Thursday, 24 June 2010

DIARY: I'm back!

Eek! Its t minus 3 weeks until my holiday and as anticipated, those whale-esque bikini shots are beginning to haunt my thoughts! These past two months have been obscenely busy with my job (and slightly too food enriched!) and in turn I've managed to completely neglect my blog, amazing followers and the all important holiday diet. I don't know why, but I find dieting takes up a substantial amount of my brain power, so with not having any cranium space available this diet malarky has gone to pot!

So, over the next 3 weeks I intent to try every crazy diet possible and to hit the treadmill like a hamster in it's wheel in a last ditch attempt to drop some pre-holiday pounds. I've got some lovely products to review too, so expect them in the next couple of days!

Since I last posted, I've been away on a lovely girly break to Paris - my most favourite place in the world! Here's a lovely photo for you to enjoy whilst I formulate a plan to lose the excess pounds Paris kindly provided me with - cheers for that! Ham and cheese baguette, anyone?!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

FOOD: Very Lazy Girl-ic: Cauliflower Mash

The lovely boys and girls over at Very Lazy HQ recently sent me an ingenious jar of Very Lazy Garlic to help with my very lazy (but still completely healthy!) recipes. I always have a battle with cloves of garlic when cooking - they're a complete pain in the bum. I hate crushers and my chopping skills are dangerous, so Very Lazy Garlic is a godsend. It's less than £2 a jar in the supermarket and lasts for up to 10 weeks in the fridge. Plus, there's no faffy measurements - one teaspoon equals one clove, simple!

Recently, I've been trying to keep my refined carbohydrates low in attempt to keep my diet on track and drop a few more pounds. I also find that if I cut refined carbs completely I crave less rubbishy food. Refined carbs are white flour carbs with a high GI value (you'll be hungry pretty quickly after eating these sorts of foods). While white potatoes aren't classed as refined carbs, they are high on the Glycemic Index (GI) scale, so they'll spike your blood sugar and make you hungry very soon after as your blood sugar drops back down. Everyone loves a bit of mashed potato, so I've had a bash at a low carb cauliflower substitute with the help of my Very Lazy Garlic jar. It's also a really good way of getting one of your 5 a day, and it actually tastes surprisingly good!

How to do it...
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
  • 1/3 pack of Philadelphia Extra Light
  • 3 teaspoons of Very Lazy Garlic (or 3 cloves)
  • Salt and black pepper to season
  1. Steam the Cauliflower and garlic until you can easily pop a fork through the florets, about 10mins.
  2. Place the steamed cauliflower and garlic in a bowl with the Philadelphia and blend with a hand blender, (you can do it with a potato masher if you like but it's quite lumpy!).
  3. Season with salt and ground black pepper.

Now I was pretty sceptical about substituting my bezzies potatoes for a soggy vegetable, but the texture of the two is very similar. My brain was kind of tricked into thinking I was eating carbs - I'm amazed! I'm satisfied and not craving a slice of crusty bread and butter. Try it for yourself!

Love, LG x

P.S. Very Lazy have loads of exciting recipes over on their website, plus a Lazy Lounge where you can share your recipes with other very lazy people and pick up a few tips for yourself!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

DIARY: Boredom, Moods and Robert Pattinson: My Reasons For Over Eating

So it's as little as 10 weeks until my holiday. Ahhh! Like most people, I'm really struggling to stay on track, but after receiving so many lovely emails from my amazing followers and lots of kind tweets on Twitter I've given myself a kick up the bum and I'm getting right back into it!

I've been so so desperate to eat pretty much anything in my house today, so I've decided to sit down and write a post about the reasons why. Lighterlife really focus on these reasons within their counseling sessions and it really helped me at the time, so I shall readdress them in an effort to revive them!

