SMARTOAK's SparkPeople Blog SMARTOAK's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Wild ones I'm home from holiday, and I am united with my new wetsuit, which fits like a glove - but comes without gloves, a great regret when hitting the water. I live right by a Scottish beach where the wild ones, a wild swimming group, meet on a Sunday morning. Today I joined them for the first time, having enjoyed daily sea swimming in warmer waters while on holiday. It was freezing, but ok in a wetsuit. Like with most things like this, the experience itself was all right, but the feeling of freshn... Sun, 26 Jun 2016 13:48:30 EST Plans So apparently it's Monday tomorrow! I guess I should have a plan for the week. So here it goes: - Eat around 1500kcal each day - Swim each day - Keep cool in this heatwave and the final week with my parents - Knit and don't kill people - Scan some photos - Mix some clay Sun, 19 Jun 2016 16:19:21 EST Roast dinner Lovely family roast chicken dinner, stuffed with herbs, mushrooms and cabbage, served with roast beetroot and cabbage hearts. Worth every bit the 600 kcal! Thanks mum. Wed, 15 Jun 2016 15:06:03 EST Tuesday Weight is dropping but I haven't moved. Between baby care and the weather, I am resting a lot. I have a 30 day workouts app ready, and yoga lessons on tape - but haven't touched them. Yet. Had a lovely sleep though. Tomorrow. Again. Help. Tue, 14 Jun 2016 16:43:53 EST Weaning I've been losing a pound a week since my post-baby checkup in April, primarily because breastfeeding takes 500kcal per day. My wee one is 5 months now and starting to join us at meals for wee tastes. I will try to continue breastfeeding until he is 10 months, but as milk is being replaced for him, so will my calorie output, and I have another 20kg to shift! Eeek... Mon, 13 Jun 2016 13:55:29 EST Eating clean This is for all us overachieving and ambitious dieters out here. Yes, clean eating sounds like a brilliant idea - until you read an article by someone who has not only got to the root of the issue, but also has the balls to write about them in the national press. Thank you Jay Rayner! :) <BR> <BR><BR>2014/jun/11/clean-eating-diet-food-gwy<BR>neth-paltrow-jay-rayner Wed, 11 Jun 2014 11:38:31 EST Half marathon, boom! So, it's official. <BR> <BR> My colleague Anne has been telling me about her JogScotland group, which I joined after work on Thursday last week. The first downhill 10 minutes I felt like Mo Farah, but faster. The next 10 were uphill and I swore I have asthma. The next 10 minutes uphill-ish I nearly died. And on the way back I stopped compaining. 3.5 miles, 40 minutes, wee rests, good group tempo, sunshine, forest, proud of myself, boom. <BR> <BR> Joined Anne's Monday outing at lunchtime to... Mon, 20 May 2013 17:41:44 EST To do Here's to letting go of to-do lists. It's not working too well yet... <BR> The sun is shining, it's Saturday morning, I'm sitting in bed, listening to "getting filthy rich in Asia" on BBC, updating SP, just finished my spelt, lemon and poppyseed bread with smoked salmon and cream cheese breakfast (posh posh posh) and am bracing myself for the day ahead, namely: <BR> shower and hair wash <BR> packing a picknick <BR> planting potatoes on our litle farm with friends <BR> visiting David's friends... Sat, 6 Apr 2013 06:08:28 EST ... and focus. The issue is that I've stopped trusting that this is all very possible. I'm over 10kg down, but the next 10 seem like too much to ask. Not sure why. But quite a lot of things seem like too much to ask at the moment, work, cleaning, getting up in the morning. This virus has knocked me for six. <BR> <BR> So, regroup. One thing I have done over the weekend is catch up on some bollywood films. "Dostana" was hilarious! Loved it. Wow, John Abraham, my super-guilty indulgence. "3 Idiots" was good t... Wed, 3 Apr 2013 19:32:04 EST It's all going to pot... Hello world, <BR> <BR> it's all been a bit hard recently. First, I spent 3 days asleep with a fever (Wed-Fri) followed by another sat in bed (Sat), then got tired out by short walk (Sun) and half a day of work (Mon), ate far more than I should have without any planning and an ah-it'll-be-fine attitude (Tue) and am up 2kg, tired and hungry today. <BR> <BR> I wonder when I'll be able to go back to the gym again (I was enjoying that!) and get my food organised. There are no precisely no vegeta... Wed, 3 Apr 2013 17:12:04 EST Meet the new me So, I've spent 3 full days in bed with the flu and have done nothing but sleep (all of Wednesday, most of yesterday) listen to Miss Marple on iPlayer and watch a bit of telly (Dostana, awesome film) today. No work. No reading. No virtue. No exertion. A few thoughts here and there of the "I should" variety. Pledges of things I want to do in future, when I feel like it of course, not now. <BR> <BR> Here's a selection: <BR> Finish reading my novel (how hard can it be?) <BR> Read Herodotus <BR> ... Fri, 29 Mar 2013 19:50:17 EST I've cracked it! A scale victory. The glass floor that is, of 80kg. Never ever ever again more. Hold me to account on that, SP! <BR> <BR> So, if maintained for a week, that's my second milestone reached - tada!!! *GONG* <BR> <BR> And the reward is a Thai massage. Oh yes. <BR> <BR> <BR> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 04:43:29 EST Research on running <BR> So, I've been looking for suitable treadmill workours, and where best to store information I want to be able to find again? Yup, my blog. <BR> <BR> So here it is: <BR> <BR> Tips from runnersworld <BR><BR>admill-workouts?page=single <BR> <BR> "Below are four treadmill workouts that will make you a stronger, faster runner. Each of them takes less than an hour, so they're easy to fit into your schedule. When running these treadmill workouts, keep... Sat, 16 Mar 2013 19:18:42 EST Goals and victories Somewhere among this themed blogging, the spontaneous share has got lost. So here it is, all these little thoughts, collected. <BR> <BR> On the elliptical in the gym, the default setting is 35 years, so I select down a bracket, to 30-34. The next personalised setting is weight - with a default 78kg, so I have to select up, for the 79-86kg, for now. That's already much better than having to go up two, which was the case in January. I look forward to not having to shift up at all, maybe by the... Mon, 11 Mar 2013 19:29:03 EST 3 more veggie UK recipes - Sunday Hello all, <BR> <BR> I've been inspired by the week 3 flight to the UK challenge, to share some veggie food from the British Isles with you. So here are recipes 4-6, in no particular order: <BR> <BR> UK recipe #4 <BR> From Yorkshire <BR> Ploughman's lunch: a very traditional cold plate of crusty bread, good cheese, pickles and apple. A favourite pub lunch for vegetarians and those steering clear of deep fried fair. <BR> <link><BR>ploughmans_lunch.html ... Sun, 10 Mar 2013 06:41:44 EST 3 veggie UK recipes Hello all, <BR> <BR> I've been inspired by the week 3 flight to the UK challenge, to share some veggie food from the British Isles with you. So here are the first 3, in no particular order: <BR> <BR> UK recipe #1 <BR> from Northern Ireland: <BR> Champ, a mashed potato and spring onion side dish. <BR> Works very well with skimmed milk and with nutmeg instread of butter. Who would have thought! <BR> <link><BR>amp_67444 </link> <BR> <img src="http://pho... Sat, 9 Mar 2013 19:02:54 EST 7) Anything else you would like to share with your Team? Well, I didn't, but I just got back from a girls' night out at Tanjore, the best South Indian restaurant in Scotland, if not the UK. To be fair, I did spend 30minutes before that on the AMT at the gym, and just as well it turns out. Because the food was excellent, as was the wine we brought along, and we had starters, mains and desserts, and the more cake back at my friend's flat. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> I made good choices throughout, op... Fri, 8 Mar 2013 21:09:37 EST 6) advice, part 2 - celeriac?!? What on Earth do I do with celeriac that's low cal and tasty? <BR> There is a MASSIVE one in my veg bag today. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> I'd love to read your favourite recipes. Thu, 7 Mar 2013 18:15:38 EST 6) Do you need advice? Ask for it! Yes. What's the deal with plateaus? <BR> <img src=""> <BR> No, I don't mean this one in my home-of-choice, Scotland. <BR> <BR> I mean, how can one go from 6 weeks of losing 2lb per week to 4 weeks subsequently where nothing shifts? <BR> <BR> I'm really really curious about the science behind plateaus. Obviously as we lose weight we have to adjust calory intake and exercise as we burn less. But is some body fat less accessible than othe... Thu, 7 Mar 2013 04:00:03 EST 5) What can you improve upon? Consistency. Calories currently don't currently appear to count when they: <BR> <BR> - started off on someone else's plate <BR> - are eaten standing up <BR> - are stuck to the side of a serving dish (particularly lasagne!) <BR> <img src=""> <BR> - are served at an event for a really good cause <BR> <img src=""> <BR> - are offered by a colleague requesting an opinion on a new recipe... Wed, 6 Mar 2013 18:12:14 EST 4) How are you doing day by day? So, getting to grips with social eating, day by day. <BR> <BR> Saturday: a long day out hillwalking with my friend Sophie, adequate nutrition needed for 16km distance / 700m ascent of Mount Keen from Glen Esk. Packed porridge (6am start) and baked a rye/spelt/wholewheat loaf for cheese sandwhiches, dried pear halves, figs and milk chocolate (to share). Not bad at all, starting out. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=" Tue, 5 Mar 2013 18:39:21 EST Casual travellers' challenge blog I appear to be behind the vogue of this week's blogging challenge - but am catching up rapidly! So, 3-in-1 goodness coming up: <BR> <BR> 1) What new habit you wish to develop? <BR> Over the last 2 months I have, against the odds, developed a gym and food tracking habit, which has served me well. The last couple of weeks I have noticed that planned, mindful eating gives way to face stuffing in social situations - be that a 3-course dinner or a day out on the hills. So, my habit is to turn soc... Mon, 4 Mar 2013 16:55:34 EST An ode to strength training Wow, I have managed a fortnight without blogging! <BR> <BR> So, how has it all been going, I hear you ask? <BR> <BR> Well, I think. I've started an arms and back workout that was recommended to me by a friendly gym instructor, and it is no-nonsense, pure muscle building goodness. I've never done anything like it, my arms hurt for 3 days afterwards, and my weight loss on scales has slowed dramatically, which is fine, because the difference is clear in so many other ways. <BR> <em>41</em> ... Thu, 28 Feb 2013 18:16:21 EST The Hacker's Diet and general geekyness Hello! <BR> <BR> Today I have some geeky treats for you. If you're anything like me. <BR> The first is a screenshot from my wee spreadsheet, that I'm so very proud of: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The blue lines predict weight loss at 1lb per week, 2lb per week and 2.5lb per week weight loss. The yellow dots show weekly weigh-ins in Tuesdays, and the orange line the weekly averages. Based on this, I might be at a normal BMI by the... Wed, 13 Feb 2013 07:18:39 EST DONT PANIC So, the umph of this new-healthy-me enterprise may be slighly dulled, but the results are here, and it's all adding up. Do you find, when weighing in, there is always that niggle of a doubt that you might not lose any weight at all despite doing everything properly? Well, that was me for the first few weeks of this. "What if it doesn't work?" "Maybe I'm just different and weird!" "Oh all this effort is probably pointless." <BR> Sabotage of the highest category. A little further down the line ... Tue, 12 Feb 2013 15:25:45 EST Milestone 1 is here! So, my last few weigh-ins have been below my first milestone! That's 5kg down, of 20. My promised treat is a cycling weekend - so I got to planning. Now, the route I want will happily stretch to 3 or 4 days, unless stupidly ambitious 9-hour days are included, and BF won't play ball with that! So two weekends it is, one based around staying at the St Abbs Woolfish knitting heaven B&B <link> </link> , and one across the Scottish Borders and 2 SYHA hostels to Berwick. Now mus... Thu, 7 Feb 2013 14:01:20 EST I've neglected To post inspirations. <BR> Here she is, Emilia Fox: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Not just because she plays a convincing scientist on telly. <BR> <BR> No. She also looks fab in dresses. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Nothing more to ... Mon, 4 Feb 2013 19:57:50 EST Week 4 perspective - I feel much better for it! I'm into week 4 of the active lifestyle - which is working well. Despite being hard work at times. Not rationing the food - that's been great, I've been eating mindfully, exactly what I want, not too much, mostly plants, and clean all round. I feel much better for it! <BR> <BR> Going to the gym 4 times a week for circuit classes or elliptical workouts has been tough. For some reason I thought that 2 weeks of circuits would restore my fitness to the point where the class is a breeze. What I h... Tue, 29 Jan 2013 12:28:08 EST Sexy Maths Well, this seems to be working! I'm still spending a lot of time tracking food and over the last few days I have been balancing my goal date, weight loss rate, weekly calory burn and daily allowance. It appears that 1400-1600 kcal a day and 3500kcal spent cycling and circuiting a week works well, and I've been losing 1kg per week, which is the maximum I want. <BR> <BR> I'm always baffled how accurate the maths is: <BR> <BR> <img src=""... Thu, 24 Jan 2013 09:10:09 EST Tired and a little pointless We've had a weekend out about town - out three nights in a row! Charity event Friday (wine and cheese, good), sledging, falafel wraps and cinema Saturday (Hobbit, dreadful) and dinner (Stereo, Glasgow, excellent vegan food) followed by Celtic Connections roots review concert (brilliant). <BR> <BR> This all means havoc on the food tracker, and 3 gym free days, also coinciding with the time of month when curling up seems a better option anyway. This is all fine. <BR> <BR> However Monday rolls... Mon, 21 Jan 2013 19:10:19 EST Love/hate food While retreating on the fabulous island of <link> </link> , i discovered this in the kitchen: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Then I cringed, then had some more, cringed again, and went back for more all evening. Only 2 tsp in total - the stuff's strong and very salty, and very addictive. <BR> <BR> Back in Edinburgh, I've bought some of my very own, even if, accidentally, it's the salt-free version: <BR> <BR> <img s... Tue, 15 Jan 2013 18:01:21 EST Food intervals Following a few weeks of improvising around my nutrition plan, I now have a working solution for weekdays. It was added to again today after reading a featured blog about "free" calories from veggies to add to my daily account - because they're tasty and filling and very low in calories. <BR> <BR> My solution involves - like all the best fitness practices - intervals, in my case every 4 hours, and goes as follows: <BR> <BR> 8am breakfast: <BR> Porridge, toast, fat-free cream cheese, jam <BR... Mon, 14 Jan 2013 18:24:11 EST Beating SAD My timer plug arrived from ebay yesterday, and got plugged in the socket to the massive SAD lamp (from Innosol) next to my bed. I worked out the programming, and this morning at 8:30am - BANG! - bright light's on, and 10 minutes later I'm sooo wide awake. Awake enough to grab toast, put on my gym kit, grab some clothes and cycle up to X-fit class for 30 minutes of a small group intense circuit training. Followed by 30 min on the elliptical with a lovely Quakerly soundtrack courtesy of some te... Sun, 13 Jan 2013 11:06:40 EST Thank you! Thank you to all my new and existing Sparky Friends for rallying round and leaving such lovely messages all over my page and blog. You are all wonderful and very addictive! <BR> I have spent a lot of time in virtual sparkspace last week, getting the hang of it all and being well geeky... As time goes on I'll speed up and know what to concentrate on, so I can be a valuable colleague and girlfriend and real-world friend too. I've spent a lot of time glued to an iPad and designing meals and che... Sat, 12 Jan 2013 18:39:41 EST Lots of little disasters Finished a piece of work that's been on my mind (yay!) so left work late and missed my abs class. <BR> Then Zumba was cancelled. <BR> Then my boyfriend wasn't feeling social enough for a joint weights workout. <BR> Then I went for the seated row machine, and the cable was missing. <BR> Then I went for the abs