Monday, 5 December 2011

Late Halloween Post

Very overdue post yes, but I will eventually catch up with all the posts I want to cover. This one is just a brief photo post on Halloween, my complete favourite time of year. I love decorating the house, and everything that comes with Halloween, this is a selection of pictures over the Halloween week of celebrations!


Candy Apple (horrible to eat, apple was not at all fresh)



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Celebrating the wonderful Gavin's new job!



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and some living room decorations.



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As with every year I have a family party, so I spent most of the week baking for it. My piping bag burst mid frosting so this is it how the cupcakes ended up looking, not good bust tasted lovely.



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Cupcakes, macaroons, scones, oaty cookies and rock cakes (all but cupcakes low sugar and low points, a lot of diabetes in my family)



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I love my cake stands



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My cousin Thomas' pumpkin



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My brother's pumpkin



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My eye make-up


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New boots and festive tights which may be mine from when I was 15...



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For another Halloween party, this time the Saturday night, Gavin laid out the crisps like so:



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On actual Halloween the Monday both me and Gav were off work, I had a few things to do at Queens so we decided to pub crawl home!


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And then go to the waterfront to see the Addams Family (one of my all time favourites) it was brilliant. We went home and watched the sequel (remember when sequels were good?) We had a brilliant time, I can't believe it's taken me so long to upload these.


A few more photo adventures to come!


 


Sarah x

Thursday, 1 December 2011

O, Fitness Tree - 25 Days of Exercise Challenge.

It's the first of December, can you believe it? How depressing.


Anyway, this time last year I was still able to attend my weight watcher meetings every Tuesday, and my lovely leader Jackie gave us all these wee Christmas trees that we could colour in a bauble for every pound that we lost as an incentive in the run up to Christmas.


This year I'm participating in a blog challenge, a commitment to 25 Days of Exercise, starting today. Which to be fair is something I wanted to do but heck, who doesn't like a pretty tree and stickers? If you're interested check out this post http://shrinkingjeans.net/2011/11/o-fitness-tree-25-days-of-exercise/ for more information. You can download your tree from there as well, but I think I'm going to make my own tree with paint and every day do a new bauble :)


Onto the rules of the challenge, as far as I understand it's super simple. Do some form of activity every day. That's how you earn your stickers. And obviously your tree needs watered, or it will wither and die so ensure that you drink water throughout the day (something I don't actually have a problem with, it's the dedication to working out every day that gives me problems).


I won't update every day, as let's face it that would get tedious. I'll stick it to once a week, probably on a Thursday / Friday.


I need to get ready for work now, so I'll leave you with this picture, taken from when I went to England last year and got stuck there with all the snow! 



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Sarah xx

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

My (two) week(s) in review.

OK, very late post, been under a load of "life" stuff.  I am spending today organising myself. I need to sort out a nice balance. This post covers the last two weeks. (I take Wednesday as the start of my new eating week.) So starting from not this week just past, but the week before, it was a very mixed week.


Here is a snap shot of the tracked week.



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Saturday and Sunday were total write offs, awful days. Tuesday wasn't the best either. But other than that I was back to tracking which was good.


I was quite pleased with my exercise. I walked into work a few days and did my DVD.


I'm not weighing myself because I am not fretting about the numbers.


Last week was an extremely mixed week. I think I had 2 excellent days, 2 meh days and 3 very bad days. I also had the worst cold I've had in ages. Complete with ear infection which affected my balance something shocking. Pretty sure my excellent days were down to me simply not being able to swallow anything. Oh and Saturday where I had a hangover from hell (I can't be near food with a hangover, which sucked when I was in work all day).


Last week exercise was non-existent. I made the mistake of starting a work out, I felt like my lungs were going to cave in and I was going to fall over, so I just stuck to walking.


