5:2 Diet

NEWSFLASH! My weight loss has plateaued – which is somewhat annoying, especially as I am only half way through my journey to a slim and healthy body.

So I have decided on my 28days-28blogs challenge needs to include a crazy new diet. So let me introduce you to the 5:2 Diet.


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The idea of the blog is “Intermittent fasting, in the most basic term. You eat normally for five days and severely restrict your calories for the other two – 600 calories for men and 500 for women. It’s up to you the dieter as to how to divide them up – the rest of the time, you eat what you want.” I read about it in January in the Sunday Times Style magazine and kept hold of the 2 week recipe plan they included, in the vain hope of trying it one day, that day ladies and gents is tomorrow the 9th Feb 2013.

I am intrigued by this diet, not only because it appears to be a ‘wonder diet’ but also because the actual premise has been around a lot longer, but the first instance I really noticed it was when Kate Harrison book went on sale at the end of 2012, heralded as the complete guide to the fasting revolution! Quite a statement I am sure you will agree.

9781409146698I have a strange relationship with food, always have done. If I take you back to my childhood, my foodie memories revolve around family and love, we are a family of feeders, not in the scary behind the scenes documentary way, in the we lavish food on each other for every conceivable reason. Bad day, food. Good day, food. Celebration, food. Commiseration, food. You get what I am saying! I think a lot of it came from my mum being over weight when I was a child and never wanting me to have an issue with body image. So she poured compliments over me and gave me an incredible sense of worth, something I cannot thank her enough for. But with that sadly comes a very warped view of what food is, and how it should be used.

I have a very unhealthy attitude towards food now, not just the actual food that I eat, but the way I eat it and the lack of respect I give to my body. I will spend hours doing my make up, hair and nails but I forget that my nails, hair and skin are directly affected by the foods that I eat. I am hoping that this week of really paying attention to the sorts of food I am eating and the genuine calorie content of some of my favourite things, will help me to learn to treat food as a fuel and not a reward for getting through the week.

So I will be adding a little to each of my daily posts for the next 7 days with snippets of how its going, I won’t I promise bombard you all with tales of woe.

I would love to know what crazy diets you have tried over the years and how you came to just either accept your body as it is, or how you went on to change it?

E x

PS. Only 23 hours left of my Instant Print business card giveaway!

The road to slim…

Afternoon lovely readers!

So this is a completely self-indulgent post, or at least more so that my usual ramblings post.

Its simply about me!

Some of you will know, well all of you if you read the blog, that I am somewhat harsh on myself when it comes to my body and image. However today has marked a real achievement, I have lost just shy of 2 stone. Not only am I lighter, I am also healthier, happier and an all round nicer person to be around.

Its been easy to be honest, eat better and move more. I decided I would exercise for 30 minutes a day, which I have managed to do, bar a few days of horrid flu-ness. I have used MyFitnessPal to record every single thing that I eat & drink, no pretending or lying just honest. Its amazing the effect really thinking about the foods you eat has on your life. I never thought I would forgo biscuits for fruit or bread for salad, but there you have it!

Thanks to some lovelies at work telling me how ace I look today I decided to foray into the world of fashion posts. Thanks to Amy for her wonderful location ideas and photography skills. So here we go, the girl who hates full body pictures, in all her glory!


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My dress is from ASOS  and is a gorgeous jersey swing dress, teamed with my Primark faux-fur gilet, slouchy black knee-high Carvella boots and of course my obligatory Micheal Kors rose gold watch. Below I even braved it without my gilet! Note my knees are also visible!


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So it’s a simple post, just to reward myself for feeling awesome about how I look. I have a fair way to go to get to my goal, but I am on my way and that feels as awesome as I am sure reaching my goal will be. 

I had to include this picture – I feel like a superhero!

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I want to thank those of you who have been ace and supportive and made me yummy healthy tea when I have been to see them, to my mum for being ace and doing it with me! Who has herself lost an ace amount of weight before she heads of on her epic trip (more of that later)

So here’s to the next 2 stone and the rest of my life

E x

New Year, New Blog

As I am sure all of you that read my column are aware I am not one to sit on the fence, nor am I likely to keep my trap shut when I feel a rant brewing.

If you follow me on twitter I am sure that you have seen my recent tweets about ‘real women’ it may seem I am a little late to the party as there have been substantial rumblings and annoyance aimed at companies using size 16+ women and labeling them as ‘real’

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I must say I am 16+ and comfortable with my body, and thanks to my ability to inhale & exhale I count myself a real woman, it is in fact the sheer ability to breathe and function as a human that makes me a ‘real woman’ not my BMI or dress size.

