Decimation of all my hard work :(

It is fair to say I’ve had a rough couple of weeks one way or another and eating clean has not been my biggest priority. Which is daft really because it bloomin’ should be. Eating crap food does not help with all the other issues that have been going on. 

And if I’m being really honest the last few weeks I have slipped big style, back in to bad habits. I’ve been buying lunch at work (and lets face it, canteen food never seems to fall within the realms of eat clean or paleo!) I’ve been having takeaways, sugary treats. You name it, I’ve probably eaten it over the last 4 weeks.

Bruce-Bogtrotter

I feel shocking. 

  1. I know I have put weight on
  2. I feel lethargic
  3. My attention span has shortened
  4. I feel teary and a bit crappy

Whilst I can’t attribute that all to food, I am pretty sure my crappy food intake isn’t helping either.

I am mad at myself. I KNOW what I need to do. I am not daft, I am intelligent woman, I know the basic rules of good nutrition. I know why good nutrition is important. 

But oh my god these last 4 weeks have been about surviving, just getting through the next day or the next week etc. I feel like I am sabotaging myself.

But enough is enough, time to take control again. This cannot continue. If I keep going at the rate I am going I will be back to where I was this time last year in about 2 months! Shocking.

So this next week is going to be about eating clean. Getting back to the basic principals I know. 

  • Fresh, lean, meat or fish
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Good quality fats
  • Nuts, seeds, berries etc
  • Water
  • Snacking every 2 hours

Get a grip!

H x

 

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Stuffed Peppers

This recipe is fairly easy to make, looks exciting on the plate and tastes delicious. You can’t freeze this but it can go in the fridge and be reheated the following day.

http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Tomatoes-Stuffed-With-Vegetables-379044?columns=5&position=6%2F10

roasted peppers

 

Adaptations

  1. The original recipe uses tomatoes. But I have adapted it to use peppers for 2 reasons 1) I am not a huge fan of tomatoes, in fact too much tomato makes me physically sick, which I know my PT finds a tad bizarre! 2) I think this is designed to use massive beefsteak tomatoes, the kind you get in the US, as the recipe makes a generous amount of filling and I can never find tomatoes big enough.
  2. I also find that you have enough filling for 5/6 peppers but it will depend on the size of your peppers.
  3. I use this recipe with beef mince, only because I am not keen on other types of mince.
  4. I don’t put the mayonnaise in. Shop bought mayo is not clean. I could probably make my own clean version, but life is too short and this dish does not seem to lose anything by leaving it out. I suppose it might bind the filling together a bit more but I certainly don’t miss it.

H x

I <3 squats

I am not a big fan of mirrors. Mirrors generally are a bit too honest for my liking, bit of a problem really as the gym is full of them.

But today I was looking in the mirror and I noticed something. My arse or ass if you are American 😉 doesn’t look anywhere near as saggy as it used to! I still have a bit of work to do but I’d say it is looking more toned, more rounded, more lifted.

I am pretty certain that this change in my derrière (yes I had to Google how to spell that!) is down to squats.

IMG_4209

Squats are something I do in various guises but are pretty consistently in my workout. I usually include bodyweight squats (i.e. squats with no weights) in my warm ups, they help loosen my hips up and get my thighs warmed up too. Oh and they apparently help your abs too.

Then in my workout at the minute I am using goblet squats (where you squat, holding a dumbbell up against your chest). I find these pretty hard going and I definitely know these work my abs as much as my legs and bum!

Sometimes I use the squat rack with a big massive heavy bar (tbf its probably not that heavy compared to what the big burly hairy men lift, but its heavy enough for me!) and again its all working my abs, bum, legs.

When I started I hadn’t even heard of a squat, let alone knew how to do one properly. It has taken a bit of practice to get it right but I can knock out the squats fairly consistently now. The general rule of thumb is look straight ahead, chest up, boobs out, bum out. If I repeat this in my head I seem to get it right.

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Don’t get me wrong, squats, especially with weight behind them hurt, a lot! But I am pretty sure my slightly improved bottom can be attributed to squats, so therefore squats are my faves!

