Fighting fit!

Fitness and a healthy lifestyle is so important for our general health and well-being and I really try to practice what I preach…although I’m the first to admit early morning work-outs are pretty gruelling..especially when it buckets down with rain! The thing that keeps me going is that I always feel so much better after being active and getting that endorphin rush . Exercise and staying active is a fantastic stress buster and it’s also great of the waistline!

Since the beginning of the summer, myself and the team at HQ have tried to become more proactive about our fitness and that’s why I got fitbits for us all to wear. They are brilliant activity trackers, everything from how many steps you take per day, to how well you slept that night is recorded. I wanted to counteract how sedentary a 9-5 working day can be for my team and we decided to take a closer look at our activity in the office and how to increase it.

We even had a walk to work challenge and no matter how far away we lived, we all walked a part of the journey. Hazel, one of the team, walked from Stratford to Liverpool Street, which is 7.4 miles! I think on the whole our level of well-being is good, but the Fit Bits have helped us improve on it and little competitive streaks are beginning to show up in the team so it’s really fun!

Our activities and efforts were even picked up in the Guardian today! Read the full article on Wellness in the workplace: how health initiatives can boost staff productivity here!

I hope that you have a fabulous long Bank Holiday weekend – the sun is out and there is definitely a Friday feeling here at HQ! Oh and make sure to get a little bit of exercise, even if it’s only a brisk walk with the dog or playing around in the garden with the kids!

Jane

 xxx

Feeling inspired!

Hi everyone,

One of my favourite things about my work is speaking to clients and hearing about the personal motivations and reasons behind a weight loss journey. Mostly, these chats happen over the phone or by email, so that’s why I jump at the chance to meet Jane Planners in the flesh!

This week, I met the Rev Richard Marshall, who is doing fantastically on his Plan. He decided to take action when he realised that the excess weight that he was carrying around his middle might be putting him at risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some types of cancers. I was so impressed by Richard’s dedication to his new eating habits and he’s really enjoying the convenience of meals. I’m so pleased for him! In fabulous news, Richard will be going a bit of a shopping spree with his wife soon to buy a whole new wardrobe due to his recent weight loss of around 7kg. I’m so excited to see how he gets on!

I also met Sharon Strange who is one of our long-standing and truly fabulous clients! Sharon has lost over five stone and she epitomises health and vitality! I loved hearing how Sharon has embraced her passions this year – from horseriding lessons, to ballroom dancing, to vintage dressmaking – it’s been a year of highs for Sharon and in the next few weeks, she’s heading off on a Mediterranean cruise with her husband to relax! I was fascinated to hear about her dressmaking and love of clothes. In the picture above, you’ll see Sharon her in a 50s style, vogue pattern dress that she made and wore to her daughter’s graduation. I can’t wait to see some gorgeous pictures of Sharon on dresses that she will bring on her cruise!

There were other stories from clients, including Ross Willis-Fear who has recently started volunteering for The National Trust in Devon during her spare time and has lost over three stone and is looking incredible! Ros is the lady in the cowboy hat and she recently completed a charity walk with a friend – she loves to keep fit and active. Wendy Betts has turned a corner in her healthy eating and is also doing brilliantly well and her weight loss has eased back pain which is great news.

Another highlight this week was reading Richard Bowker’s interview in Oh My Quad Magazine! Richard has lost an incredible 20kg with Jane Plan and he completed fitness challenges, from a 100 mile cycle to helping a friend with training for an upcoming Iron Man competition. Rich has changed his mind set and mindful eating with Jane Plan has really kicked his weight loss into gear – his determination and positive energy is so clear any time one of us from the team speaks to him. Keep up the fantastic work!

I’ll bring you updates from other clients over the coming weeks because I know it’s lovely to hear how people are finding Jane Plan and the genuine feedback that clients can give. I’m storing up the lovely stories and will keep them coming.

This weekend, I’m hoping to go sailing if the weather stays as nice as I’ve heard that it’s meant to be! I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Best wishes,

Jane, xx

The joys of avocados!

Hi there everyone!

This week I thought I would shine a bit of a spotlight on avocados and the range of health benefits that they bring to a balanced diet. They have a bit of a mixed reputation when it comes to their calorie content – but take it from me, in moderation, this green, creamy, delicious fruit is so good for you!

