The water challenge was a success I think – I have found that my skin has been clearer, I haven’t felt as bloated, and I lost 9lbs over the last two weeks. I will definitely keep it up…and I must admit that I was pretty good with my water intake before, but this challenge made me extra mindful of it! So this week sees me moving onto my next healthy habit building challenge – which of course, you are all welcome to join in with…the more, the merrier!
I’m not going to dwell too much on the first element of the challenge as many hardcore Slimming Worlders may disagree with this bit, which relates to portion sizes. It is my personal opinion, and one that is shared by my Slimming World consultant, that no matter how healthy the food you eat, you will come unstuck if you eat too much. The beauty of Slimming World is that there are so many ‘unlimited’ foods on offer; the downside to this is that greedy guts like me can take this to extremes at times. At my weight, I need far more calories than your average Joe does just to exist…so I can get away with going a little overboard every now and again. However, as I get closer to my target weight, my energy requirements are going to reduce and I will need to increase my exercise and reduce my portions to balance this out.
I also often hear people say that they have stuck to the plan, eaten loads of free foods, but have stayed the same. If your weight is not shifting, and you are eating a very decent amount of food, the chances are you need to cut down your portion sizes. Please remember though that eating too few calories, or too little food, can also cause your weight to plateau…it’s a balancing act! Anyway, as I’ve said, I’m not going to dwell on the portion size issue for too long – this is just a note to myself, having had a few days this week where I know I’ve over eaten despite the food being ‘on plan’, and I don’t want to return to my old, bad habits of gorging; regardless of the food being within the realms of Slimming World or not.
Personally, I think that the reason Slimming World tell people that they can eat as much as they want to of certain foods is to highlight that a ‘diet’ doesn’t mean deprivation! We have all tried diets that really do deprive you, so I think Slimming World just want to reassure us that we can actually eat properly and lose weight…I doubt they really want us heading to the chicken counter at Morrisons and destroying a whole chicken for a snack – just because we can as it’s on plan! Also, we all have those days when we jut want to eat and eat and eat – and we can, without feeling guilty on Slimming World…just don’t let these days become the norm!
The clever part about Slimming World is something that I have tried hard with, but feel that I have recently let slip a little – and this is the focus of my challenge…1/3 Superfree food. This little gem within the plan is crucial to our success, but for some people it remains a mystery. I have had so many conversations about Superfree food – in fact, if I had £1 for each time I have spoken to someone about it, I would be a very rich Weight Loss Bitch! – I have to wonder if people have actually read their books. There seems to be confusion as to why we need it and what it’s for. I was going to set about writing a huge explanation, but then remembered that a rather wonderful lady – who runs a brilliant website dedicated to Slimming World recipes; www.slimmingeats.com check it out! – has already done this, so I have decided to shamelessly plagiarise her material to give you what I think is a really sound and clear explanation as to the benefits of Superfree food…
‘Do I have to add a 1/3 superfree?
That is a question asked by many, and some of those who are used to the Original and Green plans often find it hard to understand how Extra Easy works when you are mixing the two food groups together unlimited. I am therefore, hoping this will help those who are new and old, to understand why Slimming World recommend a 1/3 super free at every meal time.
Look at this plate for instance, a big pile of bacon and tomato pasta.
All free foods on Slimming World, so I can eat all this right? Well yes you could, but if you started eating lots of meals like this at every meal time, with no superfree, you might find your losses are slow or that you are not losing weight at all. So what can I do to improve?
Well firstly you do have a little superfree added in the homemade tomato sauce, but it is nowhere near enough, so lets remove some of the bacon and tomato pasta from the plate and add a 1/3 superfree of salad.
Now doesn’t that look better? A nice healthy balanced plate.
This is why a 1/3 superfree is such a clever concept – you have naturally reduced the portion of your free foods, by adding a 1/3 superfree without the need to weigh or count calories in any of your meals. So naturally you will be eating better, eating less calories, your portion controls are managed and therefore you will naturally lose weight.
