After making the decision to start weight watchers, I started to think about the tips and tools that would help with my journey.

I’ve made mistakes in the past where go out and buy all the fancy recipe books and cereal bars etc. and to be fair those recipe books remain unopened. I didn’t want to fall into that trap again and i’d hate for anyone to do the same. So i’m going to share my must-haves, the things I use daily or at least weekly.

Weight Watchers App

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I use this app daily (look for the blue box with 2 x ‘W’ on top of each other in your app/play store). Here I log the foods I have eaten and keep an eye on how many points I have left for the day.

The search bar and the scan the item option are great when out and about if you want to know the points of something – in fact I did an online food shop recently and had this app open throughout. I really fancied some syrup sponge cake and custard and wanted to find the lowest point version/brand of this.

The app has so many other features too such as logging your weight weekly to see your weight loss (and sometimes gain, but that’s ok…it’s going to happen), an option to connect with other WW’s and lots of meal ideas. There are a few more features of the app too but theses are the ones that personally I find the most used.

Water Bottle

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I have had the most terrible habit all my life of not drinking enough. Not just water, but drinks in general. As a child I would get dehydrated a lot, and as an adult that still happens. I honestly just forget to drink.

I’m trying to make healthier choices and so forgetting to drink can’t be an option.

My lovely wife bought me  a water bottle. Nothing fancy or over-priced, it cost £1.99. I have used water bottles in the past, filled them up and again, forgot to drink. The difference with this bottle is the straw spout. I don’t know what it is about drinking from a straw but I honestly drink so much more!

It’s my birthday soon and I have asked one of my sisters for another bottle, so I can keep one at work and carry the other around with me. The bottle I have chosen is a little pricey, and I wouldn’t get it if not for a gift, but I love that there are time reminders on the side, telling you how much you should drink each hour. I have chosen the teal 600ml bottle from hydrate m8 and i believe it costs £11.99.

Water is obviously the most healthy drink, and I am getting better at drinking this. My other go-to drinks are:

  • Tea (milk no sugar if you’re offering?)
  • Pepsi max (I love a fizzy drink but to be zero points it has to be sugar free – I don’t like the taste of diet coke, but love Pepsi max)
  • Sugar free/no added sugar squash (again zero points).

Scales

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We use 2 types of scales in our house. Just scales we already had and haven’t had to purchase anything fancy.

The first scale we use daily, and that’s a food weighing scale. Most of our foods don’t need weighing and that’s why I love weight watchers (because i’m too lazy to weigh everything). To be fair my wife does ALL the cooking (i’m spoilt I know) because I overcook everything for fear of undercooking. Apparently the wife does not enjoy chicken breasts that have been cooked for an hour and a half. She’s so fussy 🙂

The main foods we weigh are potatoes, rice and pasta. If we make an apple crumble then of course we weigh the flour, sugar and butter but other than that most of our food doesn’t need weighing.

The second type of scale we use is the weighing scale to measure our progress. We have a digital set of scales and you can use stones and pounds or kg’s depending on your preference. We prefer to weigh in stones and pounds and our scales also break down the pound even further, for example 100 st 8lbs and a quater. (100st 8.25lbs).

Each Other

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I know i’m lucky that I get to go through this journey with my wife. If there is the opportunity for you to join weight watchers along side a loved one or friend then I would highly recommend this. The moral support is incredible especially on those days where you just don’t want to make healthy choices, or us ladies have star week (we all want to eat more during or just before our period right?).

If you are doing this journey alone, the ‘connect’ part of the app would be great. You won’t feel alone and you can share tips and successes as well as non-successes.

Social Media & Search Engines

I have joined some weight watchers groups on Facebook and Instagram, to basically get inspiration from others. I find these groups, and google, so useful when looking for the point value of foods I hadn’t even thought about (just remember the points may not always be accurate so use your app to double check) and also for new meal ideas (so much cheaper than a recipe book, especially if you’re a fussy eater and would only enjoy a handful of recipe book meals).

As I don’t tend to do the cooking, I use the internet to research low point snacks, crisps, chocolate etc. We have a sweet tooth in this house and after our evening meal we love to pop on the TV with a brew and some chocolate. Look out for my low point blog coming soon – if someone can take the effort of researching away, then let them. I don’t see the point in reinventing the wheel. Use each other for support and knowledge … after all we have chosen this particular route for ease!

Swimming

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We don’t tend to exercise in our home. Like, ever. I would go as far as to say I hate exercising. I am lazy and I just don’t want to do it. I also don’t want to miss time with my family or wife. So, to combat this, we go swimming together. My 2 sisters and my wife. Once a week we head down to our local pool and swim for an hour. Well, I mainly chat but the plan is to swim. The only thing we are finding difficult is the cost. It’s £3.70 each which I feel is pretty pricey. There is an option to purchase a 9 swim ticket and get 10 swims (1 swim free) so we may do that but we are also going to look and see if there is a cheaper option.

