Wednesday, July 21, 2021

What I eat in a day to lose weight

If you're anything like me, you love getting a peek into what people eat in a day, especially if they're eating something particularly healthy or yummy or different. For that reason, I thought I'd share another 'what I eat in a day to lose weight' post with you. So far I've lost around 7kg by following the Trim Healthy Mama plan, which equates to around 14 blocks of butter. 

I'm happy to not be carting those 14 blocks of butter around with me. 

The Trim Healthy Mama Journey app really helps to keep me accountable with what I'm eating. I notice that I don't make such good choices on the days when I don't keep the app updated with my meals.

I've also just purchased a three-month membership to the Trim Healthy Mama membership site, since that came up for sale yesterday. I'm hoping to make use of the menu planning function on there, and to access recipes that I haven't been able to without the membership. I'll give you a review of the membership site after I've used it for a few weeks. 

What I eat in a typical day

Breakfast

This week the kids and I had to get out the door early a couple of mornings so I prepared overnight oats the night before and then simply microwaved them in the morning for a quick and easy warm breakfast. 

To make the the oats I pour half a cup of rolled oats into a round pyrex container and then stir through cocoa, Truvia, peanut flour, vanilla collagen and chia seeds. I pour unsweetened almond milk over the oat mixture to completely cover it and then stir it through. I simply place the lid on the pyrex container and store it in the fridge overnight, before microwaving it (without the lid) for two minutes in the morning. 

I'm thinking that the next time I make these overnight oats, I'll try a berry cinnamon version and add flaxseed and psyllium husk for even more fibre. These oats are a Trim Healthy Mama 'E' (Energising / carb-based) recipe. 

On days when I have more time, I might make a smoothie or fry some eggs or make curried eggs for breakfast. Scrambled egg whites on homemade sourdough are also still a favourite breakfast of mine. 

Lunch

If I'm not eating leftovers, my go-to lunch when I'm at home is a quick tuna salad. I simply mix a small tin of Lemon Pepper Tuna with light cottage cheese, diced carrots, diced celery and diced gherkins. It's surprisingly tasty and is possibly a Fuel Pull recipe, meaning low fat and low carb. 

When I'm out and about, I find salmon sushi to be the easiest lunch option. I try to buy the brown rice sushi if it's available, since white rice is not technically on plan, but if there's only white rice sushi, I'll still get that for an 'E' lunch 

Dinner

We had a dinner with extended family recently and most people were having pizza, so to make sure there was an option for me, I brought a roast chicken. My sister-in-law whipped up a coleslaw and we ate the chicken with the cole slaw for a simple THM 'S' (Satisfying / fat-based) meal. 

Another time when we ate a roast chicken dinner recently at home, I made roast potatoes for Paul and the kids, but roasted cauliflower for myself. I also cooked a shredded homegrown cabbage in chicken stock until the chicken stock was reduced, and then added butter, salt, pepper and cumin seeds and sautéed it to caramelise the cabbage. It was delicious. Green peas rounded out the dinner and brought a much-needed pop of colour. The juice you see in the photo above was freshly squeezed orange juice I made from a box of oranges someone gave us. I didn't drink any of the juice, since it is too blood-sugar spiking for the THM plan. 

When I make a beef stir-fry for the family, I will serve theirs on rice and either have mine plain, or serve it on konjac rice, which is extremely low carb. Beef and lamb are always 'S' foods, since they are naturally fatty meats. 

Snacks and Desserts

Sometimes it's nice to have something savoury to crunch on, so I recently baked my Three-Seed Cracker recipe and ate the crackers with cheese and sun dried tomatoes for a Satisfying THM snack. There's a cracker recipe in the original Trim Healthy Mama book that I'm planning to make next, and will top with basil pesto for another savoury 'S' snack. 

I made the Trimtastic Mostess Cupcakes from the Trim Healthy Table cookbook (affiliate link) for the first time recently and they were delicious. The recipe featured a cup of pumpkin puree, but I couldn't taste it at all. So nice to be getting all the health benefits of pumpkin in a delicious chocolate dessert! 

