Fifty and Fabulous

The thoughts, loves, rants, interests & inspirations for Gen X


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Blogging Hiatus

Hello my lovely followers,

I’ve been putting off making the decision to take a break from blogging but I can’t put it off any longer.

Hubby lost his job again last month for the second time in twelve months and although I’m now on HRT, as you know, my symptoms are playing havoc. I’m trying to stay me but I can’t cope and rather than helping see me through this tricky period, blogging and going to Slimming World group have become demands that stresses me out.

I need to take a break.

My SW consultant, Carol, has been brilliant and has agreed to set my PAT to whatever I weigh on Wednesday. This means that as a target member I no longer pay the weekly fee and am not obligated to attend group.

I REALLY appreciate your support and I hope to be back in a few months. X


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Weight Loss Wednesday – Final Week of Countdown! Eek!

Hello Everyone and hello May,

This is the first Weight Loss Wednesday post of a new month. This year seems to be flying, why do I always seem to be playing catch up?! Lol! So, how has your week been? I’m loving the light mornings and evenings – not that I’m cramming the extra daylight hours with stuff but it’s still nice. 🙂

After last week’s 0.5lbs gain I decided to reduce those food triggers by keeping busier which would hopefully cut down (or out) those moments when I grab a high-syn snack or munch on more than my HE b breakfast cereal allowance of 40g. I am blaming the menopause for many of my physical ailments and my fluctuating emotional state. Before my latest slump, I was regularly attending my local Parkrun every Saturday morning AND using the NHS Couch to 5k running podcasts but I stopped. Slimming World says that exercise isn’t necessary to lose weight – I’ve copied and pasted their article below so that you can read it yourself – but I know that I felt better in myself when I was running; I felt proud that I’d moved off the sofa, I was enjoying trying to improve my PBs and I think I was happier. Don’t people talk about the happy endorphins when you exercise?

What do they say about best laid plans? Well, this week I’ve been no more or less active than last week but I must have snacked more than I thought because when I stepped on the scales tonight I had a 1lbs gain.

I would love to hear from you if you’re struggling on your weight loss journey or if you’ve found some successful strategies that work for you. What do you do to motivate yourself to get up of that sofa?

I hope you have a good week and make the most of the extra daylight hours.

x

How often have you thought ‘I only lose weight when I do Body Magic too’, or ‘I’ll lose weight next week because I’ll exercise more’? Not exercising often gets the blame when we don’t lose weight – it can be all too easy to assume that’s it’s our exercise (or lack of) that’s made the difference. Well it might surprise you to hear that if you Food Optimise without exercise – you WILL lose weight.

Misconceptions about activity and its effect on weight loss can often start to weaken our belief in Food Optimising – and we’re here to put the record straight, bust those myths and ensure you’re on the path to weight loss success.

Food Optimising and Body Magic, the facts:

  • If you Food Optimise without exercise – you WILL lose weight.
  • If you exercise without Food Optimising – you WON’T lose weight (at least, not much and not without a lot of hard work!).
  • If you’ve gained or maintained one week it won’t be because you haven’t done any or enough exercise.
  • By Food Optimising 100%, we naturally reduce our calorie intake to give us at least a 1-2lb weight loss each week – even if we are close to our personal target. If you still have some way to go, those weekly weight losses will be even greater.

To achieve that 1-2lb weekly loss by exercise alone, we’d have to jog for more than one hour every single day!

Food Optimising is absolutely what’s going to get you to your personal target weight. So why is activity important at all? Body Magic brings long-term benefits – and it’s important that, over time, we build it into our daily routines.

Activity can help maintain successful weight loss. Our research shows that 90% of successful weight loss maintainers have made activity as much a part of their routine as healthy eating.

Food Optimising benefits

Body Magic benefits

  • Lose weight without ever feeling hungry or deprived
  • Get the results you want quickly and healthily
  • Discover more energy and vitality
  • Help protect yourself from serious illness
  • Build long-lasting, healthy eating habits to maintain your target weight forever!
  • Tone up arms, legs, tummy and bottom
  • Maintain lean muscle which helps burn more energy – even when you’re resting!
  • Feel more relaxed and enjoy more restful sleep
  • Strengthen bones and joints
  • Build long-lasting, active habits to maintain your target weight forever!

Food Optimising + Body Magic = amazing life-long success

So how does Body Magic affect weight loss?

“I lost a lot of weight this week – it’ll be because I’ve done a lot of Body Magic”.

The great news is… your fabulous weight loss this week will be because you’ve been Food Optimising brilliantly. And by doing 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week in addition to Food Optimising, it will help you lose an additional 12-24lbs across a year. That’s an average of around ¼lb a week extra!

“I know what I’m going to do to lose weight: I’m going to go to Zumba three times this week!”

That’s real determination, and those three sessions will set you on your way to your silver Body Magic award, and all of those health benefits.

Without Food Optimising though you might not see the result you want on the scales. Is there anything that might get in the way of you Food Optimising 100%?

“I know why I’ve maintained this week, it will be because I haven’t been out walking so much”

The good news is… if you’re still near the beginning of your journey, by Food Optimising 100% you could lose 2-3lbs or more in a single week. And if you’re close to target, you could still lose at least 1-2lbs each week – even if you miss out on your walking again.


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My Heart Is Breaking.

