5:2 Alternate Day Low GL Week 4

The week is a short week "diet"-wise  as I have 3 days of family events and birthdays so weighed myself this morning instead of tomorrow.  I've continued with the 5:2 as it was only 2 days instead of 3 and very pleased with another 1½lbs down.  I counted 489 calories on Monday, yesterday was about the same, I have got the feel for it now and can judge it well, but weighing foods out is crucial I feel as even things like a slice of bread can weigh more and equal more calories than I thought!

Two things I have changed this week:

  1. I have added in exercise, doing 15 -20 minutes of cardio and strength exercises whilst holding light weights.  It's impossible to do anything like this with TC around so once she's asleep, usually by 7.30 I can get it over with before my evening begins!
  2. On my non-fast days I have implemented portion control, I've told Mr J that I'll dish myself up when he cooks or he will dish up enough for 2 on my plate and of course it's so delicious that I will eat it!
I'm getting very used to counting calories now and it's not the chore I thought it would be and I continue to be surprised and shocked at the calories in some things I thought would be lighter.

On the 5:2 Fast Diet Forum I have noticed some people fast from breakfast to dinner which is what I do with the odd cuppa and water  thrown in and some eat 3 meals as usual still keeping the calories under 500, which is not really fasting but the sheer calorie restriction must have an effect. 

Still keeping to the Patrick Holford Low GL diet part on my non-fast days too, lots of very varied and interesting foods on there.  I'll be putting some examples over on my Nutritious Deliciousness blog.

Linking up to #WobblesWednesday with Kate at Naked Mum.


A Tender time of Innocence and Learning

She pounds up the stairs with confident steps, races up the corridor, flinging hat, scarf and coat in her wake.  She pulls her boots off on the way, all the while shouting "See ya, Bye!"  with her arm flailing out behind her waving furiously.

This is the scene twice weekly at her new nursery which she is so absolutley excited to go to.  She comes home with new found skills copying from the other children who are all so lovely, this age group is such a joy, their innocence is just breathtaking and something to revel in, where does it all go, having a small child does bring you back to those times of pure innocence of play and love and in our girl's life - tutu's!

She is 2½ and becoming independant from me already.  She is a confident, happy being, I've often spoken about her can-do attitude, it gets stronger every day.  Mummy.do.it.meeself.

So who knows where it all goes from here, I find I have complete amnesia where some things are concerned, having to refer to Mr J who is no help, I remember everything and seemingly sometimes nothing, my new mummy friends look to me for the "you've been there and done that" but the gap between babies was so vast that it's like she was my first again and then it all washes back over me on instant recall one frame at a time.

There is only one downside to her nursery experience and those whose children struggle with sleep will say what downside??  she has such a great time there that when her afternoon is over, she is eager to get home, have a quick dinner, then bathtime and flop into bed early, out for the count till morning. 

She is 2½ - life is good at 2½.


Very Berry Toddler Bites

I made these cakey toddler bites this morning, TC likes to have a cake all to herself and unless I make mini muffins or similarly sized cakes they tend to get demolished or I end up finding crumbly bits all over the place!

These are so very simple, very tasty, low sugar and full of berry fruits!  Plus you can knock these out in minutes, even with little helping hands!

Take 50g softened unsalted butter and 25-30g golden caster sugar - cream together with an electric mixer until pale.

Add 1 egg and a few drops of vanilla extract, beat with butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add 85g of self-raising flour and fold into the batter.

Add your berries, I used blueberries that were too soft to eat but fine for baking, fold in very gently.

Pop into your base lined tin, I used my brownie tin, the cakes are better if they are slim for tiny fingers and with no extra baking powder they won't rise too much. 

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 for about 20 minutes until lovely and golden brown.

Cut in mini squares, this recipe makes only a small batch, but enough for mummy to have a tasty treat too!

Alternate Day GL Diet

So my main aim this week was to keep the calories under 700 on alternate days and to follow the GL way of eating on the Patrick Holford GL weightloss programme.  I signed up earlier in the week and have been glued to all the information, videos, etc.  

The strange thing was that on the first day I managed 689 calories and on day 2 I clocked up a meagre 489!  For some reason I did not feel all that hungry so ate accordingly.  As I have another low-cal fast day tomorrow I weighed myself this morning and another 1lb loss a day early, so quite pleased with progress.

The GL way of looking at food is something I knew about but found a little confusing due to the GI ratings of food too, so I've put them out of my head and concentrated on the GL version. The low-GL (glycemic load) diet, coupled with alternate day fasting is a good way to keep your blood sugar levels even, which equates to losing weight, gaining energy and not craving carbs.

