Archive | March, 2011

Just Call Me The Plateau Breaker!

29 Mar

 

Haaaaaaaiiiii yah! Source: weheartit.com

As most of you would know, weight loss has been slow as wet week around here lately.  *queue crickets*  * queue tumbleweeds* *queue awkward coughing*

I mean, I HAVE been losing but it has not been as consistent as what I would like.   Look, I’m not looking for an unhealthy 5kg loss in a week but at this stage 500g – 1kg a week would be desirable rather than the 200g – 300g a week loses I have been experiencing.  1kg a month?  I find you offensive.

In an effort to get the weight loss flowing again I have been playing with my calorie intake.  Firstly, I tried increasing it to about 1600 calories a day but unfortunately that yielded little results.   Don’t get me wrong, this is a great idea for people who have been eating too little calories for some time and has worked for me in the past but, sigh, not this time.

Then, after reading Michelle Bridge’s book How to Lose the Last 5kg, I reluctantly decided I would try the old 1200 calorie meal plan.  I am not a huge fan of low-calorie diets but sometimes it’s necessary to shock the body back into weight loss mode.  I definitely would never go below this many calories.  That’s basically starvation and sends your metabolism into shut down mode and it hangs on to fat for dear life.  Do.  Not.  Want.

I haven’t stuck to Michelle’s exact meal plan but I have adopted the following principles:

  • 1200 – 1300 calories per day
  • No grains after lunch
  • Eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking
  • 60 – 90 minutes of exercise (a mix of strength and cardio) a day, 6 days a week

For breakfast I have been having my quinoa porridge with banana (but I’m thinking of taking the banana out and having it when I get to work as I am HUN-GRY by the time I get to work after my morning cycle).

Lunches have been soups that I make on a Sunday night.  I make a big pot and then just freeze portions.  This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to worry about lunch every day being within your calorie limit.  Last week’s soup was Chicken, Veg and Barley and this weeks soup is Beef, Veg and Barley (features onion, paprika, celery, cabbage, zucchini, carrot, chilli and chicken stock).  Next weeks soup… who knows?  The anticipation is killing me!

I have two snacks a day and these are things like as small handful of nuts, 30g of cheese, 100g of cottage cheese, handful of steamed chicken, 100g of natural yoghurt or a hard-boiled egg.  I also have a cup of green tea with both of these snacks.  And water!  I have at least 2L a day, but that is nothing new.   I’ve always drank a lot of water… and if anyone needs to find me, I’m usually in the loo.   TMI?

Dinner has been 120g of lean protein (chicken, beef, lamb, pork or fish) and vegetables or salad.  I may also throw in some cheese or sweet potato depending on whether it is within my calorie allowance.

The first couple of days were tough, I ain’t gonna lie.  But I have gotten used to it and now I’m doing fine!  Hungry… but fine!  (But I’m always hungry, let’s face facts here people).

I have even managed to get that 69.9kg that I reported last week down to 69.2kg!  Oh hold me back people puh-lease because I am jumping for joy!

I am resenting not being able to eat more though (grumble) but I know this is only a short-term tactic to get the metabolism fired up again.  In the next week I will start to add more calories each day and get back to a more sustainable 1500 – 1600 calories per day.  I’m just hoping my body will continue to burn as well as it has been in the last week or so.  Time will tell!

I’ve also read a lot about calorie cycling recently and it may be on my “next to try” list should my current plan fail.

Has anyone given calorie cycling a go?  And what are your best tips for breaking a weight loss plateau?

 

 

Creamy Chicken Tenderloin Salad

24 Mar

I love this salad.  If it had lips I’d kiss them and gently thank the salad for being so delicious, filling (oh hai protein!) and kind to my waistline.  It’s perfect for either lunch or dinner and super quick and easy to whip up.   I prefer it for dinner because of its low carb content!

The dressing is inspired by Natalie’s Faux Caesar Salad but slightly tweaked (I omitted the olive oil and added lemon juice).

