Do probiotics make a difference to weight loss?

As per one of my previous posts I have been taking Optibac every day probiotics since 14th January 2017. What difference have I noticed?

I can not say whether it has categorically contributed to my weight loss, as I am also looking at macro nutrients and calories, together with exercise in the last couple of weeks. But what I can say from day one (2-3 weeks before I started exercising), they definitely make your bowel movements more regular, I have also suffered from no acid reflux (though this could also be down to food choices).  If I was to bullet point what I feel the main differences are since I have been taking them it is:

  • regular bowel movements
  • no acid reflux
  • no bloating
  • more energy
  • I noticed last week a less severe cold urticara reaction when out running in the cold

I am going to keep going. I try to take it every morning with my organic Greek yoghurt containing prebiotics.

I will do another update on this next month. I have seen similar reviews on the Optibac website, so I think that they may well be helping.

I am not a nutritional expert this is just my experience.


It is ok to have the occasional day off plan!

Another 1 lb down this week, so I’m going steady and slow.  I am now 154 lbs (11 Stone), still not back at summer weight of 149 lbs, it seems to go on quicker than it comes off me!!

I have upped my exercise in the last couple of weeks and started my running programme so far so good, this week I have hit 146 minutes of exercise and the government recommended is 150 minutes per week, so I am pretty much on it.  Plus 60 minutes of the exercise was with my personal trainer which is high intensity circuits (My thighs are still aching today – 2 days later – no pain, no gain – I suppose!!).

I thought I would take a little picture as I have lost 8 lbs since 2nd January and I can feel a difference in my clothes, my size 14’s are now loose.  Sorry the pictures are on a slightly different zoom and I was not in my sports kit for the first time (wearing jeans). I have lost 2 inches off my waist, from 37 – 35 inch waist, the NHS says for women that you need to lose weight if your waist is more than 31.5 inches, and over 34 inches is high risk for diabetes etc, so I still have to lose 3.5 inches on my waist to be in the healthy range and 1 inch to get out of high risk range eeeek can that be!

This week I have had a average of: 60g Protein, 134g Carbs, 70g Fat each day, my calories averaged out over the week are 1345 per day.   It did go very wrong on 2 days as I had a work function one evening and SPA day with 3 course meal (basically a day off)!!!

But occasionally you can have a day off, can’t you?

I am still allowing myself a few more carbs at the weekend than in the week, so I can still join the family for a slice of homemade pizza and the odd treat.  I do believe the trick is to allow yourself an occasional treat or a day off (as long as it is not too often) or it is very difficult to keep going.  Right I am off for a short jog/walk, to burn off my day off 🙂 !!!!  Have a good week all.

My end of month treat to keep me inspired was a new pair of running leggings (wind proof as it is sooo cold at the moment) and the vest top I am modelling in my update picture!


A month of life style change – 7lb loss

Whoop whoop I have lost 7lbs in my first month of low carb, counting calories mainly Monday to Friday with a few carbs thrown in at the weekend. My target weight was 152lb and I am 155lb, so maybe my 2lb a week target was a bit extreme, but hey 3lbs off target and a 7lb loss is not too bad.

I have started the ‘Running made easy ‘ programme this week, back at the beginning of 5k training (which is horrific thinking I ran a half marathon only 4 years ago) but starting out easy and in short bursts is a good idea as I a not training with a friend so need to motivate myself. This week I have been out in the dark, in cold weather and just to make it worse it has rained every day. I have done Saturday, Monday and Wednesday, Friday was gales and rain so I missed it, so will have to add an extra run tomorrow. Getting ready to head out in a minute for my first run this week, I have made myself a timetable and stuck it on the fridge to tick off as I go along here is a rough schedule:

Saturday – Intervals of run/walk
Monday – Intervals of run/walk & if not too hungry for dinner 10 minutes of circuits
Wednesday – Intervals of run/walk
Friday – Personal training session

To be honest I find week days easy as I am in a routine with planning my food and going to work, it is the weekends that I fall down. Something else I have noticed this week is my husband makes me fat!!!!

This week he had come home from work with a Cadbury chocolate rabbit (ok this was tiny), a box of Maltesers and a huge bar of Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate and flowers last night. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but he needs to buy me less chocolate and more flowers. I have a house full of teenagers tonight and the huge bar of chocolate (that has not been opened) may have to go to them or it will torment me all week!  I did allow myself some of the other treats, but I would not have had them if he had not brought them into the house.

