MyFitnessPal app – trying it out

It’s been a while since my last post. For those of you who haven’t read my Blog before here’s a bit of background.

 

 

I’m a female with insulin dependent diabetes and diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in 2016. I’ve struggled with my weight all my life. I lost a few stone on Slimming World in the past and recently lost two stone with Food Optimising on Slimming World.

I’ve been a bit stuck. I’ll admit it! I know you can lose weight with Slimming World and have always rated it. Eating without measuring (much) and never feeling hungry really worked well for me. Adding in Coeliac Disease to the mix has been a bit more tricky.  Slimming World try to be helpful and allow sufferers to adapt the Healthy Extras slightly.  Added to this I can’t do the Speed Days as it’s not advised if you’re diabetic.  Although I did lose two stone I personally felt I needed something to kick start my weight loss again.

Why calorie counting?  My husband has impressed me by calorie counting, exercising and losing three stone in a few months.  I’ve never wanted to go down this route before because I already count carbs to help calculate my insulin and didn’t want more numbers rolling around in my head!  To be honest it sounded too simple.  Calories in need to be lower than calories out for you to lose weight.  I wasn’t convinced, until I saw it work for my other half.

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Getting started…  I downloaded MyFitnessPal app which had been recommended to me.  I went for the basic version.  I entered my age, gender, activity levels (hmm…low) and current weight.  Then I put in that I’d like to about 1lb per week.  You can adjust this at any time and can even set it up to maintain weight or put on weight if those are things you want to do.  The app advised me to try to stick to about 1690 calories per day.  The more you weigh the more calories you’re allowed.  If you’re more active you’re allowed more calories too.

Food diary…  I’m used to recording everything I eat since starting Slimming World.  I quick like micro-managing every detail at the moment until I know what I’m doing.  You can quickly add your calories, search for items or scan barcodes to add items.  Check how sensible the numbers sound as occasionally there may be a slight error.

Exercise…  You can add exercise each day and it gives you more calories in your allowance.  That’s the kind of motivation I need!

Detail…  The app can go into great detail about fibre, vitamins and other nutrients.  I don’t really use this as it isn’t my main motivation at the moment.

Weight…  You can enter your weight as often as you want.

So far…  I’ve lost 5lb this week.  I know when starting a new eating scheme I tend to lose a chunk to start off with and then losses are more steady after that.

 

 

 

 

 

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Synfree Pancakes – Slimming World (GF)

I don’t often have a healthy b option spare at the end of the day but when I do this is a great recipe to try.  It uses the 35g of oats, a yoghurt and tonnes of fruit, so a great way to add lots of speed foods.

Ingredients:

  • 35 g rolled oats (Mine were gluten free)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 pot of Muller Light (I used vanilla with choc chips)
  • 1 tub of Quark
  • Fresh fruit

Method

Beat the eggs.

Stir in the oats and Muller Light

Spray a frying pan with Fylight and pour in some of the mixture.  Cook for about 3 mins per side.  They are really hard to turn over but they get easier to do as you practise.

Make a topping by adding Quark and fresh fruit.

Optional: 2 syns if you mix 11g Highlights hot chocolate to the quark and mix it up…delicious!

Diet Coke Chicken – Slimming World (GF)

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OK, I finally opened the can and made Diet Coke chicken.  It was really Pepsi Max chicken but you get the idea.

Once you get over the initial horror of putting a fizzy drink into a meal you’ll realise it’s really great.  It actually tastes fantastic!  A lovely, slightly sweet and rich sauce.  As I was eating it I couldn’t believe it was synfree!  This will definitely be one of my regular meals now.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts cut into pieces
  • Frylight
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 peppers chopped into chunks
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2tsp Henderson’s Relish (or Worcestershire sauce if you can have gluten)
  • 1tbsp of Kikkoman gluten free soy sauce (or regular soy sauce if you can have gluten)
  • 4 tsp tomato puree
  • 8 tbsp passata
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 330ml can of Diet Coke
  • 200ml chicken stock (I used Knorr stock cubes)

Method:

  1. Fry the chicken, onion and peppers in Frylight for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the diet coke, stock, passata, tomato purée, garlic, Henderson’s Relish, Kikkoman gluten free soy sauce and mixed herbs and stir.
  3. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with: mash, new potatoes, rice…

Looking for more inspiration?  You might like: Chicken Jalfrezi – Slimming World (GF) or Chilli Beef – Slimming World (GF).