I reckon this is my main reason for weight gain; I get bored very easily. Usually when I have too much to do I choose to do nothing and make myself unnecessarily bored (excellent time management skills I know, I blame my dad for that). I'll then stuff my face with anything I can get my hands on and before I know it, a whole tub of Ben and Jerry's has disappeared. Bring on the guilt!
I've been trying really hard to find alternative ways to cure my boredom in an attempt to stop eating unnecessarily. Firstly, I think its really important to understand the difference between actual hunger and fake hunger caused by boredom. I've been trying to reason with myself by using questions (yes, talking to myself - this dieting business has finally driven me MENTAL) like "how long ago did i last eat? Could I seriously be hungry yet?". At this point, I'll have a glass of water. Apparently hunger and thirst signals are easy to mix up, so by having a glass of water, you can elliminate any pesky thirst signals in disguise. Now it's time to find something to do. There's always some work that needs to be done, just make yourself do it. You'll feel miles better after, I promise. Then next time, try something a little different. Today I took my rather chunky dog Max, for an extra extra long walkies. The sun was shining and it was all very pleasant, plus lets face it, poor Maxi needs the exercise just as much as i do!

I am 100% guilty of using food as an emotional crutch. I eat when I'm happy, sad, angry, lonely, celebrating - you name it and I'll eat because of it. It really is a terrible habit and what makes it worse is that I know I do it. Emotional eating is such a huge issue and affects the majority of people who have foody problems. According to the people who know what they're talking about, the first step to breaking the nasty habit is to identify the triggers for your over eating. If you're stuffing your face because you've had an argument with your bezzie, think twice before you head to the biscuit tin. Is that really going to make it better? Wouldn't it be better to go and chill out in a bubble bath with a copy of Cosmo and calm yourself down rather than adding guilt to your list of reasons to be down? A vicious cycle I say.

I seriously think I over eat because I just love food. BUT recently I've discovered that real food can be just as tasty as crap food (I'm not going to say nicer - yet, but it's getting there). Since LighterLife, my taste buds have a new lease of life. I've learned to absolutely love nuts, salsa, pesto, wholegrain bread, porridge… I've even made a bezzie in salad. I'm finally not eating like a kid anymore!

Food is just like Johnny Depp or RPatz - you can't always get what you want. In fact, I've just had this conversation with my sister; why do we always want what we can't have? She said she got into bed last night and could only think about a Thornton's chocolate champagne bottle that was lurking in the fridge. She was willing to creep out from under her cosy duvet to dash downstairs and get it. A little bit mental? I think the idea of eating forbidden food makes it so much more alluring, but it never tastes as good as it was supposed to. Or is that just me?

If you are hungry (believe it or not, it does happen sometimes!) choose a sensible snack. Here's a list of sensible 100 calorie snacks for sin-free grazing:

  • One slice of brown toast with low-fat spread or jam
  • One Muller Light yogurt - check the calorie content, but most are 100 calories or less
  • A whole punnet of blueberries (a new love of mine) and a tablespoon of fat-free yogurt
  • One Special K bar
  • One meringue nest with 6 strawberries
  • One toasted crumpet with a teaspoon of low-fat grated cheese.
  • One pack of Walkers Baked crisps
There's loads of chocolate bars out there for less than 100 calories, but I try to stay away from them unless I really deserve a treat. They're just empty calories - you'll have a hunger pang 30 minutes after you've scoffed it and end up eating more. So I try to stop my cravings by cutting it out pretty much altogether.

There's also foods that are virtually calorie-less, like sugar free jelly. You could eat a bucketful and not put on an ounce. Some diets encourage you to eat these types of food, but don't you want to curb your mindless eating? I've fallen into that trap so many times. Mindless jelly eating turns into mindless crisps/chocolate/take-away eating once all the jelly's in your belly!

How does everyone else feel about their reasons for over eating? Do you know what they are? It would be lovely to hear from some of you! Feel free to keep it confidential or email me at

Lots of foodless love,
LG xx

Thursday, 15 April 2010

DIARY + REVIEW: The Dreaded Hair Loss

The very lovely people over at LighterLife HQ featured the Lady Gluttony blog on their Facebook page yesterday, how exciting! So hello to all the LighterLife fans who have made their way over to LG. I noticed a lot of people questioned the hair loss topic I raised earlier in my blog, so I thought I'd delve a little into the whats and whys of hair loss on very low calorie diets such as LighterLife.

My hair began falling out after I reintroduced conventional food into my diet after 19 weeks of full abstinence from food on LighterLife. It was very slight at first but continued to get worse until I was having to unblock the plug in the shower every day. I was devastated! I dug out a photo from September 09, 3 months after the LighterLife programme, along with a photo from March '10. I can definitely see the difference!