I am going to review my next target that I will aim to hit it on Saturday 4th March (4 weeks from today) to 6lb loss (an average of 1.5 lbs per week, any more will be a bonus) with a target weight of 149lb (10 Stone 9lbs, back to my summer 2016 weight). Yay to break the 10 Stone bracket. I need to remind myself that this is not a diet, it is a lifestyle change for food and exercise to get in optimum health. They go hand in hand, and crash dieting with out exercise leads to muscle loss which is not a good idea in your 40’s, as you get older muscle mass is an important factor to keep you mobile and active in old age.  The annoying thing about this is there is no quick fix, and while you are exercising the scales to not give the full picture as toning and inch loss will have a huge part to play, also muscle weighs more than fat. What I want to avoid is being slim and saggy, so ‘Slow and Steady’ however annoying needs to be my moto.

#babysteps  #newme  #weightloss  #getfit  #notreats   #Iamnotanexpert  #healthyliving  #balanceddiet

0.5 lb every half pound counts – doesn’t it?

Weight loss for my week 4 has slowed to a snails pace only 0.5lb loss, which I wouldn’t usually count as go for whole pounds but trying to keep going, may not be helped by the fact that I had 2 events this week where I was eating out. I chose Pizza Light, and had a cup of tea with a mini taster dessert as a treat, and eat out number two I chose a skinny burger (but did have fries and onion rings), no dessert, but a 175ml of Pinot Grigio was enjoyed (first alcohol since started).  This is sooooooo hard as the scales still are in the 156lbs (so in whole pounds would be no change)!!!

This week I have allowed myself wheat in the form of wholemeal granary bread with my homemade soup, starting with the Pizza light on Sunday. What I did notice after the Pizza is that it kept repeating on me, which makes me wonder if I am intolerant to wheat, gluten or something in it, though I have not noticed this effect from my homemade versions.

When I worked out my average calories over the 7 days it is 1300 per day as the weekends have bulked it up.

I have also upped my exercise, in the form of 2 extra 20 minute body weight exercises as per the schedule in a previous post, which makes it 3 times a week, so am I building muscle.  I think this could be part of it as my clothes are a lot looser around my waist, maybe the planks are paying off!

Tomorrow I have my sisters 40th birthday lunch and cake, and Friday I have a lunch with teachers at school, so more social events to navigate, I need to be a hermit!

My initial goal is not looking so achievable at this point as I need to lose 4lbs by next Saturday to hit the 152 lb goal. Maybe I have been too ambitious with the 2 lb a week target and need to revise it to a more realistic and steady 1 lb per week. But for this next week I am just going to go for it and hope for at least 2lbs off.

I have also signed up for a 5k race with my daughters on 9th July, to get me jogging again, so I am now off to start week one from the ‘Running Made Easy’ book (I have tweaked the days a bit as I have personal training on Fridays and there is no way I can run too):

Saturday: Run 60 seconds, Walk 3 mins x 4 – 16 minute workout = COMPLETED

Monday: Run 60 seconds, Walk 3 mins x 4 – 16 minute workout

Wednesday: Run 60 seconds, Walk 3 mins x 4 – 16 minute workout & add 10 minutes of body weight training in circuits

Friday: Personal Training – Circuit training workout with weights

Looks a bit pathetic considering 5 years ago I ran a half marathon, if I can do more I will, but starting easy is sometimes a good plan just to get going.  I have decided to create myself a tick chart for the fridge to tick off my exercise achievements each week.  Next Saturday I will update on what I have completed – plus I assume that I need to ensure that I do not eat my efforts afterwards!  Wish me luck……

Why did I not make homemade soup before?

On my quest to be healthy I purchased a Soup maker, it has sat on the kitchen side for 2 weeks until I dusted it off and made a soup.

I can now categorically speaking say that there is no going back I made the most delicious homemade Butternut Squash and Coriander soup yesterday. You can freeze it in portions, or pop in the fridge and reheat, so perfect for work if you have a microwave to warm it at lunch time (which only takes 2 minutes per portion).  I plugged the fresh ingredients in to My Fitness Pal and it works out at 168 calories per portion. The recipes below makes 6 portions:

Homemade Organic Butternut Squash & Coriander Soup

1 organic Butternut Squash, peeled, deseeded and diced
1 medium organic onion
10g Coriander
1 tsp ground Cumin
2 tbsp Olive Oil
3 organic garlic cloves
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
200ml organic coconut milk
800ml organic vegetable stock (2 cubes)
pinch of salt and pepper

  1. Add the Olive oil to a pan and sauted the Butternut squash for 4 minutes.
  2. Add onion, garlic and cumin and cook for further 5 minutes.
  3. Add all the ingredients to the soup maker and cook for 28 minutes.
  4. Blend to preferred consistency.