 

Chicken Jalfrezi – Slimming World (GF)

Curries are one of my absolute favourites.  I love experimenting with different ingredients and spices.  For me, it is more about the taste, than the heat of the dish.  You can always add a bit more curry powder but without the right spices it doesn’t always taste right.

Chicken Jalfrezi is a classic curry dish, originally created to use up leftovers by frying them in peppers and onion.  This recipe serves 2 people and is syn-free.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breast fillets
  • Frylight
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow peppers deseeded and sliced
  • 1 tin of tomatoes – chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • very low fat natural yoghurt and chopped cucumber to serve
  • cooked white rice
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Or use beef, port or lamb.

Method:

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into strips and fry in Frylight until cooked through.
  2. Spray a separate frying pan with Frylight and add the cumin seeds, onion, peppers, garlic and ginger and fry for about 8 minutes.
  3. Transfer the chicken to the mixture and stir well.
  4. Add the curry powder, chilli powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and fry for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes.  Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with a side dish of very low fat natural yoghurt and chopped cucumber.

Like curries?  You might enjoy Easy Tikka Masala Sauce – Slimming World or Gobi Chana Curry – Slimming World.

Top Ten Tips for Diabetics on Slimming World

Slimming World has progressed greatly over the last few years and is now more greatly aware of its members unique dietary requirements.  I’ve done Slimming World in the past  (when I lost 3 1/2 stone) and have returned to the eating plan this year.  I thought it might be helpful to share some of the tips I’ve picked up.  I’ve recently been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease too, but I’ll cover this in a separate blog another time.

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  1. Fill up on free fruit and vegetables – this goes for everyone on Slimming World!  Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables have fantastic filling power and make me less likely to pick on snacks at other times. (Tesco – Slimming World FREE foods)
  2. Eat regular meals – again this means that I don’t get to that ravenous stage where I want to eat everything in sight.  It can help to control blood sugar levels throughout the day.  I cook much more and needed to stock up on kitchen supplies.  (Slimming World Kitchen Essentials)
  3. Eat carbohydrates with most meals if active – if I’m busy I need the carbs to keep me going.  Sometimes in the evening I may cut out the carbs if I am not particularly hungry and don’t need them.  If I’m having a lazy evening in front of the TV I don’t always need the carbs.
  4. Don’t follow Extra Easy SP – it’s not advised for those of us with diabetes as cutting out carbs altogether may not be good for our blood sugar control.  Instead I try to eat lots of speed foods and protein rich foods. (Slimming World Speed Foods)
  5. Don’t miss breakfast – I can’t manage without the first meal of the day.  I used to rely on Weetabix but as I’m now gluten-free I love overnight oats.(Slimming World – Overnight Oats)
  6. Treat a hypo and don’t feel guilty – most of the time we can’t help it if we have hypos.  Treat them and move on.  I don’t worry about the extra syns.  I tend to stick to 10 syns or less per day to account for these little blips.
  7. Eat more oily fish – great for protein.  (Cod with Samphire & Petit Pois)
  8. Remember that everyone’s journey is different – I often joke that I’m on the scenic route to weight loss because it takes me a long time to drop the pounds.  Most advice I read says that slower weight loss better and we are more likely to keep the weight off.  A pound loss a week is 3 1/2 stone’s weight loss in a year!  That can be life changing.
  9. Most importantly: check with your GP or consultant if you are concerned about what you are eating.
  10. Join a Slimming World group locally or online – the support is amazing!

