Friday, 26 March 2010

What does a SW fridge look like?

Well, like this really . . .

Lots of Quark, low fat cottage cheese, low fat natural yoghurt, low fat fromage frais, Extra Light Laughing Cow triangles, Extra Light Philidelphia, Extra Light mayo, heaps of veg, stacks of lean meat (this week I have lamb shoulder, a corn fed chicken, minced beef & top side steaks), fresh ham from the deli, fresh herbs (basil, mint) and of course Muller Light (16 x Vanilla and 16 x Tangerine).

I'm planning to make ham roll-ups, a tried & tested lamb curry, chicken Sunday roast, spaghetti bolognese (my son's favourite), steak with salad, vegetable soup, and mango chicken salad. Our freezer looks just as healthy - we have one drawer full of Quorn mince, Quorn chicken pieces and Quorn sausages (these actually taste yummy - I promise), some cuts of fish, Skinny Cow ice creams (4 1/2 Syns), and again lots of veg (frozen green beans, peas etc).

The 'sausages' are going to be used for a SW fry up and also in a casserole one night; the mince is my mom's (stir fry) and the 'chicken' pieces are great to throw in pasta. The fish is going to be made into a seafood pie - recipe in this month's SW magazine.

Our fruit bowl is literally overflowing - apples, oranges, bananas, kiwis, lemons, limes, mangos, strawberries, a melon and a pineapple. This is our 'snack station' :-)

In the cupboards we have bags of pasta, passata sauce, rice, Bovril stock cubes, Fry Light, eggs, salad sprays (also made by Fry Light), porridge, wholemeal bread (400g loaf), baked beans, Chicken Super Noodles, fresh ginger, garlic etc.

With the pasta, I'm going to attempt a SW quiche this week. Watch this space!

Ooooh! I bought the ingredients for a lovely sounding SW dessert this week - using vanilla Muller Lights, fromage frais (I think), gelatine, cardamom and pomegranates. I'll definitely let you know how that one goes too!

So there you have it - that's what our kitchen consists of. No naughty things hidden anywhere to tempt us - best way. If it's not in the house, you can't have it! Although, I did buy some Seriously Cinnamon cereal for 'treat night' on Thursday. But I'm pretending it's not here ;-)

I think we're pretty well prepared for the week ahead. And all being well, there will be lots of photos of the meals to inspire you later in the week. I'm going to write out a proper menu plan tomorrow morning so I don't have any "oh-crap-what-are-we-going-to-eat-now?" moments. Here's hoping for a good weight loss for all three of us next Thursday :-)

Disclaimer: I am invited to a birthday party tomorrow and so far I am vowing to be a saint (I am even taking SW snacks so I'm not tempted by sausage rolls etc). BUT I reserve the right to let my halo slip a little if I should so wish and will take the subsequent consequences on the chin. Nuff said.

Weigh In Result - 25/03/10

Last night wasn't quite what I was expecting to be honest. I thought I would have lost a lb or two more as I felt I had been very good this week but I still got a good result so I won't whinge. This week I have lost 3 lbs.

Starting Weight:
11 stone 3 lbs

Current Weight:
10 stone 10 lbs

Total Lost:
7 lbs

Target Weight:
9 stone 7 lbs

Still to Lose:
1 stone 3 lbs

As you can see, I have now lost 7 lbs which is half a stone - so I got my first award!

I also won Slimmer Of The Week which was very nice - I got a shiny sticker for the back of my book and also a box of fruit and vegetables. I'm going to make a couple of SW casseroles today and enjoy my winnings over the next few days :-)

My mom lost half a pound but we realise where she went a bit 'off Plan' and she's "drawn a line under it". I'm still super proud of her because she has changed her way of thinking when it comes to food loads and, after all, a loss is still a loss! She's still that step closer to getting her first award and getting into her new summer clothes in time for her holiday. I know she will do it and I'm going to be rooting for her every step of the way. Go Mom!!! :-)

My son, the 'man child' - aka jammy bugger - lost an amazing 6 lbs. The only reason he didn't get Slimmer Of The Week because it was his first official weigh in and you have to go for 2 consecutive weeks first. I'm sure he'll storm it again next week and sit there with a smug grin, as per usual. I don't know how he does it - especially as he confessed to having a Chinese & a few beers round at his girlfriend's house at the weekend. He has started running (as well as going to the gym) and I'm very impressed and inspired by his motivation. It just goes to show how much exercise can really boost your weight loss and allow you to be a bit relaxed about your eating (only a bit mind!). He was the same last time we did SW and I know by the time summer arrives, he'll be a completely different person. Exciting!

