Monday, 2 October 2017

Step in the right direction


Another 1.25lbs lost this week so I'm definitely heading in the right direction. I'm especially pleased as this was without any workouts and mentally it was quite a tough week.

Work was so manic and I got a cold so although I tried to walk more, I passed on anything more strenuous. Mentally I just felt quite low and my thoughts turned to comfort food, as usual. I'm waiting for some St Johns Wort to arrive in the post so hopefully that will give me a boost. I want to do a post soon about supplements. I'm a great believer in herbal supplements and there are a few that really help me so I will tell you all about them soon.

If you follow my Instagram then you will have seen that I've been enjoying cooking lately.



Giving greater thought to my dinners and trying to make sure they look attractive as well as taste good has really helped me.


The week ahead will be more of the same. I'm planning to experiment with a few recipes including some vegan ones. I may, if this cold goes away, even go for a run or two.

Hope you all have a great week

Speak to you soon


Love Erica xxx
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Monday, 25 September 2017

First week back on track


Well, I made it through the first week back on weight watchers and I'm delighted with a 3.75 lbs loss. It's actually been a lot better than I expected. I've gone back to fruit smoothies for breakfast with my trusty Nutribullet and stuck to low calorie of fruit snacks. For dinners I've tried to keep it simple and that's definitely worked. If you follow my Instagram then you will have seen that I'm a huge fan of Jamie Oliver's new book and I highly recommend it if you are looking for quick healthy and nutritious meals. The super green pasta was particularly good!


I haven't exercised much but I have tried to walk more. Work is still hectic so I didn't want to try and pack too much in as I already felt quite stressed. Will probably start to build workouts into my routine next week.

Speak to you soon



Love Erica xxx
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Monday, 18 September 2017

Starting Over



Hi there,  I'm now back to trying to sort myself out properly. The summer is over and although my financial times situation hasn't really improved dramatically, I'm now in a better place mentally to try and concentrate on me. I've also accepted that for me, this will be a life long battle. I'm cross with myself for undoing a lot of my previous good work but I'm trying to learn from what happened.

I think firstly I got complacent. I felt good, I'd lost a lot of weight so I stopped putting the work in. This led to the odd bit of cheating and telling myself that a bar of chocolate wouldn't hurt. Everything then snowballed this summer. I was working all hours, getting about five hours sleep per night and solo parenting with no money to spare and no free time. I also catapulted into menopause which hasn't been pleasant. I hit my 50th birthday and it was like a switch turned off in my body. I didn't expect to be so effected by it so suddenly and it was just another thing that crushed me really. My anxiety and depression came back and I was incredibly low.

I could feel this happening but at the time I didn't have the mental strength to pull myself out of it. So now it's back to the drawing board. I'm going back on weight watchers. Yes, I know it can be restrictive but I think I need that structure and routine. Thankfully I have stopped before I had put back all the weight I lost but it's still not good!



So everything starts today and you will be hearing a lot more from me now!

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx
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Sunday, 2 July 2017

A bad relapse but I'm on my way back



Hi, I know I disappeared for a bit. Basically I didn't just fall off my diet, I swandived off it into as much food as I could cram into my mouth. I'm not making excuses for something that I'm really disappointed in having done but I've tried to look at the reasons why in the hope that by understanding that, I will stop myself from repeating it.

It was a bit like a domino effect really. My finances hit a major sticky point. I struggle anyway but this was a case of not having enough to pay some bills or put food on the table. Every spare minute was spent working so I didn't exercise at all. My moods got worse and I felt anxious, tearful and depressed most of the time. I was getting no endorphins from exercise and I couldn't afford the St. John's Wort that usually helps me through times like this. Instead I turned to food. Depression plus the fact that I was working so much and getting less sleep meant that I turned to sugary crap basically to try and lift my mood and give me the energy to keep going. Then I felt bad about doing that so I ate even more to try and cheer myself up. Menopause also appears to have popped up and smacked me in the face do you can add unbalanced hormones plus hot flushes into the mix

This has gone on for over a month now. I've no idea how much I've put on. That horror will come tomorrow morning on the scales but I'm prepared for it to be bad.

