Three Things to Do to Motivate you to Lose Weight

A friend of mine has asked for some tips on weight loss motivation so I thought I’d share some ideas on what made me lose weight last year to see if any of it resonates with you.

  1. Have someone take a full-length photo of you. If you look and think crikey I look like a goddess then no need to worry but if on the other hand, you think who is that fat old trout then this is a really good motivator to lose weight.

Just so you know what made me take a long hard oh my goodness, who is that woman double take – here are a couple of photos (trust me these are not even the worst ones). The first one I had done for an extra agency (as some of you know I do TV and film extra work as a side hustle) and the other picture was a before picture for The Daily Mail MyBody Challenge with Myleene Klass and The Mail Online. I looked at these and wanted to cry because in both pictures – I thought oh no it looks like me but in a fat suit! This is a tough thing to do but you know what, it really does give you the boot up the bum you need to make those little lifestyle changes that can produce sustainable weight loss.

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2. Try on some clothes you love to wear and you look great in and if they don’t fit, then this sure is a hell of a motivator. I have a favourite dress and again I had that heart-sinking feeling when I couldn’t even zip it up, let alone wear it. I know this is really hard to do but sometimes giving yourself a reality check is the only way to go. Here’s me back in my favourite dress after losing the weight.

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3. Have a health check. There’s nothing like being told that your cholesterol is high and you’re at high risk of diabetes to give you the kick up the behind you need. I had my blood tests done last year because I was getting out of breath walking up one flight of stairs! How bad is that? My blood work basically came back as being at risk of a heart attack. At the time a friend of similar age to me had just had a heart attack and seeing how it can affect your life so dramatically put the wind up me enough to back away from the crisp cupboard (yes we have a cupboard with crisps in!)

Have a go at these three things and I suspect one or all of them might be what tips you over the edge if the menopause middle has hit you hard into thinking how can I get the old me back!

Other than trying to keep on the straight and narrow with maintaining my weight, life, in general, has been interesting over the past week. On Friday, I was asked to be an extra on a  Bollywood film (can’t tell you which one as it’s top secret) but it was a fab experience and a very surreal way to spend a Saturday. Made all the better by being asked to come dressed as a guest at a posh party, because it was fun to get out a dress that I used to be able to wear without the zip straining at the seams.

My blog post next week will have some tips on how to make small changes to your lifestyle which ensure the weight comes off and stays that way.

 

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Weight Loss Maintenance – Daily Mail and Hair Extensions

I can’t believe it’s April already and I haven’t posted for a while as my work has been incredibly full on with press tours to Munich and Amsterdam in March and a conference in Vienna. Thank goodness we’re still part of the EU or who knows what getting in and out of airports would be like!

I have managed to maintain my weight at a steady 8 stone 2 which is incredible considering the amount of temptation there is when you travel for work and how hard it is to find healthy food. I have managed to find a good tasty and (relatively) healthy breakfast in Wetherspoons, which I go for now when I’m going through airports. It has a nice big hit of protein so helps to keep you going all day.

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But, when you’re away it can be tricky especially when you’re presented with lovely food The trick is to not load your plate and find interesting people around you to talk to so that you don’t pile a shed load of stuff on your plate.

Here’s the starter we were presented with at a restaurant in Munich – it is a sharer but in some ways, that’s worse as the temptation is to keep dipping in and out.

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It is tricky to get good stuff at airports but it can be done and I often travel now with a healthy snack of nuts and seeds already prepared to keep me on the straight and narrow!

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Life has been good and because I seem to be cracking the weight loss thing, I was featured in the Daily Mail, in an article by the lovely Sam Brick on what I’m doing to keep the weight off and got to meet two fabulous women, Virna Baillie, who did my hair and make-up and Natasha Pszenicki who took this fantastic picture of me.

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I was also lucky enough this week to meet another brilliant woman, Cat Daniels. Cat asked me to be a hair model for secret hair extensions so I was on The Jewellery Channel with Hayley Sparkes.