I have gone back to omelletes for breakfast - this morning's was spinach and reduced fat chedder cheese. I'm going to have egg salad and boiled potatoes for lunch (and melon fruit salad for snacking), and tonight I think will be spaghetti bolognese. You must remember to use extra lean mince for this dish, and we make our bolognese sauce with passata (sieved tomatoes), fresh herbs and tomato puree (you have to Syn this part). Yum!

Good luck this week everyone!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Week 2 - Progress

Just popping on to update on what I've been eating lately :-)

I'm disappointed to report that I haven't been very good at the whole Success Express thing. I usually love that Plan and really get on board but for some reason or other, it slipped away from me this week. I have stuck to Extra Easy though so I'm still hoping for a good result tomorrow night at Weigh In.

For breakfast, I have swapped eggs for Weetabix this week. Not sure why, just fancied cereal (which is weird for me) so I'll only list my lunches and dinners:

L: Pasta with vegetables (I posted a pic of this in my post below)
D: I ate out. Had a bit of tapas. Naughty. Nuff said.
Syns: Quite a few probably ...
Snacks: -

L: Jacket potato w/ tomatoes, lettuce, mushrooms & 42g feta cheese.
D: Gammon steak w/ red onion, tomatoes, mushrooms & broccoli
Syns: 1 tsp butter, 1 x Twix
Snacks: 1 x Muller Light Tangerine, 1 x banana

L: Jacket potato w/ baked beans, tomatoes & lettuce
D: 1 x chicken leg (skin removed), broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, peas, parsnips
Syns: 1 tbsp gravy (granules), 1 x Cadburys Twirl
Snacks: Apple

L: Banana (forgot to have a proper lunch)
D: Pasta w/ Quorn mince, broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, garlic
Syns: Portion of a jar of pasta sauce (I ate at a friend's house)
Snacks: Apple

L: Pasta w/ Quorn Sausages (chopped up) & mushrooms
D: A few slices from a beef joint, roast pototates & a tomato
Syns: 1 tbsp Extra Light Philidelphia, 1 tbsp gravy (granules)
Snacks: -

L: Beef cold cuts, 2 x roast potatoes & baked beans
D: Steak (lean) w/ lettuce, grated carrots, peppers, cucumber & Fry Light Salad Spray (balsamic)
Syns: 1 x small bottle of Premium brand beer
Snacks:Pineapple chunks (fresh), Muller Light Toffee

I have missed chocolate a lot this week, hence why I've had a couple of bars. But I haven't gone over my 15 Syns (apart from the night I went out to eat - couldn't be helped). Otherwise, I'm very happy with my meals; I'm never hungry and I feel so much healthier already. My clothes are less snug (only a bit!) and I can definitely see the difference in my 'back fat', ha ha. That'll be the lack of booze no doubt. I had a small bottle of beer earlier today as a treat (I was painting the kitchen cabinets) and I feel quite uncomfortable and bloated now.

My mom and son are doing great as well - very proud. And they are both still feeling very positive which spurs me on too. Doing this together makes it so much easier. It really makes me happy to see our 'automatic food choices' changing already. For instance, I cooked steak & salad (with grated carrot) tonight and my son actually said he preferred it to steak & chips! I can already see definition in my son's face and my mom is busy buying up summer clothes for her holiday in June - in a smaller size. Happy days!!

