Monday, 29 February 2016

Monday Motivation - If Leonardo DiCaprio can finally win an Oscar, you can do anything!

I'm really feeling down in the dumps today and in dire need of motivation. Little things seem to be getting on top of me. I'm really broke until tomorrow and struggling to find petrol money plus I have a raging case of PMT that I can't seem to shake off. 

At least the sun is shining today though and Leo finally won an Oscar. Here's some of the images I'm using to motivate myself today. 

As usual, these are not my images. You can find them on my tumblr account. Hope you all have a motivated Monday. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Saturday, 27 February 2016

Can you be happy and overweight?

I've been surprised recently by the number of Facebook posts that I've seen shared by friends which are basically praising themselves for being overweight. You probably know the sort of thing I mean where it says big is beautiful and who cares if my waist is thick. Now I'm all for self esteem and loving your own skin and I think it's great that there has been a move away from stick thin models as role models. I do wonder though if we are starting to go too far in the other direction. Being overweight is not healthy so shouldn't we be looking for a healthy middle way instead of preaching acceptance regardless of size. 

I've never been happy when overweight. There's nothing fun about your thighs rubbing together, struggling to run for a bus, excess sweating or trying to shove your muffin top into your trousers. I've definitely hid behind my fat and I've used it as an excuse and it worries me that people are using the big is beautiful message to justify their weight as an excuse to avoid doing anything about it. The obesity crisis continues to grow in the UK and with this mindset I can only see it getting worse.

I don't know the answer to this problem. It's Eating Disorder Awareness week and I hope that they will push for more emphasis to be given to overeating as a disorder.

Anyway I will continue to try to build myself a healthier life. I may never be skinny and that's not what I'm aiming for. I need to be thinner for my health and I want to be fit and toned. 

I'll be interested to hear your opinions on this and I certainly don't want to offend anyone who is happy being overweight. From my own perspective I have just struggled to understand that mindset. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Friday, 26 February 2016

Sausage and Bacon Pasta with NoodleSlim Fettuccine

My search for low calorie alternatives to carbohydrates continues and when the nice people at NoddleSlim sent me a sample to try, I decided to create a new recipe around them. 

The NoddleSlim products are made from Glucomannan which is a fibre from the root of the Konjac plant. It has been popular in Japan and China as a food source for many years. The best news about the NoodleSlim products for anyone following the Weightwatchers diet is that they are zero Smartpoints in value. This really inspired me to create my recipe.

Sausage and Bacon Pasta

400g tin of chopped tomatoes
20g tomato paste
1/2 red onion
3 garlic cloves
2 reduced fat sausages
2 reduced fat bacon medallions
1 packet of NoodleSlim Fettuccine 
Low fat cooking spray
Fresh or dried basil
Parmesan Cheese

1.chop the onion and garlic. Feel free to use less garlic if you prefer a lighter flavour.

2. Lightly cover the bottom of a pan with the cooking spray and then cook the garlic and onion for about 4 minutes or until it starts to change colour.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir until combined with the onion and garlic.

4. Add 20g tomato paste and stir until mixed. The tomato paste helps thicken the sauce.

5. Add basil to taste and reduce the heat. Leave the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir periodically.

6. Grill the sausages and bacon and then chop into sections.

7. Prepare the NoodleSlim Fettuccine by removing it from the packet, draining it and then rinsing under warm water.

8. Five minutes before the sauce is going to be ready, add the sausage, bacon and Fettucine to it and stir until fully combined. The NoddleSlim products do not need cooking so this enables the sauce to heat them up.

9. Serve with grated Parmesan.

I was really pleased with how this recipe turned out especially as it works out at only 9 Smartpoints for a really filling meal. You could reduce that to 7 by leaving off the Parmesan.

I particularly loved the NoodleSlim fettuccine and it had a lovely soft texture similar to eating ordinary pasta. The fact that it doesn't need cooking is a great bonus. I can't wait to try their other products and I'm already thinking of recipes for them.

You can order all the NoodleSlim products from their website at and I would definitely recommend trying them. 

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Wednesday Weigh in - Week 7 - One Stone Milestone

I lost three quarters of a pound this week which takes me down to 16 stone 3.5 pounds. This means that I have hit the big milestone of losing a whole stone. I'm really pleased to have lost that much in only seven weeks.