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A couple of recipes you might like:

 

 

Bullet Journal – the first few days

OK I’m hooked…  I’ve been looking at the bullet journal idea for a while after spotting it on Pinterest.  I’ve been journalling for a week now and thought I’d share my experiences on my blog.

The main aim of the bullet journal is to organise one’s life instead of using lots of notebooks and scraps of paper.  I wanted to get more organised with my life and I also love doodling and stationery so it seemed like a great idea.

I went for a Moleskine notebook with dotted paper so I could easily draw straight lines and doodle without lines and squares getting in the way.  I also like the thick cream paper but it means I can’t use tippex, unfortunately.  I tend to stick bits of cream paper on top of my mistakes.

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Moleskine notebook

I’m not great at calligraphy, so a simple Stablio fineliner does the job.  I use pencil too if I think I’ll make any mistakes.

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Pretty Washi tape pages

I’ve added Washi tape to the pages for two reasons: 1 it keeps the pages strong, 2 it looks pretty.  This was an idea I found on Pinterest.

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Index and key

On the first page I’ve created an index so that I know where pages are quickly.  There’s also a key so I can remember what all my scribbles mean.

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1/2 Year plan

My year plan only started in June because that’s when I started it.

I’ve done monthly plan overviews which I haven’t shown here as there were too many personal items to edit out.  I love setting out the days for the daily plans.  It’s a great chance to practise different handwriting and doodling styles.  The idea is to put down tasks to do using a normal bullet point.  When tasks have been completed you put a cross.  If you decide not to do a task at all you can put a line through the item.  A small arrow means that you have moved the task onto another day.

People use these pages in different ways to suit their lifestyles.  For the time being I am recording my morning and evening blood sugars (which aren’t so good at present).  I have a 15 square grid to monitor my Slimming World Syns each day.  I always have my ‘b choice’ but often forget my ‘a choice’ so I’ve put a tick box for this too.  Other people put grids to keep a check on how much water they drink, exercise they do…anything they want to monitor daily.  Some people include bad habits too, to help keep track of those.

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Weight loss page

Many people keep track of things such as weight loss or how much money they are saving for something.  My weight loss page shows how much I’m trying to lose.  Each square represents a pound (I do SW online and my scales don’t do 1/2lbs).

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Virtual bookshelf

One of my favourite pages is the Books to Read page.  This isn’t my idea but I had to use it as it is a very visual way of keeping track of my reading and motivating me to read more.  The idea is to colour in the books when you’ve read them.

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Cleaning Schedule version 1

Housekeeping seems to be my current Nemesis.  As I’ve been unwell I’ve let things slip.  Ok, if I’m honest, I’ve never been much of a housekeeper.  I’m having a go at a cleaning schedule.  Hopefully, by having one main task per day I’ll be able to keep on top of things.

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Address page

This address page is actually my own idea.  In this digital age there aren’t many times that I need an address but I do send birthday cards, Christmas cards and postcards on a regular basis.  Having these on hand should be great when I’m travelling.  This page doesn’t look as great in the photo as I’ve covered up my friends addresses for privacy reasons.

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Knitting page

The last page I’m going to write about today is my knitting page.  Obviously not a page for everyone.  I often have to look up knitting needle sizes and some abbreviations.  I’ve also ticked which needles I own so I can make sure I’m prepared for any knitting project.

Well that’s my journal so far,  I’ve got plans for other pages and I might blog about them in the future.  I hope this has given you an insight into what a bullet journal is and how you might be able to start your own.

Weigh in – number 11

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Hooray – 2lb this week so I’ve reached my first full stone of weight loss!  I feel really blessed this week – I’d prayed for 2lb of loss as I really needed a boost.  Thank you God.

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So this last week I’ve tried more gluten free foods.  Noodles Chicken Pho Rice Noodles (syn free).  These were really tasty and a great option for lunch at work.  I thought they were much tastier than a Pot Noodle and most are syn free or very low syns.