Treat night: When my son and I did SW before, Weigh In night was always dubbed 'treat night'. Psychologically, we found that works for us. Basically, if we've had a good result (or maintained) then we 'treat' ourselves afterwards with whatever we want to eat within reason. It keeps us going through the week. When you feel you are about to throw in the towel because you desperately want something 'naughty', you can console yourself and keep going, reminding yourself that you can have it - guilt free - after your Weigh In. Hoorah! Last week, my son had a pizza; my mom & I had spare ribs (me) and duck (mom) from the Chinese. Within the hour, we all felt sick from the grease. Lesson learned. This week, my son has decided that he's having a baguette from Subway, I want a big bowl of Seriously Cinnamon cereal (mmmmm!) and my mom is eyeing up a mini-trifle. Much better I think :-)

Newsflash: My son and I - and his girlfriend - joined a gym this week. I only went because I heard it had a Power Plate (which in case you hadn't heard is the latest celeb craze and I wanted to try and 'jiggle' my fat off) but I ended up having to do an 'induction'. It's run by the British Heart Foundation and is actually really friendly and family orientated. I've always been wary of gyms with their intimidating men pumping weights and making odd noises, but this one was lovely and I really enjoyed the induction actually. Wow. We have been given a 30 minute work out plan using all the machines for 2 minutes each. Baby steps, baby steps. We'll increase our time on the machines as we feel it getting easier.

So how is everyone else doing? What have you been eating? Have you increased your physical activity? Talk to me! :-)

Friday, 19 March 2010

Had to share!

~ ~ ~
My first Success Express meal
~ ~ ~
For lunch today I had pasta & veg. But wait, it's not as boring as it sounds!
Divide your plate in the one third / two third Rule with pasta (1/3) and your veg (2/3) ...

10 x large pasta shells, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, red onion, tomato
Measure out 42g feta ...


While your pasta shells & broccoli are simmering in the same pot, spray your mushrooms & tomatoes with Fry Light and grill ...


Drain the pasta shells and broccoli. Add into pot your spinach, onions & some passata (sieved tomatoes bought in a carton or jar). The heat from the recently boiled pot will warm them over just nicely & wilt the spinach, but you don't want to cook it as you want to retain that strong raw red onion flavour & crunch.
Bung it all on a plate and sprinkle the grilled mushrooms, tomatoes and feta cheese cubes over the top. Add salt & black pepper ... hey presto!

^^ Yum yum! ^^
And for dessert, why not try a Tangerine or Vanilla Muller Light?

Another TOP SCORE for Slimming World. Oh how I love this Plan!

Weigh In Result - 18/03/10

Last night was the first official Weigh In. Last week doesn't really count as that was just a marker for how much damage I had done in the first place. And since then, I've been very aware that my clothes just don't fit. And honestly, I didn't think I had put that much on. And people are always saying to me "You look great - you don't need to lose weight". But the scales don't lie do they? Friends do, it seems LOL

I approached last night's scales with a lot of apprehension to be honest. I've been raving about Slimming World for a couple of years now (even though I haven't followed the Plan for a while) and I was very aware of how embarassing it would be if I had to come back here and tell you lot that a) I hadn't lost any weight, or b) god forbid, I'd put on. And thinking back to my delirious ice cream & wine frenzy on Sunday, my heart was in my throat as I waited in line for my turn.

My mom went first. She also participated in Sunday's 'antics' and I was very nervous for her also as I know how much it would mean to both of us for her to lose weight. I think I may have even started praying at one point - I really wanted her to get a good result and boost her confidence in this journey we're on. She stepped off the scales, took her Record Book back from the Weigh In lady and turned to face me with a reassuring cheeky grin. "Well????" I asked. She had lost 4 lbs :-) Go mom!

Next it was my turn. I actually took the lighter out of my jeans pocket hoping that might make a difference. Ha! As I stood there, I wondered if my 'hiking' socks were possibly a bit heavy. I was about to step down from the scales and take them off when the damn thing beeped and my Weigh In was complete. Sinking feeling. I tentatively looked down at the digital display. I'd lost 4 lbs too. Go me!

Starting Weight:
11 stone 3 lbs
Current Weight:
10 stone 13 lbs
Target Weight:
9 stone 7 lbs
4 lbs
Still to Lose:
1 stone 6 lbs

Holding our heads high, mom and I took our seats eager to start the next part of Group which is Image Therapy. Not everyone stays for this part but I would highly recommend that you do. When my son and I skipped IT last time round, we would usually have a bad week and only lose half a pound or something. If we stayed, it spurred us on for the week ahead, gave us lots of recipe ideas and made us feel more 'part' of something. Learn to tolerate/ignore the 'happy clapping' that goes on and stay stay stay is my advice. Seriously.