During a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD - less than 800cals per day) your body remains in a constant state of ketosis - this basically means your body is being fuelled via your fat stores (yippee!) as opposed to the energy stores you usually use from your liver which are known as glycogen. Whilst you are in ketosis your body uses what little energy you have available to power your vital organs. As there's not much energy going spare, it stops doing other less important tasks such as hair shedding, hair regrowth, nail growth and keeping you warm (I was forever freezing whilst on LighterLife).

This little holiday your body takes from completing these tasks has to be accounted for somewhere, meaning that when you reintroduce food and increase your calorie intake you begin to shed the hair you should have been regularly losing which is around 50 to 100 strands per day. Obviously the swift loss of 19 weeks worth of hair is going to be a considerable and alarming amount, but it doesn't mean you're going bald! The new hair grows back through just as quickly as you lose it which is brilliant, but meant I had a mini afro for several months following my abstinence from food, such a good look for me…not!

A nutrition deficiency could also account for the hair loss on some diets. Although I know LighterLife is 100% nutritionally complete, some diets lack vitamin B12 and Zinc which are essential for luscious locks so perhaps a deficiency in these nutrients could cause the hair to take a little break from growing.

I was so upset about losing my hair though. I had no one to reassure me, so I had no idea whether it was going to grow back! I did have slight bald patches around my hairline which of course in my head translated to "Oh my god, I'm actually bald, I need to invest in a toupee!". Always the drama queen. I was willing to try anything to speed the regrowth of my hair. I consulted my lovely hairdresser, Jolie, who recommended the L'Oreal product Aminexil. I purchased a 6 week course of the product costing around £90 (steep, I know - but I was desperate!). I had to apply the solution to my scalp daily for six weeks, massaging it into towel dried hair. Now, according to the boffins over at L'Oreal, Aminexil is a nutritional programme that has been scientifically proven to combat hair thinning using Omega-6 nutricomplex. Now who knows, this may have been a load of rubbish, but my hair did seem to grow back exceptionally quickly. It's not really a fair test as I've no way of knowing how quickly my hair would have grown back without the Aminexil, but it did make me feel like I was actively trying to encourage my hair growth. It's all in the psychology I say!

Overall, the amount of hair I lost was a teeny price to pay for the amount of weight and dress sizes I dropped. It's very easy to say but don't worry too much about hair loss - some people go through it and some people don't. As it happens, my hair is much thicker than it previously was which is a bonus. Its a small price to pay to be healthy and happier.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

DIARY: Eating Out Doesn't Have To Mean Overeating

This past week, I've been completely rushed off my feet with work, hospital appointments with the granny and travelling to visit friends. As the old saying goes 'fail to plan, plan to fail' - it's resulted in me eating out a lot and generally just eating far too much. Unfortunately even for the most disciplined dieters amongst us, eating out often means making the wrong food choices.

A visit to see my cousins this weekend (evidence to the left) resulted in a two day long carb, cocktail and wine fest, although very enjoyable - not very wise. I'm dreading hitting the scales! So this has got me thinking about the relevance of making informed choices when eating out; visiting a restaurant doesn't have to be a diet sabotaging event. I find it so difficult to avoid the dessert menu temptations and extra sides but these choices always replace my ravenous previous self with a guilt-ridden sluggish feeling. Below I've formed a list of choices I've concocted from nutritional information on the internet. The lack of nutritional information freely available for restaurants in the UK is quite worrying - why won't these chains supply us with nutritional information? Maybe the results would be too shocking to publish. I've been told that the Food Standards Agency are working on this problem. Hopefully like our neighbours across the pond, we'll soon be able to know the exact calorie contents of all of the foods we eat. For now, here's what I've come up with for large high street restaurant chains. Some of the restaurant choices may seem a bit daft from a dieter's perspective, but let's face it - we all have a social life. Whether it be taking your kids to McDonald's or having a girly night in with a bottle of wine and a pizza - dieting's about making healthy choices, and there's nothing wrong with an occasional treat. The list includes a couple of the lowest calorie meals available (one rabbit food, one human food):

Pizza Hut

Classic Caesar Salad 366cals
Individual Italian Margarita Pizza 176cals per slice, 4 slices per pizza

