Monday, 12 December 2011

HELLO to the Jenny Craig Meal Plan Diet!

Although it may be snowing outside and my thermal socks are seeing a lot of use, my thoughts are straying to my post-Xmas travels to New Zealand and Australia, where bikini season is in full swing! I am also well aware of how Christmas indugences usually cause us to put on a little bit of winter insulation, which I do NOT need after my summer going super-size in the US!

To both prevent any further weight gain and also in a bid to start losing a little of that which I've gained, I have embarked on the Jenny Craig weight loss program, which you can read all about right HERE.

The program is basically a three-pronged attack the help you either lose weight, maintain your current weight or re-educate yourself on what (and importantly; how much) to eat in order to have a healthy balanced diet.

Firstly (this is the main thing for me), you are provided with the right foods in the right amounts in the 'Food' part of the plan. I received a HUGE box of goodies containing all my meals and a few snacks to last two weeks, delivered direct to my door. It was strangely exciting to rifle through my planned diet, and it got me excited to try all the delicious-sounding meals (more on that later).

The contents of my stomach for the next two weeks!

Secondly, you are put in touch with a consultant who is like your go-to person if you have any problems, need to confess a slip-up or need advice on how to handle a potentially dangerous situation (I had a Big Night Out planned, but I tried to counter-act my many vodka/diet cokes by dancing for 5 hours, skipping my daily 'goodie' and drinking lots of water). My lovely consultant Alison is thus helping my tackle the 'Mind' part of the program, I've spoken to her twice already and feel like I'm doing pretty well!

Thirdly, there's little point in putting the right fuels in your body if you don't supplement that with exercise to help boost your weight loss and your mood, hence the 'Body' part of the program. The calorie content of the diet plan is according to your level of activity, mine is 1200 per day (not including 'free foods') but I've been walking loads and I danced until 4am on Fri night/Sat morning so I'm getting in some workouts, kind-of!

Now, the Food! Breakfasts are packets of flavoured porridge, tasty wheat flakes or muesli, and you add milk and fruit. Lunches are almost instant (soups, noodles, instant potato, salad pots etc) with salad, but often require you to be near a microwave or kettle. I've managed to fit the plan into my erratic schedule so far by eating my tuna pasta salad while shopping instead of my potato and croutons, and I chose soup during a lunch out because that's what I was supposed to have anyway. Dinners are very tasty so far, and include curries, lasagne and roast chicken- not typical diet foods by any means, but these are calorie controlled and you get the amount your body needs, but can supplement your portion with vegetables or salad. You also get a delicious snack like the white-chocolate and caramel cereal bar, which I LOVE, and eat fruit and yoghurt between meals too, though I've found it tricky to fit in so many food breaks (surprisingly!)

Chocolate Coated Wheat Flakes- YUM!

I have a couple of meals out to navigate whilst on the plan (which are allowed but you must try and be mindful of your choices) so we shall see how I deal with those! Watch this space for my grand review of the whole program and my experiences overall, but for brief updates check my Twitter and the Jenny Craig Facebook Page, where I will be posting regularly! Wish me luck!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Christmas Holiday Essentials!

So many of us choose to go away over Christmas, be it travelling to be with family, travelling to get away from family or heading for some winter fun in the sun, but what essential items should you take with you over the festive period?

Here's my list of the top 5 essentials that what would be going in my sleigh/suitcase if I was to spend the holidays away from home...

1. Alcohol :) Preferably home brewed sloe gin or something festive like mulled wine, advocaat for eggnog or Glayva for a warming hot toddy. I always find that a day of my Mother's overcooked turkey, my grandad's snoring and the Queen's speech becomes much more bearable after a liquid breakfast of the adult kind. If I were on holiday overseas, I'd have hit the duty free en route and stocked up on festive spirit(s) to help the party season go with a clink, why not? HEY it's the holidays! Share a bevvy or five with the people you love!

2. Decorative Ribbon- the kind you curl with a scissor edge. Any gift can be jazzed up with a bit of ribbon, even if it's wrapped in the Christmas Eve newspaper because you yet again left it too late this year goddamit. Little rolls of the stuff can even be stuffed into shoes when packing to save space, and any bottle of wine you pick up can instantly be made to seem extra special. You took the time to curl the ribbon didn't you? WIN.

3. A Sparkly Dress- Christmas isn't Christmas for me without a smattering of sequins, so I would always pack a really jazzy little number for all those party season dates you'll have in your diary. Failing that, dress up on Christmas Day, just because it's Christmas- the only day on the calendar during which sequins are acceptable day attire. Sparkly dresses are also proven to increase your chances of experiencing a mistletoe kiss by up to 74%. Yeah, that's a real statistic. This jaw-dropping one from Lanvin is a jaw-dropping £1,635, but this high-street gem from Dorothy Perkins is equally fabuous and a much more purse-friendly £60...

Lanvin at Matches, £1,635

Dorothy Perkins, £60

4. Morning Rescue Kit- No-one wants to be hungover on Christmas Day, the turkey just won't taste right ( vote 'hair of the dog'- see point 1. on this list). What you need, is channel your inner Boy Scout when packing, and Be Prepared. I don't mean include your sparking flint and Swiss army knife (though the latter usually has a corkscrew. Just sayin'), I'm talking about your rescue kit for those mornings after the night before, using mini-bottles where possible to travel light. Mine would consist of: pain killers, Berocca, eye mask for lie-ins, Vitamin B, Touche Eclat, lip balm, Sex and the City on DVD and ideally a small elf who would bring me food, give me foot rubs and close the curtains for me if I took a dislike to daylight.

5. Festive Extras- A Santa hat is actually quite sensible if your winter break is somewhere chilly; keep your ears warm, reduce heat-loss through the head and emit festive cheer on the slopes! Tinsel could replace your usual piece or ribbon/luggage strap that you use to distinguish your baggage on the conveyor belt, and red lipstick could be used not only for vixen lips but for an impromptu Rudolf nose if the situation suddenly called for it  (this could happen- a couple of twigs more and you've got yourself an easy-peasy fancy dress outfit). A few small baubles bit in the suitcase could be used as wine glass markers (HEY that's my zinfandel, my bauble is terracotta coloured, yours is the one with squiggles on!) but could also be used as silly earrings or even bobbing apples during a seasonally-confused games night. Here's an extra travel tip- fit all these items into a compression sack (like this one from Rutand Outdoor) and squish it all down to save space. They also keep all your clothes in neat little sacks that make great weapons in pillow fights!

Hopefully my handy hints and tips will stand me in good stead for winning This great competition from Thomas Cook to win a fabulous Antler suitcase, which is very shiny and sexy, and I want very much!

All together now (Mariah warbles optional):
Santa won't you bring me one thing I really need, won't you please bring the suitcase to me-e-ee!