Couch to 5k – the final stretch!

I’m a little late with this post, as we actually finished the course the week before last; however, with the kids off for half term, I haven’t got round to sharing our success with you guys 🙂

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So basically, we did it!! A full 30 minutes of running, with ease as well – there wasn’t any moaning or even asking if it was possible – rather unlike the first week, when one minute of running was a chore! We just set off and kept going, not only can we run for 30 minutes now, we also enjoy it, which is amazing!

We’re living proof that given nine weeks, a good program to follow and in our case the support of a fantastic coach, anyone can become a runner!

Week 8 of the routine consisted of three 28 minute runs.
Week 9, the final week consisted of three 30 minute runs.

I really think that after week 5, when we had to jump up to running 20 minutes, the course became easier. This was because once 20 minutes had been run the rest was achievable.

This week I haven’t run, mainly due to my daughter being off for half term; however, today I’m back on it! My next personal goal is to go from 5k to 10k. I really would recommend the couchto5k course to anyone, I’d also like to take this opportunity to once again thank Pete, our coach. It’s amazing being able to leave the house and just run; it has so many benefits not only physical but also mentally too – running is a great way of letting go of stress.

I’ll keep you updated on future progress.

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Couch to 5k – Week 1

Here’s something a little healthy to add to your Easter weekend!

So, as stated on my last post, this week I began my journey from the couch to 5k. This is a program heavily supported by the NHS, which is designed to encourage anyone to take up exercise.

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The course lasts for nine weeks, when we should be able to complete the full 5k! I’m completing the course with a running group, which includes four of us and our running coach, Pete. It’s great running as a group because we can all encourage each other and having a coach there to support and inform us all, is just fantastic!

Week one: 5 minute warmup, which includes a brisk walk and some gentle exercises.
Followed by 1 minute of running and 1 and a half minutes of walking.
This is repeated 8 times and then completed with a five minute
walk to cool down. When we got back, we did some vital stretching!

Beginning running like this made it much more fluent and really broke it down. It’s fab having Pete there to show us the important exercises, and knowing we have a coach will inspire me to keep it up! As a group we meet with Pete once a week; however, in order to finish the course successfully, we must also run on our own at least two/three times a week.

Yesterday we set off on our first run without Pete, and just ran for a bit and walked for a bit. This is obviously better than doing nothing but it just didn’t feel structured. However, I have found this fab app called Get Running. It has the program on the app, so you just pop your headphones on and that tells you when to warm up, run, walk and cool down. If you wish, your music can also be played alongside the app and that’ll just cut in with the instructions – it is £1.99 but I think it will definitely be worth it!

I will be completing my final run of week one in the morning and I’d say it has definitely been successful. I’m proud of all of us for just getting out there and giving it a go, because that’s the hardest part! Now I have my app, I’ll be able to carry on with the course while I’m away!

Helpful, healthy food

So it’s that time of year again, when everyone goes on a health kick in prep for the warmer weather coming.

It’s not just about losing weight, eating healthy and exercising just makes me feel better in general. I’ve been doing quite well in the healthy eating department; however, it can get a little boring, so I thought I’d share with you all a couple of recipes that I’ve found on the way.

The first recipe is from the Philadelphia iPad app, which I’d definitely recommend! It has loads on there and breaks recipes down into the type of dish, for example pasta, chicken etc. So anyway, I decided to make Salmon with Philadelphia and Chive Topping.

It’s a super easy dish and is literally made by spreading garlic and herb Philadelphia on salmon, then mixing bread crumbs, lemon zest and chives together and adding them on top. It is then baked in the oven.

Salmon can be served with whatever really, for a healthy option I’ve tried new potatoes and salad, and also once with a baked potato.

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Anyone that knows me or reads my blog, will probably know that I’m a Jamie Oliver fan! Therefore, my second healthy recipe is from his 15 Minute Meals, of which I have the book and app – both fantastic.

The meal is Grilled Steak, Ratatouille and Rice – it is a little more complex than the Philadelphia dish, but it’s still fairly straight forward. The steak is cooked on a griddle pan, the recipe states saffron rice, although I just used standard rice and then the ratatouille is basically all put together in one pan.

Ratatouille would be zero pro points on a weight watchers diet (I left out the anchovy), which is awesome because it really is where the flavour of the dish is! I definitely recommend you check it out!

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Healthy eating can be boring and dull, so these offer a bit of an alternative. I also wanted to share them because they’re quick to make and use proper ingredients.

What do you think to these recipes, are they something you’d try?

Weight Watchers – Week Two

This week I tried to be more healthy with my weight watchers options, rather than opting for easy ready meals with the pro points on the side, I tried to cook proper meals using fresh ingredients.

I was successful in doing this and one of my favourite lighter meals has become the mexican quesadilla. It’s really easy to make, filling and easily adapted to suit individual tastes!

I started by grilling a chicken breast (4 pro points), for extra flavour I added some seasoning for chicken. In general I find adding herbs and spices to meals really works on this diet, it gives flavour without adding many points! I then fried off – in calorie controlled spray – onion, pepper and courgettes, to which I added some crushed garlic (all 0 pro points). I’m quite picky with food and don’t like tomatoes but I imagine they would also go with this meal well.

I then added a light version tortilla wrap to a frying pan, placed the fried off ingredients on top and finished with 30g of healthy eating cheese (3 pro points). I added a wrap to the top, flipped the whole thing over and served once the cheese had melted, with a dollop of reduce fat sour cream. Once I was serving, I realised I had plenty of filling and only used half of the chicken breast, reducing the pro points for this to only 2.

Overall, I was happy with this meal at just 12 pro points it was really filling, to reduce the points this could be made as a chicken wrap – only using one tortilla.

I used the left over half of chicken breast for next day’s tea with 150g of cooked pasta (4 pro points) and melted 100g of light garlic and herb Philadelphia (4 pro points) to use as a tasty sauce. This give me a complete tea for 10 pro points, and to be honest I didn’t need as much of the sauce as what I had done as it was slightly overpowering.

Anyway, after making more of an effort to be healthy I lost half a pound last week, a bit different to last weeks 6 but still it is a loss and I’m happy with that.

This week due to it being Easter, I have written Weight Watchers off (see previous blog post) there is too much chocolate around the house! I’m not going to go mental and start scoffing everything in sight but I’m just being a bit slack on counting the points; however, I will return to being strict on Tuesday! Everyone, needs a little break, right? 😉