Last night at IT, we all discussed Success Express and most of our Group are giving it a go this week. I will go into it here briefly but don't panic if you don't understand. It can actually be a tricky little Plan if you are not familiar with Slimming World and the different food groups.

Basically, you have to imagine your plate divided into a 1/3 section and a 2/3 section. Please see very basic illustration I quickly put together below:

Your 1/3 FREE section (in yellow) should be made up of your meat, fish, pasta and/or rice. Remember with meat, you have to trim all visible fat and cook with Fry Light or grill.

Your 2/3 SUPERFREE section (in green) should be made up of vegetables (not peas or sweetcorn remember), salad and/or fruit (fruit juice doesn't count - in fact, it's a Syn).

Okay? The next Rule is that you should not pile your food. It would be very easy to stack three steaks on top of each other in the 1/3 section and then put one large lettuce leaf covering the 2/3 section. Don't do that ;-)

Remember, this is only for your actual main meals. You can obviously have your SUPERFREE food at any other time when you need a snack. Such as a Muller Light or some more fruit etc. And of course your Syns stay the same at between 5-15. Another bonus to Success Express is you get those extra Healthy A's and B's back which I am really missing on the Extra Easy plan. So hoorah!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Well I think so anyway. You do have to plan in advance though or you'll find yourself going off track with this one. Mark my words ladies.

I loved Success Express when I did Slimming World before and once a month I would do a full week of it to give my weight loss a boost if I'd got stuck in a rut. Mom and I are going to give it a go this week and we'll see what happens.

And by the way, you don't have to do it for a whole week if you don't want to. You can do it for 3-4 days (say over a long Bank Holiday weekend) and it just gives you a little bit of room for flexible Syn-ing because your calorie intake is so low. So this is actually a really good time to get my head around it again as I'm sure I'll be using this Plan over Easter weekend ... tee hee

Speaking of Easter! Did you know that if you melt down a large Cadburys Easter Egg, it is actually less chocolate than one of their larger single bars? And an Easter Egg is a whopping 54 Syns. If you eat the bar that usually comes in the pack with the Egg, you've clocked up around 90 Syns. Sooooo not worth it!!! Personally, I'll be using my Syns that weekend on a fabulous Easter roast dinner with all the trimmings, followed by some nice alcoholic beverages. You can keep your Evil Eggs Mr Cadburys.

Newsflash: My teenage son re-joined last night too. Please wish him lots of luck! He did a fantastic job last time (as some of you saw for yourselves) and we even had a little competition going at home ;-) I'm sure he'll jump in with both feet again and do us all proud in no time at all. Go Boy!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

My first week

It's not been too bad considering it was Mother's Day at the weekend. And I will confess to 'falling off the wagon' in magnificent style that day. It started off very well mind. My son made me breakfast in bed (eggs and bacon on toast - SW style) and we had a chicken roast dinner. Our roast potatoes & veggies were done in Fry Light. I removed the skin from the chicken. I even used our halogen oven which is meant to be a healthier way to cook. Yay me! Then mom and I cracked open a bottle of wine. Okay, so two glasses would have been within our Syn limit for the day. But I wanted a bit of gravy on my chicken (another couple of Syns). And then the poor bottle was sat there with a 1/4 of wine left in it and that was just too sad a sight - so I polished it off.

Then mom hit upon the idea that we should all go to the cinema. Well, my old friends Ben & friend Jerry immediately popped into my head and, as much as I tried to ignore them, they had missed me and started waving and shouting and running around my brain excitedly. Again, I did try to be good. I truly had every intention of having one scoop of a sorbet flavour. But - damn my self discipline - when I got the counter and saw another old friend of mine - Chocolate Fudge Brownie - I knew I had to say hello. And right next to him was Cookie Dough. Well, it would be rude not to wouldn't it ..... so yeah, bung on a scoop of that.

Then the EVIL woman behind the counter started going on about some sort of deal on a 4 scoop tub. My brain overloaded and I did not hear the rest of the conversation until my own voice squeaked "Two more scoops of each please". It's all a bit of a blur but then the lady handed me my overspilling tub of calories and I was far far away in ice cream heaven.