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I was also brave and prepared my own quinoa yesterday.  The instructions said to rinse it several times before cooking.  How many times is that?  So I rinsed 40g of it seven times.  15-20 minutes on the hob, cooled it down and added cucumber, peppers, spring onion and sweetcorn.  It was very tasty!

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I’m searching for the perfect gluten-free pasta.  I’m working my way through most supermarket’s versions.  So far Marks and Spencers has been the best, closely followed by Tesco’s.

I may not be blogging for a while as I go on holiday soon.  Fingers crossed for a maintain or only very small weight gain.

 

HELP! I’ve been Glutened!

wbrI feel like I’ve ‘come of age’ with my coeliac disease.  I’ve been glutened!wbr

My biopsy results aren’t back.  Prior to the blood test I hadn’t even considered any form of gluten intolerance.  Yes, I’d been feeling tired all the time and had some stomach issues but not as severe as some people.

So I’d had a great day buying up different gluten-free products to trial.  I finished the day with a ‘normal’ meal of Iceland syn free sausages, burger, tomatoes, potatoes and egg.  It was delicious.  I even counted the syns in the gluten-free ketchup.  About two hours later I started with stomach ache, rushing to the toilet (although not diarrhoea) and feeling sick.  I’m now sitting typing this whilst feeling very queasy.

But how can I have been glutened?  My symptoms never really seemed this bad before?  I’ve been researching and stumbled across http://celiacdisease.about.com .  Take a look yourself, but the gist was that once you’ve cut out gluten you can react badly to small amounts and cross-contamination.  “Unfortunately, it’s common for your reactions to gluten — even to a tiny bit of gluten — to be very bad once you’ve gone gluten-free. You’ll need to guard against gluten cross-contamination at all times, but don’t worry — that soon will become second nature for you.”

So I feel like I’ve ‘come of age’.  It’s highlighted for me that I almost certainly have coeliac disease or gluten intolerance.  Looking back I’ve felt like this in the past and put it down to stomach bugs.  This has always been curious when my husband has eaten the same food and been fine.

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The culprit?  The Slimming World burger from Iceland contains barley.  I’d not noticed before.  After the blood test I scoured my cupboards and fridge looking for products containing wheat.  Only in the last few days have I found out that I can’t have wheat, rye or barley as they are derivatives.  And that oats can be cross-contaminated.  I’d checked more of my products but obviously not all.  So I’m now expected to check every packaged for the rest of my life…and what if the ingredients change in a product?  Do I have to recheck the packets every time?  It seems so…

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Hotel Riu Yucatan, Mexico

I’m off to Mexico in a bit.  I knew I might be going before getting my diagnosis.  It now seems that I’m going to have to be more careful than I previously thought.  My plan was to just be a bit careful and steer clear of bread and cakes.  I might have to rethink that as I don’t want to feel like this on a regular basis.

Before I go…  The main symptoms suffered by many people seem to be (although you may only suffer one or two of these)

  1. constipation and/or diarrhoea
  2. reflux
  3. brain fog
  4. rash – Dermatitis herpetiformis
  5. nausea
  6. abdominal pain and/or heartburn
  7. joint pain
  8. insomnia
  9. migraine
  10. bloating
  11. depression and/or anxiety

Here are a few gluten-free Slimming World recipes:

Soups:

Curries:

Snacks & Lunches:

Sweet treats:

Weigh in – number 10

Hurray!  Another 1lb.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll realise this is a good week.  On the scenic weight loss journey with a few medical issues at the moment anything other than a gain is good news.diet-joke-image

Gluten-free – Day 3

Still awaiting biopsy results so following gluten-free diet in the meantime.


I’m a bit boring with breakfasts.  It’s almost always been 2 weetabix day-in day-out.  I’ve converted to SW overnight oats which are delicious.  Today I tried 2 slices of Genius white bread (350g loaf) as a healthy b choice.  I had scrambled egg made with a dash of skimmed milk and put a bit of margarine on.  It was very nice indeed.  Not as nice as the speciality breads that I like but better than many cheap brands of bread.

