Tag Archives: weightloss

Friday Five – 5 foods to avoid for a healthier and happier life

8 Jan

It’s the start of the year and if you made any New Year’s Resolutions, it’s likely that one of them related to weight-loss. I couldn’t find any UK statistics, but data from University of Scranton, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology showed that ‘lose weight’ was the #1 new year’s resolution.

For many people, this will mean taking a hard line on what they eat, which can backfire and lead to binge eating and other unhealthy habits, so how can you make some sensible changes to your diet?

Should you cut out carbs?

Is it OK to eat after 7pm?

What about fasting every week?

What I’m going to suggest is a strategy that is more sustainable and which is specific to you.

These are the foods you should almost never eat:

  1. Any food that you find addictive

You know the kind of thing I mean – it’s that jar of Nutella that keeps luring you back to the cupboard, or the biscuit barrel… or, for me, the open bag of granola. It can even be snacks that are healthy, such as nuts – they key is in moderation.

If you know that there is something that you eat compulsively, then it’s best to avoid it, or purchase it in smaller packets.


2. Any food that doesn’t make you feel good

I’m fairly lucky in that I have a cast iron stomach, but many of my friends find that certain foods can have unpleasant or uncomfortable side effects. A friend of mine gets a little ‘gassy’ if he eats pork, so that’s something he avoids.

I know it’s not a food, but drinking cola makes me giddy and hyperactive, so I try not to drink it too often. However, I don’t drink alcohol and I do like cola, so I’ve not cut it out completely.

3. Any food you don’t enjoy

At the start of my weightloss journey I swapped my lunchtime sandwiches for a home made salad. Amongst the sald vegetables that I included was celery. This may be normal for you, but it was a change for me.

I hate celery. Celery soup is fine, but I just don’t like raw celery. I’ve tried to like it for years, but I’ve come to the conclusion that there are plenty of other vegetables that I enjoy, so why should I torture myself with a food that has little nutritional value?

Beetroot, goat’s cheese and marmite are beloved of many vegetarians. I won’t deny their merits, but as I dislike the taste of them, it makes eating them an ordeal.

I don’t advocate cutting out entire food groups, but if there are particular foodstuffs that don’t tickle your tastebuds, just don’t eat them! Enjoying your meals means that you are less likely to be tempted by unhealthy items.


4. Any food that makes you feel guilty

So many times I’ve eaten something that doesn’t sound like it should be included in a diet plan – brownies, Danish pastries, ice-cream, cookies… I have a sweet tooth, but maybe for you, it’s crisps or savoury treats.

The problem is that it doesn’t always end at one item. It spirals. I have a bar of chocolate… and then I feel guilty that I’ve ‘failed’… so I’ll have some cake… and then I give up and have some biscuits… until I’ve spent the day/weekend/week bingeing.

I then promise myself that I’ll start again on Monday… but the cycle happens again. I eat something that makes me feel bad and it escalates into a situation where I no longer feel in control.

I now decide what is OK for me to eat and try not to be too strict. Eating a doughnut is not a failure, it is part of a balanced diet. As long as I eat well the majority of the time, the odd less healthy item is fine.

5. Any food that isn’t really food

As much as possible, I prepare my food at home from scratch. This is proving to be a challenge at the moment as I only have two hob rings and a microwave (what I would give for an oven!) However, it’s not impossible.

What I can avoid is anything that contains lots of additives – as stated in the beach body diet review too. Instead of choosing a ‘low fat’ yoghurt (that is probably packed with artificial sweeteners), I opt for a full fat plain yoghurt. If I want a treat, I choose dark chocolate in preference to cheap milk chocolate.

Don’t try to change everything at once. Remember the 80:20 rule. As long as you’re doing well the majority of the time, then the odd ‘less healthy’ meal is OK.

What are your personal healthy eating guidelines?


A slow start to January

4 Jan

I went out for my first run since I had laser eye surgery yesterday. I’ve been desperate to go out for a run. I didn’t want to push too hard and was looking to have a social run, but I didn’t see anyone I knew who was going to be running at conversational pace – possibly because it was cold, wet and windy.

first Soton parkrun of 2015

Nearly finished!

I knew that the run was going to be tough as I’ve not eaten well for the last two weeks, which was made worse by the total lack of exercise. I also realised at the start of the run that I had forgotten to pick up an inhaler, so I had to be careful. Every time that I started to have breathing problems, I slowed down a bit. Fortunately,  this strategy seemed to work. It wasn’t a fast run, but I finished:

parkrun 3rd Jan 2015

Now, I just need to start eating healthily again and get back on the training wagon, to knock three+ minutes off that time!

Amusingly, in the evening, I received this email:

Fastest pace 2015

Clearly, if I want to receive a cheerful email, I need to go out at a fast pace on my first run of the month!

I read this post on RunKeeper this week: Brian: Losing 365 pounds and getting my life back. It’s really inspirational, so I urge you to read it.

If you use RunKeeper and want to connect with me, I’m here: http://runkeeper.com/user/fatgirltoironman

I tend to ‘use’ quite a few exercise trackers (mostly as I use tapiriik to sync my data to all of them)

GarminConnect is my main tracker, but I quite like what Strava does. I also like their new code of conduct: Stand with us.

Strava stand with us

If you want to find me anywhere else, you can also find me:

I’m also doing Jantastic again this year: https://www.jantastic.me/ It’s a challenge that runs through January, February and March, where you set your own goal sand then aim to meet them. I had to reset my goals as I had intended to swim at least twice a week throughout January. I’m not allowed to swim again for a few more weeks, so I had to change that goal.

This morning, Teri and I had agreed to run, but she also needed to go to junior parkrun with her children, so I agreed to go along and marshal as well before we went for our run.