But apart from THAT! I've been very good *shiny halo*

I have been eating a lot of fruit and vegetables - mainly bananas, apples, spinach, peas, corn on the cob, tomatoes - and have almost entirely got rid of bread from my diet, something which bloats me terribly but I usually can't resist. It's funny - whenever I am "on Slimming World", my mindset changes entirely. I start to be 'turned off' by things I used to eat (apart from Ben & Jerry's obviously) and without even realising it, I stop craving them. For instance, I would think nothing of popping next door to the shop of a morning and buying a small Meat Pattie (or 2!) from the hot counter. Hardly nutricious and totally calorific. Now, I'm not sure what kind of 'meat' it is (mixed??) and I'm sure the 'gravy' is extremely Synful - not to mention the pastry casing - but despite all it's nastiness, it tastes goooood and is very addictive. But this past week, even the smell of the shop's hot counter turns my stomach. AND I LOVE IT! I'm not surprised though - this happened last time I joined. My body is very well behaved with a bit of training and soon craves 'healthy living'.

How is everyone else finding it after their first week? Have you noticed differences in your 'automatic food choices'?

Foodwise, I am still starting most mornings with an omelette stuffed with tomatoes, spinach and 42g mozzerella. It really fills me up and I know I'm giving my body the best start to the day. Occasionally, for a change, I will have Weetabix with a chopped banana on top and 200ml semi-skimmed milk.

I am pretty much only drinking black tea with sweetener, or green tea (decaf). And water - lots of. Last time round I craved Diet Coke (which is Free) but I haven't been so bothered with that this time.

Evening meals have been varied and yummy. We've enjoyed gammon, egg and beans; jacket potatoes with baked beans, raw peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, raw onions; lean steak and SW chips (these chips are a lifesaver - and FREE!); chicken cold cuts with corn on the cob or peas, and salad; pasta dishes with heaps of veg and passata with garlic chopped into it. Mmmmm.

I never feel hungry, hard done by or think "I wish I was eating something else". All the meals I cook are exactly what I want to eat that day - the only difference being is that I grill things as often as I can and when I can't, I use Fry Light.

Snacking has become more controlled and healthy as well. Whereas I would eat a chocolate bar or crisps if I got peckish (who doesn't?), now I will have a Muller Light. Tangerine or Vanilla are my favourites. If I don't fancy a yoghurt, I'll have a piece of fruit, a hard boiled egg or some seafood/crab sticks. Okay, seafood sticks aren't to everyone's liking but I love them and they are, again, Free. If I haven't had my cheese allowance that day for breakfast, then I'll have 2 x Light Mini Babybels.

All in all, I'm really enjoying Slimming World. Again :-) For the life of me, I can't remember why I stopped. Let's just hope that the scales reflect my efforts and that I have in fact been doing the Extra Easy plan correctly after all. So wish me luck - my first weigh-in is tonight and then I will be back here to update ...... good or bad - I won't hide it from you lot!

So in the meantime, please share your week with me! Are you trying to change your eating habits? Have you tried anything you've read here? Are you also following Slimming World? Have you found a fab recipe you want to share, or a quick easy grab-&-go snack? Feel free to leave a comment and share it with me!
Top tip:
Plan your day (or week if you can) in advance. Then you can have the correct food in the fridge and never get caught out thinking "What shall I have now??".
Top tip:
Have a FREE shelf in your fridge and (if you have the space) a FREE food cupboard. Then you can never feel guilty going to these places for a snack and you won't be tempted by other things whilst browsing.
Top tip:
Make your hard boiled eggs in advance and pop them in the fridge. Then when you get a 'snack attack', they are available to grab.
Top Tip:
Toffee Muller Light as a 'dessert' after a meal really satisfies that sweet tooth. It is also the base for a few yummy, low-Syn SW dessert recipes (such as Banoffie Pie, yes really) so stock up!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Some food examples

Pasta with low fat natural yoghurt, brocolli, tomato, onion, spinach and herbs. Bit bland - needed 'something' but not sure what.

Homemade chicken kebabs with pineapple chunks, corn on the cob & low fat natural yoghurt as a dip. Lurvely!

Steak with peas and a tomato, onion & mushroom side with low fat natural yoghurt stirred into it. This was so YUM!

Extra Easy? Extra confusing!

