but it sounds a lot like the way I was already using the plan.

Also, I won Slimmer Of The Month for December and got a Slimming World mug as a prize.

Robert lost 3.5 pounds this week!

There were only six of us at the meeting. A result of the holidays?

Saturday 27 December 2008

Wii Bit Of Exercise!

Hope everyone had a terrific Christmas!

We bought a Wii and a Wii Fit for Christmas. We haven't used the Wii Fit yet, but we have been playing some sports on the Wii.

Gabby, my 6 year old daughter, was playing with our Wii today - the boxing game. It was so funny to watch! Little kids really make the Wii into an exercise art! Robert used his new Flip MinoHD to video her. Please watch this if you want a bit of a laugh (he put it to music and added it to his blog): (Oh, and comment if you find it funny. His blog needs some comments in it.)

Too bad uploading video to YouTube lowers the quality. The Flip creates beautiful videos! Dh is really pleased with it. (I show a link to the one I bought him in my Christmas post in my family blog (You'll have to copy and paste the links as I still have not figured out how to make them clickable.)

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Up Half A Pound

At yesterday's weigh-in, I gained half a pound. I wasn't surprised though. I was relieved it wasn't more. I spent the week not getting any exercise and eating about 100 to 200 more calories a day than what I've been eating to lose weight. It could have been worse.

Robert gained a pound and a half, and, after last week's two pound gain, he is now out of his "target" range and will have to pay for the meeting next week. He wants to revise his target for even lower now.

So we are both devoted to getting in more exercise this week and eating better. I don't see Christmas dinner as being much of a problem. The Slimming World plan allows us meat and potatoes, and we can use our "syns" allowance for things like stuffing and bread rolls. Or use it on dessert.

For the Slimming World meeting, it was another day to bring food in for everyone to try. I will share the recipes of what we made later. I made Lemon Fairy Cakes. Robert made grapes dipped in dark chocolate, Winter Bites (a recipe of his own concoction) and Breakfast Eggs (another one he created).

It was all really yummy.

For Slimming World members, the Breakfast Eggs and Winter Bites are "free" on Original and Green (when using the bacon in the Breakfast Eggs as a healthy extra), the chocolate dipped grapes are 1 syn each and the Fairy Cakes are 5 syns.

Someone there made Bombay Potatoes and they were really tastey too.

Thursday 18 December 2008

So Far

Things are going well. I am sticking to my daily calorie allowance, and, although I'm not using the elliptical trainer every day, on the days I am not using it, I am getting other forms of exercise. I walked a couple of miles with my husband yesterday.

I still feel like I'm not really exercising unless I bore myself for at least 45 minutes on the elliptical machine. I know that's not true, but it feels true.

My back has been hurting lately. I think it's because I am nursing the bay so often and I sort-of hunch over when I'm nursing him. I can't find an easier position to nurse in though.

Robert made us some stuffed cabbages (stuffed with lean beef mince, rice and tomato sauce) for dinner the past couple of days. They were tasty amd healthy! They didn't stay together very well though, so we might try to make them again and take a picture of how it turns out next time.

Monday 15 December 2008


Well, I needn't have worried about my weight loss this week. At my weigh-in, I showed a 2 pound loss for this week! Woohoo!

I've now lost a total of 65 pounds. I am almost halfway to my ultimate goal. I am only 5 pounds away from having lost 5 stone, and I am only 8 pounds away from seeing onederland!

Next week at our Slimming World meeting is another week to bring a dish to share. I am thinking of making Lemon Fairy Cakes from one of the Slimming World recipe books.

In A Funk

I'm in a funk. I thought I had this motivation thing all sussed out and would never fall into this kind of situation, but here I am. I have only exercised on the elliptical machine once this week (although I've gone with my husband to walk the dog in the evening several nights). I went over my daily calorie allowance twice this week, and for most of the week my calories hovered at the high end of what I allow myself.

I've had to fight cravings that have been hitting me in waves. Maybe it's because I'm nursing the baby. Maybe it's because I'm not getting any sleep. I don't know why the cravings have been so bad lately or why I have not felt motivated to exercise.

I weigh-in later tonight. I have no idea if I will go up or down on the scale. I am hoping, of course, that my weight will go down. But I have not put in the effort to make it so this week. So I optimistically hope that nursing will do for me this time what it has never done before and suddenly the weight will just "melt off" as so many of my friends have claimed it does for them when they nurse. Or I find myself hoping that the water-weight and other stuff from the pregnancy has not finished falling off of me and I will see a bit more of it come off this week. Or maybe I'll just be lucky.

I have not consumed enough calories to gain weight this week, but my body doesn't always follow the rules. So I will just have to wait and see.

I am so close to onederland and I can't wait to reach it! So why am I suddenly slacking off? Why am I in this funk?

Wednesday 10 December 2008

Will It Be Another Good Week?

With a new baby, lack of sleep and two of my kids down with chicken pox (again, but that's another story which can be found in my personal blog at ), I can feel the stress making me want to munch. The urge to snack, and not just on anything but on high carbohydrate, sugary things is really strong right now. I should technically still have some of the weight left on from pregnancy-related gain still coming off of me right now, but will it be enough if I succumb?

I'll just have to make sure I don't give in to my attack of the munchies so that I won't have to find out.

I'd love to lose another 7 - 10 pounds by New Year's and that doesn't leave me much time!

Tuesday 9 December 2008

Incredible Weigh-In!

I had a wonderful weigh-in yesterday at Slimming World! I dropped another 10.5 pounds this week! I have now lost a total of 63 pounds! I am so happy! I feel like celebrating! Woohoo!

Monday 1 December 2008


I lost the weight of the baby at least! My offical weigh-in was tonight, and I lost 6.5 pounds for a total loss now of 52.5 pounds!

I plan on losing big this week too! My husband Robert and I are both going to work together again on losing weight during the week. (Since he's been at target, he's not been working with me as much on it.)

My back is still hurting from the botched epidural during my labor, but I think I can still get some exercise in this week.

Sunday 30 November 2008

Tomorrow's Weigh-In & Baby Photos

For those of you interested, I have posted Cameron's birth story and photos and video of him right after birth in my personal blog at and my husband has posted his version of the birth story at his blog at .

You would think that, having just given birth to a 6 pound baby, I would be confident about losing weight at my weigh-in tomorrow. However, I have used the baby's birth as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted this week, and I have not been eating healthy or low-calorie all week. My back is killing me right now, so I also haven't been exercising. To be honest, I will be surprised if I have lost any weight and I will be lucky if I haven't GAINED any weight!

Still, it's been an enjoyable week, and I am back on track now, so next week I should see a really good loss!

Friday 28 November 2008

The Baby Has Arrived!!!

I'm home from the hospital now. Cameron was born at 28 past midnight on the 28th (I was induced on the 27th). He weighed 6 pounds 1/2 oz. and was 20 inches long.

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Almost Forgot To Mention My Weigh-in!

Oh, and I was UP half a pound this week at Monday's weigh-in despite being really good with my eating and exercise this week. I guess it's all down to the upredictability of being at this stage of the pregnancy. *sigh*

It was still frustrating to see.

But I am still down 46 pounds.


Well, tomorrow is the day that, if all goes well, I should have this baby induced. I have to admit, I have taken it a bit easy for the past couple of days with my diet and exercise. It's the mini-break from it all that I promised myself ages ago.

I even had a Big Mac from Mcdonald's yesterday. I found that, as much as I enjoyed the taste, it made me feel a bit ill for the rest of the day, so I won't be having one again any time soon. I guess I'm no longer used to having that much fat and salt in my diet.

Tomorrow is also Thanksgiving. We will be going out to dinner for a traditional Thanksgiving meal tonight instead of cooking it. And we are going out tonight because I won't be able to celebrate it tomorrow (other than having one wonderful new little baby to be thankful for by then, hoepfully).

I made a low-fat pumpkin pie, and we will enjoy it when we get home from dinner. They don't "do" pumpkin pie here, but a friend of mine who lives in the US was kind enough to send me the pumpkin mix. My kids will be thrilled to have pumpkin pie again after not having had any in over a year, and I must admit that I love pumpkin pie too! I'm so thankful for having such wonderful friends!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers out there!

Sunday 23 November 2008

Two Days Past Now

I am still pregnant. *sigh*

Today is my day off from exercise anyway, but I kind of feel like I should try and get some exercise in anyway.

I was hoping that being so much more fit this time around my body would do what it's supposed to do when the time came, but it looks like my body is instead doing what it usually does and hanging on to the baby until it's forced to let go.

Oh well. At least I haven't had any problems with my blood pressure this time around. That, at least, I can attribute to my healthier lifestyle and weight loss.

Saturday 22 November 2008

One Day Past My Due Date & Still Exercising

I am officially past my due date now. And I still managed to get on my elliptical machine for 85 minutes (14.8 miles). I actually broke it up into two workouts. One was for 45 minutes and one was for 40 minutes. I broke the workout into two, not because I couldn't do 85 minutes in one go, but because it's just so darn boring to do the full 85 minutes. LOL!