Hello Lovely Followers,

I’m sorry but today I just had to share this upsetting article that I found on TES while looking for resources for our next topic at school.

I can’t believe how widespread this issue is – teachers report an increasing number of children are coming to school hungry – but I know that in both the primary schools I’ve worked in, I’ve given food (fruit or toast) to pupils who haven’t had breakfast, I’ve even sorted out a lunch for a KS1 child (7yrs old) who came into school with an unwashed lunch-box that had mould growing in the compartments and a mouldy mini sausage roll in the bottom section!

Suffice to say, in every case, procedures are followed and incidents like this are always recorded.

Exclusive: ‘Mum didn’t have any food’ – the rise of pupil hunger

Schools increasingly stepping in to provide food for children and families

Boy sad hungry

They are heartbreaking but all too obvious tell tale signs – grey-faced children and pupils rummaging through the school bins for scraps of food.

Teachers are warning that more and more children are coming to school ill-equipped for learning because they are not getting enough to eat at home.

Celia Dignan, senior policy adviser at the NEU teaching union, told Tes: “Teachers are telling us that they are increasingly seeing children coming to school hungry because they haven’t been able to have a nutritious breakfast.

The trend is confirmed by the results of a snap Tes online poll of teachers this week in which 88 per cent of respondents said that they had noticed a rise in the number of pupils coming to their school hungry. More than 90 per cent said had provided food for undernourished pupils.

Benefit changes were the most commonly cited reason, closely followed by parental neglect.

Caroline Rodgers, headteacher of Brockley Primary School in Chesterfield, said: “Sometimes the kid will say, ‘I have tummy ache’.

“You ask what they had for their breakfast – sometimes they’ll say, ‘Mum didn’t have any food.’ Other times you just get that stare, and they don’t need to say it.

Nathan Atkinson, the former head of Richmond Hill Primary in inner-city Leeds, knew there was a problem at his school when he realised his pupils were scavenging food from the rubbish.

You’d find that when you put fruit out, there were children who were putting three or four pieces of fruit in their pocket,” he said. “Or somebody had discarded a half-eaten apple, and another child had taken it from the bin and was eating that apple – what was left of it.”

After introducing successful initiatives in his school, from buying a toaster for every classroom to hosting a café on two days a week for pupils’ families, he founded Fuel for School, a not-for-profit company that sends unwanted food to schools to sell through their own market stalls via voluntary donations from parents.

The scheme’s success led to Mr Atkinson being shortlisted for the 2017 Global Teacher Prize.

At Medina Primary in Portsmouth headteacher, Howard Payne, has seen a sharp increase in the number of children arriving for school at the start of the week looking visibly hungry.

It’s a very sensitive issue,” he said. “You have to look for clues, one of which is children will look withdrawn and grey in pallor. The school tries to help families as much as it can, and as subtly as possible. For some families, we put food into a plastic bag and the children take it home,” Mr Payne said.“We’ve sent a letter to their parents, saying ‘This is available, if you feel you don’t want to accept it, please let me know.’ All of them have accepted it.”

This is an edited article from the 20 April edition of Tes. Subscribers can read the full article here. To subscribe, click here. This week’s Tes magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow Tes on Twitter and like Tes on Facebook

Source: Exclusive: ‘Mum didn’t have any food’ – the rise of pupil hunger | Tes News


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Weight Loss Wednesday – The Clock is Ticking

Hello Everyone,

This is the last Weight Loss Wednesday post for April. Goodness me, this year seems to be flying! So, how has your week been? Did you have a nice Easter Easter weekend? I’ve got to be honest and say although I loved spending time with my family, I didn’t do a great job of avoiding all the yumminess that surrounded me. 😦

My weight loss has definitely got a recurring theme at the moment; last week 1lbs loss and then when I stepped on the scales tonight I had a 0.5lbs gain. Why is it so difficult to recapture that initial focus and drive?!

I came away feeling even more low and depressed. I know that I haven’t been on plan for a number of weeks now and although I always come home from Image Therapy feeling positive, I know that I have to do better to see the losses that I am looking for. Once again this week, I am blaming the menopause for my emotional state and the subsequent high-syn foods that I’ve been grabbing. When I stepped on the scales tonight I had a ?lbs gain/maintain/loss. *sigh*

I need to get out of the funk I’m currently in; I said last week that I needed to have a plan and stick to it. I only have two weeks left in the 12-week Countdown I bought; my target is ?lbs away but realistically a 2-4lb loss is not unachievable if I follow Food Optimising 100% like I did in those first few months after joining.

I would love to hear from you if you’re struggling on your weight loss journey or if you’ve found some successful strategies that work for you. What do you do to stop yourself reaching for those high syn foods?

I hope you have a good week.

x


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Weight Loss Wednesday – Easter, Chocolate, Oh My!

Hello Everyone,

Here we are again, another Weight Loss Wednesday post. So, how has your week been? Are you looking forward to the extended Easter weekend? I’ve got to be honest and say although I’m looking forward to spending time with the family, I am very anxious about all the yummy treats that will be surrounding me. 😦

Following on from last week’s 2lbs gain, I came away feeling even more low and depressed. I know that I haven’t been on plan for a number of weeks now and although I always come home from Image Therapy feeling positive, I know that I have to do better to see the losses that I am looking for. Once again this week, I am blaming the menopause for my emotional state and the subsequent high-syn foods that I’ve been grabbing. When I stepped on the scales tonight I had a surprising 1lbs loss.

