Friday, 28 June 2013

Flat Tummy Diet Part 1: Background

It’s come to that time again where I take a good look at myself and sternly tell my reflection, “right enough is enough, we’re going on a diet”.

I’m definitely what you could call a yo-yo dieter.  I spend 80% of my time eating what I like, whenever I like then the remaining 20% furiously trying to undo all the damage and fit into my skinny jeans.  Having an aim helps.  For example, for my last holiday abroad I lost 8lbs in 3 weeks and for our wedding I lost 10lbs.

That was 2 months ago and I have now put that 10lbs back on.  Ok so we’re not talking huge amounts of weight here but the principals, motivations, hard work and potential failures are the same. 

A combination of two resources has been key to my past successes.  These are the My Fitness Pal app  used to track calories and offset this against calories burnt by exercise, and Kate Adams’ Flat Tummy Club Diet.

The Flat Tummy Club Diet is by far my favourite diet book, focusing on healthy food choices and portion control rather than calorie counting.  Kate Adams uses the Stages of Change Model to demonstrate building a successful case for weight loss and maintenance.

The Stages of Change Model:
  1. Pre-contemplation:  you don’t acknowledge there is anything to change
  2. Contemplation:  you acknowledge there is a problem but are not ready to make a change
  3. Preparation: you set your intention and work out how you are going to change
  4. Action: change
  5. Maintenance
  6. Relapse
In the past I have been through ‘action’ then failed miserably at ‘maintenance’ before spectacularly falling into ‘relapse’.  At the moment I would say I’m somewhere between contemplation and preparation.  These are necessary steps, as Kate points out jumping straight into action usually results in good intentions falling by the way side 3 days into your new diet.  Preparation is key.

Today’s motivation
So why do I actually want to lose weight?  I’ve come to the point in my life where I’ve accepted I won’t ever be a size 6, 5ft10 model and I actually quite like my some of my humps (my lovely lady lumps as Fergie would say) but I also have a ‘happy weight’ which I aim to get to and then (this is the tough bit) stay at.

In a nut shell, I’d like:

  • my clothes to fit better and not have to buy bigger knickers
  • to feel more confident
  • to stop feeling guilty about what I eat
  • to be healthier and learn to prepare nutriet-rish home-made meals
  • to eat a larger variety of foods
  • to stay at a steady weight and not crash diet pre-holiday/event
  • to set a good example
  • to have clearer skin
  • to feel less sluggish, have more energy and fitter
  • Mr H to think phwoar look at my wife (!!!!!) and actually agree with him!

So why is it sooooo hard?!  These are my excuses:

  • I like chocolate (see Chocolate Blackout)
  • I’m lazy
  • I don’t/can't be bothered to cook and have very little food knowledge
  • I have a very limited diet, eating the same foods day in day out
  • I eat like a student
  • I’m too busy
  • Processed food is easier to prepare and lasts longer in the fridge/freezer
  • I’d rather eat crisps, chocolate or toast than fruit
  • I comfort eat
  • I can’t say no
  • I’m married to a chef (see Mr.H page for more details)

But the mother of all reasons/excuses = “I’M JUST SOOOO TIRED!”

Tiredness is my nemesis.  When I’m tired all good intentions go out the window.  I pick at my skin, make bad food choices, snack rather than making meals, skip workouts and generally feel sorry for myself.

Sometimes you just have to admit you’re tired and re-coup but mostly I’ve gotten into a cycle of bad eating, irregular sleep patterns and lost all motivation.  The toughest part when embarking on a new regime is keeping the willpower to get through days when I feel tired and fed up.  Willpower is the hardest thing in the world, especially when you’re mentally tired from a day at work etc.  So how do you crack it?

  • Make a plan
  • Be honest
  • Walk away
  • Keep temptations out of reach (take lunch and snacks to work and leave your wallet at home, ban chocolate from the house etc)
  • Have alternatives
  • Avoid trigger situations
  • Keep busy
  • Remember why you’re doing this
  • Avoid mindless eating
  • Don’t starve yourself (even willpower needs energy)

I’m not suggesting you never eat chocolate ever again, but it may be a good idea to avoid temptations like this initially until your willpower is strong enough and portion control is in place.  They say it makes 21 days to develop a new habit.  Kate Adams’ Flat Tummy Club Diet starts off with a 21 day plan to get the ball rolling.  I love this idea on Pinterest of using 21 sticky notes, removing one each day as a motivational tool. 