My goals for this week is to track as much of the week as I can, posting it here next week to keep myself accountable, I'm going to try and have as many filling and healthy food as possible to get me on track. I didn't track last week which was my downfall. I wish weightwatchers would make a mobile site so I could track as I go along, it would make things a lot easier. As it stands I track in a notepad on occasions, an unofficial app on my phone and the e-source tracker. That's too much. Is it any wonder I'm failing? I need to pick one method and stick to it. 


I will be weighing myself next week, hoping for a loss over the 3 weeks, if not I'll be taking my measurements again the following week so I'm sure between them both there will be something to make me smile.


Until then here's a few pictures of my food choices over the last few weeks.


Quick lunch in town. Yum yum yum (there's a theme here, I love baked potatoes)



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Lunch one day



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Dinner another



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Lunch for a few days :)



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Sarah xx

Sunday, 20 November 2011

ProPoints, changing slightly.

So I'd been hearing from many sources that pro-points was due a change. Interestingly I think a lot of people were quite happy with the prospect of this considering how anti-new-plan I remember some fellow members being.


This morning I woke with an email on my phone from weightwatchers directed me to this page http://www.weightwatchers.co.uk/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=1&art_id=54521 (opens in a new window). As most of you know I can't get to my normal Tuesday meetings any more and so on occasion go to other meetings in my area, but to be honest no one is like Jackie, my fabulous leader. So at the minute I am relying heavily on my e-source, weight watchers magazines (which I'm slowly catching up on) and my own inspirations to help me get back to goal.


When I logged into the weight watchers site earlier to try and track my day I got this image.



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So now correct me if I'm wrong but it looks like the only change is how many points you can eat in a day right? How we calculate them and all is the exact same? No matter what I know I'm going to be tracking my food as  much as I can, exercising when I can and updating here :)


 


Sarah xx

Friday, 18 November 2011

Exercise

This should have been automatically posted yesterday (Saturday), silly posterous post scheduling failed.


 


While England had an "Indian summer", here in Ireland, we had Monsoon season. And since that I've realised I've developed a bad habit - getting the bus to work. The funny thing being, with our (awful, seriously must be one of the worst in Europe) local public transport system my route into the town centre only gets two buses an hour. 15 minutes past the hour and 45 minutes past the hour. If I were to get the 45 minutes past the hour I would be late for work due to the fact the route also changed when the timetables changed and the bus leaves me on the wrong side of town. The funny thing is it only takes me 40 - 45 minutes to walk to work! So why have I been doing it? It's just been laziness. Sure some of those days the weather has been so bad I need to get the bus, but that's no more than two days a week. I'm hitting this habit on the head and walking into work. I'll get the bus home, but not walking in, I start in the afternoons so have plenty of time. As of today there is no more excuses!


As I've also mentioned before, until I get myself a full time job, gyms are of no use to me, just not in my very limited budget. But that's something I don't mind because I know I lost 60+ lbs before with weight watchers and no gym. I have my treadmill, I have my bikes, I have a few exercise games for my playstation (2, retro haha) and that's what helped me before.


However I have recently been given a challenge to follow Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I've did this DVD before and can remember enjoying it but this time I'm going to commit to it. I have that pretty l.b.d. to fit into next month! It's somewhere in the post coming to me, so when ever I get it I'll do a blog on first impressions and do a weekly update on it as well!


Talking to my sister she's going to use her copy of the DVD from the day I start it too, so hopefully the friendly competition that will brew between us can spur us on!


Hopefully with Jillian as my trainer and walking more these few pound will go away!


 


Sarah xx

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

What I eat.

I have funny eating habits. When I wake in the morning I can't eat right away. I feel ill if I do but then since joining weight watchers I know I really should be eating in the morning, especially if I'm going to be out and about as otherwise I will munch all around me come about 11.


But just because I know I should eat first thing in the morning, doesn't mean that sickly feeling will leave if I do eat so I have a weird kind of routine. I have two breakfasts.