It was a tough week and I'm just pleased that it was still a loss especially considering I ate KFC and McDonald's this week. Also, although I've exercised the last two days, I couldn't stick to my normal exercise routines for the rest of the week due to the school holidays. 

In addition to those factors, I also had a feeling that this week wouldn't be a huge loss as I have major PMT and just feel a bit bloated. I always used to put on 2 or 3 pounds in the week before my period as I think I retain a lot of water, so I see any loss for this week as a big success.

The week ahead should be much more settled with plenty of exercise and some new recipes that I plan to share with you. Hopefully this will lead to another loss next week. In the meantime I will celebrate my one stone loss. πŸ’ƒπŸΌπŸŽˆπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Monday, 22 February 2016

Monday Motivation - Push Yourself

This is a particularly dire Monday. It's cold, grey and rainy. I also have a lingering cold and a cough. My youngest went back to school today and I got soaked doing my regular park walk after dropping her which didn't help my mood.

I had quite a stressful weekend too due to problems with my eldest girl's health. She has had to stay home longer from university in order to see her doctor. All the stress meant I was battling the desire to reach for chocolate or the biscuit tin. This both upset me and educated me as it shows that the old habits are still there and I have got to be aware of this to keep on top of them. So I am really in need of motivation today. I have today and tomorrow before my weekly weigh in on Wednesday so I want to push myself as much as possible. That means a completely healthy diet and as much exercise as I can cram in! 

Here's some of the things that I have used to motivate me to push myself

As usual the pictures are not mine, you can find them on my tumblr account.

Have a good Monday. We can get through this together! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Strawberry and Apple Biscuits

We love strawberries in my house and you can usually find a punnet of them in the fridge. My daughter eats them on their own and I have them either with yoghurt, porridge or in a smoothie. The trouble is that strawberries are not always long lasting and can easily become squishy when over ripe. My new recipe can help you use up these strawberries and create a healthy and tasty snack.

Strawberry & Apple Biscuits
4 or 5 large strawberries
I small eating apple
100g honey
1 egg
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring
200g Wholemeal flour
2 tablespoons coconut oil
50g Oat milk

1. Mash the strawberries thoroughly. I used a hand blender to help break them up.
2. Peel the apple and then grate it.
3. Beat the egg, add the honey and mix together.
4. Add the coconut oil and mix until completely blended.
5. Add the flour, baking powder, oat milk, apple and strawberries. Mix until fully combined into a sticky mixture.
6. Place a heaped tablespoon of he mixture at intervals on a greased baking sheet.

7. Bake near the top of a preheated oven at 200 degrees for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.

8. Allow to completely cool before removing from the baking sheet.


The recipe makes 12 large biscuits which are four Weightwatchers Smartpoints each. You can reduce this to three Smartpoints by using oil instead of coconut oil. Equally, if you want a richer version you could use sugar instead of honey which would raise it to five Smartpoints for each biscuit.

These are a great way to use up your fruit and are a really tasty snack.

Let me know if you try making the biscuits. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Friday, 19 February 2016

Slim Carbonara

One of the hardest things about being on a long term programme to achieve a big weight loss is that you might feel that you can't ever enjoy all the meals and recipes that you might normally eat with your family. I'm going to try and look at some of these types of meals and see if I can try and "slim" them down to make them easier to fit into my diet. The first one I've looked at is Spaghetti Carbonara and here is my slimmed down version.

Slim Carbonara

2 reduced fat bacon medallions
I packet of Eat Water's slim pasta
1 tbsp low fat Greek yoghurt
37.5g Boursin cheese (roughly a quarter of a pack)

1. Grill the bacon medallions and then cut into small pieces.
2. Cook the Slim Pasta according to the packet instructions.
3. Stir the Boursin cheese and Greek yoghurt to the cooked Slim Pasta and stir until fully melted.
4. Add the bacon pieces and stir until distributed through the pasta.
5. Eat and enjoy!

This is such an easy meal to make and it literally took five minutes. The yoghurt mixed with the cheese coats the pasta to give that genuine Carbonara taste. I used spaghetti but you could use other types of pasta if you prefer. 