Ok so I don't know about you but I’m starting to feel more motivated already! 

Watch out for the next part of this series when I’ll set out my plan of action (‘preparation’).

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Current likes: Friday 28 June 2013

A little snap shot into the world of Ellie….

Reading:  The Summer House, by Santa Montefiore

Watching:  New Girl

Playing:  Ankh Morkpork (board game)

Listening:  Les Mis soundtrack

Wearing (work): Floaty skirts

Wearing (wkend): Skinny jeans

Working on:  Internal controls audit report

Last film I watched:  Fired Up

Last DVD boxset I watched:  Game of Thrones Season 2

Food that’s good for me:  Pink grapefruit

Food that’s not so good for me:  Buttered toast

Drink (non-alcoholic):  Apple and mango squash

Drink (alcoholic):  Crabbies Ginger Beer

Projects:  Wedding scrapbook, blogging

Last purchase:  A faux-pearl collar necklace (on sale – huzzah!)

Plan of action for tomorrow:  Gym, housework, evening out with the girls and time with my bessie! 

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Chocolate Blackout


My name is Ellie and I suffer from chocolate blackouts.  It’s been 4 hours since my last blackout.

I don’t know what happens.  One minute I’m relaxing in front of the telly or have just walked in the front door from work and next thing I know I’m surrounded by empty wrappers and covered in chocolate shavings.  Oh no, not again….  A feeling of dread overcomes me; I’m ashamed and quickly seek to hide the evidence.  Chocolate blackout has struck again.

I’ve tried everything from going cold turkey to allowing myself to eat as much chocolate as I want in a hope that I’ll become sick of it and its allure will demise.  During my summer bikini diet I tried trickle feeding chocolate by allowing myself four squares of dark chocolate a day.  As I don’t particularly like dark chocolate this stopped bingeing but was enough of a fix to get me through.  But alas, post-holiday, my will power diminished and this method quickly fell to the wayside.

Mr H has taken to hiding his chocolate supply around our home.  Unfortunately I have a sixth sense for these things and can sniff chocolate out a mile away.   If there’s chocolate at home, I’ll find it.  I daringly balance on a high stool combing the top of the kitchen cabinets with no care for my own safely, or crawl around on my hands and knees to search under the sofa or chest of drawers. 

These searches usually come up trumps but when they fail chocolate blackouts can go as far as to subconsciously make me pick up my purse (or sometimes raid the penny jar) and take me to our local shop for a fix.  If this happens too frequently and starts to get embarrassing I’ll gladly venture along the canal to Sainsbury’s come rain or shine blinded by the promise of a chocolate fix.

I’ve become somewhat of an expert at hiding my evidence.  Not so long ago I located a galaxy bar in my other half’s bedside table with a row of chocolaty goodness already eaten.  Blinded by chocolate blackout I scoffed the rest, went to the shop to buy a replacement, ate a row and stowed the rest back in the draw as if nothing had happened.  But things have started to slip.  My current weakness seems to be Maltesers.  I thought I’d hidden the evidence well enough but, stupidly, left out the receipt for the purchase.  Busted.  A cry for help some may say?

At these times I say to Mr H “don’t let me buy it or eat it.  I may not like it at the time but I’ll ultimately thank you for it”.  This of course is followed by a toddler style tantrum next time I’m drawn to the confectionery aisle at the supermarket and he tries to be stern with me.  

I have now started to admit my ‘problem’.  When blackout strikes I go to hubby, head held low, and say ashamedly “I had chocolate blackout”.   Maybe I should start a CBA (Chocolate Blackouts Anonymous) group and seek out other secret chocolate blackout suffers?  Together we may be able to stop this vicious cycle.  Or at the very least get some kind of group discount at Thorntons…..