The only positive thing to come from this is that I know now that I will probably be fighting these inner demons compelling me to overeat for the rest of my life. I relaxed after over a year of healthy living and they regained control. So it will be a daily battle and one step at a time. I know that I somehow have to prioritise me. It won't be easy and it may not work all the time but I have to try.

So anyway I'm back now. Healthy living starts now! Speak to you soon


Love Erica xxx
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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Use a mood board to inspire your weight loss and fitness journey

it you are embarking on a long term weight loss journey then it is inevitable that there are going to be times when you find it harder to keep on track. This could be for a multitude of reasons. Illness or injury stops you working out, work or family pressures make it hard to stick to your diet or maybe you just feel miserable and lose your motivation.

For me, as an emotional overeater and someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, my moods are key to my success. I know when my mood is low, I find it harder to resist foods are that. As for me. I am also less inclined to exercise as well.

I have been reading a lot about mood boards lately. Some people call them inspiration or motivation boards. I wanted to see whether having a visual representation of things that motivate or inspire me would be helpful in keeping my moods on a better level.

The great thing about a board like this is that you literally can include absolutely anything. Look for quotes you like, images that inspire you, pictures that show what you are trying to achieve or even just things that make you happy. I looked at some examples on Pinterest and then just dived in. I haven't finished it yet and the idea is that it will constantly be a work in progress that will evolve with me. I actually found just the process of putting it together to be quite therapeutic!

So this is what it looks like at the moment!



Let me know if you use mood boards already or if this post inspires you to start one. I'd love to see what you put on yours. I'll keep you updated as my board evolves and changes.


Speak to you soon



Love Erica xxx
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Friday, 28 April 2017

Flex TV - Exciting new developments



If you have read my blog before or you follow me on Instagram then you will know that I am a big fan of Flex TV. For those of you reading this that are new to the Flex concept, it is a great way for you to take part in professional high quality workouts while still in the comfort of your own home. For a monthly fee, you can choose to workout as much as you want and whenever you want. Workouts include HIIT, Pilates, Yoga, Dance and Cardio. You really are spoilt for choice.

I don;t know about you but the thought of walking into an exercise class at a local gym is quite a scary thought especially while I am still quite big. Working out on the Flex site means I don;t have to worry about that. It is also so easy to fit my workouts into my day while my daughter is at school. Flex really is perfect for mums that want to improve their health and fitness.

As Flex has had a bit of a revamp lately, I thought I would tell you about all of their new exciting
innovations.

When you join Flex, you are now asked some general questions about yourself and your aims. As a result of this, you are allocated a tribe. Your tribesmates will be people of a similar age and with similar aims. Each tribe is led by an experienced instructor who is there to offer encouragement and help if you need it. This is a great idea to introduce this community element as it can be lonely exercising at home on your own. Tribe members can work together to encourage each other and recommend classes.

Another big part of Flex is your planner. When you join, you sign a pledge to exercise on certain days of the week. Your planner will then schedule classes for those times based on the types of classes that you have said that you enjoy. You can change the schedules or classes at any time.

For me personally the biggest and best change that Flex has made is that they have made all of their classes available on demand. Previously you only could attend classes as they were streamed live and I will admit that sometimes this just was not convenient for me. You can still take part in live classes but you can also access every single class. You truly are spoilt for choice. Earlier this week it literally took me about 15 minutes to choose which class I felt like doing.

Another thing that in my opinion makes Flex a great choice is that there is no long term contract. You simply pay a monthly fee and then can use Flex as much as you want. There is also a 30 day free trial available when you sign up so you can get to experience the site fully and see if you like it. You can find out more information or sign up for the free trial at Flex TV

Let me know if you join up and what you think of Flex.