Hayley is multi-talented as she was brilliant as our presenter and also did my hair in this lovely side do. All in all, it’s been an exciting couple of months and I can still fit in my clothes – hooray!

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Golden Rules for Maintaining Weight Loss

I haven’t posted in a while as work and life has been so busy. My fitness has taken a battering as I have been working later and not getting to fitness activities. I’m writing this as I whizz across the German countryside to go and visit a client. Today, has been pretty active as I got up at 3.30 (ouch) to go to Heathrow and then to Frankfurt so by the time I had walked between stations, airports and to the hotel I have managed to rack up 10,000 steps without trying.

Since finishing the channel swim challenge I am now thinking about what new fitness challenge to undertake in 2019. I did manage to finish Annie’s Zumba challenge (if you went to one class per week for 10 weeks she gave you all the classes up to Jan 20th free of charge) at least I have motivation to go to Zumba in January! I’m thinking of returning to modern jive classes or taking up Argentine Tango I can’t decide which yet.

I’m also going to set myself the goal of not putting on more than 4 lbs over Christmas so that I don’t have to lose a couple of stone again by March. I have managed to keep to 8 stone which was my goal weight for the Myleene Klass MyBody Challenge for six months now (something I have never done in the past as I’m a serial yo-yo dieter). However, this time instead of slipping back to bad habits, I’ve maintained the good ones and I’ve done this by sticking to these golden rules, which are a variation on Bright Line eating:

  1. Limiting flour intake to one or no flour based item per day
  2. No sugar
  3. Weighing food
  4. Supersizing veggie portions to cover half the plate with veg.
  5. Monitoring my calories in and out via my FitBit charge 2 and not going over my intake vs exercise each day.
  6. If I have a bad day and break the Golden Rules getting straight back to them next day instead of going oh well I had a bad day yesterday might as well have another one today (that really is the road to being overweight really quickly).                                                  180807_001032-2876658 If I can keep doing this over the Festive season then I won’t have to try to lose a shed load of weight in January! I’m using this picture of me in my goal body and weight as motivation not to pig out.

Day 71: 22 miles swum!

Fitness has been good this week. I have at last finished the Aspire Channel Swim Challenge and have swum the 22 miles of the English channel, finishing at the weekend at Hitchin Pool.  Thanks to everyone that donated on my just giving Fundraising Page for Aspire Charity we have raised £200 to help people with spinal cord injuries.

Here I am with my swim hat on, looking very pleased to have finished.

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For those of you who have asked about what I eat to keep me going with swimming, here’s a great dinner, which is filling, low-fat and full of nutrients.

Chicken casserole but you can use Quorn Chicken Style Pieces instead of chicken.

Here’s the recipe, which is easy to make:

600 grams of chicken or Quorn chunks, 1 onion, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, a chicken or vegetable oxo,  1 tablespoon of olive oil, 400 grams potatoes, 400 grams of squash or carrots, 2 tablespoons of gravy powder, 200 grams sweetcorn (I use frozen). Chop the onion and fry with the chicken in the olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan until the chicken is no longer pink (usually around 10 minutes), add the chopped tomatoes, crumble in the oxo cube, add 1.5 pints water and the gravy powder and give everything a good old stir. Chop the potatoes and squash into chunks, add in with the chicken and stock mix and boil for 10 minutes then leave on a low heat to simmer for another 20 minutes with a lid on the saucepan. Put the sweetcorn in a layer on the bottom of a casserole dish, add the casserole mix you have just boiled on top of the sweetcorn and put in the oven at 150 degrees for 1 hour.

Why is this a good dinner? Here’s the science: Chicken contains plenty of protein (ghrelin the hunger hormone is suppressed by protein) keeps you feeling full for longer. Olive oil is also better for you than margarine for cooking as it contains pretty stable monounsaturated fatty acids and has a high level of protective antioxidants, most margarine contains trans fats which your body doesn’t recognise as food so finds it hard to digest and ends up floating around clogging up your arteries. Tinned tomatoes are high in lycopene, shown to help lower the risk of heart disease, prostate and breast cancer. Squash and potatoes are high in fibre (keeps you full for longer) rich in antioxidants and flavonoids. Since this casserole contains lots of veggies and liquid, you will feel full but won’t have consumed tons of calories.

