exercising, fEAsible, hEAlth, healthy eating, my goals

The Healthy Eating Challenge…


Target Date:     31st December 2012

Target Weight:    8st 12lbs (without clothes)

Target waist measurement:     28″

Starting Weight:    9st 5lbs (without clothes)

Starting Waist Measurement:   33″ (yes you have read that correctly!)


Target for 30th September: 

Lose 1lb (this will be measured by staying 1lb lighter for more than 7 consecutive days)

This is a mini target this month to allow for research and implementing ideas

Changes I have made so far –

  • Eating one apple each day:  I have done this religiously on my working days
  • Buying biscuits that are lower in calories: I have bought a supply of Fig Rolls each one is only 61 calories – I ate 4 during the weekend at the cottage but we were doing plenty of manual labour – doesn’t that help burn the extra calories off?
  • Avoiding cakes and biscuits at work:  I have been tempted only 3 times in three weeks – main culprit was the M&S Chocolate Teacakes – 75 calories each.
  • Measuring the amounts of yoghurt and cereal for breakfast
  • Taking my supplements, omega oil and a sprinkle of Flaxseeds
  • Drinking only water at work – partly so I don’t have to go to the kitchen and pass the tempting cake laden table at work


Small and not so small changes I need to address next –

Diet (Food and Drink intake and portion control)

  • Make a snack plan – I need to take another snack to work for the afternoon and add some protein to my apple snack in the morning – as I have read this makes it a more balanced way to eat.
  • Eat 2 Brazil nuts each day this will give me all the Selenium I need for the day
  • Introducing a salad at lunchtime while at work Monday – Thursday
  • Search my recipe books for some quick healthy meals to replace any ready meals that I might be tempted to use when I need a quick meal.
  • Look at using a smaller dinner plate – our cereal bowls are already fairly small and I am weighing my breakfast so they are not a problem.


  • I need to go to bed at 10.30 each night to get a good 8 hours sleep as I usually get up at 6.30am – bearing in mind I am sometimes stumbling into bed at 12.30 I may find this difficult to adjust and get everything done that I want to within waking hours if there are fewer – so bear with me if I do not reply to comments left or indeed comment on your posts whilst the adjustment takes place!


  • This could be my biggest challenge and it really will be little steps as I will struggle to fit in any time for exercising.  At one time I attended a Yoga class every Monday evening and would like to get back to this but I will have to wait until my daughter moves back into her own home (any day week now!) as meal times are a bit frantic at the moment and I can’t cope with any more comings and goings.  So I will practice three yoga exercises in the morning and evening, the Cat Pose, the Tree Pose and the Triangle Pose.
  • I will increase my number of steps in a day – as I don’t know what my average is at the moment I might think about buying a pedometer – until then I will try to go for an evening walk around the block – this however depends on how early we can eat our evening meal, since my daughter and her partner have been here it is approaching 8.30 before we eat.  Once they move out I can aim for 7.15pm when my better half gets home.


  • I have read somewhere that it helps to have a mental picture of what you want to look like and to post pictures of this image around the house – so this is mine – a nice trim waist!

English: Woman Measuring Waist.

My thoughts and intentions –

There are a number of major adjustments to make like going to bed early and making tea earlier so I may do this in gradual 15 minute step reductions every other day over the coming week until I reach the target time.  Life is difficult at work at the moment as my colleague has recently had her breast removed and if she has to have radiotherapy it may be a while until she is back  (she is doing remarkably well though and sailed through the op) but meanwhile I have a heavy work load to keep up with and cannot guarantee getting away at 4pm on the dot.

I need to get down to some serious planning now for the snacks and meals so I have time to prepare and shop for them.

I also want to photocopy the Yoga poses and laminate them A5 size so I can stick them with those yellow sticky pads to the wall where I can see them.

So after a quick roam around my favourite blogs I had better start as I mean to go on and begin preparing for bed and a good LONG nights sleep. 

Night, night everyone x









exercising, fEAsible, hEAlth, healthy eating, my goals, trEAsure, wellbeing

Every step you take…

Sorry for the break in transmission I just had to put my blog ‘categories’ into some kind of order before moving on – I felt they were getting out of control.  When I started my blog I really hadn’t thought about categories or paid much attention to them and then soon realised that some of my headings crossed over making it hard to choose which one to assign a mixed post to.

