Recipe: Low Syn Coronation Chicken

One of my all time sandwich filler and jacket potato filling is Coronation Chicken.  The mild curry taste just has its own place on a sandwich or as a jacket potato filler.

Being a Slimming World member, I would have to syn any pre-made Coronation Chicken fillings.  This can range from 2 syns per tablespoon to 27 syns for a pot.  When you only have so many syns to use per day you start to look to create low-syn alternatives.

I thought about Coronation Chicken and it’s basically curried powder and yogurt right?  That’s all it seems to me, so I set off to experiment.  In the end, I add Curry Powder, Cinnamon, and Turmeric to yogurt and lighter than light mayonnaise to create the mixture.

Light, tasty and low syn – win win win!
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It’s The Little Wins That Matter

Anyone who is on some sort of diet to loose weight will know that it is the little things that can really let you down.  A little bite of a cake you’ve the kids here, a little nibble of the biscuit the kids left.  It all adds up and before you know it you’ve ruined your week, potentially without consciously knowing it.

I’ve been quiet on my blog this last weekend as it’s been a busy weekend for me.  Not only has it been a busy week on call with work, but I’ve had a 50th Birthday Lunch to attend and a family BBQ yesterday (yes it was cold, but most of us sat inside while those cooking were outside).  There was temptation everywhere over the weekend and I’d like to think I came out on top with my will power this time.

Saturday we went to a nice pub/restaurant that has always served nice food.  Their pies and burgers are immense, but I stayed away from them.  Usually looking at a menu the first thing I look at is the burgers, especially when I know they’re nice.  I love a good burger and when I get a chance I usually go for one without even thinking about it.  This weekend though I didn’t even check them out on the menu.  I knew I had to stay on plan and stay on plan is exactly what I did.

I checked up and down the menu and went for the Gammon Steak.  It come with Chips etc, but I asked the nice lady who took our order if I could swap them for New Potatoes and Veg.  This way I’d only need to allow a few Slimming World Syns for the oil the Gammon was cooked in – which isn’t a great deal to be honest.  The Veg and Potatoes had no oil or butter anywhere near them so I was completely safe with them.  After ordering I was proud of myself, I was able to deny my stomach wanting something off plan – mind over matter they say.  The meal came a little later and it was beautiful.  The nicest New Potatoes I’ve had on a meal out before and the Gammon was spot on, only a tiny bit of fat around the outside which I removed (I don’t do fat on meat, even when not on plan).

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Sunday I knew would be danger for me at the BBQ.  I’m a sucker for burgers as we know, but there is always little nibbly things like crisps and nuts at these occasions and I always take a few here and there without even noticing it – it’s just something that I’ve always done.  But this time I was determined to be prepared.  If you read one of my previous posts Fail To Prepare, Prepare To Fail you will know I had a couple of Slimming World frozen meals left over that were meant to be used the previous weekend.  Well they came in handy this time.  I took them with me this time and remembered them.  Plan was I would have one and wifey have the other.

By the time we got to the BBQ, I got called to log on for work again (perks of working in IT means I can log on anywhere as long as there is WiFi).  This was a blessing in disguise as it kept me away from any food that was out.  While I was working, wifey sorted my Slimming World meal, Vegetable Biryani.  Eating this and not the BBQ food kept me on plan.  We shortly left after I finished working, so there was no time to be tempted by the BBQ food at all.  This meant I was able to stay on plan all weekend.

Now the next few days will be challenging until weigh night on Wednesday.  My 9 month old has chicken pox so I’m working from home, with the big fridge and cupboard of temptation.  To be honest, we don’t have that much stuff that is off plan, it’s mainly the kids stuff – but it’s there and easily accessible.  I’m just going to have to play it bit by bit and just make sure each little decision is a win.  After all, it’s the little wins that make that matter.

Better Night Than Expected

Last night was Wednesday night and Wednesday night means weigh night for me.  It’s that time of week my mum comes to baby sit while I go stand on a set of scales and talk about food and weight loss.  Yes Wednesday night is Slimming World night.

