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Friday, 12 May 2017

Pure Loser - Results

At the beginning of April I signed up for a 6 week course through my gym (Pure Gym) called Pure Loser. It's basically 6 sessions where you discuss nutrition and exercise and try to form some healthy habits.

If you're looking for information about whether this will work for you, I should say that I think it will depend a lot on how many people sign up for the course and how good your trainer is. The information provided by Pure Gym is pretty standard stuff, but it's the advice from the trainer that made it worth it for me.

I was lucky in that my trainer was really good and I was the only one that signed up for it! So I got 6* sessions of 1-2-1 time for £20, you can't beat that really!  (*I was sick for 2 weeks and so I missed a session.)

We started by talking through my goals, current routine and diet habits. It helped that I was already tracking food in MyFitnessPal and wear a Fitbit, as he could look through these on my phone and get an idea of goals to set me.

We worked out I was doing an average of 6500 steps a day (some days over 12000, some days more like 1000!) so we agreed a goal of 7500 a day and to try to make that consistent. We upped my protein goal a bit, with the idea that eating more protein keeps you fuller and hopefully means snacking less.

We worked out what my bad habits were (coming home and heading straight for the fridge, eating dinner in bed watching TV...) and tried to come up with ways around those.

Also, we worked out in the gym and this was great because it was way more challenging than my solo sessions. When I would have normally given up, it was great to have someone telling me I could do a bit more.

The best habit I think I've picked up is walking. I try to go out for a walk every day now either after work or at lunchtime so I can hit my step goal. In addition to a few sessions a week at the gym.

Monday was my last session and I had lost 4.1 kilos (google tells me that's about 9 lbs) - in 5 weeks? I'm pretty bloody happy with that. (Since January, I'm down just over a stone).

My bad back - has never been better. The exercise is helping that immensely. I couldn't even walk for more than about 10 minutes before Christmas, without my back killing me and now I'm walking for around and hour a day with no pain! I've also just restarted Couch 2 5k on the treadmill at the gym.

I feel a lot more relaxed with food too. I am trying to pick things with more protein in and be mindful of what I'm eating. I'm still tracking with MyFitnessPal and sticking to my calorie goal as much as possible, but not worrying if I go a bit over at the weekend.

Was it worth it? YES! for me, absolutely. I''m going to continue on working with my trainer as I have found having him there really valuable and motivating. I'm looking forward to challenging myself even more in the gym and dropping some more pounds.

Mostly this has done what I've been trying to do for over a year - kick started my motivation! Seeing myself in my wedding dress was not the motivation I needed - because I already like how I look in it. Also, the wedding is only 5 months away and I am not going to be anywhere near goal by then. I am not planning to stop after the wedding though - this is an ongoing thing for me and as I said, I already feel great in my dress. But if I have lost a bit of weight by then, I think I'll just feel even better!

So that's about it for this update. I'm going to carry on eating well, going to the gym and next week I'll up my step goal again to 10,000.

How are you doing?

Have a great weekend. :)
Sal xXx

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A change of name and an update

I haven't changed the url (yet) but you might have noticed the name of the blog has changed, to be in line with my instagram account.

This is because I'm no longer doing Slimming World. I did a vlog and this is the video which explains it a bit more.



Basically I'm currently over half way through the Pure Loser course at my local PureGym (more on that when I'm done) and am tracking food on myfitnesspal along with trying to meet certain goals every day, relating to protein intake, steps and water intake.

Although I'm not following SW anymore, I do still cook a lot of food that is/would be SW friendly, so when I publish recipes, I'll continue to denote if there are syns in them, if that is helpful for anyone who is does follow the plan.

I also want to stress that I didn't quit it because it's a bad diet! It's actually a good plan and it works for a lot of people. Just not for me; I'm having more consistent losses now than I was on SW and so for now I'm sticking with what I'm doing. Never say never, I might go back to SW one day but not for the foreseeable future.

So how is everyone getting along?

In the last 3 weeks I've lost almost 3 kg or about 6 lbs, I'm pretty happy with that! And I've been going out for walks and getting my step count up, which I have been loving. I've rejoined the gym and was doing well until I got tonsillitis 2 weeks ago which knocked me on my arse and I'm still not totally recovered. But I'm still doing well with food.

Eating more protein has been brilliant for me; I find myself not wanting to snack anywhere near as much as before and thinking way more about what I'm eating/making better food choices, even at the weekend which is always the danger zone for me.

So anyway, that's it for now. I'm going to try and get into vlogging and blogging more regularly so please follow me on youtube HERE and my instagram is @vegansaladdodger.

Laters
Sal xXx

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Recipe: Baked Tofu Bowl With Miso-Tahini Sauce

So I didn't gain! I actually lost half a pound, which I was pretty pleased with.

In my last post I mentioned eating more mindfully to try and hit things like my protein, calcium, iron etc goals and so I've been tracking in Cronometer.