It is so easy to forget just where I have got to when I have a break from blogging for more than a day or so but I will start with a progress report on my Healthy Eating plan.
On September 3rd, first thing in the morning, I weighed myself and also took a note of my muscle, fat and water content that my scales measure (posh scales reduced from £59.99 to £11.99 a bargain from TK MAX 3 years ago).  I also took a waist measurement (which I won’t go into publicly!!) as this is my worst area and the one that I am hoping will trim down.  It is thirty something inches (which is as revealing as I will go) and I want to get it to 28″ even 30″ would be a massive breakthrough.  I will be posting the results in a later post.

On Thursday morning I took advantage of the free Flora Cholesterol test at my local Sainsbury’s in town (they are running it for the two weeks if you are interested).  I booked in for 8.30am so I could do a fasting test (which is more accurate) before work and then have breakfast afterwards.  I will also post the results from this later.

I found this Bamboo Serving Platter for £15.99 in Wilkinson’s Classic White tableware range and thought it would go very well with my collection of white china for parties.  As it is quite large I have now discovered that it is wider than my cupboard is deep!

So it stayed on my table for a while waiting for a home but when I went and bought the extra fruit for my healthier snacks hey presto!…  it makes a great fruit bowl!!

I have been working on breakfast this week too – I usually take some supplements in the morning.  I have to take Vitamin D as a recent blood test revealed I was very low – I also take a pro-biotic and an oil capsule and at the moment I am using up a bottle of Ginko Biloba before it goes out of date though I can’t say that I have noticed any difference whilst taking this but can’t see them go to waste – supplements are so expensive these days.  In the small container is 25ml of Aloe Vera juice (good for digestion) – and a glass of water to wash the tablets down.

As I mentioned in my last post I am switching the Sainsburys 2% fat natural yoghurt (which I prefer) for the Yeo Valley 0% fat natural yoghurt which I used to eat until they changed the packaging and for some reason it seemed to have a different texture – slightly more slimy than creamy.

So this is breakfast – I whizzed some apricots in the food processor into a puree to have with the yoghurt and weighed out the cereal which is Rude Health mixed flakes in this case, though I also like the Weetabix Oatibix Flakes (shame they don’t do organic).  I often add a bit of wheat free museli in with the flakes and I top them with a dessert spoonful of Flaxseeds and some organic soya milk.

I have been getting a list of snacks together and going by Ian Marber’s book ‘How not to get fat’ you should always eat a complex carbohydrate with a protein.  These are my favourites –

  • Banana with a few Almonds
  • Apple and a few Walnuts / Brazil nuts
  • Apple with a small piece of hard cheese
  • Chopped egg with a small amount of Mayonnaise with Salad Cress on 2 Oatcakes
  • Goats Cheese on a slice of cooked Beetroot on 2 Oatcakes
  • Edam and grated Carrot in a small wholemeal Pitta
  • Cooked Lentils mixed with chopped Tomatoes and Rocket on Oatcakes

So I feel I have dealt with breakfast and snacks and I will begin to put these into practice during next week.  Whilst I am making progress on this aspect I am going to move on and look at how I can introduce more exercise into my daily life as well as more quality sleep.

For every 10,000 steps we take we burn 400 calories.

A small hot Chocolate from Costa has about 121 Calories – so I would need to walk about 2,500 steps to burn this off.  I am not even sure how far that is but I am sure I am not going to be doing many steps sat at my desk!  So I need to think of ways to incorporate more steps which might even include less blogging.  I am of course looking to become healthier as well as a little lighter and I like the fact that I can do both at once.

Lose weight while you sleep – The Dream Diet?

There has been an increasing amount of research suggesting that good sleep and weight loss are connected or rather poor and lack of sleep leading to weight gain due to a disruption of two hormones – (just try Googling it for an explanation)

I have poor sleep since having my Thyroid removed – I wake at around 4am each morning needing to go to the loo and then cannot get back to sleep.  I should drink my cocoa earlier in the evening but always forget (I cannot break away from my cocoa drink at night – it is my Enid Blyton comfort drink before bedtime!)

