Slimming World Newbie’s Shopping List

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So you’ve joined Slimming World. Well done for taking the biggest step! Now you know you’ve got the balls to try and lose weight, the hard work begins! The most important thing you can do to help you have a great first week is READ THE BOOKS. Read them properly, you’ve paid for them, and they contain all the information you need to start dropping weight. After my first weigh in, I read them whilst scoffing my last supper of a Chinese. It was epic. But before I went and got my takeaway, I went shopping for a few essentials to get me through the next morning as a hopeful Slimming World newbie. The next day came The Big Shop. I knew what I was going to be eating, and I knew what I needed. Off I went.

If you think that Slimming World could work for you, then you must already be familiar with home cooking on some level, or have accepted the inevitability of having to become more familiar with it than you normally would be! You don’t need to be a Nigella or a Heston, but the more you experiment the less likely you are to get fed up with the plan. So here’s a rough list of the things you will need to get your kitchen into gear:

BASICS

Stock cubes – chicken, beef, and vegetable (for soups, stews and sauces)
Chopped tomatoes – own brand is fine (for curries, pastas and chilli)
Potatoes – free, and fantastic. Bake them, boil them, chip them. It’s all good.
Chilli powder – own brand is fine, mild or hot is up to you, I use both!
Garlic – fresh is best, jars of purée can have syns. Even if you think you don’t like garlic, you more than likely consume it all the time without realising it. You need it for flavour.
Light soy sauce – for stir frying
Fry Light – the most important thing!
Eggs – learn to love eggs. Great for bulking up a breakfast or for making a kick-ass omelette. Eggs are free on all plans, providing they are cooked without adding butter or oil.

MEATS

All lean meat is free on Extra Easy, including bacon. Trim all fat and skin prior to cooking. If you’re buying mince, always choose extra lean. Cheaper cuts of beef/steak are still good, you just need to cook them a little longer and keep them moist. Supermarket meat isn’t all bad, but if you can find yourself a good butcher it’s usually worth it!

FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

Only buy the things you know you like. There’s no point spending lots of money on things you’ve never tried, or know you hate, in the hope that you’ll learn to love them. Chances are you won’t, and they’ll get thrown away. If you are seriously anti-veg, don’t worry about it, as you can still do very well at this plan! You could always try a blended veg soup – a great way of getting veg into your diet without realising it! Fruit is a big winner as it can satisfy a sweety craving, especially when teamed up with Mullerlight. If you are a lover of all things vegetably, happy days! Fill your boots! The more superfree foods you eat, the speedier the losses will be. Don’t forget though that sweetcorn and parsnips are not superfree, they are merely free – but a lot better than chips.

KITCHEN CUPBOARD STUFF

Dried pasta – any shape or size
Rice – NOT the microwave stuff! The dry stuff that you have to cook fresh. Basmati and Thai are all good, and are a great ‘takeaway replacement’.
Quickie hot snacks – Pasta n Sauce, Pasta Pot Shots, Noodle Pot Shots, Mug Shots, Batchlors Savoury Rice (be wary of these though, most varieties are free but some have a small amount of syns. Check this before you go buying, or bring your smartphone shopping too – you can Google syn values as you shop!)
Beans – on toast, on potatoes, with breakfast – beans are a Slimming Worlders best friend

DAIRY

Mullerlights – all varieties are free except the Greek, cheesecake, and layers versions
Milk – go for whole, you get less to use than if you choose semi-skimmed or skimmed.
Cheese – grated is good as it goes further. Ditch the mild stuff! The stronger a cheese is, the less you’ll need to use. Laughing Cow Light triangles are fab as you don’t need to weigh.