So I am now only on Day 2 of my return to Slimming World and, in all honesty, I'm finding it a bit 'odd'. I am - by nature - a creature of habit. Hence why I put on weight in the first place. Bad habits I can hopefully correct on this journey - but the habit of previously choosing a Green day or a Red day on SW ... well that's quite tricky to get my thought process to re-programme. For those who know absolutely nothing about SW, the 'old plan' was roughly this:

Every day choose:
2 x Healthy A's, such as your cheese (28g chedder, or 42g mozzerella) and semi-skimmed milk (250ml)
1 x Healthy B choice, such as oatmeal (28g) or wholemeal bread (2 slices of Nimble)

Then choose whether you are having a Green day or a Red day, i.e:

Green - All veg was FREE, as was pasta, potatoes and rice. Eggs and beans were free too. Eat as much as you like, fill your plate. Enjoy! If you fancied meat that day, you had to either use it as your Healthy B choice and weigh it (75g of tinned tuna for instance) or you could Syn it.

Red - Basically the opposite of Green but all veg is still FREE (except peas for some reason), as were eggs. Now though, you can have as much meat and fish as you like, but you need to measure your carbs and use them as a Healthy B or a Syn.

Then it got a bit more complicated and went into SuperFree foods and Speed Foods etc. They were fun when you got the hang of them and really boosted your weight loss. 'Success Express' anyone? Hell yeah!

So .... does that all make sense? Probably not, but then it didn't to most people until they actually attended a Group meeting and then - click! - it all fell into place.

But moving on. Now there is this thing called 'Extra Easy' and from what I can gather so far - and I am struggling a bit as I said so don't take this as gospel yet - almost all of your veg is SuperFree, your meat, pasta/rice/potatoes etc are Free (pasta on the same day as meat?! Has SW gone MAD???), and you now only get 1 x Healthy A and 1 x Healthy B per day. Boooo! Syns are (unfortunately) the same. The key thing also seems to be the fact that 1/3 of your meal is meant to be SuperFree - every time? I'm not sure but it seems so. But that to me is just SuperConfusing and SuperImpractical and A SuperWasteOfTime when the 'old plan' worked just brilliantly thank-you-very-much.

Now, the other thing I'm struggling with is putting Green and Red food on my plate. I just can't stop seeing my food in categories and it's freeeeeaking me out that it's changed. See - creature of habit! So now I am eating meals which I *think* and *hope* are Extra Easy (if I'm doing it right) and feeling ... well, a bit guilty I suppose. Which isn't a great feeling when you're trying to tuck into a nice meal.

An example of the food I've had so far:-

SuperFree (SF), Free (F), Syn (S), Healthy A (A), Healthy B (B)

BREAKFAST - Omelette made with 1 x egg (F), spinach (SF), chopped deli ham (not processed rubbish)(F), tomatoes (SF) and 42g mozzerella cheese (A).

LUNCH - Steak (F), peas (F), tomatoes (SF), onion (SF), 1 tbsp low fat natural yoghurt (F) .... today was gammon steak (F), beans (F), 2 x eggs (F).

DINNER - Homemade chicken kebabs (F), pineapple chunks (SF), corn on the cob (F), 2 tbsp low fat natural yoghurt (F) .... today was pasta (F), brocolli (SF), tomatoes (SF), onion (SF), spinach (SF), 1 tbsp low fat natural yoghurt, herbs (F).

SNACKS - 1 x banana (SF) sliced up on top of 2 x slices wholemeal Nimble bread (B), 1 tsp butter (S) and/or MullerLight yoghurt (F)

So that's a small window into the first two days of my journey. Oh! I also spent some Syns on a 440ml can of Stella and a Cadburys Cream Egg. I'm within my limit for both days though.

Hmmmmm. I'm just Blogging to work it all out in my mind really :-) Has it helped me? Ummm, no. I guess I am just nervous as I don't really understand the new plan properly yet. It took me about 3 weeks to 'get it' last time so I know I just have to patient. But I'm scared of making a mistake and putting ON insteading of losing. Eeeeep! All will be revealed at Group next week ...

Thursday, 11 March 2010

The First Weigh In

Some of you will remember when I previously turned to Slimming World during a period of my life where I was incredibly unhappy and literally piling on the weight week after week. I sat around feeling sorry for myself, drinking far too much beer in front of the television and ordering take away food. Lazy, unmotivated, mildly depressed - it's an easy trap to fall into when life looks bleak. Incredibly, it took me less than 6 months to put on over 2 stone - and I hadn't even noticed because I was so down in the dumps.