I need to have a plan and stick to it. I have three weeks left in the 12-week Countdown I bought; my target is 8.5lbs away but realistically a 3-6lb loss is not unachievable if I follow Food Optimising 100% like I did in those first few months after joining.

I would love to hear from you if you struggle, especially during holidays too. What do you do to stop yourself reaching for those high syn foods? If you haven’t got any tips, I hope you find this Slimming World article as helpful as I did.

Food is a huge part of Easter celebrations, and it’s super easy to make a Food Optimising version of the traditional lamb lunch.

When it comes to sweet treats and a special Easter breakfast, we’ve also got it covered! Enjoy them this weekend, safe in the knowledge that your weight loss will stay on track.

Hot cross baked oats

Traditional hot cross buns are a huge 9½ Syns each – and that’s without the butter!

The good news is there’s a way to enjoy that spiced flavour for as little as 4 Syns (using your Healthy Extra ‘b’ choice). Enjoy Easter breakfast in bed with these hot cross baked oats.

Soft-boiled eggs and dippers

This is a stunning Easter breakfast and a great way to enjoy tasty Speed Free Foods – you’ll never go back to plain old toast soldiers!

Serves 1
Free (or using Healthy Extras)

2 eggs

For the Free dippers:
Cooked asparagus spears
Cooked lean bacon or ham, trimmed of visible fat
Roasted sweet potato wedges
Cooked sugar snap peas
Cooked baby sweetcorn
Griddled courgette strips

For the Healthy Extra dippers:

35g halloumi cheese (Healthy Extra ‘a’ choice), sliced into ‘soldiers’ and griddled
50g rye bread (Healthy Extra ‘b’ choice), sliced into ‘soldiers’ and topped with plain quark, smoked salmon and black pepper
2 Ryvita Original crispbreads (Healthy Extra ‘b’ choice), spread with Marmite

How to make:
Place the eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Pop into egg cups and remove the tops, then serve with your choice of dippers.

Tip: Duck eggs make a fab alternative to regular hen’s eggs – there’s lots more yolk for your dippers! Boil them for 6 minutes (depending how large they are).

Fruit flowers

The kids will love to help you make this impressive fruity centrepiece. Who needs chocolate eggs?

You’ll need:
Any colourful melon, e.g., cantaloupe, watermelon
Kiwi fruit
A whole pineapple
Blueberries or redcurrants
Strawberries
Green grapes

Flower-shaped cookie cutters
Wooden skewers, carefully cut to different lengths

  • Slice the melon, pineapple and kiwi into rounds, then carefully cut out flower shapes using the cookie cutters. Thread onto the skewers, adding ‘petal’ layers with the different fruits, and a centre with a blueberry or redcurrant.
  • Thread the strawberries onto skewers with the leaves facing downwards.
  • Create ‘stems’ by threading 4 or 5 grapes onto skewers.
  • Place the skewered fruit flowers into a vase or container and serve!

Chocolate choices at Easter

There are loads of options for getting that chocolate fix at Easter – without piling up the Syns!

  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with our Chocolate Orange, Rocky Road or Fruit and Nut Hi-fi bars. Enjoy two bars as a Healthy Extra ‘b’ choice or 3 Syns each.
  • Swirling a Cadbury Highlights 11g sachet into plain quark gives you a delicious dessert for only 2 Syns. Top with chopped fresh apple, raspberries or strawberries.
  • These Easter chocolate cornflake cakes are 4 Syns each

More egg-cellent low Syn options

  • Cadbury Mini Egg Nest Cakes – 9 Syns each
  • Lindt Bunny Paw, 20g – 5½ Syns
  • Cadbury Creme Egg Minis, 89g bag – 2½ Syns per egg
  • Kinder Mini Eggs, 75g bag – 1½ Syns each
  • Lindt Mini Gold Bunny, 10g – 3 Syns
  • Tesco Milk Chocolate Easter Lollies – 2½ Syns per 10g lolly
  • Galaxy Caramel Mini Eggs, 80g bag – 3 Syns per 12g egg
  • Cadbury Oreo Egg, 31g – 8½ Syns
  • MaltEaster Milk Chocolate Bunny, 29g – 8 Syns
  • Asda Free From Hot Cross Buns, 75g – 10 Syns
  • Maynards Bassetts Jelly Babies Chicks – 1 Syn each


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Weight Loss Wednesday – School Holidays: My Kryptonite

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to another Weight Loss Wednesday post. So, how has your week been? Do you have a spring in your step? I seem to have lost mine for the moment. 😦

Following on from last week’s 0.5lbs loss, I came away relieved once again that my inconsistent eating habits hadn’t caused a weight gain. Each week I come home from Image Therapy knowing that I have to do better to see the losses that I am looking for. Once again this week, although I’ve been better at cutting down on the high-syn snack foods when I needed an emotional boost I’ve been far from “on plan“; pizza last Wednesday evening then a Chinese takeaway last Friday. When I stepped on the scales tonight I had a 2lbs gain. Upsetting but not unexpected.