Another decadent dessert I've been enjoying is the Best No-Bake Keto Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar recipe by Kasey Trenum. It's very rich, so a little goes a long way. 

Of course, I'm still loving my Chocolate Snickers Pudding recipe. It's delicious and handy because it's a Fuel Pull, so can be paired with both 'S' and 'E' meals, making it more versatile within the plan. I just put in a big iHerb order so that I could buy more glucomannan and peanut flour to make this recipe with. 

The Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I shared with you this week is also a new favourite of mine. You can probably tell from all these desserts that I'm a big chocolate fan.

So there you have it. I hope you found that helpful if you're following the THM plan, or thinking of doing so. Let me know if you have any questions for me, although do be aware that I'm no expert. There are Trim Healthy Mama coaches out there who understand all the science and correct portions to make the plan work best, but that's not me. 

I'm just following recipes and figuring things out as I go along. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Chocolate Chip Cookies - Low carb & THM S

Hey Team Awesome, I weighed myself yesterday and have lost 7 kilograms over the past couple of months, eating super yummy Trim Healthy Mama foods like these chocolate chip cookies. 

This life doesn't feel like deprivation at all folks. I eat delicious food and keep eating until I'm full, yet the weight is dropping off me. It feels like I'm cheating somehow.

Anyway, this chocolate chip cookie recipe is based on the Smart Mama Cookie recipe that Coach Mama Fox developed. I didn't have all the ingredients her recipe called for, so I substituted with supermarket ingredients and came up with the following cookies, which are delicious and have a good texture - crisp on the outside, yet chewy on the inside. 

And these cookies are healthy! You can feel good about eating them.

They do melt away in your mouth a little more than a regular cookie, simply because the sugar is erythritol-based (an alcohol sugar), but it's still the best low carb chocolate chip cookie I've ever eaten, and I've tried several different recipes over the years.

Chocolate Chip Cookies - Low carb & THM S

Makes 16 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup ground golden flaxseed/linseed
  • 1/4 cup ground almond (either blanched or almond meal is fine)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp psyllium husk (optional, but it might help the texture to be more cookie-like)
  • 85g / 6 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup liquid egg whites (I buy Zeagold from beside the milk and cream at the supermarket)
  • 1/2 cup erythritol/stevia sugar replacement, eg. Natvia, Truvia, THM Gentle Sweet
  • 1 tsp molasses (optional, but it helps to make the sugar taste more like a cane sugar)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips (I buy Healtheries sugar free baking bits from the supermarket)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. 
  2. In a baking bowl, mix all the ingredients together except the chocolate chips. 
  3. Once the ingredients are combined, stir through the chocolate chips. 
  4. Drop walnut-sized balls onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper and flatten them with your hand or a fork. 
  5. Bake for 12 minutes, or until starting to crisp up around the edges. 
  6. Serve warm, or allow to cool fully and store in an airtight container for several days.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Red Pesto Chicken Risotto - Low Carb & THM S

As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, I'm following the Trim Healthy Mama plan to lose weight and become the healthiest version of myself I can be. 

Now, my kids love risotto and request it often. However, a traditional risotto recipe doesn't exactly fit in with the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating, what with all its carbs mixed with fat in the one recipe. That's why I've developed my own low-carb risotto by substituting cauliflower rice for calrose rice. I've made this recipe a few times now, and each time a little bit differently, but it always tastes great. (I still make the regular risotto for the rest of the family.)

I made of point of noticing my measurements when I made this recipe tonight, so I could share the recipe with you. Please do note that this is a very forgiving recipe (cheese covers a multitude of culinary sins), so if you have more vegetables than I've listed, feel free to add them.

Red Pesto Chicken Risotto (Low Carb & THM S)

Serves two to three. 

