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!

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The blogger tag is something we decided to do which will help you to get to know us better. We haven’t ever really opened up about us in our blog so we wanted to both answer the questions in the tag which will help you find out more information about us.

C = Claire’s Answers

L = Leah’s Answers

Question 1 – How tall are you?

C: 5ft 5.5

L: 5ft 2.5 – the half is so important!

Question 2 – Do you have a hidden talent?

C: Yes, moaning, I am the worlds champion moaner (giggles)….erm hidden talent…I don’t think I have one! Although I am good at worrying too… is that a talent ?!?

L: I can do a weird thing with my hands – I call it the ‘wave’

Question 3 – What’s your biggest blog related pet peeve?

C: When you see photo’s of girls pouting…duck lips

L: I really hate when people apologise for the blog post content…starting it off with a negative…that really annoys me..

Question 4 – What’s your biggest non-blog related pet peeve?

C: Rudeness! Inefficiency…incompetency..I have loads (see this blog post here)

L: People who say On route instead of En Route…and should of instead of should’ve/have

Question 5 – What’s your favourite song?

C: That’s really hard, changes on a week by week basis for me…growing up it was seasons in the sun but there is a few songs that make me think of us which are in my favourite list.

L: I can never answer this question as every song that comes on I say ‘Oh I love this song…!’ I am a huge fan of music. If I had to chose one song though it would probably be ‘Always a woman by Billy Joel’

Question 6 – What’s your favourite social media website?

C: Mine is Facebook, the only one I go on really

L: Twitter/Instagram are my faves

Question 7 – What’s your favourite way to spend your time when you’re alone?

C: Bullet journalling, cross stitching, TV

L: Playing with makeup, watching YouTube, having a bath (I really really really love having a bath!)

Question 8 – What’s your favourite junk food?

C: Chocolate!

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L: Mine would be crisps but my teeth have been dodge lately and I have gone off them. I have to say fresh baked bread…mmm…still warm with butter.

Question 9 – Do you have pet or pets? If so what kind? and what are their names

Needs no introduction…Rupert, our Chocolate Lab.

Question 10 – What are your number one non fiction and fiction books?

C: Biographies for non fiction, only amusing people really and I know this sounds silly but I love the Gruffalo and books related to that.

L: I don’t read many non fiction books to be honest but the last fiction book I read that was really good was ‘We are all completely beside ourselves’ by  Karen Jay Fowler

Question 11 – What’s your favourite beauty product or tool?

C: There are three I can’t be without, Benefit Porefessional, YSL Touch Eclat Teint Foundation and the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara.

L: This is the hardest question by far for me but I have to say my Beauty Blender has revolutionised my makeup routine.

Question 12 – When were you last embarrassed? What happened?

C: We were at a friends house recently – we hadn’t visited her before and I said that I had imagined her house would be clean… then realised that I meant in a sterile sort of way – you know white and high gloss throughout. However it sounded like I was saying her house was dirty and messy. I was SO embarrassed.

L: I fell over last night and although fall wasn’t embarrassing it was quite embarrassing when I was sat at my sister in laws trying not to cry like a baby.

Question 13 – If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life what would it be?

C: Milk

L: Tea

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Question 14 – What’s your favourite movie?

C: Pretty woman

L: Bridget Jones Diary – I could watch it every time it’s on…still doesn’t get old

Question 15 – What was your favourite lesson in school and why?

C: Mine was English, I found I understood the most and that I was quite good at. When you feel like you’re good at something you enjoy it.

L: Mine was Music…until A Level when theory was too hard….I actually didn’t really enjoy being taught – I did ok in school just I prefer to learn by doing things.

Question 16 – If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

C: I don’t mind as long as all my family are with me…and it’s not too hot.

L: I love Britain as a whole, when I travel I can’t wait to get back. I especially love the countryside, in fact if it were a real place I would chose Ambridge (Radio 4 Archers listeners will know what I mean)

Question 17 – PC or Mac?

C: PC

L: Mac

Question 18 – Last romantic gesture from Spouse?

C: You sent me that lovely poem…that was nice…!

L: genuinely the last thing was picking up my phone from the road when I fell over and being very sympathetic even though you know I would have been rubbish

Question 19 – Favourite celebrity?

C: I quite like Sue Perkins but not enough to watch everything she is in but I do find her funny and clever

L: Chris Moyles – I know I know, it’s weird, I have a weird celebrity knowledge about him – so much so I feel weird about it myself.

Question 20 – What blogger do you secretly want to be best friends with?

C: It’s no secret – I am already best friends with her! Honestly though – I don’t read many blogs but I do watch a lot of Youtube and the Roses and the michalaks would be up there.

L: I agree with those, but in terms of bloggers I would love to be best mates with Really Ree and Beauty By the Bunny! I really like their style!

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Question 21 – Who is your biggest inspiration?

C: Definitely my mum and dad as they have given me a great foundation of morals and working hard. They are my biggest inspiration.

L: I have so many for so many different things, My Grandma, the most fiercely independent and strong woman I know, my mother for the same reason. My dad because of what he overcame to be in this country, my brother for achieving his dreams, my wife for putting up with me, my nephews and nieces for being so wonderful and bringing joy and then my drama teacher from school for giving me confidence to believe in myself. I draw inspiration from so many bloggers and vloggers too, too many to mention but I’m always finding inspiration in others.

Question 22 – What is your favourite blog to read?

C: Admittedly I don’t have time to read many blogs but those that I do read are more humorous lifestyle blogs..observational snippets!

L: Mine has to be beauty related blogs – I can’t help it – I just find them really interesting. I have mentioned a few already and may do a favourite blogs post in the future.

Question 23 – What is your favourite high street shop?

C: I love Next – every time I go in I feel relaxed.

L: I love department stores, our closes is Debenhams…I love how you can have everything in one place. I also love a bit of TK Maxx … love a bargain.

Question 24 – Are you in education or do you work?

C: Working – have been in the same place for 11 years now.

L: Working – thank goodness, I was nearly jobless but I was lucky and found a role starting in the new year.

Question 25 – One thing you are proud of?

C: Our relationship and being an Auntie. Well not being an Auntie as such but what my nephews and nieces are becoming. I love seeing their individuality and know I have had a real influence in their upbringing.

L: Never being negative. I pride myself on positive thinking most of all and when we have had some testing times my positivity never wained.

I hope you have learnt a little more about us and enjoyed this blog post?

If you have read this and you are a blogger then I tag you!