Saturday, 8 December 2012

Healthy Eating and Weight Loss 3


Today I want to talk about water. I'm not going to go on about the health benefits as I'm sure we're all aware of them. One of the many ways that drinking lots of water helps with weight loss is simply by helping you to feel full. Anyway, we know we need to drink a lot of water - these tips are about how I make drinking water more enjoyable and how I track my intake.


I prefer not to drink any calories - to me it feels like a waste as I'd rather be eating them. I also avoid artificial sweetners like the plague. I won't go into a lecture; Google will bring up research revealing how bad they are for you, if you're interested.

So that leaves water to drink.

Flavouring water


I have started experimentint with different flavourings in my water. I do like a bit of lemon, but I don't like to drink water that has had lemon slices floating in it for a while - I find the pith of the lemon makes the water taste bitter.

A dash of lemon juice, however, is delicious in a glass of water.

I've been trying other fruits in my water, as well as spices - above you can see a stick of cinnamon in a bottle of water, and a jug of water with frozen raspberries in it. Both waters are delicious - the raspberry one is tart but has a distinct raspberry flavour; the cinnamon one, well, my friend Paula was visiting and her little girl drank some cinnamon water and said, "It tastes like doughnuts!" What more could you want?!

The cinnamon water is also divine with apple slices floating in it - mmm, apple pie flavoured water!

I also like to slice up a bit of fresh ginger root into a bottle of water and leave that for a while for lovely ginger-flavoured water.

You can leave the ginger or the cinnamon stick in the water for days, just topping up the water, but fruit tends to go a bit gross after a few hours or a day or so.

If you freeze chunks of fruit then you can use those as ice-cubes that will cool and flavour your water too.

You do have to realise that you are not creating sweet drinks and adjust your expectations it is still just water, but it has a more interesting flavour to it.

I really really want to try leaving a vanilla pod in water for flavouring! I also think melon would be delicious. Cucumber would be refreshing in summer - ooh, maybe a cucumber / fresh basil mix.

Try combining different fruits / spices / flavours, for example the apple and cinnamon mentioned above.

Tracking your water intake

I have big glasses (350ml / 12 fl oz) so only aim to drink 5-6 a day, rather than the standard recommended 8 (which adds up to about 2 liters either way). Here are a few ways I keep track throughout the day of how many glasses I've had:


This is a row of marble magnets along the top of my fridge (it's where I store them). As I finish a glass of water I'll pull one magnet down a little. I can see at a glance how many glasses I've finished.


We have glasses with embossed circles on them. I stick a pink window-cling sticker onto the bottom row of dots. When I finish drinking a glass of water, I move the sticker up a row. I can tell how many glasses I've had by counting the rows.


Sometimes I use a footed glass and draw 6 dots on the base with dry-erase marker. As I finish drinking a glass of water I erase a dot. I can always tell how many more glasses I still need to fit in that day.

I hope you'll try flavoured water - I'd love to know which is your favourite!

How do you keep track of your water intake every day?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Healthy Eating and Weight Loss 2


As I've mentioned before, I follow the Weight Watchers programme, but I think these tips could be applied to any healthy eating plan.

Track what you eat


"If you bite it, write it." Research has shown that people who track what they eat are more successful in weight loss. Knowing you have to write down what you eat makes you think twice about eating it - especially if you go ahead and share what you eat on the internet like I sometimes do! If you change nothing else, simply tracking your food will make a difference.

I make my own trackers that fit onto my little "command central". There is space to check off my daily points usage, glasses of water, servings of fruit / veg, whether I've taken my vitamins, and even how many steps I've walked that day (for when I wear my pedometer). If you'd like to download the PDF file of my tracker, click here.

Copy yourself


I don't just track to stay accountable, I also track for my own reference. When I have a busy or ininspired week and I don't want to sit and think about what to eat, I can just have a look at what I've eaten before in a day and copy that. It takes the guesswork out of meal planning. The worst part about weight loss is that you kind of have to think about food a lot - following your own trackers means that you don't have to.

Budget your points or calories


If you are following a programme like Weight Watchers (or counting calories) you will have a budget to stick to. I get 29 Weight Watchers ProPoints (same as Points+) a day but it's not going to help me if I eat 20 of them for breakfast.

Through trial and error I've worked out how many points I want to set aside for each meal or snack throughout the day - 5 for breakfast, 6 for lunch, 3 for afternoon snack, 10 for dinner and 5 for evening snack. In the photo above you can see part of the sheet of paper that I have inside my pantry outlining my points budget and ideas for snacks and meals within those points. If you would like to download the PDF file, click here.

I do switch it up - if I know I'm going to make something for dinner that is more than 10 ProPoints then I'll eat fewer at breakfast, lunch or snack time, but it's nice to have a general plan.

Always weigh or measure


It is in your own best interest to always weigh or measure your portions because if you're estimating then you could be eating too much. BUT, you could also be under-estimating and giving yourself too little of something. Personally I want to squeeze in every last gram of whatever food I'm weighing, and not go short!

I have the Weight Watchers food scales (thank you, Rebecca!) and highly recommend them.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The last two weigh-ins

After my first week back on plan I lost 0.5kg (a pound), which I was quite happy with.

This last week I only lost 0.3kg. I'm still pleased that it's a loss, but I know I can do better. I thought it over and realised where I went wrong:

1) I haven't been tracking properly
2) Right at the beginning of the week we went to a friend's get-together for her daughter's birthday and I ate lots of "naughty" food at the finger buffet
3) On Wednesday evening I went to a church meeting and there were refreshments afterwards - I ate two shortbread-with-marshmallow-layer bars and a cookie. I brought a cookie home for Grant but he didn't want it so I ate it
4) Grant has been working silly hours (I hate his rotating shift pattern!!) - leaving for  work at 5:30pm twice means I was caught off guard and didn't have dinner ready early enough, and wasn't going to cook for just me and the kids because they just moan about everything I make anyway, so we had toasted sandwiches or something (I can't even remember).

So, plan of action for this week:

1) Track, track, track! I think I will go back to photographing my food like I've done recently.
2) Avoid treats - they seem to be a slippery slope for me and I think I do better if I just abstain altogether. I know this will be hard on Saturday at the police family Christmas party but I will try hard to keep under control.
3) Plan meals for the whole week, taking note of Grant's shifts.