I must admit that I did not workout on the elliptical trainer yesterday. Instead I walked around town with my husband doing some Christmas shopping for about two hours, pushing a double stroller with two toddlers in it for most of that time. My shoulders were hurting by the time I got home. And later I went with my husband to walk the dog for 30 minutes.

Even though I was still getting exercise, it feels like cheating when I haven't worked out on the elliptical crosstrainer.

I'm still hopeful that this baby will arrive this weekend. I know it's not likely though. But I really want to get another "Slimmer of the Week" at my Slimming World meeting, and I have to have a loss or maintain the week beforehand in order to get it (and then I have to lose more than everyone else). I had a loss last week, and despite doing all the right things this week, I am not confident that I will maintain or lose, because my body has been so fickle about it at the end of this pregnancy. And I am scheduled to be induced on Thursday, so if I go in to my meeting on Monday and show a gain, I will lose my chance at Slimmer of the Week the Monday after the baby is born.

I know it's silly, but I still want it. LOL!

Friday 21 November 2008

No Baby Yet

Yesterday was my due date, but of course, like all my other pregnancies, my baby did not arrive in a timely fashion. I am scheduled to be induced on Thursday, but I've already been told that I will be sent home if there are too many other women already in labor that day.

I just want to hurry up and have this baby! I want to see how much my belly will shrink from the weight I've lost so far. I want to see how much more weight I have lost that isn't showing yet because of the weight of the baby. I want to be able to exercise without severe pain. I don't want to feel this horrible heavy weight in my belly anymore.

Of course, I want to see my baby and make sure he's healthy. But I'm at the point where I am just frustrated that my body never gets this part of pregnancy right and I always have to wait on the whim of the doctor on when to induce me.

I was kind of hoping that by being in better shape this time, my body would be better able to respond to the signals or hormones or whatever it is that is supposed to start my labor, but apparently, my body doesn't produce the right hormones. I'm trying to be positive and convince myself that this time will be different, but after already having six babies that had to be induced, it's kind of difficult to believe that this one will be any different. *sigh*

Monday 17 November 2008

I LOST!!!!!!!

Oh my goodness! I actually lost 3.5 pounds this week!!!!! YAY!!!!!

At 9 months pregnant, I really did NOT expect a loss, despite all of my hard work, and especially not as much as 3.5 pounds! All of my exercise paid off!

It feels so good!!!!!!!!

Total weight loss while pregnant: 46.5 pounds!

Tonight was another night at the Slimming World meeting to bring samples of "low syn" food. I tweaked a peanut butter cookie recipe and brought cookies. Robert tweaked the recipe for meringues and brought them. Both went over well at the meeting.

I'll share the recipes sometime tomorrow (or later if I am induced tomorrow). (I might have the baby's birth induced tomorrow. He was breech at the last appointment, and if he's still breech, he will be turned and then I will be induced, but he will probably have turned already, so I'll just be sent home to wait some more.)

Temporary Success!

Well, when I weighed in on my scale this morning, it showed my weight down about three pounds! I love seeing the numbers, but I can't count on it for my weigh-in tonight though. My scale fluctuates too much, and I will probably gain a pound or two by evening just through normal daily eating. Still, seeing the number on the scale has put me in a positive frame of mind, and I am looking forward to tonight's weigh-in.

Tonight is another night when we are supposed to bring something of low "syn" value to the Slimming World meeting for others to try. My husband Robert is making meringues using Splenda. He tested his recipe out a couple of days ago because he wasn't sure how the Splenda would cook in the mix and it worked. He's going to put a drop of reduced-sugar strawberry jam in the center of each meringue. Although, he is considering making a chocolate sauce with sweetener for the meringues instead.

I am making peanut butter cookies using Splenda and light margarine. I looked up the recipe values and it will only be one syn per cookie (if I make the mix into 18 cookies). Besides, we are out of desserts at home and I think my kids will like having some peanut butter cookies too.

I'll take pictures of our creations tonight and share the recipes with the photos tomorrow.

Saturday 15 November 2008

Scale Frustration!

Why is it that I let myself obsess over the scale? I already know that my scale fluctuates wildly and never reads the same twice. And yet, I so want to step on it and have it tell me I've lost weight!

Yesterday afternoon, it did tell me I'd lost weight. This morning, usually when I weigh my lowest, it told me I was 2 pounds up from yesterday's weight. I know this can't be, and yet I still get frustrated and cranky because of what the scale tells me.

We went a couple of weeks when both of our scales were not working because they needed new batteries. The inability to weigh myself daily also drove me nuts!

My calories have been in the low-range of my daily calorie allowance all week and I am exercising 85 minutes a day on the elliptical crosstrainer. By all rights, I should still see a loss when I go to my weigh-in on Monday, so why do I let my scale at home frustrate me so much?!!!

Thursday 13 November 2008

What Keeps Me Going?

I have a confession to make. I hate exercising on my elliptical crosstrainer. Even with the music I listen to in order to help pass the time, I can't seem to stop myself from watching the time tick slowly by as I exercise, counting down until I have finished my workout. I hate getting sweaty and hot. I hate it when my muscles start to ache. I hate starting to breathe heavier.

I know the conventional wisdom about finding an exercise that I like doing, but I can't go for walks right now due to my pregnancy-caused SPD which causes me severe hip and pelvic pain. And I have six kids (until my seventh is born), three of them who are still quite young, so I am unable to get away for a different type of exercise very often. I have the elliptical machine at home, so I am able to put some time into working out on it.

So what keeps me doing it? What on earth keeps me going with this exercising each day when I hate it so much?

Because I really, really love the results. I love that I've lost 43 pounds so far and that I've probably lost even more which will finally show when the baby is born. I love that my face is looking thinner. I love that I can fit into clothes while almost 9 months pregnant that didn't fit me before I was pregnant. I love that I can do more physical activities for longer without getting out of breath or tired. I love that my health is improving in noticeable ways. I love that I can fit through our child safety gates without scraping my hips against the sides as I squeeze through.

And this list just goes on.

So the answer is simple. I keep going with my exercise and diet, because I want the results badly enough to not give up.

What keeps you going?

Wednesday 12 November 2008


Ever had one of those days where you just feel like slug? You feel like you can't move at more than a snail's pace, and you don't feel like doing much of anything.

Well, that's how I've been feeling since Monday. I'm not letting it stop me from getting my exercise in though. I spent 80 minutes on the elliptical trainer on Monday, 85 minutes on it yesterday and 85 minutes on it today. And I'm eating well too. If I manage to keep it up for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, then I can count this week as a success no matter what Monday's weigh-in tells me.

The only problem I foresee is that my hip and pelvic pain is getting worse. Using the elliptical trainer was the one exercise I could do that did not make the pain worse. I've already had to give up taking long walks with my husband because it makes the pain unbearable. Now, exercising on my elliptical crosstrainer is beginning to worsen my hip and pelvic pain too. I'm not willing to give up exercise completely though. I wish I had a swimming pool!

It's a good thing this baby will be here soon!

Monday 10 November 2008


Well, the verdict is in and, despite all of my hard work, I am up half a pound this week. Still, I'm 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant, so I am still doing pretty good, and maybe I'll see a loss next week as long as I keep up the hard work.

My Slimming World consultant asked if I'd be okay with being featured in our local paper about my 43 pound weight loss while pregnant. I think it'd be interesting to do, and it might help me keep my motivation too.

Fighting the Snacking Urge

Tonight is my official weigh-in. So of course, I am determined not to blow my healthy lifestyle at the last minute before weigh-in when I have been good all week. And naturally, I am getting the worst cravings for something chocolate and sweet!

I managed to do 80 minutes (13.7 miles) on the elliptical crosstrainer, and I am just going to have to battle those munchies I am feeling. Or maybe I'll have a bite of something sweet to help get rid of the urge for it. I don't know which plan will work better.

Sunday 9 November 2008

Another Good Week

If you remember, I wrote that I was trying not to feel guilty about taking Tuesday off from exercise. Well, I no longer feel guilty about it.

I exercised for 65 minutes on the elliptical crosstrainer on Monday, 100 minutes on Wednesday, 100 minutes on Thursday, 100 minutes on Friday and 80 minutes on Saturday. I covered a combined total of 77 miles on the machine.

I also stuck to my daily calorie limits, with the exception of one day when I went over by only about 17 calories.

It's been a good week, and I am not going to stress about my weigh-in tomorrow, no matter what my scale tells me beforehand.

My official weigh-in is tomorrow night at my Slimming World meeting.

Wednesday 5 November 2008

Runners Burn More Calories Even While At Rest

According to research done at Yale, people who exercise vigorously for at least four hours a week burn more calories even while at rest than people who do not.