There are a few other products I’ve tried.  Kallo Kids Rice Cake minis are quite nice if you want a little chocolate fix (3.5 syns for a 14g pack).  However I still prefer Milkybar buttons for the same amount of syns.  The strawberry Yo Yo thingies are gluten free and I worked out that they are about 1.5 syns for a pack.  The quinoa snack pot is syn-free.  Make sure you only get the tomato version though as the others contain syns.  It can be eaten hot or cold.  I’ve tried it hot and was very impressed.

Bad news…  So gluten free means no wheat, barley or rye.  Oats might be contaminated by wheat so might be best to get gluten-free version.  Soy sauce contains gluten!  Nooooo!  The verdict on malt vinegar is unclear.  I’ll ask the dietician about that if I’m diagnosed with coeliacs disease.

Last week’s plans – I set a few targets last week.  Here’s an update:

  1. tried celeriac mash (delicious, will post about it tomorrow)
  2. made cauliflower soup (posted already)
  3. try to keep syns for evening (not managed although haven’t gone over points)
  4. tested for ceoliac disease (awaiting results) and knit mittens (success!)

Next week’s plans

  1. Pack for Mexico!
  2. Make a broccoli and butternut squash soup.
  3. Try gluten free lasagne sheets and other pastas.
  4. Tidy up…..ugh!

A couple of useful links below:

 

 

 

Gluten Free – Day two

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So this week I went for my gastroscopy.  It wasn’t pleasant but I was very brave and managed with just the throat spray.  It was inconclusive and biopsies have been sent off…so more waiting!  The doctor’s advice at the time was to do whatever I want until the results come in.  I could continue eating the way I was or cut out gluten.  I decided to cut out gluten as the worst thing could only be that I’ve given it up for no reason.  The best that could happen is that I will feel much better.

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So my husband was in France this week and called in to a large hypermarket to stock up on some gluten-free supplies.  He also called in at Tescos back in the UK.  My aim is to try lots of different things and most importantly find a tasty gluten-free pasta.  I love pasta.  I can do without bread, cereal and cous cous but pasta has to stay.  I was welcomed today by three bags full of products including: tagliatalle, pasta shells, breakfast cereal (might be a job working out syn value), gluten free sauces, cake mix and yo yo bars.  I called in to Asda to pick up some Kallo gravy and lasagne sheets.  Where do I store all this stuff?  On Slimming World, I’m used to stocking my cupboards to bursting point so that I can make anything from scratch at a moment’s notice.  So at the moment I have a gluten free bucket.  I’ve stuffed it all in a black bucket in the kitchen until I can get around to tidying up and making room.  I should be thankful that we are so blessed to have so much.

Day One

  • Breakfast – overnight oats with raspberries and banana
  • Snacks – Pom bears (3.5 syns), Milkybar buttons 12g (3.5 syns)
  • Lunch – jacket potato, salad, cottage cheese, tuna, watermelon
  • Dinner – rice with sauce made from tomatoes, celery, onion and black-eyed beans
  • Evening – 200ml Chocolate Soya milk

Day Two

  • Breakfast – overnight oats with nectarine and plum
  • Snack – cherry tomatoes, Pom bears original (3.5 syns)
  • Lunch – rice salad with chicken, large fruit salad
  • Dinner – French gluten-free pasta with quark, bacon, basil and tomatoes.
  • Later on I’m going to try the Genius gluten free bread (I’ll let you know…)
  • Evening – 200ml Chocolate Soya milk

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I don’t know if I’m feeling better yet or not.  I feel quite positive though so that probably makes me feel somewhat better.  I could just do with a weight loss tomorrow for added motivation.

Gluten-free recipes:

Soups:

Curries:

Snacks & Lunches:

Sweet treats: