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Guest Post - Zero Point Ice Cream by Laura from Knead Whine

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Hi, I'm Laura from Knead Whine. In the last 15 weeks I've lost 16lbs and am 11lbs away from target. I'm with the Weight Watchers programme and honestly can't believe how easy it is. I can have a little bit of what I want and the weight comes off. I'm a huge fan of sharing something a little bit naughty with my three year old - a slice of lemon and poppy seed cake at Pret or a falafel mezze salad from Starbucks shared between two is very few points.

My favourite discovery BY A MILE is zero point icecream (although knowing that a Green and Blacks dark mini is two points is something else I'm rather fond of!). Having discovered something I love, I couldn't help but try different variations and add the odd point here and there as I went.

Option one: - Banana, raspberry and cinnamon
Stats: two servings, 1 propoints each.

One banana, cut into coins and frozen
A handful of raspberries
A tablespoon of cinnamon - split between two people made for one propoint each.

Freeze the banana in coins, freeze the raspberries. Sprinkle with cinnamon and blend. We enjoyed this at the end of a really busy day at school fête and Newburyfest. Could have done without the cinnamon actually. Nicely pink and raspberryish.

Option two: - Bananaberry
Stats: one serving, one propoint (pointless without the meringue)

One banana, cut into coins and frozen
A handful of Waitrose essential berries mix
Grating of fresh nutmeg
Two mini Waitrose meringues

Blend together all ingredients except the meringues. Place meringue on top. Enjoyed on a very hot evening after a day of Tumble Tots and owl making.  

Option three: - Creamy banana
Stats: - one serving, one propoint

One banana, cut into coins and frozen
40g (to taste) of no fat natural yoghurt.

Blend banana and yoghurt together. A slight yoghurt tang and tasted like an even creamier version of the original. Enjoyed this on the night that the storm was promised to break after the hottest day of the year. 

Option four: - Peanut mocha
Stats: - two servings, two propoints each

Two bananas, cut into coins and frozen
2 teaspoons smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
20ml coffee - a good way to make use of the little bit that is always left over after I've used the coffee machine in the morning.

Blend ingredients together. This was quite tasty - although it could do with either dropping the peanut butter (making it only 1 propoint) or the coffee.

I've got loads more that I want to try out - a plain mocha option, a cashew butter option, maybe even an avocado option! Now I've started with this the possibilities are (almost) endless.

How to get past a plateau

Thursday, 29 August 2013

The above is a real chart of my weight loss since January. Starts off so well, doesn't it? A nice, steady downward slope. And then it kind of... straightens up.

Even when I've been losing weight steadily, I live in fear of the dreaded plateau. We all know it's coming, and sooner or later we are going to get to the point where nothing is changing. So what do you do?

My weight has just started really moving again for the first time since e start of June, and I've actually lost around 4lbs in the last week or so. It's not been a fluke, though - I've worked bloomin' hard to shift that! So I thought I'd share my tips for getting through a plateau.

1. Exercise
I'm sure there are some dieters out there who are instantly like 'I'm out.' I'm with you! Exercise is the WORST. And for the first few months of WW, I didn't do any. Then I started walking a bit more. I started making a point of taking the long way round, and instead of driving the 3 miles to my parents' house, going by foot. Eventually, I braved a Zumba class for the first time in almost a year. And you know what? I loved it!

My point is, start slow. Take it easy at first. But when you approach that plateau, it's time to step it up. And you might actually find that you enjoy it.

2. Go back to the start
My first few months on WW, I tracked literally everything I ate and I saw serious results. But gradually, I started to miss the odd day here or there. A night out was a total write off. And my weight stopped going down. Some weeks, it went up.

The last few weeks, I've started following WW like a newbie again. It's got my motivation back and made me aware of the little extras that were creeping in. Have a biscuit, it's fine. But it DOES count.

3. Set some new targets
That dress in a size smaller, getting to a certain weight, finally being able to wear skinny jeans... if you believe you can, then you can.

My goal was to fit into a size 12 bridesmaids dress for October and you know what? It fits. But it could fit better. So now I'm focusing on getting to a certain point, which would be the slimmest I've been for 7 years. It'd be kind of a big deal to me, and I'm 11lbs off right now.

4. Think about how far you've come
Sure, you look better. But how do you FEEL? After losing 2 stone, my self confidence is higher than it's been for a long time. I actually like photos of myself again. But physically, I feel so much healthier. The sore knees and back that were plaguing me last year have gone. My body is full of good stuff, and my tummy is both smaller and happier for it.