Maybe it's just because I have always read a lot, but I thought this was common knowledge. Of course people who exercise regularly have faster metabolisms! Other past reasearch has shown that muscle mass contributes to upping a person's metabolism, so I guess this new research is just another method of explaining why people who exercise regularly burn more calories throughout the day.

Still, it's research worth noting. I think sometimes we look at what our calorie burn is for the amount and type of exercise we are doing, and we lose sight of the fact that the fat-burning effects of our exercise go above and beyond the amount we've just done. It continues throughout the day, as long as we continue to make exercise a regular part of our daily routine.

No Bottled Water This Week!

I love my bottled water. Or, more accurately, I love the Crystal Light drinks which I make with my bottled water. We don't have Crystal Light in the UK, but I used to drink it when I was in the US. Recently, my mom mailed me a bunch of Crystal Light packets which I have been adding to my bottled water.

It's been really helping me drink more water. That has always been my biggest problem before - not drinking enough water. But when I have a pre-made bottle of Crystal Light, I have no problem drinking a couple of liters a day.

We usually get six 1.5 liter bottles of water delivered on Tuesdays by the milkman. Yesterday, while our milk, orange juice and bread got delivered as usual, there were no bottles of water on my porch in the morning. I'm hoping the milkman was just temporarily out and will deliver them tomorrow. I will probably call today to make sure of it.

In the meantime, I am really missing my bottled water!!!!!

Day Off

Having surpassed my goal for last Monday's weigh-in, I let myself take Tuesday (yesterday) off from exercise. I felt really tired. I spent the early part of the day at doctor appointments (due to my pregnancy), and I just really didn't feel like working out.

I had every right to take a day off, and it will not sabotage my weight-loss efforts to do so, and yet, I feel guilty about not exercising yesterday! So today, I did my now usual 80 minutes on the elliptical crosstrainer early in the day and then, after lunch, I spent another 20 minutes on the machine exercising. My total time exercising on the elliptical trainer today is 100 minutes (17.3 miles).

I don't know if I'll be able to fit in the time to do this tomorrow or the next day, but at least I've done a little bit to help assuage my guilt. I do not need to lose anymore weight until after the baby arrives, but I am willing to keep putting in the effort to keep from gaining any weight until then as well.

I'd love to get to the point mentally where I don't feel like I've failed myself for missing a day of exercise. No one, or at least few people, can exercise 6 days a week every week without fail.

Monday 3 November 2008


Despite my negative thinking, I managed to lose weight this week! At Slimming World, I weighed in another 2.5 pounds down!!!! I am so happy! It means I reached my goal for this pregnancy of making it to 3 stone lost (42 pounds) and surpassed it by losing another pound and a half! That's a total loss of 43.5 pounds for me and I am now 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant!

It also means that all the extra effort I put in this week was rewarded!


Weigh-in Tonight!

Well, I've eaten healthy food this week and watched my overall calories. I worked out on the elliptical trainer 6 days of this week (80 minutes on Tuesday, 80 minutes on Wednesday, 80 minutes on Thursday, 82 minutes on Friday, 66 minutes on Saturday and 65 minutes today). And yet, according to my scale, I not only haven't lost weight, but I might have actually gained again this week. Which of course leaves me with one question: Just how big is this baby going to be?!!

I have 2 weeks and 4 days until my due date. I really don't want to gain back any of the weight I've lost in this short space of time and I am working really hard to make sure it doesn't happen, so gains, even small ones like last week's half pound, are really depressing.

Maybe I'll get a surprise at tonight's weigh-in and my weight will stay the same or I'll actually lose some weight. I can dream.

Wish me luck!

Sunday 2 November 2008

Bean Soup Recipe

Pork & Beans

Beans are rich in fiber and this bean soup recipe that my mom always made for me is a really healthy, fiber-rich meal that is perfect for anyone trying to lose weight.

When I lived in the US, we always made this using pinto beans, but I was unable to find dry pinto beans where I live in the UK, so I made it with two bags of dry crab eye beans instead. If just using the basic ingredients (beans, ham, onion, seasoning, garlic powder), this is also a very inexpensive meal that will feed about five people for two nights.

2 bags of dry crab eye beans or pinto beans
2 thick slices of lean gammon/ham (optional but recommended)
2 large white onions
seasoning (I use Nature's Seasons from the US) - to taste
garlic powder - to taste

Tobasco sauce (optional)
low fat cheese (optional)
one baguette (optional)

First, soak the beans in water overnight.

In the morning, add the beans to a crockpot (called a "slow cooker" in the UK) and add water to cover them.

Chop the onions and add them to the crockpot. Chop up the gammon/ham and add it to the crockpot. Add seasoning and garlic powder to taste. (The ham/gammon is not necessary for bean soup, but it adds a nice flavor to the stock that the beans are cooked in.)

Let cook on high for 5 to 6 hours.

Serve up.

I sometimes add low fat cheese to my bowl of bean soup. It melts right away and tastes yummy, but I only add it if I have saved up enough extra calories for the day. I always add Tobasco sauce to my beans because I like my food spicy, but this is not for everyone.

I also like to have a baguette (the one pictured is an onion baton) with my beans to dip into them, but again, this makes the meal less healthy, so it all depends on how well I have been eating beforehand.

A large bowl of crab eye beans without gammon is about 468 calories, and very low in fat. (I do not know how pinto beans compare in calories to crab eye beans.) The gammon adds about 51 calories to the meal, and the low fat cheese adds another 67 calories (depending on the kind you use). The onion baton is about 200 calories. As you can see, if I plan on having all of the extras with my beans, I have to eat very light for the day prior to the meal.

But having the meal without the cheese or baguette makes for a very healthy meal that is not too high in calories, is very low in fat and is high in fiber too.

Also, for those following a Slimming World diet plan, beans are a "free" food on Slimming World's Green Days, and the meat can be used as a healthy extra.

"Before" Pictures & a "During" Picture

Okay, so here's an idea of what I looked like before I started losing this weight, and what I looked like at the end of August after losing 34 pounds of the 41 I have lost so far. Now, remember, in the August photo, I was already 27+ weeks pregnant, so most of the weight loss will only be visible in my face. You can also see the difference in my husband Robert since he has lost the weight too, despite the fact that, in August, he had not yet reached his goal weight, but he now has.

I'm the one hiding behind my kids, and I have long red hair. (I hated having my picture taken.) This was taken sometime in early 2007.

And here's an even earlier "before" picture at Easter 2006, while I was pregnant with Connor.

And here are two photos, one that shows me with five of my six kids while we were in London at the end of last August (and at 27+ weeks pregnant) and one that shows my husband Robert with the kids. I'm calling them "during" photos, because we have both lost more weight since they were taken, and because I will still lose more weight in the days to come, so they don't really qualify as "after" photos.

Friday 31 October 2008

Working (Out) Hard!

At Monday's weigh-in, I went up half a pound. I am in my last weeks of pregnancy, and yet it still really bothered me to gain that half pound because I had worked so very, very hard to lose something that week, even just another half pound, NOT to gain it!

I really feel as if I am doing enough to lose slightly more than the baby is gaining right now. Yet it didn't happen. Which is probably why I dreamed last night that the baby is going to be born weighing a whopping 12 pounds! LOL!

This week, I stepped up my exercise regimen even more. Last week, I spent an hour on the elliptical 5 days out of the week. This week, I have, so far, done 4 days at 80 minutes on the elliptical trainer, and tomorrow, I plan on doing at least an hour on it, and maybe another hour on Monday early in the day (my weigh-in is in the evening).

I am sticking to my calories for each day and trying to eat mostly healthy, so I really, really need to see a loss this week.

I think my biggest worry is that, once this baby arrives, I will still be working just as hard for minimal losses.

Tuesday 28 October 2008


I feel better now. I was able to get back on the elliptical crosstrainer and exercise for another 60 minutes. That gives me a total of 80 minutes (13.3 miles) on it today, which is 20 minutes longer than I was doing daily last week.

My stomach is still achey though.


Yikes! I tried to do my 60 to 65 minutes on the elliptical crosstrainer today and struggled painfully through a mere 20 minutes. I started cramping within the first couple of minutes, but instead of the cramp going away after a few minutes, it continued throughout the entire workout. It really, really hurt!

It could just be because I haven't had enough fluids today. It could be because I am pregnant, or I could have gotten the cramp because I'm coming down with the stomach virus my youngest three kids have been suffering with for most of the week. Or maybe it's just bad luck.

No matter what the cause, I am resting now, drinking water, and when the cramp goes away, I will get back on my elliptical and try again to get my workout completed. I don't feel right anymore when I don't get my exercise for the day.

Monday 27 October 2008

This Week's Weigh-In

Extra exercise was not enough to counteract the Chinese food I ate on Saturday. I went up half a pound at the weigh-in. However, I am due to give birth in 3 weeks and 4 days, so a half pound gain this week is not as horrifying as it would otherwise be. I am certain I will lose at least one more pound before this baby arrives. I will just keep working at it.

And I'm still down a total of 41 pounds.