My Slim Carbonara is only 10 Weightwatchers Smartpoints so it is quite easy to fit into your daily points. It shows how you can adapt a traditional recipe and make it suitable for your new healthy lifestyle.

Let me know if you try making this. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 6 - Wow I'm shocked!

I didn't have high hopes for this week. I knew I couldn't exercise as much and on Sunday I had KFC for dinner but look .....

That's a weight loss of 3 pounds again this week. I'm so pleased but am quite shocked. All I can think is that I have stuck strictly to my diet and I've had more sleep so maybe that has helped in some way?

This has took my total weight loss to 13.25 pounds in six weeks. It also means that I have reached another one of my targets. I started at 241 pounds so I have now lost over five percent of my original body weight as I am down to 227.75 pounds.

I know I still have a very long way to go but it's such a good feeling to know that every single step I take is taking me in the  right direction. It's such an amazing feeling to know that I am succeeding in creating a fitter, thinner and happier me.

Hope you are all having a great day too. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Shopping trips and crystal jewellery

I've already written about finding school holidays difficult because of the disruption to my normal routine. I'm trying to concentrate this week on just doing things that make me feel happier as I know I will stick to my diet more easily if I'm in a good mood. Yesterday was a good example of this when I took my youngest daughter and her friend to the local shopping mall.

They are not really old enough to go there completely alone yet but I let them go off to shop and then get lunch while I enjoyed a stroll around the shops and a little me time. It was also a good way to try and achieve my 10,000 steps for the day.

I didn't have very much money to spend but I did buy myself some earrings.

I was also really interested to find crystal jewellery on sale in Topshop. I know that wearing certain crystals is supposed to help with your moods and I fell in love with this ring

The crystal is a Zebra Jasper which is supposed to give you motivation, energy and courage. I don't know if it will help with those but I'm willing to give it a try. There were many other types of crystals in the range do if you are near to Topshop then make sure you pop in and have a look.

So my little shopping trip didn't cost me very much but I certainly felt happier and we will have to wait and see whether wearing my crystal ring really does have any impact.

Hope you are all getting the chance to do something that makes you feel happier this week. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Monday, 15 February 2016

Monday Motivation - Get Going!

So Monday rolls around again. It's the school holidays so I'm feeling a bit jolted and out of routine. Ive been looking for something to motivate me and help me push through this week. 

As usual, these images are not mine but are taken from my tumblr account. Hope you all manage to keep motivated this week and keep working towards your goals. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Plans and goals

When I started this, I deliberately didn't set myself any goals to aim for. The reasoning behind this was that I knew I have a lot of weight to lose and I thought it would be too off putting to look at such a big amount.  Now, five weeks later, I have started to set myself some smaller targets to aim for and have had a think about a longer term goal.

I've decided initially to aim to get down to 11 stone (154lbs) I'm five foot six inches tall and that is clearly in the healthy range for my height. I'll review it when I get closer and if I need to change it and go lower then I will. I started out at 17 stone 3.5 pounds (241.5lbs) so this means I am aiming to lose a total of 87.5 pounds. Gulp, it sounds a lot so I've worked out the following small targets to motivate me on the way. I've found a good way to do is to look at the percentage of your body weight that you are losing. So these are my targets.

5% body weight - 12lbs
10% body weight - 24.1lbs
15% body weight - 36.1lbs
20% body weight - 48.2 lbs
25% body weight - 60.2 lbs

If I add to this list, targets of weight loss in stones eg: half a stone, one stone etc then I should have achievable targets to aim for on a regular basis. 

The other other thing about working out all these targets and my end goal of losing 87.5lbs is that I realised that by losing 10.25 pounds already, I have already lost over ten percentage of what I'm aiming for.

As you can tell I've been sitting here with my calculator so I hope I haven't bored you too much. I do think this will now help me keep focused. I would advise anyone who is looking for a long term weight loss not to get hung up on the big weight loss totals but definitely to break it down into smaller targets.

