How To Do Everything And Be Happy

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54 reasons to forget about your #NewYear #Diet and try something that might work

stuff your face

 

Ah, January 1st; a clean slate, a fresh start, a new diet.

What? Wait! Stop right there! Put down that rice cake and pay attention! It doesn’t have to be this way.

Not that long ago I too used to stand in front of the mirror, and wonder where on earth the skinny figure of my twenties went to. Of all the goals I’ve set myself over the years, shedding those extra pounds was one of the toughest.

Like most people I started with what seemed like obvious solutions (broadly summarised by ‘eating less’ and ‘moving more’) – but when those things didn’t work for me I threw my heart-rate monitor in the bin and went in search of something that might. And after much trial and error, I cracked it.

Now I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I’ve definitely learnt a thing or two about how the body manages weight – stuff that works! Stuff that I’d very much like to pass on to you. Which is why Della Galton and I wrote How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim.

Whilst other books concentrate on huge lifestyle and dietary changes (eat all fats, eat all carbs, eat only new foods, eat rocks, don’t eat…), How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim shows you how you can achieve the same results – permanently – simply by adopting a few new ideas, and by making a series of small painless tweaks to your current eating habits.

It’s  a mixture of hard science (eg. how hunger really works), quick ‘cheats’ (eg. how to make zero fat chips), psychological techniques (eg. why focusing on your food as you eat is really important), ingenious strategies (eg. how to cut down on sugar without going cold turkey), and easy peasy recipes (eg. my ‘roast potato & egg smashup breakfast’ or Della’s ‘apple ginger clafouti’) – all served up in an easy-to-digest, humourous read from authors who’ve been where you are now.

If you’ve read How To Do Everything and Be Happy, the format will be familiar to you. Several broad chapters, broken into smaller sections, each of which result in an Action Point. Each thought provoking, scientifically-provable, action point also has a STAR RATING. There are fifty four stars available. You get one just for buying the book! As you try each idea you’ll steadily increase your chances of being able to eat loads AND stay slim. Collect enough stars (thirty or more would be a good target to have) and we personally guarantee that a slim figure, coupled with a healthy but satiated appetite, are yours for the taking. No dieting required.

How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim is available right now in paperback, audio, and as a kindle ebook. In fact, from the Friday 2nd til the 8th of January 2015 the ebook is a mere 99p (or local equivalent). You’d spend more than that on a packet of those rice cakes, but this might actually work.

You can read the opening chapter here, or how about we read it for you? Just click the big play button in the video link below to listen to the opening chapters. Or listen to what Steve Wright (from BBC Radio 2) thought about the book here.


If you enjoyed listening to us you can download the entire book from audible (.co.uk | .com)  – an amazon company and the internet’s largest supplier of spoken word entertainment.

If you’re new to audible, and in the UK, you can get it for free. Just use this link, follow the instructions and search for  ’How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim’.

 If you’re reading this in an email or can’t see the video link  just click here


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Boats, Bubbles, and Becoming Me; WTFHIBD episode 5

scubaYou know it’s about time I wrote another WTFHIBD blog post. After all I made a deal with my brother; regular WTFHIBD updates! So here we go again. Let’s start with my NOW List

My Now List

I’ve managed to tick off two NOW List items since I my last update; and I can’t really take credit for organising either of them.

For Christmas Jules – my long suffering assistant – bought me a Scuba lesson! Scuba is something that I always wanted to try as a kid. I remember begging Mum to let me join a club or something… and the barely concealed relief on her face when she told me I had to be at least eighteen years old. Then I turned eighteen. But now that I was big enough and ugly enough to send myself to scuba club… it just never happened.

I even had friends who learnt to dive and still I never got around to looking into it.

But… put it on a NOW List, make that NOW List public, and you’ll be surprised what can happen.

wiltonLike ‘HMS Wilton‘ for instance.