Some leisure centre’s do £1 swimming at certain points in the day but because of work, swimming in the evening suits us best.

And so these are the main things I find useful on a weekly basis. If there is something different you do, i would love to hear from you. Sharing is caring as they say.

I look forward to catching up with you again on my next blog – low pointed snacks! Have a great week everyone and remember… we are not just dieting, we are changing our lifestyle. xxx

DietLike me, are you at that point where you know you need to diet and get fitter but you just really don’t want to have to face it?

I’m at that point where clothes are getting un-comfy, I’m getting far too breathless far too easily and I’m just tired of feeling tired. So, reluctantly, I have decided to make a change. I say reluctantly because in reality I love eating more calories than my body can cope with per day and I love vegging in front of the TV with a family size bar of chocolate. I can’t promise there won’t be days where that still happens, but for the most part of the week, I am going to make better choices.

The first thing I needed to do was to decide on which ‘lifestyle plan’ aka diet, to embark on. I can’t go by the ‘eat less and move more’ logic. I need hard core rules (just so I can bend them occasionally but mostly so I know what is expected of me).

I have tried most diets in the past. Slimming world required me to be too organised. The 5:2 diet left me grouchy on the ‘2’ part of the 5:2, and the cabbage soup diet left me … well… you know!

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So, I decided that I like the sound of weight watchers. This diet is based on a point system. Points are basically calories, so the more calorific the food, the more points it costs you. Each person is given their own number of daily points allowance based on personal details such as your height and weight. Everyone is also given a buffer of weekly points (weeklies) for that odd glass of wine, a takeaway or to divide daily if you prefer to get more daily points.

I love the concept of the weekly points. I know I will cheat on the diet…but weight watchers (WW) also know that I will cheat …so giving these extra points means they are one step ahead of me. If I cheat then that buffer is there. Takes the fun out of cheating and in turn I get fitter and see more weight loss. Win win.

I signed up, with my wife, to the online WW app. There was an offer for around £30 for a 3 month sign up. Bargain. I can’t join a class – although this works for so many people, it’s just something else I can cheat at and not go.

The idea is that you pop in your details – height, weight, gender etc. and the app works out your point allowance. Each week you weigh yourself and submit that data on to the app. The app then reduces your points according to how much weight you lose. It’s a slow reduction – you don’t suddenly lose a load pf points and get left feeling hungry. I am an emotional eater and have a slight ‘arghhh’ at the thought of feeling hungry so this is a good thing!

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The app has a search option and a barcode scanner along with a calculator so that you can work out the point value of any food. You then press ‘track’ and it deducts the points of your daily/weekly allowance. My wife and I like the challenge of getting the most food for our points and so I will share low point snack and meal ideas with you in future blogs.

The app also has the opportunity to connect with other WW users and you can share ideas and motivate each other. There are also lots of menu ideas (including puddings for my sweet tooth).

In all honesty though, I’m not able to organise myself on diets – I like to grab and go, pick up a meal deal, have a McDonald’s and the odd (regular) donut. Weight Watchers allows me to do that – there are so few restrictions that it actually hasn’t felt too much like a diet so far.

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There will be struggles along the way – like I say, I’m an emotional eater (sad, happy, tired, celebratory, angry etc.) and I’m not enthralled with the idea of not eating 11 crème eggs in a weekend (don’t judge me 😊 ) but I know that I need to do this. We go to Devon each year with the family – it’s beautiful but hilly. I don’t want to slow everyone down again this year. I will keep up.

So, if you like an honest and frank diary of a dieter, with tips, struggles, celebrations and all the good and bad, then stick with me. Let’s do this….

…. After a brew and a slice of cake, or on Monday, obviously!

Achievable tasks

Over the years, since I was a teenager I have put together a list of achievable tasks instead of New Years resolutions. The reason for this is that instead of one big thing that 99% of the time we fail at it was good to put a list of achievable tasks that you could cross off as and when. If I achieve over 50% I feel like I have had a good year.

This year I managed to rope in Claire to put hers together and we thought we would share them.

Here are mine:

1. Try cooking a new recipe
2. Read 1 book every 2 months
3. Get 2017 more subscribers on my main channel and reach 1k Subscribers on the Lander-Shafik’s Channel
4. Have one day a month off gadgets/TV
5. Learn to count to 10, say please and thank you, yes and no in another language
6. Ring my mother more
7. Write more letters to friends
8. Comment on more bloggers/vloggers posts/videos
9. Do more lives on my own Facebook page
10. Take Rupert to 6 different places for good walks
11. Discover a new band/artist
12. Create a better instagram theme
13. Make something crafty I’ve learnt from youtube
14. Create a new collab idea for my channel
15. Do something out of my comfort zone at least once
16. Make a new friend in my area
17. If there is an opportunity to make a random act of kindness take it

And Claires are:

1. Be positive in all I do
2. Make better food choices
3. Quality time with Leah
4. Walk Rupert Daily
5. Compliment others and myself daily
6. Quality time with family
7. Go to Bingo and Steelers LOTS
8. Sort out utility room
9. Try something new every month
10. Pay off all catalogues
11. Define my transferable skills
12. Cook more and offer Leah more brews
13. Read 4 new books
14. Take lunch to work every day
15. Cut grass and hedge every 2-3 weeks
16. Take the kids somewhere new
17. Vlog Daily!