No giving up!

Cooking for Slimming World Meeting

Today is another day at Slimming World where everyone is supposed to bring a low-fat or low-syn dish to share. Last time, I made a cheesecake, and everyone liked it, so this time, I made a chocolate cheesecake. Robert made two things. He made a vegetarian pizza and a Spinach and Herb Fritatta. I will share the recipes with photos of the dishes later, once we've had a chance to try them and see if they are any good. The chocolate cheesecake was made with the same recipe I used for the last cheesecake, but instead of adding a teaspoon of cinnamon, I added three tablespoons of Hershey's Cocoa Powder. I won't know if that was the right amount or how good or bad it tastes until the meeting when I get a chance to try it.

Sunday 26 October 2008

Is Exercise Enough?

I have had an okay week. Lots of my kids have fallen ill with this stomach virus that is going around, and I've had a lot of sleepless nights taking care of them. Being tired has made me feel more likely to munch on stuff that's unhealthy. I've given in a little bit, but I've also upped my exercise to compensate.

We had Chinese last night. Will the extra exercise be enough to counteract the extra calories and fat? Barring me falling ill, I will find out tomorrow at my Slimming World meeting.

Thursday 23 October 2008

Not Giving Myself Any Excuses

I have trouble believing it too! LOL!

I was up all night with my 3 year old Isabella last night. She woke up crying at ten minutes to 1:00am because she'd thrown up all over herself and her bed. I showered her, changed her clothes and rinsed all of the bedding and clothing in the shower while Robert put new sheets on her bed and found her another blanket.

20 minutes later we went through it all again, depsite having given her a bowl. She used the bowl, but then said she was done and threw up more while I took the bowl to rinse out.

So, prepared with TWO bowls, we put her back to bed. After she threw up 15 minutes and 20 minutes apart again, I went downstairs with her and cuddled with her on the couch. By this time, she was mostly dry-heaving with a bit of bile at the end.

I was up with her all night. She went back into her bed at 7:00am this morning, and threw up again at 8:15am, which was the longest stretch she has gone between bouts. I am hoping she sleeps even longer this time before being hit by it again. Or better yet, doesn't get sick again. Poor, poor Bella!

But, I'm mentioning all of this to point out that I am exhausted and the fatty, sugary foods are really calling to me! I have even considered not doing my work-out today because on top of my hips hurting, I am just so completely tired. But I told myself I would not allow any excuses, and I am not. So I will do my workout today, and I will avoid the sugary, bad-for-me food that is really calling to me right now. (Seriously, I am so tired and stressed, I just want to stuff my face! But I won't!)

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Why Lose Weight?

Sometimes, especially when motivation is lacking, it helps to make a list of the reasons why you want to lose weight.

For me, losing weight has many benefits. One big benefit is looking better. I really want to look better and be able to wear the styles of clothes I like. Right now, at my current weight, those styles are not very flattering.

Another benefit is health. Diabetes runs in my family, and being overweight makes it even more likely that I will end up with the same disease. Also, I don't like feeling out of breath when I do simple things. I suffer from back pain regularly, and carrying around the extra weight makes it worse. I used to suffer from plantar fasciitis (painful, inflamed heels). It made it painful for me to stand or walk, and I hobbled around as if I was arthritic. That has already gone away just since losing the little bit of extra weight that I already have.

In my last two pregnancies, I developed high blood pressure. Both times it became dangerous and with one of those pregnancies, it became life-threatening. So far, in this pregnancy, my blood pressure has remained low. In fact, it is even better than it usually is when I'm not pregnant! Seeing the obstetrician and midwife yesterday was a good thing as I heard from them how good I have been doing to lose all of this weight and in keeping my blood pressure down.

Yet another benefit is energy. I have teenagers and small children. For the small children, a lot of energy is required. I have found that I do not have as much energy in dealing with them as I had when my teenagers were small. But when my teenagers were small, I was ten years younger and weighed almost 100 pounds less than I do now. My age might have something to do with having less energy, but I am more inclined to see it as caused by my weight. Being overweight, not exercising and eating unhealthy, high carb and high fat foods is known for making people feel sluggish and tired.

Another benefit is sleep. Since starting to exercise regularly, I sleep better. Getting better sleep helps me in so many weighs. I have more patience with my kids, I crave less sweet, sugary food and I have more energy.

Another big benefit is self esteem. My self esteem is better when I am thinner, and even before getting to my goal weight, just knowing that I am able to do this, that I am able to lose the weight and overcome many obstacles in order to do so, helps my self esteem.

There's also the benefit of being a good and healthy example for my children. I really do not want them to struggle with their weight the way I have. I want them to see that exercise is a good thing and that eating healthy is so much more enjoyable and desireable than eating sweets and other junk.

Gaining control. That's another benefit. My eating can and has in the past been out of control. I would occassionally binge eat, and I always felt badly after doing so, but never felt like I could stop myself. There were days when I would make up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough and, instead of baking cookies for the family, I would eat the whole batch of cookie dough! I was completely out of control! But now, I wouldn't dream of doing that. I am able to control my cravings, to an extent, and in so doing, have taken control of my eating habits. In taking control of my eating habits, I am helping to show myself that I am just as capable of taking control in other areas of my life.

The list of benefits to losing weight can go on from here. There are so many reasons to lose the excess weight and so few reasons to keep it. Why not make your own list?

Monday 20 October 2008

Another Weight Loss

I lost another 1/2 pound. It's not much, but at this stage of pregnancy (4.5 weeks to go), I'll take it! I'm now down 41.5 pounds total.

Here in the UK, they measure a person's weight in "stone." One stone equals 14 pounds. So I had only one more pound to lose to reach 3 stone lost (42 pounds), and I made that my next mini goal. I really thought I had reached it this week, but I only dropped the 1/2 pound, so I still have 1/2 pound to go.

I worked so hard at it that it gets frustrating to see the weight coming off so slowly, even though, rationally, I know the baby's growth inside me is why it's coming off so slowly. I still feel like I should be seeing bigger losses.

Sunday 19 October 2008

Weigh-in Tomorrow

Tomorrow is my weigh-in. I've been eating well and exercising, so I should lose some weight, even if it's only a little bit. I've been craving sweets lately though. It's been a real struggle not to stuff my face with food that is bad for me. I'm not sure what is causing the cravings.

Still, I should be down at least another pound at tomorrrow's weigh-in. And because my husband has already reached his ideal weight, we are taking the whole family out on Friday to a favorite restaurant of ours to celebrate our weight loss. I feel fairly confident that I will be able to choose a healthy menu there, despite the naughty cravings I have been having.

Saturday 18 October 2008

Will It Be Enough?

I spent around 60 minutes (10.6 miles) on the elliptical crosstrainer for 5 days of this week, but the pain in my hip is getting to be too much for me, so I'm taking the weekend off from exercising.

I have eaten healthy and low-cal all week, and all I need to lose to hit my next mini goal is 1 pound.

I weigh-in in two days. Will my efforts this week be enough? I guess we'll all find out on Monday!

Friday 17 October 2008

Pain but Getting On With It

My hips and pelvic area, due to the pregancy, are in so much pain! Yesterday and today, I could barely walk! I still managed to do my workout today, but, for a while, it looked like I would have to forego it. My pace on the elliptical machine was much slower than usual, and in the beginning, I felt like crying. I had shooting pain in my hip with every movement. But I managed to do 65 minutes and 10.6 miles.

I am determined to keep this up, despite obstacles.

Thursday 16 October 2008


I've finally caught one of the many viruses that have been sweeping through the population here. I have a stuffy nose and a scratchy throat, and I am so very tired! Still, I managed to spend an hour on the elliptical crosstrainer yesterday despite feeling like rubbish, and I will do the same today, regardless of how poorly I feel. I had no voice when I woke up this morning, but it has partly returned now, though I am very rough-sounding at the moment. I am beginning to cough. I'll have to make sure not to push myself too hard while exercising today, but I can't let a little cold virus keep me from my dedication to getting myself as fit as I can be.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

A Loss Is Always Good, No Matter How Small

My weigh-in at Slimming World was last night. I lost a pound. I worked out extra hard this week, because I was hoping to lose 2 pounds, but it was only a pound. Still, a pound loss at this point in my pregnancy is still a good thing! I am down a total of 41 pounds so far!

I am trying so hard not to be disappointed with only losing 1 pound. The prior week, I lost 1.5 pounds, and I really wanted to lose 2 this week, so I upped my exercise and ate even better. I really thought I had managed to lose at least two this week. Everyone is telling me that I will probably see the results of last week's hard work this week. I hope so! Still, I am almost 35 weeks pregnant, so I have to keep reminding myself that the pregnancy has an effect on my weight loss.

My husband was only 4.5 pounds away from his ideal weight and final target weight. When he weighed in yesterday, he was down 8 POUNDS!!!! He's below his ideal weight now at 213.5 pounds and being 6'8" tall! I think that is an incredible amount to lose at this point in his weight loss, and I am so happy for him!!!