If you follow me on instagram you will be aware of my addiction to glossy advert filled magazines, and my need to photograph and lust over them. But in reading them I have noticed my view of ‘normality’ is now somewhat skewed. Although I am aware that excessive air-brushing is used together with clever lighting and technical trickery, I find myself lulled into thinking that the foundation advertised will make my skin flawless, that I could have Cheryl style hair, or that Cosmo’s life quiz might actually cast light on my never-ending single state. I was shocked at the sheer levels of air-brushing and tweaking, saddened by the inane pointless drivel they pedal.

All of this came to a head when reading Glamour magazines tips on how to Internet date and the first snippet of advice went a little like this “make sure your profile picture on the site is accessible, you need to say hello without being intimidating” Ohhhh I see, so that’s where I am going wrong I’m using an intimidating picture. Look at it, brutal!

It got me to thinking about what I really want to read about, and thus Awkward was born.

Awkward is a new blog I am launching in February, filled with lifestyle, culture, parenting, fashion and beauty. At the moment its in the process of being created so looks a little plain, but will be perfect by the launch on 18th Feb 2013.

The contributors are diverse, they know what they are writing about, if they write about parenting then its because they are parents, if they are offering advice; its because they have been there and done it. The Awkward angle comes with each individual, each writer sees  themselves in an awkward light, not in a negative way, just an awkward one.

I would love to have guest posts on the site so if you want to get involved then contact me hello@theawkwardmagazine.com let me know what you like to write about and we can get the ball rolling. You can also find Awkward on twitter

Thank you ahead of time for the support I know I will have from you all

Em x

Chaophraya – a slice of Thai paradise

When the invite landed in my inbox I was more than a little thrilled to see it was an invite to the relaunch of Chaophraya my favourite Thai restaurant. Which I am thrilled to tell you now occupies the ground floor with the Palm Sugar Lounge Bar as well as the first floor restaurant.

I must admit I haven’t been for one of their incredible feasts for at least 2 years! Thats what being out of the dating game does for you, I must rectify that, perfect excuse to eat my way round Leeds!

A little history of the brand

Founded in Leeds in 2005, Chaophraya now has five sites in major cities, including Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. The latest Chaophraya recently opened in Glasgow in one of the city’s most prestigious buildings making it the biggest Thai restaurant in Europe.

The brand Chaophraya (pronounced Chao-pi-ya) takes its name from the main waterway in Thailand. In ancient times this river breathed life into the families who lived along its banks. Today the river is still regarded as part of the essence of Thailand, which is where they take their inspiration from.

“Palm Sugar Lounge, Chaophraya’s new downstairs bar, is a sophisticated setting for the city’s social scene.  Its already one of the busiest bars in Liverpool and Glasgow, and is now set to raise the bar for the Leeds social scene with artistic cocktail makers on hand and an interior which fuses traditional Thailand with modern glamour.”

So back to Thursday and to say it was somewhat of a rush is an understatement, a crazy day at work followed by a dash around the new Topshop in the city centre left me extremely hungry and gagging for a drink. As I raced to meet Amy all I could think about was the Pad Thai they create at Chaophraya and I can tell you when I arrived I was not disappointed.

I have always wanted to walk a red carpet, and not one at a wedding, but a snazzy one with security and a policy of “if your name is not down you ain’t coming in” thrilled I was, you can imagine when I was confronted by the sea of beautiful lights and a red carpet leading into the stunning new restaurant entrance – helped immensely by the fact that we were on the list!

Welcoming the guests were the most exquisitely dressed women, in traditional Thai outfits beckoning us through the doors with a plethora of jewel coloured drinks. Once through the welcoming parade it took me a moment to really take in the size of the place, I’ve always been used to arriving up a flight of stairs, but this is far more grand, the fantastically stocked marble bar was staffed by knowledgeable and hugely efficient staff dressed in crisp white shirts.

My cocktail was a blend of fruits and spices an topped off nicely with champagne, and a flourish of mint and strawberries. Amy and I sat people watching for a good 20 minutes taking in the glamorous girls and dashing chaps flooding into the palatial bar area.

Then onward upstairs we decided, the staircase is the most sensational mix of glass and dark cherry wood and leads you up to the stunning restaurant area, laid out almost identically to the last time I had visited, although clearly had been spruced up and now offers a more glamorous place to eat. Glass bi-fold doors open onto a patio that even in the last days of September air was a joy I sit on and enjoy another cheeky cocktail.

