Tuesday, May 01, 2007

No Temptation Tuesday - If at first you don't succeed

Yes, it's the first Tuesday in the month and that means we all get to evaluate how we're doing on the Pink Heart Society diet.

Ally has lost 0.9 kilos since January and says the secret of her 1/4 of a kilo per month loss is 'watching The Biggest Loser on TV'. Nic is planning on dropping the weight of an entire human being this month alone! Jenna and Trish are refusing to comment!

So how about you? Does your bottom now fit in your computer chair comfortably - or ... er ... not??

I have to hold my hand up here and say that I took a break. January was good in weight-loss terms. I was focused and I lost over a stone. But when my mum died I made the conscious decision to stop for a while. The fact that it was a deliberate choice means that I feel guilt free but it also means I have to re-start and have such a long long way to go.

It's all about finding the motivation, isn't it? And what works for me might not work for you. I found standing in upteen changing rooms trying on outfits for the RNA Awards Luncheon very motivating. But not in a positive way. I came home quite fed up!

I've decided it's time to stop making excuses and decide what it is I want. Either I accept I'm not going to get in my favourite jeans ever again or I must decide I want to do that more than I want a slice of banoffee pie.

If it's the former I ought to stop moaning and find the perfect pie recipe. But if it's the later I need to start visualising where I want to be.

I did start by putting up a very unflattering photograph of me as my desktop background picture. I thought if I looked at that several times a day it might stop me hitting the cheese and biscuits late at night.

Only that's so negative. I don't want to feel badly about myself. I want to feel positive about the changes I'm making in my life. Then I wondered whether other people's successes might be inspiring - but actually it isn't really because I'm still at the 'before'.

So now I've gone for a lovely one of Jeremy Northam. Much more cheering! He's my current hero, btw.

On the diet front this month I'm going to go for 'my body as a temple' idea. I'm going to take a proper break for lunch and not eat a sandwich over my keyboard. I'm also going to stop myself thinking it's not worth making something if it's just for me and eat things I really like. I'll let you know how it goes. But in the meantime, here's tomorrow's menu.

Cod with Orange and Parsley Couscous Crust

POINTS® Value: 1.5 WeightWatchers points
Servings: 4

An easy-to-make couscous crust gives a tasty new take on baked cod.


5 spray low-fat cooking spray
150 g cod, 4 x fillets
1 pinch salt, and freshly ground black pepper
75 g dried couscous
1 medium orange(s), finely grated zest and juice of
1/2 portion stock cube, or 1 teaspoon vegetable stock powder
1 tablespoon parsley, fresh, or chives
1 medium portion cooked mixed vegetables, green


1 Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190°C/375°F/fan oven 170°C.
2 Spray a baking tray with low fat cooking spray and arrange the cod fillets on top. Season with salt and pepper.
3 Put the couscous into a heatproof bowl and add the orange zest and juice. Dissolve the stock powder or cube in 100ml boiling water and pour over the couscous. Stir, then stand for 5 minutes to swell. Add the parsley or chives.
4 Share the couscous between the cod, pressing it over the surface of each fillet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
5 Serve the fish with the cooked green vegetables.


Use the finely grated zest and juice from 1 lemon instead of the orange, for a change.

Orange Lemon Custard with Apple Twists

POINTS® Value: 2 WeightWatchers points
Servings: 2


1 medium apple(s), Granny Smith, cored
3 teaspoon lemon juice
210 ml skimmed milk
20 g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 portion lemon(s), use 1 strip of zest
1 medium orange(s), use 1 strip of zest
1 medium egg(s)