The first is fruit and yoghurt. I simply cut up an apple and banana or melon or wee oranges and plop yoghurt on it, either a pot of the weight watchers summer fruits, which is already portioned controlled to 1pp. Or go with 0% fat greek yoghurt measure to be 1pp. And coffee of course.


Second breakfast to be fair is more at lunch time and tends to be cereal. Either shredded wheat or weetabix. I had porridge ever day last year and am still sickened of it.


Lunches vary, and this is why I'm doing this post. I did an online shop that was delivered yesterday. So this will be my lunches for the week.



  • I got a lot of vegetables to roast and have with baked potatoes (and cheese!) so that's when I'm at home and have the time to cook it.

  • I got a bag of soup veg to make an easy soup, plan on making that tonight to do the next few days. So that and a wee bit of bread. Yum yum. I can't make any other fun soups though because my blender has died :( I managed to get 13 months out of that blender, bought from Argos with a 12 month guarantee. Grrrr.

  • Garlic mushrooms done in the pan with that Fry's spray oil? and beans and toast is another lunch.

  • As is boiled egg smashed up in a cup with a touch of butter and some toast.

  • If I'm in a rush for work sometimes it's easier to just lift a tin of weight watchers soup to put in my bag.

  • I also make salads to take to work.


As for dinners I just eat what ever we're making that night, I work my points around my dinner because it's simply easier that way. Food staples are noodles, chicken, extra lean mince, spices, peppers, courgettes, aubergines, carrots, parsnips, butter nut squash, pita bread and wraps.


Snacks throughout the day is generally fruit or carrots. I also drink a lot of water and some sugar free squash.


Treats are different to snacks of course, in my house we have bars that are 3 propoints each (I actually need to double check that though) and packets of crisps that are 2 propoints a packet.


I generally don't like to drink points. I've always drank black tea and coffee so it's not like I'm being stingy with my points, not giving it for milk haha. The one exception is my hot chocolate. I am a total chocolate addict and I'm finding recently in the evening this is what I want more rather than my bar of chocolate. So the best type I've found for the lowest amount of points is Aero's Instant bubbly hot chocolate, it's made with water and is 3 pro points per serving. But it's worth it. It's lovely and frothy and perfect for miserable evenings.


So, you've basically just had a glimpse in my cupboard for the week! As I said in my early entry today I'm going to be tracking religiously this week. I'm hoping to be able to screen grab my week and put it up here to keep myself right.


I'll do a post in the next few days about my exercise routine, along with a photo entry on what I've been up to. And I've put my plan week on weight watchers esource back to week 1.


I'll leave you with a picture of the dessert I had when on date night with Gavin a week or two back. Yum!



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Sarah xx

Back on the Wagon!

As of this morning. I am back pointing everything I eat and tracking it religiously on the site. I have a dress I want to wear for my graduation on the 15th December and at the minute it's a bit too tight for my liking!


I have a plan of what I'm eating today and over the next week, I'll stick that into a post later, I'll also make a post of my exercise routine by the weekend and then a general update on my life too.


I just wanted to do this this morning to let you know what's up with me.


Sarah xx


 


Oh, and random picture because you all know I love it, Tea break in work. Coffee and a Tunnock's tea cake!



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Friday, 14 October 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

I get a lot of emails from people, so I decided to make up a FAQ page so I'm not answering the same questions over and over again (which to be fair are answered time and time again throughout the blog)

Who are you?
I am Sarah / Sazz. I'm 20 something and Irish. I live with my boyfriend Gavin and have just finished my Masters in Queens University Belfast. I work in retail though hope to find something to complement my qualifications soon. You can find out more about me here in my about page, or more about my personal history here on my post about my weightwatchers journey to date / my goal post.

What weight loss plans have you followed?
Although I currently follow weight watchers I have tried a number of other plans to lose weight. Only weight watchers has worked for me. I believe this is for two reasons.

