So Far, So Good

I re-committed to the 80/20 lifestyle on Monday and so far it’s going well.

I did 20 minute HIIT workouts on Monday and Tuesday and then tonight I ran 7km. It’s all about building stamina and toning up!

I’ve got a 10k race in early July and I’m aiming for 55 minutes – it’s the we love Manchester 10k. Gotta make sure my legs are strong!

Take a look at the beautiful scenery along the canal route I ran tonight…

image

image

As for food, I’m probably still at 70/30 but I have made some really delicious meals.

1) baked cod with hassleback potatoes and garden peas with roule – so good!

2) baked chicken marinated in herbs and evoo with a salad of spiralized courgette, carrot and apple – total game changer!

3) more baked chicken (this time in thin sterips and nice and crispy) with a salad of carrot ribbons, cucumber, red cabbage and wait for it…orange segments. SOOO good, juicy and interesting – better than your average salad!

The salads are lovely on a night when the meat is still warm and just as good the next day for a portable lunch at the office!

Having said that, I’ve also had chocolate each day this week, so I need to work on that! I’m trying to find a healthier alternative that will still get rid of cravings.

What’s your favourite guilt-free “treat”?
Xoxo

Recipe: Update to Stuffed Peppers

Back in 2014 I shared my food diary for a day, and it included Stuffed peppers as my evening meal. I promised that I would take pictures, and I never did (although I did say that I would probably forget at the time). So I’m righting my wrongs and today, over a year later, I bring you my recipe for healthy stuffed peppers! Filling, fun and great as leftovers for lunch the next day.

This isn’t the quickest recipe ever (but it still comes in at less than 30 minutes to prep and cook), but it has such potential for mixing flavours and ingredients that I challenge you not to make these!

Stuffed Peppers

Note: I used to cook quinoa as the main filling for this recipe but I’m terrible at cooking it properly (it’s always to wet) so I now use Uncle Ben’s 5 Wholegrains. It also saves a lot of time, halving the cooking time and meaning that I can spend the extra time with my little girl after work rather than standing over a pan.

Ingredients (serves 2, or 1 with leftovers)

2 x large peppers – cut in half length-ways and take out the seeds
1 pouch of Uncle Ben’s 5 Wholegrains
160g Brussels Sprouts – shredded
80g tinned sweetcorn – drained
1 large carrot – I spiralized mine this time but in the past I have just chopped it finely60g roule cheese (I usually use Boursin)
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 clove of garlic – minced
Oil for cooking – whichever you prefer
NB: Just double the ingredients to make for 4 people (or 2 with leftovers)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to about 180 degree Celsius/350 Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 4
  2. Place the peppers onto a non-stick baking sheet, cut side up, and roast whilst you make the filling
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan on a high-heat and add the garlic, sweetcorn and sprouts until they start to brown (about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally)
  4. Add the carrot and the chilli flakes, and sauté for a further 2 minutes20160215_185256
  5. Whilst the vegetables are cooking, heat the rice in a microwave for 2 minutes
  6. Add the rice to the vegetables and stir until everything is combined
  7. Add the cheese into the pan and mix
  8. Splash a small amount of water into the pan – just enough to help the cheese coat the rice and vegetable mixture
  9. Take the peppers out of the oven, hopefully they will have started to wilt and maybe even char a little on the edges20160215_190002
  10. Spoon the filling into each half of the pepper equally. I normally have some mixture left, so put this into your bowl.plate that you’ll use to serve
  11. Return the now stuffed peppers into the oven and cook for 10 minutes
  12. Serve onto the bed of rice/vegetable mixture and eat whilst they are still warm

20160215_191733

For leftovers, simply store them in an airtight, microwavable container and heat for 2 minutes.

You can adapt the filling for each season, and if you want additional meat small pieces of chicken would work or quorn. These are a great #MeatlessMonday option!

Let me know if you make stuffed peppers and what your favourite filling if!
xoxo

Friday Round-Up – Feeling Grateful, and Cauliflower Rice.

Happy Friday Everyone!

I’m feeling very grateful at the moment, grateful for my family and friends, for being in steady employment (and the recent raise, whoop!), for owning my own home and for my hubby and toddler especially! I’m also grateful for everyone who had liked a post on this blog or started following my posts. I’m definitely not the best example of a healthy lifestyle blog, as I fall off the wagon more times than not, but I hope that I represent a realistic account of what so many people go through when trying to get and stay fit/healthy/lose excess weight…

grateful2 Grateful

Anyway, enough of all that emotional stuff, here’s what I’ve been up to this week…
I had a very rare girls night out on Saturday with a meal at pizza Express (yum) and some prosecco/gin. I was very sensible and mixed my alcohol with water every other glass, and I think I danced off a lot of the booze! Apart from the dancing, I wasn’t all that active, so I squeezed in a 1 mile run on Monday, between putting the toddler to bed and then doing the ‘big’ food shop. Not much but a mile is a mile!