1 First, make the apple crisps. Slice the apple into water-thin slices with a large, very sharp knife or, ideally, a mandolin.
2 Preheat the oven to its low or warm setting. Lay a non-stick baking sheet on a baking tray or use low fat cooking spray - one squirt is enough. Spread the apple slices out - don't overlap them. Brush lightly with the lemon juice.
3 Put in the oven and let them dry out for about 45 minutes, until they become firm and pale golden brown. (If the oven is too hot then prop open the oven door). Remove with a palette knife to a wire tray to crisp and cool.
4 Meanwhile, bring the milk and sugar to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract and the two strips of fruit zest. Leave to cool.
5 Raise the oven temperature to Gas Mark 3/170°C/325°F. Grease two medium-sized ramekins with low fat spray and stand them in a small roasting dish.
6 Remove the zest strips from the milk. Beat the egg in a small bowl and whisk in the milk. Pour into the ramekins.
7 Pour hot water into the roasting tin to come half way up the outsides of the ramekins and bake for about 45 minutes, until just set. Serve on pretty dessert plates, accompanied by the apple crisps.

That doesn't seem too bad, does it? Anyone else playing?

With love


Natasha's latest release, 'Crowned: An Ordinary Girl', is available online at eharlequin now. Read an excerpt here.


  1. WOW Thanks for the great recipes! I'm definitely going to have to give them a try... and I'm with you on the 'make it even if it is only for me'... I seem to always be thinking that its not worth it. And hearing you say that, makes me realize how it really sounds.


  2. Y'all don't want me to comment. It's not inspirational. And seeing as how this is my birthday month, there will be cake and ice cream involved :)

    OK...so here's my new plan. Anyone reading THE SECRET? it is all the rage here thanks to Oprah. It claims you just need to feel thin and healthy, act like you are, and voila, you're a hottie!

    I'll keep you posted!

  3. Natasha, I just love that you can see a recipe like that and actually decide to make it for yourself. I'm of the - "I'm at home, I'm hungry now, I'll grab a grilled cheese" school of thought, which is just plain bad!!!

    Preparing in advance is a great tip. I plan to have an apple next.


  4. It's catering in bulk that does that to a girl, Ally. My mum said that my future was bleak when I had my fourth boy - and she wasn't wrong. Sometimes they look at you with that glint in their eye and you know if you've let the larder run down they'll eat you!

  5. Hmm. I will admit to not having stepped on the scales for several months. Preferring to use the clothes and tape measure.
    My big achievement was that my skirt for the RNA lunch bought in early April was nearly too big for me at the lunch.
    And I thought Natasha looked lovely btw.

    Right I learnt of an interesting experiment. Cut a piece of string the length you think will fit around your waist snugly. No measuring before you cut. Just cut it. Then put the cut piece of string around your waist. Nine times out of tem, the length of string you cut will be way too big. In my case I was 50% off. Why? We often see our bodies as bigger than they are.
    It is about making the most of what we have got.
    Exercise resistance bands are mervellous btw.

  6. But Natasha, my mother always said that you are as beautiful as you are lovely inside - and when I saw you on Friday you looked just gorgeous to me.

    So did Michelle.

    Jenna, this is my birthday month too but if I promise to dodge the cake, and the ice cream, want to join me? I just love the thought of thinking yourself thin - thinking - yes , I can do that!


  7. I just bought my season ticket to weightwatchers. I've lost 12 and a half pounds in 10 weeks. I've a long way to go but if I can just keep the numbers going downwards that'll be fine.

  8. Thanks for the recipes. I definitely need motivation.

    Didn't weight myself for nearly three months (after weighing every day for the last 17 years!) Was surprised that I weighed slightly less than I thought. Still too much though so I've got to get moving.

    Jenna, that "think it, feel it" thing sounds a lot like The Emperor's New Clothes. So when I'm 300+ lbs. but looking, feeling, and acting like I'm 110, will I be okay?

  9. The visualization technique kind of works on dishes. Leave them there long enough and Hubba Bubba did them. Then I made the mistake of telling him about my energy field. If I disappear, he's taken me to the looney.

  10. I don't think the 'think it, feel it' thing is quite enough somehow. I keep going through gaps and finding there's a bit too much of me to get through them!! :)

    And everyone who said nice things about me will get their payment in the post!!!