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No Count Change Ahead

Well if you have ever read the book, Who Moved My Cheese, you will know that it sums up life quite well. To say I am upset at the removal of No Count from Weight Watchers plans is an understatement, but I felt more upset when they change Filling & Healthy plan to No Count. I have found No Count plan harder than F&H but have stuck with it.

After a meeting at Weight Watchers HQ with Helen Haythornwaite of Loving No Count website and my fellow admin Victoria from my Face Book group No Count Friends, along with WW HQ team Zoe and Greg, we were given the update of why they are making changes, it was explained to us all that WW have found that the new plan Flex is the most successful plan ever. I asked how do they know this is the most successful plan ever by WW? Zoe said that after two years clinical trials the data showed just how successful it was. We were assured those that are present members who would like to continue with NC will be supported by their coaches and those online members via online coaches. We were assured that new coaches coming through from training with WW were also trained with the knowledge of NC so they can support present members who want to continue with the NC approach. However our access to the the WW APP will no longer include the NC function for tracking.

My only worry is that F&H and NC I believe offer a balanced representative of food groups on the zero list more than Flex does. It is human nature to try and eek out the most of what you can from a weight loss plan, whether that is right or wrong, many people do this including myself. It is the use of zero list foods that have helped me be so creative with food ideas and using real foods in a non conventional way that has helped me lose my weight.

I believe as upset as I am because I faced the change from Filling & Healthy which for me was a huge deal, I feel better equipped emotionally to cope with yet another change – change happens all the time around us in all areas of our life, it is dealing with change and keeping positive that I believe makes us stronger. What is it about Weight Watchers that keeps me a member? Well as Jean Nidetch also noticed that it was more than just food and calories it was about social interaction and support. This is why I keep going back to WW the bond, belonging, friendship, people who understand what you are going through to try and lose weight. It is a unique friendship a circle of trust like no other, this is why I stick with Weight Watchers.

We can keep digging over the change, focus on why we are upset and disgruntled but where will that get us? As a global business WW have made a decision, the plans have changed many times over the years, they will continue to be tweaked and change I suspect, only we can choose to be positive and move on or it is out choice to leave or change.

No matter what change throws at me Weight Watchers Filling & Healthy also No Count have equipped me with tools and self belief that I can live a life without constant weighing of foods and eat foods that keep me satisfied and feeling that I am not actually on a diet at all. I plan to follow the No Counting approach as it has given me the life I dreamed of.

There are many quotes out there but this one sort of sums me up accurately.

“Compulsive eating is an emotional problem, and we use an emotional approach to its solution.” Jean Nidetch

Never going back !

December 2013 size 34

July 2018 size 14

Cauliflower Chocolate and Nut Cake

As many people know I love to try and incorporate vegetables into my puddings, this was an interesting experiment.

Ingredients:

1 pack of ready cut up cauliflower rice – microwaved cool and set aside

When cool pop into food processor with the following:

4 tb PB2

2 TB sweetener

4 tsp coco powder

tsp vanilla

tsp almond flavour

tsp ginger

tsp vanilla coffee granules

60 ml almond unsweetened milk

1 egg

tsp anise seeds

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch bircarb

Whizz it all up until it is smooth, add to baking moulds, I chose small paper cases, topped with a few almonds

Baked in pre heated oven 180 approx 20 mins

There was enough batter to make an extra cake so topped with a few slices of nectarine as an experiment!

Results ! There is an underlying very subtle taste of cauliflower but not enough to offend, its really soft cake of sorts, boarding brownie texture. I would make again.

 

Strawberry Low Fat Cottage Cheese Cake

Ingredients:

4o g oat bran

40 g cottage cheese

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch bicarb

vanilla flavour or extract to taste

1 tb sweetener

little lemon zest

3 chopped strawberries

15 g honey

Instructions:

Mix strawberries with honey and heat in microwave set aside to cool a little

Mix the remainining ingredients by whisking well at the end fold in the strawberries

Pop into baking dish which I sprayed with coconut fry light

Added one strawberry cut in half and a very small amount of almonds

 

Bake approx 20 mins 180

4 Year Weight Watchers Anniversary

On 9th August 4 years ago I somehow walked through the Weight Watchers door for the last time. I had been a member several times in my life previously the first time was age 14/15, and I never wanted to be on another diet again in my life.   I had been trying to lose weight for a while as I had applied for bariatric surgery so needed to show I was able to lose weight. A few stone down one morning I thought I have to do more, what if I am not able to get the op? To cut a long story short, such was my success with Weight Watchers I turned down the option of bariatric surgery.  I was desperate for a life I dreamed of, my dreams were so simple really, to walk more than 15 steps without feeling I would collapse, sit in any style chair without fear of not fitting in it or more so breaking it!

