Monday, 28 January 2013

Week 4; A Day In The Life of You

This week (21st Jan) I've been challenged by Weight Watchers to show how I track and make my routines and places work for me.

I know how important discipline is when I'm watching my ProPoints on a daily basis. If somebody offers me a plate of biscuits, I either refuse one, or if I know I have the points I'll look for the one with the lowest ProPoints value.

In order to have a 'balanced' diet, as we're constantly reminded to do, I think it's important to cut back on calorific food sometimes. It's easy enough to feel you need to reward yourself, weren't we rewarded with a sweet treat when we'd been well behaved as a child? "I've had a hard day at work and I've got a cold, I deserve a takeaway", "my head hurts I deserve a chocolate cake" and "this week has been tough, I'll open a bottle of wine". I think we can all say we're guilty of doing this from time to time. One thing I've found really helpful is to plan my ProPoints for the week, that way I don't tend to stray too far from them. Or if my husband suggests a takeaway I can look back at what I've planned to have and see if I have any weekly ProPoints that can take a hit!



This week I've been snowed in! We've had 7 days of constant snow and it's now so deep I can't get my car up the driveway without my Dad towing it up with his 4x4. So I can't really say I've been too affected by an overloaded environment in the sense that I can reach out and grab chocolate and pay for it within minutes.

What I have noticed however is how the foods I see on the television affect my hunger! This week my Mum and I have been watching "Great British Bake Off: Celebrity Comic Relief".



Now she hates sweet food; chocolate, cakes, biscuits (and the word hate is not an understatement). However even though we'd both eaten our dinner and felt satisfied, an hour later and whilst watching the programme the two of us found ourselves craving sweet food! I sat there saying "that's hedonic hunger for you!" My Mum usually fancies a biscuit once a month! So it really drew my attention to the fact that we'd both been driven by the sight of the food we saw on the television. My Weight Watchers app came in very useful as I found myself reaching for the biscuits! Luckily I had a number of Weight Watchers products to choose from and gave in to a rich toffee bar for 2 ProPoints and an After Eight Mint for 1 ProPoint.



The trouble with sweet treats and hedonic hunger is that it's usually something that catches you off guard. I was recently in Reading and as always when I'm in a city I like to visit Starbucks. My nearest Starbucks is about 70 miles away from where I live, so it's a city treat (weird I know!)



So there I am faced with the sugar laden coffee's and brownie/muffins on offer. But I chose not to look up or down, look straight ahead at the cashier and order a cup of tea. My treat was to have soya milk instead of dairy milk. Now and then I do like a change, so for me that was my "treat". I felt so smug and proud of myself as I sat with my soya tea! Of course I could have been heavenly and had a Peppermint, but I'd have felt a bit deprived!

This week my "space" has been the house and the house alone! Hugo (the dog) and I are getting a little cabin sick and we both want to get out for a walk! One good thing about this cold weather is the delicious soups and casseroles I can make. I tend to prefer a nice hot soup to a cold salad in this weather!


Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Beef Mince Casserole

Butternut Squash Soup & Twitter!

Chicken, rice & vegetable salad


Weight Watchers Ham Salad Sandwich

My routines this week have been to make sure I get PLENTY of sleep! I've somehow got into the habit of going to bed really late and waking up early, ultimately I feel tired all day! I find when I'm feeling tired I tend to reach for high calorie foods like biscuits. I'm feeling so much more alert and energetic since introducing this into my routines. Another contribution to this could be that I'm drinking a lot more water. I find this rather difficult however with the weather being so cold (although I am aware I could drink it warm). But what I've noticed is if I have a full glass of water next to me it's gone in no time! I'm surprised when I reach for an empty glass!

Next week I'm aiming to walk a lot more, it will benefit Hugo immensely too. Since his operation he's in need of regular walks.



I wanted to walk him this week, but I've had to clear areas of snow for him to walk on. He kept slipping over, which after his spinal surgery is not good! So unless I was prepared to clear the pavements of snow, we didn't dare. Luckily Mum & Dad have a few acres for him to wonder around and there's no chance of him escaping either because it's all fenced off. Hugo and I will get some fresh air & improve our exercise regime together!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Week 3; Shake up your mornings

So this week (14th Jan) I've been challenged by Weight Watchers to make sure that I'm eating a healthy breakfast every morning.