Monday 6 October 2008

20 Weeks Weight

I keep saying that I am happy to maintain my weight at this point in my pregnancy, but, so far, I still seem to be able to lose! I lost another 1.5 pounds this week for a total weight loss over 20 weeks of 40 pounds! Now of course, 42 pounds, which equals 3 stone in UK measurements, is looking tantalizingly close! I am over 33 weeks pregnant now too.

Loss this week: 1.5 pounds!!!
Total loss over 20 weeks: 40 pounds!!!!!!!

Quick Sweet Snack

Sometimes I am craving something sweet, and I really don't want anything high in calories. What I make is this:

Peel two green apples. (Any apple will do, but I prefer green.)
Core and slice thinly.
Put in a bowl.
Sprinkle cinnamon over apple slices.
Mix it up a bit.
Microwave, covered, for two minutes.
Cool and eat.

If you want it even sweeter, you can add a teaspoon of sweetener before microwaving, but it's sweet without any sweetener.

The Importance Of Mini Goals

I think that when you have a lot of weight to lose like I do, setting mini goals for yourself is an important thing to do to help with motivation. You might have days when you feel as though you'll never reach that big ultimate weight-loss goal, but if you have a mini goal set that you are almost at, it's easy to think, I can do it! And in this way, by achieving one mini goal at a time, you find yourself closer and closer to your ultimate goal.

And it's time to confess my actual weight. (I always try to avoid admitting what I weigh, but if you are to read about my mini goals, then you need to see my actual weight.)

Here are my mini goals (mine are all about weight, but they don't have to be. You could set mini goals for how easily you do a set of exercise moves or how far you walk each week or getting into different sized clothing; there are lots of other ways to measure your success):

May 12th Starting Weight: 272.5 (WOW! I hadn't realized just how big I was getting!)
June 16th: 1st mini goal - 257.5 - 1st stone lost - REACHED (257)
June 30th: 2nd mini goal - 252.5 - 1st 20 lbs. lost - REACHED (252)
July 28th : 3rd mini goal - 245 - 10% body weight lost - REACHED (244.5)
July 28th : 4th mini goal - 244.5 - 2nd stone lost - REACHED (244.5)
Aug. 18th : 5th mini goal - 240 - weight on wedding day - REACHED (238.5)
Sep. 29th : 6th mini goal - 234.5 - less than 100 pounds left to lose - REACHED (234)

: 7th mini goal - 230.5 - 3rd stone lost -
: 8th mini goal - 222.5 - 50 pounds lost -
: 9th mini goal - 220 - weight after Gabby's birth -
: 10th mini goal - 216.5 - 4th stone lost -
: 11th mini goal - 204 - 25% body weight lost
: 12th mini goal - 202.5 - 5th stone lost -
: 13th mini goal - 199.5 - ONEDERLAND!!!! -
: 14th mini goal - 190 - weight when met Robert -
: 15th mini goal - 188.5 - 6th stone lost -
: 16th mini goal - 177 - weight after Kayla's birth & 35% body weight lost -
: 17th mini goal - 174.5 - 7th stone lost -
: 18th mini goal - 172.5 - 100 pounds lost!!! -
: 19th mini goal - 166 - weight after Angelica's birth
: 20th mini goal - 160.5 - 8th stone lost -
: 21st mini goal - 155 - weight after Victoria's birth
: 22nd mini goal - 148 - high weight in high school
: 23rd mini goal - 146.5 - 9th stone lost -
: 24th mini goal - 140 - average weight in high school -
: 25th mini goal - 136.25 - 50% body weight lost
: GOAL WEIGHT - 135 (9 stone 11.5 lbs.) - healthy BMI of 24.7 -

(1 stone is an English way of measuring a person's weight and it is equal to 14 pounds.)

Only 3.5 pounds to my next mini goal! and I am over 33 weeks pregnant right now, so I still have all of this baby weight to lose with the birth too! (I also have another weigh-in tonight and am hoping to have lost another pound or two.)

If I look at how far I still have to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, I would probably feel overwhelmed and discouraged by the sheer enormity of how much I still have to lose. But by taking my weight loss one tiny step at a time and having small, easily-reachable goals, I feel successful each step of the way! I know I can make it to my next mini goal, so it's easy to stay motivated.

Robert told me yesterday that he has trouble believing I have as much weight to lose as I say I do, because, to him, I don't look like I need to lose 99 pounds still. I'm glad he feels that way and sees me that way, but this weight loss is about getting my body into a healthy BMI, and that means I still have 99 pounds to go. *sigh*

But I will be looking better and better along the way, even way before I reach my ultimate weight loss goal!

Sunday 5 October 2008

A Good Day

Today was a good day, and by "good," I mean "healthy." I ate within my calorie range and ate lots of fruit and vegetables. I exercised for 51 minutes (9 miles) on the elliptical crosstrainer in the morning, and then went back on it in the evening for another 21 minutes (3.7 miles).

And best of all, because I know I was taking care of myself today, I feel good about it!

Saturday 4 October 2008

Regular Soda is a No-No!!!

Since I've been dieting, I've been drinking diet sodas. I know that it would be healthier not to have soda at all, but I really like it and am just not ready to give it up yet.

Unfortunately today, my husband found some regular Dr. Pepper cans on sale and bought them. He figured it wouldn't hurt just this once. Well, I had a can at lunch and another at dinner. Then at the end of the day, I figured out my calories for the whole day, and they came to 1,715.5! I have been really good about never going above 1,500 calories for each day, so that number looks huge to me! If I took away the calories from the two cans of Dr. Pepper (137 calories per can), my calories would have been only 1,441.5.

The sad part of it is that I didn't really even enjoy the Dr. Pepper that much. It tastes a bit too sweet for me now. I am really kicking myself for having those two cans of soda. *sigh*

Friday 3 October 2008

Birthday Cake and Exercise Obsession

I have been upping my exercise this week, and getting depressed if I think I might not get to it. I feel good when I exercise, but I don't want to feel bad if, for some reason, I have to miss a day of exercise. I have already gone from doing 30 minutes a day for four to five days a week on my elliptical crosstrainer to doing 45 minutes to an hour a day for 5 to 6 days a week.

Today, I have decided NOT to exercise. I even let myself have a piece of chocolate birthday cake in celebration of my daughter's 6th birthday today. (It was really yummy!) I managed to stay within my daily calorie range despite having the cake.

I had a lot of walking that had to be done today, so my day wasn't completely devoid of exercise. And I find it refreshing to take this one day break from exercise. I do not want to be obsessive about my diet and exercise. Overall, I am still doing really well.

I think it is important for all of us to allow ourselves a little slack once in a while. Dare I say it is even healthy?

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Busy Day

Well, it was starting to look as if I wasn't going to find the time today to get my workout in. This morning I had an ultrasound at 10:30am. (The baby is doing fine and growing well. I have another ultrasound in 3 weeks.) Robert met me at the hospital from work, so after the ultrasound, we caught the bus into town and went to lunch (at Subway - I had the turkey breast sub on wheat with no cheese). Then I caught the bus home with my two youngest kids, and put them down for their naps. Five minutes after getting home, Robert showed up with Angelica (15 year old) in tow. She had thrown up at school. So I sent her up to bed with a bowl.

Robert took the puppy for a walk before leaving to go back to work.

Isabella (3 years old) had gone straight to sleep, but Connor (2 years old) kept climbing out of bed and refusing to go to sleep, so by the time 2:00pm rolled around, I gave up. Within about 15 minutes, he had grabbed a blanket, pillow and teddy bear and curled up on the couch and fell asleep. Once I was sure he was asleep, I realized that I only had 15 minutes before I had to leave to go pick up Gabby (5 year old) from school.

Because Bella and Connor were still asleep, I let Angelica know that I was leaving to get Gabby and walked the 2 blocks to her school and back. By the time we got back, the puppy had pooped in the back room. So, I cleaned up the mess and realized I still had dishes to do from the night before. I washed the dishes and it was already time to start making dinner, so I got dinner going.

Isabella and Connor woke up and they were hungry already, so I made them some scrambled eggs and beans and fed them. I had just enough time to go on the computer and check my e-mail, and then it was time to get dinner served up for the rest of the family.

I ate dinner, and realized that if I waited 30 minutes before doing my workout, Connor would already be in bed (it's in the same room as the elliptical crosstrainer). I decided he should stay up a little bit later tonight since he had such a late nap though.

I actually managed, despite all of this, to fit in 50 minutes on the elliptical crosstrainer! Kayla (14 year old) had been home from school since 4:00pm, and she agreed to keep an eye on Connor while I worked out, but she was doing homework at the same time. Fortunately, Connor spent the whole time I was working out just outside the safety gate to the room I was in singing and dancing along to the music I was playing.

And for the first ngiht in many, he went to sleep within minutes of being put to bed.