We have some really different goals but they are all achievable in the year.

What would be your 17 in 17?

I know – two tags in one week! But this one is a good one I promise. We were tagged by the Hectic Dia-bec-tic (visit her blog here) to do the Christmas Tag 2016.

As with the last tag we will both answer the questions:

C = Claire

L = Leah

What’s your favourite Christmas Movie?

C: erm….Let me think? A Christmas movie or a movie that’s on a Christmas? L: Either! C: erm.. Oliver, quite like the Railway Children too

L: All the greats, Love Actually, Elf, The Holiday, Bridget Jones Diary… you know, proper festive.

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

C: Yes, possibly between the ages of 14 & 16, I remember going out on the sledge. We all wanted to go out on our new bikes and we couldn’t. Oh and someone crashed in to Dad’s car that year too because he couldn’t stop. Dad’s car was parked at the time.

L: I don’t believe I have had a white Christmas, it snowed on Christmas day in Newcastle but it wasn’t white all over. 2 years ago we had a White Boxing day – most traumatic day of my life.

Where do you usually spend your holiday?

C: At home but we have Christmas day with alternate families.

L: Yeah – we like to make it fair. However I do love it with Claire’s family as our niece and nephews make it magical, as most children do.

What is your favourite Christmas song?

C: The Pogues, Fairytale of New York – without a doubt! Has been for years.

L: All I want for Christmas by Mariah makes me feel super festive, and the Christmas song is lovely, oh and have your self a merry little Christmas.. the Sam Smith version makes me teary! I love Christmas songs.

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

C: No

L: Nor me…we never did in our family.

C: Nor us, Santa hadn’t been so how on earth were you to open presents before.

L: Also it’s nice to have a day where it’s gifts all at the same time.

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

C: Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Vixen, Donner, Prancer, Cupid, Blitzen,

L: OH NO WHAT IS THE LAST ONE CLAIRE???? (checks google) COMET!!! Oh yes…

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

C&L: Fake! And the most beautiful tree!

What is your all time favourite holiday treat/food/sweet?

C: Strawberry cream quality streets, I love cheese too and ooh, the things my mum makes for boxing day, tuna, mayo and onion on ritz crackers. Might have them soon, I love them!

L: Bread Sauce – I love it with my turkey dinner and cranberry sauce

Be honest, do you like giving or receiving gifts better?

C: Giving!

L: Me too – I love buying gifts for people…seeing their faces (happy or disappointed haha)

C: I get a little embarrassed receiving don’t you?

L: I know what you mean

What is the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?

C: Honestly I don’t remember my gifts – I just remember the time I spend with my family and we have a laugh.

L: I think the best present was being told I was going to Disney world on my Birthday, something I had always wanted – unfortunately my dad was too ill to come with us and ended up passing a few weeks later but at the moment I was told I was just so overjoyed. I cried so much.

What would be your dream place to visit during the holiday season?

C: Probably somewhere like lapland or somewhere in Norway maybe…there just has to be snow.

L: Somewhere like a large cabin for all the family, including hot tub and a log fire.

Are you a Pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?

C: I don’t put all the fancy stuff on but I am definitely pro.

L: I used to be – I used to spend AGES on wrapping, till I realised no one really cared and just there was too much waste.

Most memorable Christmas moment?

C: The same thing we always did, we all had to be up together and we all had to go downstairs together and then Mum and Dad would say ‘has he been?’ and we would then open our presents with a very tired looking Mum and Dad looking over us

L: Being in Egypt over Christmas with my family and we were having turkey…of course, it’s tradition, but it’s not tradition to have them alive in the back of your Lada taxi (this is in the 80s), well not for me it wasn’t at 8 years old. You could hear them gobbling all the way back from the market.

What made you realise the truth about Santa?

C: We had come to Derbyshire to visit family. We were all shopping and Mum took me to one side and said ‘You can come with me to chose the slippers now you know Santa’s not real’ unfortunately, I didn’t know. I was 11 and had suspicions but wasn’t 100% till she confirmed it.

L: I don’t remember the exact moment but I was quite young because I remember waking up (I was a light sleeper). I didn’t say anything for years as I thought if I let on I knew I wouldn’t get any more presents.

What makes the holidays special for you?

C: Spending time with family. It’s my favourite thing to do anyway and that is most definitely the best time to do it.

L: Having time off work and being with my wife and family. Honestly I think my favourite part is seeing everyone enjoying their gifts and their food, it makes me happy to see everyone enjoy themselves the most.

So that is our answers and with there only being a few days to Christmas we won’t tag anyone specifically – just anyone who reads this and wants to have a go!

We hope you have a lovely Christmas and we will have a new blog up just after!