The first 2/12 years I found very easy following Filling and Healthy plan, there was something in the plan that gave me the freedom to live normally and to re establish my emotional relationship with food, learn about portions and truly listen to my inner voice of what I want or what I need to eat. Getting back to basics with F&H was crucial I was following a weight loss plan that gave me freedom, responsibility and a feeling of creativity with the ingredients that I was able to choose freely from the Filling and Healthy food list. The majority of my weight was lost following Filling and Healthy plan, and using Pro Points for the weekly extra allowance for things that were not on the F&H food list gave me enough freedom to bake, baking my own puddings and sweet foods was a pivotal point in my self control, when I ate chocolate and shop bought treats in the past it always led to a binge, but by making my own sweet foods, puddings I was getting sweet tooth satisfaction yet the ingredients were filling, so was less likely to go back for more, which I always did with a chocolate bar.

The Weight Watchers plan changed again, it changed to No Count and Smart Points, there was little real change to the F&H food list however with the changes brought in with Smart Points this affected how many weekly points I had to use and also many of the things I baked with had doubled in points as the drive seemed to be for us to reduce our sugar intake. However I stuck with No Count but can honestly say due to my sweet tooth I found NC and SP much harder, my success seemed to be stalled due to the change. However over 3 1/2 years I lost 225 lbs and being part of my fantastic Weight Watchers group has been vital, my wonderful WW coach Helen who is by far the best coach I have ever met, she is personable, real and genuinely cares, she is a friend too she has been by my side through the last 4 years.

Last year I was so close to the goal that had been set, then I went on my first holiday abroad for many years, I had intended to be sensible anyhow when I got back I had gained 24lbs quite a shock! Since last June I have struggled to lose that weight, have felt upset about it for a while, and this negative emotion only made it harder, I always say to people draw a line, forget it and move on, yet although I was taking my own advice I feel I was just giving it lip service and not really practicing it. So here I am a year later, I guess with that year I have maintained, I am still a stone heavier than my lightest but thats ok, I am in a really good place at the moment because I choose to be.

The recent news that Weight Watchers are getting rid of No Count, phasing it out and not giving that option to new members I feel is very sad, I felt very frustrated about it because I know this sort of eating, re setting how you view food gave me my own personal freedom. I know for some people counting and structure is key, but for me who started my first diet when I was 9 years old, I could not cope with another diet ever again. Hence really embracing the F&H and NC lifestyles. Anyhow change happens, NC is going and I have to go forward, I am not leaving my Weight Watchers class, but I will continue the way I live, I have learned a lot from F&H and NC and can not see any better replacement, even if I tracked my points the food I eat is still F&H and NC, this is vital to me, basic foods as unprocessed as possible, means I eat better, feel fuller and less likely to go off the rails.

A little list below with for more than 3 years I adhered to so I could keep a clear mind, these red flags are brutal to me emotionally and would always end in binges and huge weight gains.  Along with abstaining from certain foods and alcohol I had to abstain from self hate, loathing, negativity, replace them with ‘I can’ , ‘ I am able’, ‘ I want to do this’. Weight Watchers will always look to improve and tweak their plans, for me the most important part of Weight Watchers is staying to class, the bond and support you have there is priceless, it will help me through any changes that may lay ahead.

Foods I had to abstain from:

  • alchohol
  • crisps
  • sweets/chocolate
  • take aways

I have taken the pressure off myself to get to the goal set for me, I am so grateful for every day of my journey over the last 4 years, change happens and I made it happen to me!

Self love, take a day at a time, don’t dwell on negative things, focus on the now and what you can do to make things better this very moment.

Never going back!