Speak to you soon


Love Erica xxx


Disclosure
I  was not financially compensated for this post. I received free membership of Flex  for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.





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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Is weighing youself bad for you?




What's the first thing you do every morning?

For me. it's standing on my scales. If my weight is down then my mood is instantly lifted and I feel happier to start my day. If I haven't lost anything or, God forbid, my weight has gone up then I will stand there feeling anxious. I'll move the scales and try again just in case the first result was a blip. When it comes out the same, then  I will start my day feeling under pressure, worried and just not good enough.

I'm quite a logical person and I know that there are many factors that can influence your weight and mean that you might not be losing as much as quickly as you want.
  • You could be losing fat and gaining muscle
  • You could be retaining water
  • A cheat day could have caused your glycogen levels to rise temporarily
  • Your hormones could be impacting on your weight loss depending on where you are in your cycle.
I could tell myself all of the above over and over again but if that little number on my scales doesn't say what I want it to say then I will be filled with a sense of self loathing and fear that I have screwed up my diet yet again.

I have been feeling this sort of pressure lately. If you follow my blog then you know that it hasn't been easy for me since the New Year and a really nasty bout of bronchitis was the final straw. I'm starting to pull myself together and get back on track but I found that I was really starting to dread my Wednesday weigh in day. I felt incredibly pressured and I didn't enjoy the feeling. I suffer from mild depression anyway so I am very in tune with anything that has an impact on my moods.

So I have decided to have a little experiment. I want to enjoy my healthy lifestyle. I want to plan new recipes to eat. I want to work hard at regaining my fitness. I just don't want to have that sick feeling in the bottom of my stomach about stepping onto the scales.

I am therefore not going to weigh myself until 1st June. That is six weeks from now. I will keep counting calories and working out but I'm putting my scales in the cupboard for now. I'm hoping that by removing this source of pressure for me that I will relax and just enjoy getting back into shape. Then hopefully I will get a nice surprise on 1st June.

I will keep you posted how it goes. Speak to you soon


Love Erica xxx
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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A trip to Hampstead Food Market

 

If you follow my Instagram then you will have seen that on Saturday we trekked across London to Hampstead. I had been hearing great things about the food market there and decided to check it out myself. It was also a chance to take my daughter to Kenwood House.

The food market is situated nearly opposite the Tube station so it's really easy to fin. It's just behind the Everyman cinema.


The market may be small but they certainly manage to pack an amazing amount of produce in there.






I was really pleased to find Olivers Bakery had a stall. I've bought their products before at Borough Market. Their bread is amazing so I had to treat myself!




The market really is worth a visit with a huge choice of different products. I really want to go back and stock up on nut butters from Butter Nut of London. Their blend of flavours was really innovative particularly the cashew and tumeric butter.


If you fancy something to eat while you are there, why not visit the street food stall? The smell of the food was really enticing.


There really was a wide selection of stalls! Even one for dogs.







Hampstead itself is well worth a visit. I can't believe that I have lived all life in London without visiting there before. There is a real quaint village feel to the place.






No visit to Hampstead would be complete without a trip onto the Heath. We walked right across the Heath to go to Kenwood House. You may recognise it from the film Notting Hill.




Inside was amazing and it was a  lovely way to round off our day





I would definitely recommend a trip to Hamsptead if you fancy a day out somewhere new in London. The food market is open every Saturday and is really worth a visit so why not make a whole day of it?

Speak to you soon



Love Erica xxx
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Friday, 14 April 2017

Hot Cross Cookies

Everyone thinks of hot cross buns at Easter but I thought I would try and make something a little different this time. It's not easy to replicate the taste of hot cross buns but these turned out to be really yummy!