Not far from where I live there’s an old battle ship (a coastal mine sweeper to be precise). It serves as HQ of the Essex Yacht Club and for the longest time I’ve wanted to get aboard and look about. Not much of a problem you’d think – except that it’s not open to the public, and until recently there was no way of sending the Yacht Club any kind of message from their website!

Then one morning, a few weeks back, Della went for a run down there with Maggie her white German Shepherd and happened to bump into someone just locking the Yacht Club gates. Ten minutes of “oh what a lovely dog!” and “do you ever open this boat to the public?” later and she had arranged a personal tour from the chairman.

Goals

Last time I wrote a WTFHIBD post I mused about the importance of being true to yourself, and how it’s all too easy to get swept up in other people’s expectations of who and what you should be.

I’m ashamed to say that I’m still having thoughts along those lines all these months later. But after some significant soul searching it does feel like I might finally be getting to the bottom of them – like I might be recapturing some of the energy and drive that set me off on this journey in the first place.

TGGGTGTG drop shadowPart of the reason for this might be because I’ve made significant headway with one of the goals that came out of the Vision Exercise I put myself through a while back; ten years after Kate made me sit down and start writing it I’ve finally published a work of fiction – my debut novel (The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl) came out in paperback and as an ebook a few days ago. I am officially a novelist!

I was a little nervous about putting it out there, but so far I’m delighted with the response.

But enough about me

How about you? What have you been up to? What NOW List items have you managed to tick off? What goals have you set yourself or achieved? Feel free to drop me a line, here or on facebook, or post a comment below.


 


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Beating fear – advice from ‘future’ me

fearBack in January  I wrote about how I’d come up with a new way to figure out what Goals I should be setting myself for the coming year. I called it my ‘vision exercise‘ and I like to think of it as a sneaky way of by passing all that usual wish-list malarkey whilst at the same time delving around in the sub-conscious to find out what’s really important to us.

My ‘vision exercise’ resulted in three rather ambitious goals one of which was this:

 I am writing FICTION
(rather than NON-FICTION)

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed writing every one of my self-help books BUT they rather came about by accident – my first love has always been fiction.

Now obviously, if you’ve read ‘Happy‘, you’ll know that for that to be a proper goal it should have a deadline attached to it, and perhaps even a penalty, but as I started the year I realised that a really good first step on the path to achieving this goal would be to actually finish the novel that I’d been fiddling with for the previous ten years.

Followers of my author blog already know that I’ve claimed my novel was ‘finished’, or ‘almost finished’, several times. Here in 2011 for instance. And here. And, oh dear, here too. But the truth is I knew I could never claim it was actually finished until it was out there and in print. So I set myself the following goal:

My novel
(The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl)
is AVAILABLE in two formats.
Easter 2014

Well I’m sure you know what happened next.

Easter came and went and the novel was nowhere to be seen.

People asked me where was it, and I told them that

  • it was with my agent, or
  • another publisher was taking a look at it

And whilst all those things were true, it wasn’t quite the whole truth, because I actually could have made the Easter deadline. If I’d put my mind to it. If I’d really wanted to. But I didn’t.

Why?

Because I was scared.

This novel has been a long time in the making. It was a journey that Kate set me off on just after we’d met. She believed in me. She believed in the story. She thought the book would do really really well. Basically there’s an entire decade of hopes and dreams wrapped up in those words.

But if I publish it…

  • maybe no one will buy it?
  • maybe people will buy it but maybe they won’t like it!
  • maybe they will like it, but not that much.
  • maybe this will be the first and last novel I ever write!!
  • maybe this will be the last book I ever write.
  • maybe this will herald the end of my writing career.

People often think that I left credit card banking because my first book, How To Do Everything And Be Happy, took off. That wasn’t the reason at all.  I left a well paid career behind because I realised, yet again, that life’s too short to be doing things that don’t make you happy!

I had a half finished novel on my desk, a half finished self help book, some money in the bank, and dreams of what life could be like – if I put some effort in – I took it all and made the most crazy decision of my life. In short I took a leap of faith.