Having a plan and sticking to it is the not-so-secret secret that we all talk about at group. Being on Slimming World means that you are never on your own when faced with food triggers or situations that can be detrimental to the success of your weight loss journey. School holidays are always a tricky time for me; no routines, close to trigger foods, reduced activity. It looks like I’m not alone, Slimming World have already thought of how they can help their members during school holidays and following on from chatting to others at group tonight, I thought I’d share the following article from the SW site.

I would love to hear from you if you struggle during holidays too. What do you do to stop yourself reaching for those high syn foods? If you haven’t got any tips, I hope you find this article as helpful as I did.

A break from school doesn’t have to mean taking a break from your weight-loss campaign. Here’s how to breeze through the hols and be slimmer at the school gates!

‘My daily routine’s gone right out of the window!’

Holiday help The holidays are a great opportunity to get children involved with meal prep – they’ll love grating, weighing out ingredients, cracking eggs and so on. Get your Slimming World magazines and recipe books out, or visit our recipe section and ask the kids to pick their favourites. Older children might like to help with the shopping and cooking, too.

Child-friendly meals

‘I’m tempted by the kids’ treats’

Holiday help Save yourself from the children’s chocolate stash by preparing your own treats, such as Speed Free Food fruits like melon, strawberries and raspberries piled high on your favourite fat-free yogurt.

chicken and bacon salad

Prepare lots of Free snacks, like chopped fresh fruit and veg sticks, Slimming World quiche or houmous, so you always have something ready in the fridge.

It might help to label your own treats with Syn values, so you can see at a glance how they’ll fit into your 5-15 Syn daily allowance:

• Lotus Biscoff The Original Caramelised Biscuit = 2 Syns per biscuit

• Cadbury Caramel Freddo = 4.5 Syns per 19g bar

• Walkers Crisps Pops = 4 Syns per 19g bag

‘I’m a working mum and want to make the most of the few days I do have off with the kids’

Holiday help If you’re going out for the day, hang on to your money and Syns by taking a bumper Food Optimising picnic with you. Tuck into home-made pasta and potato salads, cooked chicken drumsticks (skin and visible fat removed), frittata, cooked lean meats, Quorn fajita strips (Free), hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit and fat-free natural yogurt while everyone else joins the long food queues.

If you’re going away for a few days self-catering, sit down and plan your meals beforehand. Pack some Food Optimising supplies, like sweetener, fat-free vinaigrette and low-calorie cooking spray, so you don’t waste precious family time shopping.

half term exercise

‘I’m having trouble fitting in my usual exercise’

Holiday help The secret is to find plenty of fun, child-friendly ways to keep fit instead. If you’re off to the beach, take a football, frisbee or a cricket set.

Dust off the bikes and go on a family bike ride, or do plenty of running around playing tag at the park. Even your back garden can help you keep active if you put up a badminton net, bounce on the trampoline or do some sports day-style races.

Anything that makes you feel warmer and speeds up your breathing and heart rate counts as Body Magic!


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Weight Loss Wednesday – Why Am I Eating This?

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to Weight Loss Wednesday post. So, how was your week? Do you have a spring in your step?

If you are one on my lovely new followers, hello. I’d like to take a moment to explain to you what Weight Loss Wednesdays are all about. Back in August 2017 I was persuaded to join Slimming World by my mum (read my post here). I had done really well and achieved my two and a half stone lost certificate in December 2018 (that’s 35lbs for my American followers), however, over Christmas I put on half a stone (7lbs) and decided to start sharing my weight loss journey on this blog to help me keep focused. I attend my local group on Wednesday evenings to get weighed and get inspired, so when I get back home I post how I’ve got on; any tips we talked about and what my loss or gain is for the week, using the Weight Loss Wednesday tag.

So following on from last week’s 0.5lbs loss, I was relieved that my inconsistent eating habits hadn’t caused a huge gain but I know that my weight doesn’t always reflect what I’ve been up to for that week, sometimes it shows on the scales the following week. So coming home from last week’s Image Therapy I knew that I’d have to do better this week to see the losses that I was looking for. I can’t say that I’ve been back on plan 100% but I’ve been cutting down on the high-syn foods when I needed an emotional boost this week. When I stepped on the scales tonight I had a 0.5lbs loss.

Being on Slimming World means that you should never feel hungry, but sometimes we don’t eat to fill a physical need but rather an emotional one. Slimming World have already thought of how they can hep their members with this tricky issue and following on from our discussion in group tonight, I thought I’d share the article from the SW site.

I would love to hear from you if you’re an emotional eater too. What do you do to stop yourself reaching for those high syn foods? If you haven’t got any tips, I hope you find this article as helpful as I did.

When it comes to weight loss, your desire to eat can be a friend, not an enemy. Discover how to satisfy your appetite, conquer your cravings and decode your hunger cues.

Looking forward to and really enjoying food is one of life’s great pleasures. And there’s a reason we talk about having a ‘healthy appetite’ – for many of us, going off food can be the first sign we’re coming down with something, and when we feel peckish again, we know we’re on the mend. When we’re trying to slim, though, we can have mixed feelings about our appetite, and even start to feel as if it’s sabotaging our weight loss plans. It’s great news, then, to know that having a healthy appetite is a good thing when you’re losing weight. In fact, satisfying it with generous portions of Free Food will help you stay on track, lose weight and keep it off, all while enjoying your meals and never needing to feel hungry.

