Author Archives: Darran Mansfield
Author Archives: Darran Mansfield
The biggest problem I, and I’m sure most of us have with diets and healthy eating is eating on the go, and let’s face it most of us never stop for more than 10 minutes these days, and cooking food is far from the top of the priorities list.
Things go from back to worse when you factor in being out on the road, work, college etc. because we’re not able to cooking something quick and easy like we would at home. It doesn’t stop there though; people that aren’t watching their weight (yeah those lucky, lucky sob’s!) can simply pop to Tesco and buy something there and then, a sandwich, a pastie, a microwave meal or they’ll pop McDonalds or something. I’m not saying it’s a healthy lifestyle their living, but it’s a darn easy one when it comes to eating!
Me, and you on the other hand can’t; sure we can have fruit, salad and cold meats, but that gets every old very freaking fast and expensive…don’t get me started on the cost differences; that’s a post for another day!
I drive for a living, and I’m on the road almost all day, every day. I do stop and some of my shops that have microwaves that I can use but apart from that, I can only have what I carry with me.
I’ve had to get a little creative with lunch times on the road, and although I’m not 100% happy and still learn/tweaking, things aren’t that bad. Continue reading
I’ve been talking to a few readers this week and I’ve mentioned these quiche muffins I batch cook a few times and I realised that I haven’t posted the recipe! Your gonna love them; they can be batch cooked and frozen down saving you tons of time.
The ones I’m gonna show you today are chicken and bacon, but and this is the beautiful part, the list of fillings you can have are ultimately endless so feel free to mix it up.
Cooked the quiche muffins today. I have had to put in them in the freezer before my family eat them all! So a success! Thank you!
There’s an old saying out there that goes “A leopard never changes his spots”, you’ve heard that, right?
I think the same applies to the majority of fat people; they love food, and that’s never going to change, it’s who they are, hell it’s who I AM!
What confuses me is why we try so hard to fight who we are instead of just accepting exactly that.
I’m not just picking on fat people; that’d be pretty stupid picking on myself, wouldn’t it? Continue reading
I’ve had a couple of questions from readers this week that I thought I’d share with you all, You know how much I love hearing from you guys, and would love to make this “readers questions” a regular feature, would that be helpful?
Q. I love a pint on the weekend but it’s like 10 syns, how can I get around this? – Steph
A. Personally I’m not much of a drinker, but this seems to be quite a common question by slimmers who like a drink socially at the weekend, and why not. I mean it’s pointless losing all the weight and look smoking hot if you’re not gonna get out there and live, right!
First thing I would suggest is switching to a low syn beer, something like becks blue. Ok it is 0% alcohol which some of you might not like, but its only 4 syns a bottle (275ml), and it’s reasonably cheap at only 50p a bottle from Tesco. If you had a syn-free day at the weekend you could have 4 beers; well you’d be a syn over but what’s one syn between friends?
Something else you could do which I think would be great for special occasions, saving syns. If you were to save 4 syns a day throughout the week giving you a total of 20, that would be enough for 5 bottles of becks blue as well as a real beer/drink in the middle of them with that days syns. That’s quite a good amount for a social drinking situation, isn’t it?
Saving 4 syns a day shouldn’t have too much of an effect on your days foods as long as you stock up on free & super free and it’ll make that pint (or few!) pretty sweet at the weekend. While I’m on the subject of saving syns, I think it’s wise to say that it shouldn’t be done each and every week, but every now and then won’t be a problem.
Q. I stayed the same at this week’s weigh in despite being really good and staying on plan, any suggestions what I can do? – Mavis
This sucks! I’ve been there, and Continue reading
Last week I announced my new upcoming series BE REALISTIC, that’s aimed at helping you with the everyday situations that make dieting and eating healthy…difficult? Ok, that was pretty tame, they make it near on impossible to eat right.
These situations happen to us all. Their inevitable, and that’s why I want to help; because they are going to happen at some time, or another. The last thing I want is for these situations to make you feel as though you can’t eat anything because there’s nothing good (technically) so instead you go hungry… how happy does that make you and your stomach? I know the answer because I’ve been there all too often.