I should also try to get to bed at a reasonable time and that is why I am going to set myself up to do shorter 5-10 minute posts each evening instead of these essays I seem to keep producing.  Again the health benefits can only do me good.
I am grateful for all your ideas so far and look forward to any comments you might have on exercise and sleep.

fEAsible, hEAlth, healthy eating, my goals, trEAsure

Before beginning plan carefully…

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” – A. A. Milne

Now I have identified some of the main problems that are keeping me from both losing pounds and gaining £’s I am trying to organise my thoughts to put my plans into some kind of order.

Firstly, I would like to say thank you for all the comments you have left on my post – Think, think, think…with such great ideas – I have taken them all on board because this is going to be a change for life not just for the Christmas as they say.  I don’t want to be coming back to starting over again at some future date.  It is not another diet or budget but a lifestyle I am trying to create that will become as normal to me as having a shower each day.

I decided first of all I must prepare myself for the changes I want to put in place so that I have more of a chance of continuing and don’t stumble at the first hurdle.  What do I mean by prepare myself?  Well there is no point in me wanting to take healthy snacks to work if my cupboards are full of biscuits and crisps.  There is no point in me trying to save money if I have no idea how much I am spending casually each week on daily expenses and so on…

As my health is probably more important to me than my wealth I am going to begin with the losing pounds (although some of the changes I make will indeed apply to both and some of them will have a knock on effect such as taking a healthy packed lunch will probably save me money).

My first task will be to examine one aspect at a time identifying existing habits and systems and then simplify them or maybe modifying them and doing one thing only at once before moving on to the next (the baby steps concept).   For instance, I have been taking an apple to work each day now for the last two weeks and I make sure I eat it at eleven o’clock each day.  This is a low calorie food and has some healthy aspects and is better than a biscuit or cake.  It has quickly become quite habit forming – even I have been surprised – and this could be mainly because it has been my sole focus for the last couple of weeks as I wanted to test out how easy it might be (or not) to change one little thing.

After reading quite a lot over the years on goal setting I believe the ‘Begin with the end in mind’ system to have some credibility.  So I want to lose half a stone (7lbs) by the end of the year and this exercise is as much about eating healthily and exercising as it is losing weight  So I have 4 months and my goals look like this.

September – lose 1lb (to allow for building up my new healthy eating habits)

October – lose 2lbs

November – lose 2lbs

December – lose 2lbs

So by December 31st I will weigh 8st 12lbs my optimum weight for my height and hopefully a waist measurement considerably smaller by at least 3″.

Two pounds each month or half a pound each week.  This shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish and my thoughts are to try a combination of tactics.

  1. Calorific value – having more awareness of the calories in anything that is not a vegetable or fruit
  2. Exchanging foods – buying the lower fat therefore lower calorie alternative as well as exchanging an unhealthy food for an healthier option
  3. Portion size – being more aware of portion size and maybe buying a slightly smaller plate.

So for instance if I am tempted into eating a biscuit then I should only buy the lower calorie ones (I think Fig rolls – one of my favourite fall into this category as do Garibaldi).  I should revert back to buying the 0% fat yoghurt rather than the creamier 2% that I prefer.  If I add in a little pureed raspberries from the freezer I won’t even taste the difference.

Yesterday as another experiment I weighed my yoghurt and oat flakes cereal just to get an idea of what a reasonable serving actually looked like.  Fourty-five gram of yoghurt was about three dessertspoonfuls and 100gram of cereal just filled a ramekin pot – by sticking to these amounts each day I will be able to see if this makes any difference over time.  Of course if I begin to feel hungry before mid morning I will review this.

So one of the areas I am focusing on at the moment is snacks – both at home and at work and I will apply the 3 points mentioned above to this.

Now if you are still with me so far let me introduce my two new snack pots for work…

 they are actually quite small about 3″ square and just the right size for a few nuts or a couple of oatcakes and a small cube of cheese or some chopped fruit.  One for the morning and one for the afternoon.  I will make a snack plan so I can buy the foods in advance and then there will be no excuse and I will prepare them each evening starting on Sunday night.