Well, that's one thing I know I have well and truly 'in the bag!' Breakfast is my ABSOLUTE favourite meal of the day! I pine for my breakfast if I don't get it, if I wake up late I still make sure I have my breakfast, even if it's lunch time! I must admit, I rarely get to wake up at lunch time, but even as a student my breakfast was always essential.

I think my love of breakfast stems from my Dad. Every morning without fail he'll have a big bowl of cereal topped with granola. I've grown up watching this behaviour and thus have developed a love of this most special meal of the day! I wake every morning yearning for my breakfast fix!

I do have my favourites though, which I tend to stick to until I get sick of them, then I'll pick something else to have every morning and so on. I've gone back to porridge after a brief spell of not eating it. Here's a selection of some of my favs;

Porridge (oatmeal) is a regular of mine, I try to switch it up by having different toppings;

Porridge (3PP) & Semi skimmed milk 142ml (2PP) = 5 ProPoints
Banana = 0 ProPoints
Blueberries = 0 ProPoints
Apple = 0 ProPoints
1 Tbsp Raisins = 2 ProPoints

I've started eating a Quark pancake regularly which consists of; 1 Tbsp Quark, 1 Tbsp oatbran and 1 egg white. This can be topped with banana, blueberries, apple, yogurt, honey - here's a few I've had in the past;

Quark pancake = 3 ProPoints
Banana = 0 ProPoints
Blueberries = 0 ProPoints
Apple = 0 ProPoints

On the rare occasion that I don't fancy either of the above, I like to have cereal with a variety of toppings;

30g Branflakes (3PP) & 142ml semi skimmed milk (2PP)  = 5 ProPoints
2 x Weetabix (4PP) & 142ml semi skimmed milk (2PP)  = 6 ProPoints
30g Cheerios (3PP) & 142ml semi skimmed milk (2PP) = 5 ProPoints
1 Tbsp Raisins = 2 ProPoints

Whenever I visit America I love to visit Denny's because they serve breakfast ALL DAY! If it were socially acceptable I'd have breakfast for every meal of the day (wow, I really do love my breakkie!)

Here's a few of the treats that I like to have occasionally;

Scrambled Eggs (4PP) & Wholemeal Bread (2PP) & Butter (1PP) & Diet Fanta (0PP) = 7 ProPoints
Weight Watchers Bagel (4PP) & 30g Wafer thin Ham (1PP) & Butter (1pp) = 6 ProPoints
1 x Toasted Teacakes (5PP) & lots of Butter (2PP) = 7 ProPoints
Wholemeal Bread (2PP) & Butter (1PP), 2 x Bacon (2PP) & 1 x scrambled egg (2PP) = 7 ProPoints

On the even more odd occasion that I wake up with a hangover, the pictures below illustrate some of the breakfasts that have (in my mind) pulled me through!


Generally hangovers cause you (me) to crave "stodge" to soak up the alcohol as it were! I know full well it isn't but that's how the saying goes! Bacon & sausages generally find their way onto my suffering plate!

There are huge benefits to starting your day with a healthy breakfast. For one you're kick starting your metabolism! You can't run a car without petrol, just like you need a healthy breakfast to get your body running on energy and burning calories. By getting a decent breakfast in you're also less likely to pick at calorie laden food later on in the day. Without breakfast, suddenly a packet of crisps and a chocolate bar mid afternoon look very appealing!

Breakfast doesn't need to take a long time to prepare, there are many ways to speed up the process for the morning. If your favourite breakky is porridge, you can buy a box of individual porridge sachets (reducing the need to measure). Another thing I do if I know I'll be in a hurry in the morning is to measure out my porridge in a bowl, add water/milk and leave it covered until the morning. The porridge oats soak up the liquid and bulk out, so all you have to do is warm it in the microwave or in a pan.

If you're preparing your lunch the night before, why not prepare your breakfast too so you can grab them both and run? Don't think you have time in the morning for breakfast? Another thing you can do is set your alarm a little earlier (you could go to bed a little earlier also). Even if you just grab a banana it's better than nothing!