The thing is most of the situations that happen to use are good, and should be enjoyed; instead we dread them all because of the food! That’s no way to live, is it?
I want you to share with me the situations that you find hard to deal with and would like me to write about first.
Here are a few examples to give you an idea of what I mean,
Get the idea?
I know you’ve got at least one so leave it in the comments below; it doesn’t matter if someones already said it, say it again then I’ll know the most important ones to start with.
Thanks so much! Continue reading
I’m very excited to announce my new, upcoming series BE REALISTIC.
It’s gonna be the most in-depth and realistic look at how to live a normal life, whether you’re on a diet or just trying to eat better, and I’m not talking about the standard “Eat plenty of fruit and veg & stay away from fatty junk foods” advice, oh no! There’s hundreds of diets out there that do nothing but bang on about what you can and can’t do; I think I’ll leave that to them.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for that advice (like once, at the beginning!), but one area none of them help with is the real life situations that happen to us each and every day; situations that make it difficult, if not near on impossible to diet & eat healthy.
We’re surrounded by them, the birthdays, weddings, christenings, family gatherings, unplanned lunches, working late & grabbing takeaway, clubbing, being ill, being stressed etc. etc.
The list is epic, and 99% of them are inevitable to happen to each, and every one of us; how we deal with these situations is the difference between success and failure.
If you’re anything like me, and your sick and tired of being told “Eat a salad”; hell, what happens if there isn’t a salad available huh, what do ya eat then? Thin air!
That’s where BE REALISTIC comes in to give the information I think we all need to know to make the best possible decision for the situation we’re in; be it at a buffet table, a new restaurant, a family BBQ or even McDonalds, an airport lounge, whatever. What’s the best you can eat right there and then; it maybe a choice between “two evils” but which is the better of the two…that’s the real question.
Keep an eye out for the first installment coming in the next couple of weeks! Continue reading
Since the first expose article, I wrote on Muller lights went down so well it got me thinking about other foods I'm eating on the slimming world plan that I take for granted as being "good & healthy" to eat because I've been given the green light by slimming world, and because of the weight I've lost; this isn't always the case, and so this article was born!
I need to warn you, things could get ugly; are you ready for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? You are! Great, what you waiting for...
Noodle Mugshots; I'm going to share everything you need to know, what they are, what's in them, if there healthy (or not?), how many you should be eating, I'll even share with you the best places to buy them, no more ridiculously high prices; this is the ONLY ultimate guide to Mugshots!
Let's start from the beginning shall we? Mugshots are, and I quote, "Dried pasta, noodles and couscous in a range of delicious savoury sauces.", created by a company called Symingtons; their far from the being labelled as the new kid on the block; they've been on our shelves for over 10 years...12 to be exact!
As mentioned above there's three arms to the Mugshot tree that come in a number of different flavours and syn values; the syns for each can be found below for all the slimming world plans (extra easy, red and green); in this article I'm only going to cover noodles; I'll be going over pastas and couscous mugshots in a future post.
Before we look at mugshots themselves I think it'd be a good idea to point out what slimming worlds take on Mugshots are. It think its safe to say they love them going by the syn values most have been given; this might not be such a bad thing, we'll talk more about that later though.
I know my SW leader and many others that I've seen have said nothing but good things about them, "grab a mugshot on the go" "fill up on mugshots"; reminds me of the old saying "Something that sounds too good to be true usually is", that was the case with the mullers but will it be the same for Mugshots?
Good question, to which there's many answers, and opinions; the best answer I can give you is...
Mugshots on a whole are not that bad, sure they've got a few things in them that isn't the best, but nutritionally, when compared to something like a chocolate bar or some processed crap from the freezer their pretty good.
There's gonna be plenty of people out there that want to scream at me for saying that; I'll have the clean eaters yelling "Their bad, stay away from them, you shouldn't eat them!", and then I'll have the carb' haters giving me both barrels "There packed with carbs (well duh! There pasta & noodles!) and carbs are not good for you, you need paleo!"