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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Secret Diary of a Sleep Talker…

My hubby has a vivid imagination to say the least and unfortunately this doesn’t have an off switch when he goes to the land of nod.

Being suddenly woken up in the middle of the night is never fun and episodes range from random shouting and talking in Welsh to full on night terrors, to which all you can do is try to sooth and let run their course.  All tend to end with him waking himself up, giving me a quizzical look, turning over pulling the duvet with him and mumbling grumpily “shut up Ellie I’m going to sleep”.  To which I just lay still and stunned!

The first night terror I can recall was in our little one bedroom flat on the coast of Aberystwyth (West Wales) one January night.  A storm was brewing and we’d watched ‘Indiana Jones’ the night before.  Suddenly Mr H jumped out of bed screaming “scorpions!” and whacking the sheets.   He proceeded to pull me out of bed and strip all the covers off, fanning them frantically and hitting the mattress as I stood bewildered, shivering and slightly in shock!  Next thing I knew he had made the bed, got back between the covers, rolled over and gone back to sleep.

There have been similar situations with rats and lobsters under his pillow and bumble bees chasing him.  Usually he runs around shouting for a bit whilst I try to sleepily sooth him and gently coax him back to bed.  One night I woke up to him nudging me in the back, “what’s wrong?” I questioned, suddenly awake with fear something had happened.  “I’m making canap├ęs” he answered innocently.  Obviously!

He often tucks himself up in bed with a smile on his face thinking aloud “what shall I dream of tonight?” – all I can think is “please don’t let it be butchering an animal carcass”!

The thing is the next morning he denies all knowledge, looks at me like I’m crazy and is convinced I’m making it all up…… maybe I’m the one who’s been dreaming……

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Monday, 24 June 2013

Welcome to The Tales of a Wanna-be Perfect Housewife!

Hi!  I’m Ellie – a 29 year-old attempted biologist turned trainee accountant from the beautiful Shire of Gloucester, South-West England.  I graduated from the University of Wales Aberystwyth in 2006 with a Degree in Animal Science but after working in the pharmaceutical industry for 2+ years decided that wasn’t quite for me and headed home where I stumbled across administration and eventually finance.  Surprisingly, I actually love spreadsheets!  Anywho….
I love my life, however am always looking for that something more…. but with a sensible hat on – aiming for the stars whilst keeping my ballet pumps firmly on the ground.  I love to be organised, live by the metaphor of ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’ and have a list for every occasion (including this blog….).   This may sound incredibly boring and structured but I’m also a dreamer, plus luckily I met possibly one of the most spontaneous, fun loving, unpredictable but also generous, kind and loyal people I’ve ever met.  We balance perfectly, sensible vs. impulsive, organised vs. lose canon. 
We got married in April 2013 after 6+ years together, growing up, making mistakes, righting them again, learning, growing and making a home.  Mr H is a Head Chef from the Welsh town of Dolgellau.  I, on the other hand can’t cook an omelette.  So the deal is, I clean, he cooks.  Sorted. 
One of my passions in life is running.  I may not be a honed athlete, but I’m enthusiastic (and easily excitable which helps) and now that I’ve had a few years getting to grips with putting one foot in front of the other at a slightly faster pace than a walk I can truly say I love to run.  I admit this passion comes and goes, but it’s always there to come back to when I need to clear my head, stomp off a bad day or lose a few pre-holiday pounds. 
Most evenings you can find me either running up and down the Sharpness Canal, in the gym, on the netball court or (perhaps more frequently) curled up on the sofa in my pjs watching a chick flick or avidly scouring Pinterest for inspiration.
I’ve always been a bit of a homemaker and since I got married this gene seems to have flowered and got my brain working overtime.  I would like to use this blog to share my homemaking inspirations, challenge myself to learn to cook, craft and live a clean healthy lifestyle.  To share hints and tips I’ve learnt along the way, including wedding planning, money management, easy cleaning and organisation and to share amusing anecdotes, my exercise and training diaries and my hopes and dreams.  All in the aim to becoming a wanna-be perfect housewife.

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