Ingredients

  • 2Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 chicken breast or chicken thigh, or a handful of shredded leftover roast chicken
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 400g frozen cauliflower rice (or a medley of cauliflower and broccoli rice)
  • 2 cups of other frozen vegetables, eg. sweet corn, red capsicum, spinach, zucchini, peas
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2Tbsp sun dried tomato pesto (or 3Tbsp basil pesto)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C fan bake.
  2. Prepare your ingredients: Finely dice the onion; cut the chicken into 1cm pieces; mince the garlic; cut the spinach up as finely as possible, dice other frozen vegetables up to roughly match the size of the frozen corn. 
  3. Drizzle cooking oil into a frying pan heated to a medium heat and sautee the diced onion for a couple of minutes to slightly soften it before turning the heat up to a medium high and adding the chicken. Lightly brown the chicken on one side before flipping it and allowing it to seal on the other side. (If using leftover shredded roast chicken, add it at the same time as the chicken stock.)
  4. Add the garlic, cauliflower rice and other frozen vegetables to the pan and stir to combine with the chicken and onion.  Cook in the pan for five minutes, stirring every now and again to soften all the vegetables. 
  5. Add the two cups of chicken stock and the salt and pepper and stir through. Bring the chicken stock mixture to a simmer and allow to cook for a further minute before transferring the contents of the pan into an oven-safe rectangular casserole dish. 
  6. Stir through the half cup of Parmesan cheese and 1.5 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese. (Reserve the over half cup of cheddar cheese for the end.)
  7. Place casserole dish in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove casserole dish from the oven and stir through the 2Tbsp of sun dried tomato pesto. Sprinkle the top of the risotto with the remaining cheese and place back into the oven to cook for a further five minutes, or until the cheese on top has melted. 

Serve immediately. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Chocolate Snickers Pudding - THM Fuel Pull (low fat & low carb)

This is the dessert recipe that has completely revolutionised weight loss for me. It is so delicious and tastes completely decadent, yet it's low in both carbs and fat. Chocolate is my favourite food of all time, so to have a delicious chocolate dessert that I can eat guilt-free feels like winning the lottery. 

This recipe is considered a Trim Healthy Mama Fuel Pull, because it is so low carb and low fat. 

The original recipe came from the Trim Healthy Mama membership site, and then a woman I follow on the Trim Healthy Mama Journey App posted her version of it there. (Thanks Jenn!) 

I then tweaked Jenn's recipe slightly by adding in the whey protein isolate to increase the protein level. The recipe still works without the whey protein isolate, so if you don't have it or a dairy free, go ahead and make this tasty dessert without it. 

There are a few specialty ingredients you're going to need to make this pudding. The main two are defatted peanut flour/PB2 and glucomannan. You really can't make this dessert without these two key ingredients. The peanut flour is the base, and the glucomannan thickens the dessert up so that it sets into a pudding consistency. You're also going to need a healthy sugar alternative like monk fruit sweetener or the erythritol/stevia blends Truvia, Natvia or THM Gentle Sweet, to keep it low-carb and healthy.

This recipe makes a big batch of Chocolate Snickers Pudding, which is great because then you can refrigerate it in multiple small storage containers and have an easy and healthy snack ready to go. That's what I do!

My fridge stocked with both small and large servings of
Chocolate Snickers Pudding. 

Here's the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups unsweetened almond or cashew milk
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup defatted peanut flour/PB2
  • 1/2 cup of an erythritol/stevia blend 
  • 3 Tbsp whey protein isolate (I buy mine from Evolv)
  • 1/2 tsp caramel extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp glucomannan
Method
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on a medium-low speed for 4 minutes.
  2. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes, and then blend for 1 minute more. (Resting the mixture and then re-blending helps the glucomannan to thicken up.) 
  3. Refrigerate the mixture until you're ready to eat it. It will thicken up more in the fridge. 
Serving size
This recipe makes seven 1-cup serves, or 14 half-cup serves. 


Let me know if you try it!

Monday, June 21, 2021

What I eat in a day to lose weight

In my last post, I explained why I'm trying to lose weight. Today I want to share with you how I've managed to lose 5KG in five weeks, and how I plan to lose a fair bit more. 

