Thursday, 31 March 2016

Simple Vanilla Flapjacks

I'm a little bit obsessed with flapjacks at the moment. Their sweetness satisfies my sugar cravings but they are filling enough that I only need one.

I set out to try and make the healthiest version I could for the lowest Weightwatchers Smartpoints and this was the result.

Simple Vanilla Flapjacks

3 bananas
100g golden syrup
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
200g oats

1. Mash the bananas until smooth
2. Add the golden syrup and vanilla, then stir until combined
3. Add the oats and mix until they are completely coated.
4. Spoon the mixture into a greased baking tray. Press down so that it is level with no gaps.
5. Cook in a preheated oven at 175 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.
6. Allow to cool completely and then cut into squares.

The recipes makes 30 flapjacks which are one Smartpoint each. In my opinion they are the perfect little snack. Easy to make and low in points while still sweet and tasty.

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

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 12 - Feeling Uneasy

I lost half a pound this week so it's not fantastic but it is a loss. I knew Easter would be hard and I have tried to work out as much as possible. This takes my total weight loss to 19.75 pounds in 12 weeks.

Another issue this week was the excessive amount of walking I had to do for three days. This meant I was physically exhausted and I will add to a few little cheats as I kept kidding myself that the walking would burn them off. It was nothing really bad for me but I suppose they all add up 😟

I will admit to finding Smartpoints hard at the moment too and that's why I'm feeling uneasy. The huge emphasis on avoiding sugar is difficult for me. I love healthy eating but to me that means using honey and coconut oil in recipes. Smartpoints makes that virtually impossible to do. The restrictive nature of it is making me want to cheat at the moment. I'm not sure what to do about it. I think if I have the same difficulties this week then I may consider switching back to plus points for a couple of weeks to see if I find it any easier to live with. I'm am doing this on a long term basis so I have to find an eating plan that I am comfortable with and that I can live with.

I would be interested to hear if any of you have experienced the same difficulties with Smartpoints. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Monday Motivation on a Tuesday!

I didn't post a Monday motivation post this week as I thought we probably wouldn't need much motivation yesterday as it was a bank holiday. Lots of people will be back at work today though so although it's Tuesday, this is their Monday for this week so a little help might be needed.

I'm working at keeping my motivation high this week. I may have solved the problem of working out while my daughter is off school. I'm sacrificing my lie in and getting up an hour earlier than she normally does so I can work out. Just finished for this morning so I'm feeling good! Also am proud of myself for getting up as I do love a lie in and I never get enough sleep!

Here's some of the images that are helping to motivate me this week

Hope you all have a positive and motivated week. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Monday, 28 March 2016

What makes people fat?

I've been thinking about the reasons for putting on weight. As I've said before, I've struggled with my weight for a long time and I am trying to understand why as I think it would help me.

I know the facetious answer to this post's title is people eat too much and don't exercise! But what pushes someone into crossing the line between chubbiness and obesity?

I think conditioning definitely plays a part and this is worrying considering the childhood obesity crisis. I was raised in a house where you had to clear your plate or you couldn't leave the table. I have never done this with my kids as I think it teaches such a bad lesson by making your eat even if you feel full. My parents never ate fruit and never exercised. So the healthy role models were not there for me at all. There were always tons of biscuits and cakes in the house and no restrictions put on them either. Despite all this, I remained just chubby as a child. I was tall too so I could hide it easily.

Emotional eating is another huge trigger for people. Eating made me happy. If I was tired and fed up then I would eat three chocolate bars travelling home from work on the tube to cheer myself up. My first bad experience with Weightwatchers where I developed bulimia also sent me the other way. Dieting was making me ill so what the hell, I would stuff my face instead!

Overeating can also be something to hide behind. When my marriage broke up in quite hideous circumstances, being fat became a way of hiding from moving on. No one would want me when I looked like that. My warped mindset was also that if my ex husband could treat me like that then I just wasn't good enough anyway so food was my comfort blanket. It was at this point that I started to suffer from depression and my weight really did cross that line.

My mum died in 2006 from congestive heart failure due mainly to her unhealthy lifestyle. She also battled breast cancer twice which is also linked to obesity. Did this make me stop? No I just tried not to think about it.

I feel that control is also a huge issue for why people become fat. Over the last few years my finances fell apart and I had a lot of setbacks so eating was one thing I could control. I actually remember thinking to myself that this is killing me and oh well, maybe that would be easier. 

So what made me stop and decide to try and turn my life around? I'm not really sure. I had a couple of false starts but writing this blog was a huge factor. I thought by documenting my journey, it would make it easier for me.

There is clearly no one reason as to why people become fat but I suppose my conclusion is that whatever the reason, there is a way out of it and you can move forward. I hope I have proved that with my journey so far. Baby steps guys as long as they are in the right direction!

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Friday, 25 March 2016

Chocolate Oaty Bites - An Easter Treat

Chocolate is a huge temptation over Easter and it can be a difficult time for anyone who is trying to lose weight. I know I will find it hard having so much chocolate in the house so I wanted to come up with a chocolate recipe that would be a healthier treat.

Chocolate Oaty Bites
2 Bananas
100g golden syrup
25g Cocoa powder
120g Chocolate
200g Oats

1. Mash the bananas in a bowl until smooth
2. Add the golden syrup and stir until combined.
3. Melt the chocolate and then add it to the bowl
4. Add the cocoa powder and the oats.
5. Stir throughly until everything is combined, the oats are covered and you have a sticky mixture

6. Pack the mixture into a greased oven dish or baking tray. If you don't have a small dish then it is ok to use half a baking tray like I did

7. Bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.
8. Allow to cool completely before cutting into small squares.

These are like a softer version of a flapjack and are really a moist little piece of chocolate heaven.

The recipe makes 24 pieces of this size which are 3 Weightwatchers Smartpoints each. You could reduce the points by leaving out the chocolate but the bites will be a little dryer in taste.

Let me know if you try them and have a Happy  Easter. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 11 - Feeling Impatient

I lost 1.25 pounds this week and I'm trying not to feel disappointed.

That's a total loss of 19.25 pounds in 11 weeks. I know that a slow and steady loss is best, I know that I'm still going in the right direction but oh my god, it would have been nice to get on the scales and see half a stone had disappeared.

I know I've worked really hard this week at exercising so I was just hoping for a bit of a bigger loss. That would have been nice and would have kept me focused going into Easter when my house will be full of my kids chocolate AND I WILL WANT TO EAT IT ALL!!!!

Don't worry I'm not going to give up. I'm going for a run today which will hopefully clear my mind a bit. I've just got to remember that it was still a loss and I'm wearing jeans today that I couldn't get past my thighs 11 weeks ago. 19 pounds is still a substantial weight loss

That's a lot of bananas, haha.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Review of Stick At It

When I was given the chance of a trial membership of the Stick At It app, I was quite intrigued. The app promises to motivate you using online technology that is easy to use but very successful.

Joining is very easy. You sign up with your email and create a password. A confirmation email welcomes you and provides a login link. You can then simply save the app to your screen like this.

The app is certainly full of information and it is worth taking some time literally just to play around with it and get used to the layout and menus. 

The members area is particularly useful

The articles are a very interesting read on a variety of different subjects.

There are also interesting little facts that I found quite useful even after all the years that I have spent dieting.

The app also includes recipes although they are quite basic.

Probably the best thing about the Stick At It app is the motivational messages that they will send you. This is certainly the aspect that made the app stand out for me and it was what I found the most useful.

The app gives you a selection of message types to choose from or you can write your own. You can also choose when you receive the messages so you can target times or days when you feel that you might need more motivation.

Here are some of the messages that I set up.

When you set up your profile on the app, it gives you the chance to input your end aim for your weight loss and to set smaller short term targets. The journal section also gives you the chance to record your progress and note down what works for you. I'll admit that I didn't really use the journal but that is through personal preference. I tend to use this blog as my journal anyway.

So my general thought about Stick At It are that it is a useful app with the potential to grow. I hope that they will continue to add recipes and articles. 

Would I recommend Stick At It? If you struggle with keeping yourself motivated then it is definitely worth trying it even if it is just for the messages they send you. It is very easy to use and as it is an app it is constantly available. There are currently free trials on offer and the monthly subscription is also very reasonable at £4.99 for four weeks.

You can find out more about Stick At It on their website at and they are also on Twitter as @StickAt_It

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Monday, 21 March 2016

Monday Motivation - Tough Week ahead

I woke up today feeling really eurgh. Not ill, a bit tired but just grotty with a general feeling of anxiety. I do suffer from mild depression so it may be time to go back on the St Johns Wort for a bit just to give myself a boost.

I have a really busy week ahead so I've got to sort myself out for it. I'm really not ready for Easter so that needs to be sorted. My daughter breaks up from school on Thursday and my other daughter arrives home from university on Friday so the normal routine goes out the window and chaos ensures. I want to pack as much exercise in before then as I can because the school holidays will make it more difficult. Added to this is the fact that on Thursday I collect over 1000 copies of Yellow Pages to deliver which have to be done within the next seven days. I suppose at least the extra walking will help with my fitness! Haha. 

So I feel deeply in need of good words to motivate me today and here are some of the ones that have helped.

So stay strong guys, stay focused! It may be Monday again but we can fight our way through this together!

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Versatile Food Choices

This is a bit of a follow on from yesterday's post where I talked about making Deliciously Ella's mint and cashew pesto. 

I have read about people complaining that they can't diet because it's too difficult to choose meals or it costs too much. Well, if you make the right choices then meal planning can become much easier and making one versatile dish can help you plan your meals for days.

When I made the pesto, I was really only thinking about the chicken dish that I had planned for dinner that night but I discovered many more uses for it.

The pesto made a great salad dressing

It made a tasty quick supper just mixed with some pasta.

Possibly the best use was to add the pesto to scrambled eggs.

And of course the original dinner with chicken was great.

So that's one batch of pesto used in four different dinners. It literally took five minutes to make and made my food preparation so much easier this week. So the right choices can make dieting much easier.

You can find the recipe for the mint and cashew pesto in Ella Woodward's book Deliciously Ella Every Day. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Friday, 18 March 2016

Chicken with Pesto and NoodleSlim spaghetti

I'm a great fan of creating recipes to use up leftovers and this is a fantastic way to use up chicken left after your Sunday roast dinner.

I can't claim responsibility for the pesto. It's the Fresh Mint and Cashew Pesto by Ella Woodward in her new book Deliciously Ella Every Day. I'm a big fan of hers and if you are interested in a plant based diet then I would definitely recommend getting her books. They are available on Amazon and Ella is on Twitter and Instagram.

Chicken with Pesto and NoodleSlim Spaghetti

100g Deliously Ella's Mint and Cashew Pesto
Leftover chicken equivalent to one chicken breast
Half a red onion sliced into rings
Handful of chestnut mushrooms 
Portion of NoodleSlim spaghetti 

1. Prepare the pesto. Copyright means I can't copy the recipe for you but it involves mixing mint, pine nuts, cashews, garlic and lemon together.

This made about 400g of pesto

The remainder can be stored in the fridge for up to seven days. You must add a layer of olive oil to the top though.
2. Use low fact cooking spray and fry the onions and mushrooms.
3. Cut the chicken into to pieces, add it to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until it is heated through.
4. Add the pesto, reduce the heat and stir thoroughly until the chicken is fully coated.
5. Prepare the spaghetti by rinsing it in warm water.
6. Add the spaghetti, stir until it is fully mixed in and coated with pesto.
7. Cook for about another 3 minutes until the spaghetti is heated.

There you have it, a quick, healthy and delicious dinner. I worked it out as being about 14 Smartpoints which is mainly the pesto. You can obviously reduce the points by using less pesto. This is another recipe which uses my favourite NoodleSlim pasta which has zero Smartpoints!

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

Love Erica xxx

Thursday, 17 March 2016

2nd Transformation Thursday Post - 10 weeks difference

I thought it was probably time to do another one of these and see my progress from when I started up to now, as my total weight loss is up to 18 pounds. So here it is ....

The biggest difference is definitely my belly but as I've said before, I tend to carry most of my weight there. My thighs have also slimmed down a bit. 

The side on shots show a more dramatic change 

You can definitely see the improvement. I really find this visual proof of my progress encouraging and it does help to motivate me. I would recommend to anyone who is embarking on a plan to lose a lot of weight to do this. Don't rely on just scales to chart your progress, take pictures and regularly check your measurements. It will all help to keep you motivated and focused!

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Wednesday Weigh in - Week 10 - Feeling Good

I lost 1.75 pounds this week. This meant that I got the psychological boost of going under 16 stone. Yay me!!

This takes my total weight loss to 18 pounds in 10 weeks. It's been slow and steady but in my opinion that is the best way. I can maintain my healthy lifestyle choices and I'm not feeling deprived so I know that I am more likely to be able to continue to lose weight and to keep it off!

It's been a good week. Lots of exercise and good food. Next week should be more of the same. 

Having now gone under 16 stone, my next target is a total loss of 21 pounds which is one and a half stone. I like setting little targets for myself. I find that it keeps me focused and I don't get disheartened thinking about how much I have left to lose in total. 

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Tuesday, 15 March 2016

My first run in years!

I've been talking about running for a few weeks now so I thought it was finally time to stop talking and get on with it. I should explain that I used to be a regular runner, was in a running club and even did 5km races. That was however many many years ago and pre kids! 

I didn't want to run on the roads near home partly because I thought I might see someone I know! So I drove to one of the parks where my daughter does cross country practice at the weekend. This is where I was aiming to run

Basically I was looking to go from the car park at the bottom left, down to the lake, round the lake and then back across the field. I had no idea how far this actually was or if I would manage it but I thought why not aim high?

This is what the park actually looks like.

So I started off thinking this is really great and I'm fitter than I had thought. It was downhill to the lake which made it easier. Around the lake was tougher and it was quite muddy still. I only had ordinary trainers so I had to walk in a couple of places. This meant there was time for a a quick lakeside selfie

Once I was round the lake, it was much clearer. The only problem was that the rest of the route was uphill! This is when I discovered that I'm still quite unfit! I plodded on though and did make it back to the car while still able to breathe.

I don't look too knackered! Haha. Even my trainers survived relatively unscathed 

I rounded off my run by insanely deciding to have a go at the hill that my daughter runs up and down as part of her training

She does this six times in a session. I managed once and I walked half of it! Still you have to start somewhere!

My fitness tracker calculated that I ran 1.5 miles which I was quite pleased about. It was interesting that my body felt really strong but I just got terribly out of breath. I clearly need to build more cardio work into my weekly exercise.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Monday, 14 March 2016

Monday Motivation - wise words to lift you up

So Monday has rolled around again and as usual I'm looking for motivation for the week ahead. I looked in my fridge for motivation and all I found was left over chicken and half a ball of mozzarella. Not too inspiring! It's going to be a busy week but hopefully a good one. I'm feeling focused so I'm looking to push myself a bit with my fitness and also mix up my diet. I've got a couple of recipe ideas so watch the blog later this week as I'll put them on if they turn out well.

Here are some of the wise words that I'm using to inspire myself today

The images are not mine but you can find them on my tumblr account.

It's a great spring day here with clear blue skies. I hope the sun is shining on your Monday too, wherever you are. Have a great day! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Saturday, 12 March 2016

St Patrick's Courgette & Banana Cakes

It's St Patrick's Day next week so I thought I would post this a bit early in case anyone wanted to make them. I've wanted to try baking with courgettes for a while but they are notoriously difficult because of their high water content. These are quite moist little cakes but they do taste yummy.

St Patrick's Banana and Courgette Cakes
100g margarine
2 eggs
400g self raising flour
2 bananas
75g courgette
80g honey
Green food colouring

1. Beat the margarine and eggs together.
2. Grate the courgette and then squeeze it carefully to remove as much liquid as possible. Otherwise the excess liquid will come out when the cakes are cooking.

3. Mash the bananas
4. Add the courgettes and bananas to the mixture and stir
5 Add the honey and stir until combined.
6. Add the flour and stir well. The final mixture may seem a little thick but it needs to be because of the water content of the courgettes.
7. Add a teaspoon of green food colouring. The courgettes give a green fleck to the mixture but the food colouring gives an overall green colour. Add more if you want a darker green.

8. Place a heaped tablespoon of the mixture in each cake case
9. Bake for about 15 minutes at 275 degrees.

You can leave the cakes like this but I decided to ice some. I just used 200g icing sugar with more food colouring and cold water.

The recipe makes 25 small cakes which work out at 3 Weightwatchers Smartpoints each. Add another smartpoint if you include icing. 

Let me know if you try making any for St Patrick's day. They make a great healthy little treat.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx
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