I only realised recently that I’m still mid-leap. I’m still terrified to see it through.

I’ve spent my life being terrified.

When I was younger

  • I was terrified of asking girls out
  • I was terrified of failing my exams
  • I was terrified of youth club
  • I was terrified of travelling, of going places where I didn’t know anyone, of being vulnerable.

Sometimes I wish I could travel back in time and tell that kid a few things! I’d say…

  • Ask that girl out!
  • Forget about studying!!
  • Go to flippin youth club!!!
  • Travel the world!!!!

I was telling Della this just the other day and she suggested that whilst it is too late to go back and change the past (and more to the point, impossible) it’s not too late for the future to come back and change the present.

3back-to-the-future-original

I got to wondering what future me might say were he to appear right now. And I came to the conclusion that he would tell me the following:

Publish the damn book!

“But what if no one buys it?” I’d squeak.

“They will,” he’d reply.

“But what if only a few people buy it?” I’d counter

“Then tell more people,” he’d say.

“But what if no one likes it!!” I’d roar.

“Well, some will, some won’t – publish it anyway…”

And I think he’d go on to tell me to write more books, take more risks, throw myself out there even more, try even harder, to reach for the blinkin’ stars.

Then I got to wondering, is this ‘future me’ …successful?

Maybe this is advice from a successful ‘future me’. Maybe a less than successful future me would tell me something different? But when I thought about it some more I suddenly realised, no, unsuccessful me would probably say exactly the same thing!!! Unsuccessful me would be thinking “if only I’d taken more risks, tried harder, pushed myself….”

TGGGTGTG drop shadowSo finally…

The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl is here. In two formats. And if you happen to be reading this before the 19th of September 2014 then it’s currently less than a quid for your kindle enabled tablet or smart phone! That’s got to be worth a punt, surely. Click here to visit your favourite online bookseller.

I’m still terrified of course. I have no idea what people are going to make of it. I have no idea whether I’ve lived up to the high expectations Kate had of me. And I have absolutely no idea whether this will herald the start of my career as a novelist, or the end of my career as an author. But at least now I’ll get to find out.

What about you…

Are you being held back by fear? Why not share your thoughts with the class in the comments box below, or on facebook. Be great to hear from you.


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The Six Pound Emergency – Getting Your Weight Back On Track

Della Says…

The hardest thing about losing weight is keeping it off. I learned this in between trips to Slimming World, which I have been to three times.  That says it all really. I loved Slimming World – they helped me to lose a lot of weight – but as soon as I stopped going to weekly meetings I put it back on.

I have put on weight again lately. About six pounds. Not a lot, I know, but enough to make all my jeans and trousers (that did fit comfortably) too tight. I hate that feeling. Fortunately I know what to do about it.  I co wrote a book called How to Eat Loads and Stay Slim, didn’t I!  And part of staying slim is to get rid of the odd half stone when it becomes necessary.  I wish I was saintly enough to keep it off in the first place – but I’m not. Hey ho.

So let’s get positive.  The first thing is to stock up the fridge with things I can eat and still lose weight. Things that are satisfying. I am NOT going to starve myself – I know that doesn’t work.

Here’s a couple of them. I’m not vegetarian but where else can you get a scotch egg that’s only 53 calories or a cocktail sausage for 33 calories. If you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend them. They are great snacks. I like snacking – it stops me getting hungry enough to eat everything in sight. One of the ways I stay slim is to make sure I have low calorie snacks on hand in the fridge. Ones you don’t need to cook. If I’m hungry I want them NOW!

I’m also eating fresh fruit for breakfast. Fresh pineapples are awesome at the moment. They make great desserts too – especially if they are dipped in chocolate yogurt or chocolate mousse, fat free of course. The two in the picture are 99 calories per pot. The one at the bottom of the picture is also made by Muller.

Here’s another picture of the Muller chocolate dessert I just found and it really is this yummy and thick!