Zumba was my other workout so far this week, and I’ll try to squeeze in some Davin HIIT and another short run this weekend hopefully.

I’ve tried to stick to healthy eating for the most part this week, so I’ve been having balanced meals and lots of fruit for snacks. As the title of the post alludes to, I’m really digging cauliflower rice at the moment! This week I had cauliflower rice with garlic chili, baby spinach, smoked bacon and topped with an egg – so tasty!

20160203_194336

It seems to be paying off as I’m down another 1lb this week to 161lb, wahoo!

What are your favourite weekend workouts, and have you tried cauliflower rice yet?
xoxo

At Home Legs

On Tuesday I’d planned to go for a short run to break me back into the habit, but it was raining cats and dogs at lunchtime and in the evening, so I opted for an @ Home legs workout instead.

I used a kettlebell during the workout but you could use a dumbbell or heavy household item (sometimes I use a large pillar candle).

NB: I am in no way qualified to give exercise advice and the exercises below should be performed to the best of your ability with the approval of your physician. Consult your physician before starting a new exercise regime. Take it steady!

15 x Donkey Kicks on each leg (keep the foot high and pulse upwards)

donkey kick
15 x extended leg kicks on each leg – move from all fours onto your forearms and straighten the left leg so that it is parallel to the floor. Raise the foot towards the ceiling to work the bum muscles.

10 x Fire hydrants each leg
Fire Hydrants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 reps each leg x side lunge with pulses – this one was taken from Tone It Up! Start with feet hip width apart. With your right leg, lunge out to the side but keep your knee in line with your ankle. Repeat this 10 times on the right. On the last lunge, keep your right leg slightly bent and then pule your left leg straight out to the side 10 times. repeat on the other side.

10 reps each leg – single leg deadlift – Again, taken from the lovely ladies at Tone It Up! you can hold onto the back of a chair for support if you need help with balance!
Single leg deadlift

 

 

 

 

 

12 reps – weighted plie squat – stand with your feet wide apart, toes pointed outwards. Hold your weight between your legs, keeping your back flat. Squat down and then back up for 1 rep.

12 reps – weighted wide leg squat – from the plie squat move your legs slightly closer together and turn your toes so they are facing forwards. Hold your weight between your legs, keeping your back flat. Squat down and then back up for 1 rep.

10 reps each side – step back lunges with knee raise. Start with feet hip-width apart. Step back with the right leg and bend the left knee to perform a lunge. Then, straighten the left knee and bring the right leg forward, raising the knee towards the chest. Return the foot to the floor. this is one rep.

12 reps each leg – front combat kicks – contract the core to bring the right leg forwards in an extended leg kick. Step back into combat stance. This is one rep.

12 reps each leg – roundhouse kicks

12 reps each leg – ski lunges (also known as curtsy lunge)
ski lunge

 

 

 

 

10 x standard hip bridges
Hip bridge

 

 

 

 

10 x closed feet hip bridges (move the knees a little outwards when you pulse upwards)

Repeat the sequence at least two or three times depending on your ability.I did this workout on Tuesday and my butt is still a bit tight!
xoxo

 

 

 

2015 Year in Review

As 2016 beckons, I wanted to take this opportunity to review 2015 in terms of my journey to a healthier version of myself, to learn more about what works and what doesn’t, and how I can improve next year.

Fitness

At this time last year, I weighed around 158lb, and by the New Year that figure had reached 162lb. I’ve fluctuated between 161 and 154 for most of this year as I’ve gone through spells of intense exercise and complete latency.

During those times that I was committed to a steady exercise regime, I noticed my body was firmer, and I was less conscious of my arms (the one area of my body that I’m self-conscious about). After having Jessica my stomach has taken on a new shape, with the lower ‘tyre’ more prominent than ever, even at the same pre-pregnancy weight. There’s not really much I can do about the shape (and I’m not that bothered by it to consider a surgical alternative) but eating less processed food and having a consistent level of activity in my life definitely reduces the prominence of the shape.

I actually aren’t that unhappy with my body, and I think I look better naked than in most clothes! Of course I would like to tighten up, and so my goal for 2016 is to consistently add some toning exercises for my arms, abs and arse as well as running.

2015 Lesson: Consistency is key.

2016 Goal: Exercise at least 3 times a week (running, Zumba, bodyweight toning) but try to squeeze in some mid-week lunchtime runs when the weather improves enough.