“You are what you believe you are”

Orange and Poppy Seeds Baked Oats

40 g oats

1 tb sweetener

1 small egg

tsp vanilla

1 medium sized orange washed and blitz into small pieces

1 tsp poppy seeds

125 ml skimmed milk

5 g almonds to decorate top before baking

Mix all the above and pop into baking dish, sprinkle with almonds then bake approx 35/40 mins 180

 

I love baked oats and through my weight loss journey oats and oat bran have featured heavily in many of my meals, baked oats is one fabulous recipe that is so adaptable to your own taste and very satisfying in taste and satiation

Mock Cheesecake

Mock cheesecake, could be made deconstructed too in a glass that would be nice, its banana and ginger flavour with almonds

1 Warburtons Thin blitz to crumbs
1 large tsp heaped cinnamon
half tsp of ginger
mix together and toast in a pan in the oven until crispy I baked at 200 about 10 mins max

13 g golden syrup 2 points, heated in microwave about 12 seconds, added the toasted crumbs, press down into a dish

1 ripe small banana mashed with half tub quark, tsp sweetener, about 1/4 tsp ginger, vanilla

Cover the biscuit base with the banana mix and I topped with 5 g almonds 1 point and a little left over biscuit crumbs

Use any flavours and fruit, you could leave out the golden syrup and save points and use your oil allowance

 

Post Holiday Update

Just over a week ago I arrived back after a holiday with my Mom and Step Dad, my Pops I call him. Two weeks in  Calis Beach Turkey, now before I even packed my case I had decided this was going to be a healthy holiday, no alcohol, or ice creams or cakes or any rubbish, I had not even lost the weight I had gained last holiday some 24 lbs, that was a lesson learned, which is why I have not repeated it this year. Since that large gain last June I have struggled to get a grip, have had lots of ups and downs, but somehow have been losing the same 14 lbs in the last year. Every line drawn was a win, every effort made to pull it back was a triumph, I have come to accept it will always be this way for me and I am ok with that.

so holiday in Turkey with my parents was truly memory making, I ate large healthy breakfasts consisting of lots of fruit, eggs, sometimes wholemeal toast no butter or jam. Milk was hard to control as had no idea what it was, but I was not going without my morning coffee!! We spent leisurely days around the pool or should I say in the pool as it was so very hot, at times quite hard to deal with, hence I became a water baby for two weeks, playing ball with my Mom in the pool brought back childhood memories and my Pops got in the water first time in 30 years as a non swimmer I was very proud of him. I tackled getting onto an air bed, it was like a scene from a movie, Lisa Tames The Raging Inflatable Alligator, such joy I had spending quite some time determined to get on it without help and I did.  It was amazing to be able to pick fresh figs from the tree next to the pool, maybe that is where my weight gain came from ?  Other eventful moments were have a Turkish bath and a body massage, things I would have never have done at my biggest. Wearing pretty dresses and heels, feeling comfortable in my own body and very happy to have my flabby legs and arms on display, they are part of my story of who I am.

During the day it was too hot to eat, so while everyone else tucked into ice cream my treat was a cold glass bottle of diet coke, never once did I feel left out, my joy was sitting in the middle of the pool on the ledge sunning myself, being able to lift myself up onto the ledge and feeling comfortable for the world to see me, was worth more than any ice cream. Evening meals were taken at an array of restaurants, the one thing about eating in Turkey is you can eat traditional food or very easily choose to eat the basics which is what I did, chicken, steak, fish, salad and jacket potatoes, fruit salads on occasion a little home made bread, it was so hard to resist! Drinks at the table were ice cold bottled soda water which I would sometimes flavour with my own squash drops I took with me or diet coke and I was so drunk on life I was content.

When I weighed in post holiday I was pretty shocked to have gained weight, I felt smaller but who knows, my body has proven over the last 4 years it has a mind of its own when concerning the scales, none the less I have taken it in my stride and continued to eat on plan and healthy, most of all I have a healthy mind set at the moment, which I feel is key to making good choices, being positive even with set backs is my own little miracle.

Much of the holiday I saw many street dogs and just wanted to take them all home, just loved Bandit and Teddy so much, was hard to leave them behind, there is a great team in Calis Beach that runs a care fund raising group which supports the street dogs, such wonderful group of people, if you are interested you can find out more here.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1683660251711612/

Soon I am going on holiday with my husband for two weeks – I plan to live much the same on that holiday, but may let myself have the odd ice cream, we shall see, the one thing I am sure of is that one can never say never, thats the biggest mistake I used to make, because when I broke that promise to myself I hated myself so much and would go off the rails! So patience and persistence and self love is all you need to make changes in life, that is what I try and do daily.