However, after a mere 2 months attending Slimming World and increasing my physical activity, I had lost over a stone. And a year later, I was back down to my target weight. I felt great, looked great (even I noticed! lol) and raved about Slimming World to anyone who would listen. Some of you will have followed my previous 'online diary' and seen for yourself the "before and after" bikini photos - that 2 stone loss really made the world of difference. As those photos are now out of date, I won't post them here now. But I will be taking some new ones this week and will post those later down the line.

"Wait? You said you had lost the weight!" ... Yes, I did didn't I.

After my stint volunteering in Africa eating nothing but carbs and then onto Nepal where I ate nothing but curry and dumplings - oh, and returning home for Christmas and eating ... well, pretty much everything! - I have put on *ahem* a few pounds.

A few days ago I was in a supermarket with my mom. The woman at the checkout noticed all the fruit and veg that we were buying and made a comment about how healthy we were. I explained that it was because we were trying to lose weight for the summer. She looked at me and said "What on earth do you need to diet for?". Before I could answer, my mom piped up behind me and said "Because she's got a big butt!".

I came home from the supermarket and stood in front of my full length mirror in my undies taking in the 'view'. And I finally saw the damage that travelling had done. Where my thighs had once been smooth, they were now dimpled. Where I once had a waist, there was now just an undefined tyre. When I turned around, the dreaded 'back fat' that I had fought so damn hard to lose last time round was undeniably there. And yes, my butt was indeed big.

After the initial panic, I realised that I could actually control this. All I needed to do was to swallow my pride and get my (big) butt back to Slimming World.

Those of you who know me personally, or have read my other Blogs, will know to expect this diary to be both honest and real. I won't hold anything back - weight statistics, recipes, tips, tricks, good days, bad days, cheating days, photos. It will all be here. After all, weight is just a number and that does not define who I am. I am not scared of a number. If it makes someone feel better about themselves, or someone else relate to me, or inspire a friend ...... great - that's the point!

So tonight I went along to Group as a 'Re-Join' and stepped bravely onto the scales. I expected maybe an unwelcome extra stone to flash up but no ... I have managed to put on almost 2 stone. Again. Here are my stats:

Height: 5 ft 5 in

Current weight: 11 stone 3 lbs

Target weight: 9 stone 7 lbs

Total to lose: 1 stone 10 lbs

Current BMI: 26.2

And - ta da! - here is a 'virtual model' to illustrate my stats:

11 stone 3 lbs

9 stone 7 lbs

Losing 1 stone 10 lbs might not sound like much to those of you who feel you want or need to lose more but that really isn't the point of Slimming World and it's probably what I love about it most. Slimming World is more of a 'healthy eating for life' plan rather than one of these stupid fad crash diets, or those home delivery diet services now on offer. How does getting someone to bring food to your door - diet or otherwise - prepare your mind for dealing with meals by yourself when the time comes. Where's the personal responsbility in that? It's a cop out and no wonder people always put the weight back on. Slimming World teaches you about food. It encourages you to eat loads - as long as you eat right. I knowingly (and stupidly) turned my back on Slimming World when I reached target and - sure enough - I fell back into bad habits. I stopped measuring my cheese and could get through a block per day, I went back to having chocolate whenever I wanted, I drank far too much on nights out, I shovelled Nepali curry into my mouth night after night without a second thought. Blah blah blah. All because I wasn't thinking about what I had been taught. Duh! I have learned my lesson, I know that Slimming World works and I can't wait to get back on track with it and into my bikini this summer.
Slimming World has changed quite a bit since I last went so I am busy this evening reading my new book. Whereas before it was all Original Days and Green Days, it is now something called Extra Easy (which seems to be a bit of a 'free for all' which I can't get my head around at first glance). And they have taken away one of my beloved Healthy A's which I think I will struggle with as I love milk and cheese - and you can't have both now unless you Syn one of them! Syns are the same though (between 5 and 15 per day) so I can still look forward to a few G&Ts at the weekend. Hoorah!

Well, I will be back in a few days to explain what I have been eating and what I think of the new plan. Wish me (and my big butt) lots of success!