Ingredients

Two handfuls of mixed lettuce leaves

1 medium tomato (sliced into wedges)

Handful of capsicum strips

3 chicken tenderloins (120g)

15g of shaved parmesan cheese (no more than this!  It is unexpectedly calorific and easy to go overboard on)

Dried or fresh rosemary

Salt & pepper

Olive oil spray

 

 

Dressing

1 tablespoon of natural, low-fat yoghurt

1 teaspoon of dijon mustard

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

 

Sprinkle the chicken with a little rosemary, salt and pepper.  Heat a little olive oil in a pan and grill the chicken for about 3 minutes a side or until cooked through.

Combine the salad ingredients and parmesan in a serving bowl.  Shred the chicken and place on top of the salad.

Combine the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the chicken and salad.

Now, if I weren’t watching my calories like a damn hawk at the moment I might also add a boiled egg or some crispy prosciutto.  OR (gasp!) both.  Drool.

Nutritional info: 324 cals, 9.3g  fat, 4.2g sat fat, 47g protein, 8.6g carbs, 7.6g sugar

 

 

The World’s Shortest & Most Exciting Blog Post EVER!

23 Mar

This is all I have to say:

Note:  Apologies for shitty photo.  The zoom on the iPhone is terrible.  But YAY!  Under 70kg!  I haven’t been that in ten years!  My excitement is out of control right now.

 

🙂

I’m SO Not Vain

22 Mar

I’ve been thinking lately.  Unusual, yes I know – I’ve heard that it’s not good for the brain but hey, I’m a rebel.

ANYHOO, I’ve been thinking that I am extremely sick of looking at my former overweight self, swathed in cream silk, all chipmunk-like in the face, gazing down at me from my living room wall every day.

At the time I felt pretty good.  I had lost 5kg before the wedding and I even had to have my dress taken in!  I was definitely a little unhappy that I hadn’t lost more weight but I didn’t let that affect my day.

Even Justin is slimmer now than he was back then but we are both as vain as ever and although we are not vain at all, we’ve been discussing getting new pictures taken.

When I told Chanel about this plan she thought that we were going to dress up in our wedding attire and have the pictures taken as if it were our wedding day all over again!  What a laughable concept! Ha Ha!  “That dress is swimming on me now!”, I exclaimed to her, rolling my eyes (well, I was rolling my eyes but she couldn’t see them as this discussion was over email).  But I can see how when I told her that I wanted to have my wedding photos re-done that she would come to this conclusion.   Let’s be honest, I wasn’t very clear.  So, like all good friends I laughed at her a little more and then explained to her that no, we would just have some nice pictures taken in normal clothes in a nice location.

And that’s if we ARE to go ahead with it.  I’m still thinking about it.  Should I just ignore the fact that I was overweight in those photos on the wall and remember our wedding for what it was, a beautiful day celebrating our love with our family friends?  Or should I replace those photos with new ones that represent us as a couple, who we are now and where we are heading?  Dilemmas, dilemmas!

What are your thoughts on this extremely important, life-altering and not at all vain issue?

 

 

Chicken, Vegetable & Barley Soup

21 Mar

It’s raining, it’s pouring, I feel like SOUP!

And soup I shall I have!  Every damn day this week!  Why?  Because I feel like it!  And because it’s super healthy and easy.  And I made a huge pot so I gotta eat it all now!

This soup is full of goodness.  It’s packed with fibre and protein and is low in calories and fat.  A perfect lunch option!

Ingredients (fills 5 x 600ml containers)

1 leek (sliced)

2 carrots  (diced finely)

2 cloves of garlic (diced finely)

2 organic chicken breasts (diced into small chunks)

2L of salt-reduced chicken stock

1 cup of uncooked pearled barley

2 handfuls of flat leaf parsley (chopped)

1 teaspoon of dried tarragon

1 teaspoon of chilli flakes

3 handfuls of spinach, kale, cabbage or silverbeet (chopped)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a large pot saute the carrots, leek and garlic until softened over a medium heat.

Add the chicken and stir until most of the meat has turned white.

Add the chicken stock, barley, chilli, tarragon and parsley and cover.  Simmer gently for 1 hour.

Add the spinach, kale, cabbage or silverbeet and cook until softened.  Add seasoning to taste.

Your soup is now ready to slurp or pack into containers and freeze!

Nutritional info: 321 cals, 6.3g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 31.6g protein, 28.4g carbs, 7.7g of fibre

 

Do you like to cook in bulk?  What’s your favourite thing to make and store?

 

 

Not Another Quinoa Recipe?!