Food

There’s no question about my love for food, and whilst I have my quirks (I don’t like ‘wet’ food such as mashed potatoes, but could happily eat a jacket or new potato) there isn’t much that I don’t like.

The upside to this is that I can experiment with different vegetables and grains, the downside is that I also love me some chocolate, and cake, and bread with lashings of butter. I’ve even developed a fondness for whipped cream this year, which is something that really cannot be considered healthy!

I also don’t really have an off switch. I could quite happily polish off a family size bar of galaxy chocolate or grab bag of crisps, especially if I’m watching TV or bored.

During the last few months I’ve been playing with the idea of vegetarianism. Animal welfare, global warming and the cost of meat are all factors. I don’t think that I’ll be turning into a strict vegetarian in 2016, but I’ll be trying to reduce my meat and fish intake and instead find alternative protein sources.

2015 Lesson: Keep things interesting

2016 Goal: More meatless Mondays (but not just Mondays)

I’d like to take my ‘healthy journey’ to the next level in 2016 by reaching 153lb and maintaining that weight (or under). I’ll be discussing my 2016 goals in more details in my next post, and how they’ll help me to kick it up a notch and make some proper progress!

Happy New Year everyone, and thank you for following 21lb Challenge this year!
xoxo

Staying Accountable

Last week I set myself some exercise goals and I stuck to them! I wanted to exercise 3 times, and I did.

On Monday I did the Beach babes Tone It Up arms workout using candlesticks as make-do dumbbells.

On Wednesday I ran a little over 4km – the first time running in over a month but it felt so good to be out on the road again!
Garmin results

 

 

 

 

 

On Thursday I attended the last Zumba before Christmas, sob! We cooled-down to Christmas songs, it was very festive!

This week I’m going to try and get in three sweat sessions again. I ran last night (just over 5km), and want to fit in some at-home body weight exercises on Tuesday and hopefully an early run on Wednesday or Christmas Eve.

Garmin_21122015

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve also been trying to limit the amount of Christmas food I’m eating before the holidays even start, so I’m going to try and plan some meals between Christmas and New Year so that I have something healthy on stand-by.

My biggest indulgence at this time of year is alcohol. Look out for my Christmas Cocktail recipe later this week! The prosecco will be popping, the champagne fizzing and the gin doing whatever gin does!

Here’s some photos that I remembered to take this week!

Pulled pork with a chipotle glaze with roast veg and cranberry bread. I had this fresh on Sunday and then for leftover dinner on Monday night after my run.

pulled pork and vegetablescranberry and nut bread

Friday night in with a friend with Marks and Spencer snacks and Lanson Black Label Champagne (a gift from a client at work) watching the new season of Scandal!

M&S and champagne

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the best courgette spaghetti I’ve made in a while!

Courgette Spaghetti

 

 

 

Roast veg (cauliflower, brussels sprouts, new potatoes, leeks and baby courgettes) with a fried egg and some bread and butter.Roast veg and egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love all of the vegetables that are in season at this time of the year, and my love of eggs is not abating one bit!

Weight Update
I weighed on Monday morning at 160lb. It’s a higher number than I’d like, but I know why I’m there and not in the 150s. My weight goal is that I am no heavier than 160lb on Monday 4th January. To succeed. I’m going to keep my activity levels as high as possible and make sure that I’m filling up on said veggies above, and not gorging on too many chocolates. Wish me luck!

Happy Christmas Week!
xoxo

Keeping it up over Christmas

That title sounds ruder than I anticipated, and this post in no way relates to erectile functioning:-)

Let’s be honest, my exercise schedule has taken a nosedive over the past few weeks and my eating has turned into Christmas eating a few days too early.

We’ve had severe flooding (for us) in the North of England and not only has that displaced many people from their homes and affected business, it also means that I haven’t been able to run on my lunch hour, as I have no way to get dry in our new offices. What a bummer!

My sole source of exercise has been my weekly Zumba class, but that’s it. nothing else, zilch.

I’ve also fallen into the vending machine trap, eating a chocolate bar each day for the past couple of weeks. I’ve managed to break that cycle today, and will try to stick to fruit snacks at work for the next few day before the office closes for Christmas.

I don’t want to get to January and think that I’ve lost all of my progress, so I’ll be getting back on my exercise schedule this week, and have set a goal of exercising at least 3 times each week even over Christmas and New Year.

I’m not going to make any such goals about eating over the festive period. I love holiday food and I love a glass of wine or gin & tonic. I’ll try to make sure that I don’t eat mindlessly, and will be keeping a stock of fresh whole foods in the house so that I always have the option of something nutritious.

Sorry for my lack of photos in this post. I’ve written it on my mobile and couldn’t add the photos!
xoxo