Research shows us that we make 200 food decisions on a daily basis. However we're only conscious of around 15-20 of them! So when you're walking past Starbucks, Costa, Pret, McDonald's, KFC and the office vending machine on your way to work, unconsciously you're rejecting the foods these places represent in your mind.
Consciously however you may be aware of the decision to choose a ham salad sandwich for lunch over a plate of fish & chips in the office canteen.

It's when you feel a hunger pang and hear your tummy rumble that you may not have the willpower to reject the offer of a homemade cupcake. With breakfast in your tummy you may fair better when faced with temptation.

The new face of Weight Watchers online & app include a tool called 'routines'. There is a routine that you can select as part of your week for having breakfast. For everyday that you succeed in doing so, you tick the routine to say that you've done it. Why not challenge yourself to have breakfast every morning for a week? After 7 days you may get into the swing of it and you never know, it could become your newest routine!

I hope I've inspired some non-breakfast eaters to give it a go! You know come the morning, I'll be munching on my brekky!

Lots of love,

Francesca. x

Monday, 7 January 2013

Week 2; Plan Your Meals

So this week (7th Jan 2013) I have been challenged by Weight Watchers to 'plan my meals'.

Now I completely and utterly believe that for me I have success when I PREPARE! To twist the words of Tony Blair prior to being elected "Preparation, preparation, preparation!" Whenever I do well it's because I have filling & healthy food in the fridge & cupboards & I'm fully ready for any eventuality. It fills me with a sense of confidence (because I know I'm in control) and it feels great to be uber organised!

This week I plan to have one or two different types of breakfast (my favourite meal of the day!) Lunches will mostly consist of soups/salads and dinners will vary.

When planning my daily meals/snacks I like to make sure I'm getting my 5 a day, so count fruit & veg to make sure.

Monday 7th Jan

Breakfast; Porridge oats (3PP), semi skimmed milk (2PP) & banana (0PP) = 5 ProPoints 

Lunch; Ham salad = 2 x slices ham (2PP), lettuce, rocket, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, radish - all (0PP), Tesco salad dressing (0PP) = 2 ProPoints

Dinner; Wholewheat pasta (6PP), vegetables (0PP), 1 x chicken breast (4PP) & tinned chopped tomato sauce = 10 ProPoints

Snacks; 1 x Chocolate digestives (2PP), 2 x Snack a Jacks BBQ rice cakes (2PP)1 x Apple (0PP) & 1 x Tbsp crunchy peanut butter (3PP), 1 x After Eight mint (1PP) = 8 ProPoints

Other; I count 1 ProPoint for 50ml of semi skimmed milk that I take in my tea daily

TOTAL: 26 ProPoints (26 daily and 0 weekly)

Tuesday 8th Jan

Breakfast; Branflakes (3PP), semi skimmed milk (2PP) & handful of blueberries (0PP) = 5 ProPoints

Lunch; Butternut squash soup - butternut squash (0PP), carrots (0PP), onion (0PP), red pepper (0PP), 1 cube vegetable stock (1PP), 1 x slice of unbuttered Weight Watchers malted danish bread (1PP) = 2 ProPoints

Dinner; Chilli con carne - lean mince beef, onion, garlic, chopped canned tomatoes, canned kidney beans, brown rice, fat free yogurt, red pepper, chilli powder = 13 ProPoints

Snacks; Weight Watchers Rich Toffee Bar (2PP), Weight Watchers Hot Chocolate sachet (1PP), 2 x Quorn Mini Savoury Egg (like scotch eggs) (3PP), 1 x banana (0PP) = 6 ProPoints

Other; I count 1 ProPoint for 50ml of semi skimmed milk that I take in my tea daily

TOTAL: 27 ProPoints (26 daily and 1 weekly)

Wednesday 9th Jan

Breakfast; Quark pancake = 1 x Tbsp Quark (1PP), 1 x Egg White (0PP), 1 x Tbsp Oat Bran (2PP)  & banana (0PP) = 3 ProPoints

Lunch; Butternut squash soup - butternut squash (0PP), carrots (0PP), onion (0PP), red pepper (0PP), 1 cube vegetable stock (1PP), 1 x slice of unbuttered Weight Watchers malted danish bread (1PP) 2 ProPoints