I'll keep you posted as I hopefully achieve each of my targets. My next one is to have lost 12lbs in total which will be five percent of my starting body weight. I only have 1.5 pounds left to lose to achieve this so fingers crossed. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Thursday, 11 February 2016

First Transformation Thursday Post

This is the first time I have done one of these and I must admit I'm quite nervous about posting the pictures. I still have a long way to go so I don't like the way I look in them but I can see a difference in the 5 weeks since I started this so I wanted to show you. Anyway, here goes...

The photo on the left was taken on the day I started this blog and the one on the right was taken yesterday, five weeks later.

You can see in the photo on the right that my tummy is noticeably smaller and I think most of the 10 pound loss has probably gone from that area as it tends to be where I carry most of my weight.

I may try and do these visual updates once a month as its good to document the changes. It also reminds me of what I have achieved so far instead of me focusing just on how much more weight I have to lose. That's my philosophy now - set your goals but celebrate your achievements too! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wednesday Weigh in - Week 5. Double digits

YEEEEES!! That was a good week! I lost 3 pounds. This takes my weight loss total to 10.25 pounds in five weeks, hence the double digits in the title of this post.

Looking back over this week, it's clear to me that increasing the amount of my exercise has definitely been the deciding factor. I managed to fit in approximately 5 hours of workouts plus I also aimed to walk 10,000 steps each day and achieved this on five days. 

I've also found that increasing my exercise level also helped my general mood. I feel more positive and have found it easier to stick to my diet. I even managed to fit pancakes into my daily points yesterday! Hopefully I can carry this forward into the new week and keep the momentum going. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Banana Biscuits

My continual search for the perfect dieters biscuit led me to try experimenting in the kitchen again today. I was going to make cookies for my daughter but although the recipe I use is great, it's not very good for me at the moment as it contains a ton of sugar and a whole pat of butter. So I played around with the recipe and this is what I came up with.

Banana Biscuits
400g Wholemeal flour
2 mashed bananas
1 egg
4 tablespoons coconut oil
100g Demerara sugar

1. Mix together the egg and sugar.
2. Add the mashed bananas.
3. Add the coconut oil and mix well. You may find it easier to use a hand blender for this as you need to end up with a smooth mixture.
4. Add the flour and combine to make a slightly sticky dough.

5. Leave the dough to rest in the fridge for an hour. 
6. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
7. Take a small section of the dough and roll it into a sausage shape with your hands.

8. Cut the dough into slices roughly 1cm in width.

9. Take each slice and flatten it slightly while keeping the circular shape.
10. Place on a greased baking tray.
11. Cook near the top of the oven for 11 minutes or until golden brown on top.
12. Once removed from the oven, allow to cool before taking them off the baking tray.

And here is the finished product!

The recipe makes 40 small biscuits which work out at an impressive 2 Weightwatchers smart points each. They are a perfect little snack and are great for dunking in a cup of tea. Let me know if you try making them and if you do, then I hope you enjoy them! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Monday, 8 February 2016

Monday Motivation - Keep Calm and Just Go For It

Like a bad penny, Monday has turned up again! I'm feeling tired and stressed but I want to have a really positive exercise filled week as next week is half term holiday so my daughter will be at home and my normal routine goes out the window. Here's some of the images I've used to motivate myself today

As usual none of the images are mine but they are all in the public domain. I hope you all have a positive start to your week. Let's stay motivated together! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Saturday, 6 February 2016

It's the weekend - Get busy!

We all long for the weekend to get here with two days off work and the chance to relax. For dieters though, the weekend can bring particular problems. I find the fact that we are not in a routine difficult to deal with. Mealtimes can vary, you may not exercise as much as normal and if you are going out or even just watching tv on Saturday night, it can be deceptively easy to overindulge without realising it.

For me the thing that works is to throw myself into activities. I have my youngest daughter with me at weekends so exercise isn't easy but I will literally sit on a Friday night and plan both food and what we are actually doing over the weekend. I know this sounds quite boring but it works for me. In the past , while on Weightwatchers, I have been known to blow all my weekly points over the weekend. That's fine if it's a special occasion but not great when it happens every weekend! 

I have also adapted family weekend traditions to suit my diet. We always have pizza on Saturday night but now I make my own small one just for me and by using low fat mozzarella I can keep the points low. Roast dinner on a Sunday didn't really need any tweaking as it is vegetable heavy and therefore quite low in points.