5. Try something new
Like a new exercise class, or some new recipes. There's tons on the Internet - on this blog even - plus in recipe books, magazines. Branch out, get out of your rut, and you might actually get excited about cooking healthily again. And I need to take this point on board, as I've been living on butternut squash lasagne lately. It's so good though!

You might have actually already achieved your target, and if you feel great as you are, that's awesome. You're not at a plateau, dude! You're at target! APPLAUSE.

If you have any other ideas, let us know in the comments!

Image source

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Protein Mug Cake Recipe

Friday, 23 August 2013

I'm currently trying to eat 'clean' - no refined sugars or processed foods - along with trying not to eat many carbs.  Trust me when I say that on that diet, sweet treats are few and far between. So I was at a bit of a loose end this afternoon when I had a real hankering for a warm slice of cake to have with my afternoon cup of tea.  I suddenly remembered that I'd seen people post protein mug or bowl cakes on instagram - cakes made with protein powder and cooked in the microwave.  I did a lot of scouting around the internet and finally found a recipe on a MyFitnessPal forum.  I have the Cookies and Cream flavour Whey Protein from My Protein which I bought a few weeks ago, it's only £12.89 for a kilogram so it's really good value and I thought it would be amazing in milkshakes (it is!) and in baking.  The recipe said to use vanilla protein powder but it was still delicious with the flavour I had.


1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder 
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 tsp sugar or sugar substitute (I use Truvia baking blend) 
1/4 tsp baking soda 
pinch of salt 
1 egg 
1 tbsp almond milk 
1 tbsp peanut butter 


Mix all the dry ingredients in a mug (protein powder, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt) with a fork until well blended and there are no clumps. Add in the egg and almond milk and mix until smooth. Drop the peanut butter into the center of the chocolate mixture and press down to submerge. Microwave for around 1 minute on high (give or take some time depending on your microwave), but watch it! It will start to bubble over the top. If this happens, stop microwaving, press batter back into mug with fork, and continue microwaving. When finished, cake should be cooked but still very moist. It is okay if not all the batter has cooked! 

This is what it looked like pre-microwaving:

Mine took about 1 minute 30 seconds in the end, when I took it out it looked like this:

It slid out of the mug easily and exposed a gooey base of peanut butter goodness!

I put the ingredients into My Fitness Pal to save it as a recipe and it says it has:

311 calories
4g carbs
16g fat
31g protein
455g sodium
4g sugar

I worked it out to be 7 WW Pro Points but I could be wrong.  Whatever diet or plan you're on it's a great way to get protein and satisfy that sugar craving without going overboard on calories or filling up on the naughty kinds of sugars.  I served mine with blueberries and greek yoghurt and it was really yummy.

It was a much firmer consistency than cake normally is, very very filling and really felt like such a treat.  I'll definitely be making it again and looking up more recipes.

Let us know if you make this or if you try any other protein cake recipes!

Saints & Slimmers Review – diet meal delivery

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Saints & Slimmers aim to help you to lose weight by supplying you with ready-prepared calorie-controlled meals (and meal replacements like bars and shakes). After a few months of only very loosely following the Weight Watchers plan after a big weight loss I was looking forward to trying out a more structured diet plan for a few days. I was provided with three days worth of food to trial which followed three different plans. 

I have never tried any plans like this before and I always aim to prepare my food myself although I occasionally have a ready meal if I'm in a hurry so I was a little worried about not being able to chose what I ate or if it would suit me. 

Saints & Slimmers Nutritionist Charlotte Mullins says “We recognise that one diet plan does not fit all so we have designed several different plans. We all gain weight differently and we are all different in our approach to weight loss, so it stands to reason that not every diet plan should be the same.
“We offer sensible diets that provide healthy meals and tasty meal replacement products that are scientifically proven to help people lose weight. Key products contain active ingredients such as green tea extract and L-Carnitine and are enhanced with protein and fibre meaning followers stay satisfied and fuller for longer so no excessive food cravings which often see us heading for the biscuit tin.” 

So what did all of this mean for me and how did I get on with the plan? 

Day 1.  The VLCD   600 kcals a day (average 4lbs weight loss in a week)

Breakfast : Meal replacement product - 100% natural shake
Lunch : Meal replacement product - Chocolate Milkshake 
Evening : Meal replacement product - Soup

I was a little worried about day one because if i didn't like any of the products I wouldn't be able to replace them and I find it difficult to drink milkshakes if I don't like the flavour (banana, gross) but I didn't need to worry. I liked the shake I had in the morning which I added fresh milk to and the soup and other shake were both very palatable. I loved having extra time in the morning because I didn't need to make breakfast or prepare a packed lunch. I made sure I drank plenty of water and didn't feel hungry on day one at all.