Dinner; Chicken curry with no rice (8PP) & Weight Watchers mini naan (3PP), 1 x red wine (3PP) = 14 ProPoints

Snacks; 2 x Quorn Mini Savoury Egg (like scotch eggs) (3PP), 1 x Apple (0PP) & 1 x Tbsp crunchy peanut butter (3PP) = 6 ProPoints

Other; I count 1 ProPoint for 50ml of semi skimmed milk that I take in my tea daily

TOTAL: 26 ProPoints (26 daily and 0 weekly)

Thursday 10th Jan - in London attending a Weight Watchers event

Breakfast; Porridge oats (3PP), semi skimmed milk (2PP) & banana (0PP) = 5 ProPoints
I want to make sure I get a filling & warm breakfast because it's an early start and it's going to be cold!

Lunch; The event is for Weight Watchers so I know everything will be pointed, I'm allowing 12 ProPoints (if I go over I'll dip into my weekly points)
I had Weight Watchers chilli con carne taster (4PP), 2 x glasses Weight Watchers rose wine (6PP), 1 x Weight Watchers double chocolate muffin (5PP) = 15 ProPoints

Dinner; Quorn Beef Stir fry - Quorn beef strips (1PP), brocelli/mushrooms/ginger/chilli/carrot/spring onion - all (0PP), egg noodles (4PP), oyster sauce (1PP) = 6 ProPoints

Snacks; 1 x Apple (0PP) & 1 x Weight Watchers Jaffa mini roll (2PP) (I'll pack these for the train journey) = 2 ProPoints

Other; I count 1 ProPoint for 50ml of semi skimmed milk that I take in my tea daily

TOTAL: 29 ProPoints (26 daily and 3 weekly)

Friday 11th Jan - Hugo's Birthday!

Breakfast; Porridge oats (3PP), semi skimmed milk (2PP) & apple (0PP) = 5 ProPoints

Lunch; Mushroom soup - mushrooms (0PP), red onion (0PP), garlic (0PP), fresh thyme (0PP), 1 x chicken stock cube (1PP) & 2 x slice of unbuttered Weight Watchers malted danish bread (3PP) & 2 x glasses white wine (6PP) = 10 ProPoints

Dinner; Sweet Potato Risotto = 8 ProPoints

Snacks; 1 x Apple (0PP) & 1 x Tbsp crunchy peanut butter (3PP), Weight Watchers Hot Chocolate sachet (1PP), 1 x After Eight mint (1PP) = 5 ProPoints

Other; I count 1 ProPoint for 50ml of semi skimmed milk that I take in my tea daily

TOTAL: 29 ProPoints (26 daily and 3 weekly)

Saturday 12th Jan

Breakfast; 2 x Weight Watchers sausages (3PP) & cooked chopped tomatoes (from a tin) (0PP) & 3 x Quorn Mini Savoury Egg (like scotch eggs) (4PP) = 7 ProPoints

Lunch; Mushroom soup - mushrooms (0PP), red onion (0PP), garlic (0PP), fresh thyme (0PP), 1 x chicken stock cube (1PP) & 2 x slice of unbuttered Weight Watchers malted danish bread (3PP) = 4 ProPoints

Dinner; M&S chinese chicken & cashews (9PP) = 9 ProPoints

Snacks; 1 x banana (0PP), 1 x Weight Watchers Rich Toffee Bar (2PP)  1 x Tbsp crunchy peanut butter (3PP) = 5 ProPoints

Other; I count 1 ProPoint for 50ml of semi skimmed milk that I take in my tea daily

TOTAL: 26 ProPoints (26 daily and 0 weekly)

Sunday 13th Jan

Breakfast; Full English! 2 x bacon (2PP), 2 x Weight Watchers cumberland sausages (3PP), 1 x poached Egg (2PP), mushrooms (0PP), 1 x tomato (0PP) = 7 ProPoints

Lunch; Chicken dinner - 2 x slices roast chicken (3PP), 3 x roast potatoes (6PP), carrots (0PP), peas (0PP), gravy (1PP), 2 x glasses of red wine (6PP) = 16 ProPoints

Pudding; Tesco Sticky Toffee Pudding (8PP) = ProPoints

Dinner; I don't expect to eat again after Sunday roast & pudding because I usually have a nap and a cup of tea!