So there you have it I intend, but can’t promise, to post a little 5 minute piece each day charting my progress on the task in hand and also establishing the plans for putting my subsequent changes in place.

Any comments, advice and ideas gratefully welcomed.


being thrifty, budgeting, drEAming, fEAsible, hEAlth, healthy eating, my goals, random thoughts, trEAsury

Think, think, think…

Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?  ~Winnie the Pooh

I have been doing a lot of thinking over the last few days (and that is always dangerous!) and you may have noticed the lack of posts and no usual Friday Fling – I have been time poor (as one might say these days).   My post today has been initiated in part by reading the recent posts of other bloggers where I was inspired, not only by their goals, but their determined action and also the fact that many aspects of their lives they wish to improve sound just like mine.

I am sure you can identify with this yourselves but I also sense from reading many of the blogs I follow that like me there is an underlying deep desire to want to stop the world for a while to savor the moment – to live with and enjoy the changing seasons – to celebrate our days and have fun and involvement with our families and friends and the wider community.  I know that I keep trying to refocus my time and energy to reconnect, re-order and re-size – I often feel I am becoming disjointed, chaotic and everything seems far too big to handle in so little time.

Now before you continue I suggest you may want to go and make yourself a cuppa and perhaps even a snack – a healthy one of course (or a flask and sandwiches for any slower readers) as this is going to be a l-o-n-g post!

So, I thought, there are a lot of us all going in the same direction and it is good to have both encouragement and useful advise and tips along the way and the blogging world certainly provides this.  Of course the fundamental question for me – yet without an answer – (but I am working on it) is ‘Why are so many of us in this same position of wanting to reduce and organise our stuff, make better use of our time and feel in control of our lives and finances?  In short change the lives we seem to be living for the one we want to live – mostly by getting away from the constraints we feel modern life has imposed on us – without losing the aspects of it that have developed which are good.

This then led me to my other question ‘How do we cope with the never ending change often thrust upon us by the society we live in today’?   I didn’t ask for the credit crunch and recession (I had no idea the banks were in such deep trouble) but I have to find a way through it – I didn’t ask for heaps of junk mail to land on my doormat each day (I prefer to save the trees and not use printing inks full of solvents) but once I have them I can’t easily dispose of them without checking that I am not missing a good offer  – I didn’t ask for technology to develop so fast that it now invades my life and at the same time makes it impossibly demanding on my time – when I wake up to find 100 emails in my inbox each day but yet I hardly ever receive a handwritten letter from a friend I question whether all this is truly progress.

In her post of August 22nd Laura from movetoportugal.org made the following list of the goals she is working on (I hope you don’t mind me re-posting this)

  • Downsizing (which includes reducing our impact)
  • Finishing the house
  • Health and weight loss
  • Frugality (and money)
  • Moving to Portugal

If you exchange Portugal for Scotland in my case this could well be my list and I suspect the first 4 items could be most peoples.

One target I feel I need to put into place ASAP is to lose a few pounds in weight and also gain a few £’s in savings and it was this particular notion that generated my further train of thought.


Now I might be on my own here (I suspect not though) but interestingly my experience is that if I were to switch these two targets around to read ‘Lose a few £’s in savings’ (by spending too much) and ‘Gain a few pounds in weight’ (by eating too much of the wrong things) I would not have any problem in reaching my target within a very short space of time!

I believe the main reason for this is that I would not have to restrict my normal actions in any way.  I would not have to avoid temptation to eat rubbish or spend money – both categories of my life that seem to come naturally where diets and budgets do not.

So the million dollar question is ‘How do I turn this around so that I can eat and lose weight and spend but still save’?

My answer is that I probably cannot (at the moment) but again I am working on this and I will implement a plan and I will take action.