Two weeks' difference: June 7 on left, June 21 on right.


The eating plan I've chosen to follow is Trim Healthy Mama. I first tried eating this way eight years ago, when I was in the last few weeks of pregnancy with my son. It worked really well for weight loss (and for growing a healthy baby), but I found it too hard to maintain, purely because of how busy I was juggling babies and toddlers at the time.

These days I have more spare time, thanks to competent children and the fact my husband works from home, so I'm finding I can give Trim Healthy Mama the focus it needs. There are also loads of THM recipes online now and a lot more foods available that support this way of eating than there were eight years ago, which makes it a whole lot easier. 

What is Trim Healthy Mama?

I'm no expert, but the THM guidelines I try to stick to in order to lose weight are these:

  1. Avoid white sugar and white flour. These are the only no-go foods, because they spike blood sugar levels too much, and one of the goals of the plan is to stabilise insulin production. Of course, if you do eat these foods, give yourself grace because it's going to happen from time to time, and your next on-plan meal is just around the corner. I have replaced sugar with stevia/erythritol blends, like THM Sweet Blend, THM Gentle Sweet, Truvia or Natvia, which are gentle on blood sugar levels. Monk Fruit sugar is also gentle, although it's more expensive so I've never bought it.
  2. Centre all meals around protein, and choose one fuel source per meal - either carbohydrates (E for Energising) or fat (S for Satisfying) - not both. 
  3. If eating an E meal with carbs as the fuel source, keep fat to 1 teaspoon or less. Also, stick to low-glycemic carbs like beans, chickpeas, quinoa, oats, brown rice, whole wheat sourdough, kumara, beetroot, etc, and don't eat more than 45 grams of carbs. (I actually don't know how to measure how many carbs I'm eating, so I may not be sticking to this very well.)
  4. If eating an S meal with fat as the fuel source, keep carbs to 10 grams, but eat whatever amount of fat is required to achieve satiety. 
  5. Eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables. 
  6. Eat every three hours. Don't go more than four hours during the day without food, and make sure there are at least 2.5 hours between different fuel-source meals, so you don't unintentionally crossover. 
  7. Throw in the occasional Fuel Pull (FP) meal or snack, where both fat and carbs are pared back. These are especially useful for snacks in between two different fuel-sourced meals, because they can pair with either a carb-based meal or a fat-based one. 
  8. Drink plenty of water and sippers (refreshingly tasty and health-giving drinks). 

What I eat in a typical day

Breakfast

The breakfast I eat most often at the moment is scrambled egg whites on homemade organic sourdough, which is a carb-based E meal. I buy Zeagold Egg whites from Countdown, which makes this really quick and easy to prepare. I simply mix them with nutritional yeast, Nano Curcumin, Nano Silymarin and Nano Quercetin for their various health benefits and because they turn the egg whites yellow so they feel more like regular scrambled eggs. 

I bought an Ozeri Stone Earth frying pan (this is an affiliate link, which means if you click on it and purchase a pan, I will receive a small commission) so I could cook the egg whites without fat and they wouldn't stick to the pan. After doing some research, it seemed like Ozeri was the best choice because it doesn't release dangerous chemicals into food like other non-stick coated pans do. 

Cooking capsicum chickpea patties in my Ozeri frying pan.

Egg whites and other foods slide right off the Ozeri frying pan, so I've been really pleased with it. 

My friend, Dreama, gave me some sourdough starter and her sourdough recipe, so I've been able to make organic whole wheat seeded sourdough bread once or twice a week, as needed. My son really likes eating sourdough toast with jam and butter for breakfast too, which I'm happy about, and my girls have started eating it sometimes too.  

Lunch

For lunch I will eat on-plan dinner leftovers if I have any. Otherwise I might whip up a garden salad and add a tin of tuna in spring-water and some light cottage cheese for creaminess. Depending on what vegetables I use, this will either be an E (Energising carb-based) or an FP (low-fat and low-carb Fuel Pull) salad. 

