Joining the baggy pants club again

21 Apr

Wow! Has it been that long since I last published a post? Ooops! Time has got away on me and wedding planning has taken over ever so slightly… It’s probably a good thing though as a lot has happened since my last post…. on 14th December. Ooops, again… Let’s see. I had a lovely Christmas with the BFG and his family and since then I have managed to extend my work secondment, book a wedding venue, hire a celebrant and a photographer, buy two wedding dresses (the first one didn’t work out but the second one is beautiful, thank goodness!), send out Save the Dates and, more recently, post wedding invitations. I am knee deep in centre piece materials and fabric flowers, the Hens’ party is being planned as I type, the BFG has been prodded and prompted when necessary ūüėČ and it is now W minus 67 days!!!!¬†

Oh and I also signed myself up for the ten week Mind Body Transformation¬†(MBT) programme my Boot Camp was running and lost seven kilos! I’m pretty proud of that. I had already been a Boot Camp member for about a year and a half, and thought I was doing really well. I went religiously, three times a week and also did a bit of running in between sessions. My fitness increased and I felt good and healthy. However, over the course of the last year I managed to put on 4 – 6 kilos. Not a colossal¬†amount, true, but on a 153cm frame, it shows. I’m not a huge fan of scales, it has to be said, but they are sometimes a good reminder that things have changed and perhaps that change indicates the need for a change in behaviour. I’ve realised that this weight gain occurred because I had fooled myself into thinking that, because I was exercising a lot, I could eat whatever the hell I wanted. Eeeeennnkk! Cue the “wrong answer”-game-show-buzzer noise! Simply. Not. True. For one, exercise can burn off a certain amount of calorie consumption, but calories in still need to be lower than calories out (the amount of calories burned through exercise) for weight loss to occur. Plus, when you’re exercising a lot, you need to be fueling your body properly with good, healthy foods, enough protein for your body to repair itself, enough water for your body to be properly hydrated and therefore function at its peak, enough fruit and vegetables to absorb enough minerals and vitamins … the list goes on.

Now, I am not a qualified nutritionist or trainer, so I’m not going to go into detail about this stuff as I don’t want to give you the wrong advice, but mostly it’s just common sense. I knew all the things I needed to be doing: I just wasn’t doing them. I have learnt over many years, but clearly needed to be reminded, that there is no quick fix. It’s all about changing your lifestyle. I’m sure I’m not telling you anything that you don’t know already. For me, doing this programme was about getting me back into good habits; habits I had once performed without really having to think¬†about them. After ten weeks I am back into practising good habits and the result is noticeable! I allow myself treats, but only once or twice a week (or if I have more than that then I compensate with more exercise), I drink more water, I am eating more fruits and vegetables, more protein and fewer carbs, and (SHOCK HORROR!) less sugar :). My portion sizes are smaller and so is my waistline! The BFG was¬†dragged into this and, even though¬†he is able to consume a lot more calories than I can, given the fact that he’s over a foot taller than me and is naturally slim and athletic, he has found benefit in this programme too. He’s eating less sugar, is more toned and has lost some weight as well.

“So what did you eat during this time?!” I hear you ask. Well, many things, not all of them healthy, BUT¬†I made enough of a change that my weight and¬†my behaviours changed too. Mostly my strategy was to up my exercise (sometimes doing two Boot Camp sessions in a day), reduce portion sizes and stick to healthy foods, except for two pieces of dark chocolate most evenings. Chocolate has many health benefits of course – it’s even good¬†for vascular function, apparently. Since two pieces doesn’t exactly tip the calorie scales all that much, this was my way of having my cake and eating a very small portion of it too. Choosing to sometimes have this small treat made all the difference in terms of making smart choices earlier in the day. I knew that if I held out till after dinner I could have a reward that wouldn’t really affect my weight loss. And, for some reason, just after dinner is when I crave sweet treats the most.

I also discovered that drinking more water really helped. Now everyone knows we should be drinking eight glasses of water, or more, each day, but it’s easier said than done. I actually found this really difficult¬†to do, even on Boot Camp days. So I had to consciously consume more. The benefits were weight loss, of course, but also being less hungry and having clearer skin. Also, curiously, I realised that sometimes when I thought I was hungry, I was actually thirsty.

One of the best things about this programme was tracking what I ate and drank. Now at first I thought that I really couldn’t be bothered noting down every single thing I ate and tracking how many glasses of water I drank. But it really does help you to be aware of what you’re putting into your body, how many calories it works out to, and what results it achieves. We used the My Fitness Pal app and it was fantastic! It contains¬†a database of foods created by the developer and then added to through user input and it even lets you scan the¬†barcodes of packaged food, which was pretty fun and easy to do. The app lets you track your food, water, exercise, weight and measurements, so it really was invaluable.