H x

So the positive mental attitude worked

So after giving myself a talking to on Wednesday I went and did my PT session with Jason. I think I went in with a better frame of mind, more positive etc. I felt the session went well and I certainly enjoyed it. So a valuable lesson there about being positive.

I’m having a break from the gym for a week or so. Just a bit unwell and need to rest up a little bit, give myself chance to recover.

I think I am going to have to eat super clean for the next week and bit to ensure I stay healthy, even if I can’t do the exercise I want to do. I’m missing it. I feel like a fat, lethargic sloth.

 

Who’d have thought, me missing exercise!?

 

H x

Positive Mental Attitude!

For the past 2 weeks I haven’t had a positive mental attitude (PMA!).

My sessions in the gym have been very much needed to keep my mind occupied from other areas of my life BUT I haven’t felt my usual happy self. I’ve gone, I’ve done what I’ve needed to do but I’ve barely raised a smile.

So it got me thinking, have I lost my gym mojo? Am I finally losing interest?

Answer: No.

Things outside of the gym have been very stressful and I think that has overtaken how I feel about life in general, including the gym.  I do have a habit of wallowing when things are tough and I think it is clouding everything.

So today I am determined to go to the gym with a smile on my chops and smash through whatever circuit it is I am doing.

No more. It needs to stop, I need to get a grip of myself. Time to step up and get on with it.

 

H x

Clean Cottage Pie

Well I’ve made this recipe up off the top of my head. It seems to work really well. I’ve been missing comfort food and one thing I loved growing up was Cottage Pie (beef not lamb, can’t stand lamb!) but to keep it clean it uses swede for the topping rather than potato.

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Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 250g lean minced beef
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 glug (depending on your preference!) of red wine
  • 1 swede
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
  2. chop the onion, carrot and parsnip
  3. Sauté the vegetables in a little bit of olive oil
  4. Add the mince and brown
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes (judge this carefully as you might not want to use all of them, see how it looks, you don’t want it too wet!)
  6. Add the glug of wine
  7. Season to taste (you could add herbs here if you wish!)
  8. Leave on a medium heat so that the sauce reduces, you will need to stir regularly.
  9. Whilst the meat is reducing, chop the swede and then cook for 20 mins or until soft.
  10. Mash the swede and add seasoning, mix in a tiny about of olive oil
  11. Once meat has reduces, transfer to a dish, I put in 2 separate dishes to make 2 portions but it could equally go in 1 big dish.
  12. Add the mashed swede on top and fluff with a fork
  13. Put the pie in tot he oven for 15 – 20 mins, keep and eye out that the swede doesn’t burn.

Alternatives

Instead of topping with swede you could top with mashed sweet potato or a combination of sweet potato and carrot.

Isn’t it funny what becomes your non-negotiables!

Over the weekend I was looking at my finances. As a family we are hopefully going to make some changes which on the face of it might make us look like we have less money BUT long term those changes will actually mean we have more money. (I HOPE!)

So there we were sat huddled over a laptop with a spreadsheet going and logging all our income and expenditure. We went down the list seeing what expenditure we could ditch and what we need to keep.

And we got to two items on my list

  1. Gym Membership
  2. Personal Training Fees

“No way. Not ditching those costs. They are essential. They are non-negotiable. Forget it.”

Haha at what point did fitness become such a priority in my life? Such a priority that I would happily spend less on clothes, make up and other girly things? This time last year I was paying the local leisure centre £4 a go to go swimming. Eventually I justified that gym membership would be more cost effective.

And then in April I signed up with my personal trainer. I remember umming and ahhing for ages about the cost “ooh its a lot of money”, “can I justify it?”, “can I afford it?”, “I’ll do it for a month just to get started then ditch it”. But I didn’t ditch it. Somehow I managed to “find” the money, not really sure where, I must have been wasting a hell of a lot of cash!

I didn’t ditch the personal training or the gym and now I consider them essentials in my life, something I couldn’t possibly envisage not paying for now.