During my last pregnancy I had Gestational Diabetes, you won't be surprised to hear that I managed the condition with diet and did not inject insulin (the thought of injecting myself was enough to make me get my diet on track!). They manage you very closely from 28 weeks so it was a long 10 weeks but I got through.  Because of the GD I am now possibly more prone to becoming diabetic in the next few years so want to manage my blood sugar as much as possible without it being a chore - in other words I still want to enjoy my food!

Linking up with Kate from Naked Mum where we have a little community of ladies all on the healthier route!  

Snow Go!

I am not a lover of the snow, not someone who has ever said "YAY" there's SNOW!!  I do love skiing but there is usually sun on the slopes too (and après ski!) as I used to come home with a tanned face and hands.  But it's the cold I really can't wait to leave behind every winter.

snowbound apple tree

I live on a hill which makes driving out of my snow-ridden road "interesting" as well as not without risk, the pillar box just will not get out of the way and many a year I have slid unceremoniously into it.

As pretty as it can look here, snow you can go now, please. 

the snow got even deeper the next day!

I crave bright Spring days and long, warm Summer evenings.  At this time of year I look forward to the sound and sights of Spring attempting to wake the earth and warm it up.  I love my garden and I know that once the snow has disappeared it will leave it soggy and limp and I have to hope that my lovely lavenders have survived the freezing white blanket they have all been under these past few days.

The thaw will be welcome when it comes, I hope it's soon.


5:2 and the Alternative

There seem to be many different ways of tackling the 5:2 fasting diet, apparently the health benefits (igf1 levels, etc.) only kick in if you fast for 24 hours with only 500 cals. The extra weight loss seems to come from going 36 hours and keeps us fasting for that extra stretch while we sleep.  I "fast" each night for around 12 hours from my last meal to my first cuppa, then on fast days have a late breakfast and then going to dinner with nothing more than water and green tea.

From previous posts you will know that I'm not finding the severe lack of calories in this freezing weather easy, so I'm trying the Alternate Day Fasting Diet.  Devised by top nutritionist Patrick Holford, it's a low-GL plan, GL is the glycemic load of any meal and is a measure of what it does to your blood sugar.   

So for the next 6 weeks I will be fasting every other day (except Sundays), I'm upping my calories on fast days staying under 700 (the plan says up to 800) and counting calories to 1200 (which I've never done before) on non-fast days.
I will be joining Patrick's 6 week low-GL weightloss programme this week to help me along the way, take a look at Patrick's website here for details of what is included and involved in the programme.

Breakfast today is a 1 egg omelette with 50g of grated courgette, Mr ND made for me, it looks substantial for 1 egg because he whipped up the egg white first then added the egg yolk back in.   A grand total of 99 calories, about 5 calories for the watercress plus a cuppa with 50g skimmed milk 25 calories.

I will see how the day progresses but have meals lined up for this first Alternate Day Fast and hopefully the snow will melt today too!

5:2 Fast Diet - What I Ate - Week 2

I kept it very simple this week with my 5:2 Fast Diet meals, the week was set to be very busy so quick, easy, simple were my buzz words!  I even had to  tell the girls that I wouldn't be there for our monthly girls night out this week which is probably just as well!

This week I managed to keep my calories down to 479 on day 1 and 493 on day 2.  I found it easier after my initial glass of water and tea upon rising to wait until I was actually hungry in the mornings so around 11am I had a late breakfast of 100g 0% yoghurt & fruit plus a boiled egg or 25g bacon (no fat) with a pile of watercress and rocket leaves and then through to dinner with only green tea, water and another cup of tea with carefully measured skimmed milk.

On day 1 I made baked fish with tons of steamed vegetables for dinner, day 2, 50g grilled chicken with a vegetable stir fry and another plate of steamed vegetables. 

It's not been easy this week with the freezing weather when all I wanted was stodgy carbs and warming foods.  And food shopping for the family on an empty stomach was really hard!

Next week I am going to to meal plan for my fasting days as well as the rest of the week.  Everything I like to eat is far more calories than I am allowed so a bit of more forward planning is in order!

I do feel that the 5:2 Fasting Diet would be more suitable for me to do in the warmer months and with that said I shall be changing things next week - still fasting though!
I'm also factoring in some exercise into the mix, its not that I'm not active, if you have or have had a 2 year old in your life you will know what I mean, just want to focus more on targetted exercise like a swim every week sans toddler (so I actually get a swim) and blowing the cobwebs off some of my home gym equipment which will speed up my metabolism and weight loss.  I have another 10lbs to go and 1-2lb a week is my target.

Total weight loss this week:  1lb

#R2BC - Reasons to be Cheerful this week

Another week has whizzed past again, when I look back on the week I can see I have achieved a lot but still the list grows longer, but I do love crossing things off my list so I'm happy to have made in-roads into it!