Pizza Express
Pollo Salad (no dough sticks, no dressing) 295cals
Four Seasons Pizza 677cals

Chicken Breast Sandwich no mayo 458cals

Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Salad 182cal
Roasted Chicken and Tomato Panini 321cals

Pret a Manger
Pole & Line Caught Tuna Niciose Salad 205 cals
Slim Pret Chicken Avocado 231cals

Caffe Nero
Tuna with Herbed Potato Salad 254cals
Tuna Salad Sandwich 254cals

Chicken Salad (no bacon) 115cals
Hamburger 250cals
Chicken McNuggets 250cals

Burger King
Flame Grilled Chicken Salad 128cals
Hamburger 275cals

…and that is all the nutritional information I could find. Frankie & Benny's, TGI Friday's, Chiquitos etc etc haven't opted to provide us with our much needed nutritional information - lets hope that soon changes. But eating out is supposed to be fun, right? So I've decided to pop together a few little tips for making informed choices when hitting our favourite eateries when there's no nutritional information going handy. Now all I need to do is convince myself to follow these rules...
  • Check out the menu online before you go you're less likely to be tempted by the yummy descriptions when you arrive!
  • Never arrive STARVING; you'll be overwhelmed by your cravings as soon as you arrive. Have a little snack if you can, a banana or apple will do.
  • Try to avoid anything with lots of cheese, creamy sauces (I know, I love carbonara too!), anything fried and also try to cut down on your carbs!
  • If you're given a choice of sides avoid chips and roasties, go for rice or boiled potatoes instead, although still carbalicious, they're a much healthier choice.
  • Don't be fooled by salads! More often than not, the creamy dressings they're drowning in provide you with more calories than a delicious alternative! Ask them to go easy on the dressings or serve them separately to be safe.
  • Remember steamed, boiled and grilled are our friends. Fried and crispy are not!
  • Try and stick to chicken, lean meats and fish based meals, served with veggies or salads. These can be equally as delicious as your regular choices and save you over-doing it on the calorie front. (Also, the less carbs you eat, the less you'll crave - bonus!!)
  • Desserts can be the killer. If you do have the overwhelming urge to feed your sweet tooth, go for something light like sorbet, meringue or even ice cream. These will still be loaded with sugar but if its a one off, we can let it slip!
  • Lastly, don't eat too quickly (I swear I could speed eat for England). If you slow down a little, you can give your body time to digest your food, meaning you'll probably feel the full feeling a little quicker.
  • And remember, the worst choices are likely to be the most tempting on the menu.
Don't sweat it if you over-do it a little. Have fun and get straight back on it tomorrow!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

DIARY: Girl, Step Away From The Scales!

So, what exactly is the best way to measure weight loss? I must confess, I'm a complete scale-addict. I tend to hop on 2-3 times a day - completely unnecessary and very unhealthy, I know, especially considering the vast power it has over my mood. If I've shifted a pound, I'm ecstatic, but what happens if I gain one? Or TWO?!

So you can imagine how anxious I'm feeling - it's the end of week 1 of the "15 weeks until jollys" challenge and my scales have been out of action all week. Due to being female, I am completely incapable of changing the battery, so I haven't managed to weigh myself since Monday, eek! (Must buy weird flat coin-shaped battery tomorrow!)

It has got me thinking though, about the importance and relevance of weight. I know almost everyone has a goal weight in their head, whether it be a milestone they've never reached before, or an idealistic figure based on someone else's figure or weight, but how relevant and realistic are these goals?

I've been mulling over this idea all day and imagine my surprise when I hopped in the bath this evening with this month's issue of Cosmo and discovered an entire (and very informative) article dedicated to the relevance of weight (thank you Cosmo!). The article features 5 girlies who all weigh 9st 7lbs, yet have completely different, equally fabulous figures. I know that given the option I definitely wouldn't have labelled them all with the same weight. They're all different heights, dress sizes and body shapes, demonstrating to all us weight-obsessives that weight really isn't everything.