Volunteer at junior parkrun

Initially, I didn’t think it was very cold out as there wasn’t any frost, but after standing around for just over half an hour, I was definitely feeling the cold. I took off my jogging trousers and put them in Teri’s car, but couldn’t bring myself to remove my running jacket as I just had a short-sleeved t-shirt on underneath.

We started off at a steady pace – mainly because I couldn’t go any faster. We ran around Riverside Park, which was a nice change from running on The Common. Then we headed along some of the route of Southampton Half Marathon. It’s quite hilly, so I know that I need to do lots of hill-training between now and April.

On the way to The Common, we saw Irene and Alice from Lordshill Road Runners, then on The Common we saw Rob and Nick out running. It’s lovely that whenever I go for a run I see people I know.

Teri and Tamsyn

Still wearing sunglasses to protect my eyes

This afternoon, I’ve been in the kitchen. I’m hoping to plan all of my meals for the week and also prepare my breakfast and lunch for tomorrow to try to get the week off to a good start. For tea tonight (and tomorrow and Wednesday), we’re going to have a home-made chilli – yummy! It’s quite a simple dish:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • chilli powder
  • paprika
  • coriander
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • 2 tsp chipotle paste
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • miscellaneous dried herbs
  • 2 tins tomatoes
  • 1 small tin tomato puree
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 carrots
  • red pepper (capsicum)
  • green pepper
  • spinach
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 1 large courgette
  • 1 can borlotti beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans

It’s a smoky bbq type chilli as a consequence of the chipotle paste and the molasses. It’s also a dish that improves after a day or two. I quite often cook large one-pot meals like this, so that I don’t need to cook every day.

As I’ve not been able to go out and exercise, I’ve watched a few TV programmes online. I finally had a chance to watch ‘The Adventure Show’ on BBC iPlayer. The episode that I was interested in was episode 5, which is one that focused on a group of cyclists doing an Audax event in Scotland. This is something that I would like to do one day, but I need to build up my cycling quite a lot before it happens!

I also watched an excerpt from the Graham Norton show, featuring Bradley Wiggins:

What have you been up to?

Monday Morning Motivation – Scott Cutshall’s story

18 Aug

Scott Cutshall is one man who managed to turn his life around by cycling. Although cycling hasn’t helped me to lose weight, I do believe it has given me confidence.

Read Scott’s story: I lost 320lbs riding a bike.

You can read another version of his story here: Large Fella on a Bike.

Scott’s old blog is here: http://istanbultea.typepad.com/largefellaonabike/ and following a tweet form the great guy himself, I now know he blogs here: http://scottcutshall.com/

Scott is also on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScottCutshall

Are you motivated to get on your bike today?

Monday Morning Motivation – Weightloss

14 Jul

I’ve blogged a lot about my progress with swimming, cycling and running in the 18 months since I started this blog, but I don’t blog as often about my weight-loss as it’s the hardest area of my life for me to tackle.

Weight loss motivation advice

Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
Weight Loss Motivation

Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
What can you say to me to help me lose weight?

26th May – didn’t quite TWIET

26 May

I’d intended to #TWIET on 26th May, and got as far as taking all of the photos, but for some reason not of my tweets were sent, so here for your delectation are my meals for that date:

Breakfast: 30g porridge oats and some dried pineapple

Pineapple porridge

Pineapple porridge

Lunch: 5 cherry tomatoes, 4 radishes, 5 slices of cucumber, 2 carrots, some sad iceberg lettuce, 2 spring onions and 40g cheese.

Lunchtime salad

Lunchtime salad

Snacks: a Granny Smith apple, a Sharon fruit/persimmon, two doughnut peaches and a plum.

Mmmm - fruit!

Mmmm – fruit!

Evening meal: vegetable curry with chickpeas



What do you include in your salads? What healthy snacks do you recommend?


Should I change my name?

12 Aug

No, not ‘Tamsyn‘ – I like that one – thanks, mum and dad!

One issue that I’d like to blog about today is the title of my blog (‘Fat Girl to Ironman’, in case you’d forgotten). A couple of my lovely friends (who are much slimmer than me) – yes, that’s you Irene and Ellie – have suggested that they think I should change the title of my blog as it’s derogatory. It’s a title based on personal perception. I am aware that there are many people in the world who are bigger than me, however I am generally categorised as ‘overweight’ according to BMI. I am also aware that BMI is often described as unreliable, but, it is still widely used. My current bodyweight is hovering on the edge of ‘overweight’ and will hopefully soon move into the normal/healthy weight category… but it is an ongoing battle to keep it there. I suspect that my waist/hip ratio (or just waist measurement) is not healthy, but I don’t want to get out a tape measure and get depressed about it. According to BMI, I would need to lose nearly 3 stone before I would be considered underweight, so there’s plenty of scope for weight loss!!!

BMI-female BMI-Chart

The BBC has an interesting calculator, “Where are you on the global fat scale?” Cheerfully, it tells me that “If everyone in the world had the same BMI as you, it would add 10,754,372 tonnes to the total weight of the world’s population” – yay! I suspect the small print says, ‘luckily, not everyone is fat otherwise earth wouldn’t be able to support them!!!” Apparently, nationally, I’m below average, but globally I have a higher BMI than 55% of women my age.

Today, I decided to deviated from my training schedule again. I was meant to swim at lunchtime, but I knew that I would need to cycle to the hospital this afternoon and also had lots of parkrun emails to deal with, so I decided to skip that workout. I’m also feeling a bit tired after yesterday’s run. After work, I had a training session with Lordshill Road Runners. It was a hill training session, but as I’m practising coaching, I couldn’t join in much – well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!!!

Tomorrow, I should be open water swimming before work, and then doing 3x1600m reps after work. I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to maintain the required pace for the reps, but it’s only 3 miles, so it’s not an unmanageable workout.