I don’t like most of the superfree foods, so what can I do?
That is a response I see very often, and it is fact that there are many people who do not like vegetables, who struggle to add the superfree to their plate. So how can you get superfree into your meal and naturally limit your portion of the free foods? Well if you do really struggle to add it to your plate, serve yourself a homemade soup made with lots of superfree foods first, or perhaps a small fruit salad and then serve your main meal on a smaller plate than what you would normally, so you are not piling it high with the other free foods.
One comment I also see all too often is to have a bowl of fruit after your meal. However this defeats the object of superfree, because chances are, once you have eaten that big plate piled high with free foods (and no or little superfree), you will either be too full to eat the fruit or will be eating extra food just for the sake of it, and of course that is not the intention of the recommended 1/3 superfree.
How can I add superfree foods to my meals?
There are many ways you can add superfree to your meals. As I mentioned before, if you struggle adding it to your plate, you can always start your meal with a bowl of soup made with lots of healthy vegetables, which will fill you up a little before eating your meal. Otherwise add superfree to your plate with things like side salads or roasted veggies or when cooking things like spaghetti bolognese, chilli, shepherds pie etc, use less meat and bulk it all out with lots of superfree vegetables. But remember – it is only un-starchy vegetables that are superfree. I see many people making the mistake of thinking sweetcorn, peas, beans, parsnips etc are superfree. They are free foods, but not superfree foods.
Examples of how you can add superfree to your meals:
add fruit to your cereals
cooked breakfast – have things like tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, spinach
bacon sandwiches are great filled with some grilled tomatoes and baby spinach
or start the day with a small bowl of fruit salad/melon before your poached egg on toast etc
add a mixed salad to your plate (things like lettuce, grapes, onion, beetroot, tomatoes, cucumber and apple are all great in salads),
add some roasted veggies to your plate (courgettes, aubergine, onion, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, beetroot are all delicious roasted)
vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and carrots, with a little stock added, some black pepper and a HEA serving of cheese and then baked in the oven is a great way to add some superfree to your plate.
replace mash/chips with things like roasted butternut squash or mashed swede/carrots or celeriac chips
make a ratatouille which is great served alongside meats/carbs
when cooking things like spaghetti bolognese, chilli, stir fries or shepherds pie etc, use less meat and bulk out with lots of vegetables (onion, courgette, carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, bean sprouts etc)
or start the meal with a bowl of superfree soup and then have a smaller plate of your main course.
So yes we can eat free foods unlimited, but within reason, because at the end of the day if you eat more than your body physically needs regardless of what healthy eating regime you are on, you will not lose weight. We should all be trying to recognise when we are satisfied and not get to the point where you feel stuffed. Something that is very hard to do, but is easier to obtain when sticking to the 1/3 superfree advice.
A good tip when preparing meals is to think superfree first and free foods after. So for instance look at what superfree you have and think what you can serve with it. Also if you can add more than a 1/3 superfree food to your plate, then even better. I sometimes have a least a half superfree on my plate, especially if it is things like roasted veggies (my favourite).’
The lovely Slimming Eats lady has also provided the following picture to stick on your fridge as a gentle nudge!
So if you think you need to cut down portion sizes, then follow the 1/3 rule to the letter, and perhaps use smaller plates or bowls for your meals…this will help control portions without you feeling deprived, and a small plate full of food is much less disheartening than a large plate that’s half empty! A little trick that I have started doing recently is to serve myself a small portion in a bowl, before serving the meal, and then putting this bowl in the fridge for later on. That way, if I really am still hungry after dinner I can have some more, but if not then I have got my lunch sorted for the following day! You really don’t miss the extra portion either – especially if it’s taken from a big pan of curry or bolognese.