Day 2.  The VLCD 800 kcals a day (average 3lbs weight loss in a week)

Breakfast : Muffin
Mid morning : Summer Berries Cereal snack bar 
Lunch : Meal replacement product - Sinless Meal bar Chocolate 
Evening : Meal Replacement Product - Strawberry heavenly Milkshake

I found day two a bit of a struggle. All the foods are high protein and fibre and very filling but I have an hour lunch break and found it a little odd to just eat a bar. The milk chocolate bar was so very filling but I found it a little hard to eat as the texture was unusual. I really wanted a huge milky coffee in the morning with my cereal bar and it was hard to say no to a Costa. I also met with friends after work this day and had to settle for a glass of water rather than a gin and tonic which was a little heartbreaking. Again, despite the amount of food appearing to be quite small I was full all day.

Day 3.  The Complete  1200 kcals a day (average 2lbs weight loss in a week)

Breakfast : Porridge 
Mid morning : Deluxe Chocolate 

Lunch : Meal replacement soup

Evening : Low calorie ready meal 

You can also add up to 200 kcals of vegetables / fruit and dairy to The 'Complete' plan.

Day three was by far the best day on the plan. I liked all of the foods on this day and the ready meal was a welcome break from sweet bars and shakes. I was also able to add fresh food this day and had a lovely fruit salad with my soup for lunch. I really didn't feel like I was eating diet food on day three and could easily follow this plan for three/four days a week and go for lower calorie options on the other days.

Overall, it's great resource for people who struggle for time to prepare foods and who have to find the time to eat on the go. It's easy enough to snack on a meal replacement bar at lunch or drink your milkshake on the way to work. I found the lack of fresh food a little odd and difficult to get used to but if you prefer to cook your own meal in the evening like I do you can, having two meal replacement bars/shakes for your other meals. I think this would suit me much better and would allow for things like cooking for friends and making sure I can sit down with my family and eat the same things as them. 

They also have a range of tools, advice and online support available to help with your weight loss. Saints & Slimmers allow you to access their tools, information and advice, and interact with their online community without any purchase required. If you do decide to purchase food from Saints & Slimmers you can just try a few days to see if you like it before you commit to a month. I think the price of the plan is reasonable for the products you receive and levels of support you can access. 

I was surprised that I got on with the plan so well and I lost 2lbs in the three days. I would seriously consider buying the Breakfast and Lunch plan for £2.14 per day and making my own evening meal.

Have you ever tried meal replacement products? What are your thoughts on these types of diet plans?

MovBand UK Activity Tracker Review

Friday, 16 August 2013

A couple of months ago, three of the Where Are My Knees team were sent Movband trackers and some Movband accessories for review.  The Movband is an activity tracker that tracks 'moves' - its own record of movement - and miles travelled, every day.  You wear it on your wrist like a watch and throughout the day you can watch your moves increase. Tracking moves is done via a 3D accelerometer that tracks all kinds of movement.  The miles are calculated via your age, which you enter when you set up the Movband (it assigns you an average stride and uses that to calculate the miles you've travelled).

The device is very simple - it charges via USB, you pop it on your wrist and away you go.  Every night at midnight the Moves reset themselves so you can use it as an activity tracker.  The miles don't reset themselves but you can do this manually.

The idea of the Movband of course is to give you motivation to get more active.  You can set yourself personal goals (there isn't an online tracker or a way to upload your movements but you can use whatever recording system suits you - I took photos on my phone of the screen before I went to bed) and then monitor how you get on on a daily basis.

The tracker itself, as I mentioned, fits into a watch style wristband (the tracker works like a watch too and tells the time as well as having a backlight for night time use).  Because the tracker fits snugly into the wristand and is removable it means you can buy different coloured wristbands.  There's also a sweatband available with a pocket for the tracker but I found this uncomfortable and I can't see why you'd use it rather than on the wrist strap.