16 Mar

Yes!  Another one!  The Quinoa Queen is back bitches with a delightfully warming and delicious healthy breakfast!

I got this idea from one of the lovely gals on the Vogue Forums.  Shout out to ma voguettes!  Holla!

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture.  It was a bit dark at 6.15am this morning.  Or as I like to call it, ‘Ugly O’clock’.

I had some leftover cooked quinoa in the fridge from a couple of nights ago (side note: quinoa, napolitana sauce, Cannellini beans, garlic and baby spinach equals a Charlie Sheen combination – winning!) (another side note: I need to stop referencing that douche bag in my posts) so I was glad to find a delicious new use for it!

coconutandquinoa.wordpress.com's Quinoa Oat Porridge

In a Bowl:

1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
A splash of vanilla extract
A dash of ground cinnamon

Combine and heat in microwave for 90 seconds.

Add to it:

A handful of berries (defrosted if frozen)

A tablespoon of LSA
A splash of rice milk (or the milk of your choice)

A teaspoon of agave nectar or honey

Combine and your breakfast is served! Dig in!

Next time Imma use banana instead of berries.  Squee!

 

I know this is going to be my new go-to winter-warmer breakfast.  What’s your favourite healthy hot breakfast?

Measurement Results & New Goals

14 Mar

Right.  I’m not going to bore you with a standard introduction and welcome to this post.  I’m going to get straight to the nitty-gritty.  Here are my measurement results for the last month:

Click to enlarge

 

I had really great results on the hips and thighs (thank you cycling!) but no loss from the middle which is a bit sad.  I usually have my measurements done in the morning though, on an empty stomach, so that might make a difference.

I also only lost 1kg this month which is a bit of a pain in the old ass seeing that I wanted to get to my weight goal of 68kg by April.  I’m working really hard, harder than ever actually, so it’s quite frustrating that I am having so much trouble shifting these last few kilos.

The good thing about goals though is you can reassess them when you need to.  Which is what I have done.

I’m now going for a dress size goal.  I want to be a size 10 by the end of June 2011.

Here’s what the Australian dress size chart looks like:

Looking over the last 4 months I have lost 5cm from my hips, 2.5cm from my waist and 2cm from my bust.  If I lose those amounts again (or more) then I will definitely be a comfortable size 10 or be on the higher end of the size 10 spectrum.

To be honest, I already fit in to most size 10 tops so I don’t think the waist and the bust will be an issue.  It’s those damn thighs that are the issue.    So I’m going to continue to hammer them over the next few months in an effort to get them smaller.  Reduce in size, damn you!  REDUCE! *shakes fist* (Maybe I can threaten them into slimming down?  Anyone ever tried that?  I’ll be the first person to literally scare their thighs into getting smaller.  That would be awesome).

Now, whilst I do have the new goal that doesn’t mean that I am completely writing off the old goal.  There are still 2 weeks until April and by the name of sweet baby cheeses I am going to do everything within my power to lose that pesky 2.7kg.

Watch this space.  Waaaaatch it.  *shakes fist*

(This blog post seemed to get really aggressive towards the end.  It’s my burning passion.  It gets me all fired up.  Sorry about that.)

 

Healthy Diet Additions

10 Mar

Just like Charlie Sheen, I have one speed – GO! (Are we over him yet? Or are we all still winning?)

Your faithful road-tester is at it again! I’m constantly on the look out for new and exciting things I can add to my diet and last week I purchased chia seeds and agave nectar. Look out yo! I’m on fire!

Chia Seeds

Chhhhhiiiiiiaaaaaaa!

Nutritional Info

There’s been a lot of buzz around chia seeds lately but I have to admit, I didn’t really know what they were all about. Bad, BAD health blogger! Slap on the wrist!

My trainer gave me a sample to try and it was at that point that I did some research on what these little seed’s benefits were.

After Googling (pretty much my favourite thing to do in the whole wide world), the first thing that stood out to me was that these little suckers hold up to 12 times their own weight in fluid. So you can add them to juices, smoothies and even water and they will thicken and form a gel like consistency. For this reason, when you ingest them, they make you feel fuller than what you actually are. That’s a real positive when it comes to trying to lose weight! Banish hunger for good!