BREADS/CEREALS

Nimble Granary/Wholegrain – great for toast or for sandwiches, this bread keeps well and is satisfying. The white version is no longer allowed as it has less fibre.
Ryvita – a great fibre booster and handy for lunch, but if you’re used to bread I would give this a miss for a while until you get used to smaller portions of bread

Cereals – this is where you’ll need your book! 30g of cereal is a very tiny amount, especially if (like me) you have a big appetite and are used to giant bowls. You are also a wee bit limited to the more fibre rich varieties. No Coco Pops! But if you’re happy to stick with the prescribed amounts, bulk the bowl out with some fresh berries and banana, so the portion doesn’t seem so paltry.

Cereal bars – Alpen Lights are the way to go, as they have a decent variety and you can have two of them! Great as a nippy breakfast, or as a traybake replacement when you’re having coffee. They can seem expensive when put beside other brands, but they are definitely worth it. They’re also a lot cheaper than a bar of chocolate!

DRINKS

Most ‘diet’ drinks are free, but make sure and check the nutritional info anyway, as some products that appear healthy and diet friendly really aren’t! Coffee and teas, without added sugar, are free. Make sure and drink lots your first week, as this will help to flush all the nasties out of you!

SYNS……

If you are the type of person who can cope with naughty things in the house, then good for you. There are loads of low-syn treats you can keep in your cupboards, but I personally couldn’t cope. Not at first anyway. If you have a sweet tooth, it’s probably best not to keep that kind of stuff in the house at first – never underestimate how addictive chocolate is! However, you should still have a treat everyday. Use your syns! But perhaps just buy what you want each day, and consume it there and then. Great low/med syn treats include:

Cadbury Buttons – 8.5
Cadbury Curly Wurly – 6
Milky Way Crispy Rolls – 6.5
Quavers (25g bag) – 6.5
Snack a Jacks Salt&Vinegar (26g bag) – 5.5
Fun Size Twix – 5
Fun Size Maltesers – 5.5
Costa Coffee Iced Peach Tea (medio) – 4.5
Galaxy Ripple – 8.5
Kit Kat (2 finger) – 5.5
Walkers Baked Stars – 4.5
Jaffa Cakes (each) – 2.5

See? Loads of stuff, all well under the 10 syn threshold. If you have a lot of weight to lose, it’s possible that you can have up to 15 syns a day to begin with; your consultant will give you advice on this.

If you have all this stuff as part of your first shop, there’s no reason why you won’t lose weight, as long as you follow the rules of the plan of course. Have a wee think of what you’d like to eat over your first week, and make a note of it if you can. Writing stuff out seems very childish in ways, like you’re doing a study plan or something, but it helps you make sense of things in your head! It also means you’re less likely to go off track. The main rule is: EAT EAT EAT. Don’t go hungry at any stage. This is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change! Fill up on free and superfree foods. Make sure you eat one serving of bread or cereal, and make sure you have a portion of dairy as well. Then, if you fancy it, treat yourself to some syns as a reward for having a great day of being a fully fledged Slimming Worlder! Yes, your initial shop may seem expensive, but your herbs and spices etc will last a while. Your first shop is an investment. After that, it will become second nature, and you’ll begin to enjoy forraging for the best deals on your favourite free foods! Not to mention the hunt for the elusive £1 Alpen Light Bar offer………It comes maybe once or twice a year. Make use of it when it does!

That’s all for now! Best of luck on your first week!

McCooey

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When Slimming World Doesn’t Work – What to Do

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I haven’t written a Slimming World orientated post in a while because all my head space seems to be occupied with impending marathon panic, or ‘maranoia’ if you prefer. I can’t wait til I get home from New York, as I will be free of my training schedule and therefore free to concentrate solely on diet. Please God I can get myself back down to a neat twelve stone (or even below) for Christmas. That would truly be a Christmas miracle!

I’m averaging out at 12 stone 6 pounds these days. That’s since May, so despite sometimes being anything up to 12st 13, or as low as 12st 2; I’ve been pretty much the same weight for five months. In fact, I’ve been pretty much the same weight for a year! My shape changes, so people say I look skinnier but I know the scales don’t agree. On the days I know I’m nearer thirteen stone, I think I look like a tub. When I see lower numbers, I think I look skinny; but I bet in reality I look no different from week to week. It’s all in the mind.