This past week hasn’t been a bad week food wise.  I’ve been on plan most of the week with the curve ball of Saturday evening thrown into the mix.  I was determined not to let Saturday Evening destroy my week when usually, after something like that, it would.  In the past when I’ve not made the best decision at the time I often gt lead astray for the rest of the week and before I know it I’ve destroyed a week of slimming.

This week was different.  I was more determined than I’ve been for a number of weeks.  After a few weeks of gains I lost 3 lbs last week and I aimed for that again.  Often when I set a mini target of more than 2 lbs for the week I end up gaining, but not this week, this week was different and I felt a lot better about it and the decisions I’ve made.

I often battle with myself, I have my right shoulder which says be good, follow the plan.  I have the left shoulder which tells me I want to eat that rubbish, who cares about regret when it tastes that good.  Well this week the left shoulder only one the once and it was for only one meal, not one day.  It’s put a spring in my step when I think about that changes I’ve conquered this week mentally.  I often have to look to others like my wife and friends to try and put me off spurring out of control.  But this week I felt more in control of my own feelings and my own week.

I still wasn’t looking forward to the scales last night though.  Although I knew I’d done what I could this week to loose, I was still worrying about that mini target.  It’s a routine I go through every single week.  The feeling in my stomach of “have I let myself down again”.  All that went though my mind was Saturday night and that takeaway.  I kept thinking “regardless of getting back on track, I’m still going to gain”.  It’s a mindset which I imagine a lot of people trying to loose weight have.

The scales loomed and I gave the weigh lady my member card and bible (the book that guides on how the whole Slimming World plan works and keeps track of my weight every week).  The scales bleeped as they do every week to indicate they’re ready to weigh me.  I stepped on knowing my weight from last week.  The numbers on the displayed steady then flashed – it had taken my weight.

Now at this moment I looked at the numbers, I knew I had last straight away, but for a moment couldn’t work out how much.  That feeling of uncertainty in the pit of my stomach disappeared.  I just wanted to jump up and down, I’d done it despite the little hurdle at the weekend.  I took a sneak peak at the tablet on the table and it showed I’d lost 5.5 lbs – that’s the equivalent of 5 iPads, or 50 darts.

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I took my card and my bible back to my seat while the wife got weighed, she always makes me go first.  As I was walking back to my seat for IMAGE Therapy, I kept thinking “that must be Slimmer of the Week”.  I lost a for bit this week in 7 days, but in my Slimming World group it’s not guaranteed to be Slimmer of the Week.  We regularly have losses of up to 10 lbs in our group recently.

Group went on as usual with the laughter and joy as it always does (one of the reasons I stay).  All the way through I was listening to see if anyone lost more than me.  Then there was one person, the wife!  She’d lost 6 lbs this week (which is AMAZING!).  I then felt lost, like that one thing I wanted (a sticker and certificate) had just been snapped away from me in an instant.  I wasn’t happy.  But, come the end of the group our consultant announced me as the Slimmer of the Week.  It took a moment to work out why when my wife had lost more, but then it occurred to me, you have to have lost or maintained the previous week to qualify, this is where I won.  As horrible as it sounds that I was over joyed to beat the wife to Slimmer of the Week by the fact she had a small gain last week, she did an amazing job this week, just as I realise I did too.

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The moral of the story, a bad meal doesn’t make a bad week if you don’t let it.  Have that bad meal if you really need it but get straight back on it for the meal after.

That Big Kid Feeling

Tonight I managed to do two things I really needed to do:

  1. I needed to adjust my bike, move the saddle forward a few millimeters and roll the handlebars back a tad to raise the brake levers a little
  2. Get out and ride the bike properly

I was able to make the adjustments to my bike fairly quickly after work seeing as I was working from home today and the little ones had a play date straight from my eldest finishing school this afternoon.  This time allowed me to get the bike out the garage and into the front room for a bit.