I must admit I've been going over syns as sort of an experiment and I'm not expecting a loss this week as I was not tracking or on plan at the weekend (we were celebrating!).

Anyway what I am leading up to it's that it's been super interesting seeing where I'm short on nutrient goals and where I'm winning.

I always hit my protein goal and stay under my fat goal, but I was finding myself low on the Omega 3 (I do supplement that anyway as I have dry skin and creaky knees!), Iron is a bit low (again I supplement as I have a history of iron deficiency/anaemia. I was finding calcium a bit low but not too bad, but am keeping an eye on that to make sure I'm getting enough. The one thing I am always getting almost zero of is Vitamin D! So although my soy milk is fortified, I'm obviously not having anywhere near enough to cover that. So may have to look into a supplement. I'm not an expert on nutrition, so I'm going by what Cronometer tells me mostly but have upped the suggested protein goal a bit.

Last night I made this yummy bowl for dinner that is packed full of protein, has a tonne of calcium thanks to the tofu and also, the nooch in the sauce is almost your RDA of B12 (my fortified soy milk made up the rest and I do supplement B12, as it's advised by RDs that everyone do this, not just vegans!)


The sauce from this recipe is inspired by a couple of recipes from Isa Chandra, who has a tonne of awesome recipes on her website: HERE.

Baked Tofu Bowl With Miso-Tahini Sauce
Serves: 1
Syns: 3

Ingredients (the purple ingredients have syns, the rest are free foods):
1/2 a pack of Cauldron original tofu
Chinese 5 Spice Powder
Soy Sauce
Frylight
Cooked basmati rice (mine was about 50g or 1/4 cup dry, but use as much as you like)
1/2 a cup of frozen edamame/soy beans, thawed
Stir fry veggies of choice - I used:
Onion
Pepper
Carrot
Asparagus
1 tsp tahini 
2 tsp white miso
1 tbsp (scant) nutritional yeast (with B12)
Sriracha (technically has syns but the amount used is so small it is negligable)
Hot Water

Method
Cut the tofu into pieces, the size/shape is your choice. Place on a baking tray, sprinkle with 5 spice powder and spray with frylight. Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes. Flip, sprinkle the other side with 5 spice, spray with frylight and bake for another 15 minutes. When you remove from the oven, splash some soy sauce over them to season.

While the tofu is cooking, cook your rice and stir fry the veggies (you could do the edamame along with the other veg, but I wanted them separate) until soft. About 30 seconds before you take off the heat, splash some soy sauce over the veg and stir through.

To make the sauce, mix together the tahini, miso, nooch and a squirt of sriracha to taste (optional). Then add hot water a tbsp at a time and mix until you have the consistency you like.

Arrange everything in a bowl and drizzle the sauce over. I added a sprinkling of black sesame seeds as well but you can leave those off if you don't want the extra syns.

And here is the nutritional info from Cronometer for this dish (the protein is actually not quite that high, but they didn't have Cauldron brand listed, so I went with the nearest one).


Sal xXx

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Food Diary

I didn't weigh last week, I'll be honest, I chickened out as I knew it'd be a gain cuz we've been eating crap!

The likely gain coming my way this Thursday doesn't bother me so much, but I'm really trying to be more mindful of eating to feel better.

Breakfast
- A pink grapefruit
- Alpro Go On Passionfruit (1.5 syns)
- Coffee with 200ml Alpro Hazelnut milk (1/2 HEA)

Snack
- Golden delicious apple

Lunch
- Vegan quorn pieces, onions and red peppers, cooked with some spices in Frylight
- Romaine lettuce and cucumber
- Follow Your Heart Blue Cheese dressing - 2 tbsp (7 syns, totally worth it but 1 tablespoon was probably enough!)
- tsp sesame seeds (1 syn)


Dinner
- Linda McCartney Red Onion Sausages
- Roasted veg, SW chips and roasted veg (sprouts, mushrooms, cauliflower and a bit of alpro go on mixed with srirach to dip (not enough to syn it).


Snacks/Drinks
- I roasted some edamame beans, seasoned with a bit of salt and some nutritional yeast (0.5 syns). No I'm not synning the beans, I know I probably should as they're technically a tweak but I'm not gonna. If SW allow a pack of ham or chicken pieces to be a free snack, then I'm keeping my edamames free!!
- 300ml Alpro light soya milk (other 1/2 HEA) throughout the day for cups of tea.
- Pepsi Max Cherry with lunch (I'm using up the cans I have then trying to cut out fizzy drinks!)
- About 2/3 litres of water
- Proper corn popcorn (3 syns)

I ended the day on 13 syns and forgot to have my HEB! I had planned to have walnuts but forgot to eat them.