machines and they were all occupied. <BR> So I got my headphones and went for my favourite elliptical trainers. <BR> The room was locked for maintenance. <BR> Then the other 4 in a dif... Fri, 11 Jan 2013 20:13:08 EST The dilemma of eating out Eating out - tonight! Online menus make my life so much easier. Take Wagamama - we had lunch there before Christmas, and their whole menu INCLUDING NUTRITIONAL INFO is online! So, instead of my staple Chicken Itame (850kcal), or falling for Chicken Katsu Curry (1103.2kcal - see picture), I had the grilled fish ramen (478kcal - see picture below). <BR> <img src=""> <BR> 1103kcal <BR> versus <BR> 478kcal lunch <BR> <img src="http://photo... Fri, 11 Jan 2013 11:26:29 EST Zumba It's the end of the week, and I've realised that if I keep this up for a few weeks, I'll have either <BR> 1) met all my fitness goals <BR> 2) tired myself out completely <BR> 3) fallen over dead. <BR> <BR> So, holding back on some of the exercise and eating at least 1400kcal per day may help here. Will have to tweek this as I go along. <BR> <BR> I joined Zumba after circuits yesterday, which was a walk in the park after all the circuits weights work! Not easy mind you - but great training ... Fri, 11 Jan 2013 06:23:02 EST Circuits circuits circuits. Third session today, and I'm getting the hang of it. I still refuse to do triceps dips or burpees to take care of my wrists, so triceps curls and star jumps it is for now. Staff at the gym have been lovely and welcoming: "You're back! And you know what you're doing so you'll be fine!" <BR> <BR> So, here's my weekly schedule (you saw it here first, so more chance of me sticking to it if it's published!) <BR> <BR> Monday: circuits17:45-18:45 followed by pottery <BR> Tuesday: spin class or cir... Wed, 9 Jan 2013 17:01:05 EST Ouch! Ouch! Circuits! Second day in a row, so I'm stiff as a brick and sore sore sore. But worth it. Tue, 8 Jan 2013 18:40:07 EST The day after... Thanks for all the lovely comments on my milestone posts! Sadly, these are GOALS, not to be confused with reality. Yet. It's just a matter of time though. :) <BR> Patient waiting. And realising what reality is and that I appear not to look like Cindy Crawford at all: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> But rather heavier all round. <BR> <BR> A propos, I went to circuits today, it didn't kill me, but was bloody hard work. First proper workout of... Mon, 7 Jan 2013 16:28:51 EST Milestone treat 4 Milestone 4 in July 2013: 72kg - and officially not overweight any more! <BR> Maybe in July. We'll see. <BR> <BR> I'll fit lots of my clothes again, and will keep posting inspirationsof what that might look like. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Suggestions for other treats welcome. :) Sun, 6 Jan 2013 18:52:37 EST Milestone treat 3 Milestone 3 in May 2013: 75kg - fit my favourite corduroys again. And look a bit like this, and totally different too. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Is that treat enough? What else shall I plan? Suggestions please! Sun, 6 Jan 2013 18:46:47 EST Milestone treat 1 Milestone 1 in March 2013: 85kg - which is when BMI says I'm not obese any more! <BR> <BR> Now that will be lovely. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Treat: Plan a bike tour! Sun, 6 Jan 2013 18:39:29 EST Milestone treat 2 I've been wanting to try the Thai massage parlour up the road for a while now - I love a good Thai massage, but haven't had one in the UK. It's a bit like passive yoga. I like my hips being loosened, they get sore when I'm overweight - so the plan is to go at this from both fronts. <BR> Some time in May. <BR> <BR> May 2013: 80kg - Thai massage reward. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Oh yes. Loose hips and happy me. <BR> Sun, 6 Jan 2013 17:54:19 EST Predictable! Hello! <BR> <BR> So, it's the New Year, and, look, I'm at it again. But in my defence I started in November. And has a wee break on hols. But I'm back, and determined, and have 8 months of concerted effort to be healthy and a better, caring, me. <BR> Here's a wee eye candy of motivation: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sun, 6 Jan 2013 17:47:49 EST