I then made sure my lights were charged along with my phone with an idea of where to go for tonight’s ride.  I use Strava to map my rides – I’m not bothered about all the leader board and KOM stuff, I’ll never see the top of anything, but I do like how it paused the timer when it detects you’ve stopped at some lights or something.  I found looking on the laptop today (not the mobile app for a change) you can plan routes over a map.  So I planned a route that was 10.15 miles long and Strava estimated a total moving time of 58 minutes and 5 seconds.

Bike ready, kids in bed and me in my cycle clothes I set off through the estate as I normally do.  I wasn’t as cold tonight as the other night, it was just nice enough to get away with a base layer, jacket and bib tights.  All started off well racing across through Kirkby and I noticed the wind.  When head on it wasn’t too much of an issue but then after turning and getting it side it started moving the bike around a little, I’ve never felt that before but this bike being the lightest I’ve ever ridden it was very noticeable.  But I carried on, not letting it bother me as I just concentrated on trying to find a rhythm on the pedals.

I eventually came out of Kirkby and headed towards Kings Mill Reservoir, turned up the A617 and the plan was to then head up Cauldwell Road and back into Sutton and home.  I approached the Cauldwell Road turn off and thought against it.  I was horrid going up there last time in the dark, it’s an unused road now and there is not lighting so is pitch black dark.  Instead I carried on down the A617 and onto the A60 towards Mansfield.  I thought to myself if I’m not doing the incline at Cauldwell I’ll go further than originally planned instead.

I eventually headed back to the A617 in a loop, reaching 28 mph coming back down again – I was just about keeping with the car in front.  This is where the ‘Big Kid’ feeling first kicked in.  I don’t think I’ve been that fast on a bike before, but it felt good, it felt exhilarating.  A feeling I really want to do again.

I eventually arrived back at home, stopped the tracker and was over the moon I averaged a pace in double figures.  It might only just be double at 10.4 mph, but it’s double!  I got off the bike and had the feeling of wanting to just go and do it again – I’ve never felt like that about any exercise at any time in my life, but I already can’t wait to get out on the bike.  What I felt tonight through the ride has made me realise just how much I really like cycling and it’s something I am not giving up.

Thursday is the next planned evening ride, I wonder where the wheel will take me next time…

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Winter Isn’t Coming, It’s Already Here

We’ve all heard several highly paid actors tell us Winter is Coming… not heard it for a while, about time that final season is released.  For those who don’t know what I’m referring to, where have you been?  You need to watch Game of Thrones.

This morning when I got in the car to go to work the temperature read out was 5.5 degrees Celsius (about 42 degrees Fahrenheit for those who don’t use degC).  That’s cold, especial considering the fantastic summer we’ve had this year.  I even had to wait for the car windscreen to demist, not done that in a while.

With the colder weather comes a change in food.  Already I’ve switched to soups for lunch.  A lovely butternut squash soup with some wholemeal bread, I do love it when the wife makes wintery food.  Soon we’ll be making stews and casseroles as we say bye to the summer-like salads and lighter lunches I’ve been consuming the last few months.  I love winter food, it’s so warming and filling, nothing better than tucking into a nice hot bowl of corned beef hash when the temperature drops.

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Photo by Foodie Factor on Pexels.com

Winter also means the slow cooker will be coming out too.  I’ve already decided I want to experiment a little with it this year.  Someone from my Slimming World group made a Slow Cooker English Breakfast not long ago, looked lovely and nothing better than leaving it on while at work and coming home to it be cooked and ready (even though it’s a Breakfast, the English Breakfast can be enjoyed at any meal time).  There’s also Slow Cooker Jacket Potatoes which I’ve never tried before, but I’m intrigued as I love a crispy Baked Potato every now and then.