That's the Movband in a nutshell.  It's very simple, with no bells and whistles, and if you're looking for a basic activity tracker and something to provide motivation to get you more active, then it's definitely a fun and useful accessory.  Personally I own a GPS watch and a Heart Rate Monitor watch which I use to track exercise and running.  Both of these show calories burned, workout times, heart rate and so on, and really the Movband is not comparable to these.  For a start it retails at only £27.99 (compared to the £100 and £65 of the other watches I own).  Clearly the Movband is aimed at a different market to other fitness watches and activity trackers.  From what I mentioned about interchangeable, different coloured straps, it might not surprise you that Movband do a lot of work with Primary Schools to encourage children to get more active. Having had an amazing childhood of running round our local 'patch', playing Man Hunt, riding bikes and climbing trees, it grieves me to think of so many children these days spending evenings and weekends playing XBox or sat on social networking sites, and so I fully support this cause and this is a really applaudable section of their work.  Some of the things they do with schools are to have competitions for children to reach 100 miles in a certain amount of time, or giving out coloured bands for achievements such as 25 miles. Clearly this initiative works well and I think it's something that the Movband really lends itself to. I've also read about exercise instructors getting class attendees to wear them to track activity throughout a class and get people to be more active and animated during a session.

I personally think that Movband is a specific type of tool for a specific need.  If you want a measurement each day that will inspire you to get more active, this is perfect.  What it isn't for, is people wanting to know a tangible translation of activity based on your personal statistics, such as calorie burn or something backed up from another source like GPS or a Heart Rate Monitor.  On the first day I tried it I wore it on my wrist whilst scheduling blog posts on a Sunday and before I'd even left my office chair I'd racked up quite a few moves just by doing lots of typing! There also isn't guidance on 'what good looks like' so it's difficult to know at the end of the day whether your Moves and Miles are something to show off or something to keep to yourself - unless you join a group your only comparison is against your own figures (which for some people is obviously fine.) My best day was 14,970 moves and 17.5 miles but I'm not sure how impressive this is. Also there isn't a way to upload your results to the computer and track your activity online - the US version of the Movband you can, but with the UK version you can't (I spent quite some time trying to get it to work before realising I was on the US site - a bit confusing!) I think this is a bit of a shame, especially as the US version is actually cheaper, at $29.99 (about £20).

If you want a way to track activity over a daily basis, don't fancy wearing a chest strap/HRM and just want something fun to keep you motivated, then the MovBand is for you.

You can buy Movband in their online shop, it retails at £27.99.

Vaseline Deodorant Challenge

Sunday, 11 August 2013

We were recently contacted by Vaseline to see if we wanted to put their new Active Fresh deodorant to the test.  Active Fresh promises 48 hour protection, along with its Pro Derma technology that helps protect underarm skin and make it less prone to irritation.

I decided to test out the deodorant on two occasions, firstly on my birthday as I knew we'd be spending the day out doing lots of walking in the sunshine, and secondly on one of my morning runs so I could see how it fared during exercise.

The first thing I noticed when I took it out of the package was that it had a very strong scent.  Just taking the lid off filled the room with a fresh, almost clean laundry-esque fragrance.  I haven't used a deodorant with such a strong scent before and I must admit I was a little concerned that it would overpower my perfume or be quite cloying (it is a really nice smell though).

Luckily I didn't have anything to worry about and after the initial spritz the scent did die down, but sort of remained lightly in the background so that I felt quite fresh all day.  In the end, on my birthday we walked about 6 or 7 miles, and though I was a little sweaty afterwards (it was a warm day!), I certainly still smelled fresh as a daisy!

pre-run essentials - sports bra, deodorant, GPS watch, inhaler...
I then tested it on Friday morning on my morning run.  I gave myself a liberal spritz before heading out of the door and running about 3.5 miles.  Again, I was definitely sweaty - though this time everywhere but my armpits (it worked!) I am wondering now if I should have given myself more of an all-over spray!

I would definitely use Active Fresh again, it felt soothing on my armpits and I did feel fresh all day.  Although the scent is quite strong it's certainly preferable to smelling of sweat! It definitely made me feel more confident knowing I smelt nice all day - sometimes with going for a run in the morning before work (albeit I obviously shower afterwards), then working at a site where you have to walk around a lot, I sometimes feel self-conscious that by the afternoon I'm not as fresh as I was when I started the day, but this will definitely keep that feeling in check! It gets a big thumbs up from me!

Overnight Oats

Friday, 9 August 2013

If you follow me (@amilliondresses) on twitter or instagram you will have noticed that I have started  eating numerous varieties of overnight oats for breakfast.  I have been asked if it is like cold porridge and the answer is NO! It isn't like hot porridge either to be honest.  It is rich and creamy and very filling and the best bit is there are so many flavour options you can't possibly get bored. 

The basic ingredients are oats, yoghurt and milk and you can flavour it with whatever fruit you fancy.

I take a 2/3 cup of oats, add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and then mix with yoghurt, almond milk and fruit.   For this one I have chosen to use peach yoghurt and add sliced peaches.