There are also packed with:

  • Omega-3’s
  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Phospherous
  • Potassium
  • Protein

I bought 1kg of chia seeds from CHIA Life for $20 + postage. I considered that quite a reasonable price compared to other online sellers! They arrived within 3 days too – speedy!

Apart from adding them to juices, smoothies or water, you can also sprinkle them on salads, stir-fries or cereal. In fact, because they take on the taste of whatever they are paired with, you can add them to almost anything! Apparently you can bake with them in place of butter! Goodbye saturated fat and clogged arteries! I won’t miss you in the slightest! Maybe I’ll get around to baking more cakes and slices? Probably not, let’s face it, it’s not really on the ‘Lose these last pesky kilos’ plan that I’m currently on!

Agave Nectar

This deliciously sweet and golden sticky nectar comes from the agave (uh-gah-vay) cactus and can be used in place of sugar or sweeteners. It is made up of 90% fructose sugars and 10% glucose sugars. Honey has 33% glucose sugars so I have been using agave in place of honey in my morning smoothies.

It has 16 calories per teaspoon, the same as granulated sugar, but because fructose is 42% sweeter to the human brain than granulated sugars you only need to use the smallest amount to get that sweetness hit.

Also, because agave is mainly fructose, and not sucrose like granulated sugar, it does not result in huge spikes in blood sugar levels therefore it has been reported as being a suitable sugar replacement for diabetics and the insulin resistant (although no conclusive studies have been conducted).

Like most health food products there has been a fair amount of debate around the benefits of agave nectar as, after all, it is still a sweetener and we all know too much sweetener leads to weight gain and other health problems. I recommend buying organic, good quality agave nectar and use sparingly for the best results.

Have you tried chia seeds or agave nectar?  What do you think of them?

I Die For Zucchini Chips

8 Mar

“Ew! Zucchini!”, I hear the cries resonating throughout the interwebs but seriously, try these crispy little delights and THEN let me know how you feel about the humble yet versatile zucchini.

This recipe comes from Jane Kennedy’s cookbook, ‘OMG! I Can Eat that?’.  Jane uses half mayonnaise, half Greek yoghurt in her aioli however I just used low fat whole egg mayonnaise.

Ingredients

1 zucchini (chopped finely or you can use a vegetable slicer)
Salt
Pepper
Chilli flakes
Olive oil

For the aioli:

2 tablespoons of low fat whole egg mayonnaise
2 small cloves of garlic, diced finely
2 teaspoons of lemon juice

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line zucchini slices up on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chilli flakes to your taste. Flick over a little olive oil (I did realise afterwards that a light spray of olive oil would have been better).

Place in oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown. Take out of oven and rest for a few minutes or until crispy.

To make the aioli simply combine the mayonnaise, garlic and lemon juice.

Serve zucchini chips with aoili or use them as a delicious side dish.

I can not WAIT to make these again. The time will come. Possibly tonight… 🙂

A Week In The Life Of…

7 Mar

ME!

Well, I lie.  It’s actually 4 days in the life of.  Let’s be honest, this post was growing out to mammoth proportions so I cut it down to four days.  I mean, you get the gist of it, right?  The other 3 days are pretty similar although I will do a weekend post soon to show you what my typical weekend looks like.

It was actually very interesting recording everything I ate for a week and it was also a challenge.  It made me really be mindful of what I was eating because I knew I would have to write every little morsel of food down.  This really curbed any thoughts of, “Oh, I’ll just have a bite of that” or “I’ll just have a couple of these”, let me tell you!  I think anyone who is looking to lose weight or establish a healthier diet should give this a go.  You may be surprised!

Now, by no means do I think my diet is perfect nor do I condone my readers replicating what I eat for themselves. This post stemmed from getting a few requests from readers who were interested in what a typical week looks like for me.  Eating this way works for me, you need to establish a diet plan that works for you.

Last week seemed to be a dark chocolate week.  This is simply because I bought a block of organic chocolate so therefore it HAD to be eaten, right? 😉  I don’t usually keep any sweets in the house therefore the temptation is gone.  If my sweet-tooth comes-a-knockin’ I usually have a warm glass of rice or goats milk with vanilla and honey.