The clocks go back for us UK people next weekend, the bonus being and extra hour in bed (if you don’t have a baby like me).  This also means the nights will be drawing in a lot earlier than they currently are, so night cycling is going to be the norm unless I can get out in the day at a weekend.  To that end I’m glad I’ve got rechargeable lights, no more worries about batteries giving way during a ride as I’ll make sure they’re topped up before I leave each time.

Reflective gear is also a must at night to be seen, so I will be making the most of my nice florescent jacket with reflective strips.  Let it be known I’ll probably be seen from half a mile away.  But my biggest problem is the cold.

I’m not overly prepared at the moment for the cold weather that is coming.  I have a pair of bib-tights but I’d say they’re for autumn use, not so much winter.  I was wearing them on Thursday night when I took the Boardman out for it’s first ride and I was cold, really felt the cold on the downward stages.  So I need some better thermal bib-tights.  I also don’t have much for the top other than a short-sleeve base layer and my jacket, so I’ll need to look into a long sleeve thermal jersey.  I don’t have much of a budget – if any at all, so I will have to keep on eye out for any online offers where I can.

Gloves are another thing and I think more important than maybe the thermals (I can layer in clothes but not gloves).  I have the summer time finger less gloves at the moment, but they won’t be any good through Winter.  I’d hate to think what could happen if my fingers got cold enough I couldn’t quickly apply the brakes if needed.  So looks like I’ll be hunting for some nice warm, waterproof gloves over the next couple of weeks.

As much as the cycling part makes it look like I don’t like winter and I’m not prepared, I do love winter, more so than summer.  In winter I can layer up if I’m cold, it’s not like you can strip your skin off if you’re too hot in summer.  I’m a big guy so believe me when I say I get hot in summer.

 

Fail To Prepare, Prepare To Fail

It’s an old saying, one that is often correct so many times during ones life, but it’s not like I didn’t prepare this time.  The preparation was there, it just wasn’t followed through.

So this weekend we’ve been at the in-laws.  Yesterday my wife went on a spa day with her mum and sister, that left me and the father-in-law with three kids, 2 of my own and my neice.  My eldest is 4 years old, my youngest 9 months old and my niece is 1 year old.  I wasn’t looking forward to this day.  I know my two kids routine and what they want when they want, but I don’t know my niece quite as well as that (the sister-in-law lives a good 250 miles away).  I was expecting a really stressful day.

The preparation for this day started Friday.  When the wife picked The eldest up from school, she had to pop to Asda to get her some new tights (kids grown so damn fast), at the same time she popped next door to Iceland to grab a couple of frozen Slimming World meals for me to take for the weekend.  Preparation is a BIG part of Slimming World working for most people.

The Saturday started off great, the wife had cooked breakfast to fill us for the morning.  So many times we’ve rushed the morning skipped breakfast and it’s then gone down hill grabbing a coffee and muffin from Costa in the wah… Well not today!
We packed the car up, got the kids in and started to drive to the spa where I was dropping off the wife for the day.  About 75% of the way there I asked the wife of she’d put my Slimming World meals in the boot… She took one slow look at me, realised we’d completely forgot and slowly said “crap”.  Yep, that’s where the original preparation wasn’t followed through.  All is not lost here though.

I dropped the wife off and made my way to the in-laws.  Met the father-in-law and got the kids settled.  It was getting to lunch time and the original plan was to get the kids a chippy lunch.  But we scrapped this and they had a jacket potato with beans and sausage.  The father-in-law and I had a lovely ham salad.  Ham, Egg, Carrot, Lettuce, Cucumber, Tomato, Onion and a Jacket Potato.  It was beautiful and best of all, it was on loan with plenty of speed food. WIN!

The day went quite quick, we took the kids to the park for a couple of hours, they had a picnic tea (sandwiches, crisps and mini savoury balls), had a bath and got them to calm down for bed.  My two kids love their bed and are often like clockwork.  The youngest goes down at 7, with the eldest 15-30 minutes later, no questions asked.  My neice, however, does not always play ball when not sleeping at home.  Maybe she’s not keen on the fact she’s not in her own bed, maybe we were too soft with her because we weren’t sure of her bedtime routine and we didn’t want to wake the two that had already gone down.  Anyway, come 20:15 she was still wide awake.