Snacks; 1 x apple (0PP), 1 x banana (0PP) = 0 ProPoints

Other; I count 1 ProPoint for 50ml of semi skimmed milk that I take in my tea daily

TOTAL: 32 ProPoints (26 daily and 6 weekly)

Total for the week; All 26 daily ProPoints used plus 13 weekly ProPoints

I found a really helpful link to Weight Watchers 7 day meal planners (great if you're looking for inspiration). Plus they have a vegetarian & meals for one planners too!
Link;
http://www.weightwatchers.co.uk/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=1&art_id=57481

Hope you're having a great week!

Francesca. x

Monday, 31 December 2012

Week 1; What's in my fridge?

Hey, hey!

I'm happy to announce that I have been made Weight Watchers Blog Ambassador for 2013. As a result Weight Watchers are setting weekly challenges for me to vlog/blog about to help keep me on track.

This week's challenge is to sort my fridge and show you all the contents. As I'm staying at my parents' house at present (whilst ours is renovated) so it's their fridge!


I'm really fortunate that my Mum always has a huge stock of healthy fruit and veggies! She never buys chocolate or cakes, she's one of those people who genuinely dislikes anything sweet - wish I inherited that gene!

Here's the video which I created showing you all the contents of the fridge;


If you're not familiar with my YouTube channel, check it out; www.YouTube.com/MissWeightWatchers

Monday, 29 October 2012

Product Review; Weight Watchers Fruit Crumble Biscuits Apple, Apricot & Peach

At only 90 calories each and in a pack of 6 these biscuits look very different to any snack that I have tried before.  Upon opening the 2 ProPoint snack I can predominantly smell the sweet smell of apricot.  The picture on the front of the packet looks very appealing and I must say the biscuit actually looks a lot like the picture.


I'm very impressed with the packaging; the box is compact and once opened, the biscuits are individually wrapped and neatly sat next to one another.  The box can be closed shut and stored away easily.  With them being individually wrapped they're convenient for on the go or to be popped into your lunch box.


The fruit crumble biscuits are described as "apple, apricot and peach jam on a crumbly biscuit base, topped with crunchy flakes."  The base tastes and looks very much like a mix between a pastry and a biscuit. The jam is just that, like a set fruity jam.


I can predominantly taste apricot, a little peach and I would never have known that it contained apple had it not been written on the packet.  On the whole it's one big fruity blend in a jam like consistency.  I'm not a fan of chewy sweets that get caught in my teeth and due to the sticky nature of this snack with every mouthful I'm trying to peel it off my teeth with my tongue.

If I reach for a snack, it's usually chocolate based.  I probably wouldn't have picked these off the supermarket shelf in the first place and I doubt I'll be buying them in the future.  That opinion is based on my own preference.  For someone who likes a fruity biscuity snack, then this could well be a repeat purchase.

*Allergy Advice - Milk, Soya, Wheat and Gluten.
*Warnings - Produced in a factory handling eggs, nuts & peanuts.
* I can see that these are available for sale at Sainsbury's for £1.80. £1.99 at Tesco and £2.00 at ASDA (price as of 29th October 2012).

*Please note that there is no cash payment for my reviews. I have been given 6 months' membership to Weight Watchers Online and receive monthly hampers in return for my honest reviews, all opinions expressed are my own.


YouTube Channel; www.YouTube.com/MissWeightWatchers

Product Review; Weight Watchers Sicilian Lemon & Elderflower Cordial

Now I'm not the sort of person who MUST have cordial to enjoy a glass of water, unlike my husband. But I do know of many people who really dislike the taste of tap water.

Weight Watchers have obviously identified that there are many people out there who are discouraged from drinking lots of water (as they advise us to do). However some cordials are full of sugar, so how are we to choose one that will not de-rail our ProPoint tracking? I'm guessing that's where Weight Watchers come in!