Another favourite lunch of mine is this Crunchy Thai Peanut and Quinoa salad. 

I found the original recipe at Cookie and Kate, but have modified it to make it a THM E recipe. I'll be sure to share my THM version of this recipe with you in an upcoming post. I love this salad because it's really hearty and tasty, and I often have most of the ingredients for it growing in my garden, so I get to eat it super fresh. 

Sometimes for lunch I'll whip up a smoothie or a frappe. (I'm drinking a berry smoothie in the photo at the top of this page.) There are lots of recipes for these online and in the various THM cookbooks. 

Dinner

My dinners vary quite a lot, so it's hard to give you a typical one, although they do tend to be fat-based S meals. 

I often make some kind of creamy chicken and spinach dish, which I serve on cauliflower rice for myself and on pasta for the rest of the family, with a hearty serving of side vegetables. 

Sometimes I make a chicken and pesto risotto, using a cauliflower/broccoli rice blend instead of Arborio rice.  I'm still perfecting this low-carb risotto recipe, but once I have it nailed, you can be sure I'll share it with you. 

Slow cooker beef curries are another favourite S dinner. I might serve mine on Konjac rice or cauliflower rice to keep it low-carb, and throw in a large side helping of green vegetables too. 

A recent lamb, feta and mint salad featuring lots of homegrown vegetables was so good, it tasted like something I would order at a restaurant. I based it off this BBC Good Food recipe, but added a few more vegetables to make the most of my garden, and of course I used an on-plan sweetener rather than castor sugar in the dressing. 

The lamb salad would be considered an S meal, because lamb is quite a fatty meat. I served it with homemade potato wedges for the rest of the family, but just ate the salad on its own for my dinner. 

Recently I also made a rare E meal for dinner of Chargrilled Capsicum and Chickpea burgers.

The rest of my family had theirs on homemade buns, but I served mine on sourdough to keep it on-plan. We had a few patties leftover, so I ate them for lunch a couple of times, sometimes on sourdough and sometimes wrapped in lettuce. 

Snacks and Dessert

Snacks and desserts are so important on Trim Healthy Mama, and are when I usually indulge my sweet tooth with tasty tummy-trimming treats. They are the thing that make this plan doable for me, because I don't feel deprived. 

In the pantry right now, I have a container of chocolate peanut butter cookies that I baked. 

These are an S (fat-based) recipe from the original Trim Healthy Mama book and are so easy to whip up using peanut butter, cocoa, an egg, an on-plan sugar like Truvia or THM Gentle Sweet, and vanilla. I also throw in a few Healtheries sugar free chocolate chips for extra yumminess. (I buy the chocolate chips from PAK'nSAVE or Countdown.) 

A couple of weeks ago I made Chocolate Banana Muffins, a recipe from Trim Healthy Cookbook. These were a good E (carb-based) sweet treat for me and were handy to take out and about.  

Sometimes its inconvenient to have an E snack or dessert, because I may have just eaten an S lunch or dinner, so I also fill my fridge with Fuel Pull desserts like Chocolate Snickers Pudding. Another THMer shared her recipe for this on the Trim Healthy Mama Journey app. (See more about the app below.) I've modified the recipe slightly to increase the protein, so will share my version with you here soon. 

My fridge stocked with two different-sized containers of 
Chocolate Snickers Pudding. 


These puddings are SOOO yummy and filling, but have very little fat or carbs so I can pair them with any type of meal. They use peanut flour as the base and glucomannan as the thickening agent. (My sister-in-law gave me the glucomannan, but I believe she bought it from iHerb. It goes out of stock on iHerb often so if that's the case, you can also purchase it from Supplements NZ, although it's more expensive from there.) 

Sometimes I eat fruit for my snack. We have a lot of mandarins growing in our garden at the moment, so I might eat three of these for an E snack. (They're quite small.)

Drinks and Sippers

If I'm hungry but it's not time for my next meal yet, I might make myself a hot drink or a sipper. 