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Anyway, back to business. This blog is great fun, it’s mad to think that people from all over the world read it and that Google search terms sometimes point people to it. The search terms are sometimes fantastically random – ‘Jessica Ennis favourite sausage’ being the standout one for me! Incidentally, I have never written about Jessica Ennis’ favourite sausage, possibly because I have no idea what it is – maybe I should ask?! Medal winning pork product preferences aside, the most popular search query that leads to my blog is usually “why isn’t slimming world working” or other such variations on the same theme. Given that when thing go tits up in my life, I usually head for Google immediately, I can see why people make it their first port of call when the scales aren’t moving. I have written a post about this before, but this time I’m going to be more emphatic and tell you what to do.

Right.

Q: Why isn’t Slimming World Working aka Why Are You Not Losing Weight?

A: A number of reasons – take your pick.

1. You’re fooling yourself. In other words, you’re consciously not following the plan properly. Having fruit for breakfast and a baked potato for lunch, then thinking a wee takeaway for dinner ‘won’t hurt’ wont cut it in the long run. You either follow the plan, or you don’t. Yes, have one day where you eat what you want, but for the other six days – respect the plan and it will reward you. Choosing full fat yogurts instead of Mullerlights because they’re cheaper, or not trimming the fat off bacon ‘because its a waste’ is NOT going to give you the results you so desire. So quit whining and just do it.

2. You’re not eating enough. Yes. It is possible that eating too little is causing a stagnation in your weight. You need to keep your metabolism going, and the best way to do this is to keep things interesting. Mix it up a bit food wise, don’t fall into the trap of eating the same thing all the time. Bulk your meals out with vegetables or nice bit of salad on the side, this will fill you up a bit more and keep your vitamin quota up. Not a fan of breakfast? Shock your body one or two days a week by having something small when you get up – just to kick start things. Always eat a big meal in the evenings? Why not try eating your largest meal at lunchtime and have something lighter in the evening? I’m not saying to eat less, far from it. Just mix up your routine and you’ll find your body will respond, even if it takes a day or two to catch on.

3. The C-word – Constipation. I am so sorry for talking about this! But it’s simple physics – what goes in, must come out. If it doesn’t, well you’re going to be heavier. Don’t get obsessed by this! Just remember to eat plenty of fibre (this will come in part from your Healthy Extras, so don’t neglect them) – breads, cereals, pulses, fruit and vegetables are all good sources of fibre. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water too…….to move things along. Ahem.

4. You’re getting complacent. I covered this one before in my similar post on this topic, but to sum up – you think you know Slimming World inside out and you’re taking shortcuts. This means not weighing healthy extras, underestimating syns etc. I’ve done this before, so I know the effect it can have! Every so often, do The Cheese Test. Take a clean plate, and put what you believe to be 30 grams of cheese on it. Cut a slice, or use grated cheese, but estimate a 30g portion and then weigh it to see how close you were. The results can be surprising! The same kind of test can be done using cereal. I cannot stress how little 30g of Fruit and Fibre/Bran Flakes is – it’s disheartening!

5. It’s THAT time… Yeah. I’m going all out with the icky tonight. The infamous star week can play havoc with losses, so don’t stress it. Also, the body is very mysterious. Sometimes ‘star week’ effects are felt the week before, or the week after, the actual event! Presumably you know how you roll in that respect, so work it out for yourself. Cut yourself a bit of slack on these days/weeks, but don’t use it as an excuse to go mad. You’ll regret it afterwards. Feckin hormones.