Ingredients
1 banana
1 egg
100g light muscovado sugar
4 tbsp coconut oil
100g sultanas
100g mixed peel
1 tbsp ground cinammon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp baking powder
250g plain flour
100g icing sugar

Method
  1. Peel and mash the banana until completely smooth.
  2. Mix in the egg and the coconut oil. Use a hand blender for this if the coconut oil is solid and you find it easier.
  3. Mix in the sugar, cinammon and mixed spice.
  4. Add the baking powder and flour and mix together until a sticky dough is forming.
  5. Fold the sultanas and mixed peel into the mixture. Stir enough so they are fully distributed.
  6. Take a large heaped tablespoon of the mixture, use your hands to roll it into a ball.
  7. Then flatten it so it looks like this.     
  8. Repeat the process until you have used all the dough and your greased baking sheet is full. I ended up using 2 baking sheets as the cookies are quite large.
  9. Cook in a preheated oven at 175 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown on top.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely 
  11. Make about 100g of icing according to the packet instructions. I made mine quite stiff as it was easier to decorate the cookies.
  12. You can use a piping bag to make the crosses or I just drizzled the icing across the top of the cookie using a large flat knife.

The recipe makes 10 cookies which are 260 calories each. This is a little higher than. Last of my other recipes but I figured that everyone deserves a little treat at Easter and they are better than eating an Easter egg. If you want to reduce the calories then you could leave off the icing and have them plain.


You could also reduce the sugar to 50g and use margarine instead of coconut oil.


Happy Easter everyone. Speak to you soon 



Love Erica xxx








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Thursday, 13 April 2017

Depression & Overeating - My Tips On How To Cope When You Get Hit With The Sadness Shovel

If you have read my blog previously then you will be aware of my struggles with overeating, depression and anxiety. Mostly the depression is situational, things go wrong or change and I just don't cope very well with it. Sometimes though you just wake up and you are sad and it's all just a little too much to deal with. I call that being hit with the sadness shovel. It comes from nowhere and you are just bashed down by this overwhelmingly negative emotion. I hide it quite well when that happens. I spent years hiding in the bottom of a biscuit barrel desperately trying to eat enough to cover my feelings. That feeling doesn't go away completely but over the last year I have tried to develop some strategies and techniques to deal with how I feel instead of eating myself into oblivion and I want to share some of them with you today. I can't guarantee they will work for you but they have helped me.

Distraction
Try to do something that will take your mind away from the desire to overeat. Exercise is great as it will help lift your mood, even just get out of the house and walk around the block. Anything that will occupy your mind for a little while and take the focus away from food is great. I once spent 20 minutes brushing my teeth to stop me from eating my way through a packet of doughnuts that I had bought for my kids. That worked too as I knew they would taste disgusting afterwards with a minty mouth. Some people say a relaxing bath helps but I will admit that doesn't work for me as my mind isn't occupied and I will lie there dwelling on the sadness.

Let Your Feelings Out
I never talked about feeling depressed. Even when I went through a hideous marriage breakup, lost both my parents and was let with a baby and 6 year old to bring up; I was the brave little soldier to the outside world. They didn't see the wreck I was inside who sat on my kitchen floor sobbing with a bottle of wine till the early hours. I didn't talk about how I felt and, if I'm honest, nobody really asked me. For me the release is writing about how I feel. This is something I have done for quite a long time, mostly in the form of bad poetry. Nobody reads it but there is a sense of relief in just getting the words out on paper. Anyway, it is better than stuffing another cake in my mouth! I suppose this blog is also another way of getting my feelings out too and it does help. So if you don't have close friends to confide in then try it. It may help.

Get Help
If things do get really bad and you have tried everything but you can't dig yourself out of that horrible spiral of sadness and food then do consider getting some professional help. I will admit I didn't go down that route partly because I was scared of being perceived as not coping as a single mum. I actually had recurring nightmares about my Ex wanting to take the girls away from me so I put this extra pressure on myself of having to be the perfect mum who coped wonderfully on her own. Sometimes I do wish that I had reached out to my GP as I might have been able to sort myself out sooner.