More than hunger

It’s easy to think that hunger and appetite are the same thing, but there are some important differences. Hunger is a signal your body sends when it needs more fuel to keep it running effectively. Appetite is your overall desire to eat, and while being physically hungry is one reason you might reach for food, there are lots of other complex processes involved. To begin with, there are various chemicals in your body that influence your appetite, from hormones that encourage you to start and stop eating, to neurotransmitters that send signals inside your brain.

Then there are the physical aspects of eating, such as the taste, the action of chewing, and the stretching of your stomach as it fills with food. All of these play a part in how satisfied you feel after a meal. Even if all these signals are helping you to feel full, it’s possible to ignore them because you’re distracted – perhaps because you’re watching TV while eating, feeling ill or worrying about something.

Our senses – taste, sight, smell and even hearing – can also influence how much, when and what we want to eat. Have you ever suddenly felt your mouth water because you caught a whiff of freshly baked bread, or not felt hungry until you heard the rustle of a bag of crisps? Plus, sometimes what you drink can interfere with these signals. Alcohol, for example, stimulates your appetite, so the more you drink, the more you feel compelled to eat – that night, and the morning after.

It’s getting emotional…

On top of all those physical reasons why we might feel hungry, our emotions can affect our appetite, too. The gut is sometimes called the ‘second brain’, and it actually does send signals straight to our little grey cells. The pathways go both ways, too – which is why our stomachs might start churning when we’re nervous, or feel full of butterflies when we’re excited. And for many of us, the automatic response to any difficult emotion, whether it’s stress, worry, shame, guilt or disappointment, is to eat.

Because we often grow up associating food with comfort and distraction, it can feel like we really do need to eat when we’re upset,’ says clinical psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos. ‘You might initially feel better because you get a short serotonin spike when you eat. But that wears off quickly, leaving you with uncomfortable feelings, and often a new layer of guilt or frustration with yourself about what you’ve eaten.’

So when you’re not hungry yet still craving food, what you’re really craving could be an emotional boost, or a bit of assurance that you can cope, or that you are loved or appreciated. But the human brain likes to do things on autopilot, so, for example, if you get into the habit of reaching for food when you’re stressed, it won’t take long for the brain to make an association and trigger thoughts of food whenever you’re under pressure. ‘And every time you eat because you’re stressed, you reinforce the incorrect belief that you can’t cope without it,’ says Dr Papadopoulos. ‘If you haven’t developed any other ways of soothing yourself, you can’t think of them when you feel upset or under stress.

Eat more, lose more

Feeling deprived of food, which can happen when following a restrictive diet plan, may itself create uncomfortable emotions. ‘Hunger can make us feel agitated,’ says Dr Papadopoulos. And given that we need food to survive, it makes sense for the brain to send out ‘red alert’ signals when food seems to have become scarce. That’s why simply slashing the portion size of what you normally eat, or cutting out certain foods altogether, doesn’t work for many people.

A smarter approach is to work with your appetite, by making food choices that will maintain or even increase the amount of food you’re eating to help you feel full and satisfied, while also cutting back on calories – exactly what you’re doing when you’re Food Optimising. The scientific name for foods that tick the magic boxes of filling and low calorie is ‘low energy dense’; technically, foods with the fewest calories per gram, and those we call Free Food at Slimming World. Plus, some foods are extra filling due to the protein and fibre they contain – you’ll find them marked ‘P’ and ‘F’ in your Food Optimising book. So there’s more to weight loss than simply calories in and calories out.

A lot of people give up on diets because they feel hungry between meals. Our research shows eating low energy-dense foods can help overcome that problem,’ says psychologist Dr Nicola Buckland. Take carrots, for instance – you would have to munch your way through a whole bag (around 250g) to consume 100 calories, whereas you can eat 100 calories-worth of chocolate (around four squares) in seconds! Or, compare two lunches: a baked potato with cottage cheese and a large mixed salad; or a plain ham sandwich on white bread. One is likely to leave you feeling full and satisfied, and one thinking: ‘What else can I eat?’ Yet both contain roughly the same amount of calories (around 300).

A new study* has found that people who base their weight loss on low energy dense foods feel more satisfied and lose significantly more weight than those who simply count calories. In a lab setting, women who’d eaten generous meals of low energy-dense foods based on Food Optimising felt less hungry, more full and had less desire to eat at the next meal than when they’d had smaller portions of higher energy-dense foods. The study also compared women following Slimming World’s Food Optimising plan and going to group once a week with women following a calorie counting-based programme. After 14 weeks, the Slimming World group had lost more weight than the calorie-counting group, and also felt more in control of their food choices, enjoyed their food more, and showed greater confidence in their ability to stick to their weight loss plans.

The pleasure principle

Have you ever eaten a meal that you didn’t really enjoy, then felt like having something else afterwards to compensate? That’s our appetite at work again. Alongside choosing Free Food with properties that help us feel full, our meals need to look, smell and taste good. ‘Being physically deprived of food creates hunger, but being emotionally deprived of food also has an effect,’ says Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s head of nutrition and research. ‘Meal satisfaction comes from a combination of fullness and enjoyment. So even if we have enough calories to keep us going, we will still want more if we’re not eating food we enjoy.