This week I am cheerful about:

I didn't get wet all week!  It rained here but I managed to avoid it unlike last week when I got wet twice a day on average!  TC and myself are out every day rain or shine, she has an amazing coat with a great hood so she keeps cosy and dry.  Me not so much.  I've bought myself a proper umbrella now (don't you want to say 'ella, 'ella, Rhianna-style?) that doesn't turn inside out with a puff of wind, sorted!

I managed a 2 day fast on Monday and Thursday with a mere 500 calories each day.  I am amazed I managed to do it but what a feeling of achievement it gave me, little things, I know ;)  It certainly does make you look at the food you eat.

Although I am doing the fast days for long term health benefits I am also trying to lose a little weight and this week resulted in a 2lb loss, so very cheerful about that!  

TC had her first full afternoon at nursery and although I did miss her presence I managed to do a few things rather more quickly, leaving more time to do things with her that aren't chores.  Her MUMMY! exclamation as I came through the nursery door was something to remember.

I bought another Hippo bag and am busily plonking all our old rubbish and tat into it, having emptied the loft and a garden shed there is plenty to go in there.  I love a good clear up!

I am linking this post up to Mummy from the Heart's blog hop, pop over and have a look if you'd like to join in.

Wishing you all a cheerful weekend!


Beauty-full Things - L'Occitane

With the new year still fresh and young, I'm going to try and feature some of the beauty items that make my skin and wellbeing a little easier and also add to my happiness quota!

L'Occitane products have graced my bathroom for some years.  I am a huge fan of lavender and cherry both of which I grow in my garden & L'Occitane have an enticing range of both, as well as other tempting scents.

These cute little Limited Edition lip balms are my latest find on the L'Occitane website, I put them on my beauty wish list and as the sale was on and they were 40% off so I treated myself to two, one for my handbag & one on my desk!

These organic lip balms are rich in fair trade shea butter (10%), which helps to moisturise, repair and protect dry and chapped lips. The comfort, suppleness and softness are fully restored after quick slick on the lips.

I chose Desert Rose enriched with Moroccan rose extract and Cocoa Flower enriched with cocoa extract - gorgeous!  The only problem I can see here is how to keep them away from TC, the packaging is so eye-catching and will definitely be on the 2 year old's radar!

5:2 Fasting Diet - Day 1

My days start with getting breakfast for the toddler and tea for myself and Mr J.  Some days I eat breakfast and some days I don't, most days I don't find the time to eat until nearly 12, I think thats called Brunch!  So my fasting days will start the same but I am limited to 600 calories or less.

For my first day on the 5:2 Fast Diet I worked out the caloric values of the foods I was planning to eat in advance.  The Fast Diet book has a great little calorie counter in the back plus myfitnesspal app filled in the gaps. 

On Monday the day went like this:

Morning:   Black tea with 50ml skimmed milk x 3 = 75 calories
               Cucumber - 100g - 10 (yes 10!) calories
               Cottage Cheese (70% reduced fat, usually buy full fat) - 50g - 35 
               calories.  Almonds - 10g - 65 calories.

Late PM:  Black tea with 50ml skimmed milk x 2 - 50 calories
              Half slice of Warburtons thin with 20g cottage cheese = 39
By 5pm I was absolutely ravenous, hence the half slice & cottage cheese, I felt I just needed something for my tummy to get hold of plus I was getting a slight headache.  

I drank a lot more water than I usually do too, probably close to 2 litres but it stopped the tummy rumbles more than once!

Dinner:   Alaskan Salmon - 100g - 150 calories baked with ginger, garlic and  
             lemon - 5 calories - Steamed Broccoli - 100g - 32 calories,
             Asparagus - 50g - 15 calories and Courgette - 50g - 18 calories.

             Blueberries - 20g - 12 calories

Dinner tasted fabulous (although I never usually eat this much at one sitting), it was really plain and simple apart from the ginger and garlic but I savoured every mouthful and ate much slower than usual.   

I did find it hard going in the middle of the day but I think over time it will get easier once I get into the swing of two days fasting and expand my low calorie repetoire. 
I was hungry for most of the day (I've fought the urge to finish off TC's food, amazing how many times I found myself nearly doing it, wonder how many calories are consumed that way!) but Mondays are busy here and it's always an active day, Thursday TC will be at nursery in the afternoon and I will be stuck behind my desk working so will be interesting to see how the day differs.

My total calories for the day were 506 which I am extremely pleased with especially as I thought I would not be able to come in under 600. 
It was an early night for me.... didn't want to chance a late night nibble!

5:2 - The Fasting "Diet"

I've never actually been on what you would call a "diet", e.g. Atkins, Grapefruit, Cabbage, WW, Slimming World, etc.  I've never needed to lose weight, infact in my youth I could never put it on!  But weight does creep up on you over time, with having babies and hormonal changes later in life, etc.  I would be happier if I could lose 12-14lbs and keep it lost, so this is my goal for this year.  I have a healthy BMI of 24 but losing 12lbs will take it down to 22.