I hope to be back to my usual size in about three weeks. Then I’ll relax a bit. It’s what we do most of the time that’s what counts. I will eat cake and chocolate and pizza again – I’ll eat some over the next three weeks – but not too much. And I’ll up my dog walking forays to compensate – so the dogs will be pleased.  Feel free to remind me of my mission on Facebook or Twitter, tee hee. There’s nothing like a bit of motivational nagging.

Oh and before I forget, How to Eat Loads and Stay Slim– is only 99p for the next 24 hours. It has quite a few more eating loads and staying slim tips in. And do you like the flash new cover?


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Jacket Potatoes – an eat-loadser’s best friend

jacket-potatoes-300x198Della says…

We talk about substitutes a fair bit in the book. “Substitutes!” I hear you cry. “Well if you think I’m substituting
chips for lettuce, forget it!” Before you switch off your Kindle, or fling your iPad, iTouch, iPhone, across the room in disgust – wait! Hear me out. I promise I won’t suggest that you swap chips for lettuce. In fact you can eat as many chips as you like, although there is one condition. You can’t fry them. You will need to swap the cooking method. You can find lots more about chips elsewhere on this blog but first, I would like you to consider an alternative.

Jacket Spuds

Jacket potatoes. They are an eat-loadser’s best friend, providing you don’t smother them in butter and cheese. You can have a small handful of cheese – and if it’s a reduced fat version you can have a larger handful. But don’t panic. There are plenty of other things you can smother them in. You can have beans, tuna, or any number of salad type concoctions (see Peter’s ‘Extreme Salads’). You can also smother them in Stir Fry, or Very Meaty Chilli, or Bolognaise (see our website for recipes), or various other tasty sauces, but you do need to swap the cooking methods and you will possibly need to use different ingredients than you usually choose. But I can promise you one thing categorically. You don’t need to sacrifice taste.

The beauty of jacket potatoes is that providing you have a nice topping they’re tasty, they’re cheap, and you can generally get them if you’re eating out, which is a bonus. They also fill you up. Don’t stop at one. Have two or three if you like. I’ll say it again. Jacket potatoes are an eat-loadser’s best friend. They truly are.

You can also eat your potatoes steamed, boiled, mashed, roasted or fried. It is not the potato itself that is fattening; it’s the fat that’s used to cook it. This was a revelation for me when I learned about losing weight. A lot of the meals I really, really liked didn’t have to be banned; they just had to be altered slightly to make them more slimmer friendly.

They are mostly swaps: low fat spray for oil; lean mince for regular mince; skimmed milk for full fat; half fat cheese for regular. This means that when I eat out, which I enjoy and do often, I don’t have to worry too much about what I eat. I have whatever I fancy. Staying slim is about what you do most of the time. The odd chocolate moment or meal out is not such a heinous crime as you might think.


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Your Happiness Questions Answered: Phoenix FM ‘Happy Club’ Sept 2013 #Audio

Last Wednesday ‘Happy Club’ morphed from its previous incarnation as a workshop, to a radio show, as I joined the delightful Michelle Ward of Phoenix98 FM to discuss ‘happiness’, and to answer your happiness related questions.

This month’s questions covered weight loss, hypothyroid syndrome, and what to do if you feel you have to choose between your own happiness or someone else’s.

To listen to the show click the big play button in the image below (or if you’re reading this in an email, click here)

If you want to skip the pre-ample and move straight to the questions, use the slider to jump forward to the twelve minute mark.

Katherine’s supper clubs can be found here. ‘Deidre’s pen pals’ no longer exists. I’ve checked.

If you have a question for next month’s show feel free to drop me a line, post a comment below, tweet either myself or Michelle, or send me a message on facebook. We’ll get through as many as we’re able.


Michelle’s live on Phoenix FM every weekday from 10am.

To listen to other radio interviews (and audio content) about How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim click here

How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim is available, now, in three formats.