Angelica is already feeling better, and Robert and Kayla took turns all evening taking the puppy for its walks.

So, despite being really busy and really tired and really achey in my hip from this pregnancy, and despite having to battle a stubborn toddler and deal with a sick daughter and puppy poop, today turned out to be a pretty good day.


Tuesday 30 September 2008

Slimming World Food Night

At the Slimming World meeting last night, everyone was supposed to bring a low "syn" food for others to try, so my husband and I decided to each make something to bring. Robert brought Onion Bhajis with Cucumber Raita, and I brought Baked Vanilla Cheesecake. They were both a hit at the meeting, and we will definitely make them again at home.


Bombay Bhajis & Cucumber Raita


Fry Light
1 medium onion, chopped
170g/6oz potatoes, cooked and chopped
227g/8oz canned chickpeas, drained
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Bombay mixed spice (we didn't have this, so Robert used a hot madras curry spice.)
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper


1/2 cucumber, chopped
113g/4oz very low fat natural yogurt
4 spring onions, chopped

1. To make raita, place the cucumber in a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave for 30 minutes. Dry well and transfer into a bowl. Stir in the yogurt and spring onions and chill until ready to serve.

2. To make the bhajis, spray a non-stick frying pan with Fry Light and cook the onion for approximately 5 minutes until tender. Transfer to a bowl, add the potato and chickpeas and mash together. Stir in the remaining ingredients and form into 20 small balls.

3. Arrange the bhajis on a baking tray that has been sprayed with Fry Light. Bake in a preheated oven at 220C/Gas 7 for approximately 15 minutes until golden. Serve immediately with cucumber raita.

Serves 4 as a side dish.

Free on Green on the Slimming World plan. (I'll look up and add the calories count later.)

I do not like cucumbers, so I was not fond of the dip, and when we made this at home for us (rather than this one which we brought to the meeting), I had Robert make me some of the dip with only spring onion in it and no cucumber. The bhajis taste great, but can be a little bit dry and crumbly, so having a dip with them is definitely a must.

Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

12 reduced fat digestive biscuits, finely crushed
6 level tbsp low fat spread
511g/1lb 2oz Quark
3 large eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla essence
8-10 tbsp artificial sweetener
finely grated zest of 1 orange and one lemon
1 level tsp icing sugar, to dust
mixed berries, to serve

1. Place the crushed biscuits in a bowl and melt the low fat spread. Add to the biscuits and stir to mix well. Spoon into a 20cm/8 inch non-stick spring form cake tin, pressing down firmly to make a smooth and even base. Chill in the fridge, preferably overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3. Beat together the quark, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, sweetener and the citrus zest until well combined and pour over the prepared biscuit base. Place in the oven and cook for 50-55 minutes or until set and golden.

3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 6 to 8 hours. To serve, dust with icing sugar, cut into thin wedges and serve with mixed berries.

Serves 10.

6 Syns on Green on the Slimming World plan.
6 Syns on Original on the Slimming World plan.

I had never even heard of Quark until i joined slimming World and noticed it mentioned as an ingredient in so many of the recipes. It's basically a soft cheese spread like Philadelphia Cream Cheese is, so if they don't have it at your local store, you could probably substitute the Light Philadelphia Cream Cheese for Quark.

I found that adding the cinnamon gave a slightly brownish colour to the cheesecake mixture, so it didn't look much like the picture in the book. Next time we make it, I will try to get a good photograph of the cheesecake. The berries I topped it with were raspberries and blackberries. Everybody loved it, including Robert and I, but I realized later that I had miscalculated the artificial sweetener. I used Splenda, and I measured out 10 teaspoons of it instead of the tablespoons that the recipe calls for. It still tasted great though, so maybe it doesn't need as much sweetener as it asks for after all!

I will try and work out the overall calories for a slice of the cheesecake to add here later.

Monday 29 September 2008

19th Week's Weight Loss!!!

After 19 weeks of my new healthy diet and exercise lifestyle, and at 32 weeks pregnant, I went to my weigh-in at Slimming World today and have lost another pound! I have lost a total of 38.5 pounds so far! And I now have less than 100 pounds left to lose to reach my ultimate goal! This means I have now hit another mini goal and have only 99 pounds left to go to my goal weight!


My husband lost 2 pounds this week as well and he is only 2 pounds away now from reaching his ideal weight.

Friday 26 September 2008


Well, after my last "kicking your butt for not exercising" post, I thought I should 'fess up. While I am doing terrific on the exercise front, I am not doing terrific on the healthy eating part of this journey. I'm still eating relatively healthily, but I have had a few sweets this week.

I hope I am making up for my sweet tooth with the amount of exercise I am doing, but I still feel guilty about having had a few treats this week. I am however, at least, keeping myself in a healthy calorie range regardless.

What is it about those sugary confections that call to us so strongly?

No More Excuses!!!

Okay, if you are making excuses for not losing weight or for not sticking to your weight loss or fitness plan today, I'm here to kick your butt back into gear!

I am 32 weeks pregnant. I suffer from pregnancy-induced SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) and sciatica pain (causing sever hip and pelvic pain). Sometimes it hurts just to roll over in bed or try to stand up from a sitting position. Most of the time, I am in pain even when I am doing nothing. I also suffer from recurring back problems. I am in pain ALL OF THE TIME!!!

But I still hop on my elliptical crosstrainer, put up the resistance to something reasonable and spend 43 minutes on it every day at a decent pace. I do 7 to 7.5 miles on it, despite the pain.

I still push my two smaller children in the double stroller, with the two of them weighing a combined weight of almost 80 pounds before I even add in the weight of the stroller itself, for a long distance several times a week. I still walk to pick up my 5 year old from school each day. I even take the dog for an occasional walk. I go on 2 and 4 mile walks with my husband, even if it means I hobble in pain towards the end of the walk and for the rest of the day.

If I can find my fitness so important that I am willing to suffer through the pain to get my workout in, you can too! I don't care if you are in pain or tired or just plain lazy. Too busy? So what! You can and should get in some form of exercise regardless of any excuse you can make! As long as you don't have a doctor telling you to avoid exercise, then there really is no excuse.

So get off your lazy butt and go MOVE!!!!

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Gym membership?

My husband Robert and I stopped in to have a look around a local gym. It's a 2 mile walk from our house, and we are thinking of joining it after the baby arrives. Robert is only 5 pounds away from his goal weight, so he is wanting to use the weight machines and start toning and firming up now.

It looks like an okay gym. It has the equipment we want to use. And it has a large pool for swimming laps, plus two jacuzzis. I have not been swimming in years! When I was young, I was on the swim team at school. I grew up with a large pool in my back garden. I really, really miss swimming! So I really love the idea of being able to use the pool there. And, for a fee, we can bring the kids with us to the pool on weekends.

The only thing annoying about our tour was how cheery and perky the tour guide was. Even the way she spoke seemd fake and overly cheery as if she had been trained to speak that way to help "make the sale." Bleh!

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Is My Improved Fitness Showing?

Being pregnant means it is harder for me to notice the weight coming off from me, because my belly is still growing. It is difficult for me to see the results of my weight loss except for in my face for now, at least until the baby arrives.

Today, I was walkign my daughter Gabby to school and pushing the double stroller with my two year old and three year old in it. We wound up behind a mother and toddler and they were walking really slowly. I assumed it was because of the toddler's uncertain steps, but as I came alongside them, I realized that the 20-something mother was very pregnant and the toddler was pulling against her hand trying to speed her up. We started up a conversation, and I found out that she was due just two weeks before me.

Later, after the children were dropped off at school, we ran into one another again, and she stopped to chat with me. (I was at the bus stop waiting for a bus to take my two little ones and I to the hospital for a prenatal appointment.)

First, she was amazed that I was only due two weeks after her and that this was my 7th baby. She said I just seemed too fit and energetic for that!

That comment absolutely made my day! Most days, I hobble with pregnancy-induced pain from my hip, but I am learning to ignore the pain and do my best to walk normally and quickly anyway so as to make my time spent walking shorter. And I have never before been referred to as being "fit" and definitely not "energetic!" Even in my early 20s with my first few pregnancies back in my "thin" days, I always felt tired and sluggish. I would look at other pregnant women and mothers and be jealous of how energetic they seemed!

I have noticed that, where I used to take 45 minutes or longer to walk 2 miles with my husband, I can now do the same walk in usually about 30 minutes. So, maybe even if I can't physically see the results in my body of all of this weight loss right now, at least I am starting to be shown the results that are appearing in other ways.

Monday 22 September 2008

Another Weight Loss!!!!!

I went to my weigh-in tonight at Slimming World, and I am down another 2 pounds! I worked so hard this week to be able to see a loss, and I am so pleased with this one! I have now lost a total of 37.5 pounds in 18 weeks. I am half a pound away from having less than 100 pounds left to lose to reach my ultimate goal. So my next mini goal is to lose just one more pound!

My husband lost 1.5 pounds this week too.