At this point I really couldn’t be bothered to make anything for tea (should have thought about this earlier).  Without even thinking I whipped the phone out and ordered a pizza.  Half an hour later the pizza came, my niece still wide awake.  Then 15 minutes later the ladies returned from their spa day – and the first thing that went through my my mind was “caught red handed”.  The wife tried to talk me out the pizza, but it was 21:00 and I really couldn’t be bothered to wait for something to be cooked now.  The pizza tasted great, we both finished it off and I was stuffed, but now I really regret and feel really bad about it.  I went into the day determined to stick to plan, but didn’t quite make it.  Had I brought those damn Slimming World meals I would have been fine.

Today is a new day though and the cycle starts again, another chance to stick to plan, a day to redeem myself from the loss of will power yesterday.  A day to prove to myself I can do this, because I can do this and I will do this.  My mini target for this week is to loose 3lbs and that lapse in will power last night is not going to stop me.

First Time With Drops

I finally got out on my Boardman ADV last night for the first time.  I’ve only had in since Saturday, but it’s taken this long due to needing to ‘modify’ the mudguards to get them to fit properly and also find the time to actually get out (as hectic as life is right now).

It was only a little ride, but a learning ride at that.  I need to move my saddle slightly forward as it’s too far back at the moment and I feel the tops of the brake handles are too low/forward, so the handle bar needs adjusting so they’re a little higher.  I didn’t know until about 5 weeks ago what Bike Fit was, but I’ve learnt a fair bit from YouTube these last few weeks.

The ride itself, albeit not as comfortable as it could have been, was enjoyable.  Getting back out last night, even for half an hour, was really needed.  I was in a foul mood when I got home from work and I needed a bit of a release.  As I’ve covered before getting out on the bike is my time and my time to release any stress or bad feeling I have.  It helps me clear my mind and last night it certainly did that.  Even the wife noticed a change in my mood when I got back.

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It’s the first time I’ve ever had a bike with drop handles.  I’ve only ever had mountain bikes in the past, but this adventure bike suited more for what I wanted to eventually use it for, commuting.  I’ll be honest, I did some searching via Google for any tips other people have previously had for transitioning to drops for the first time.  I found different sites/posts from people explaining the different positions on the handle bars, so I used this time to experiment a little.

I found being on the ‘hoods’ fairly comfortable, a lot more comfortable than I thought I would.  Then switching to the tops for any inclines was easier as it allowed me to get a little more upright to use my lungs more efficiently.  I could of times going back down the inclines I came up I used the Hooks, right behind the brakes.  This was fairly comfortable and gave me better confidence in braking should I have needed to rather sharpish.

I also noticed how much easier it was to pedal along roads with these wheels.  My Boardman ADV has 700c x 38mm wheels.  They have little knobbly bits on the tires as they’re designed for on and off road use.  I was amazed how much slicker they felt on the road compared to the mountain bike I was using previously.  It felt a lot less effort to get the bike going and to keep it going too.

The difference in weight compared to the mountain bike was noticeable as soon as I picked the bike up on Saturday, but actually riding it I noticed it even more.  It’s like riding on a cloud compared to what I’m used to.  it doesn’t feel too light that I feel I’m going to break it, but it is that much lighter it is so much more comfortable.  It’s around 6kg lighter than the mountain bike – which is almost 50% of the weight of this bike!

Overall I feel over the moon with this bike at the moment.  I can’t wait to get back on it, though will have to wait until next week as I’m on in-law duty this weekend while the wife goes to a spa (not jealous at all!).  I know someone who lives round the corner who owns a local bike shop and he’s agreed to go through a Bike Fit with me as soon as we can, so hopefully the little discomfort I felt last night will be gone for good.