  1. I actually wanted to lose weight this time, I wanted to lose weight for good. To be successful at weight loss I believe you need to actively want to do it, for yourself.
  2. I chose weight watchers because it is a healthy way to lose weight, the weekly meetings provided much needed support, the plan itself is mentally healthy, addressing behaviours with food and promoting 'a little bit of what you fancy', allowing me not to cut out any particular foods (because I would have craved them) and most importantly, introducing portion control. I have tried other systems that did not promote portion control and I had gained weight because I do eat healthy food, I just ate and drank too much.

I generally don't mention the other plans that have failed for me in this blog for a number of reasons, the biggest being just because it didn't work for me, does not mean it doesn't work. For me I wanted to use the healthiest option out there and for me that was weight watchers. Note that I stress for me.

When did you join weight watchers?
I joined weight watchers in March 2010. This blog started around that time to document my progress with weight watchers but since then has just became my place to talk about weight, university, clothes, holidays, really just whatever I want. I don't like pigeon-holing it into one particular thing. 

How much weight did you lose?
I lost 60lbs with the weight watchers discover plan. I have since moved to the weight watchers pro-points plan

How long did it take you?
It took me 8 months to lose my 60lbs. This included a few months of a plateau.

How do you keep motivated?
This is a tough one. Because I know I can be very positive for this blog, but I am not always very motivated. As I write this post I am up in weight and finding it difficult to get back into the swing of weight watchers. I find losing weight much easier than maintaining it. I think that is why this blog is so important to my success with weight watchers, it keeps me accountable and allows me to organise my thoughts and feelings. A lot of different things keep me motivated, I suppose the biggest being my own success and the success of friends and family.

How can I talk to you?
I have a contact page, that has everything you need to get in contact, again, if you add me on twitter, please do interact. I have no time for internet drama, or any type of drama, I have had women old enough to be my mother complain I do not follow them back when they never interacted with me in the first place. It's embarrassing, so please do follow and interact, otherwise I will think you are just another one of the silly spam / businesses that follow me.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Ending a Chapter

I've been very neglectful of this blog haven't I? I think it's because I've been very neglectful of myself. I'm not going to rhyme off everything that I have done that's been pretty bad over the last few months because that will put me into a negative frame of mind and I know I can fix this. I have the tools, both physical and mental to put myself back on track and lose the weight I have put on. I just need to focus.


Having finished my masters I have no courses to do this year. For the first time in 20 years I'm taking a bit of a break from education. Only for a year, but all the same a break is a break. A massive chapter of my life is ending (for now anyway) and I want to make sure that with whatever I do next, I'm both physically and mentally healthy for it.


So that is why I am committing myself to this blog. I will post an update every week, possibly more seeing as I spend my time writing and now I have no university to distract me.


I am returning to looking my weeks, setting challenges and goals for myself and sticking to them, as for this week, I'm boiling down to the basics I know to work.



  1. Planning. It's key to my success when I feel the way I do. I need to be organised, so yesterday I did a huge online shop and have mapped out meal ideas for the week.

  2. Tracking. There's not much I wish that weight watchers would change, but I wish to what ever deity you choose that they would roll out proper support to those not using iphones. The official weight watchers app will not work on my android phone, it won't even download, and there is no mobile site. It's stupid. Especially considering I'm an online subscriber and one of their selling points is an android app calculator. So I have downloaded an unofficial app so I can track all the time (you can find that app here if you're interested), I hope to write up my points every evening into the official site. For me I need to track to keep myself in check. And I hope to track at least 5 days this week, moving into 7 days as a more long term goal.

  3. Moving More. I did originally have plans to join a gym this month. But I simply do not have the money to commit to that. This annoyed me for a bit, until I realised, I lost pretty much four and a half stone without joining a gym. I can lose this without a gym. I dug out my old trackers and checked out what exercise I was doing in the run up to my goal and over the next four weeks I hope to incorporate that routine back into my schedule.


So to clarify, this weeks aims:



  • Plan my weeks menus (done already)

  • Track at least 5 days this week, sticking to my daily allowance of 29 points and making use of my weekly allowance if needed.