So. Once you’ve identified your problem, make a mental note of it but don’t beat yourself up. Just remind yourself of what you want to achieve and move forward. If you want to take a day to get it out of your system foodwise, then just go for it. But when you get up the next morning, get back to basics and read your books again – cover to cover. If you have any Slimming World magazines lying around, pick one up and have a wee look through it. Maybe try out a recipe you’ve forgotten about, or remind yourself of a new Healthy Extra option or branded free food that has been advertised. If you don’t have any magazines, go and buy one! Even if you get one thing out of it that helps, it will have been worth it. My go-to rescue plan when I’m stagnating or feeling out of control is to make a huge pot of Irish Stew. I mean huge. Load it with carrots and good quality floury potatoes, and simply graze on it. It’s syn free and it’s filling, and if you want to have some more vegetables on the side – rock on. The main point is, there’s a lot of it, so there’s no excuse to go hungry! If stew isn’t your thing, try a thick soup or a risotto? Don’t punish yourself for past offences either. It’s a new start, so make sure and have your syns and your Healthy Extras. Main rule: don’t go hungry. Other rule, but just as important: Don’t listen to other people. Granted, you could apply this rule to me! But I’m referring to the so-called ‘experts’ who brag and boast about how they can cheat and get away with it, or those who make up their own rules. Good for them, but find your own way.

And if you’ve been fooling yourself, don’t yap about it. If you want to do it, do it. If you don’t, don’t. If you’re the type that thrives on having something to yap about all the time, then good for you, but think of the effect it has on the rest of us!

That’s enough yapping from me. For now. Hope this has helped!

Curry in a Hurry

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Contrary to popular belief, rustling up a Slimming World friendly feast needn’t be time consuming. In fact, you can even throw this one together during the X Factor ad breaks. That’s under five minutes. Zoom zoom!

You will need

2 Bachelor’s Noodle Pot Shots – Mild Curry
Half a large onion, cut into thin wedges
1 can of bamboo shoots
1 can of water chestnuts
A handful of frozen peas
1 packet of plain cooked chicken pieces
Chilli powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Put the kettle on. Whilst its boiling, grab a wok/pan and place on hob over a high heat. Spray with Frylight.

2. When the kettle has boiled, make up the Pot Shots as directed.

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3. Throw the onions, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots into the wok and toss quickly. Throw in the pack of chicken pieces and a little drop of water from the kettle – just enough to stop everything sticking. Add a little chilli powder and the handful of peas.

4. When the onions have softened, give the Pot Shots a final stir and throw them both into the wok. Stir everything around, ensuring the chicken and vegetables are well coated.

5. Take it off the heat and keep stirring. Have a wee taste! Add salt, pepper, soy, more chilli powder – whatever your palate fancies.

6. Get it into a bowl.
7. Get a Diet Coke.
8. Sit down.
9. Drool over your curry.
10. Drool over Gary Barlow.

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Sweet Potato & Jalapeño Soup

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Hadn’t really intended doing another ‘recipe’ post, but a wee flash of inspiration during this evenings munchfest meant I had to share! That, and @lost_girl_found subtly requested! Happy to oblige, as this was actually the nicest soup I’ve enjoyed in ages – needless to say, it is syn free.

You will need:

4 medium sized carrots
4 large sweet potatoes
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic

1 vegetable stock cube
1 chicken stock cube

Ground cumin
Cracked black pepper

A hand blender

1. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into cubes – this doesn’t need to be perfect, but keep the pieces roughly the same size. Chop the carrots into similar sized pieces, I didn’t bother peeling them. THUG LIFE.

2. Peel and roughly chop the onion, then squish the garlic clove and discard the skin.

3. Throw everything into a large saucepan, then barely cover the ingredients with freshly boiled water and heel in both the stock cubes.

4. Cover, then allow to bubble over a gentle heat until everything is pretty mushy looking. Doesn’t matter how long for, you can’t overcook this! Just don’t leave it uncovered and forget about it. I did this once, and I ended up with mushy veg and a burnt crust on the bottom of the pan. Ming.