Making delicious and tempting recipes from low energy-dense foods helps you feel like you’re not missing out, especially when they’re lightened-up versions of your favourites, using herbs and spices to add flavour without Syns. ‘If you’re eating low energy-dense meals that keep you fuller for longer, with healthy snacks and a treat every day from your Syns, you’re less likely to crave unhealthy foods because you’ll have satisfied both your physical and your emotional hunger,’ Jacquie says.

Getting in tune with your true appetite takes a bit of practice. So, if you notice you’re eating when you’re not hungry, remember it’s just part of your journey to a happy relationship with your appetite, and you’ll learn a little more each time about what makes you reach for certain foods. And when you do feel like eating, embrace your appetite – keep Food Optimising and relish every mouthful! Because once you’ve got the balance right for you, you’ll be on track to reach target and stay there, while enjoying your food more than ever.

*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.
© Copyright Slimming World 2019


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Weight Loss Wednesday – Mother’s Day

Hello Everyone,

It’s another Weight Loss Wednesday post the last for March. So, how was your week?

If you are one on my lovely new followers, hello. I’d like to take a moment to explain to you what Weight Loss Wednesdays are all about. Back in August 2017 I was persuaded to join Slimming World by my mum (read my post here). I had done really well and achieved my two and a half stone lost certificate in December 2018 (that’s 35lbs for my American followers), however, over Christmas I put on half a stone (7lbs) and decided to start sharing my weight loss journey on this blog to help me keep focused. I attend my local group on Wednesday evenings to get weighed and get inspired, so when I get back home I post how I’ve got on; any tips we talked about and what my loss or gain is for the week, using the Weight Loss Wednesday tag.

So following on from last week’s maintain, I was relieved that my inconsistent eating habits hadn’t caused a huge gain but I know that my weight doesn’t always reflect what I’ve been up to for that week, sometimes it shows on the scales the following week. So coming home from last week’s Image Therapy I knew that I’d have to do better this week to see the losses that I was looking for. I can’t say that I’ve been back on plan 100% but I’ve been cutting down on the high-syn foods when I needed an emotional boost this week. When I stepped on the scales tonight I had a 0.5lbs loss which I’m happy about all things considered.

This coming week is going to be tricky for many of us in the UK as it’s Mothering Sunday this weekend. All my friends at group were talking about what their plans were but once again, Slimming World had already thought of the potential high-syn foods we could encounter and have come up with a “Slimming World Friendly” plan.

I really like the free food hamper idea and if I was a better baker, I’d certainly give the scone alternatives a go. I would love to hear from you if you’ve made any of the recipes mentioned below.


This Sunday is the perfect time to pamper that special lady in your life – your
mum. Whether she’s a Slimming World member or not, make your mother’s day
the most memorable yet with Food Optimising-friendly gifts she’ll love.

(And if you’re the mum in the house, print this page and leave it somewhere it’ll be
noticed!)

Heavenly hampers


When you know that a big box of Thorntons Continental chocolates comes in at a mammoth 150+ Syns, a Food Optimising feast becomes unbeatable as the perfect present for your mum.
Fruit and vegetables
Luxury smoked salmon
Black or green olives (1½ Syns for 8 olives)
Herbal and fruit teas
Roasted coffee
Low-Syn hot chocolate like Options and Cadbury Highlights
Exotic spices
Balsamic vinegar

Afternoon tea

An afternoon tea of mayo-laden sandwiches, a couple of scones with clotted cream and jam, and a slice of your favourite sponge cake could climb to 60+ Syns.

This year, treat your mum to a home-made afternoon tea that’s fit for a queen – and Food Optimisers, too.

Free sandwich fillings
Salmon and cucumber
Sliced lean roast beef (add English mustard for ½ Syn per level tsp)
Lean ham salad
Prawns with a dash of Tabasco and a sprinkle of paprika for extra kick (add extra-light mayonnaise for 1 Syn per level tbsp)
Chopped hard-boiled egg mixed with fresh watercress (add fat-free fromage frais for Free or extra-light mayo for 1 Syn per level tbsp)

Afternoon tea usually includes scones, and if you (or your mum) are looking for a weight loss this week, this might be a tradition to opt out of. An average scone is 12½ Syns – and that’s without cream and jam. Your Syns will go a lot further with these alternatives…

Low-Syn sweet treats

Strawberry cupcakes

Blueberry and lemon cheesecake jars

Apple Betty

Egg custard

Happy Mother’s Day x
© Copyright Slimming World 2019


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Weight Loss Wednesday – Smart Body Mass Index

Hello everyone,

Welcome to this week’s Weight Loss Wednesday post. So, how was your week?

If you are one of my lovely new followers, hello. I’d like to take a moment to explain to you what Weight Loss Wednesdays are all about. Back in August 2017, I was persuaded to join Slimming World by my mum (read my post here). By December 2018, I had done really well and achieved my two and a half stone lost certificate (that’s 35lbs for my American followers), however, over Christmas I put on half a stone (7lbs). I was gutted and decided to start sharing my weight loss journey on a regular basis to help me keep focused. I attend my local group on Wednesday evenings to get weighed and get inspired, and when I get back home I post how I’ve got on; any tips we talked about and what my loss or gain is for the week, using the Weight Loss Wednesday tag.