Onto the recipes! Let’s start with the healthier ones and then finish with some naughtiness ;).

The wonders of cruciferous vegetables

For those who don’t know, cruciferous veges (cauliflower, broccoli, etc.) have AMAZING health benefits. They promote better digestion, and it’s thought that they help to prevent¬†cancer and diabetes as well. See here and here for more info. The BFG and I tried substituting cauliflower for carbs. As this seems to be all the rage at the moment, we wanted to give it a crack to¬†see if it really was a tasty substitute or if it was as delicious as chewing on cardboard. We used it as a pizza base and as a rice substitute with curry. And it was actually delicious! But, a word of warning, it does take quite a bit of effort. Having to chop then blend a whole lot of cauliflower and then dry it takes a bit of time and patience. I thought it was well worth it, but that could be because it was the BFG that did all the hard work before I got home… I¬†also made a delicious broccoli and potato soup from my Veganomicon recipe book (online version here).

 

I also found a recipe for Moroccan Chicken Couscous with dates … and you know how much I love dates! I substituted the chicken with Quorn pieces since I’m a vege and it was YUM.

Moroccan fake chicken couscous with dates

Moroccan fake chicken couscous with dates

 

My new favourite place

We also had a lovely MBT brunch at a local cafe called Ethos. This place is now my favourite brunch place. You only have to look at the photo below to understand why. They have lots of healthy brunchy foods as well as delicious slices, cakes and smoothies.

Ethos breakfast hash

Ethos breakfast hash

 

Chocolate covered everything

And of course, I had to try out some more of Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipes. Katie’s Cookie Dough Protein shake was a good post-workout breakfast, though it was still fairly high in calories.¬†I don’t normally buy protein powder, but had some left¬†from a post-running race goodie bag. Her dark chocolate banana bread is dense and moist and lovely served warm. I sprinkled¬†chunks of dark chocolate on top but next time I make it I’ll add them to the mix as well. Unfortunately I neglected to get a picture of this one, but¬†I did get a photo of a thawed frozen banana. These things look disgusting but are great for so many recipes!

 

Naughty but so so nice

I also tried Katie’s Brownie Batter pancakes. A very decadent breakfast made marginally healthier than it otherwise might have been :). ‘Nuff said! I served them with her Healthy Chocolate Sauce, using coconut oil, cocoa and a bit of maple syrup as even¬†though Stevia may have the health benefits its marketed as having, there is some suggestion that it¬†could have some other unwanted side effects too.

Hot Cross buns were a must at Easter. It’s a family tradition and I love the whole process: patiently waiting for the yeast to rise on the window sill, giving the mixture a good old, therapeutic knead to punch the excess air out of it, rolling the short pastry crosses for the top. And, lastly, cutting open fresh hot buns, spreading butter onto them and watching it go all melty. *Sigh* I enjoy these even more than the Easter chocolate, believe it or not.

 

On the very welcome return of the series Outlander (if you haven’t heard of it, where have you been?!?), my Outlander and Boot Camp buddy and I partook in some lovely Scottish fare, namely Millionaire Shortbread. The recipe was from Outlander Kitchen, which is fast becoming another favourite foodie site of mine, but definitely not the place¬†to go¬†for healthy recipes :). It was rich, but melted in the mouth and gave me a sugar hit that I haven’t experienced in quite some time… That recipe may¬†have to be banished for a while!

Home gardens equal healthier lives

The final picture is of our burgeoning garden. Usually the plants sit on the deck, but we stained it recently so everything was clustered by the back door for a while. We’re already producing more lettuce than we can use and the herbs are not doing as well as we’d like, but we still manage to add them to recipes here and there. The idea is that by growing some of our own food we’ll save a bit of money and eat a bit more healthily. We haven’t got a lot of space to plant, but we do what we can with the space we have. On that note, I’ll leave you to your evening. I can’t promise to post regularly before the wedding, but I’ll try to add short blogs here and there and will definitely be writing more regularly after the big day. Wishing you health, wealth and happiness!

 

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2 Responses to “Joining the baggy pants club again”

  1. Theresa April 22, 2015 at 1:42 pm #

    Thank you for the link to Outlander Kitchen! I promise not all the recipes are like that…although I know we tend to use a lot of butter and cream! However, just today, I posted a very healthy Scotch Broth recipe…that should balance out the shortbread. ūüėČ Theresa

    • missnomadic April 22, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

      Hi Theresa. I LOVE your website: I think it’s genius. So I hope you took this as a compliment :). And “naughty” foods definitely have their place. I loved the Millionaire Shortbread and so did the BFG and my Boot Camp buddies, I might add :).

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