Bulking up on your Superfree food really does help to fill you up too – it’s good fibre based fruit and veggies, so just fill the plate with them! If you start craving snacks, have fruit instead of using your syns…save these for those moments of relaxation when you can really enjoy them.
So then, my challenge is to ensure you eat your Superfree foods – and if you’re not a Slimming Worlder it doesn’t matter…an increase in this type of food will do you good, so try it! In order to keep track of it, I am going to keep taking pictures of everything I eat – and I suggest that you do the same…you might shock yourself! Most of us have cameras on our phones, so just take a quick snap before you start eating, and collate a daily record of your food – even if you only do it for the next couple of weeks. You could even write down your weight losses for that particular week on your food diary and start the challenge in line with your weekly weigh in…that way, you could look back on what you ate if you had a great loss and try and replicate it. You don’t have to share these pictures with anyone, but I guarantee that taking pictures of what you eat will make you more mindful of what you do eat. And when you have a good loss, you can share your food picture diary with your consultant and group for extra brownie points!
Onto the usuals then…
Following the mess of a week I was totally unprepared for Mothers Day – which is shameful considering the love and support I get from my wonderful Mum! I knew what I wanted to get for her, I just hadn’t been able to get out and get it, and as my other half doesn’t drive, it was a bit of a rush this morning to get everything sorted. So we got up early – I managed to get through the night with less pain than usual so got some sleep – grabbed breakfast and headed off to the retail park…to find it bloody closed until 11am!! So we changed the plan, headed off to the horses first and sorted them out – in the snow…hottest day of the year this week, followed by snow – only in Britain! Once they were sorted we then headed off to get the ingredients for my dinner for Mum, tried desperately to get daffodils for her – managed to get some buds, but nowhere had any that had flowered, despite trips to a number of florists – so I ended up with an Orchid and a ballon as well as the dafs, a huge purple fleecy blanket and a lovely Mediterranean scented candle for her…she’s on Slimming World too, so no chocolates! We then headed home, prepped dinner, tidied the house up, wrapped presents, grabbed a late lunch and then set about relaxing for a couple of hours whilst the slow cooker did its job. I am still rather uncomfortable with cramps – this is the eighth day now – but they are at a far more manageable pain level than they have been…so hoping they will be finished soon! Mum and her foster placement – a Mum and baby partnership – will be coming over for dinner once they have put the horses to bed for the night, and I will also be enjoying my current favourite show – Person of Interest – later on this evening.
Breakfast: Banana and a HiFi Light bar (3 syns).
Lunch: Salmon with a dill, fromage frais, tomato, cucumber and red onion salad, with my two HEB choices – wholemeal rolls.
Dinner: Chicken, aubergine and tomato tagine.
Snacks: Two packets of Snack a Jacks (9 syns…4.5 each) and four cheese slices as my two HEA choices.
I decided on an Original day today – having been given a huge side of salmon last night by my Dad, and wanting to cook a nice tagine for my Mum as her Mother’s Day treat! So that meant two HEB and HEA choices, which I must admit I rather quite like. Breakfast was just something quick before heading out this morning, and lunch was a bit of a concoction that I put a lot of effort into but then ending up throwing over half of it away! I made up the two batches with salmon and some of the salad, ate some more salad and gave the salmon to the dog…throwing the rest of the salad away. It can be so frustrating at times – the meals I put the most effort into seem to turn out not as lovely as I’d hoped, and then the stuff we end up throwing together turns out to be a lovely dish! Anyway, dinner was prepared rather last minute – a slow cooker job with the high setting on. It was a recipe taken out of my beloved Slow Cook book, with a couple of tweaks, and everyone else had it with lovely flavoured cous cous, followed by lemon soufflés – I just had a bowl of the tagine as this was syn free on Original. I will try and take a photo of the recipe and post it on Facebook later on.
Exercise: None – I am rather scared about my return to Body Magic!!
Loads of squishy hugs and happiness!
Weight Loss Bitch xxx
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