Following on from last week’s 1.5lbs loss, I was determined to keep the momentum going and shift another pound to get closer to my target weight. However, when I stepped on the scales tonight they confirmed that I’d gained 1.5lbs not unexpected, as I’ve been doing a lot of emotional snacking this week, but it’s still depressing how tricky it is to take off but incredibly simple to put on. 😦

Getting rid of excess weight becomes increasingly challenging as you get older. Back in December I wrote about using a healthy BMI or body shape rather than a “weight” as my goal (read the post here). One of my friends shared a link on Facebook to a Smart BMI calculator that takes into consideration gender and age as well as the obligatory height and weight. Aparently, this method has been around since 2014 but it’s news to me!

I’ve copied my results for you to read yourself.

The Smart BMI Calculator then goes on to explain further;

Health aspects

Your weight is at a marginally elevated level; in our view, it should still be fine for your health. By classification of the WHO (World Heath Organisation), you are “overweight”.

With a good balance of body fat and muscle mass, your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar values should still remain at more or less moderate levels. You would then be quite well protected against a heart attack, stroke or diabetes. This might be less so if your body fat is higher with a lower muscle mass, if you consume tobacco, other drugs or too much alcohol, lack physical activity or sleep, eat unhealthy food, or suffer from stress and other unhealthy life factors.

So, as far as SBMI is concerned my health isn’t as at risk as I had thought. That’s good.

SBMI = 40/70

This assessment is based on the newly developed Smart Body Mass Index. Its ideal range is between 30/70 and 39/70.

Your Smart Body Mass Index (SBMI) is calculated as 40/70 or “40 points out of 70”.

OK, yes, I’m one point outside the top range but it’s still only numbers – what does it all actually mean?

Weight stability

At this weight level, you have a marginal risk of gaining weight.

Your SBMI will decrease by about one point within ten years if you manage to keep your 73 kilograms stable. This is due to the fact that the optimal, i.e. the “healthiest” BMI range increases with age, thus reaching higher BMI values.

Oh come on. With my will-power and love of food I think I have more than a marginal risk of gaining weight; I think it’s a certainty! Lol! But seriously, what they’re saying is that in 10 years if I stay the same weight, I’ll naturally be in the green zone anyway? There are advantages t getting older after all! 😉

Weight management

The best you can do is eat healthy food and increase your fitness. This will boost your health, whatever the case. If you lose weight in the process, all the better.

The Slimming World Food Optimising plan and Parkrun are keeping me on the straight and narrow with the management aspect. Check.

Your target weight of 69 kilograms

Losing weight is fine, but there is good news: 1 kilogram will be sufficient to reach a target weight of 72 kilograms in your optimal weight range.

Well this is better news that I had anticipated. It certainly takes the pressure off knowing how achievable being healthy is. I want to stick to my 69kg target as that keeps me below the 11 stone mark (154lbs) and well in the healthy green zone.

Nutrition

Never diet again. Eat a variety of foods that you like, optimally including five servings of fruit and/or vegetables a day. Avoid eating too sweet, too fat and too much.

Well that advice isn’t rocket science but my journey with Slimming World has this covered anyway!

Your recent diet

Would you like to specify the diet type? A good diet supplies the body with a well-balanced, mainly plant-based mix of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins and with enough, but not too much energy.

In the past I’ve tried Slim-Fast and Atkins but they aren’t sustainable. Thank heavens for the Slimming World way!

Physical activity

Do physical exercise at least for half an hour daily at moderate to vigorous intensity.

No. I run (Ok, lightly jog) three times a week now and park my car away from school and walk to work.

Important to know

This feedback can only be based on the inevitably limited extent of the data that you have entered here. This data has been evaluated by comparing it with the results of the most comprehensive study published so far on the BMI and its associated health risks.

The results and comments above can only give you an estimate that applies to all women at 47 years of age with a body mass index of 28, as a statistical group. They are non-personal. They should never replace medical advice.

Of course, it’s like reading your horoscope in the paper or completing a Cosmo quiz about relationships but I’m happy with all of that. It sort of already confirmed my idea of where my healthy body weight lays.

If you’d like to get your Smart BMI just click here.

I hope you have a good week, I’m feeling positive and ready for the week ahead. Stay healthy and good luck on your journey. I’m off to eat my dinner – I’m starving!


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Slimming World vs The Menopause

Hello Lovely Followers,

If you are one of my nice new followers, I should explain that I publish two regular posts a week. Mondays are typically quite a depressing day for a lot of people – back to work after the weekend, the next weekend seems so far away – so one Monday evening I shared a post about being perimenopausal – my experiences, my symptoms and what I had found online about the causes and remedies (read it here). Hey presto! Menopause Monday was born.

Back in August 2017 I was persuaded to join Slimming World by my mum (read my post here). I have done really well and decided to start sharing my weight loss journey with you, my lovely followers. I attend my local group on Wednesday evenings to get weighed and get inspired, so when I get back home I post how I’ve got on, any tips and what my loss or gain is for the week using the Weight Loss Wednesday tag.

Last week I was overjoyed to come in with a fabulous 2.5 lbs loss! My focus has been rewarded again this week with a 1.5lbs loss!

I have struggled with emotional eating and cravings this week; imagine my surprise and joy at finding this article on Slimming World about weight loss while going through the menopause! I just had to share it.

Many of you have been in touch with us to ask how the menopause might affect your weight loss journey – we’ve taken a look below.