This weekend hasn't required much planning though. I am going to watch my eldest daughter swim in a County championships at the Olympic pool in London and tomorrow my youngest daughter is in a cross country race in Essex. Hopefully all the running around will help with my weight loss too.

So whatever you are doing this weekend, I hope you enjoy it! Keep busy and have fun! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Mental Battle

Last night I worked out that I have been struggling with my weight for about 25 years now. This dates back to when I joined Weightwatchers the first time because I felt a bit chubby. I lost a stone and a half and came close to developing bulimia. After that I swung the other way and developed a chocolate binge eating habit. There have been good periods of time for my weight. Yoga, exercise and sensible eating helped me slim down after having my first child but I don't seem to be able to achieve any consistency.

The real downward slide into obesity for me started probably ten years ago. I'd had a traumatic time. I had my second child, my Dad died and then I found out my husband was having an affair and had basically been screwing around the whole time we were married. He walked out when our youngest daughter was 3 months old. Initially I lost a lot of weight through stress and then my mum died 2 years later. I had no family support and an ex husband who thinks that financial support is enough. I couldn't turn to anyone for help so increasingly I turned to food. It didn't help that my youngest daughter has special educational needs so I also had to take on the stress of fighting for extra help for her.

So I have come to the conclusion than fighting battles on so many fronts and even just fighting the daily battle of being a single mum meant that I just didn't have the strength to fight the mental battle against overeating. I didn't have many things to comfort me but food was always there. Last year it reached a climax. My finances got into a terrible state and I had little spare money so I bought food for the kids and really cheap rubbish for me. I can remember thinking to myself that eating this stuff is probably killing me and not particularly caring at the time. Fat was also something to hide behind in some ways.

So why am I fighting the mental battle about overeating now? It's a little bit of a case of now or never. I hit 50 next year, a milestone age. My mum had breast cancer in her 50s and the risk of that is made higher by obesity. Also I want to feel like me again. I haven't felt like me for such a long time. Not Mum, but Erica.

So I am trying to arm myself properly for the mental battle and writing in this blog is one of my weapons. I had a bad week last week and might have given up in the past but I didn't this time and that small achievement is also a weapon. My St Johns Wort is another weapon. So I'm armed and ready. My mental battle against food and overeating may last the rest of my life but I feel that I am finally in a position to carry on fighting.

Sorry for such a long winded and slightly depressing post but I wanted to firstly tell you a little more of my background and secondly just explain how important I think that your mental state is when you try to lose weight. Maintain the right mindset and I think the battle is half won. Good luck and keep fighting! Speak to you soon.

Love Erica xxx


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Wednesday Weigh in - Week 4. Back on the slow path

I am not a happy bunny today! I lost a grand total of half a pound this week.

This takes my weight loss to 7.25 pounds in four weeks. I always knew this would be a long journey for me but I will admit that I had hoped that things would move a little faster than this.

On a positive note I can understand why my weight loss has been low this week and some of it has been down to general sloppiness on my part. It's too easy to start guessing portion sizes rather than weighing everything all the times especially if you are in a hurry. I did have to eat out once so that meal had to be estimated so there's no excuse for it any other time.

I also found myself continually craving sweet stuff this week. I have a healthy dose of PMT at the moment which has made think that the slow weight loss could partly be due to being at the point in my cycle when my weight naturally fluctuates upwards. If this is the case then it will go down again next week and a loss is better than any sort of gain.

The final reason has been that I just didn't exercise enough. I have tendinitis in one ankle and it flared up which made any impact exercise impossible. I can't afford to join a gym at the moment so I was a bit stuck. I did try to fit in extra walking but work got in the way of that. I know I'm making excuses but I work freelance so if the work is there then I have to take it or my kids don't eat. I am back taking glucosamine for my ankle as it seems to help and the weather is drier which also seems to make a difference. 

Finally, I am going to take all my measurements today and start tracking them so if I have another slow week for weight loss then I can at least see if I have lost inches instead.

So the plan for this week is to tighten up on my portion control, have some fruit if I need something sweet and fit in as much exercise as work and my ankle will allow.

I'll let you know how it goes. Speak to you soon.

Love Erica xxx

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