So, I ask myself, ‘Why is it so difficult’?  Well for me in particular (yours may be different) I could identify a number of reasons:-

5 reasons I find eating healthily and losing weight difficult

  1. I am not huge by any means and I am only talking about losing half a stone (mainly around my spreading middle) but it is creeping up gradually and as I have to take Thyroxin daily (I had to have my Thyroid removed in 2008 due to cancer) this has had some bearing on my weight gain over time. Getting the medication stable is a work of art in itself – too much and I get palpitations and ‘jittery’  too little and I gain weight and become tired.
  2. We consume far too many buns and treats at work for all kinds of occasions – birthdays, back from holidays, getting married, getting divorced, passing exams, weather too hot, weather too cold – at our firm whatever reason we can find to celebrate and treat ourselves we will!  This is so different to when I started work back in the early seventies where you all stopped for a 10 minute tea break  twice a day and didn’t snack and graze at your desk.  Birthday buns and the like were just not on the agenda in those days – a simple Happy Birthday was usual and treats and rewards for other events never happened  – unless it was the day you retired!
  3. Having to cook ready meals or quick egg and chip type meals because I have worked late, or not been shopping after work, or too tired to make a meal from scratch and not having enough of anything in the cupboards and fridge to scrape together a meal.  Even my best made plans can go wrong when I have unexpected overtime and cannot then go to the supermarket.
  4. Eating more than I need and snacking.  Have you noticed just how big our dishes are these days – cereal bowls, plates and cups are huge in comparison with the ones I grew up with.  Costa and others sell their drinks by the bucket and have you seen their new super-sized Bourbon and Custard creams (Wow), the average 5’4″ woman weighed 8st 6 lbs with a 26″ waist in the 1950’s and 11st 2lb with a 34.5″ waist in 2006 – I think as a nation we could be overeating a little bit and need to control our portion size!
  5. Having a desk job for the last 13 years.  Some days I find that I have hardly moved off my chair especially if my colleague goes to fetch our lunch.  Email is quick but means I can ask anyone anything from my desk whereas when I first began work I had to physically go and find a person.

10 reasons I find controlling my spending difficult –

  1. Constant changing of fashions and ‘in’ colours – anything from clothes to glasses to household items and furniture – and the sheer abundance of choice out there.  It is very tempting to go and browse in TK Max, Laura Ashley or Ikea and then convince yourself you need this or that.
  2. Escalating food prices.  Basic staples and healthy foods can be some of the dearest products.  Vegetables can be dearer now than buying a pack of cheap chicken legs.
  3. We have more snacks and lunches out – if we go out for the day or go our nearest shopping centre we always stop for a drink and a snack just to recharge.
  4. Our money has now to stretch to fund things like printing inks for the printer, water filter cartridges, packs of printing paper, mobile phone top-ups and DVD discs to mention a few.  When we first married none of these items were required.
  5. Our utility bills and insurances have seriously increased over the years and continue to increase substantially each year.
  6. Constant storage problems and the cost of buying storage items to solve the problem of keeping and organising ‘stuff’.
  7. We spend more on Christmas and Birthdays than perhaps we once did partly because our family is growing and partly because I buy for quite a few friends at work – I am not particularly objecting to this – it is just a fact and an expense.
  8. Savings interest and pensions are just not reaching the same returns therefore we either have to save more or prepare for a retirement with less money and work for longer.
  9. Paying by card is somehow more detached than paying with cash.  We use a debit not credit card but I still think it encourages you to spend more.  If you only have cash in your pocket and no other means of paying you have to tot up whats in your basket before you get to the till.
  10. Lack of time can increase my spending – resorting to expensive ready meals – having to grab items rather than having time to shop around and also that old dilemma – if you don’t buy it today you can’t go back and find it still there tomorrow.  I often buy things impulsively that I regret just because I can’t really decide if it is suitable for what I want but feel if I leave it and then decided it is what I wanted it would not be there when I returned to the shop. One of our recurring frustrations is when we take too long to decide over something only to find it has then been discontinued.

This is not a finite list but I am sure that many of you will identify with some of these points.  Some of them I can do little about – such as Council Tax – but for the rest I will look at my options and create a plan.

It is clear that I need to turn around how and what I eat and how and what I spend so that it is as normal as the habits I have now.  I think it all boils down to the feel good factor –  I need to transfer the feel good of a quick fix chocolate biscuit (high calorie) onto the feel good of an apple (low calorie) and likewise the feel good of spending onto the feel good of saving.

I will now need go and do more thinking before I can proceed and formulate a plan.  Watch this space…

I would love to know your thoughts on the subject and any suggestions you might have.