I add the yoghurt to the dried ingredients and give it a mix.  I then add almond milk by sight.  I want it too be slightly runny as the oats absorb the liquids overnight which is what causes them to soften

You can of course eat it in the bowl you make it in! I transport mine to work with me so a pretty jar works well for me.  I have put half of the oats into the jar, added a layer of peaches and then topped with the rest of the oats.  I love digging down and getting big chunks of juicy fruit.

I have tried quite a few flavour combinations, these are my favourite:

Oats, natural yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds, honey & lots of blueberries

Oats, cherry yoghurt, chia seeds, almond milk, cocoa nibs & cherries

Oats, natural yoghurt, chia seeds, honey, almond milk and raspberries

Oats, natural yoghurt, almond milk, almond butter, chia seeds, honey and topped with banana

The opportunities are endless!  If you have tried it let me know what you think and if you have found the most amazing flavour combination please share with me in the comments.

What I Ate Wednesday - Sarah

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Like Rosie I am currently not following any plan.  I am sticking to healthy foods with the occasional treat and making sure I eat breakfast, something I have always struggled with.  I haven't counted a single calorie, worked out any points or decided that any food group is banned.  I am trying to make it as balanced as I can by adding things like chia seeds to my breakfast to boost the protein and keep me fuller for longer.

This is the food I have eaten today and it's pretty representative of a standard day.


Overnight Oats with cherry yoghurt and fresh cherries

M&S Pesto Pasta Salad (I drain the oil from this as I find it too greasy otherwise)

Afternoon Snack

Pineapple chunks, this pack lasts two days


Chicken, spicy couscous & stir fry vegetables


Jelly Tots, my favourite!


3 large glasses of weak orange & pineapple squash
3 cups of tea

Do you think I am lacking anything in a standard day or even eating too much?  What would you add or substitute to make improvements?  I would love to hear any suggestions.

Monthly Summary: July

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Rosie - After going to Greece at the end of May and spending three weeks in France in June, by the end of June I found myself almost ten pounds heavier and bloated and uncomfortable after six weeks of overindulging in wine, bread and cheese! If I'm honest I was pretty dismayed at myself, and the fact that I'd not been running for six weeks either meant that I was back to square one with my fitness as well as my diet. I've been trying to be really good again this month and have lost 5lbs in the last few weeks.  What I'm most pleased about is how much I've got stuck back into it in the last couple of weeks especially - I've been trying to stick to a low carb, high protein diet to get rid of some of my holiday belly fat and that seems to have been working, I'm also back onto my exercise and am loving running again - I ran five miles on Friday before I went to work and I felt amazing for it, as well as going on a four mile walk yesterday and going swimming, gym and rollerblading today! I need to keep 'being active' as part of my routine and I love how the sunny weather opens up more opportunities for long dog walks and bike rides! My only challenge over the next week is that it's my birthday on Wednesday, so I'll allowing myself some treats this week and then getting straight back onto it.

Sarah V - At the start of July I felt very down about my weight loss. I seemed to have plateaued around the same 2lbs loss and gain for a good 6 weeks. There were reasons though, June was a busy month and I ate terribly at Glastonbury! But I've got better at snapping back to being good once the badness is over. It was my birthday on Monday, just as my weight started to go down again and I was convinced I was going to ruin everything with lots of meals out and drinking. Luckily though I managed not to gain any weight and I am hoping to go to my weigh in tomorrow with a loss. I have finally done my two stone now but really want to get to three stone in the next couple of months. I just have to get more active, I think that's the key to kickstarting things again.

Gem - What a nightmare month, I've not been to class once, haven't been to the gym and now weigh about 7lbs more than I did about 6 weeks ago. I've allowed myself one final weekend of madness because it's my birthday tomorrow but I'm back on plan as of Tuesday morning. There's no way I'm letting a year and a half of hard work go down the drain. can one of you come and be my personal trainer please? You could follow me around with a megaphone telling me to jog or put the cake down...

Sarah - I have finally found that motivation I have been so lacking recently and am really happy to say I lost 3lbs last week.  We now also have a home gym so I have been getting some much needed exercise.  We currently have a treadmill and a punch bag so I will be making use of these each evening and sticking mostly to healthy foods.  I am not following any plan just trying to make better choices but still allowing myself some treats.  I have also forced myself to start eating breakfast after recently discovering overnight oats and the endless combinations meaning I will never get bored.  It's only a baby step but it's a step in the right direction and I feel really confident that I will be able to report back with even better news next month!