5. When it’s time to dish up, get the blender out! Whizz the soup until its smooth – you’ll probably need to add more water at this stage to loosen it up. I like it quite thick, but if you don’t, just keep adding water bit by bit until you find your level. When the soup is totally smooth, add a touch of cumin and a good dash of the cracked black pepper. Remember, you can always add more; but you can’t take away! The best way to ruin a good soup is to overseason.

You should have something that resembles this:

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I told you I like it thick!

6. Now for the magic. You may have noticed there was no mention of jalapeño in the ingredients list…. That’s because no jalapeños were hurt in the making of this post. I was going to throw some chilli powder into my bowl for a bit of excitement, but then I saw this:

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This is jalapeño hot sauce! It’s exactly what it says – its made from jalapeños and it’s hot! Not incapacitating, but packs a great punch. I swirled a bit in. BOOM. It was a match made in heaven. The slightly salty tang of the sauce evened out the sweetness of the sweet potato, and the little bit of cilantro (coriander) in the sauce gave a wee Mexican hint, without making it too Old El Paso. So that’s the last step! As you’re about to dive in, swirl a bit of this bad boy in to the soup and you’ll be in El Chile heaven. Im taking the rest to work tomorrow!

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That’s it all done! I hope you try it, and I hope you enjoy it like I did – with the raunchy abandon of a Mexican wench!

P.S. The sauce I used came from TK Maxx, randomly. It’s not to be confused with the habanero sauce of the same brand. It’s red, it’s angry, and it will explode you. You can get this sauce on eBay, and I’d imagine you can pick it up in larger Tesco/Asda stores. The sauce contains zero calories, fat, carbs and protein. Just to be a good girl, I entered these values into the Slimming World syn calculator and it came up as FREE on all plans. Imagine that! It’s a great alternative to ketchup, and it has become my new best syn free friend. I urge you to seek it out!

Syn-Free Beef in Peking Sauce

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It’s been a while since I posted any recipes, so thought I’d get my finger out! After a few weeks at Slimming World, a lot of people get a bit fed up with eating the same things. It’s a trap that everyone falls into, myself included. The amazing weightlosses in the first weeks are so exciting, you usually end up eating the same menus to ensure the same results. It’s fairly logical and it does work for a month or so, but your body gets used to it and you get fed up with it. You need to shock your system! Mix it up a bit and you won’t be tempted to hurl yourself off the wagon.

Slimming groups will always give you great ‘meal suggestions’ to inspire you, and a lot of these take the form of fast food imitations/alternatives. These are great, but they are no substitute for the real thing. An extra lean burger on a wholemeal roll will not taste like a burger from a chippy. Oven baked salmon with potato wedges is not the same as fish and chips. It can’t be the same! If you want to recreate a fast food favourite accurately, you need to spend a bit of time on it and use a lot of different ingredients. For example, stir frying some beef strips and vegetables with soy sauce will not taste like a chop suey from the Chinese. That’s because soy sauce is only one of a whole host of ingredients the guy in the Chinese uses. He uses salt, sugar, sesame oil, bean pastes, MSG……the list goes on. In short, he uses syns! Anyway, I’m rambling. Here is my recipe for Peking Sauce. This is a sweet sauce, with a little bit of heat to keep it interesting. From my vast knowledge of Chinese cuisine (eating, not cooking), every restaurant is different. One man’s Peking is another man’s Cantonese. So call it what you like, I call it Peking cos that’s my weapon of choice when I hit the Chinese.

You will need:

A medium sized saucepan
A hand blender
A sharp cooks knife

Six cloves of garlic, peeled
A large piece of fresh ginger (4 inches), roughly chopped
Some fresh coriander
Red or white wine vinegar
Sweetener – Splenda/Canderel/whatever
Fresh chillis
A large onion
Chopped tomatoes
Chinese five spice powder
Soy sauce

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Get all your stuff together before you start. Then start!