Eat Cinnamon For Good Health + Recipe

A friend directed me to an article about the health benefits of cinnamon. I happen to really like cinnamon, and it was nice to find out that it is good for me. It is good for people with insulin resistance and diabetes and it can lower blood glucose levels. It helps brain function, and it can aid in digestion. It can even help lower cholesterol.

The full article can be found at

I have a low-calorie dessert I eat sometimes when I am craving something sweet that uses cinnamon. First, I peel a couple of large apples. Then I core them and cut them into thin slices and put them in a bowl. I sprinkle a teaspoon of sweetener over them (usually Splenda) and then I sprinkle cinnamon all over them. I then cook them in the microwave until they go soft. Cooking time can vary depending on the microwave, but mine takes about 3 minutes.

Scale Variation

You've all done this. Stepped on the scale, not liked what you've seen and then stepped on it again to see if you can get a more forgiving weight on the second try. And the odd thing is that sometimes you will!

It is the bane of slimmers everywhere, the constantly fluctuating scale. Some of the fluctuations are natural and part of your body's daily rhythms. And some of the fluctuations are just random and can change from one minute to the next. It makes it difficult to know what your true weight is.

And I've tried cheap scales, expensive scales, digital scales and every other kind of scale I can think of. It's the same with them all. I remember one day when my husband and I were moving the scale around the house until we found a spot where our scale weighed us the lowest! (We did not continue to do that though, because it's, a bit on the crazy, obsessive side! LOL!)

I have two scales. One weighs me 13 to 14 pounds lower than the other one. Neither one weighs me the same as the one at Slimming World. I bought the second, more expensive one, a Weight Watcher's brand, because I thought it would weigh me more consistently than the first one. No such luck!

I have a theory. I think that scales are more consistent and accurate for lower-weight people. I might be wrong. I guess I will have to wait until I'm slim and fit to find out!

The Scale Blues

My weigh-in is tonight. Usually, I will show any drop in my weight by Monday morning. I weighed myself this morning, and the scale is showing my weight as up 4.5 pounds since yesterday morning! Now, I know this isn't possible because I ate really healthy yesterday and kept my calories on the lower end of the range I allow myself. In fact, all week I exercised MORE than I normally do and ate really healthily! I know that the baby growing inside me is adding weight, but I was so very good this week that I should be able to see at least a half-pound loss. When I plugged my exercise into SparkPeople, it said I had burned 3,900+ calories. That's more than a pound's worth of calories burned in exercise alone! And on top of that, my diet was really good too.

I was really determined to lose a tiny bit of weight ths week to make up for the one pound I gained last week. Last week, I hadn't been exercising much, so this week I made up for it, despite the pain in my hip and pelvic area. Is it too much to ask that the scale show me something for all the effort I have been putting in?!

Sometimes, when I do my weigh-in in the evening (weigh-in is at 8:00pm), it surprises me by showing me a loss despite what my scale says. Generally though, my scale here is a pretty good predictor of what the scale there will say. I'm going to be relally upset if I have gained this week. I won't be upset if I've maintained, but I will be disappointed.

I'm only 2.5 pounds away from my next mini goal, and I was really hoping to get at least part-way there this week.

Sunday 21 September 2008

Mexican Chicken Casserole

I made this for my family last night. It was really delicious, and everyone loved it! The kids are already begging me to make it again! Next time I make it, I'll take a picture of it to add to this post.

Mexican Chicken Casserole

1 large onion, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups chopped cooked white meat chicken
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth (All I could find in my store was Asda Extra Special Chicken Stock.)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 corn tortillas, cut into fourths (I found Old El Paso ones.)
1 cup shredded fat-free Cheddar Cheese (All I could find was Asda Good For You Medium Fat Grated Cheese.)

Lightly spray an 11x1x 1 1/2 inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the onion in 1/4 cup water in a medium skillet until tender, stirring often. Add the tomato, chicken, broth, chili powder, salt, cumin and oregano. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 5 to 6 minutes. Layer half the chicken mixture, half the tortillas and half the cheese in the baking dish and repeat with the remaining chicken and tortillas. Reserve the remaining cheese. Cover the casserole and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Uncover and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.

Serves 6. (I made it for 4.)

2.09 grams fat per serving

The fat grams per serving was given with the recipe, but I wanted to now the over-all calories, so I worked them out myself, using the ingredients I used in the recipe.

I served 4 with it instead of 6, so the calories are for serving 4.

Chicken stock - 2.5 per serving
Medium Fat cheese - 152 per serving
Corn tortilla shells - 193 per serving
Chicken - 168 calories
Total calories per serving - 515.5 calories(I excluded the onion and tomatoes from the calculations because I never count vegetables and fruit in my daily calories.)

If you serve 6 with this recipe as directed, the total calories per serving = 344 calories.

Slimming world Syns: If serving 4, 3.75 syns on green and original
If serving 6, 2.75 syns on green or original

Friday 19 September 2008

Good Week

I've had a good week with my exercise and diet. I hope that will translate into a loss on the Monday weigh-in. I know it's a slightly different challenge for me due to the pregnancy and the baby's weight gain, but even with the baby's weight gain, I should be able to drop a little bit of weight this week.

I hate weighing myself on my scales at home, because they fluctuate wildly EVERY TIME! It can be really frustrating to know what is happening with my weight, but I can't seem to stop myself from weighing anyway.


Still no sign of dh's wedding ring, but I am so happy because I found my engagement ring!!!!!!

I was back-tracking over everything I did in the house this morning, and I decided to check in Isabella's chest of drawers where I got her clothes for the day out this morning. I opened the bottom drawer, and right on top of all the folded clothes was my ring!!!!!

I'd be jumping for joy right now if my painful hip would let me!!! LOL! :)

I do not want to have to take my rings off until I've finished losing all of the weight I need to lose, but I also don't want to have to keep resizing my rings every time I've lost a chunk of weight. So what am I going to do in the meantime?

Not Again!!!!

Remember my post about 4 days ago about my husband losing his wedding ring because he's lost so much weight that it fell off of his finger? Well, my wedding ring and engagement ring were not all that loose on my fingers yet. They could spin more and could be taken on and off more easily, but you could still see the indentation in my skin when they were taken off.

Apparently, I lost a little weight in my fingers this week. My engagement ring, something that has been on my finger since Robert proposed to me back in May of 2000, has fallen off of my finger!!! I have no idea where it is! I am in tears about this!

I took the dog for a walk this morning around the park. Then I took the kids to a local mother and toddler group that we go to on Friday mornings. I was sat down chatting with some other mothers when I reached to fiddle with my rings (it's a habit I have and I do it frequently). To my horror, my engagement ring was gone!!! I looked all over the place at the toddler group. Then I walked home the same route I took to get there and checked carefully along the way for it. I even followed my path that I took the dog on around the park, but there was no sign of it.

I can't believe we have both lost two very special rings full of sentimental value to us IN THE SAME WEEK!

I really am so sad right now.

I'm trying to be positive though and keep telling myself that we'll find them.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Finding A Diet That Works For You

I was reading some of the diets that some of my friends are using to lose weight, and the first thing I noticed was how completely diverse all of those diets were. I have friends on the Weight Watcher's diet, the Medifast diet, the Tony Fergeson diet, the Atkin's Diet, the Zone diet, the South Beach diet, the Slimming World diet, the Raw diet, the Palio diet and so many others! I even have friends who are just counting calories and exercising.

Some of the diets sound overly restrictive to me. On the Medifast diet, you buy their food and restrict your calories to something like 1,000 a day. On the Tony Fergeson diet, you're not only restricting calories, but you're mostly sticking to the soups and shakes from the plan and multivitamins. On the Raw diet, you are only eating fruits, vegetables and nuts, all fresh produce. On the Atkin's diet, you are restricting your carbohydrates significantly. On the Palio diet, you are eating a mostly meat diet. (I am oversimplifying these diet plans here for the purpose of expediency. It would take a long time to go into detail about each one.)

Some diets, like the Zone diet, take a lot of calculating and planning. Some, like the Slimming World diet, give you a list of "free foods" which you can eat as much of as you like. Some, like the Weight Watcher's diet, give you choices between free food days and days when you have to do a bit of calculation.

Some people have health issues that have to be considered when choosing a diet plan. For example, someone who is diabetic will need a diet plan that takes into account his or her need to control sugar intake. Some one who has celiac disease will need to find a diet plan that will allow them to not include gluten in the food.

I have tried the Atkin's diet before. I lost 16 pounds in the first two weeks and nothing in the third and stopped doing the diet. I missed eating fruit and the diet was just too restrictive on carbohydrates for me. I quickly gained the weight back plus more!

I have tried the Weight Watcher's diet. I used the points plan (this was before they added the "core" plan) and lost 50 pounds in 6 months. At the same time, I was also going to the gym 5 days a week doing cardio workouts and twice a week adding in weight training. The only problem I had with the diet was that I moved to another country. Weight Watcher's was here too, but I had to get used to new foods and finding out the point values for things all over again, and I no longer had a gym to go to. I basically lost my focus. And the pounds slowly crept back up on me and then some!