So girls (and boys!), I've decided that our new weight loss friend shall be, wait for it, the almighty tape measure! We're starting our relationship off slowly - we'll see how things progress. Taking measurements can be a really useful and relevant way of keeping an eye on weight loss and your changing body shape, so today I enlisted the help of my sister (thanks Em!) in creating a silhouette of my body, and to the left is what she produced.

We took a quick photo of me and cleverly edited it into a lovely silhouette (a little easier on the eye than my underwear shot, although a little less flattering without the contours!). The purple lines show where you should measure yourself. But for the record here's a few handy hints:
  1. Bust: As tempting as it is, don't squash yourself -- measure all the way around your boobs and back right at your nipple (ugh, hate that awful word) line.
  2. Chest: Measure under your boobs but as high up as you can go, keeping the tape measure parallel to this line when you reach it around your back.
  3. Waist: Measure wherever it is the smallest (mine wasn't much lower than my chest measurement). If you have "no waist" go around yourself right at the bellybutton line.
  4. Hips: Measure at the very widest part .
  5. Thighs: Measure wherever they are the biggest.
  6. Knees: Measure just above the knee.
  7. Calves: Measure at the biggest point.
  8. Upper arm: Measure wherever they are largest above your elbows.
  9. Forearms: Measure wherever they are biggest below your elbows.

It's not the most elating of images compared to my fully clothed wearing-sucky-in-body-shaper photos, but it's definitely a good way of monitoring my progress. I'm going to take another shot in 14 weeks time to compare - we should get a little comparison collage going, what d'ya reckon?

This is what I need to get into my head - weight and measurements are just a way of comparing your current self to your previous self, a way of monitoring your progress, not a way of comparing yourself to your friends, that jealous-inducing girl on the high street or Beyonce. Weight can't tell us whether we have a big bum, tiny waist or bingo wings. It's just a number, and it means bugger all.

Don't forget to check out this month's Cosmopolitan magazine for the confidence boosting 'Guess what we all share?' article - it really is an eye opener.

Much Love, Lady Gluttony xx

Friday, 12 March 2010

FOOD: Healthy Burger and Chips - Mexican Burger with Sweet Potato Wedges

If I'm honest, I'm not much of a chef. Oh, how I envy Nigella - my culinary skills usually don't extend much further than fish fingers and chips, and to top that, diet food can be so boring. I'm attempting to spice up my food and make it enjoyable, hopefully I'll pick up a few skills along the way. After all, my diet should really be a change of lifestyle rather than short term suffering.

There's always something a little exciting about eating "naughty" food, so I've been channelling my inner Gino de Campo and attempted to create a meal that tastes yummy, feels naughty but is kind to the (hopefully shrinking) waistline. And you can't get much kinder than a tiny 360 calories.

I do love a good burger. I must admit, it's usually the take-away variety after one too many vinos. But as we know, diets don't really bode well with post-pub greases so I managed to create some rather splendid (if i do say so myself!) and healthy Mexican burgers, plus some lower carb, high fibre spiced sweet potato wedges.


Here's what you'll need:

Makes 8 small burgers (save some for tomorrow?) or 4 whoppers

450g lean beef mince
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 egg, beaten
2 slices of bread, crumbed without crusts
salt and pepper

Makes enough wedges to serve 4

3-4 sweet potatoes, sliced lengthwise into quarters (i went for the rustic stabbed look - they're so hard to slice!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
jar of salsa (or you could make your own, but nothing beats M&S)
shredded lettuce

...and this is how I did it:
  • Preheat the oven to 200c ready for your wedges.
  • Mix together your oil, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder.
  • Dip each sweet potato slice into the mixture and lay on a baking tray.
  • Pop in the oven and bake for 40mins.

Now for the burgers!

  • In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
  • Divide the mixture into 8 and shape into burgers with your hands. Brush each burger with a little oil (a little tip to reduce oil and fat).
  • Cook on a very hot griddle pan for 4 mins on each side.
  • Dress the burger with a lovely dollop of salsa, lay on a bed of lettuce (that sounded posh) and voilla!
Enjoy! xx

Sweet potatoes are a brilliant source of dietry fibre and are much lower GI than normal potatoes - basically their energy is released slower, so you feel fuller for longer. Woohoo! Did I forget to mention that they're also delicious?! Lovely and soft inside but crisp on the outside. Like a perfect roast potato, but so much easier. I was so surprised how quickly they cooked after I just about needed a hack saw to chop them up!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

REVIEW: My First Fitball Class at Bannatynes

I ache so much, my legs were like jelly trying to get down the stairs at the gym. I suppose that means I've been working hard?!