 

 

Keep smiling and just take a day at a time

Blueberry and Nectrine Oat Bran Cake

This cake recipe: makes one large muffin and two smaller ones
 
100 g oat bran
160 g fat free cottage cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
whole lemon zest
half tsp vanilla
1 tb sweetener
(I used half chopped nectrine and about 60g blueberries)
 
Whisk all ingredients with electric whisk and lastly add the fruit stiring it in with a spoon, bake in pre heated oven approx 20 mins 180
I really like the texture of the cake being made with cottage cheese and as an experiment it worked really well and will definitely
 bake this way again

Two ingredient aubergine pancake

Two ingredient pancakes flavoured with coco powder 🙂
 
Not a banana in sight ! 
 
I anticipate more experiments with aubergines 😀
 
One small aubergine simply baked in skin until soft, when cool scoop out flesh and mash with a fork
Whisk two eggs with tsp of cinnamon, vanilla, 10g coco powder, 1 tb of sweetener and add the aubergine flesh
 
cooked in fry moulds using fry light until cooked
 
a fabulous alternative to banana pancakes and to me tastes superior
 

The Hunger Question

So if like me you often find yourself feeling hungry and worry the food I have prepared is enough you may relate to some of my thoughts.

There are so many reasons why I eat :

joy

sadness

bordom

stress

social

lonely

self harm

I can add a whole long list defining them into finer categories, but I am sure you can add your own.

When I first started to lose weight some 4 years ago I did have some help via my local hospital and their psychologist, he opened my mind to a few things which was a springboard into releasing negative thoughts and to be able to be honest about what state my hunger truly is. The hardest part of this is to be truthful to myself – sometimes I just do not want to listen and charge forwards in self destruct mode.

The Hunger Scale:

This was something I had never heard of, basically it is a practice than did become second nature to me, just tuning into myself and assessing where I am on my own hunger scale, zero – starving, 10 is full to being sick. It did take a while to get into the swing of answering myself honestly and acting on that self estimation, then making a decision. Whether I ate or not no matter where I assessed my hunger, at least I was doing it mindfully!

Some of my issues of eating and continue to eat is because it is so nice I just want more, so greed? Addiction, salt or sugar? Alcohol? Some things I just can not seem to control is small amounts. By finding substitutes for these triggers has been pivotal part of my weight loss journey. Such as baking puddings rather than eating shop bought chocolate and treats.  I am not saying I always get it right, far from it, hence this post, the thing is I had been complacent and stopped using my tricks that helped me.

After eating if I had a cup of tea I never went back for seconds! My fave drink after evening meal is camomile and honey tea, I know that once I have had this drink it leaves my mind and pallet satisfied. Also washing up straight after dinner helps, because I am busy and less likely to let my thoughts wonder back to going in for a second pudding!

All we can do is know ourselves, no one else knows you like you – so give it some real thought what makes you tick, what makes you feel satisfied? For me every time hot food makes me feel fuller longer, also spicy food especially chilli and garlic, these flavours linger and stop my cravings even after I have finished my food.

There are always time I have ‘a fancy’ I sit and deny it but the though nags at me – it is ok to distract yourself or make the choice to go with the craving, but do it honestly.

One of the most important things I have found is to acknowledge I like to feel full, I hate feel hungry, I realise I have emotional connection with eating, I go through every emotion of life with food. I would say at my age now of 54 I am the most happy than I have ever been, I am older, joints ache, I have lots of excess skin, yet I am happy in my own skin and content with who I am. I do believe I stopped chasing the unrealistic expectation of being the perfect me, or comparing myself and criticising my own standing in life and achievements. So much energy is wasted in this way, I believe we can channel it into positive thoughts, it is not easy to think fondly of yourself and self respect when you have spent years hating oneself, but like anything change takes time and practice.

My top foods that I find filling:

protein

oats/oat bran

vegetables

fat free yogurt

whole meal bread also crumpets

water

herbal tea

skinny coffee

spices

When you make a diary or keep track of your menu, do take note of which foods you found most filling and satisfying, this may help you adapt your menu to make the week easier.

Remember always be kind to yourself and give yourself space to grow and take the steps you desire to live the life you dream of – if you are in an impossibly low mood, try out a mood shifter. A song, call a friend, have a good cry at a soppy film, helps the tears get out. We all have that one song that lifts up, one of mine is David Grey, Babylon.