I eat healthily but do like cake, chocolate and a glass of red wine like most of the population but only when I feel like it and not as a daily occurrence and in moderation.  This may sound boring but if I eat too much sugar I feel sluggish and with a lively toddler to chase around it just slows me down!

I've been very interested to try the 5:2 Fasting "Diet" (also known as the Intermittent or Alternate Day diet) after watching the BBC2 Horizon documentary with Dr Michael Mosley some time ago.  The premise is that you can anything you like for five days a week and still lose weight as long as you also fast for two days a week.  By fasting I mean calorie restriction for those two days.  There are also the health benefits that may go along with it too, reduced risk of some diseases and even positive effects on the brain.

So with his new book "The Fast Diet" on order too to give me more inspiration of what to eat on my fast days and to give me more structure, I started yesterday with a mini fast where I counted calories loosely keeping them around 900 (the recommendation is 500 for women and 600 for men) to see how I felt and I am delighted to say it went so well.  I carried my day on as usual and did not feel faint or tired.  I did, however, feel the rumble of my tummy a fair bit but then I usually take in more than double the calories!  I drank my usual 1½ litres of water and my can.never.give.it.up tea with skimmed milk which helped to stave off the hunger too.

I'm not a calorie counter but with a view to starting the 5:2 I've been seeing what the calorific value of my everyday and treat foods are, some of it is quite startling!  I've also signed up to myfitnesspal which is a free calorie counter app, I'm all for making life easier!

I've read recently that safe weightloss, shedding fat not lean tissue, is around 1% of body weight so if you are 10 stone that equates to 1lb per week ongoing.  To do this you need to reduce calorie intake by 500 calories a day which over 7 days = 3500 calories which is what is needed to lose 1lb in weight!

Let's see how this goes....

I'm linking this blog post up to Kate on Thin Ice every week for #wobblywednesday!


Things I should, could, would do

Not one to complain about having no time to myself since TC arrived, but we have been virtually inseparable since her birth, going to mother & toddler, playgroups, swimming, music group, etc.  I am now about to reclaim 8 hours of me time a week......

TC is going to Day Nursery 2 afternoons a week!  The list I have of things I must do/want to do/should do has got longer and longer over the last 2 + years by next Christmas I may have caught up with myself!

I must:
  • Get a hair cut, I could give Rapunzel a run in the long hair stakes!
  • Physically go to a shop and luxuriously wander around perusing the racks, then actually try the clothes on before I buy them hoping they will a) look reasonably ok & b) fit!
  • Get myself to the optician for an eye test, I am way overdue and although I only need glasses for reading, all my glasses now are bent in some baby/toddler grabbing way.
It would be nice to:
  • Read a book without having to do a quick recap because I either fell asleep reading or hadn't got back to my book for several days.
  • Enjoy a facial, massage, pedicure, manicure, any of those would be most appreciated.
  • Go for a relaxing swim and get myself dried and dressed first instead of dripping and shivering whilst wrestling her back into her clothes.
What I will most probably do:
  • Go to the supermarket and walk around with both eyeballs focused on food instead of a supermarket trolley dash with a lively, impatient toddler!
  • Tidy up the house (have you seen Older Mum's house, so fabulously tidy *sigh*) and keep it so without a small person coming up behind me undoing all my tidying!
  • Fill a Hippo bag with household and garden debris - it's amazing how fast I can fill one up and still need another!
  • wash the dog, clean out my car, paint something or all of them!

But at the end of the day, I will miss that cheerful, happy-go-lucky little girl more than a litttle bit and I'm sure I can find a window of time to take a deep breath and enjoy a few moments to myself whilst pondering the fact that another milestone in her life has been reached....



My Reasons to be Cheerful this week

Now that all the festive and New Year celebrations are behind us again, for me it's time to concentrate on the year ahead and all the things I have decided to either do/sort/eliminate!

One of my un-resolutions is to join in more linky's and Reasons to be Cheerful from Mummy from the Heart is a great place to start.  I am very much about being thankful for what I still have in life without ever forgetting what I have lost.

So this very short working week I am cheerful about:

The weekend will be here tomorrow for me as I don't work on Fridays and I only have to work 2 days this week, more time to spend doing the things I love with those I love.

TC and I are nursery tasting today, a real milestone for both of us.  She adores other children and day nursery seems to be the right choice for her, a couple of afternoons a week having fun and learning.

This month is all about getting things sorted at home, I love a good declutter so I am extremely cheerful about getting it done!

Short and sweet, I hope you have reasons to be cheerful this week too.