The diet plan I am on now which is working for me and I find easy to follow is Slimming World. It has similarities to Weight Watcher's. There is a huge list of food that I can eat as much as I like of, such as eggs, fat-free yogurt, fresh fruit, vegetables, rice and so on. I can choose days; I can go with "green" days which consist of mostly vegetarian food including beans, legumes, pasta and rice, or I can go with "original" days where I get to include more meat into my meal planning. If I want a dessert, I have a certain amount of "syns" I can use each day towards it. I am replacing white flour with whole grains for my bread, rice and pasta.

I've added my own touch to the diet. I have a tendency to binge eat, so, although it is not part of the plan, I am keeping track of my calories throughout the day. Writing down what I am eating also has the added benefit of keeping me more on track with whether I am making healthy choices.

I am finding that this diet works for me. And the important part about it is that I like following it! I don't feel deprived, and I do feel like this is something I can continue for life. Because that is what is important about any diet you choose to follow. It has to be a lifestyle change. It has to be something you can see yourself continuing for life, because otherwise it is all too easy for the pounds to creep back up on you.

Everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another, and what one person finds easy to follow may seem impossible for another. All of my friends have one thing in common with the choices they have made in their diets and that is that their diet is working for them.

If a diet plan you are on seems like a constant struggle (especially after you have given it a couple of weeks), maybe you need to try a different diet plan. Experiment a little until you find the one that is right for you, because when you do, you will find successful weight loss will come a lot easier.

Tuesday 16 September 2008

How To Stay Motivated

Finding motivation is easier than it looks! It all comes down to starting it! Once you start taking the steps toward fitness, you start to notice the differences in how you feel and how you look and you start to feel a sense of accomplishment. Each success brings you more motivation.

For me, because I have such a large amount to lose, I set myself a bunch of mini goals that are more easily achieved. It feels great to reach one of those goals and in turn, it helps inspire me to keep at this, because not only am I seeing my success, but it's not too far to get to the next mini goal.

I think that was where I failed the first time I tried to lose weight (many years ago) - I kept my eyes on the long-term goal and had no in-between goals to keep me feeling good about my success in the meantime. Eventually, it all just seemed so overwhelming that I stopped, after losing 50 pounds, trying.

If you don't have a lot of weight to lose, mini goals don't have to be weight loss ones. You can set goals for things like having more energy, how your clothes fit, going a week without having anything processed and bad for you, seeing your legs get more toned, gaining more confidence, feeling healthier, improving things like blood pressure, fitness levels, etc. There are lots of rewards to weight loss that are in addition to the actual weight loss itself. And each small difference your new healthy lifestyle achieves for you is another mini goal reached and another success for you to celebrate along the way!

Renewed Motivation

Well, day 1 has started of my plan to put a little bit of extra effort into my weight-loss this week. I am not reducing my calories, but I am going to be even better about what I choose to fill those calories in with.

And I managed to do 41 minutes on the elliptical crosstrainer and 7 miles! Since I normally do 31 minutes and 5+ miles, this was a big accomplishment for me. It was even more of an accomplishment because, for those 41 minutes, I could not see what my two youngest were doing (except for when they would occassionally come into the hallway to dance to the music I was playing), and they did not get into anything or break anything!!!

Monday 15 September 2008

Kick In The Teeth

I gained a pound! I am telling myself all the rational arguments about being in the later stage in my pregnancy and the baby gaining weight, etc, but it still feels like a kick in the teeth.

It's my first gain throughout this pregnancy, and I am still down a total of 35.5 pounds, but knowing all of this doesn't make me feel any better about it.

But it's just strengthened my resolve to be even better this week, and to exercise no matter how much my SPD/sciatica pains me.

How Healthy Is Your Diet?

How healthy is your diet? Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals? Are you getting enough calories, too many or too little? Are you getting enough fiber, fat, carbohydrates and protein in your diet?

Now there's an on-line tool that will help you find all of that out!

It automatically calculates the health of your diet and gives you a grade based on that.

It's great for people who need to maintain weight or gain weight, or even to just check how nutritious your daily diet is.

One Drawback To Weight Loss I Hadn't Thought Of

My husband Robert has been losing weight along with me. He lost a lot of weight before joining the club with me, and since he joined the club, he has lost another 28 pounds. We both noticed that his wedding ring was really loose on his finger. It fell off a few times, but we always heard it land on the ground and he put it back on. We talked about needing to get it resized, but we never actually got around to doing it.

Today, he arrived at work to find out that it wasn't on his finger! I have looked in the bathroom and the bedroom and around the house, but there is no sign of it. He went to two stores this morning, and he took our daughter Gabby to school before biking to work. It could be absolutely anywhere!

I'm now getting our little ones dressed so we can go retrace his morning footsteps and see if the ring turns up along the way. I will be picking Gabby up from school at 3:00pm, so I will check her classroom at that time, if I still haven't found it.

Weigh-In Is Today!

Tonight is my weigh-in night. I still don't think I've lost any weight, but I will go and weigh-in anyway and pray that I haven't gained!

It is really hurting me to walk today. Yesterday it hurt a lot too, but I managed to do 31 minutes on the elliptical crosstrainer and 5.2 miles on it anyway. I have this constant pain in my hip, and every now and then, when I take a step, it becomes a shooting pain that's even more severe. I know it's just those conditions I always seem to develop during pregnancy causing it, but I wish it would go away so I could get on with staying fit.

Saturday 13 September 2008

Back on Track!

Today's exercise:
37 minutes on the elliptical crosstrainer
Distance: 6 miles
304 calories burned
Resistance level 3

Posted because I am so proud of myself for gritting my teeth against the horrible pain I am experiencing and doing my exercise anyway. I was beginning to think that the only exercise I would get this week was the 4 mile walk I did last Thursday (out of necessity, not for the exercise benefits). That walk hurt so much I was almost in tears by the time I got home. I know that exercising is just making my SPD symptoms and sciatica worse, but I hate going the whole week without doing anything at all. It feels somehow unhealthy to me.

Friday 12 September 2008

Not Such A Good Week

I don't think I am going to lose weight this week. I'll be lucky if I don't gain. Up until today, I've been eating really healthily, but I'm not getting any exercise at all because the SPD/sciatica pain caused by my pregnancy is keeping me pretty immobile this week.

And tonight, I had a chicken doner kebab from the local take-away. I have no idea how many calories it was; it could be anywhere from not-making-me-go-over-my-calories for the day to putting me WAY over my calories for the day. *sigh* I'm only 1.5 pounds away from my next mini goal, but it is really unlikely that I am going to reach it this week. I will be AMAZED if I don't put on a tiny bit of weight this week.

On top of the pain I am experiencing, I have been unbelievably tired too! I thought I must be coming down with something, but I haven't come down with anything yet, so no real explanation for the fatigue. And when I'm really over-tired, I get the urge to munch more often. That's been a real battle for me this week.

And did I mention that it's my daughter Kayla's 14th birthday today and her birthday cake is calling to me? Will one sort-of bad day food-wise and a bad week exercise-wise cause me to gain this week? Am I wrong to still be hoping to see a loss this week, no matter how small?

This is the first time in the 17 weeks I have been dieting that I feel like I've blown it. Either way, it's a temporary situation and I will not let it keep me from continuing on this journey to a slimmer, fitter me.

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Some motivational lag

I have not been exercising at all this week. My SPD is hurting a lot, and I have been incredibly tired, but those are excuses, I suppose. I only need another 1.5 pounds to lose to reach my next mini goal, but I just can't seem to get myself to exercise this week.

Our new exercise machine is making weird noises too, so it looks like we are going to have our THIRD elliptical machine break, despite the fact that dh and I are both below the weight limit on it! This one has a 2 year warranty though, so we should be able to get it fixed once it stops on us.

I just wish I didn't have this hip/pelvic pain and the lightheaded dizzy spells that I've been getting frequently. My blood pressure is good though, which I am attributing to the exercise, healthy eating and weight loss I have done so far. By this time in my last two pregnancies, I was already swelling up and my blood pressure was on the rise.

I just need to grit my teeth against the pain, like I've been doing for the past few months, and get myself exercising again.

Friday 5 September 2008

Logging my weight loss efforts

I am 29 weeks pregnant today, and I have been attempting to start a healthy lifestyle by having a healthy diet and getting some moderate exercise daily for the past 16 weeks. So far, I have lost 35 pounds, despite the growing baby in my womb. My weigh-ins are on Mondays. I have over 100 pounds to lose still.

Too many people with a large amount of weight to lose think that it is just too insurmountable and that it can't be done, but I'm here to prove that it can! I will be posting my thoughts during this lifestyle change, my weight changes, some of my favourite recipes and more as this process continues.

My goal is to inspire others to reach for their dreams, whatever those dreams may be.