My favourite hot drink is Avalanche Sugar Free Drinking Chocolate. (I buy boxes of these from PAK'nSAVE or Countdown.) 

I use unsweetened almond or cashew milk instead of dairy milk in these drinks, as they are lower in carbs and so make it a Fuel Pull drink. 

My favourite sipper at the moment is a Lime Boabab Boost Juice. 

I simply squeeze one of the limes from my garden into a glass and stir in a teaspoon of Boabab powder (I bought mine from iHerb), and a couple of tablespoons of an on-plan sweetener like Truvia. I top the glass with water and stir it all together. Boabab powder is an amazing super food, so this is a tasty and healthy way to refresh myself. 

How I'm staying accountable

When I decided to commit full-time to eating this way, I bought the Trim Healthy Mama Journey app to keep me accountable. 

I use it to post photos of all my meals so I can track when and what I'm eating. At the end of the day, I click the Daily Recap button, which groups all my meal photos together in a collage so I can see exactly what I've eaten that day.  

The photos are labelled with their fuel-type, so it gives me a good overview of the different fuel-types I've eaten, which encourages me to change things up and keep my metabolism revving. 

With the Journey app, I'm also able to track my weight and measurements, and compare them with my goals in a handy graph. I bought an inexpensive set of scales from Kmart so I could weigh myself, and I'm using my sewing measuring tape to measure my waist and hips each week. 

On the Journey app I can also post selfies and side-by-side comparison photos, which help motivate me when I see the positive changes happening in my body.

There's also a community aspect to the Journey app that I really enjoy. I'm able to follow other people on THM, and see what they're eating, which gives me ideas for my own meals. We can like and comment on each others' photos, to encourage each other on. 

When I started eating this way, I gave myself a short term goal of staying on plan until my next birthday (in September). I'm hoping that by then, the habits will be so ingrained that this will just be a way of life for me. I'm also motivated to see how I look at that next birthday. 

I'll be sure to post those recipes I promised you in the next couple of weeks, and will keep you updated with how I'm going on Trim Healthy Mama in future posts. Do you have any questions you'd like me to answer in a future post? 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

The start of my weight-loss journey

Photo taken at the start of my weight loss journey.

I almost didn't want to write this post, in case I jinxed my weight loss journey, but I'm keen to get back into posting regularly on Craving Fresh, and I want to write about real things to make it worth your time being here, so.... weight loss it is!

Historically, I haven't been very good at getting to a healthy weight and staying there, so I'm hopefully breaking new territory in my life with this journey. 

If I really examine my thought processes, I guess I thought I wasn't someone who could lose weight, for a whole number of reasons:

  • I get too hungry
  • I love food too much
  • Food comforts me when I'm sad/bored/lonely/stressed
  • Chocolate is my favourite thing
  • My blood sugar levels drop too quickly if I don't eat often enough
  • I'm big-boned, so even when I was smaller, I felt too big. What would be the point of going to all the effort of losing weight, if I still wouldn't like how I look?

And so on. Lots of reasons that felt very important to me. 

But after I got my melanoma diagnosis last year, I lost around 10KG in three months, which surprised me since I'm not someone who thought they could lose weight. (See above reasons.) 

There were a number of factors contributing to this weight loss. 

Firstly, I did a 7-day water fast when I got my diagnosis, upon the Lord's suggestion. The fast wasn't for weight-loss reasons, it was to position me spiritually for the battle ahead - trusting God with my life in all things - but it did have the side effect of kicking off some weight loss for me. 

Secondly, my immunotherapy treatment initially caused my thyroid to become overactive, which gave me more energy and sped up my weight loss.

Thirdly, I ate a mostly raw vegan diet for three months.

Fourthly, I started walking three kilometres several mornings a week. 

Unfortunately, my thyroid then switched to being under-active and my iron levels plummeted, so I became very tired and stopped walking so much. I also began eating a more standard diet that included meat, to try and bring my iron levels back up. All these things caused my weight to creep up again until I had put the entire 10KG back on. 

