Look, I know there is nothing but nothing more boring than women talking about their weight. Brace yourselves.
I’ve done it again. I’ve overdone it. I’ve been eating whatever I like, as if I’m one of those people blessed with a high metabolism. Nothing fits. Woe is me. The only person who can sort it out is my mouth, by keeping it more shut than open. I’ve taken to quizzing skinny friends as to their secrets. I even quizzed one friend as we got into the back of a cab after a particularly calorific night out including steak and twice cooked chips drenched in salt. There may have been some Prosecco involved too. And gin.
The friend in question doesn’t eat breakfast but does eat pretty healthily and not in sparrow like servings. She’s veggie too. Is this the secret? I have another thin friend who lives abroad who swears by steamed veg covered in veggie gravy and one square of dark chocolate a day. The trouble with me is I’ve never been able to stop at one square. I’m an all or nothing kind of a person.
So here is a soup that is going to be part of my campaign to get back into my jeans. I don’t know that it’s slimming. But carrots and lentils can’t be what leads to a gastric bypass. Can they?
Comments, as always, welcomed. Especially from thin people with The Secret.
One year ago: Baileys chocolate fridge cake truffles and Experimental banana loaf
Two years ago: Cherry, white choc and apricot biscuits and Reeses’ inspired chocolate and peanut tart andSesame, quinoa and carrot salad
Carrot and lentil soup
- 3 tbsp groundnut oil
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 650g carrots, grated
- 1.5 litres vegetable stock (I used Bouillon)
- 1 tsp harissa (we make our own which is super hot so I am being cautious here but you could add more or substitute for dried chillis or a little fresh chilli)
- 200g red lentils
This is easy. Heat the oil in a very large saucepan. Fry the cumin seeds in the oil for about 30 seconds, they should be sizzling and pop a little. Then add the grated carrots and let them fry a little too. After 5 minutes or so add the veggie stock and the harissa and bring to the boil. Add the red lentils and let them simmer away in the soup for about 30 minutes. Use a blender or stick blender to whizz up to a smooth consistency and then serve with something wholesome like wholemeal pitta toasted and stuffed with houmous. Or wholemeal tortilla brushed with garlic butter and toasted. Hang on, butter wasn’t a part of this campaign. Sorry.
Fresh coriander is very nice on the top of the soup too.
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Thanks Holly, really tasty.
Great to hear it! x
I try to balance what I eat over the week rather the day so if I have pigged out on a whole tube of Pringles on Saturday(yes, I can clear the whole tube!) I aim for whole wheat toast and marmite and soup and chicken, rice and veg for Monday! Also, I try to avoid wine o’clock every day! But it’s hard with two young boys running you ragged and treating you like an employee!
In respect of clearing the kids’ leftover fish fingers etc I learnt a tip from a friend which was to tip some of their water over their plates as soon as they have finished. Soggy chips are not so attractive!
Also, I think one of the key things is portion sizes so use a smaller plate and don’t always clear your plate. Listen to your body and stop as soon as you think you are full! Granted it may mean you throw some food away but better that then eat too much – I would rather trade those calories for alcohol!!
Love watching you on QVC and learnt loads ! Do you have a book with all your tips in?
P.s. don’t think there actually is any one ‘secret’ – dammit!
Thanks for this recipe…..Brilliant soup! Spicy and warming so feels very filling.
Agree soups are a good way forward, especially without bread. They take a while to eat, so can add to the feeling of having eaten well. And with just vegetables are cheap as well as being a great help with losing weight. I use a teaspoon sometimes to make it last longer …..!
Teaspoon is an excellent idea! x
Holly you’ve got to try the 5:2 diet. I lost 3lb in the first week and ate like a normal person for 5 days of it! Anyway that’s my tip xx
Maria, so many people have said to do this but I am scared! I don’t know if I can spend the day with my sons and be hungry! x
I think part of the secret is definitely thinking not just about the calories but moreso what you’re eating- If you eat foods made of white carbs, sugar and fat you’ll feel hungry faster due to your blood pressure peaking fast and then dropping; even though you won’t actually need to eat anything else, you’ll want to. Eat the same amount of calories but in the form of high fibre unrefined carbs, protein and fruit/veg and you’ll be full for so much longer that you won’t eat so often and therefore lose weight/not put it on in that sense too, as well as the cutting calories!
I’m not a believer in counting, who has time for that?! But just being aware of roughly how many calories are in your meals can’t be a bad thing- ignorance is not bliss in this case. As someone has said, eating little and often, if you have the lifestyle
(workwise etc…) that can support it, is definitely better than three
huge meals in a day, to keep your metabolism up. Gotta be a fan of the exercise too, again for metabolism and to counteract those times where you neeeed to bake or eat some beautiful pasta- I love baking too much to avoid white carbs/sugar/fat completely, but when it comes to the meals of the day I’ll avoid them most of the time and enjoy delicious meals like this soup instead!