1. Peel the garlic cloves, roughly chop the ginger and a small amount of the coriander. Cut an end off the onion and chop roughly too. You’ll be blending all these things, so you don’t need to be too precise.

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2. Spray the saucepan with some Frylight and throw in your wee garlic/ginger etc mix. Sweat this off over a medium heat til the onions change colour and til your kitchen smells amazing. At this point, throw in a good shake of five spice powder. This is a slightly aniseedy mix of spices, but it doesn’t taste as strong as it smells. As always though, approach with caution and remember that you can always add – but you can’t take away! Stir the mix and coat the onions etc with the five spice. Add more Frylight if you need to.

3. As the contents of the saucepan start to cook dry, throw in the red wine vinegar. You can also use white wine vinegar, or indeed bog standard malt vinegar if you want to. It doesn’t matter how much you put in, you will be using the sweetener to balance it out, but at least put in enough to cover what’s already in the pan completely. You should end up with something like this:

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4. Grab yourself a spoon, as you’re now going to use your palate to dictate how you like your sauce! At this stage, your nostrils will be feeling the effects of the steaming vinegary concoction in the pan. This pain is temporary. Start adding the sweetener to the pan, stirring as you go. Don’t be shy, you need to kill the sourness of the vinegar. Keep tasting. Find your own level. Remember that the dish is supposed to be tangy to some degree! Once you start getting a taste you’re happy with, introduce a few decent glugs of light soy sauce. Again, keep tasting. There is no right or wrong taste here, just your preferred taste. You have three tastes here – sweet, sour, salty. Find your own balance!

5. Add the chopped tomatoes. Again, keep tasting. You should have something like this:

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6. Now! Blend this bad boy! Blend blend blend until its smooth. Its essentially a Peking soup! You should now have something that looks remotely like a slightly darker tomatoey sauce.

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That’s pretty much it! Now if you really want to be fancy-schmancy you can strain the sauce. Because of the chopped tomatoes and the blending, the sauce resembles something more curry-like or Italian. But the taste is very much Chinese, I assure you! I began to strain my sauce (heehee) earlier, but this leaves you with a thin sauce that won’t cling terribly well to meat or rice and will need thickened in some other way. I considered experimenting with Xanthan gum, but my rumbling stomach told me to stop being stupid.

So your sauce is done. If you have the luxury of leaving it overnight, do so. The flavours will develop and will leave you with an epic tastefest. When it comes to the time you want to use it, simply stir fry your meat of choice, add some crunchy veg, then add the sauce. Bingo. This evening I went for some rump steak fillets, sliced thinly and stir fried with the remainder of the large onion, some green and red chillis, and some water chestnuts. I also added some more garlic, as you can never have too much garlic! As I was tweeting my progress with the feed, @mama_mooo suggested ribs – this sauce would be fantastic with some well trimmed pork ribs. Kudos to you Juls! Will definitely have to rustle that one up soon.

I ended up with this in my wok:

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….and it was good. Syn free, and very good. I would go so far as to say that it’s easily as good as any I’ve had from a Chinese takeaway. It could pass for a carry out, but the consistency of the sauce might be a giveaway. If I strained it and thickened it again, I’m fairly confident even the most discerning fast food devotee wouldn’t know the difference. If anyone out there tries this, or any of the other recipes on here, please give me some feedback! I know as recipes go, these are a tad haphazard, but y’know. When in Rome and all that.

Toodles for now!

Red Days for Dummies – an Original Post!

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I thought I’d dedicate a post to Slimming World’s Original plan as it is so damn effective, yet those used to the Extra Easy plan are afraid to deviate and say they don’t understand it. As is my mantra, if you want to understand it – you will. I will do my best to explain it simply! Last week, I lost six and a half pounds following the Original plan; with a wee Extra Easy day on Saturday as I fancied chips! Original, also known as Red, is a great plan to follow if you want to give your weightloss a boost. However, it does take a little extra planning and time to adapt. If you really embrace it though, the rewards are handsome! Speaking of handsome, a post about Red Days also allows me to include a picture of meat enthusiast and absolute swoonfest – Adam Richman from Man v Food.