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Day 64: Weight loss Dinner

For those of you who have asked about what I eat, here’s a great dinner for weight loss. It’s all about making small changes to your lifestyle and all these small changes add up to a big change. I often have this dinner as it’s easy to do with everyone else and supportive husband likes this as it doesn’t have wheat flour in it. He has a very bad reaction to wheat flour if he exercises after eating it, known as a wheat induced exercise allergy caused by gliadin, one of the proteins in wheat.

Spaghetti bolognese, use turkey or Quorn mince instead of beef mince. Turkey or Quorn mince is much lower in fat and high in protein, and in place of the spaghetti use green runner beans shredded. To get your green beans like this I use one of these handy little tools, green bean slicer.

Here’s the recipe, which is easy to make:

600 grams of turkey mince, 1 onion, I tin of chopped tomatoes, a chicken oxo, I teaspoon of oregano, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 300 grams of green runner beans. Chop the onion and fry with the turkey mince in the olive oil until the mince is no longer pink (usually around 10 minutes), add the chopped tomatoes, crumble in the oxo cube, add the oregano boil for 10 minutes then leave on a low heat to simmer for another 30 minutes. Shred the beans and cook in boiling salt water for 10 minutes. Put the beans on the bottom in place of spaghetti and add the mince on top.

Why is this a good dinner? Here’s the science: Turkey mince contains plenty of protein (ghrelin the hunger hormone is suppressed by protein) keeps you feeling full for longer. Olive oil is also better for you than margarine for cooking as it contains pretty stable monounsaturated fatty acids and has a high level of protective antioxidants, most margarine contains trans fats which your body doesn’t recognise as food so finds it hard to digest and ends up floating around clogging up your arteries. Tinned tomatoes are high in lycopene, shown to help lower the risk of heart disease, prostate and breast cancer. Green beans are high in fibre (keeps you full for longer) rich in antioxidants and flavonoids. This really is so much better for you than a traditional spaghetti bolognese as you don’t have the flour from the pasta in there to give you those unwanted insulin spikes you get slow release glucose from the beans instead. I promise after this you will feel nice and full but you won’t feel bloated.

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Fitness has been not so good this week and I have only swum 1 mile, this makes me 20 miles in on the Aspire Channel Swim Challenge (just 2 miles to go and I will have swum the distance of the channel. ) People have asked how I keep count of the lengths, I use a FitBit Flex 2, it’s a bit odd as it tells me I have been doing the elliptical but when I tell it on my ‘phone that I have been swimming it gives me the lengths I have swum so it all works out in the end! Last week, I was in Edinburgh at a conference and also out at the weekend so only did one swim and one Zumba session (pretty poor on the exercise). I went out to the Zumba Christmas social at the Cultivo Lounge which is really nice and then went out celebrating a friend’s 50th birthday on Saturday night at The Old George. Both of these are superb places to eat and drink but I was just too tired to swim on Sunday, as well as Saturday after having three nights out and a long day out with floghts in the week.

This week I aim to finish the challenge by going on Wednesday night swim at ladies only night and the weekend at Hitchin Pool. There is still time if you want to donate, please go to my just giving page Fundraising Page for Aspire Charity and donate whatever you can.

 

Day 57: Cinnamon for fat burning

Another tip for weight loss I use is to replace chocolate sprinkles on my morning cappuccino with cinnamon. Why? here’s the science – chocolate sprinkles are packed with sugar and this gives you a spike of insulin, which as you’ll know if you’ve read my other blog posts is not what you want as this can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, one of the most awful diseases to suffer with. Cinnamon, on the other hand, has no sugar in it and has been shown in some studies to induce thermogenesis, this is where some of the compounds found in the cinnamon act on fat cells to make them start burning fat. Now the amount you sprinkle on your coffee won’t make you into Kate Moss overnight but it’s a step in the right direction! It was one of the things in combination with a ton of others that help me on the Myleene Klass MyBody Challenge to lose 1.5 stone in 12 weeks. Weight loss which I have maintained by following a menopause friendly lifestyle since.