Jenni this is great advice – I manage the exercise quite well, it’s the portion control and my inability to not eat cake/chocolate bars that’s the issue. Oh and finishing the kids meals off. We only eat brown rice/bread etc. Wine with dinner also our downfall. Empty calories! I would LOVE to have everything produced for me in little packages so I can’t eat more. Like at a health spa! Oh to dream… x
Portion control is definitely difficult, I’m always telling myself to wait a bit after meals till I feel fuller but sometimes you’re just still hungry/it’s too good! Definitely going to make this though, looks delicious :) on an unhealthy note, planning to make your dough balls at the weekend, but a weekend treat is fine… Right?! :D
P.s. I absolutely love your blog and I loved all your Bake Off recipes!
Dough balls are slimming… I’m sure I heard it somewhere!! x
Soup is key! I make various soups (I am a veggie – lol) and have soup most days for lunch. Trying to avoid eating it with bread can be tricksy but once you’ve got out of the habit of bread, it’s all good. Because it fills you up nicely, it satisfies you with few calories. I am gym obsessed however after losing 3.5 stone since baby number two, and train 4 times a week. It does mean I can eat cake ;) x
Be ‘good’ 80% of the time and ‘naughty’ 20% of the time. That said I find that that method keeps weight off me and does not mean weight loss. Perhaps 90/10 to loose weight? Plus- and I know the pelvic floor brigade find this controversial, 3 times a week running. Sorry!
Okay well I have the running bit sorted, or rather I do 3 gym workouts a week including running. So I need to follow a 90/10 rule I think. Thank you. I am loving all this advice! xx
‘The Secret’, for me, is having a partner who can eat for England – I can make as many cakes and calorific treats as I like, knowing that they will have disappeared before I’ve had any more than a tiny slice!
But in seriousness, I lost about a third of my body weight just by calorie counting and upping my exercise – it means you can still eat whatever foods you want but you won’t have such a big portion if you know it’s the equivalent to a whole day’s worth of calories! I aim for 1,200 calories a day but I’m only 5’2 and have a desk job so if you’re bigger or more active you can get away with more.
My other top tip is to use the recipe calculator tool on My Fitness Pal – I’m pretty certain if you work out the calories in this soup you’ll be feeling so virtuous you can justify a plate of chips later!
Wow! A third of your body weight? That is AMAZING! I am seriously impressed. The recipe calculator sounds ace. I will check it out. Thank you. Thank you! xx
Thanks :) I was pushing 12 stone, now down to under 8 – the only downside is I can’t stop going to the gym now for fear of putting it back on! x
I am impressed with your willpower. Was there a catalyst to losing the weight? xx
I know this sounds crazy but I swear by 6 small meals a day. I have been always been quite slim but it’s not because my family is, since my mum and sister are both overweight. I eat 6 small meals a day and stay active and try to limit myself to only one treat per day, or splitting that one treat up so it lasts for lunch pudding and dinner pudding!
I absolutely adore soup and I have it for lunch everyday – this will definitely be a winner :) xxx
Ellie, this is brilliant. I love that a thin person has real advice on this matter. So 6 small meals a day and soup being one of them. A treat – are you talking a fun sized choc bar? x
I usually bake so it’ll be a cookie or a slice of cake – I usually try and stick to one thing. It seems silly but if I’ve had a cookie, then I’ll have another cookie if I’m going to be naughty, rather than have a cookie and ice cream and a bit of cake! I know it’s still calories but it helps to keep things in balance and it mentally helps my attitude to food as well because I’m saying ‘I’ve had 3 cookies today’ rather than ‘I’ve had a cookie and some cake and some ice cream’ –
Meal-wise I have porridge for breakfast with almond or hazelnut milk as it’s naturally sweet and has a lot of flavour, so I don’t need to add any sugar or syrup to the oats. Snacks are usually nuts, dried fruit, rice crackers and peanut butter (sometimes Nutella – I can’t always be saintly!), possibly yoghurt. Then soup for lunch and dinner is my wildcard where I have whatever I can be bothered to cook, but it’s usually something healthy with at least two portions of veg :)
This is excellent advice. You should write a book! Thank you. x
Soup is brilliant for dieting ( should I use the D word?). It is bloody boring not being able to eat as much chocolate as you like or cake but it feels good when the weight comes off. I favour Fudge bars, mini Milky ways and Milkybar when I REALLY need a fix of something and I am trying to be good.
I should be tell you to eat fruit really instead of giving you the chocolate based options when you are dieting, shouldn’t it?
Oh Deepa, yes you’re right I should eat fruit rather than flake bars but they’re just so nice aren’t they? And then there’s my best pal, cake. Soup it is. As of tomorrow! x
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