St Johns Wort
All I can say is this helps me. There is masses of online information about it so google it and make up your own mind. I generally take it through the winter when my mood is habitually lower and then keep it on hand the rest of the year in case I feel myself struggling.

Take Everything One Day At A Time
I relapse from time to time and I really do try not to be too hard on myself. Take each day as it comes. If you have fallen into the emotional overeating trap one day then that doesn't mean that you have to do the same thing again tomorrow. Maybe look at why you have eaten and see if you can identify any triggers. That might help you to avoid repeating it.


I hope that some of this advice is useful to any of you who struggle with emotional overeating and depression. These are just some of the things that have helped me.


Speak to you soon


Love Erica xxx
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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Chocolate Flapjacks

 

I came up with these as an attempt to devise a snack to keep me away from chocolate Easter eggs. I think they worked out quite well. I added the olive oil because the cacao powder does tend to try out the mixture. The Lacuna powder is a natural sweetener and gives a nice creamy texture but it is optional,

Ingredients
2 bananas
150g golden syrup
3tbsps cacao powder
3 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp Lacuna powder (optional)
200g porridge oats

Method
  1. Peel and  mash the bananas until fully smooth.
  2. Add the golden syrup, olive oil, cacao powder and lacuna powder, then stir until fully combined.
  3. Add the oats and then stir thoroughly until they are fully coated with the mixture.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a greased baking tray or dish. Anything that has raised sides will be ok. Press down the mixture so that it is level with no gaps.
  5. Cook in a preheated oven at 175 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.
  6. Allow to cook completely and then cut into squares.

 

 The recipe makes 24 chocolate flapjacks which are only 80 calories each. This makes them the perfect healthy snack when you really do need something sweet and chocolatey.







I'm definitely going to make another batch so we have some to last over the Easter weekend. Speak to you soon.



Love Erica xxx

 


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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

How school holidays can mess up your healthy lifestyle plans

I woke up at 6am this morning. The problem was that, for the fourth night running, I woke up on my couch with my laptop still open on my lap. I had literally worked until I fell asleep.

If you have read my blog before then you will know that I struggle with a work/life balance. I'm self employed working from home as a contractor. I'm habitually broke and am paying off a mountain of debt. So if I don't work then I don't get paid. I desperately try while my daughter is at school to set aside an hour per day for exercise and sometimes I don't even manage that. School holidays blow all my plans out of the water though.

I still need to work, I have bills to pay. But my daughter expects us to do things at least a couple of times a week so working during the day is sometimes limited hence the working into the middle of the night. Even if we are in because I have insisted I need to work, she is a distraction, bless her. She also has the capacity to create chaos throughout the house. Her learning difficulties have meant that she is perhaps not as independent as other girls her age too.

Food isn't any easier. If we are out then McDonalds is her favourite place to eat and none of their options are that healthy apart from the salad which frankly is really only fit for rabbits! Plus I'm tired all the time so my body is craving carbs and sweet things for an energy boost. I am an emotional eater too do the fact that I am just completely and utterly pissed off at the moment is not helping!! Today I just feel like I have been hit by the sadness shovel so have dug out the St Johns Wort in an effort not to dissolve in a puddle of tears!

So what is the answer to this? Basically there isn't one and this is just a bit of a rant. If there are any other single mums in a similar position reading this then I salute you and we will get through it - just maybe a couple of pounds heavier in my case.

One week of the holidays left to go and then some semblance of normality may return to my life. Hope you are all good!

Speak to you soon


Love Erica xxx
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Monday, 3 April 2017

Fitness Favourites - what things can't you do without when you workout?

Do you have things that you use every time you workout and that you really couldn't do without? I certainly do; there are several things that I use all the time, that help motivate me and that are really essential for me.