However, something had switched in my brain. I realised that it's not actually impossible for me to lose weight. 

I had also gained a really big motivation to lose weight.

I want to live. 

You see, melanoma feeds off fat. Fat in your body, and fat in your diet. A lot of cancers are sugar-adapted, meaning their favourite food source is sugar, but melanoma's favourite food source is fat. I really want to bring the fat levels in my body down to a healthy level, so that my body is not such a prime candidate for melanoma. 

I don't know if there are still melanoma cells circulating in my body. There's no blood test to tell me if there are. My hope is that between surgery and immunotherapy, we got rid of all the melanoma, but I just don't know. Only time will answer that question for sure. 

In the meantime, I want to get my body as healthy as possible so that it's not the kind of place where melanoma wants to spread and grow. 

So that's my number one reason for wanting to lose weight. 

My number two reason is pure vanity. When I see full body photos of myself, I don't like what I see. Funnily enough, when I look in the mirror, I don't mind my reflection so much. It's just the photos that bother me. They do not lie. 

Five weeks ago I decided to make a change. I committed to eating the Trim Healthy Mama way, because it seems to be the healthiest, most balanced and manageable way to lose weight that I can find. I bought the Trim Healthy Mama Journey app to help keep me accountable, and it really is helping. 

In five weeks, I've lost around 5KG and, more importantly, I've lost some belly fat. I haven't felt hungry or deprived at all in that time. It has taken some work and organisation to keep me on plan, but the payoff makes it worth it for me. 

In my next post, I'll share with you what I'm eating in a day on Trim Healthy Mama to give you an idea of how it works in reality. 

In the meantime, feel free to cheer me on or ask any questions you might have. 

Emma xx

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

One year since surgery

Can you believe it has already been a year since my big melanoma surgery? I scarcely know where the time has gone, but it was exactly one year ago today that I was being operated on at North Shore Hospital. 

My most recent CT scan. 

All the news I have to share since then is good. I've had several CT scans since surgery, and they've all been clear. 

Receiving my three-weekly Keytruda infusion.

I've completed 16 rounds of adjuvant immunotherapy with Keytruda, and last week my oncologist discharged me. I've now be referred back to the care of my surgical team, who will book me in for six-monthly CT scans to keep an eye on things for the next few years. There's no blood test that tells you if you have melanoma, hence all the scans. 

My side effects to the immunotherapy have been few and far between. I'm still suffering from a slightly underactive thyroid, but I'm hoping that will come right again, as it has already done so before during my treatment with the help of prayer and iodine. 

My scar one year after surgery.

My scars have healed well, although they've thickened up quite a bit so my surgeon is planning to do steroid injections in them to help make them less noticeable. 

Heading home after the MelNet conference.

A couple of weeks ago I gave a presentation at a MelNet conference for nurses at Auckland Hospital, which was well-received. I basically just talked through my melanoma journey, but with a specific focus on my interactions with nurses to make it relevant for them. It was an interesting experience for me because I got to sit through most of the conference, and learned a lot about the world of melanoma. 

Rangiputa Beach. 

In April, a lovely friend gifted my family and I with a week-long vacation at her holiday home in Coopers Beach, which was absolutely wonderful. She lost her own husband to cancer a number of years ago and likes to bless people who are going through cancer journeys with holidays there. 

It truly was a blessing.  

We had the nicest time, exploring many beautiful places that reminded us all over again why we love living in New Zealand so much. I felt the Lord tell me that the holiday was a blessing for me, because he loves me. I knew I was coming to the end of my treatment while I was up there, so it was a lovely way to see out this strange year. 

Maitai Bay

In so many ways, I feel that this cancer journey has been more of a blessing to me than a curse. I've been so thoroughly bathed in God's love and in the love of friends and whanau that I've come out of it with a deeper appreciation for my life and the lives of the people around me. I'm living in hope that my life has a lot more of it left.

Thank you for journeying with me this past year. God bless you!

Love Emma