I'm a member of Bannatynes Gym but I'm not a regular attender to say the least. But as you know, 15 weeks until holidays so I'm forcing myself there as often as possible.

Yesterday I got up extra early and went to the 9am Fitball class, check me out! Fitball according to Bannatynes is - 'an intense workout using a stability ball'. The aim of the class is to improve core stability, in turn improving your strength, coordination, stability and balance. I obviously have non of these attributes! I was wobbling all over the place - never realised how unstable I am. Maybe thats why I fall over so often? Anyway, being on the ball means your body has to respond to the natural movement of the ball whilst doing the usual gym movements (abdominal crunches, bicep curls, squats etc) making your muscles work extra hard. Does this mean I'll be more toned extra quick? Lets hope so!

We got there early to try and get a few snaps but unfortunately we weren't the only early birds! I couldn't be bothered explaining to everyone why I wanted photos so I've taken a few at home in my garden to show you a handful of the moves.

The workout lasted 45 mins and involved using the swiss ball, small hand weights and a yoga mat. There were 8 women of mixed ability in my class, it's amazing how fit some of the women are, it puts me to shame (especially seeing as most of them were twice my age!).

We started with a warm up, then moving onto some back, shoulder, and arm exercises, finishing with some ab work, squats against the wall (ouch that hurts!!) plus a little stability game involving everyone. It was really fun, i feel sorry for the lady next to me she got stuck with the wobbliest girl in the world!

Dumbbell Kickbacks: these help banish bingo wings, but by being sat on the ball, you're working your core too. The closer your feet are together, the harder you work. My dog decided to poke his head in on this one, he then proceeded to take my weight off me and chew it!

Squats: much more comfortable with the ball than without, also the ball makes sure your posture is correct. Works your bum and thighs, for legs like Beyonce's!

Dumbbell Flys: works your pectorals (muscles that keep your boobs in the right place) and your arms. Again being on the ball is improving your stability - try to keep your body as straight as possible with your pelvis right up.

I'd advise you get a better fit ball than this (I picked it up from Tesco for a fiver), I'm 5ft 7 and this is a 65cm ball - it's a bit too small, your legs are supposed to be at right angles when you sit on it. Also, I can't inflate it anymore than it is, its a bit saggy, poor ball. I don't know if it's just poor quality as most fitballs advertised on Argos etc are 65cm. The one below is from Argos for a bargainous £6.99. I also managed to get some little 1kg hand weights from Tesco, they were only £3.97 each and are ideal for some at-home toning!

The class was surprisingly enjoyable (in terms of fitness classes, that its). I'm not a lover of cardio or getting a sweat on so this low impact (making it good for people with injuries) but intense workout was really quite good. I could definitely feel the burn! I know gym memberships are expensive, and you can do fitball work from home but I find the motivation of the instructor is what I need to keep me going.

I am going to practice my moves at home though. The fitball is a complete bargain and it's so useful, not just an expensive clothes hanger which a lot of home gym equipment often proves to be! Apparently just sitting on the ball improves core stability and gets those abs working! Maybe I'll write my next blog entry whilst perched on it. I'll let you know if I think it's working - judging from the aches in my shoulders, legs… everywhere! it is working. No pain, no gain ey?! I'll definitely be attending next week!

Monday, 8 March 2010

DIARY: How I Did It... LighterLife

This is me:
18 months ago, I looked like this:

It makes me really sad and embarrassed to think that I looked like that for so long. I know I should be proud of what I've achieved but that's far easier said than done. I'm now attempting to shift another 21lbs, to reach 9stone before my summer holiday, but this raises the issue - will I ever be happy with how I look?

I'm sure you'd all like to know my 'secret' as to how I managed to shift 29.1% of my body weight ;). It wasn't without difficulty, believe me! Like a lot of people I've always had an issue with my weight, the main issue being i weighed far too much for most of my life and three years at university added the extra tyre to my already over adequate collection. December 08 was, I suppose, the turning point in my long lasting weight battle. My auntie Kathryn came through for Christmas looking gorgeous - she'd been on the LighterLife diet and shed over four stone in 14 weeks. That was it, I needed to get me some of that!