  • Walk to work at least 3 out of the 5 days I'm in and at least 1 "proper" workout. Tracking my activity too.


I will not beat myself up about it if I fail any of these goals, just accept it, move on and start again.


I am also not looking at the scales. For me this is more than just a number on a scale, it's about how I feel.Focusing on the healthy things like my food, exercise and water intakes will allow the number to go down. I want my focus to be on health and not numbers. This worked well for me last time.


I've also did a bit of a crash revision course on my folder from my meeting (which I haven't been attending and don't think I will for another while yet) to get my mind back on track,


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and I still have 2 of the weight watchers magazines to catch up on (3 if you include the November copy which hasn't shown up yet, if anyone reading this has received theirs can you tell me? Since renewing my subscription none are showing up on time / to the correct place.


So that's that, next week I'll post saying how I've got along and create new mini goals.



Monday, 3 October 2011

Long Weekend in Enniskillen

We've obviously travelled a lot in the last year so couldn't afford anything big this year, so rented a cottage in Enniskillen overlooking the lakes for our anniversary. All I did that weekend was drive and eat. It was a brilliant weekend, a nice wee change. Here's a selection of my photo.


The cottage had an open fire which we had great fun with (our house has an open fire too, but if we light it the smoke backs up into the dining room, so this was a fun novelty)



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We took a wee spin into Enniskillen and got some pictures



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And got soaked but I had my old lady bonnet (too windy for umbrella)


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Visited some castles


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The path from our cottage led to this wee jetty.



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I had some coke that looked like Guinness.


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The view from our open plan kitchen / dining room / livingroom


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Went to a driving range, never done this before, I'm awesome at mini-golf but this was new. I loved it.



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Also went to the marble arch caves, it's been years since I was last there, it was still just as interesting. Meet some stalactites.



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And a view from a picnic area near the caves.



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At Enniskillen castle I found a huge cannon. As an Arsenal FC supporter I tend to have a lot of pictures of me and cannons...



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It was a fantastic weekend. I wish I could do it over again.


Currently drafting a new post, talking more about weight and plans for getting back on track. I've missed blogging.


Sarah xx

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Long Overdue post

I've had a few emails from various people wondering what on earth has happened to me. Did I explode out of stress?


Well I can tell you all that I'm grand, I did explode in a ball of stress, a few times, but uni is all over, I've handed in my Masters and now I'm playing the waiting game, hoping that it will all pay off and I will actually graduate.


That was the 15th of September, it is now the 2nd October, what have I done I hear you ask? Well to be honest, not that much. I feel like I need to rest, mentally I am shattered after that last few weeks, even now and I've really just spent the last few weeks tidying my house (therapeutic though I've still loads more to do), catching up with reading for fun, chilling out watching my favourite TV shows, and I went away for a long weekend for me and the wonderful Gavin's 5th anniversary.


I have been a little sickened of writing so I needed a few weeks break from that. But overall I think I'm good. I have a few wee projects to do for fun, doing some non-blog writing and then of course working my day job. Hoping for a full-time job in the coming months and some afternoon classes somewhere to keep the mind busy too.


It's been a very weird adjusting period, not having something to research. It's going to be a fun gap year.


Anyway, a post isn't a post from me without photos, so here's a select few of the last month or so.


One Tuesday evening I drove my sister to Bangor to see The Script, me and Gav had dinner in pizzahut and ice cream by the promanade



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On the day I handed my dissertation in Gav took a half day from work, while I waited for him to  get out I went to one of my favourite places in Belfast, Botanic. I spent a good time in the main house and then headed to the Rose Garden



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And then there was tea.


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A few weekends ago my good friend Linzi appeared at my house with a three bottles of wine. The genius lady.


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About 12/1am we then wanted Domino's, those of you in my facebook feed then probably seen the following pics.


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AWESOME evening had.