We all know the value of drinking while working out and for me, my favourite drink has definitely become infused water. It's part of my nightly routine now to make some up. I use frozen fruit as it gives a more intense flavour. I keep it in the fridge so it's cold and refreshing when I need it. I forgot to make some one day and had to use just plain water after my run but it just wasn't the same.



I do a lot of workouts at home either by dvd or using FLEX TV. To try and increase the intensity of the workout, I started using small hand weights, particularly for workouts that include boxing moves. Now I use them automatically and it feels weird to workout without them.




Running is definitely something where I need motivation. I don't know about you but I really need music to give me running so headphones are an absolute essential. I use ones that hook behind the ear for security and I also have a specific running playlist.

If I'm looking to monitor the distance that I'm running then the Map My Run app is essential. I love the fact that it logs your run and you can visually see your progress.



There is a new app that I have just been introduced to that is fast becoming an essential part of my running routine. Aaptiv provides an audio workout with motivation from qualified trainers coupled with an amazing soundtrack that's guaranteed to keep runnning at the right pace. The voice of the trainer in my ear is just what I need to give me going, it beats the little voice in my head that is telling me to stop and walk. I want to start working up to running 5k now that I'm finally over the bronchitis so Aaptiv is perfect as they have a training programme designed  specifically for that. They even have programmes for marathon training. There are so many different workouts available that you will be sure to find one that suits you. I love the fact that you can also set yourself monthly challenges. My first one will probably be to run further. I'm still quite new to Aaptiv so I have only checked out the running workouts so far. I'm excited to explore the rest of the workouts as they include workouts for treadmills, cycling and yoga. It was simple to set up Aaptiv and join. I downloaded the app to my phone and joined through Facebook. If you are interested then why not try a free 7 day trial? You can find more information on their website at  Aaptiv.com I'm definitely impressed with Aaptiv and I think it will be one of my essential workout tools for a long time.

Let me know what you find essential for your workouts, I'd love to hear from you.

Speak to you soon



Love Erica xxx
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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 62 - Slow Progress

I know I haven't posted too much lately and this is been partly because I have been horrendously busy and partly because I've had little news to report to you. Family life has also taken over a bit as my youngest daughter broke her elbow when she fell running. She has been in plaster so has needed a lot of extra help.

Anyway I'm back now and although it's a day late, here's my Wednesday Weigh In



So at least things are going in the right direction!

I finally have shaken off the bronchitis, I was quite shocked that it took about four weeks to go completely and my immune system took a real battering. What has been really hard is that the bronchitis has left me a bit wheezy and my fitness level has definitely suffered. I have had to rule out running at the moment and instead I been out walking a lot and trying to build up my fitness in that way. It seems to be working but it's a slow process. I walked 5km the other day and did feel good afterwards!



So weight loss at the moment is down to diet more than exercise at the moment. Now that I am feeling better, I have definitely been finding it easier to stick to a healthy diet. I've also overhauled the vitamins and other supplements that I take and I feel that has been very beneficial. I am actually in the process of writing a post about that so watch out for that coming soon.

Hope you are having a good week and I promise to get back to posting on a more regular basis from now on. Speak to you soon


Love Erica xxx
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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 60 - Yes, I know it's Thursday now!



Firstly apologies for being so late with this. I had a bit of a family emergency when my youngest daughter had an accident at athletics, she has an arm in plaster but is fine.

Anyway I lost 1.25 pounds. Yay! That's despite spending the weekend eating in motorway service stations between here and Nottingham. For those of you that don't follow my Instagram, my daughter ran in the National Cross Country Championships so I was away with her.

It was a muddy but inspiring day!


As far as my fitness is concerned, it's building up very slowly. This is the first week that I have felt fully clear of the bronchitis and no more fluid on my chest. However I definitely have lost quite a lot of stamina and fitness. I'm increasing the amount of walking that I do and am continuing to slowly improve. Hope you are all having a great week 

Speak to you soon 


Love Erica xxx



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