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Fitness has been good this week and I have swum another 3 miles, this makes me 19 miles in on the Aspire Channel Swim Challenge – only another 3 miles to go and I will have swum the distance of the channel. Adding a Wednesday night swim at ladies only night at Hitchin Pool has really helped. I found out this week that the Aspire Charity is helping one of my niece’s school friends who broke his back while jumping into a lake on holiday and is now at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital being rehabilitated so you never know when someone’s life will change and they will need this kind of support. There is still time if you want to donate, please go to my just giving page Fundraising Page for Aspire Charity and donate whatever you can.

I have managed to get along to Annie Farrow’s Zumba twice this week, which is a minor miracle. Zumba is a great way to get fit and stay fit because there is none of this getting up and down all the time that you get with HIT training. HIT is all very well but it is not great as you get older as I found by the time I was down on the floor to do an exercise it was time to get up again and it just didn’t work for me. Annie’s class is great, we do about 6-8000 steps per class (I measure it on my FitBit Charge 2) and she makes it so much fun I ache all over at the end but I never want the class to stop because we’re all having such a  good time.

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Time to go and write a report on cell therapy, with my lovely cinnamon topped coffee to power me up.

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Day 50: Weight loss lunch

I promised I would tell you about the lunch I eat to help keep my weight stable. Here is what I used to eat: toasted white bread and cheese sandwich which is really not good. Why? well here’s the science – white flour is easy for the body to turn into blood glucose (sugar) and this gives you a spike of insulin. If you keep having these insulin spikes your body becomes insulin resistant and you can eventually end up with type 2 diabetes or the growth of cancerous cells as cancer cells have more insulin receptors (docking stations) on them. White flour also causes inflammation as the gluten proteins in it trigger inflammatory molecules and some poor folks (supportive husband is one – can even develop life-threatening allergies to proteins in white flour).

Here’s my healthy and filling lunch secret:

  1. 2 rye crispbreads (Ryvita are one of the best and tastiest)
  2. butter 1 teaspoon on each crispbread
  3. Grated cheese (medium fat cheddar or red Leicester) 20 grams
  4. 1 apple cut into slices

Why is this a good lunch? Here’s the science: rye crispbreads contain whole grains. This means they don’t give you the insulin spike so you get slow release glucose and they are higher in fibre than white bread and are more filling. If you add cheese, this contains calcium and protein (ghrelin the hunger hormone is suppressed by protein) which again keeps you feeling full for longer. Butter is also better for you than margarine as most margarine contains trans fats which your body doesn’t recognise as food so finds it hard to digest and ends up floating around clogging up your arteries yuk! Why the apple? These are rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber (again keeps you full for longer). This really is so much better for you than a sandwich at lunch time.

It has been another good week for fitness and I have swum another 3 miles. Since the Apprentice is on, I added another swim on Wednesday to avoid watching the TV through my fingers and thinking where do they get these nutters from. I am now at  16 miles on the Aspire Channel Swim Challenge – only another 6 miles to go and I will have swum the distance of the channel. Wednesday is a great night to swim as it is ladies only from 8pm at Hitchin Pool so I can swim up and down without having the power males steaming up and down doing 2 lengths of the crawl as fast as they can and then stopping at the end to get in the way!

The fundraising is going well with £200 donated to the Aspire charity which helps support people with spinal cord injuries. This will help to buy pillows and kitchen equipment.  There is still time if you want to donate then please go to my just giving page Fundraising Page for Aspire Charity and donate whatever you can.

Time to go and do the final edits to my Dutch biotech article, while Sybil keeps me company in my office.

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