The good news is that there’s little evidence that the menopause should be a direct cause of weight gain or inability to lose weight. Some people see an increase in weight particularly during middle age – this is thought to be primarily due to change in lifestyle and a gradual decrease in the amount of physical activity we do. So a healthy diet (Food Optimising!) and exercise (Body Magic!) will help you reach your ideal weight.

Staying on your weight loss journey

Increasing your level of physical activity can not only help weight loss by helping you expend more energy whilst active but it also helps preserve muscle tissue, and with maintaining your metabolic rate.

As at any time during your weight loss journey including plenty of Free Foods and Speed Free Foods in your daily Food Optimising will help satisfy your appetite and give your weight loss a boost.

You are what you eat

Eating a varied, well balanced diet during the menopause is beneficial to overall health, as it is at any time of life, but there are also some specific nutritional issues that are worth considering at this time.

Calcium

During the menopause, a good calcium intake along with a physically active lifestyle is considered important to help ensure that bones remain as strong as possible. Bones become weaker as we age due to the loss of calcium. Large losses can result in osteoporosis whereby bones become so weak and brittle they easily break. Women lose bone at a faster rate during the menopause due to changes in hormone levels, particularly oestrogen. Oestrogen normally helps maintain bone strength by preventing the loss of calcium but levels of oestrogen fall during menopause. The importance of calcium in bone health, particularly in maintaining bone strength as we age, has been the subject of much research. The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) recommends that women ensure a good dietary intake of calcium during the menopause.

The main sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurts. Low fat dairy products such as skimmed milk still contain plenty of calcium.

Extra calcium from supplements has not been shown to have much effect on bone loss during the menopause. However, supplements may be of more benefit in later stages – some studies found that calcium supplements slowed the loss of bone in women five years post-menopause. If you’re considering taking calcium supplements we’d suggest you discuss this with your GP first.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is also important for bone health as it is needed for calcium to be absorbed from food. Most of our vitamin D is made in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Dietary sources include fortified spreads, meat and oily fish and are important for those whose exposure to sunlight is limited. However, as sunlight is mainly relied on to produce vitamin D, and there are few dietary sources, many individuals may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. As such everyone aged one year and over has a recommended dietary intake of 10 micrograms per day of vitamin D. Public Health England recommends that:

  • All individuals aged 5+ should consider taking a 10 micrograms supplement to ensure their intake is adequate between October and March when the skin is unable to produce vitamin D from sunlight
  • People with limited exposure to sunshine (i.e. those seldom outdoors, or who cover their skin when outdoors) or those from minority ethnic groups with dark skin, such as those from African, African-Caribbean or South Asian backgrounds, should consider a daily 10 micrograms supplement throughout the year.

Iron

Women’s iron requirements decrease at the time of menopause when periods stop. Requirements are then reduced to the same level as men (8.7 micrograms/day). Therefore, although there is a reduction in requirements, it is still important to include a variety of sources of iron in the diet. The best sources of iron are lean red meat, poultry and fish. Iron can also be obtained from plant foods such as dark green vegetables, pulses and nuts but is not absorbed as well as that from meat. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron from plant foods so it helps to include vitamin C containing foods (such as fruits, salad and green vegetables) within a meal.

Physical activity

It’s recommended that we should all aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity at least 5 times a week to stay fit and healthy and help control our weight. This can include activities such as walking, swimming or gardening and doesn’t have to mean taking part in strenuous sports. Any activity that makes you feel warmer and speeds up your breathing and heart rate, while still being able to hold a conversation, counts as moderate activity. Including more activity into daily routines all counts, for example:

  • taking the stairs instead of the lift
  • walking short distances instead of taking the car
  • getting on the bus one stop further away

You’ll find lots of Body Magic inspiration in our activity section, including Building your steps to activity, Easy exercises at home and Choosing the right fitness class.

Phyto-oestrogens

Many women experience a range of symptoms during the menopause such as hot flushes, night sweats, dry skin, poor concentration and mood swings. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) often helps relieve these symptoms and has been shown to help prevent the development of osteoporosis.

There has been recent interest in the role of phyto-oestrogens as a more natural alternative to HRT to help alleviate some menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. The idea arose due to the fact that women in Japan tend to have a much higher intake of phyto-oestrogens in their diet and a much lower prevalence of menopausal symptoms than women in Western countries. Phyto-oestrogens are a group of substances found in plant foods, such as soya beans, and resemble oestrogen hormones. They have been found to act in a similar way to oestrogen hormones but have a weaker effect.

The potential benefits of phyto-oestrogens are currently being investigated in a number of studies. However, at present the effects are not clear – while a number of studies have shown a beneficial effect, others have not. The British Nutrition Foundation suggests that further studies are needed before firm recommendations can be made and appropriate advice given. They advise that anyone suffering from menopausal symptoms consult their GP to discuss the most appropriate treatment. However, those wishing to try increasing their intake of phyto-oestrogens could include more of the following foods in their diet:

  • soya beans (Free and also an F symbol)

  • tofu (plain or naturally smoked tofu is Free)

  • soya milk (calcium-enriched soya drink can be used as a Healthy Extra choice)

  • linseed (4 Syns per level tablespoon, 6½ Syns per 25g or 2 level tablespoons can be used as a Healthy Extra choice)