My soup maker sautes too, so less washing up for me!  I made this into 6 portions and it is really yummy.


As I do feel like the odd slice of bread, I am going to also dust off the bread maker and get some organic wholemeal flour to make fresh bread to go with my soup on my calorie counting days. My PT said to me if you are going to eat bread fresh home made is best, rolls are a good plan as can freeze them easily in the portion size you want.

Week 3 update – 1lb loss

This week has been a bit up and down, so I have mixed it up a bit. Being organised with my lunches for work went a bit wrong on the low carb side, and I had soup and 1 slice of organic wholemeal bread with butter on two days!

I came up with a back up plan, if I don’t manage to cut carbs (usually because of lack of shopping organisation in my busy week) I am also counting calories and make sure I am under 1200 calories a day. So I a hoping a combination of both, some low carb days and some calorie counting days will work, I am actually keeping a check on my calories throughout anyway using an App called MyFitnessPal.

Anyway back to the important stuff – my weigh in this week was a 1lb loss, so not all bad!! That is a total of 6lb from 2nd -20th January I now weigh 156lbs (11 Stone 2lbs). My target for Saturday 4th February is 152lbs (10 Stone 12lbs), so I need to try and lose 2lb a week over the next 2 weeks to keep on track!

I have had my second personal training session this week, I ached for 3 days after last Friday’s!! I had not managed much more exercise than this but have tried to focus more on food.  I am however, off for a 45 minute hill walk today and still plan on starting running when the weather gets warmer (I suffer from Cold Urticara, and will talk about that in another post as I seemed to gain weight around the time this happened).

I also know that I will need to up the exercise when I start to plateau on the weight loss and I will then need to step everything up a gear. I am going to try and do 2 x 20 minute circuit sessions at home this week 30 seconds of an exercise and 30 seconds rest, this is my plan, it takes 5 minutes and I do it 3 or 4 times to get to 15-20 minutes of exercise (please note I am not an exercise specialist, I am just taking a few exercises from my weekly PT session):

30 Seconds – Press Ups (on my knees of course!)
30 Seconds – rest
30 Seconds – Squats
30 Seconds – rest
30 Seconds – Plank
30 Seconds – rest
30 Seconds – Run on the spots with Knees high
30 Seconds – rest
30 Seconds – Walking lunges
30 Seconds – rest

At the moment I think my next mini goal will be to get to keep the weight loss steady at 2lbs per week and hit 144lbs (10 Stone 4lbs) by Saturday 4th March, though will revisit this when I hit 2nd Feb target.

Just as a reminder I started at 162 lbs (almost full term pregnant for me weight of 11 Stone 8lbs) on 2nd January and my final target weight is 8 Stone 8lbs (120lbs) – 9 Stone (126lbs) which I would like to hit by the time I head off on a month travelling round Europe in July/August.

I have quite a long way to go, I have broken my weight loss journey into bite sized chunks to keep me going. As I hit milestones I am going to reward myself, I have a huge reward planned in form of a ski trip at the end of March, which is only 9 weeks away.  Then it will be my summer trip!

I LOVE mushrooms, check out this yummy recipe

I thought I would share with you a simple quick filling mushroom recipe that I have made up and is very tasty.



1 Large Mushroom or a handful of small mushrooms
10g Organic butter
2 handfuls of spinach
Pinch of Himalayan rock salt

  1. Chop the mushrooms into rough chunks, if you don’t have a large mushroom just use smaller ones.
  2. Melt the organic butter in a frying pan on a gentle heat.
  3. Throw in mushrooms and cook through.
  4. Chuck in 2 handfuls of spinach and fry until shrivels up a bit.
  5. Serve onto your plate with a pinch of Himalayan Rock Salt.

Done in a few minutes and filling and very yummy too. This is a great one for when have just got in the door after work with kids in tow and starving hungry, I prepare and eat before cooking the kids meal, or while waiting for my meal to cook.