You know what I say to them all? "Thanks for your input & opinions, but excuse me when I ignore them!"
Lock & Lock Stackable Airtight Container
You know me, I'm all about being realistic and living a sustainable lifestyle for the long haul, and eating Mugshots is exactly that, so I'm going to ever so kindly ignore their "valid" (see how polite I am!) comments and get on with things the real way.
So, taking everything into consideration (calories, fat, sugar, protein and salt) the best, and worst mugshot in my opinion is, the chinese flavour mugshots for the best, and the spicy sweet & sour for the worst.
If you want to know the full list of ingredients for each of the flavours click here to visit the Symingtons website.
One of the most popular questions I got about Muller Light yoghurts and it's no different with these. Out of the whole range there's only one Mugshot flavour that is particularly (shockingly) high in sugars, the culprit...spicy sweet and sour! That's bloody typical isn't it, that's my favourite flavour! There is one other thing their exceptionally high in...carbohydrates, but that's obvious right?
Honestly there's no real easy answer to this question, and I don't want to recommend anything to you that I wouldn't do myself. I think eating two Mugshots would be ok to eat a day, I personally wouldn’t go above this unless they were being eaten as a main meal with meat & veg.
Just to show you what eating two mugshots look like, here's a couple of scenario to illustrate it better.
If you were to eat two spicy sweet and sour noodles you'd be consuming,
On the other hand if you were to eat two Chinese style noodles you'd be consuming,
You can clearly see from that example there's a noticeable difference between eating two different flavours, the main being sugar…26 grams worth, that’s a huge chunk of the daily recommended amount.
Ultimately it's down to you how many you eat a day, just be realistic about it, I've just given you the all the information in it the simplest form to help you make a decision that's right for you and your goals.
Mugshots don't have to be eaten just the way they are, oh no far from it! I love adding stuff to mine like cooked meat, and vegetables; the easiest way I do this is to cook a small joint of meat at the weekend and then just cut little bits up and pop them in my lunch box. I also do the same with veg, I boil some peas & carrots on a Sunday, drain them (super dry) and leave in the fridge; chuck a few spoonful into a small tub (I use this one, and I love it!), and chuck it in my lunch box.
Adding ingredients is simple, just throw them in! It's that simple, do it at the same time as you add the water, and they'll warm through nicely.
BONUS TIP! If you're on the go and, want something filling to eat, grab a couple of Mugshots, and a pack of cooked meat (or veg for the veggie lovers out there) and throw them all together, hey presto you've got a pretty decent, filling meal in under 10 minutes.
My personal favourites to add are, smoked gammon, chicken, turkey, diced onions, peas, carrots and broccoli...not all at once, but that would be pretty cool!
Cooking the perfect Mugshot is easy, all you need is a mug and hot water, right? Well yeah, but there is a better way, at least I think so anyway…you bet the judge, try it out and let me know in the comments below.
I use a lock and lock airtight food storage container, I empty a pack into the tub and then fill with boiling water BUT not too much, I just cover the noodles by a few millimetres (this bits important!) and that gives me prefect, saucy mugshot each, and every time.
Thermos Thermocafe Multi Purpose Steel Flask
I love using the storage tubs for a few reasons, first their airtight locking all the heat in and preventing any possible spillages (you don’t know how many times I've spilt them in my work van). The second is all the extra room you’ve got to put make two at the same time and add some extra goodies like meat and veggies without it overflowing, check out the entire Lock & Lock range Amazon has to offer here.
I love Mugshots, I drive for a living and keep them in my work bag all the time, really, I don't leave home without them. I often eat them for brunch/late lunch. My favourite is the spicy sweet and sour flavour (yeah the worst one) they're the best!
Mugshots usually cost about 99p in most supermarkets, but every now and then they have promotions and that is the best (and only) time to buy them...in bulk!