Cronometer!
As I mentioned earlier, I am trying to eat a bit better to feel better - I have issues with stomach acid (reflux) and iron deficiency that rear their ugly heads when I eat like crap. So... just to satisfy my curiosity, I plugged everything into Cronometer to check I'm getting enough calcium, iron... etc and I'm a bit low on a few things!

Calories - I only ate about 1200; although I didn't find I was really hungry all day, I did get hungry and now I know why! I probably should have eaten some fruit to bump this up a bit so am going to try to make a conscious effort to do that.

Selenium - I have ordered some brazil nuts to get this in.

Vitamin D - I was way low! I probably will need to supplement that.

Others.. I hit my protein, iron, omega 3 and calcium goals - I do supplement Iron and Omega 3 (see below) though.

I did hit most of my RDAs and met my protein, fibre and carb goals. I did go way over my sodium goal though so I will need to look at that.


* I do take a few supplements:

  • B12 (once or twice a week as one tablets is about 4000 x your RDA and I've never had a deficiency! My soymilk is fortified with B12 and so is my beloved Nooch, but it is recommended that everyone supplement B12 by RDs!)
  • Vegan Omega 3
  • Iron + Vit C (I went slightly over my RDA for Iron today, but I do supplement to ensure I get enough because I have a long history of iron deficiency from even before I was vegetarian!)
  • Pro Biotic (Lactobaccillus Acidophilus) to help digestion
  • Starflower oil - high strength

What are you eating today?

Sal xXx

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Easy Weeknight Meal - Mushroom 'Risotto' Recipe

I put the 'risotto' in quotes because I used basmati and so I guess it's really more of a mushroom savoury rice. But .... pahtayto pahtahto! or something.

There's no potatoes in this. OK I'm rambling....


For this simple weeknight meal you'll need:

1/2 a cup of dried mushrooms
1/2 a tsp of marmite (optional)
1 small onion, diced
Frylight of choice
3 large Portobello etc mushrooms, chopped
a pinch each of dried thyme and sage (or whatever fresh or dried herbs you like and feel free to up the amount!)
1/4 tsp (or more to taste) dried garlic
1/2 a cup of basmati
1/2 a cup of frozen peas

Method
Cover the dried mushrooms with about 1.5 cups of hot water and leave to soak. Add in the marmite too so that it dissolves easier later.

Fry the onions in frylight for a few minutes. Add the mushroom and a pinch of salt (in batches if need-be) and cook until they start to sweat down.  Add the herbs, basmati and the dried mushrooms and stock (making sure you get all the marmite out too).

Add the stock cubes and a good grinding of black pepper. Once boiling, turn to a medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes; if you need to add more water, do so. Turn off the heat.

Stir in the peas and leave off the heat, but covered for 5 minutes.

Before serving if you want to, go ahead and add in about a heaped teaspoon of Alpro plain Go-On yogurt (not enough to syn it) but you don't have to, I just like the extra creaminess. You can also stir through a couple of tablespoons of nooch* - 1 tablespoon is 1 syn.

Then stuff it in yer gin hole!

I served mine with some broccoli on the side and about 2 syns worth of baba ganoush on the brocc to make it extra yummy!

*nutritional yeast :)

What's your favourite quick weeknight meal?

Sal xXx

Monday, 16 January 2017

Update - 2nd Weigh in of the year

After gaining 8.5 lbs (well 10.5 really if you take into account the 2 I'd already gained) over Christmas, I was down 5.5 lbs at weigh in on Thursday! YAY So in total from my start weight last year, I've lost 7.5 lbs. Disappointed in myself but also, glad that I'm still over the half stone mark.

So now I'm doing weekly meal plans and trying to come up with some fun ideas to keep me and the fiance interested.

So far, this week, he has said he wants to me to try and make toad in the hole, so I'm attempting that Friday, with Linda McCartney Red Onion sausages. So far, this is my week:

Monday - Mushroom Risotto, plus extra green veg (use up what's in fridge)
Tuesday - SW Glamorgan sausages with SW chips (sausage recipe HERE)
Wednesday - Not cooking**
Thursday - WEIGH DAY Savoury Rice
Friday - Toad in the Hole
Saturday - Homemade Pizza (thinking I'll do mine with the small wholemeal bases I have in the freezer and use it as my HEB / + a couple of syns!) and maybe some SW Chips.
Sunday - Roast Dinner

** Wednesday is our tasting evening with our Wedding caterers. Pretty sure I'll be eating a LOT that night and I'm away for the day with work too, so lunch will be something trashy I expect! So I'm not hopeful for a loss on Thursday :/

What's on your menu this week??

Sal xXx

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Happy New Year!

Oh dear oh dear oh dear! 8.5 lb gain over Christmas and I'd already put on 2 the week before! 9 months til my wedding so I'm more determined than ever to get back on plan.

So wish me luck for Thursday and this week, I'm meal planning for the week and going back to basics to shift some of that ridiculous gain.

How did you all do over chrimbo?

Sal xXx