Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year's Resolutions - Weight Loss And The Way Forward

Do you make new year resolutions? If so, do you stick to them? Is it a successful way to motivate yourself or do you just end up feeling guilty when you have broken all your resolutions by the second week in January?

I don't always make specific resolutions but I do find that the start of a new year can spur me into making a fresh start and being more pro active. I suppose it's linked into the idea of a new year and a Beene. Last year, the start of the year was the push I needed to start my weight loss journey and this blog. So I have been giving some thought to how I could mark the beginning of 2017. 

For once I have decided to actually be specific and set some resolutions with aims and targets. I think it will give me more focus. I have achieved a lot this year and I now need to build on that success.

So here are my resolutions 

1: Lose another stone by Easter.

2: Build exercises using weights into my fitness regime

3: Mix it up and don't get fixated on just one form of exercise however much I enjoy it. 

4: Eat more vegetables 

5: Aim to get a minimum of 6 hours sleep per night.

That's quite a lot of resolutions but I think they are all achievable. I already feel inspired and can't wait to get started! Let me know what your resolutions are for 2017. 

I hope that you all have a wonderful new year and that you will join me as my weight loss journey continues in 2017.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 51 - Survival!

So we all made it through Christmas with hopefully not too much damage. I was slightly scuppered by my ex husband buying me a very nice expensive bottle of red wine for Christmas and it would have been rude not to drink it! I know alcohol is empty calories but I've basically been teetotal for the last year so I figured it was ok to make an exception. The other indulgence was the Malteser based pudding we had on Christmas Day. It was worth it though! 

I would normally be really cross at putting on a pound in a week but to give this some perspective, I gained about six pounds over Christmas last year. So I figured I'm doing something right.

Anyway it's back to healthy eating now. No workouts as my kids are still off school and university. Plus I'm ill at the moment. A heavy cold seems to have turned into an ear infection. I'm trying to treat it at home but if it doesn't go by next week then I will have to go and see the doctor. 

We are just home for New Years Eve and will eat normally so that won't be a problem. I might have a drink or two but nothing excessive. Then next week I should be back on the fitness path when my daughter goes back to school.

Hope you all had a great Christmas.  Speak to you soon 

Love Erica xxx

Friday, 23 December 2016

Christmas Cranberry and Sultana Bread

I promised you another festive recipe and here it is. The recipe uses the Cranberry sauce that I made for my Cranberry Muffins so I have repeated how to make it here. 

300g cranberries 
Juice from one satsuma 
150g honey
3 tbsps cold water
2 bananas
2 eggs
50g coconut oil 
50g margarine
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder 
100g sultanas

1. Pace the cranberries, honey, water and satsuma juice in a large pan and simmer for between 5 - 10 minutes until the cranberries are completely softened.

2. Remove from heat and purée the mixture. I used a hand blender. Set aside to cool.
3. Peel the bananas, break into pieces and place in a bowl. Purée until smooth.
4. Beat the eggs and mix into the bananas.
5. Add the coconut oil and margarine then mix well.
6.  Add the flour and baking powder, stir until fully combined 
7. Carefully fold in the sultanas
8. Stir in 200g of the Cranberry mixture. Your bread mixture should look like this

9. Spoon the mixture into a greased loaf tin making sure it is level
10. Cook in the middle of a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 180 degrees. It is a good idea to use a skewer to check that the loaf is fully cooked.

11. Allow to cool before removing from the tin.

The loaf is 2889 calories in total. It easily cuts into 15 slices which makes it 193 calories per slice.

It would make a nice alternative to Christmas cake! Let me know if you try making it. Speak to you soon. Merry Christmas 

Love Erica xxx


Festive Cranberry Muffins

I've been meaning to try some Christmas baking for a while and I finally found the time to create these little treats. I read a lot of warnings about cooking with fresh cranberries as they can be slightly bitter. This is why I turned them into a sauce first and then added that to the muffins. The recipe makes twice the amount of Cranberry sauce that you need for the Muffins. You can either use the remainder as a Cranberry sauce for your Christmas  dinner or I will be publishing another recipe that needs fresh cranberries in the next few days.

300g fresh cranberries
Juice from 1 satsuma
150g honey
3 tbsps cold water
1 banana
400g self raising flour
4 tbsps coconut oil
150g skimmed milk
1 egg

1. Place the cranberries, water, honey and satsuma juice in a large pan and simmer for between 5 - 10 minutes until the cranberries are completely softened.

2. Remove from heat and purée the mixture. I used a hand blender. Set aside to cool.
3. Peel the banana, break into pieces, place in a bowl and purée.  Again, I used a hand blender.
4. Add the egg and mix together.
5. Mix in the coconut oil and stir well until fully combined.
6. Add the milk and flour and mix until you have a sticky mixture. 
7. Take approximately 150g of the Cranberry sauce and fold it gently into the mixture. Your mixture should then turn a lovely pink colour like this.

8. Spoon the mixture into muffin cases so that they are about half full.
9. Cook near the top of a preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes at 160 degrees.
10. Allow to cool fully before removing from  the muffin tin.

The recipe makes 12 Muffins which are only 202 calories each.

Simmering the cranberries with the honey and orange juice first removes any tartness and the banana helps to add to the sweetness. These make a lovely festive treat and would even be good as breakfast Muffins on Christmas morning.

Let me know if you try making these and look out on the blog for another festive recipe in the new few days. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 50 - Maintenance

It's been a manic day so this is a very late Wednesday Weigh In update. 

As you can see, that's another week with no change. I am sort of accepting now that's how things will be until the New Year. That's not too bad a thing as previously I used to put on about half a stone over Christmas. Therefore if I get through Christmas this year without putting any weight on then I will count that as a triumph!

As far as this week is concerned then I'm blaming my daughter's birthday for the face that I didn't lose this week. She had a big party on Sunday with lots of lovely party food.

I ended up missing out lunch and dinner that day and just filling up on sausage rolls and cakes, not a particularly healthy option.

Two weeks time and it will all be over though.  I have big plans for the new year and I'm looking forward to a new fitness routine!

Hope you are all prepared for Christmas now. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 49 - Stalemate

So no change this week and I'm trying to put a positive spin on it by thinking well at least that's not a weight gain. The whole week has been a bit of a stalemate really; the exercise I have managed has probably been balanced out by the long hours I have had to sit hunched over my laptop working. A distinct lack of sleep this week hasn't helped either. as that always seems to be a factor in slowing down weight loss for me.

On the plus side, this is the last week that I really need to work manic amounts of hours before Christmas and I should be able to achieve a better life balance next week. 

Hope you are all having a great week. I'm off now to continue sorting out 30 party bags for my youngest girl's birthday party at the weekend. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Monday, 12 December 2016

Monday Motivation - Perserverance

I was feeling quite fed up today. Things hadn't gone my way over the past few days. Something that I hoped would be the answer to my financial prayers wasn't going quite as well as I had hoped. I realised though that, after an initial rant and fit of despair, I was automatically looking for actions to take and things that I could do to improve the situation. It struck me that I generally show a lot of perseverance and determination in my life and that is something I need to remember when dealing with my my weight loss journey. 

So I'm digging deep at the moment and am determined to get through Christmas without blowing all my good work over the last year. Also it's my birthday in January and this year is a big one. I'll be 50 (gulp!). My birthday always pushes me to make changes most years and so I'm determined to use that  mood for a real fitness drive in the New Year.

So remember, persevere and you will get there. It might take you a bit longer than some people but that doesn't matter. Don't they say when you go somewhere that the journey itself is part of the fun?

Whatever Monday throws at you today, in whatever aspect of your life, persevere and don't give up. We will get through this together!

Have a stupendous start to the week. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Saturday, 10 December 2016

How to survive Christmas on a diet

So Christmas is fast approaching and if, like me, you are on a weight loss journey then you may be wondering how to maintain it during the festive season. I thought I would share with you a few hints and tips and tips that I have found to work.

Try to think ahead and plan what you will eat. If you are at home for Christmas then it is relatively easy. You can control the portion size for your Christmas dinner. Snacking can be a big downfall for many of us so, if you are at home, make sure you have some healthy alternatives available to eat. If guests see you are eating then they won't put pressure on you to indulge in treats like mince pies and brandy butter. My book Fitter Thinner Happier - Recipes To Help You Improve Your Life, has lots of low calorie cakes and snacks. It's available on Amazon now so why not treat yourself to an early Christmas present that really will help with your preparation. I'm definitely planning to do some baking myself!

Keep Control
If you are going to someone else's house for Christmas dinner then you may be dreading getting a plate piled high with food. If you get to serve yourself at the table then it's easy, just choose extra veg to hide the fact that you might be going easy on the roast potatoes. If your host/hostess prefers to bring  dinner to the table already served then simply offer to help them serve up. This gives you the chance to dish up your own plate and retain control over your portion size. I used to do this all the time with my ex mother in law as she simply didn't understand the concept of dieting and would spend our whole visit trying to stuff us with good.

Party Time
Parties are a time to let your hair down and have fun but you can do this without completely blowing your diet. I tend to choose a drink such as vodka and diet lemonade  which is relatively low in calories. The trick is then to alternate the glasses of vodka with glasses of just lemonade or sparkling warer People won't know the difference and as long as they see you with a glass in your hand, you won't be pressured into drinking.

Party food is generally not kind to dieters. I tend to dive for salad with dips and chicken. This is rather sad but I have been known for take a couple of healthy snacks in my bag and sit and eat them in the toilet if I'm really desperate!

I also try and eat a good healthy, filling meal beforehand as I know I won't be so tempted to pick if I'm not too hungry. Finally make sure you position yourself away from the food. Fill up a small plate and then walk away. If you stand nearby to eat, it's too tempting to mindlessly pick at a buffet.

Don't forget it's actually possible to exercise at a party! Brush up on your best dance moves and get out on the dance floor. You could even manage to work off any overindulgences

Take a Timeout 
If you think you won't be able to completely stick to your diet over the Christmas period then consider giving yourself a couple of days off so that you can eat and drink what you want. I'm considering doing this for Christmas Day and possibly Boxing Day this year. I know that I won't do too much damage to my weight over two days. It will stop me feeling guilty too. I wouldn't advise doing this for more than a couple of days though as you don't want it to become a habit.

Christmas doesn't last forever 
However you cope with Christmas, it's important to remember that in a few days it will all be over. So even if you completely blow your diet, just remember why you started it in the first place, pick yourself up and make a fresh start. Treat it as a blip and just a slight detour in your weight loss journey. 

Personally I will find Christmas quite easy this year. We will be at home the whole time but I might give myself Christmas Day off so I can enjoy a few extra treats.

Hope all your Christmas preparations are going well. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Recipe Book Now Available

If you follow my blog then you may remember that in the summer I announced that I was starting to write a recipe book incorporating favourites from this blog and including some new recipes.

Well, I'm pleased to announce that the book is finally finished and is now available on Amazon as an ebook.

This is what the front cover looks like.

Here's a sample page from inside so you can see what the layout looks like.

I've included a range of cakes, biscuits and dinners which are all low in calories, are quick to make and which contain ingredients that are easy to find and not too expensive.

If you are a member of Kindle Unlimited then you can download and read my book for free.

So please have a look at it on Amazon if you have enjoyed my recipes. If you do decide to buy it then I would be very grateful if you left me a review.

Also if you do buy it then I really hope you like it. These recipes really helped me on my weight loss journey so far!

Speak to you soon 

Love Erica xxx


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 48 - Back On Track Again

So that's more like it! It felt good to see a loss again this week and I'm generally feeling in a better place.

I'm still manically busy with work and fitness has had to take a back seat again but I know that's a short term thing and it won't last.

The big news is that I finally finished my recipe book. It seemed to take forever mainly due to formatting issues with Amazon's kindle format. The book is being approved so I will let you know when it goes live on Amazon. I will also try and insert a link to it on the blog home page. 

Hope you are all having a great week still, speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Monday, 5 December 2016

Monday Motivation - Find Your Focus

I haven't written a Monday Motivation post for a few weeks but I was feeling a bit more fired up today so I thought I would share my thoughts with you.

For me, Monday and the start of a new week gives me the chance to look at the week ahead and decide what will be my focus. Too often I run myself ragged trying to focus on everything and make everything in my life a top priority. Now I'm trying to adopt a little more flexible attitude of taking things on a week by week basis. For example, I need extra money in the run up to Christmas and my youngest daughters birthday so work will be the main priority this week. That will mean that fitness takes a little more of a back seat this week. I'm ok with that though as this is a conscious decision just for this week. I'm not ducking out of workouts so there's no guilt attached. Next week I may decide that fitness is my big priority and balance things out that way.

What I'm generally trying to do is look at the balance in my life on a week by week basis partly to stop myself from constantly feeling overwhelmed and that I'm failing at everything. Hopefully taking that little bit of time to find my focus for the week will make me feel better about myself and I will recognise how much I do actually achieve in a week.

Hope you are all having a fabulous Monday! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Saturday, 3 December 2016

My Deluxe Granola

Sometimes all you have time for at breakfast is to grab a bowl of cereal. It can be hard to find one though that is low in fat and not packed with sugar. I called this my Deluxe Granola as it literally contains every ingredient that I could think of putting in. Feel free to leave out anything that you don't like.


200g Oats
50g Cashew Nuts
25g Chia Seeds
50g Sultanas
50 Pumpkin Seeds
25g Pistachios 
50g Pitted Dates
3 tbsps Honey
2 tbsps Coconut Oil
2 tbsps Almond Butter


1. Shell the nuts if necessary.

2. Put all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. Add the honey, coconut oil and almond butter.

4. Mix in well so that all the ingredients are fully coated. I found this easiest to do by using my hands. It's a bit messy but effective.

5. Spread the mixture out on a greased baking sheet like this.

6. Cook at the top of a preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes at 150 degrees or until the mixture has started to brown. You may find that it cooks quicker around the edges than in the centre. In which case you can take it from the oven, carefully remove the granola around the edges, spread the remaining mixture out more and then return to the oven for another few minutes.

7. Allow to cool fully before removing from the baking sheet.

8. You can then store the granola in an air tight container.

Considering the amount of fruit and nuts that it contains, my deluxe granola only contains 228 calories per 50g serving. I like to have mine with almond milk. It makes such a filling breakfast and really helps me to avoid snacking before lunch. Let me know if you try making it!

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

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