Popular mugshot deals are 4 for £2.00, 5 for £3.00 but the best I've ever found is in Morrison's 3 for £1, yeah 33p each! That’s fantastic value; the one downside to Morrison's is their lack of variety, I've never seen Thai style, BBQ or Peri-Peri, that could just be my area, I'd be grateful if you could let me know in the comments?
To keep up with the latest deals on Mugshots, check out this supermarket price comparison website.
UPDATE: I've found mugshots being sold on Amazon, of all places! Pretty cool if you ask me, delivered right to your door, and they have some pretty good deals every now, and then.
This is messy! There's sooooo much confusion out there with "fake mugshots" being sold in the cheaper discount stores like B&M, Aldi & Lidl. I've done a lot of research into them and what to explain what's going on once and for all so here goes.
All the mugshot found in the cheap stores, and the normal ones are made by Symingtons, just check the logo on the back of the packets; the difference between them is the market the aimed at.
The ones that are found in all major supermarkets are the most common mugshots out there, these are made with high(er) quality ingredients, and follow a different recipe from the cheaper ones.
The "fake mugshots" are aimed at the cheaper market, and that’s the reason they are sold in stores like B&M, Aldi and Lidl. They come in slightly different flavours and follow a different (cheaper) recipe compared to the others, the packaging is also slightly different although the back is relatively the same.
There is no reason why these mugshots can't be eaten on slimming world just like anything else, it just comes down to the syns.
This guide has been pretty intense, and hopefully it's answered a lot of the questions you may have had, but there's always a couple more lingering in the back of your mind, and that's where you come in! I want you to use the comments below to ask any questions you've got, and I'll find you an answer, one way or another 🙂
I will add a Q&A section to this post with all the questions I get to help everyone out there, and together we can make this truly an ultimate guide to mugshots.
I hope you enjoyed that article and thank you for reading it all the way to the end 🙂 I would love you to do something for me really quickly, I want you to share this article on your twitter (tweet below), facebook, pinterest if you know someone that could benefit from reading it, you must know someone, right?
I’ve had enough. It’s gone on for far too long, and I need to do something to change it, but what?
I’m talking about my lack of any real weight loss in the last 4 months.
I weighed in on Monday evening, and I gained half a pound; by no means is this anything to worry about apart from how long its been going on for. Some of you might be thinking what about the article I wrote recently explaining my new way of thinking about plateaus?
That’s a fair question, and I still stand by my new way thinking theory, it’s just there has to be a point. A point when it’s no longer a plateau, its maintaining with a slight fluctuation, this is something I that’s completely different in my eyes something quite dangerous. Continue reading
I’m still in shock! Last night in my slimming world class, we’re all sitting in the semi circle listening to Lesley our leader and she looks at me and says, “oh Darran, I’ve got to own up to something!” I was slightly confused and intrigued, to say the least; she went on to say that slimming world changed a long time back and didn’t know that men (depending on starting weight) got more daily syns than women, so all this time I’d been missing out! What the hell!
After class, I went to find out what the numbers were, and it turns out I was meant to be having 25 syns a day, not 15!
A massive difference, don’t you think?
It was only a couple of months back when I celebrated my 1 year lifestyle change milestone, and me being me (looking into things too much!) worked out that over the course of the past year, I’ve be cheated out of 3,650 syns.
In food that looks some like this; Continue reading
A couple of weeks back I finally broke through a long, 10 week weight loss plateau. This was my second plateau in a year; the last one was horrible. It was the worst.
It sucked, to say the least, and that’s because I didn’t know how I should have been looking at plateaus. With this new way of thinking, I almost relish the thought them. I’m imagining the look on you face right now (cute!), but stay with me I’ll explain everything, it’s life changing!
It was Monday, about 7:30 in the evening; I got to my slimming world class like normal, and I can remember thinking…no wait, it was more like I was praying for some progress on the scales.
It was my tenth weigh-in. I got on the scales, looked down and that when I felt the willpower and determination racing to leave my body like a greyhound out of the traps. Stepping off the scales I felt as though I was running my heart out but not getting anywhere. You’ve felt like that before, haven’t you?