For those of you who aren't clued up on the LighterLife programme, its a very low calorie diet (yes, believe it or not that is a medical term!) lasting a minimum of 14 weeks, during which you completely abstain from conventional food and rely on four food packs a day totalling around 500 calories (a quarter of a woman's recommended allowance). This probably seems absurd to most people, 500 calories a day is extreme dieting and is not to be taken lightly; even my own GP refused to give me permission to begin the programme and I had to travel 40 miles to a private GP surgery to get a medical check and get given the go head. To that Doc i am eternally grateful!

I abstained from food for 19 weeks and lost a total of 60lbs, along with quite a lot of my hair, taking me from 14st 10lbs to 10st 6lbs.

Many people don't advocate such extreme dieting but for me it was the only choice. I have a real issue with food and I still can't quite control my own appetite. For me, limiting my intake of food conventionally is virtually impossible, I have tendencies to binge and I have a real love/hate relationship with chocolate/cake/anything edible. By opting for such an extreme diet the temptation of food was completely removed and allowed me to focus on the issues surrounding my reason for over eating, something which LighterLife emphasise through the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (will post about this technique soon!).

As with any diet, there are negatives. Lighterlife seems like a quick fix solution but it is not without its side effects. As I mentioned, I lost a lot of my hair - I was gutted! I loved my hair. Looking back, it was only a small price to pay as I've managed to keep the weight off for 9 months and my hair did eventually grow back - I'll be explaining the reasons for the hair loss in another post and even be reviewing some products which aided my hair regrowth (thank god for science!) Another side effect to the diet was low blood pressure. I suffered terribly with postural hypotention (the posh term for going dizzy when you stand up!). I don't really know why this happened but I knew it was time to stop at this point! As with some other diets I suffered a lot with digestive discomfort, more often than not I ended up going to the toilet just once a fortnight! Probably the worst affected area was my social life but I'll save that for a whole other post.

Despite the negatives of the diet plus the hefty £70 per week cost I would certainly recommend LighterLife to anyone serious about losing weight. It wont be easy but believe me it's so worth it! I never thought I'd be any smaller than a size 16 (I'm now a size 10!)

Remember I'm always here to answer any questions you have about LighterLife or any other subjects I post about (or don't!). Just drop me a line at

much love, Lady Gluttony x

DIARY: Fads, Fitness and a Tiny Bit of Chocolate

Hello all, welcome to the land of Lady Gluttony, aka Jess!

I'm hoping that these musings are going to bring some kind of closure to my everlasting battle with weight loss, body image and obsessive calorie counting.

As you'll learn from the following posts I've recently lost 60lbs taking me from a size 16 to a size 10. Here I hope to share with you my wisdom, experiences and the trials and tribulations of weight loss, weight gain and torturous exercise. Hopefully I'll get some feedback from you guys - I love a good chat!

I'll be reviewing the latest diet and fitness fads (well, maybe fads is a bit strong but I'm a sucker for a quick fix), fitness ideas, recipes and anything else I feel is of any use! I also admit that the 'tiny bit of chocolate' tag line may have been a slight understatement; I'm a self confessed chocoholic/cakeoholic/anything-that-tastes-goodoholic.

One thing I want to make clear is that as a size 16 girl, I was very unhappy. All I hope to do with this blog is perhaps inspire anyone who is unhappy with their weight to do something about it. This is not to do with any specific weight, it's to do with how I felt and how I looked. Any weights I do mention are purely as a means of measuring my progress.

I'm off on my summer holidays in 15 weeks and want to lose 21lbs before I hit the beach (bikini season is almost upon us again, ARGH). I want to use this blog as a means of keeping me on track and in the meantime I hope to motivate other people who are unhappy with their bodies to join me in my quest for fulfilment.

I must let you know - I am not a gym bunny nor am I a health freak, I ordered Domino's Pizza last night and gorged myself. I need as much help and encouragement as the next person and this is where my blog comes in.

I really hope you enjoy my ramblings, reviews and general progress updates - wish me luck!

Lady Gluttony xx