Monday

Breakfast– 7:00am

  • Smoothie with ½ cup of calcium enriched rice milk, 2 tablespoons of natural, no fat organic yoghurt, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil, 1 tablespoon of LSA, 1 medium banana, 1 teaspoon of organic dark agave syrup, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Morning pick-me-up – 9:30am

  • Green tea

Morning snack – 10:45am

  • Protein shake with 200ml skim milk

Lunch – 1:15pm

  • Bowl of steamed vegetables, ½ cup of cooked shredded chicken and ½ cup of roasted kale
  • Green tea

Afternoon snack – 3:00pm

  • Handful of almonds & a cup of miso soup

Dinner – 7:00pm

  • 120g of lean pork steak with Moroccan seasoning served with salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas and reduced-fat feta dressed with EVOO and white wine vinegar

After dinner snack – 8:00pm

  • 6 pieces of Green & Black’s Organic 85% dark chocolate

Total Calories: 1700

Exercise:

  • 60 mins walking
  • 40 mins road cycling (8.5km)
  • 15 mins swimming laps

Tuesday

Breakfast – 6:45am

  • Smoothie with ½ cup of calcium enriched rice milk, 2 tablespoons of natural, no fat organic yoghurt, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil, 1 tablespoon of LSA, 1 medium banana, 1 teaspoon of organic dark agave syrup, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Morning pick-me-up – 9:30am

  • Green tea

Morning Snack – 11:00am

  • 1 apple

Lunch – 1:45pm

  • 2 small tins of tuna, grated beetroot and carrot, lettuce, tomato, avocado sprinkled with olive oil, lemon juice and chia seeds

Afternoon snack – 3:30pm

  • Handful of almonds & a green tea

Dinner – 7:00pm

  • Handful of chicken thigh, capsicum, onion and bok choy stir-fried with peanut oil, garlic, chilli and soy sauce served with ½ cup of cooked quinoa

Total Calories: 1400

Exercise:

  • 40 mins road cycling (8.5km)
  • 45 minute group training session

Wednesday

Breakfast – 6:45am

  • Smoothie with ½ cup of calcium enriched rice milk, 2 tablespoons of natural, no fat organic yoghurt, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil, 1 tablespoon of LSA, handful of frozen berries, 1 teaspoon of organic dark agave syrup

Morning Snack – 10:00am

  • 1 orange
  • Green tea

Lunch – 12:30pm

  • Leftovers – handful of chicken thigh, capsicum, onion and bok choy stir-fried with peanut oil, garlic, chilli and soy sauce served with ½ cup of cooked quinoa
  • Ginger tea

Afternoon snack – 3:30pm

  • Handful of almonds & a green tea

Dinner – 8:00pm

  • 150g lean grilled steak & two cups of steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrot

After dinner snack – 9:00pm

  • 6 pieces of Green & Black’s Organic 85% dark chocolate

Total Calories: 1450

Exercise:

  • 40 mins road cycling (8.5km)
  • 45 minute personal training session
  • 60 mins touch football practice

Thursday

Breakfast – 6:45am

  • Smoothie with ½ cup of calcium enriched rice milk, 2 tablespoons of natural, no fat organic yoghurt, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil, 1 tablespoon of LSA, 1 medium banana, 1 teaspoon of organic dark agave syrup, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Morning Snack – 11:15am

  • Small tin of mixed beans with balsamic and olive oil dressing

Lunch – 1:15pm

  • Café lunchtuna salad with grated carrot, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and avocado with balsamic and olive oil dressing (TIP: buying a healthy lunch is easy.  Most sandwich bars will have a few salad options available.  I usually request a garden salad and ask the them to put in a handful of tuna or chicken from the sandwich meat selections)
  • Small apple

Afternoon snack – 3:45pm

  • Chai latte made with lite milk

Dinner – 6:30pm

  • 150g  chicken tenderloins with lettuce, cherry tomatoes and a small handful of shaved parmesan cheese dressed with a yoghurt, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil dressing

After dinner snack – 9:00pm

  • 4 pieces of Green & Black’s Organic 85% dark chocolate

Total Calories: 1550

Exercise:

  • 40 mins road cycling (8.5km)
  • 45 minute group training session

 

So there you go!  There’s my life!  It’s thrilling, isn’t it?  Do you feel a little creepy now?  A little stalker-ish?  😉