I’m not sure when the transition from luxury to essential happened. I can only think it was when I realised that it was having a profound impact on my health and that to me has become valuable.

Sure I know I could do fitness for free in the park or something (and if push came to shove I’d have to!) BUT the park is cold, wet and icy (at this time of year), full of pupils and therefore full of excuses not to go. The gym is warm (especially when they don’t seem to have the aircon on max), you can swim, have a sauna/jacuzzi afterwards, have a nice hot shower, take your time, you’re not restricted by it getting dark outside either. I’d rather sacrifice that new Radley bag or new item of clothing and pay for my fitness 🙂

So whatever the future holds money wise, fitness is now my non-negotiable.

H x

How do people let it get that bad???

We’ve all done it. Watched ‘Biggest Loser’ or something similar and thought, “Christ on a bike, how did they let themselves get in that state?” or “Why didn’t their friends or family stop them from eating all that crap?” or “Why didn’t their doctor do something?”

I’ve just been sorting through some images on Facebook and found this little beauty. It was taken April 2011, just before Imogen’s 1st birthday. Now as I have mentioned here before, I was obese before I got pregnant, then this happened:

Look at the size of my arms

Truth is, I don’t know how I let myself get like this. Read that sentence carefully. Obviously I know technically what happened, too much crap food, zero exercise. But I don’t know how or why I let it happen?

All I know is it happens stealthily, quickly and you don’t even realise. Every day you eat something that isn’t good for you, every day you vow tomorrow to start a fresh and get off your backside. A day turns in to a week, a week turns in to a month and a month turns in to a year. I would say it is fairly easy to gain 1 – 2 stone a year without even noticing. You don’t notice in the mirror. You notice when your clothes don’t fit properly but you ignore that and just buy the next size, blaming shops for their inaccurate sizing. You kid yourself it is the world not you. Your family, friends etc voice their concerns but you push them to the back of your mind.

And before you know it you have gained 6 stone over 9 years, you are older, fatter, unhealthier and scared of inevitability. You know you need to tackle it but you just don’t even know where to begin! Because just as the weight slowly creeps on, it slowly creeps off and that can be the HARDEST thing to take. The fact you are desperately trying to change, trying to exercise, trying to eat healthily and yet it isn’t showing as quickly as you’d like.

But you have to keep the faith, trust that with exercise and good nutrition you are on the right path and one day just as you woke up and thought “oh my god look at the size of me!” that one day you will wake up and think “yep, I am definitely fitter/healthier/more toned/happier”.

4-8-12-weeks2

Keep going!

I’ve had a rough 2 weeks food wise, for reasons I won’t bore you with now, maybe another day. I need to get back on the path though. 2 weeks of eating rubbish and I am feeling rubbish. I can’t go back!

H x

Chicken and Lentil Curry

This is a recipe that was given to me by a colleague and I have tweaked! Super easy, super yummy and freezes and reheats well.

You can make this on the hob or in the slow cooker. I’ll write the instructions for the slow cooker but message me if you want the hob version!

Chicken & Lentil Curry
Chicken & Lentil Curry

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1lb chopped chicken
  • 1 large onion (white/yellow works best)
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of dried lentils
  • either 12 fresh tomatoes or 1 400g can/pack of organic chopped tomatoes (either work well)
  • Water
  • 2 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes or a whole fresh chilli (with the seeds if you like it hot!)
  • 2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Fresh coriander for garnish

Instructions

  1. Turn on your slow cooker to high
  2. Add your chicken
  3. Chop your garlic, onion and pepper and add these to your slow cooker
  4. Chop and deseed your tomatoes and add these to your slow cooker (or add your ready chopped ones including the juice!)
  5. Add all the spices
  6. Add water to cover (if you used fresh tomatoes you will need more water, but judge it with your eye)
  7. Give a stir
  8. Cook on high for 2 hours
  9. Turn to low and cook for at least a further 3 hours (but can stay on longer until you need it!)
  10. Serve and garnish with the fresh coriander.