This 1 litre cordial is 0 ProPoints per 250ml diluted (music to many people's ears) and described as "a premium cordial made with real fruit juice."  I find that some cordials taste predominantly of sugar, which for me is off putting because firstly I'm left worrying about the effect on my teeth and secondly about the effect on my ProPoints tracking.


I'm pleased to say that this cordial doesn't have a 'sugary' taste and is very refreshing.  An ideal drink for a hot summers day (which is a shame as I'm only trying it for the first time now).

The cordial comes with the following promise; that it is made with Sicilian lemons, is low calorie and has no added sugar; with only naturally occurring sugars.  Looking at the nutritional information a 250ml serving (diluted) contains only 3 calories.

I've been staying at my parents' house (whilst my house is being renovated) and they cannot stand their tap water, always opting for sparkling bottled water instead. So I thought I'd try mix the Weight Watchers cordial with the sparkling water (still 0 ProPoints) and I was very impressed with the outcome!  What is it about bubbles that makes a drink feel even more special?!  The taste is very similar to that of "Shloer White Grape and Elderflower" except the Weight Watchers cordial has a lemon taste, not grape.


I really like the taste of this cordial and both my husband and parents are always reaching for it (hence why the level is so low already!) I will absolutely be purchasing this in the future. It's comforting to know that if I fancy some flavour in my water, then I don't have to worry about the effect on my tracking.  The fact that my husband likes it indicates to me that it doesn't taste "low fat" or like a "diet" drink. You could easily serve this up to family and friends and they'd be oblivious to the fact that it is Weight Watchers.

*Preparation Instructions; Dilute one part cordial to four parts water. Add extra water for toddlers.
* I can only see that these are available for sale on offer at Tesco for £1.00 until 4th December 2012 and £1.39 at ASDA and Sainsbury's. Rising to £1.69 at Waitrose (price as of 29th October 2012).


*Please note that there is no cash payment for my reviews. I have been given 6 months' membership to Weight Watchers Online and receive monthly hampers in return for my honest reviews, all opinions expressed are my own.

YouTube Channel; www.YouTube.com/MissWeightWatchers

Product Review; Weight Watchers Blueberry Slices

My next review is of the Weight Watchers Blueberry Slices;

I'm a big fan of Weight Watchers slices, in the past I've bought various flavours including; carrot, lemon and caramel shortcake.  Unlike the two products I reviewed prior to this they are not individually wrapped.  I've found myself trying to store the opened packet in the cupboard ensuring that they're as closed off as possible.  With it being cake, oxygen will make them go stale.  It's not very easy to do, but I've tried to wedge the box shut.


The smell of blueberries is very apparent not only when I first opened the packet, but every time I open the cupboard door having stored them in there!  I'm a big fan of blueberries so that's fine by me, if I choose a muffin, it's usually a blueberry muffin!

The product is described as "made with real blueberries and topped with a layer of sweet icing."  Sold in packs of 5 and at only 2 ProPoints per slice, they serve as a great accompaniment to a cup of tea, or as a pudding.  In the past I have served a slice in a bowl with Weight Watchers Instant Custard Mix at 3 ProPoints.  A great filling pudding for 5 ProPoints in total.


I'm happy to say that the picture illustrated on the front of the packet is reflective of the real product that you get.  The cake is dense and quite heavy (not what you would expect from a light/diet slice) which makes me feel satisfied and like I've spent my 2 ProPoints well.  The layer of icing is complementary to the taste, not too thick and overpowering and not too thin that it's almost not worth it.  The taste of blueberry is apparent throughout, not just when you find a piece of blueberry.

If you were to serve these up for friends, I doubt that they would ever know that they were "diet" or "low fat".


On the whole these blueberry slices are very nice and I will most definitely be purchasing them in the future.  A guilt free alternative to a blueberry muffin and equally as delicious!

*Allergy Advice - Eggs and Wheat Gluten.
*Warnings - Produced in a factory handling nuts.
* I can only see that these are available for sale on offer at Tesco for £1.00 until 5th November 2012 (price as of 29th October 2012).


*Please note that there is no cash payment for my reviews. I have been given 6 months' membership to Weight Watchers Online and receive monthly hampers in return for my honest reviews, all opinions expressed are my own.

YouTube Channel; www.YouTube.com/MissWeightWatchers