First off, let’s get to grips with the calories – one baby avocado has around 180kcal, a medium avocado has about 240kcal and a large avocado can have around 320kcal, which is very similar to a chocolate muffin (I can hear the gasps!). Don’t worry, the calorie content shouldn’t put you off as a smaller portion will still provide you with a huge amount of goodness.

What about the benefits? Well there are many – avocados promote cardiovascular health and they are loaded with nutrients such as healthy unsaturated fats, fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, C and E.

Here are 3 simple ideas to get this creamy and delicious fruit into your meals this weekend and it won’t tip your calories over.

Happy cooking!

  • Chicken and avocado pasta salad made with wholegrain pasta, chicken breast strips, cubed avocado, some low-fat pesto and sprinkled with pine nuts.
  • For a yummy healthy Sunday brunch: eggs Florentine on avocado – replace the English muffin with half a ripe but firm avocado, pop on some wilted spinach, a slice of smoked salmon and a poached egg. With all those delicious flavours, there is no need for the hollandaise sauce!
  • If your avocado is a little overly ripe, don’t worry! Make a delicious homemade guacamole by adding diced tomatoes, lime juice and chilli. Instead of serving with tortilla chips or nachos, enjoy it with carrot and cucumber sticks, celery, peppers, raw broccoli and cauliflower.

What’s your favourite dish with avocados?! Let me know!

Speak next week,

Jane,  x

Quick and easy summer recipes!

Hi everyone,

I got back from holidays this morning and I’m on the hunt for really easy and quick to prepare recipes as I’m battling a bit of jet-lag as you can imagine! It was a fabulous trip and Vietnam is a country of rich culture, delicious food and such a friendly people. I really recommend visiting if you can. I’m full of ideas for new dishes and new flavours for Jane Plan meals so stay tuned for developments!

I bet many of you have also had a hectic day, so why not try these two meals from my book The Jane Plan Diet? I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Here’s  to a fabulous weekend ahead…and the sun has just come out too – great news!

Jane, xxx

Watermelon Salad with Feta an Pine Nuts

Serves 4

Cals: 300 per serving

Refreshingly delicious, this salad is one of my favourites. While researching this recipe, I came across all kinds of watermelon facts – it can ease sore muscles (great if you like a hard workout); it helps boost circulation; and it is apparently a natural Viagra too (although you have to eat an awful lot of it). Whatever your reason for enjoying watermelon, rest assured that it is rich in Vitamin A and C!

Ingredients

350g watermelon cut into chunks

250g feta cheese, cubed

20 pitted black olives

200g wild rocket

4 tbsp fresh mint leaves roughly chopped

3tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp pine nuts

Method

Put the watermelon in a large bowl and add the feta cheese. Scatter the olives and the rocket over the top and stir gently to combine. Pull all the remaining ingredients (except the pine nuts) into a screw top jar and shake to combine. Drizzle over the salad, then scatter the pine nuts over the top.

My extra tip – try to get wild rocket if you can for its peppery flavour.

Chilli Tuna Steak

Serves 4

Cals: 421

I love this recipe on a warm summer evening, eating around the barbecue and it makes a healthy change from sausages and burgers. It’s not just for the summer months though, it works just as well in a ridged griddle pan in mid winter. The heat from the chilli will soon warm you up.

This is what I call a make it the night before recipe. Simply set a reminder on your phone, get home, get going and then relax. Tomorrow’s dinner is already sorted! (The tuna is marinated overnight, you can marinade it on the same day, but try to leave at least 1 hour of marinating time. The longer you marinade, the more intense the flavour.

4tbsp olive oil

1 ½ tbsp lime juice

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

3 tbsp chopped fresh her leaves

4 tuna steaks (maximum 150g each)

100g watercress

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Start preparations the night before. Put the oil in a bowl and add 2 tbsp water, then whisk until thick and creamy. Continue to whisk, adding the lime, garlic, chilli and herbs to make a marinade. Season with salt and pepper. Put the tuna in a shallow ceramic dish and pour over two-thirds of the marinade (put the remaining  marinade in a small jug or bowl. Cover and leave to chill overnight. When you’re ready to cook, heat the barbecue or ridged griddle pan until smoking hot, then before you cook, turn it down to medium. Grill or griddle the tuna for about 2 minutes on either side until cooked on the outside but still rare in the centre. Put a large handful of watercress on each of 4 serving plates  and put the tuna steak on top. Drizzle over the remaining marinade and serve.

Serve with roasted tomatoes- they’re rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protect  the body against a host of conditions.