Then came the food. The chefs preparing Pad Thai fresh in front of you is a sight to see, such skill in making simple ingredients taste so unbelievable. I won’t lie to you I went back for seconds, and thirds…..you get the picture.

The evening was rounded off by an indulgent hand massage and a blessing from a guru. The whole night was planned to perfection and having been to a fair few of these events I have never seen so many content faces. But that’s clearly what comes from fantastic service, stunning food and a couple of cocktails.

In summary I will be booking a table ASAP to indulge in the whole menu and may even treat myself to one of their Thai Cookery Courses.

They are offering some great offers to celebrate the arrival of Palm Sugar in Leeds, they’ve  introduced Fizz Fridays – (two glasses for £11, Friday evenings between 5pm and 8pm.) The restaurant also has a brand new à la carte menu and a range of set menus designed by Chaophraya’s founder, Kim Kaewkraikhot. You can book online for dinner so there really is no excuse.

Let me know if you have visited since it has reopened and what you thought?

Yoga mat & the mung bean burger

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Yoga mat and the mung bean burger

So as you all are very well aware I love my food, watching programmes about making food, treating others to food I make but most of all indulging in food myself. This is a necessity to me, eating is more than a physical act I attach so much emotion to, to the point I now have an unhealthy attachment to it.

I think it comes down to my childhood, as all these kind of things do. I have the most loving family, the way we like to show our love is making big family meals and all indulging together. I was taught to eat everything on my plate or no dessert. Unfortunately I think that has lead to an inane need to eat to reflect my mood. I turn to food like others turn to smoking, alcohol or drugs. Most would think of these options food is the least concerning.

I actually agree with the number of health geeks I know, that actually it’s one of the largest killers in the modern western world. We eat and eat and eat rather than talking, walking and exercising. We all do it though, attach emotions to our food, we celebrate with a meal out, after a tough week we treat ourselves to a take away, it’s the weekend so we have cake, Sunday so a massive roast with pudding. At this point I would like to say that is my heaven!

However after a horridly nasty health scare when I found out I have Tietze syndrome, a benign inflammation of one or more of the costal cartilages it stopped seemingly like heaven. Although it is not directly linked to being over weight, since I don’t smoke, drink excessively or take drugs it’s the one thing my (excruciatingly beautiful a&e) doctor told me would affect it.

It was in that moment with this beautiful stranger telling me that I need to get my weight in check did I have a bit of a breakdown. I really looked at myself in the mirror at home and realised the curves I was once known for are no longer there, in their place are podge and fat. I no longer love my body, in fact me and it are no longer on speaking terms. I have let myself down I’m afraid and mistreated a body that has always looked after me well.

And so here I am in Florida – and I have had a huge shift in my diet, it wasn’t really intended, but I have learnt to eat breakfast, limit my coffee intake and eat fruit and herbal tea, dinner is full of bright coloured vegetables, salad and fresh local meat. No pudding (other than Lynn’s insane key lime pie) and I have a cup of tea at night, no diet coke…..I repeat NO DIET COKE! If you know me you know the shock this is to me!

So far on this trip I have eaten – tofu & a mung bean burger, vietnamese curry, rice noodle sunshine rolls, vegan ice cram and only been here 7 days! If I achieve nothing more from this trip I have broadened by mind to new foods, fresh, local and mostly raw.

I also went to yoga for the first time ever, with this crazy guy who looks like Santa on his summer holidays called Sidney – it was an hour of breathing and stretching but the thing that really resonated with me was the notion that you need to “notice” how your body reacts, a word he kept saying, notice your breathing, notice your posture, notice your body’s reactions.

So this days lesson has been to “notice” life more – notice the food I eat, notice the way I speak, notice how I am.

All of the above has lead to a very calm, content Emma. I haven’t been stressed once, worried once, I’ve not lost my temper, felt irritated or felt the need to complain at all.

I may not quite have found myself or inner peace, but dam sure I am on the right road.

I arrived in the states weighing 211 lbs which is 15st 7lbs – i weighed myself after yoga and i now weigh 15stone exactly :-) and that my dear readers is AWESOME! I’ve put a photo below of how I look at the moment and will update you as the food/exercise regime kicks in! I knowing sin black and white, not quite brave enough for full colour!

Until next time, look after yourselves and remember to “notice”

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