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I swear, men don’t really do it for me, but he is all kinds of sexy. Easy on the eye, and passionate about food. Unrepentantly so. My kind of guy! Not only has he reminded me that men can be attractive, but he has stoked my love of cooking. I’ve been experimenting with different cuts of meat, and I’m on my way to perfecting a syn free BBQ sauce. But more about that later.

The basic rules of Original Plan/Red Days

Free foods include:

All lean red meats
All lean poultry and pork – including bacon
Fresh fish/seafood
Eggs
Quorn mince/Quorn pieces
Vegetables*
Fruit
Some fat free yogurts (ie most Mullerlights)

These are the main foods that can be eaten freely, meaning in UNLIMITED AMOUNTS. As with Extra Easy, the proviso is that you do not add fat to these foods – during cooking or afterwards. Always trim off all visible fat prior to cooking.

* A small exception here. There are some starchy vegetables which cannot be eaten freely, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, sweetcorn and parsnips.

Next up: Healthy Extras

As you can see from above, Red Days mean meat. You are sacrificing pulses, potatoes, pasta and rice as Free Foods. But even though you are making this sacrifice, you receive a reward in the form of DOUBLE Healthy Extras! For example, you can have four Alpen Light bars instead of two. You can have two servings of Nimble bread instead on one – meaning you could have toast for breakfast and a sandwich later in the day. Or, you could have Weetabix in the morning, and a Kelloggs Fibre Plus bar with a cuppa in the evening. The same rule applies to Healthy Extra A choices (dairy products). This could mean a full 250ml of semi skimmed at breakfast, with 45g of mozzarella melted over some grilled chicken and bacon at dinner. There are lots of ways to use your extra Extras to perk up your menu throughout the day. If bread/cereals aren’t your thing, you can have MEASURED AMOUNTS of potatoes/pulses instead. For example, with your huge steak and salad, you could have a jacket potato weighing 227g. Or with your morning fry, you could add 142g of baked beans.

Admittedly, when you begin in introduce the concept of weighing items that you are used to eating in unlimited amounts, it does begin to feel restrictive. But bear in mind, this plan will more often than not accelerate your weightloss – so at least give it a go. Soon, weighing will become a natural thing.

Finally: Syns

As with Extra Easy, you are allowed between 5 – 15 syns a day.

A typical Red Day for me would go like this….

Breakfast:

A huge bowl of fruit! Raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, grapes, banana – with a slightly frozen Mullerlight on top.

Elevenses:

Two Alpen Light bars and a big cup of coffee

Lunch:

A massive crunchy salad topped with chicken and bacon, dressed with Frylight Caesar Salad spray
A bag of Walkers French Fries if I’m feeling frisky (5 syns)

Dinner:

Steak burger topped with bacon and melted Cheddar (28g), served on a toasted brown roll with ketchup – 1 syn per level tablespoon. Or I can ditch the bread roll and have chips made from a 227g potato if I’m feeling energetic.

See? It’s doable! Summer (such as it is) is a great time to try out the Original plan, you can embrace the whole lean meats and salad thing. Having said that, a few thick slices of turkey and ham with a plate of vegetables and some gravy is a wonder to behold at any time of the year. And a Saturday brunch of a ham and cheese toastie followed by two Alpen Lights and a pot of coffee is so delightful it makes me want to cry!

That’s me done for now, I’m off to watch more Man V Food and pick up some tips on the perfect bit of beef. Feel free to insert your own dirty joke here. If any SW types decide to give Original a go for a week, let me know how you get on! Tweet me for the craic sure! You can follow me @bigfatmarathon